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Builder gave in, I can wire......

Ranger Digital

Active Member
One more thing. while the builder has a schedule, he must work with YOUR schedule as well. If you need a week, tell him you need a week. He CAN make that happen but just sounds like he doesnt want the hassle. He works for YOU. Period.

HOwever, there may be complications from rescheduling: availability of subs, etc. which could have some costs involved but thats likely just an opportunity for the builder to get more money out of you. HIS schedule is not set in stone, its a matter of convienence for him. Builders must be made to be flexible or they will walk all over you. YOU are paying the bill.

If you need it changed (schedule), change it!
 
not to side with the builder, but unless they're building the house themselves and the construction loan is in their name, the house isn't theirs until the documents are signed and the house is closed on, with the construction loan turned over into a mortgage, so without knowing the details, I wouldn't say the builder is working for them.

As alluded to,the other thing is there is most likely a schedule of when the other trades are to come in, sheetrock, etc. and the longer they're delayed, the more interest is paid on the construction loan, which may or may not be the OP's bill to pay. If this is a development or spec house, then even more so. The builder, in all rights, from the sound of the original post and comments would be within his rights to tell the OP to pound sand for running his own wiring or changing the construction timetable, as I read this to NOT be a custom home or anything out of pocket other than a deposit by the OP.

Many inspectors or insurance companies in my area will not allow the closing on the house if items are not "completed" which includes holes and wires sticking out of the sheetrock. They'll allow a blank electrical plate or prewire plugs, but a hole or wire, no go.

The one thing I'll point out is the builder is allowing all of this to happen, right or wrong, AFTER the rough inspection has been completed and signed off on, prior to buttoning up the walls, so technically, the wiring is not being inspected, looked at, or permitted, so I don't disagree with not leaving any exposed in the house....CYA if you please.

I can't recall the original thread, but I haven't met too many builders that won't allow a person to bring in their own licensed and insured people, along with a signed permit on the job during the construction phase, unless the house is not under contract and sold or the house is a spec house.

Just pointing out both sides of the fence, because of how I read Ranger's posts, I, as a builder, would take a hard line if the "you work for me, I pay your check" rant started coming out and I would tell him that if he wanted to play by the rules, permits, inspections, etc. then I'd think about it, otherwise he can do as he wants once the house is in his name. Unfortunately, for me, I've seen far too many results of "prewires" done by those that knew enough to be dangerous or had the idea, just poorly planned and executed.
 

JimS

Active Member
I did the general contractor work and hired all the subs on my house. That allowed me to do all my own wiring (power and low voltage) although the high voltage may not be possible in some areas. I can see how the builder doesn't want anything hanging out if the house is still his. I may be building again in a few years and not sure how I will handle this. Being the general was a lot of hassle but saved some money and let me put in some things that wouldn't have been in the budget if paying for someone else to install. Not sure I want to do it again.

As others have said take LOTS of pictures. Not just of the things you think you need but everything. You never know where you will need to go back and fix or add something.

Label all the wires. It will pay off when hooking them up later.

You probably can't but if you can I would put a "catwalk" in the attic since that would be the easiest place to run wiring to the second floor after drywall (for those things you missed - there WILL be some). Much easier to get material into the attic and do before the drywall is up. I used full sheets of OSB so it is 4' wide but it doesn't need to be that wide. Just tacked 2 x 4s across the trusses so they would be above the insulation. I ran it the length of the house with side runs to the two major areas. I also put in an outlet and a couple lights but that is probably beyond what you can do.

The unfinished basement makes later wiring to the first floor much easier.

You need at least one helper. Some things become very difficult otherwise.

Get one of those flexible drill bits that are about 5 ft long to run things after the drywall is up.

I would think now about how you can get wiring in later. A carefully placed access plate in the middle of a run may make installation much easier. You can cut the hole in the drywall after you get the house and they now have covers that will go into the hole without a frame.

And for the future learn to patch drywall if you don't already know how. It isn't that hard. Sometimes you need to cut a few holes. Make sure you keep track of what paint colors were used so you don't have to repaint whole rooms.
 

sic0048

Senior Member
I don't think it is a code issue, but rather the builder doesn't want to create more work for the subs. It takes time for the drywall guys to stick the wire out of the drywall. Sure, each one doesn't take that much time, but add 10, 15 , 20 etc and it starts to add up. Basically the builder is giving the future owner a break and letting him run wires. Honestly it is rare that they allow it due to potential problems that they would have to deal with. I recommend NOT rocking the boat in this situation since the builder is doing something they really don't have to. Consider the OP lucky.
 

signal15

Senior Member
I don't think it is a code issue, but rather the builder doesn't want to create more work for the subs. It takes time for the drywall guys to stick the wire out of the drywall. Sure, each one doesn't take that much time, but add 10, 15 , 20 etc and it starts to add up. Basically the builder is giving the future owner a break and letting him run wires. Honestly it is rare that they allow it due to potential problems that they would have to deal with. I recommend NOT rocking the boat in this situation since the builder is doing something they really don't have to. Consider the OP lucky.

I've seen good drywall guys eyeball where the outlets were and freehand cut them, and have them all fit perfectly the first time. Put the wires in a single or dual gang box, make them cut the holes, and put a blank plate over them when the sheetrock is done. It's your damn house, that you have to live in for probably a long time. Do things the way you want them.
 

tmbrown97

Senior Member
I have to agree with DELInstallations on this one... it sounds like a fair compromise - the builder is letting the OP run the wires he needs, but he's doing after inspection and wiring, before sheetrock - he's putting himself on the line a little bit here to let you do that... by not letting you leave anything visible, he's less likely to get caught... and by not having any new gang boxes, he's basically making it so there's zero impact on the drywall subs.

I might politely ask if a gang box would be OK in such locations; but otherwise, don't rock the boat - or he can shut you down. Be respectful and appreciative.

I wonder if some of the posters above just aren't as familiar with tract homes - in those situations, generally they have a design center where you can choose your options - this is done because in a mass-development, they tend to have standard plans and blueprints that cover every documented option; once you try to introduce new variables that aren't accounted for in their standard plans, it screws them up - and they really have no easy way of amending the plans to fit - making inspection difficult. And generally speaking, if you back out - it's not the end of the world - someone else *will* come along and buy the house.
 

jskibo

Member
Let me clear this up a bit....


Its not a custom build, its a tract home. Builder owns the lot, owns the plans and holds the construction loan in his name. We don't own anything until we sign at close, he has a small deposit from us.

There is an options book that covered cabinets, sinks, flooring, ect... but nothing outside of that was supposed to be authorized.

I did manage to get a few changes through early such as flipping the bathroom rough in around to accommodate a future wet bar in the basement and they agreed to a few CAT5 runs to bedrooms (but they were $50 per run). The builder offered 3 levels of alarm (1. Panel, one keypad, outside door contact for $365, 2. same as one but one more keypad and motion sensor for $545 and 3. Same as 2 but adding 3 wired smokes, heat sensor in garage and flood sensor near sump pump for $1185). I asked for a bid for wire rough in with no panel or keypads and they came back at the same price. After talking with them he said the electricians do the CAT5, Phone and Cable, but they hire an outside vendor for alarm and rarely does anyone select that option so they have no pull. That company will only do a full install or nothing.

He then offered me the two days with the restriction that there will be no boxes or mud rings installed and nothing poking through the sheetrock. He asked that I bag and tie any wire terminating in the basement utility and tuck it up in the joists. He won't allow conduit runs between floors, only wire.

Its not perfect, but it will get done what I need it to do for this house. Plan is to Put an Elk in the Basement and then expanders on each floors in a box. I would like to run a wireless expander on the 1st or 2nd floor as well for any future needs that aren't accessable. House will be a mix of UPB and Z-Wave, along with about 6 to 8 camera locations (2 inside the rest out).

The main goal is to control heat and light remotely as well as through HS running on various Tablets and phones in and out of the house. To be able to look in at the kids who will be "latchkey" at times (to make sure they aren't destroying anything or each other) and to automate the deadbolts since the kids tend to "lose" keys on a regular basis.

This isn't my retirement home and I don't plan on being in it more than 5 years or so. Just another stopping place for the wife and I on our career path, so the system doesn't have to be the envy of the neighborhood, merely functional for the few things we want to do with it. Its been awhile since I played with the automation (Did an X10 setup in 2003, then a UPB and some Cams in 2005, spec'd out a much more robust system in 2007 but scaled it back a lot when I knew another transfer was coming (the wires were in the walls, I just didn't use them)).

For this place I will run what I can and tak a lot of picturs and jot down measurements to access the wires once its built. I can cut in later and add the mud rings (LV boxes). It will be about a month between closing and our moving in as we finish that install, paint (builder delivers in white or off white only) and start with the other crew on framing the basement for the theater, bedroom, bath and bar). We hope to be able to wait until basement is drywalled before moving our stuff in (work is paying for our temp apartment so no hurry).

Thanks for the tips so far, anything is helpful.....
 

Ranger Digital

Active Member
AH, that changes things. As a builder, I have NEVER EVER built a house that had a construction loan in anyones name but the person buying the home. Matter of fact, I would never consider building a house for someone that didnt have a construction loan in their own name or cash.

That said, others are correct here. The builder is working with you and thats grateful. I doubt he would be opposed to having single gang boxes where they can be used. Maybe things are different here in Texas but I still cant see why a builder would be opposed to a wire sticking thru sheetrock. Low voltage is not even inspected here. There may be some municipalities that do though. My guess is in your area, low voltage is inspected and does matter.

My statement stands though for those who own the construction loan, the builder DOES INDEED 100% work for you.
 

tmbrown97

Senior Member
Yeah - different areas have different rules... Tract homes are an art - I have experience in the builder/permit process that goes into them - and I understand the problems they have when introducing outside variables. For that reason, it seems like the builder is being cool enough - honestly the OP has done well - he'll be perfectly fine... he'll get what he needs; the builder will look the other way, and it'll all work out perfectly.
 

mikejrc

Active Member
I have to deal with a similar situation with my house and as I stated before it wont hurt to find out how your low voltage is inspected in your area.
In Las Vegas, where I live, low voltage is not inspected by the county inspector when he comes around to do your electrical inspection but he does look at certain things like strapping or penetration on lumber etc. They will not allow low voltage wires sticking out of the wall, they want a box, a mud ring or low voltage trim plate (there are many names for them), and has to be either terminated with a device or if there is no device then it has to be finished with a blank cover.

Just ask your builder or call your county and talk to an inspector.
 

apostolakisl

Senior Member
I'm a bit surprised about the builder having you put the stuff in after inspection. That makes him liable for anything bad that happens becuase of it (or even not because of it).

Where I live, LV stuff is ignored in the code, so builders don't give a hoot who does it and to what standard, just so long as it doesn't mess them up somewhere else.
 

tmbrown97

Senior Member
That's what I was saying - this is an under-the-table kinda deal... roll with it.

Funny with the experiences - try doing business in AZ they're the worst I've dealt with yet...
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
There are limitations when you are going with a tract home vs. hiring your own builder. One thing my tract home builder did was loop wiring to be used for keypads, glass breaks, motions, etc... and secure it with twist ties to a nail on a stud (as shown below).

I then took a lot of pics and in some cases measurements (say from a corner), then when I wanted to mount the hardware simply made a small hole where the sensor would mount and was easily able to pluck the wiring from the twist ties. This way there were no holes in view and the wiring was all behind the drywall during the build.

I used this method for a lot of sensors and keypads and always was able to easily retrieve the wire in each mounting scenario.wire1.jpg wire2.jpg
 

jskibo

Member
Well this whole thing is finished now.

The builder waffled a few times as we got closer to my time to wire but in the end I got three days to run all I wanted but keeping it behind the drywall. I measured and took pictures of everything and it worked out great. We too delivery of the house in late June and I have been cuting in LV boxes as I paint. So far I have been dead on to the location.

I ended up pulling a sub panel into the upstairs laundry and then pulling the main box into the pantry. I have quite a few extra runs between each box as well as extra runs for Cameras and such later.

We hired another builder to finish the basement bar / theater / bath and bedroom. I have almost all my runs pulled there and funny enough he wanted them all in before inspection. In doing the basement HVAC the contractor wanted to zone our system for better cooling, so we struck a deal, he provided dampners for 3 zones and I provided the RCS zone controller and wall units. This will really help keep the theater cool with 9 people and all the equipment in there.
 
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