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Contractors are usually after the biggest bang for the buck. I did high end multiple zone comfort systems (HVAC). The controls were, at the time either Carrier, Trane, or Honeywell. These systems used a series of networked thermostats, return air sensors, supply air sensors, and outdoor temperature sensors. If installed they could be connected via internet connection for reprogramming or just monitoring. If properly designed the systems could cut operating costs considerably but their main attraction was in the ability to heat/cool the whole house effectively by zones where one thermostat could only satisfy the temperature at it's one location. I had homes with 10-12 zones that were balanced by separate thermostats in each zone that kept the entire home comfortable and each thermostat was programmed for its needs by time and temperature. It was a major advance in home comfort and troubleshooting of the system was possible remotely.

Then I did homes of comparable size and worth that used contractor grade equipment, fiberglass ductboard, and a few central returns. These systems I wouldn't put in my own home for several reasons the 1st being ductboard is a material made of fiberglass sheeting material that has a rough surface and over time the fiberglass particles come loose and gets blown into the air stream. So lower air flow due to resistance, uncomfortable when the fiberglass particles get blown on you, and far less efficient equipment and operating conditions. And many of these in very expensive developments. The money was spent on what you could see. Appliances, lighting and plumbing fixtures, and so on. Comfort was secondary and easy to cut cost on so when a contractor uses material of lesser quality it often has to do with what can be seen and quantity. The bottom line is profit.
 

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When we built our home in 2002 I was recovering from bilateral arthroscopic surgery. Although it wasn't pleasant and I had the contractor I wanted I was there every day to oversee the project. The home was by our design and the blueprints were revised very slightly by the builder as I was open to suggestions. I had several bids on the build and they were all close but I did question on the materials to be used. There were no shortcuts made and I was already getting a deal that couldn't be topped as the company I worked for was doing the mechanical work and I got everything at cost from those supply houses which means electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. Cost being suppliers cost not my company cost. It was a long standing deal our suppliers had with it's major commercial customers.

Framing was almost overbuilt. When I go on the roof to inspect there is no bounce. I also documented the work as it progressed. I could locate any pipe under the basement concrete floor without a problem as well as any electrical wiring path. Any and all penetrations through the studs was fire blocked. It is my strong belief that if you are paying to have a home built you need to see what is being done and how. Ask questions and take notes/pictures. The inspector is supposed to be checking that everything is to code but I really don't want to tell some of those stories. You should have seen the faces of those older inspectors when they saw me running furnace exhaust pipe using PVC pipe. Yes it was when condensing gas furnaces 1st came out and the vent gas was maybe 85 degrees. I remember having Leroy sit down on a bucket and look over the manufacture's specs. The look on his face and the many "I'll be" I heard that afternoon.

Just saying it pays to inspect the home while it's under construction and ask questions.
 
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