Communication makes projects tick. Well – good communication does. The lack of communication or “half-assed” communication tends to create tensions, discontent, and even conflict. Once that has happened it can derail a project.
I am sure we all have anecdotes of individuals or companies with communication skills or lack thereof. I consider myself lucky because so far I have had contractors working on our deep energy retrofit who kept me abreast, listened to me, coordinated with me, and returned phone calls in a timely manner.
It wasn’t just all luck. I did quite some research on our contractors, relied on referrals, and often informally interviewed them.
Well, no lucky streak lasts forever, despite research and referrals. Our porch contractor, Mr. Porch (yes, that is the name of the company) confirmed the schedule for the back porch demolition, only to not show up – and not even call to let me know or reschedule.
Another start date was confirmed – and that too passed without any action. Then a substantial addendum to the contract was e-mailed to me, with no meaningful explanation. I have been calling on an almost daily basis to seek clarification. All I get is voicemail, but no return calls. Mr. Porch doesn’t talk.
We are left in the dark and may have to postpone the porch project and start building it next spring.
The back porch project
Back porch preps touch-ups
I have a major accomplishment to report: I found my first local contractor – an electrician. By local I mean from the community that we live in, North Lawndale.
Relying as much as we can on local resources (that includes contractors) has been one of our project objectives. The more local we go, the more resource efficient we can become. Plus, we would begin to circle money back into the local economy and community.
Project objectives and daily realities are often hard to reconcile. Forget about the local contractor. We had a terrible time finding any competent green industry contractors, point blank. I wrote about our struggles in a post called Service desert.
Imagine our delight when Harrison Electrical Contractors entered the picture. Here I not only had a local contractor, but someone who was interested in working on the project because of the green building components.
It became clear during the first meeting with the owner (Percy Harrison) that our project will be different from how things are usually done. Instead of being told that this or that won’t work, Percy didn’t say much at all. He listened and asked questions. I could tell how the wheels in his head were spinning.
Here I found somebody with the right mindset: “I will work with you to make it work for you.”
This may also help with my other problem or predicament: How can I properly plan the details for the electrical layout without a good understanding about the overall system?
I still have to keep learning while I am walking, but at least I found myself a tutor who will facilitate the process.