I am in the early stages of a 'rush' job. I expect this job to drag on and on .... let me explain why. I'm sure the more experienced contractors will recal similar struggles.
The story began about a month ago, when I got a panicked call from the maintenance guy of a property management firm. It seems a double-wide trailer had magically appeared in an RV space, and the installer was having trouble getting 240v out of what proved to be a 120v service.
Indeed, the space itself proved to be illegal .... "Space 55" in a park that the city had limited to 52 spaces. Only because the park was 'tenant metered' had the 'development' been able to progress this far!
Now the heat is on for me to provide power to this illegal (so far) mobile home. The job has been a real education.
The park owner has been telling different folks different things. He certainly tossed around the names of all the city folks who, he assured me, knew all about his operation. He just cannot grasp the idea that being forthcoming and honest is the way to get things done.
My permit application has run into a roadblock - necause the owner has yet to provide the city with plans and documentation for the new trailer spaces ... documentation he was told he needed to have last September!
How can this (presumably) savvy businessman ever imagine that he can cram several trailers into a trailer park, and not involve the city, the utility companies, and several contractors? The trailer itself represents a sizeable expense; would you buy a car witout having a place to park it?
The trailer-setting contractor has already been 'red tagged,' and has yet (a month later) to receive a permit to install the trailer. NO arrangements have been made to connect this trailer to the sewer or water systems.
OK, I've vented. It appears I'm going to have to leave the ditch I dug yesterday open for some time, as the paper churns.
John, Just a small word of caution here. I'd be very careful doing a job like this, especially considering that the city has not approved anything yet (and also may not be aware of what is actually going on, if the guy has spun them a line as well).
You really don't want to be tarred with the same brush as this clown, in the eyes of those at city hall.
I appreciate your concern. Let's just consider it one of life's "unsolved mysteries" how the city just happened on the scene as the trailer was being set in place, and red-tagged the effort.
When I got the order to 'get moving on this,' my first question was "who's doing the dewer? We ought to do our digging together." I was told plainly that I was just the electrician, and not to worry sbout that 'other stuff.' "Just do the electrical."
Naturally, when I went into city hall, their first question was "where's the site layout, the sewer, etc?" I relayed the customers' instructiobs ... so now my permit application sits in limbo, waiting for the customer to provide the materials he was asked for NINE months ago. Yet, he's in a rush now
I will assemble my expenses to this point, and bill for the work done so far. I've got maybe $500 in this job so far - and that's being kind, as I've had to spend a lot of time in planning this job.
"Customer" is a tough concept in this instance. My "customer" is a very together property management firm ..... it is their customer that actually owns the park. I have a long and cordial relationship with MY customer. I've just had to set things up so that it is clear that the problem is with the actual owner. This owner isn't the first slumlord that the property manager has had to 'manage.'
My asking for a permit has served to focus the City's attention on the property, and thus will prevent the owner from, perhaps, trying to sneak in some hack from out-of-state.
I had thoughts to put this thread in the 'business' section. This story is certainly about the "business" side of the job - and really shows that running a business is a trade all its' own!
John: FWIW, you not doing anything further until you have the electrical permit 'in-your-hand' would be my first advice. You've been around here long enough to know the pitfalls of getting 'caught'.
Regarding the situation with 'your' customer; I had a similar disaster once. Long standing relationship with prop owner and mgt co of a lot of nice props. Had a 'triple net' bldg that the prop rep neglected to 'check-in on for over 18 months. An issue with HVAC arose, and I sent one of my men to check the power end. Turns out that the 3 phase power source was from a 1 phase panel. Idiot used the Neutral bar for 'c' phase, so....hot always, and no OCP except the feeder main.
Went to correct the mess; permit in hand the next day. Got a $$$$$ fine from the local bldg dept for 'previous unpermitted/uninspected work! The city had no clue who did what, so the guy doing it the right way gets a blast btwn the eyes. All turned out well after finding the right person to talk with. The 'tenant' fessed up and I had a man to man with the hack afterwards. 'My customer' wound up booting out the tenant for a lot of serious issues, and the prop rep went to the unemployement line.
Perhaps I have been understating things .... trust me when I say that the city and PoCo have been intimately involved from the first day I was called in.
Just today I had a chat with the (absentee) owner, explaining the state of affairs. In some ways, it has become a game of "hot potato," with my using the city bounce the pressure right back to the owner. I would have more sympathy for the owner, if I did not have in my posession copies of the correspondence he had with the city none months ago.
Here's the short version: I believe I know what he will need, as a minimum, to achieve his true goals. By co-ordinating with everyone, he will have a safe, adequate installation - despite his various 'brilliant ideas' to cobble together something else. With the authorities hovering at my shoulder, he can't even suggest I do something improper.
The final "check" on this will be the PoCo. They're not about to supply power until after the permit is signed off - and the city's not about to issue the C of O without the plumbing being taken care of. In the meantime, I'm happily sinking my posts and building my part of the job.