It’s obvious, even to your intrepid reporter once his nose has been rubbed in it, that, to build anything big, you do a series of smaller jobs, but you do them in the right order; it’s the order that’s important. So, when I ask Jacques, the site supervisor, why, when they have finally replaced the windows over the front door, they have left the old front door itself untouched, he patiently reminds me that this is still a construction zone and you don’t want to chance banging up fine, finished oak with some workman’s passing sledgehammer. Duh. So that’s why the third floor and then the second are looking so finished while our first floor Center still looks so un-finished, like the staging area it still is. It’s all in your Gantt chart.
As an example, on the first floor I see them assembling kitchen cabinets. Upstairs, I peer past the apartment doors – hey! actual doors! that’s something new! – and see most of the maple cabinets already in place. (That horizontal gadget that you see on the wall past the cabinets, by the way, is the air conditioning outlet.) Coming soon are the apartment interior doors and trim and plumbing. The finished flooring comes last, of course, so as not to be marred by those passing sledgehammers.
Meanwhile, all those new Pella wood windows have to be stained, along with the outer wall trim, lots and lots of windows, one after another, by this very affable and patient gentleman.
Once the frames on those big boards are stripped and refinished and the boards themselves buffed down, they’ll be great for my Spanish class!
Down in the furnace room on the first floor I’ve been watching them assemble the pellet boiler and bank of hot water tanks. To my untutored eye it looks essentially finished (but with a real rats nest of wires still to hook up!). I ask Jacques when they’re going to crank it up and try it out. As late as possible, he says, turning it on starts the warranty period and we don’t want to run out the warranty before we have to! Another lesson in project management.
But the first floor is coming along. The beams are boxed in as you can see on the left, below and the tin ceiling is going up.