Horror Story of the Month

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By Robert M. Nordlund, PE, RS
Association Reserves, Inc.
April 2011

This story fortunately comes from outside the borders of the USA. In January, three of our Project Managers were in France doing the site inspection for a large, multi-phase association. During our standard kick-off meeting with the Manager and Controller to get up to speed with the history of the association, learn their priorities, and hear of their pending projects, the Manager expressed obvious discouragement, saying this was the most difficult project he had ever managed. There were numerous owner complaints stemming from things not working, causing their ongoing maintenance budget to be exceptionally high.

He explained that much of their maintenance problems stemmed from poor quality workmanship during construction. The problems seemed to be worse in the later phases of construction, which he attributed to the workers caring less and less as they approached the end of their employment. He illustrated the magnitude of the poor workmanship with the story of the mysteriously smelly last building constructed. After construction crews had completed their work and the new building had been occupied a week, residents noted a strong, foul odor. Investigating this new problem revealed that none of the downstairs toilets or sinks had been hooked up to the sewer line. They were all draining into the crawlspace. The crawlspace was deep with raw sewage. Sacré bleu!

That’s a story that will stick with us for a while!

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