Tuesday, March 10, 2009

All this recession and you don't want this job

Recently, the health department official in western Kansas inspected my hospital in Wheatlands and cited them for noncompliance on a few things.  The design team (us and the engineers) put together an extensive and coherent rebuttal to the health code inspector's comments, and then he sent us a a rebuttal to our rebuttal, which basically said "you're gonna change these items and you're gonna like it, punks."  Hence, they're having to move some medical gas lines and install some extra exhaust ductwork and fans and additional concrete walkways that we all agree are unnecessary but must be done.  The design team drew up some drawings and narratives to show the contractor and their subcontractors to price and use for the required changes.

Howie got back the pricing for the changes, and they. were. ridiculous.  They were way high, even for having to go out into the middle of western Kansas to do the work (we call that extra markup on construction costs "the Wheatlands Factor").  Howie called the project manager at the construction company (the ones who originally built Wheatlands) and asked him to explain WTF was going on.  The PM just got the calculations from his subcontractors and emailed them to Howie, and Howie was still confused, incredulous, and annoyed.  I heard him on the phone with the PM, and I could actually hear Howie giving this guy hell, which is unusual.  

"Why are these prices so high?" I heard him ask.  "I cannot defend these prices to the CEO of Wheatlands.  This is not teamwork. Have you really looked at your subs' pricing?  $6,200 for "finishes"?  All they're doing is moving a med gas panel.  That's about four square feet of drywall.  How does four square feet of drywall and paint equal $6,200?  You have GOT to be KIDDING me."

Howie then called our consultants (the ones who did the drawings for pricing and also worked on Wheatlands originally) and asked them for names of some subcontractors that might want some work.  We got pricing from a medical gas sub in eastern Colorado who was willing to do the project for a third of what the first sub quoted, and the second sub's quote included independent third-party certification.  Hm.  Sounds like someone actually wants a job.


Miss Kitty said...

That first sub must be getting their supplies from SkyMall or something.

ms. kitty said...

This kind of thing seems capricious and off-base, I agree. Our new building has taken over six months to finally get its occupancy permit, mainly because of quibbly little stuff that didn't seem logical or was added to the list of items needing correction by an inspector who was seeing it for the first time. We know it needs to be safe and solid; no disagreement there. But some of what the inspector wanted didn't make sense, even by the codes.

We just plugged away at it and got the permit yesterday, but not without considerable angst, as we've been operating on the "forgiveness rather than permission" principle and worrying that we wouldn't be able to dedicate the building at the appointed time, which is 10 days away!

Glad to know even the architects get irritated over this sort of thing.

mizscarlett said...

ha. you think THATS bad, try title companies, escrow officers, and mortgage brokers.

I'm still not happy because the escrow officer decided to add another 200$ in line items to my final statement and won't respond to my emails asking for an explanation.

muy pissed.

faded said...

Here in Pinklville there was an electrical code inspector who was so arbitrary that a number of contractors put the city council on notice that they would not work in the city limits because of this man. He worked for the city for 12 years. When he died suddenly contractors and architects in the city actually had a large party to celebrate his death. Within three months of his death number of building permits issued went up 40%.

Ugly but true,