Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Finally, Renovation Land Is Closed

I alluded to a bit of trouble in Renovation Land last month.  The dumpster was in the driveway for so long many of you assumed that it had become a permanent part of the house.  Today I am able to report that despite all the trouble, screw ups, and snafu's that the project is now complete.

I think.   Well, I hope so.  Yeah, it's complete.

We would not even be finished today without the assistance of the Town of Sturbridge Department of Inspectional Services.

You see, the first plumber the general contractor, Sturdy Home Improvement, had hired was a nice guy, but after a couple of days he never showed up again, and I think I know why, he screwed up the works but good.  He also told me that he had to get a rough plumbing inspection, and they only inspected on Wednesdays and Fridays, and he was waiting for a call back.  He told me he had left several messages.

So we waited.

A couple of days stretched into a few.  A call or two to the general contractor without any results.  A week went by, and then two.  The project was stalled.  Without a rough plumbing inspection the framing could not be inspected and completed, and that meant the drywall could not be installed.  Finally, I had had enough.  I drove up to the Center School Offices to inquire about the inspection myself.  Why was it taking so long?

It was the Friday before Memorial Day, and the office was closed.

I was bummed beyond belief.  I moped home, and delivered the news to Mary when she got home.  She was not happy.  (shudder).

The first business day, after the holiday, I returned to the Center School Offices, and met a lovely person at the office, her name is Lesley Wong.  I asked her what the hold up with the inspection was, and she looked at me as if I was crazy.  Most people do.  Lesley knew nothing of the inspection.  No calls were ever received, and they do inspections every day, not just two days per week.

I had been had by the Disappearing Plumber.  The job was stalled for two weeks because of a plumber that had been leaving messages at an old telephone number for a former inspector.

Did the General Contractor follow up?  Of course, not.  There was little communication between the general contractors office and us.  I don't think they have a company phone, and only use whoever's cell phone has the most minutes left.

Lesley called Peter Starkus, the new plumbing and gas inspector for Sturbridge.  He had been on the job for about seven months, and he confirmed that no inspections were ever called for.  I guess the dejected, puppy dog look I was giving was enough for Lesley to ask the inspector when was the soonest he could inspect the plumbing.

"I'll meet him at his house in an hour", he said.

That fast, and the issue was settled.  Peter Starkus arrived at our house in less than an hour.  He took a break from a job that he was working on to take care of our needs.  He inspected every inch of the plumbing.  In just about an hour from the time I had walked into the offices and met Lesley, I had the inspection completed, and we were ready for the framing inspection.  A new plumber was now on the job, a new permit pulled, the new plumber spent his time correcting all the mistakes the first one had done, and I ordered new parts to replace the ones Plumber Number One had ruined.

If only the missing plumber had not kept calling the wrong number, and had called the Wong number we would have never lost those two weeks.

A few days later I stopped by the office again and asked about the framing inspection.  Dave Lindberg, the Building Commissioner, and I talked for awhile.  He was understanding about how the delays affected the job, and wanted to do what he could to get us back on track.  He came out to inspect the framing that day, and the drywall guys were given the OK to start.

Back on schedule.  Well, really not all the way back on schedule.  The job was delayed a month because the folks at Sturdy had forgotten to order the tub.  It takes a month to get one. The owner of the company called me and asked me how he could make it up to me.  What I asked for was to finish the job quickly, and correctly.   What I got was they forgot to  forget to order the vanity.  It would take another three weeks to build it and deliver it.

But, wait, there's more.

They ordered the wrong window, in the wrong size from the wrong company.   The one that was delivered looked like it was for a storefront.  Not appropriate for in front of the bathtub.  The correct window arrived three weeks later.

I had only one word for the owner of this multimillion dollar company based in Springfield, MA with offices in Connecticut, and Worcester:  Duh.

So, the job ended this past week, a little over a month late.  We would still be waiting for inspections if Dave and Peter did not step up.  We were also very fortunate to have an excellent second plumber, Jeff Warren of Worcester.  He was patient, knowledgeable, and professional.  He didn't let the mess he had inherited affect him he simply fixed them.

Our electrician, Jeff Masi, was also excellent.  He was also very knowledgeable, and patient, and not at all afraid of a working.  I highly recommend them both.

As far as the general contractor goes, well, maybe our experience was just a bad one for them.  Maybe the same person that forgot the tub, the vanity, and the correct window was having little neurological events that prevented him from functioning fully.

Naw, its stupidity.

The good thing about this whole debacle was how the Sturbridge Department of Inspectional Services bailed us out.  They were professionals with a great deal of understanding.  If it wasn't for them I'd still be bathing in the corner sink in the half bath, and that was not a pretty sight.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you had a chance to work with Dave before he left. I always found him to be helpful. courteous and professional unlike some of our selectmen in town.


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