DSC00533 It’s been quite a few days since I’ve posted an update, primarily because there hasn’t been a whole lot of excitement on the project.  The plumber roughed in the majority of the 1st and 2nd floor last week, making it to the basement, which he will finish up next week.  The framing crew has been off for several days, and from what I gather won’t be back until next week.  It’s really too bad because the remainder of the week looks to be nice.  The GC’s guys have just about all of the HVAC stuff run, and received some heating components today to hopefully finish that off.

Selecting Our Electrician

We’ve been fortunate so far in the selection process for subcontractors because our GC has relationships with so many.  In the case of the electrician, he did have someone that could do the work, but we also knew a local electrician that we really wanted to work with.  He’s a friend of the family and my best friend’s father-in-law.  After determining the number of outlets, etc… we found that our friend’s quote was within budget so we decided to move forward with him. 

The electrician is semi-retired, and has been an electrician for many, many years.  It’s hard to find a home or business in our small town that he hasn’t done some work on.  His experience is undeniable.  We’re very happy to have him doing the work.

Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You…

The one advantage to sticking solely with the GC’s subcontractors is that they all know each other, and have worked together before.  It’s been noticeable when I run up to the house to see what’s happening.  Because my GC is from another town and state, pretty much all of the subs have been people I’ve never heard of.  Bringing in a “foreign” electrician likely makes the GC and his other subs a little wary.  Completely understandable.  I just hope they all work together well! 

Working WITH Your Electrician

While I’m sure any electrician will work with you to determine what the best layout of outlets, switches and lighting is, we’ve been very happy with our electrician, and how he’s helped us see the practical placement of various switches, etc… Our initial placement of some items was less than ideal, but it wasn’t until he explained a potentially better placement that we noticed it.  That has helped a lot.

One small thing that he brought to our attention was the value of having a sub-feed box on the 2nd floor of the house.  Imagine that you are running late for work or school and you blow a breaker in the bathroom.  Without it, you have to run all the way to the basement to correct the problem.

He also recommended that we ensure the contractor grade light/fan combos that go into the bathrooms had glass lenses versus the standard plastic ones.  The plastic ones always change color as the bulb stays on.  This was something we noticed in our previous home, but never thought of when selecting the fixtures.

One area that my wife and I neglected was outdoor lighting beyond the lights by the doors and garage.  He recommended and we agreed that we should have some spotlights on the rear and walkout side of our house.  We hadn’t even thought about them until he mentioned it.

Get Your Light Fixtures Early!

In our arrangement with the GC and bank, we are responsible for selecting and buying the light fixtures for the house.  For some reason I had it in my head that we wouldn’t need them until well after the drywall stage.  I was wrong!  The electrician needs some of them to determine how high or low on a wall to place the roughed in wire for the fixtures.  Examples:

- Lights on the sides of the garage door
- Lights next to your actual man doors
- Lights over vanities in bathrooms
- Some other lights throughout the house

This caught us off guard so we had to really buckle down and pick our outside lights.  They range in price, quality, and style so it was a very difficult decision for us.  If you would like your inside lights to coordinate at all, as we do, we really have to pick all of our inside lights to know which vanity lights we want.  We still need to pick the vanity lights.

Support Local Businesses and Shop Online

My wife and I have been trying to look around town for the items we need before we shop online because we’re already using predominantly out of town contractors.  We’ve been able to find some things locally.  He didn’t have much luck with lighting.

Here’re some great websites for lighting that we used and continue to use:

- http://www.lightingdirect.com
- http://www.lightinguniverse.com/
- http://www.exteriorlightinguniverse.com
- http://www.lampsusa.com/