I hope everybody had a great week! The Calyx Team had an excellent week. A lot of us are coming off colds and other ailments, but we all worked together to reach our weekly goals, even though we have not been feeling 100%. Thank you to everybody!!
A common question that we have from Clients is “Will somebody be working at our house every day?” The answer is mostly yes. I know some of you may balk at the word “mostly” but there are factors to be considered. Scheduling is often the trickiest and one of the most challenging parts of what we do.
Once we open a project (at the start of the foundation, framing or demolition), there is continuous work being performed on your Home. You may see a steady flow of workers in your home for a week then there may not be anybody on the Project for several days. This happens for various reasons. Let’s talk about some of them.
1. Inspections take time
Once the plumbing, heating and electrical work has been completed, we are required to request inspections by the Town or City. Neither Calyx nor the trades can call in for inspections until the corresponding work is completed. As in many fields, we have found that the inspectors are short-staffed. Sometimes we have had to wait as long as four business days to receive an appointment for the inspection. We are not allowed to move forward to the next phase of work until the inspection is completed and approved formally on the city portal. Once we have the approval, we can move on to insulating then the corresponding inspection, sheetrock, then the corresponding inspection prior to plaster. We run into the same scheduling and approval issues for each phase.
We will do our best to expedite the process, but there may be lags in the schedule. If an Inspector requires a change before he approves the inspection, we may need to alter our work to meet the city requirements or meet with the inspector again to show that we have met the code. For a Homeowner, things can be perceived as moving “slow” during this time. This is not uncommon, and it will typically take up to two weeks to complete the round of the initial inspections. We do our best to set realistic expectations for our customers because we can see a lot of frustration at this point. Believe me, it is frustrating for all of us, but it is necessary to follow the State Building Codes.
One example of a required modification would be an unforeseen existing plumbing issue that was not up to code. This triggers having to complete the work to bring the old plumbing up to code, while trying to stay within the budget to minimize the possibility of a change order at the client’s expense. We work on receiving proposals from our plumbers and getting approval from the town inspector to complete the new work as it has changed from the original plans now. This all together moves the timeline of finish almost a month. Imagine having two or three of these unforeseen items coming up in a project, which happens often in older homes.
2. What you see is not what you get
Sometimes it may seem like we are not physically working on a project when in fact we are. We have our own Carpentry shop here at Calyx. It is often much easier for our team to manufacture and build your custom carpentry items here instead of on site. We may have an entire team building custom items in the shop for several days.
There are also many weeks of planning, scheduling coordination, material take-offs, and plan review meetings with our team and trades and suppliers. Did you know that something as “simple” upgrading your thermostats could potentially involve an electrician, an HVAC technician, and a plumber? Calyx coordinates meeting everyone on site to discuss each trade’s responsibility and plan to achieve the goal.
3. Coordinating calendars
Best laid plans can and often do change. Scheduling can become very complicated as we try to anticipate the next phase of a project. If the schedule slides, then the date(s) we had scheduled with our trades or suppliers will be pushed back, often by a week or two. We have fantastic relationships with our trades and suppliers, they often work with us to ensure our projects keep momentum, but they are businesses unto themselves. Everybody needs to keep working, so if our job is not ready at the agreed upon date, whether due to a hold-up in the inspection process or an issue that needs to be modified, we will then be required to reschedule to a new date.
4. What can you do to help?
Homeowners sometimes agonize over finalizing their selections. Knowing you have to live with this vanity or that tile for the next 30-50 years can be a daunting decision. We find that a lot of projects get held up because of this. Holding off on picking out products timely has repercussions. Some items take weeks to arrive from order. If you can’t decide on cabinets for several weeks, ultimately you have ensured a slide in your completion date. We can’t install a product until we have that product. This schedule slide affects everything else we discussed about coordinating trades.
5. The human condition
As most humans do, we have families, friends, and hobbies we like to enjoy! For the most part, Calyx does not work Weekends or most Holidays. There may be exceptions to that rule but those come on an as needed basis. We do our best to respect your personal time too. We understand it’s difficult to live and sometimes work in a construction zone. Giving everyone a few days to rest is good for everyone.
I hope these blogs are insightful to our current and perspective customers. Our goal is to provide an honest inside look at contracting. The good, the bad and the in-between. I believe in being an informed consumer. I also welcome any feedback on these Blog posts. Feel free to email me at Bob@CalyxBuilds.com.