In the world of home renovations, the reno gone wrong, that turns into a nightmare is unfortunately so common, it’s almost a cliche. I thought I would any of those problems, mainly because the scope of my project was so simple. How complex could removing a fireplace, moving some outlets, and fixing up the drywall be? It turns out in the world of home renovations, anything can turn into a massive headache.
Recall that the last time I wrote about my project the contractors finally showed up and removed the fireplace, patched up the drywall behind it, and left the remaining work for the electrician. That’s where it all went south. I was promised the electrician would call me the next day. He did not. The next day, I asked the lead contractor if the electrician would call that day. He said they would. No call. The next day I asked again. Promises were once again made. No call. Rinse and repeat for another two days.
I finally had to have a very serious conversation with the lead contractor. I told him that if he indeed had been in business for 25 years, he sure as hell didn’t do it by making promises he couldn’t keep. I asked him how hard was it to make a phone call. Why wouldn’t his electrician just call me? His answer was that in his world of contracting, people never return his calls either. he also explained to me that this wasn’t his own in-house electrician and that he sub-contracts out his electrical work. He had asked this guy through phone calls, e-mails, and text to call me but he never did. I’m not sure if this was supposed elicit any sympathy from me because did he expect me to just accept the fact my wall would just sit there half-finished?
I told him I was glad he informed me exactly what was going on because I had no clue what was happening but at the same time I’d like to know at the very least when the electrician was coming in. I never once made any demands that they come in the next day. I just wanted a date, any date, so I knew I wasn’t just being abandoned. He said he’d try calling the electrician one more time to implore him to call me. I thanked him for that but wasn’t very optimistic.
Ten minutes later someone phone me. It was the less than impressive electrician. He wanted to know what time next week they could come in and do the electrical work. I told him Monday morning would be fine. Monday morning rolls around and to my surprise they show up, albeit a bit late. All they had to do was three things: cap off and secure a 240V power line that was feeding power to the fireplace insert, move a power outlet down closer to the ground, and move a data outlet (containing coaxial cable and Cat5 cable) down closer to the ground.
The first two tasks they did without any issues but when it came to the data outlet, they balked at moving it. The first problem they said was that there wasn’t enough cable to move both connectors down several feet. Second, they weren’t willing at all to even consider any solutions to this. One solution could be to extend both cables and another would be redo the cabling with new longer cables. The connection starts in the closet by my front door, so there wouldn’t be that much cable to redo. Neither of these things the electrician wanted to do. Meanwhile, to do the first two tasks, they put a whole bunch of new holes in my drywall.
When they left, I had the power outlet moved, the data outlet still hanging six feet above the floor, and several new and large holes in my drywall. I sent a message to the lead contractor about the complications but he didn’t seem to concerned about it. Now keep in mind when he wrote up the original quote, he stated they’d be able to move both outlets down.
I could just leave that data outlet where it is but it’s going to look weird as it just hangs up there for no good reason. If I did that, I’d be cutting my losses and just moving on. Unfortunately, I don’t think I should be half-assing a project like this. In light of this, I’m now contacting other electrical and data cabling contractors who can actually do cabling and outlet work. I’ve already received one quote which would add 20% to the original cost of this project, just to move that damn data outlet a few feet. I’m hoping to get another quote tomorrow.
It’s hard not to think about Murphy’s Law at this point because this whole thing seemed so simple as far as home renovations go, yet here we are.