Mar. 21-23, 2005 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #24
Synopsis: A short (3 day) week) (this is Semana Santa
or Holy Week) dedicated to making ready to pour the floors
on the new construction and to finishing off 108.
Unit 108: Finishing work continued and finishing work
always takes time and little adjustments always have to be
made. The granite was installed in the kitchen and the living
room entertainment center. The installation of all cabinetry
was completed and all touch ups made. Lights were installed
in the cabinetry for displays. Tile work on the upper level
and one of the ground floor bathrooms advanced. The door maker
stumbled and ultimately fell flat on his face; I’ve
removed him and have contracted with the cabinet maker to
finish of the door installation. Very minor work remains.
Virtual completion is expected by Wednesday and final clean
up will follow; Friday next should see the end of this
Comment: This unit has really captured the hearts
of the workers. I feel there is a special and personal effort
being made by some to make this a truly spectacular unit.
I am asking for and they are offering their design suggestions
(e.g. tile designs). The site superintendent has video taped
this unit for his record —I think his chest is just
a bit higher and he’s standing a bit taller these days.
Building Costs: Most all the data is now in to calculate
the cost of construction (materials + labor) on the renovations.
It works out to $43 sf. This is consistent with the national
figures and in a recent article it said that the cost of construction
had increased 20-23% over the past year. The cost of land
and site improvements as well as my supervision/ as well as
the cost of money have to be added to determine the total
cost of development.
We have continued to do the final leveling and adjusting
of the height of the substrate for the floors. Vapor barriers
(plastic sheets to prevent the migration of moisture) have
been placed. Pipes for electrical cables have been placed
and wire mesh us laid. This is followed by placing leveling
screed lines such that when the concrete pour occurs it can
be screeded level and no further adjustments will be necessary
prior to the installation of tile.
Laundry Room: The roof is on, interior and exteriors
are done. What remains in the tile work, sink installation,
propane tanks and hot water heater, door and windows.
Project Review and New Direction: The architect has
yet to produce a draft design.
Marketing: I am told we have a buyer for Unit 110.
When I see the deposit I’ll count it. We have a person
arriving and living onsite; he'll be giving us a close look
over and CR in general. and perhaps playing some golf--his
passion. On Thursday we will have people who have been followng
the development for the past several months on site looking
at us. We'll see.
Surprises: Broadsides and Sideswipes: By Wednesday,
I had been broadsided and sideswiped –very different
but alike in that neither was expected:
Broadsided: I was accused by a very dear and valued
friend of behavior which was to break our friendship. Since
there was not one atom of truth to the accusation, it was
very disturbed and upset that such an accusation could have
been conjured up. My wife, who was obviously disturbed by
this accusation as well, worked her magic that lead to a clearing.
My relationship will survive and hopefully be stronger as
a result. But Wow!!!!!!!! this was NOT part of any logical
sequence of events. It was one strange and surreal experience
and not one I want to go through again.
Sideswiped: A bloody bus driver was more concerned
about hitting a bump than about who was on the road. He squeezed
me off the road with a cement electrical post dead ahead.
He got my mirror and I changed my pants.
Both are reminders that the unexpected can happen; you can
plan, anticipate, use caution, etc., but sometimes, events
can just be explained as exogenous variables in Life.
A friend, ex-workmate and ex-business partner visited the
project. After reviewing the property, 108 (in progress) and
the finished 103, he said, four things:
1. Are your sure you priced these right? 2. Are you charging
for your time and experience? (He knows that I’ve largely
worked for free on other projects.) 3. Are you aware what
has happened to real estate prices in Toronto, in Florida,
and in California? (For this product the price is $300-$400
sf). 4. You’re not charging enough for property management.
This is a friend who is actively involved in RE in Toronto
and aware of developments elsewhere. He’s made more
money than I and was in charge of the marketing while I was
in charge of construction of a $6 million project in Toronto
in 1997. It was a successful project and we both made money
—only to be subsequently lost in the stock market crash.
I subsequently showed him the world of executive furnished
suites management and he has not looked back since. I know
my history is one of the buyer making all the money while
I worked hard to build it. When this conversation was repeated
to Lita, she beat me up more saying that I simply wasn’t
charging enough for the product I was building. I’m
going to have to think about what he said.
He also said that a very good friend of 20 years and a marketing
genius (in my opinion) may be looking for a new opportunity.
This is also a person whose business practices and integrity
is without question —we worked on a handshake for 18
years and never had occasion to question the other’s
practice. I’ve contacted him. We’ll see.
I do not know how to market and have never wanted to be in
that end of things. I want to build —that’s all.
Long time friends have opined that I’ve always built
a better product than I’ve charged for —I agree
but continue to do so. I have my current partner and another
person who both want to do more projects here —both
see opportunities. My current business partner is soon likely
to become more actively involved in CR —he is a builder
par excellence. This could be the beginning of a strong development
team for a larger project —but first things first.
It’s been raining here on a fairly regular basis—almost
as if it were the beginning of the “green” season—2
months early. Hope it’s not the case. The plants love
it and are responding in kind—I need the roofs on.
Hugo: ended up with grease all over his chest and
stomach. How and where?????? Only he knows and he’s
not talking. He subsequently got a hair cut and now looks
like me —nearly bald!
Vicka, the parrot: Lita nearly flopped the mop on
him —too bad –the little pigeon-toed bugger got
out of the way just in time.
The VOIP phone system is now operational but I have
a few things yet to work to make it convenient. It is an amazing
technology. It is crystal clear and has no sound delay. I
have a New York number and a Toronto number. I also have an
answering machine which is forwarded to my e-mail account.
I have unlimited calling and calls from there to here are
charged as a local call. In the past, I and others, have had
difficulty in getting a clear line to CR.; hopefully, that
will now be a thing of the past. Technology is amazing and
affordable and eventually you can find someone to get it up
and running. I’m not a techno wizard (in fact quite
Keith left on Friday for his home north of Toronto;
he’s in for a cold shock. We’ll miss his company
and his wisdom. He feels it’s time to put away the Spanish
books and to focus on building his airplane, refinishing his
1929 Chrysler, and to polish up his John Deer tractors.
We have a pool party planned for tomorrow and instead of
an Easter Egg hunt, we’re going to have a “banana
hunt”; We’ve got a bunch of bananas on which we
are going to write numbers. The person or team that puts together
the longest sequence of number bananas wins a prize —this
is not a complicated game but if you’re feeling full
of spirits, what the... It’s a stupid game but maybe
someone will step on the parrot!!!!!!
Brian, Lita, Hugo, and Vicka