How to Mess Up Your MEP Schedule

Let me just say, I’ve heard no silver bells in the Kenwood house this week. Last Monday, the house was a flurry of activity – my new favorite Mechanical/HVAC contractor, Marcin, was incredibly professional and on-task, Tomas was going to town on plumbing, Sebastien and the other carpenters were framing diligently, my electrical contractor was scheduled to come in Friday, my AV contractor was preparing his schedule for the following week. I was actually starting to think that going to Switzerland at this critical time was not seeming like a crazy idea…

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Then, Tuesday came. I walked in to new faces – Sebastien got the flu. My main man was gone. Before I could comprehend this, Tomas the Plumber started asking about the clawfoot tubs – by “asking”, I mean “telling me the clawfoot tubs are a big problem.” Marcin Mechanical starts asking me about the furnace room  – by “asking”, I mean “telling me it is not big enough for the furnace on the 3rd floor…we have to put it in the walk-in closet.”

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So, folks, if you’re desperately trying to keep your MEP schedule on task, here are a few things NOT to do:

1. Schedule MEP during demolition. Let’s face it: demolition was hard. It seemed to go on forever and there was one issue after another – between having to manually jack up the 1st floor, the failed pluming inspection and subsequent concrete delay, and the extra 30 steps to the dumpster for each trip due to the size of our lot, time added up quickly. We wanted our MEP guys on the books because everyone is so busy and we wanted to get everyone in consecutively for the duration of their entire scope so we scheduled it when we got the general permit in October. We simply weren’t ready when our time was up.

2. Don’t have a site superintendent. Sebastien was gone, remember how I said it is important to be available? That man is my right arm. Even me being a phone call away creates delays of hours and days. There needs to be someone on site making immediate decisions.

3. Don’t have shop drawings. The cabinet maker has not been out to measure and draw up the cabinets in the kitchen, living room (fireplace), and bathrooms because we were not totally finished with framing. We have architectural drawings and 3D renderings to show the pieces; however, the mechanical and electrical contractors wanted more. So, we have to physically draw the layout for them on the floor. This was unexpected and I am a terrible artist. It also delays them until we can get it done which requires coordination between the cabinet maker and the architect.

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4. Have old clawfoot tubs. Clawfoot tubs are officially the bane of my existence. We wanted to refinish the original tubs and use them in the house – unfortunately, the current fixture is deck mounted with holes that are not code compliant.

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We need the faucet to be 6″ above the spill level. This means that we either need a 1) floor mounted fixture that arches over the tub (and takes up our limited space) or 2) wall mounted fixture that meets code.

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Due to the fact that the piping connections will not be aesthetically pleasing, that meant that we needed a wall-mounted fixture. This brings me to our plumbing supplier to change our order already out for delivery. Now that we have a wall-mounted fixture, we need to cover the holes left from the old fixture that was removed. So, we considered a dummy fixture:

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Unfortunately, by the time we refinished the tub, bought the dummy fixtures, and replaced the feet, we were at the same cost for a new tub that we were certain would look like it belongs in a million dollar property. Sigh. So, back to the plumbing supplier for new clawfoot tubs. Phone call, phone call, email, email, meeting! Now I have two tubs to salvage.

5. Don’t stop. Friends, this is the most important rule. Stop. Stop and look around before MEP shows up. Even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal – a little here, a little there – you. are not. ready. Framing needs to be COMPLETED. DONE. FINITO. FINI. KONIEC. FERTIG. TETELESTAI. Your cabinet maker is a good indicator of your readiness – if he/she walks in to measure and order, you’re ready. Get their shop drawings. Mechanical and Plumbing are going to walk in and want things changed – however many carpenters you think you need, add two more. It will cost you more money to keep going when you’re not ready – let me rephrase, it will cost us more money to keep going because we weren’t ready.

Lessons learned. For now, MEP is postponed until we can catch up. Here’s lookin’ at the New Year.

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