Changing horses in the middle of the stream

I had a job that, in retrospect, was outrageously wild-in every possible way. The permitting for this particular project was intense. We had site plan review after site plan review. The elevations were changed, at the city’s insistence, because the colors did not add up to the right brightness number (or something silly like that). There was a parking issue-even though we were taking over an existing restaurant that had a drivethru and our restaurant did not have a drivethru. The water management district and the state highway department could not agree on who was responsible to maintain the ditch where our runoff went. The Purchase Contract had a shorter fuze than it was possible to obtain permits. The buyer (my client) had hard money in the deal from the start and made a huge deposit before permits were issued. And then, there were the personality problems.

Our civil engineer was also our permit expediter (civil and architectural permits were required). This company was owned by a trusted friend whom many successful projects were completed with. He had multiple active projects with us at the time and we were skipping along nicely on all fronts…until. Until he had an offer to purchase his business that he could not refuse.

The guy that bought his business alienated the city’s engineer during a couple of meetings and the city guy called me to reign him in a little. That conversation led to me firing him for permit expediting and completing that task myself. Forgetting the headaches of travel between my office and the permitting office which were approximately a thousand miles apart. And forgetting the headache of getting myself up to speed on several issues which were in limbo between our engineer and the city engineer. And forgetting the tension between myself and our engineer…we finally got a permit and started construction.

The low bidding contractor was another nightmare. I had problems with the building for years. But, our new engineer came through like a champ during the certificate of occupancy process, going way beyond what any of us expected-way beyond what was usual to certify and test and review and document to the city’s standards (which I believe were made stricter on that job because of the issues we had).

Common sense about changing horses in the middle of the stream might be that, quality people do quality things…even if they start out rough?

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