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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
soooo……..

permit?
Building inspection?
done professionally?
collect sales tax?

or not?

if the person’s budget doesn’t support doing legitimate business, why put yourself in that type of risk. It just makes you become the hack they will refer to their other poor or tight fisted friends.

A great reputation can elevate you to better paying projects.
I hear ya, and I agree. Like I stated earlier, I was hired to work in their kitchen and they asked me if I had any better ideas than they have here. All I can do is present them with a plan and a price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Bring it up to code or don't touch it at all. Those are the only choices I would offer. Not worth the liability to do anything less.

As for the client, ask them what's cheaper; hospital bills from a fall down the stairs and potential lawsuit if a guest is injured or building it right.
Thanks. I won't touch it if it's not done right.
 

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Ok, you asked for ideas, you didn’t specify that they had to be good . using euro cabinet door hinges you can get rid of the flap hold back and wouldn’t have to bend over to open the door if you added a toe lift hook. Second stupid idea is replace door with a barn door with the floor flap attached, make a box for the table to sit on that is in the way and then by sliding the door open the flap would be stowed under the table. Yes nothing is to code.


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Ok, you asked for ideas, you didn’t specify that they had to be good . using euro cabinet door hinges you can get rid of the flap hold back and wouldn’t have to bend over to open the door if you added a toe lift hook. Second stupid idea is replace door with a barn door with the floor flap attached, make a box for the table to sit on that is in the way and then by sliding the door open the flap would be stowed under the table. Yes nothing is to code.


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Thinking out of the box is always good. But in this case there is a huge liability issue, so it changes the plan from make it work to do it right or don't touch it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·

Ok, you asked for ideas, you didn’t specify that they had to be good . using euro cabinet door hinges you can get rid of the flap hold back and wouldn’t have to bend over to open the door if you added a toe lift hook. Second stupid idea is replace door with a barn door with the floor flap attached, make a box for the table to sit on that is in the way and then by sliding the door open the flap would be stowed under the table. Yes nothing is to code.


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Both good ideas for the homeowner to look at. I would still like to see a railing to the right of the stairs to prevent anyone from stepping down from the side. I'll only work on code-approved ideas, though. Nothing wrong with giving them your suggestion and they can find someone else to do the work.
 

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Designing YourImagination
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I'm just trying to work with what they've got
The best thing to do here is to be honest with them. It doesn't matter what you are trying to do, do it right or not at all. Unfortunately someone in the past made a shotty decision building what they have and its a huge liability if you even think about touching it without solving it correctly.
 

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Hahaha. This is a good one. Without seeing it I would assume you would have to build new risers and treads and extend them the same amount as you would to extend the main floor to end under the door. Still not to code as you will not have a 36" landing on the other side of the door. My advice is NOT to do anything with it. Once you touch it you are on the hook and I don't think a hold harmless contract would work either.

40+ years as a general contractor...
 

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Ok, you asked for ideas, you didn’t specify that they had to be good . using euro cabinet door hinges you can get rid of the flap hold back and wouldn’t have to bend over to open the door if you added a toe lift hook. Second stupid idea is replace door with a barn door with the floor flap attached, make a box for the table to sit on that is in the way and then by sliding the door open the flap would be stowed under the table. Yes nothing is to code.


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LOL... a trap door idea. Likely better than nothing at all, but I would have a lawyer write the contract and charge the hell out of owner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
The best thing to do here is to be honest with them. It doesn't matter what you are trying to do, do it right or not at all. Unfortunately someone in the past made a shotty decision building what they have and its a huge liability if you even think about touching it without solving it correctly.
And that's exactly what I did. I told them I can only build out the stairwell and put the door at the top of the stairs. If they want anything else done, they'd have to find someone else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Hahaha. This is a good one. Without seeing it I would assume you would have to build new risers and treads and extend them the same amount as you would to extend the main floor to end under the door. Still not to code as you will not have a 36" landing on the other side of the door. My advice is NOT to do anything with it. Once you touch it you are on the hook and I don't think a hold harmless contract would work either.

40+ years as a general contractor...
I can't move the stairs. I won't be doing anything with it because they don't want to spend the money to do it right.
 

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LOL... a trap door idea. Likely better than nothing at all, but I would have a lawyer write the contract and charge the hell out of owner.
Contract means next to nothing, he would be considered the expert, his ins would pay through the nose. No contract would remove safety liability. I worked for an ambulance chasing lawyer for a very short time, he told me stories that scared me from doing anymore work for him.
Our own insurance companies don't give a crap about us, they will cave in a second if it ultimately saves them money
 

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In 2019, nearly walked off a job that had been paying me $5k/wk (plus materials) for months because the new owner refused to address what I saw as an eminent safety concern. I was replacing what we’d dubbed the “Brady Bunch” stone veneer wall around a fireplace when I discovered the fireplace was not properly corbeled, no steel strapping was used anywhere inside the 10’ section that I could see, the mortar was chalky and brittle, etc. This in a house perched high on a steep slope covered in massive old-growth conifers overlooking a 270° view of the majestic Puget Sound ... where earthquakes are slightly less common than landslides. Meaning not uncommon.

There was, however, a truly impressive nest between the stone veneer and the actual masonry fireplace. Hmmm. Never did figure out what was living there ....

Up to that point, I’d removed a huge bay window, an interior wall, refinished roughly 2k sqft of interior wooden walls, added maybe a dozen new circuits, new lighting, fans, remodeled 2 baths and a kitchen with all-new-everything, added 1,200 sqft of heated tile, refinished a spiral staircase and retrofitted double pane safety glass shower/bath and kitchen windows using lumber I milled and machined myself to match existing window frames. Roughly $220k in total.

Btw, if you didn’t know ... one piece toilets are heavy (basalt slab, decidedly heavier). Especially when you have to hoist said ****ter up 12’ over the hand railing of a 2nd story loft from the floor below ... because spiral staircase is too narrow to accommodate said one-piece ****ter. For that matter, Sheetrock and cement board went over the same rail using scaffolding. We did manage the tile up the stairs.

in the end, they signed a release in which I outlined my recommended options and what was their exclusive choice over my objection. I framed the interior portion of the masonry in a combination of 4x6 dimensional lumber and 2x6 steel, then covered it in 1” plywood, cement board, construction cloth, mortar, stone veneer and one 550lb basalt slab mantel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
In 2019, nearly walked off a job that had been paying me $5k/wk (plus materials) for months because the new owner refused to address what I saw as an eminent safety concern. I was replacing what we’d dubbed the “Brady Bunch” stone veneer wall around a fireplace when I discovered the fireplace was not properly corbeled, no steel strapping was used anywhere inside the 10’ section that I could see, the mortar was chalky and brittle, etc. This in a house perched high on a steep slope covered in massive old-growth conifers overlooking a 270° view of the majestic Puget Sound ... where earthquakes are slightly less common than landslides. Meaning not uncommon.

There was, however, a truly impressive nest between the stone veneer and the actual masonry fireplace. Hmmm. Never did figure out what was living there ....

Up to that point, I’d removed a huge bay window, an interior wall, refinished roughly 2k sqft of interior wooden walls, added maybe a dozen new circuits, new lighting, fans, remodeled 2 baths and a kitchen with all-new-everything, added 1,200 sqft of heated tile, refinished a spiral staircase and retrofitted double pane safety glass shower/bath and kitchen windows using lumber I milled and machined myself to match existing window frames. Roughly $220k in total.

Btw, if you didn’t know ... one piece toilets are heavy (basalt slab, decidedly heavier). Especially when you have to hoist said ****ter up 12’ over the hand railing of a 2nd story loft from the floor below ... because spiral staircase is too narrow to accommodate said one-piece ****ter. For that matter, Sheetrock and cement board went over the same rail using scaffolding. We did manage the tile up the stairs.

in the end, they signed a release in which I outlined my recommended options and what was their exclusive choice over my objection. I framed the interior portion of the masonry in a combination of 4x6 dimensional lumber and 2x6 steel, then covered it in 1” plywood, cement board, construction cloth, mortar, stone veneer and one 550lb basalt slab mantel.
Wow! I work alone and have carried those one-pieces up flights of stairs alone many times. Never spiral, though. Not fun.
 

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Yeah, this one had to be pushing 200lbs. I usually work alone too. Roughly ten years ago I benched 335lbs eight times - I’m no slouch. But I can barely lift my elbows over my shoulders now, go figure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Yeah, this one had to be pushing 200lbs. I usually work alone too. Roughly ten years ago I benched 335lbs eight times - I’m no slouch. But I can barely lift my elbows over my shoulders now, go figure.
I've never been strong. Just determined. I'll find a way to do something, no matter what. LOL.
 

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Bring it up to code or don't touch it at all. Those are the only choices I would offer. Not worth the liability to do anything less.

As for the client, ask them what's cheaper; hospital bills from a fall down the stairs and potential lawsuit if a guest is injured or building it right.
I don't know about other States but if we see something in our line of work and don't fix it or red tag it we are also liable if something goes wrong.

It's amazing that people go for cosmetic yet have something that glaringly ugly and dangerous that might be "too expensive" to fix.
 
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