Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hack and Smack Construction*

* term from my "previous" life

Yup...they are at it again. And I can not believe how pathetic the construction next door has become. Everything is done half-way. (Note: I am going to speak in construction terms now, and based on the title, I DO have experience - see asterisk notation above!)

They started by digging the footings for the foundations on the "cottages" next door (they will be 1 bedroom units, about 750 sq. ft, based on the plans - to me, they look too small). They trenched with a small backhoe...took them the better part of a day or so. Then they used a small Bobcat bucket-loader to put concrete into the trenches they'd been digging. No forms...meaning that the concrete is directly in the dirt...which makes me wonder how solid these things will be. So, using the Bobcat made for yet another day of work, since it took about 40 trips to the concrete truck and then to the trenches. At one point, the Bobcat almost fell into a dug trench due to the heavy load and miscalculation of the "path". Oh, did I mention that the three cottages they are building are "stair-stepped"...meaning that each one is a bit higher (appx 2-4 feet) than the it was as the Bobcat was trying to get to the second level that it almost fell into the trench. Quite comical, actually.

So, they dug the trenches, and poured the concrete. Then, bright and early at 6:00 a.m., they started setting up a form for the 2nd unit kneewall. Yes, that was SIX A.-FREAKIN'-M. Bang, bang, pound, pound, metal saw cutting rebar to put into the concrete.

They've been at it before 7:00 a.m. every morning this week so far. Slow progress (only 2 guys working most times). Of course, since they poured a concrete wall for the 2nd unit, they basically cut the 3rd unit off...and now everything is being done by Bobcat bucket-full. They loaded about 20 buckets of dead sand at the 3rd unit (after taking most of yesterday to build some pathetic form of barrier) and have been moving it wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow and shovelful by shovelful to spread they're using a Compactor to flatten and pack the sand down.

This construction site has been a joke since it started. They are taking a "not-quite one acre" lot, and when finished, there will be 13 units on it. A large one family home was converted into a "duplex" (one 2 bedroom, one 3 bedroom unit). There are 3 units going up between this house and my is currently less than 20 feet from my windows. There will be two units on the other side of the home (one bedrooms as well), and at the front of the property, they are building 6 "loft" units - basically, they're studio apartments. I honestly think this "development" is going to degrade this part of the city, but what say do I have? We are nothing but tenants in rented duplexes.

And let's just touch on the whole early-morning thing quickly. City ordinance forbids loud noises from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. Construction noises are exempted from this. Oh, but they better not turn their radio on before 7:00 a.m., because I'll have the cops here in a heartbeat. The city ordinance states that they can work "from sunup to sundown". recourse. 16 feet from my home. Oh...wait...I forgot. The contractor who owns and developed this property is currently under contract at the police department for I guess that means that they won't do SQUAT if I call and complain.

Believe me, all of us here have complained. They've trashed what little bit of lawn we took them over a month to come "fix" it, and all they did was pat the dirt down. There's no grass growing and won't be, since they didn't replant or sod the area. We've caught several of the construction workers taking water from our taps. Not a big deal? Well, we do pay for our water. I wouldn't care much if it was the landlord paying...but we pay. Our buildings are not part of the construction site. One guy said he was "dying of thirst"...I pointed about 100 yards away and said "there's Panera Bread, there's Arby's, there's Baskin Robbins...and Target is only a five minute walk if you're thirsty, plan better in the morning, or take a walk and buy a drink." What galled me the most was that this guy didn't bother to ASK...just came up and started using the water from my spigot. I was downstairs in the office (with the blinds drawn, because I hate the idea that they can actually LOOK into my house at ground level) and all of a sudden heard the water running. SCARED me, actually.

This is the biggest reason I hate living here. But it's not worth moving only to move and move and move. When we arrived here, we decided that we'd stay in THIS HOME until we PCS'ed again. Of course, this was before there was a construction site next door.

Honestly? I keep giving it up to God, because I can't really handle it otherwise.....


SB said...

there's a house for sale just one street over from me. I'll help you unpack...
YOu just have to get here.



d.a.r. said...

Ah, I was at the OCSC luncheon today! I saw you, but by the time I realized who you were (I'm slow...), we were both always wrapped up in conversations and I couldn't get away. Sorry I didn't say hi! You looked lovely though :)!!!

Kim said...

Hey....I sure would love for you to make it to Ft. Jackson! Columbia is only 1 hour from me! I'm praying for that!