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Thursday, February 16, 2006

The saga of the wall continues...

Today was the day to dig for the footers of the new wall between our garden and the car dealership behind. It was also a great object lesson in the need to be around whenever anyone is doing anything on or near your property.

As the workmen began to dig, my wife walked out in the garden, as we have done every day, to check out this new phase of the process. As she watched them work, she noticed that the new footing and wall was going to encroach on "our" property about 6 inches. Previously we had been told by the construction supervisor that this would not be the case, but supposedly the latest survey had shown that the old wall had been at least 6 inches into the dealerships property.

At this point we could have shut down the whole operation, but I try to find a balance when such issues arise. We had informed all the workmen, nicely that we were trying to maintain the vines that had been growing on the old wall and, in doing so, we had laid out certain limits for their work, even if they were unofficial. We also continued to watch as they continued to dig the footings, noting anywhere there was subsidence of the soul. Before they had removed 2 bucketfuls of soil, though, we heard the backhoe operator and his supervisor talking. The decision was made, on the spot, to move the footer over 4-6 inches further from where it had been planned.

Had this happened because we were standing there watching? It seems obvious that if we hadn't been observing earlier, we would have returned to the typical construction fait accompli. There would have been little recourse then.

While we are being as cooperative as we can, I figure you get more if you, at least, start out nicely, we are also watching the construction very carefully to insure that we don't arrive home some evening to some major problem. Even if you have to talk off work or otherwise juggle your schedule, I highly recommend you be close at hand whenever any major project is underway.

A Good Thing

In all the "observing" today, I think I have noticed one good thing. The new wall is supposed to be 10 feet tall. This seems a bit extreme for us and we had lobbied, unsuccessfully for it to be lowered. today, though, I noticed that the finished grade of the dealership property seems to be about 2-3 feet below the grade of our garden. Now, depending on the height of the footer, this might mean that the finished height of the wall, from our perspective, might only be 8 foot or so, much like the old wall. This would certainly be a nice accident, if it occurs.

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