Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Not-So-Lovely Rain and Other Bullstuff

(It's a long one; better strap yourself in.)

As you know, we got our building permit on Monday, March 21. That week, it rained pretty heavily so construction couldn't begin immediately. We had been in contact with the Demo Guy (our demolition and construction contractor; not his real name) and he said he'd be ready to start on March 28.

Well, March 28 rolls around and he's not done with the previous job. He blamed it on the rain the previous week. Seems fairly reasonable. Said he would be able to start on Wednesday and that he wanted to meet with Karl on Tuesday to go over the job one final time before getting crews there.

Also on March 28, the A/C guy was going to come and remove the on-roof A/C unit for cleaning and storage during the demolition. He comes with a crane and removes the unit. And that took pretty much all day so it's probably good that Demo Guy wasn't ready to start on the 28th.

Demo Guy and Karl meet on Tuesday to go over the job and Demo Guy says he'd have his crew start on Thursday. On Wednesday, Karl spent a lot of the day at the bar doing "stuff". Fixing stucco problems, building fences where there weren't fences before and that sort of thing.

Thursday rolls around and Demo Guy still isn't ready to start and he'd start on Friday. We start to see a pattern.

That pattern is reinforced on Friday, April 1, as well. He's still not ready. But he will be most definitely, positively, absolutely be ready and start on Monday, April 4. Careful readers will note that's one week after he first said he'd be able to start.

Early Friday afternoon (April 1) Karl heads from home to the bar to do some work (I forget exactly what). Later that day, the truss company called and told us the trusses would be ready for delivery on Monday, April 4; the same day that Demo Guy was to finally begin work demolishing the roof. That seemed perfect to Karl and me but the Demo Guy wanted us to delay the delivery of the trusses until April 11. This said to both Karl and me that the demolition would take a week. (Considering the work, a week always did seem a little long; Demo Guy originally said the entire job would take two weeks. But I digress.)

Karl spent the weekend in Fresno doing various work on the bar. Monday morning rolls around and Karl heads to the bar in the early morning and meets Demo Guy and his crew. They start removing the roof and its trusses and, after a while, Karl leaves to let them do their work.

Later that day, Karl returns and finds the demolition complete. All of it. Trusses, old metal roof, old shingles, old sheathing all ripped off and put into a dumpster. The process that we thought would take a week took a single day. (A very long day, to be sure, but a day nonetheless.) This was a nice surprise! (But then why did Demo Guy want to wait a week to start putting up the trusses and why did he have us delay the delivery of the trusses a full week?)

The demolition broke a few things in the bar--glass counter top, a mirror, a speaker, drink rail, things like that--but that was nothing compared to the problems that were about to occur.

Since the bar was going to be without a roof for so long (upwards of two weeks) Karl wanted to sit at the bar over night to help prevent any vandalism that might occur if nobody was there to watch the place.  So, Karl spends the night on Monday sitting in his car staring at the bar.  Fun.

On Tuesday, we ask Demo Guy why he is leaving us without a roof for a week. Turns out Demo Guy was doing two jobs at the same time; ours and someone else's. I'm sure Demo Guy has his reasons for leaving us without a roof for a week but I don't know what they could possibly be. Looks to me that this guy seems to have a scheduling problem. It seems more logical to me to knock out one job before starting another. Is this guy so good that he's in this much demand? (Quite frankly, I doubt it; in my opinion, his attention to detail and concern for his clients seems a bit lacking.)

On Tuesday afternoon, we received the lovely "homo fag├ęt" graffiti. And that was annoying and disturbing. I also see that there's a 30 to 70% chance of rain on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. No roof and rain do not mix. Demo Guy has his guys off on his other job and I have no roof. We get in touch with the truss folks and they can deliver the trusses Wednesday afternoon. Why Wednesday? We want to try to get Demo Guy to start work on Wednesday afternoon in preparation of the 70% chance of rain on Thursday and we figured he'd be concerned about his client's project being damaged by rain. It was too late on Tuesday to get a hold of Demo Guy so we have to wait until morning.

For various reasons, we couldn't get a hold of Demo Guy Wednesday morning to see if he could start that afternoon. When we finally contacted Demo Guy, he said his crew could not work on our roof on Wednesday but would be working on our roof at 7:00am Thursday and, unless there's a downpour, they'd continue working to get us a roof. And, even if there was a downpour, we were assured that the crew would resume work when it cleared up.

Wednesday night, it rains. The bar gets wet. All of the bar gets wet. And Demo Guy didn't even bother to try to protect the interior with tarps or anything and didn't even offer to come help put up any sort of protection. (To be fair, we didn't either but that's not the point. The point is he didn't even seem concerned for anything but the pool table.)

Well, on Thursday Demo Guy's crew shows up at the crack of dawn again and beings working. A couple hours later, there was a 45-minute downpour and the crew left. Since Karl had been spending his nights at the bar keeping tabs on the place, he couldn't stay at the bar during the day; he had to sleep at some time, right? Before the downpour and after Demo Guy's crew had installed one truss, he went and took a nap. Mid afternoon, he gets up and heads to the bar to see what progress had been made after the rain had stopped. There was no crew working. The work had stopped, no progress had been made despite having no rain during the afternoon.

We called Demo Guy and asked him where his crew was. He did not know and could not get a hold of them! That's right, he did *not* know where his crew was and could *not* get a hold of them. To say that we were furious is a gross, massive understatement.

Demo Guy assures us up and down that, despite not knowing where they are, his crew will be there at 7:00am Friday to continue working and that his crew didn't come back on Thursday afternoon because "every time they picked up a saw, they were getting shocked" because the equipment was so saturated. (I thought, "SO IS MY BAR!!") (I don't mean to say that I wish his crew to be placed at risk of electrical shock, mind you.)

We have serious doubts about whether or not Demo Guy can even try to make good on his word about showing up on Friday morning; his track record is not exactly stellar in that regard. But, we can do nothing--literally--but believe him. What else could we do? Hire another contractor to finish the job? The place still had no roof. I'm sure we could have hired another contractor to finish the job but the annoyance of doing that would be unfathomably stressful for both of us.

Friday comes around and Demo Guy's crew shows up. I guess he finally figured out how to get a hold of his employees. Karl goes and lays down for his daily rest. Later that afternoon the crew finishes with the trusses and sheathing. The construction is complete in one day.

Also, ABC 30 comes out and does their piece on the graffiti. The police show up and assure us that they do, in fact, care about the (legally defined) hate crime of the graffiti. Ultimately, Friday ended up being a pretty great day for the bar. We simply love the vaulted ceiling (pictures coming tomorrow of that) and are thrilled to finally be at this point in the process.

In the end, Demo Guy scheduled two weeks for a job that only took two and a half days. Why he couldn't have just had the whole thing done by Wednesday before the rain started is simply beyond my comprehension. EVERYTHING was ready for him and he chose to delay things. He is the one who had us delay delivery of the trusses. He is the one with the apparent scheduling problems that made him unable to start when he first said he could. He is the one who couldn't communicate with his employees at a crucial time.

In all, the bar survived. The rain didn't cause too much obvious damage; there could still be some moisture problems with the drywall in the future but we're taking some proactive steps to help slow--if not prevent--that. It could have been a lot worse if the floor hadn't been concrete. But the problems and delays this guy caused for us are reprehensible and wholly unprofessional.


  1. about unprofessional! Glad to hear that you guys finally have a roof again.

  2. Hope you Guys delay his payment and bill for clean-up And Karl's time.