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Question DetailsAsked on 2/17/2016

How much is the cost to create an arch between living and dinning room?

Could anybody help quote the cost to create a large arch between living and dinning rooms? I cannot do it by myself and have to ask architect to do this. Is 1300 $ enough? I attached a picture of my new house to you. They are standard living room and dinning room. I am afraid that it is far from being enough.
I met a problem when buying a new house. According to the contract, we need a large arch between living room and dinning room. But the builder forgot this. They just added one column between living and dinning room. And they issue 1300 $ credit to me. The house looks ugly now and I am also afraid that this credit cannot cover the cost when I hire architect to delete the column and create a large arch. Could anybody estimate the cost for me? Thanks very much for your help in advance and your quick advice is highly appreciated!

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3 Answers

Voted Best Answer

Picture did not come through.

As I read this, this is a custom or to-spec new build that you are buying under contract with the builder. Hopefully you have not made final payment - their issuing a credit is just an offer if you do not accept it. Because you are under contract with (presumably) specific plans showing the arch, and that would certtsainly be considered a key architectural element -they HAVE to put it in, and can't just plop in a post and offer you a credit. I would tell them you do not want the credit - you want the arch, which he should be able to build for the amount of the credit he offerred. If he refuses, then send them a certified return receipt letter stating you do not accept the credit in lieu of the proper arch installation, and that the missing arch is to be considered a punchlist item needing remedy before final acceptance of the house.

Remember, if you have not paid him you have the upper hand. Also - if you are doing payments out of an escrow account to the builder, send a copy of your demand letter or a note to the escrow payment officer about this and that the applicable payment relating to that work item should not be made until the work under that progress or pay item is completed satisfactorily.

If you already implicitly accepted it or made final payment, then big problem - though if you used an attorney on the contract this would be a good time for him to send them a no-nonsense letter about fulfilling their obligations under the contract. And - since you said credit, I presume you mean on the construction contract bill, so final acceptance and payment is hoepfully not yet done.

On $, assuming this is say not over a 10-16 foot span AND there is no issue with being able to carry the arch load to immediately underlying walls, then $1300 should be more (by maybe factor of as much as two) than enough for an Architect (in conjunction with in-house or subconsultant structural Engineer) to structurally design the arch - but an Architect only does design, not construction.

Technically, the plans (presumably/hopefully done by architect or structural engineer) should show the arch design - dimensions of internal beam or arched elements as applicable, plus the architecturall finish (drywall or whatever).

The construction of a load-bearing arch is likely to be two to four times that depending on circumstances for a drywall-encapsulated arch, up to 5-10 times as much in large exposed timber - the $1300 would be marginal for just a bsare stained horizontal carry beam presuming the design was already done.

Rough ballpark you understand, not knowing length, overhead loads, and not having seen what underlies the ends of the arch, where the load has to be picked up and carried down to a suitable foundation.

And after all is said and done and you have made final payment, sounds like it would be time for an appropriate honest review on a contractor who would pull this type of stunt - this is the sort of thing that damages the reputation of everyone in the building trades, not that this sort of thing is not uncommon - just usually not so blatant, and in most cases the bad apples just cut corners and don't offer you a credit at all.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


BTW - here is a link to another question about dealing with contractors who do not finish the job or do not complete all the work items - hopefully you will not need it, but a number of links to other questions with answers on that issues FYI in case you do -

One other thing I might not have made clear - since he issued a $1300 credit for the arch, that is clear evidence he thinks that is a fair cost to build it now - after all, he would not cheat you , would he ? Therefore, there is no reson he cannot take the credit back and do the arch for that amount now - hence, no change to the contract (or price) for him to do it right.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


Thank CLD very much for his/her answers! I attached the figure to you. It seems that we do not need to open one wall to creat the arches.

I haven't signed the amendment and not made the payment yet. I thought according to the

contract, there should be a arch between living room and dinning room. But it seems that there should be two arches: one between living room and dinning room and another one above the corridor to the foyer. The seller said the house is too far along in the construction process to add arches now.

I will negociate with them to ask them add them as you said. But if I have to ask technician to add them later, how much is the cost for adding these two arches?

Answered 4 years ago by flygirl


Up to you how much of a fight you want to make of this, but if the contract plans call for the arches, that would be considered a substantial change so formally reject the change order by marking REJECTED diagonally across it and initial by the REJECTED also at an angle to make it clear you did NOT sign on the bottom line. Unless there are separate places to sign for accepted or rejected (in which case sign on the rejected and diagonally cross through the other line), do NOT sign it on the signature line because he might claim you signed it with approval then later marked rejected on it, and tell him the contract calls for the arches and you want them.

And of course, keep copies of all documents, and keep a running dated handwritten log on your dealings with him and on all documents in and out, for the record.

If he built the house without the arches, yes it might be more difficult to put them in now - but no more so than if they were being done as an after-the-fact feature in an existing house, and they CAN be done - he just does not want to. If it costs him more, that is his problem - or between him and the framing carpenter subcontractor if he was the one who forgot them and did columns instead, so he may try to recover some cost from the subcontractor or have him do the work for free.

And of course take before and after pictures - not only of the arch areas, but also of the walls and flooring in the area (and underlying level where he will likely have to put in support members if there is one), so if there is damage from the arch construction (especially common on floors) you have evidence of that - and there is no reason for you to accept any damage as a result of this - you are buying a new house, it is his responsibility to deliver it to you complete and in a new condition.

This should not cost you anything additional, and repairing the screwup (again assuming the arches are in the original contract scope of work/drawings) is his responsibility, and should be at zero additional cost to you. And if there are liquidated damages in the contract for late completion (unlikely in a residential contract), and putting in the arches will delay completion, that does not excuse him from the liquidated damages.

Whether you start off with a certified return receipt letter from you to him rejecting this and demanding completion per contract, or get an attorney to do a letter to that effect - and hence putting more pressure on him - is up to you, and depends on how your rerleastionship with him is at this time - you don't want to unnecessarily escalate the situation, but if you feel he is intentionally trying to take advantage of you already then the attorney might be a good idea, because if he refuses again then the next step would be calling his Bond.

Of course, keep a close eye on this if he does put in the arches - that they put in the substantial support columns or probably tripled or quadrupled up studs or larger size posts or steel columns under the ends, or probably individual concrete pads or piers inset into the slab if this is the bottom level, like a slab on grade construction), and to make sure that the workmanship is good, not sloppy. Also, that legal headroom is maintained, because if that entry arch is supposed to be one long arch keeping legal headroom is going to be an issue. If you have your own architect on the job (as opposed to one working for the contractor) get him/her involved on this.

As to the cost - not knowing exact conditions, type of existing underlying support that will likely have to be beefed up under the ends of the arch, dimensions, local costs, etc I am not in a position to give a cost estimate for the work - plus you have a second arch not in the photo to be done. You would need to get a firm bid from another general contractor - but my recommendation is to ignore the cost and not give him the impression you are thinking of doing it yourself, and make HIM do the job right. That way you have no cost risk from a second bidder backing out on his bid, saying mid-job that it will cost more, sxcrewing it up and giving you a sway-backed house, etc. The burden to get it done is on your builder - leave it there, and the cost is his issue. VERY rough numbers it could be in the at least couple or several to five thousand $ range for two arches IF the structural support is adequate already AND headroom was allowed; could be substantially more if he has to put in after-the-fact concrete piers or piles in to support the ends.

Of course, if the headroom should have been more then he has a MAJOR problem on his hands bacause it likely is just is not feasible to raise the ceiling - so start cogitating in your mind if you would be willing to accept several shorter arches, or walking away from the house due to his failure to perform according to the contract, get all your payments back, and the house becomes his to sell as a spec house - because it is possible it will come to that. Of course, if that is the case you would have the option of suing him for damages as well for having to now wait another 6-12 months say to have a new home built because of his contract default.

And of course, after all is said and done, sounds like an appropriate honest Review on AL might be in order - subject to approval of your attorney if there is a legal settlement on the case so you do not violate any terms of the settlement.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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