Friday, May 08, 2009

Construction dust

When I went to Arizona back in early April, I was naive enough to believe the construction on my new bathroom might--just might-- be complete or nearly complete when I got home. This is equivalent to believing that the stars are God's daisy chain or that the Easter bunny lays colored eggs.

Brian the Boy Contractor seemed so eager to complete the job! He had nothing else to do--nothing! It would be his A-1 priority!

Well, Brian and his silent helper have managed to spend about eight hours a week on this job. The bathroom is the usual jumble of tools, wallpaper fragments, pieces of lath, sawdust and crumbly stuff. The entrance hall is completely covered with contractor footprints against a backdrop of mud. Bits of board adorn the front walk. The garage, which is usually full of junk, now contains a toilet, sink, and medicine cabinet in addition to the usual dreck. The dining room holds a large carton containing the stuff that was in the old bathroom. A fine layer of dust lies over every available surface.

And so it goes.

Any hope of actually keeping this mess presentable would be futile. I did sweep up the fragments that were in the kitchen so I could have an occasional meal there. I also mopped the kitchen floor and the entrance hall. Then it rained for nine consecutive days.

At this point all I do is cringe when I walk into the house and leave urgent messages on Brian's voice mail. Is this some sort of contractor's tradition to make the biggest mess possible for the longest possible time?


Anonymous said...

That's why such novel things as contracts was invented (hence the word "contractor"). And in it there is such standard feature as payment schedule. Which is organized, typically, on the following model: 1. Client (C) and General Contractor (GC) agreed that the scope of work will be completed in 3 weeks, starting XX/XX and ending YY/YY. GC is to be compensated for completed part of work every week, per schedule.
2. Following construction schedule is agreed on by C and GC: 1st week: such and such work to be finished by... 2nd week (etc) 3rd week...
GC receives 20% of the total by the end of the 1st week. 30% of the total - 2nd week. 40% of the total by the end of 3rd week. Then C conducts an inspection walk-thru and presents GC with a punch list of incomplete items. Upon completion GC receives remaining 10% of the total.
3.GC loses 10% of the total every week if the scope for that week is not met. GC loses 15 % of the total for each extra week beyond agreed schedule he spends on the job. GC loses 5% of the total for each week he does not provide clean up of construction area at the end of each workday.

Something along these lines.

That's why it's generally a good idea to have an architect or interior designer as C' representative on the job.

miriam said...

Wise, but too late for me. Maybe next time.