06/28/17 2:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: IT’S NOT WHAT YOU HAVE, IT’S HOW IT’S ATTACHED “As an engineer who regularly performs inspections of homes/businesses, I don’t think there’s an issue with stucco itself. If properly installed and maintained, it works fine. Maintenance is just as important as installation, however most home owners do a poor job of regular maintenance on their house and just blame the builder for any issues that appear 5 years down the road. A good practice is to inspect and re-caulk any seals on the exterior of your house every year, preferably before the spring rainy season. However, I wouldn’t go with the impermeable barrier system in Houston, which assumes that no moisture will get behind the wall (so there are no weep holes at the bottom). I’d rather have a ‘breathable’ building envelope, because keeping moisture out is very difficult with the soil conditions and climate we have in the area.” [Chase, commenting on Comment of the Day: Why Is Houston Still Stuck on Stucco?] Illustration: Lulu

05/26/15 1:30pm

Flooding During Construction of Elan Heights Apartments, 2222 White Oak Dr., Woodland Heights, Houston

Flooding During Construction of Elan Heights Apartments, 2222 White Oak Dr., Woodland Heights, Houston

Future residents of Greystar’s Elan Heights: Do not fear high water. Sure, the Skylane Central on the same White Oak Bayou-fronting site regularly had floodwaters up to its second floor after rain events like this. But Woodland Heights renters at the Elan will be perched much higher than that, and not just for the Downtown views. Floodwaters will have to rise through 4 levels of concrete-framed parking garage to get to the 7 floors of steel-stud-framed apartments above. And the concrete structure’s bottom level doesn’t even count as parking.

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Wet Toes
03/31/15 3:15pm

Scene of Auto Accident at Baron St. and Bayou St., Fifth Ward, Houston

Townhomes Under Construction, 400 Bayou St., Fifth Ward, HoustonAs a cautionary demonstration of the hazards of the kind of wacky old-roadway-meets-new-driveway construction found in front of a set of under-construction townhomes at the corner of Bayou and Baron streets in the Fifth Ward, the accident pictured here doesn’t quite hold up to extended scrutiny. Sure, it might be tough for a vehicle to stay on the asphalt when a stretch of roadway suddenly disappears and new concrete driveways stretch across it (as illustrated in the second photo above). But here the damaged Escalade appears to have crashed into a stationary hazard on the opposite side of the street.

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Dude, Where’s My Road?
03/30/15 1:30pm

Townhomes Under Construction, 400 Bayou St., Fifth Ward, Houston

How did these townhomes under construction on the northeast corner of Bayou and Baron streets in the Fifth Ward come by their extra-long, tongue-like driveways? It’s not exactly clear, but the reader who sent these pix of the project and its rather prominent culvert-leaping flatwork thinks the answer might have something to do with a willingness to build well past the property line — or at least a lack of familiarity with where the property line actually is. The orange complex across the street, in the background of the photo above, is the Kennedy Place Apartments. Here’s a view of the townhomes from that side, looking east:

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Just Add Street
03/16/15 12:15pm

Townhome Under Construction, 5902 Schuler St., Woodcrest, Houston

The upper floors of a townhome under construction at the corner of Knox and Schuler streets in Woodcrest were dismantled by workers over the weekend. Late last week, the mostly framed but still unsheathed building went askew after — according to a reader report — a forklift bonked it a little too hard. The damage appeared to be restricted to the bottom floor, with studs gaining a noticeable lean. The reader also reported seeing bulges appear in the back of the structure.

At the time of the accident, workers under contract to Suca’s Home Builders had framed 3 and a half stories of the 4-story townhome at 5902 Schuler St. By Saturday, the building was down to 2 stories, as pictured above. The following day, most of the second floor was removed as well, and the structure had been pulled straight by the forklift, according to the reader — as shown here:

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Downright Upright in Woodcrest
03/13/15 5:45pm

Townhomes Under Construction at 1301 Knox St. and 5902 Schuler St., Woodcrest, Houston

“Yesterday around 4:30 pm we heard a strange creak, and when we looked across the street, this is what we saw,” reports a Swamplot reader who was at the corner of Knox St. and Schuler in Woodcrest. The unintended lean in the first floor of the westernmost of 2 townhouses under construction on the site was apparently caused by a nudge from a high lift forklift. The 4-story structures at 1305 Knox and 5902 Schuler are under construction by Suca’s Home Builders.

“It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the back of the house has bulged out about a foot as well,” writes reader Matthew, who also reported seeing workers around, in, and on the building today, which he considers “in serious danger” of collapsing.

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Don’t Fall for This
11/07/14 2:45pm

DEFORESTED KIRBY DR. WENDY’S BRINGS BACK A LITTLE GREENERY Fencing Around Wendy's Restaurant, 5003 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, HoustonPassersby hoping to see for themselves precisely what hullabaloo was responsible for the larger-than-normal red tag placed by city officials on the door of the abruptly-paused-during-renovation Kirby Dr. Wendy’s now have an additional obstacle blocking satisfaction of their curiosity. The perimeter construction fencing on the jobsite at 5003 Kirby Dr. — which only went up just as workers were chopping down 6 oak trees on the surrounding public right-of-way late one night last week — has gained a new green-fabric wrapping. “I think it makes the construction look more attractive,” quips the reader who sent in the above photo of the stump-and-fence scene (with the red tag still barely visible through the greenage). That’s nice, the reader notes, since “apparently we are going to be looking at it for a long time.” [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

09/29/14 4:45pm

A LIFEBOAT FOR THE ROYALTON’S CORRODING CROWN? Top of Royalton at River Oaks Condominiums, 3333 Allen Pkwy., HoustonJudging from court filings, there appears to have been some sort of resolution to the lawsuit filed more than 2 years ago by the condominium association of the 253-unit Royalton at River Oaks highrise over the design of the steel grid at the top of the building at 3333 Allen Pkwy. The lawsuit claimed the structure was corroding and was designed in such away that made maintaining it or recoating it impossible — and sought damages from the building’s contractor, architect, and other parties. The condo association dropped its claims against many of those parties late last month. And a reader wonders if the attachment seen hanging below the structure in the recent photo at left, which “almost looks like a hot tub,” is part of some newly devised cleaning solution. [Prime Property] Photo: Swamplot inbox

07/16/14 1:45pm

WHAT A FIRED IRONWORKER LEFT BEHIND AT KYLE FIELD Crimson Tide Flag Flying at Kyle Field, Texas A&M University, College Station, TexasThe ironworker fired from his job at the Kyle Field construction site after hoisting a University of Alabama flag from a crane at the Texas A&M football stadium has been subjected to an even greater indignity: After a photo of the stunt (at left) went viral, a crew of dead-serious investigators has been scouring the worker’s largely jokey Facebook page for possible additional anti-Aggie activity. And overnight, it appears, they hit paydirt. In context, Bobby Livingston’s offhand comment on his Facebook page from February 28th, under a self-portrait in an Alabama sweatshirt, that “This stadium will never be ready for this. Season,I’m putting iron in backwards and wrong holing everything!!”appears to be a joke among friends. It’s tougher to judge the circumstances surrounding a later Livingston post, however, because it appears now to have been deleted: According to College Station reporter Patrina Adger, he wrote on April 6, “If you ever attend a Texas A&M football game, don’t sit at the Northeast End Zone. It was raining today and I made two very ‘questionable’ welds.” The engineering firm in charge of inspections at Kyle Field, which is being expanded to seat more than a 100,000 fans, has issued a statement in response, assuring that all welds and connections have been tested, verified, and reviewed. [KBTX] Photo: Bobby Livingston

06/26/14 2:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HE WENT THERE Toilet on the Job“Careful where you place those toilets during construction. I uprooted one and moved it to temporary storage in the corner of a back room. At Christmas, my visiting father-in-law came up to me and said, ‘Hey — that toilet doesn’t flush — something’s wrong with it.’” [Superdave, commenting on Wallis Home Listing Photo of the Day: Watch Your Back] Illustration: Lulu

06/13/14 10:15am

Fire Aftermath at 717 E. 8th St., Houston Heights

Builders of a home under construction in the 700 block of E. 8th St. in the Heights, near Antidote coffee house, are looking at the damage to the large structure after an apparent fire that took place a few hours ago. “We heard a fire truck, with sirens blaring, at 4:30 this morning,” reports a Swamplot tipster. The house, which is being constructed by Whitestone Builders, “dwarfs its bungalow neighbors and appears to fill the lot,” writes the tipster: “I have no idea how the fire started but it appeared to have been underneath the house with visible damage to the siding on both sides and on the porch.”

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Under Construction
05/29/14 10:45am

Fifth Floor Elevator Landing, Decorative Center Houston Parking Garage, 5120 Woodway Dr., Houston

“The doors do actually open on that floor and the elevator is functional,” insists the Swamplot reader who sent us these photos of the elevator landing on the fifth floor of the attached parking garage for the Decorative Center Houston at 5120 Woodway Dr. north of the Galleria. Yes, getting in and out would likely be a little difficult for those wider of girth or packages. But if you do end up stuck, you can always go down to a lower floor, switch cars, and come back up where there’s a little more space to maneuver:

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Sleek Designs
05/27/14 1:45pm

HOW A DEVELOPER MAKES FRIENDS IN GERMANTOWN 121 Payne St., Germantown Historic District, Woodland Heights, HoustonFisher Homes owner Terry Fisher has been scuffling with city officials and residents of the Germantown Historic District over the dilapidated state of the recently renovated 104-year-old bungalow at 121 Payne St. that he bought last year, got permission for a 2-story addition, but then let sit for months with an opened-up roof protected only by a blue tarp. Fisher may have had some difficulties maintaining the sticks and stones on his property (“demolition by neglect” is how one inspector put it), but he sure has demonstrated a way with words: “The neighbors and anyone else who doesn’t like me is welcome to go walk off a bridge,” he reportedly texted to Woodland Heights Civic Association member David Jordan: “Just try and remember I am a property owner in that neighborhood also and I’m just as important as the others. Considering how much I own, I may be more important. The latest document attesting to that importance: the violation letter he received from the planning department ordering him to stop work on the Payne St. property and address concerns identified by the inspector. But Fisher tells reporter Erin Mulvaney his text to Jordan has been taken out of context: “God gave me two cheeks and I do what I can to turn them, but enough is enough,” he tells her, explaining that he lives in Spring, rather than in the Heights, where many of his developments are, in part to avoid ending up next door to a development he doesn’t like. “I have done nothing wrong,” Fisher says, “I’m not just a big bad developer. I’m a human, too.” But wait, there’s more: “I’m not ashamed of anything, including the Payne house,” says Fisher, who according to the article has been developing in Houston for more than 30 years. “At the end of the day,” he tells Mulvaney, “I’ve never done anything intentionally wrong. Anything has been out of ignorance.” [Houston Chronicle ($); previously on Swamplot] Photo of 121 Payne St. in better times: HAR

05/09/13 3:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: WHAT’S ON SALE AT THE HOUSTON PERMITTING CENTER? “When visiting the permit palace please ask about their red tag specials.” [lhd, commenting on Newly Historic Renovated Permitting Center To Hold Preservation Workshops on Renovating Historic Buildings]