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Posted Monday, October 25, 2010, at 3:53 PM

I was visiting with the owner of the Irish Pub the other and he gave me a tour of the premises. I couldn't believe all of the brand new restaurant equipment that was purchased and put in the building. The construction work on the inside looked liked many of the most elementary commercial construction work was attempted by some local contractors that are totally incompetent.

I have a saying that bears repeating here. "Give me a 14 year old kid with a high fever and he could have done this quality of work. "Mike Morgan, the city building inspector stopped by and looked at the work and couldn't and wouldn't approve work that was absolutely pitiful.

The front entry door wouldn't even open all the way. Water was leaking from a hole in the electrical room where they brought in the new electrical service. Water has been leaking from the roof down the mast pipe and running into the electrical box. What type of work is this. The city inspector wouldn't approve this type of work for obvious reasons and it all has to be reworked.

I really don't know how the owner has been able to keep his sanity through this. The owner had brand new hardwood floors installed. The materials were received in February. I don't know if anybody doesn't know it but wood flooring has to be removed from the shipping cartons and allowed to acclimate to room temperature before it is installed. These particular products should be allowed to acclimate for at least several days because of their thickness and the fact that they were really cold when they were delivered. The owner says that he asked the contractor to wait a week before the flooring was installed. The owner told me that the contractor installed the flooring the next day. Now that the material has warmed up and expanded the flooring is buckled throughout the place. When to flooring expanded the pressure broke the marble floor trim that the owner had installed. Another relative fact is that the flooring was installed in the wrong direction.

At the front entrance of the building you can put your hand half was into the building because the front wall is not sealed and doesn't quite reach the brick wall in some places. I noticed that the waste water stack pipe, approximately 14 feet tall is swaying with the breeze unsecured to the building.

The front stoop has negative drainage and water runs under the door and unsealed front wall and pools up to 20' feet into the building on a bare concrete floor. I walked down the new steps that were built to get down to the basement. I discovered that the steps had an unacceptable negative level that would cause a person descending the steps to fall backwards. If you are ascending the steps you would find yourself leaning or falling forward. I wouldn't what to be the person who had to carry something up or down these steps.

As I walked into the new kitchen I found that the swinging door got stuck on the ceiling and wouldn't open all the way. In the back the walk in cooler was missing half of the front. The storage building next to the cooler still doesn't have a front on the building.

I want you to realize that all of the items addressed in this blog come from my personal observations and comments that where made to me by the owner. There are always two sides to every story and probably multiple reasons why these problems exist. Whether the pub owner can survive all of the additional costs that will be required to fix all these problems is another thing.

I'm John Q. What do you think?

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

What do I think? I think you've bad-mouthed an awful lot of local people, just for starters. You are absolutely right that there are always two sides to every story, and I hope the people who did the work can defend themselves in this forum as soon as possible.

Even if it's true that sub-standard work was done, is it really your place to post that information here, especially since you're not the owner? Did he or she ask you to do that?

-- Posted by Miss Marple on Mon, Oct 25, 2010, at 4:00 PM

Miss Marple, I only made a reference to local contractors. For one I don't know which contractor's did what particular tasks. I did comment on the quality of work that I saw and described that in the blog. My question to you is; if this quality was done for your home or business how would feel at it?

-- Posted by John Q. on Mon, Oct 25, 2010, at 8:00 PM

I would like to add that the reason that I was at the pub is that I had heard a lot of rumors. I talked with the foreclosure officer at Wood & Huston Bank to see who might have possession of the building, was it REO or possibly for sale. I was standing on the outside looking through the window when the owner came out and asked me what I wanted. I reiterated what I had heard and asked him if and when the business might open or if the building was for sale. The owner gave me a tour of the premises. When the city inspector visited at the owners request and I saw why the projects didn't pass inspection all I could do is look at the floor and shake my head. Reread the items that I mentioned in the blog and tell me which item I mentioned would be acceptable for your home or business?

-- Posted by John Q. on Mon, Oct 25, 2010, at 8:23 PM

You're exactly right, John Q. You made reference to local contractors, any of whom might have had a truck parked outside the building at any time in the long months this business has been undergoing remodeling. That means that any one of those contractors, whether they were involved in what you regard as substandard work or not, is now tainted by what you've said.

In our nasty little world (and I mean everywhere, not just in Marshall), the next step will be for people to speculate on who did the lousy job(s). Someone will say, "I know that so-and-so did some work there." The next person will take that, embroider it a little, and next thing you know, a name will be on the street as having done the substandard work.

It's not a question of whether I or anyone else would like to pay for poor work - what's at issue is that you have tarred every contractor who worked there with the same brush, no matter how good their work was. I believe that's irresponsible on your part. You asked "What do you think?" That's what I think.

-- Posted by Miss Marple on Mon, Oct 25, 2010, at 9:47 PM

Thank you John Q. for shedding light on a question that has aroused the curiousity of the community.

Do not be discouraged by those who would protect the guilty in order to avoid the possibility, (not the certainty), that an innocent may be besmirched by attending gossip.

Gossip can swirl around any statement, twist any fact, and will always be believed by some. It is not a valid response under any circumstance to to seek censorship of comments in order to quell potential gossip. One may more successfully carry water in a sieve, than carry water for censorship to avoid careless gossip.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Mon, Oct 25, 2010, at 11:44 PM

Miss Marple, I have seen trucks parked on the street there for over a year. Quite frankly I can't remember the name on any vehicles that was parked in front of the building. If a person wants quality work all the have to do is ask the contractor for references and take the time to look at several examples of their work. Any contractor worth his salt wouldn't mind displaying his work for you. A satisfied customer is your best salesman. Heightened awareness of this problem may save others from having a roof fixed that still leaks or home remodeling or additions that won't pass final inspection by the building inspectors or fire department. As far a rumor and innuendo goes Marshall doesn't have any corner on this problem.

I think if you ask any experienced contractor who does good work how they feel about this issue I think they would tell you cheap inexperienced contractor's just muddy up they water. As for as good craftsmanship at a cheap price - that animal doesn't exist.

-- Posted by John Q. on Mon, Oct 25, 2010, at 11:50 PM

Oklahoma Reader, It's good to hear from you. Thank you for your insightful response, as always.

-- Posted by John Q. on Mon, Oct 25, 2010, at 11:58 PM

OKR and John Q - both of you are missing the central point, which is that one of you has jumped on local contractors with both feet without regard for the damage you may possibly have done to any of the local people who worked on this particular project. John Q may not remember who worked there, but rest assured there are plenty of people who do remember that and will be more than willing to assert they "know" who you're talking about and "know" who did faulty work.

-- Posted by Miss Marple on Tue, Oct 26, 2010, at 5:50 AM

This is from an engineering perspective and is not intended to jump on any local contractors.

In most projects of this magnitude, the usual method in places I have lived outside of Marshall is to hire an archetectural firm or engineering company to do the design work for necessary electrical, hvac, structural and finish carpentry, roofing, etc. Drawings are made and specifications for materials and workmanship are written.

The design firm then accepts responsibility that all work will meet building codes and be of acceptable quality. This is accomplished by the archetect being responsible for specifications in the contracts let out to contractors. This is followed up by inspections by the archetect or engineer. Per terms of the contract, if the carpenter or electrician do not meet the required specs, they must re-do the work.

I would hold our recent courthouse renovation as an example of how the system is supposed to work.

When a person decides to be thier own general contractor or project manager, these problems arise. It is a nice thought that an individual could save some money by taking on this responsibility themselves, but there is significant risk.

In any case, the lesson learned here is that the 'good old boy' method of a handshake and a promise no longer works in our community or country. Before any work is done, all requirements must be spelled out in advance, in writing, and agreed to by both parties. It is a shame, but that is now our culture. And yes, you do have to say things that seem silly like 'all doors and windows will open and close completely' and 'all finish carpentry will be plumb and level and pleasing to the eye.' Seems foolish, eh? Also, as statement that the work is to be redone in a manner that will pass inspection, at the cost to the contractor, if it does not pass final inspections must be in there.

To defend the contractors, they can not provide a price for doing a job without a clear definition of what is required. Most will do the minimum required to get the job done and when problems arise, do not want to loose money, so they either leave the problem, or ask for more money to fix it. Clearly defined specifications and requirements, written down and signed, give the contractor the motive to be thorough and make sure they are planning for success.

To often, the job looks quick and easy up front and turns into a quagmire of problems. Up front design and engineering, along with understanding code requirements and what it will take to meet them on the part of the general contractor or project manager would have most likely prevented these problems.

I feel very sorry for this fellow as he is attempting to do that thing so many wish would happen, 'make Marshall a better place to live.' I would like to think that the contractors who did some of the shoddy work would step up and help fix their tarnished reputations if that indeed is what is happening.

Now, back to the real world we live in in Saline County.

We have some really, really excellent contractors and business men in the area and I am thankful for them. We also have some really bad ones. If you live here long enough, you figure out which are which. I feel sorry for those who move to the community and are not so well informed on the workings of our little community.

-- Posted by Smart Dog on Tue, Oct 26, 2010, at 8:57 AM

Well said Smart Dog. No surprise there, but a pat on the head any way.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Tue, Oct 26, 2010, at 9:48 AM

Miss Marple we seem to be going back and forth and never really getting down to the matter. So there is doubt I will just say that whoever install the ceiling lights and the drywall on the ceilings and the mirrors behind the bars did an acceptable job. The rest of the work that has been done is unacceptable.

For those contractors that may have had a truck outside on the street that identified you and your specialty if you preformed the first three jobs great for you. For those contractors that may have had a truck outside on the street that identified you and your specialty that performed any of the other work maybe you should consider getting another profession.

-- Posted by John Q. on Tue, Oct 26, 2010, at 6:15 PM

I have heard it said that when two people are arguing, the one who is wrong will be doing most of the talking.

You're ahead by a wide margin, so I think we will just leave it at that.

-- Posted by Miss Marple on Tue, Oct 26, 2010, at 6:50 PM

Did you just make that up?

-- Posted by John Q. on Tue, Oct 26, 2010, at 7:34 PM

Miss Marple I am looking for a distinction here so please bear with me.

You dropped the discussion insinuating that John Q. is wrong. Do you mean that he is wrong in his observations? Do you mean he is wrong in stating that the inspector said he could not approve the work? Or is it that you think it is wrong to expose the botched job because those that botched the work will be exposed?

I am thinking that you are stating he is wrong to tell the facts because some who are not guilty of the botched work will be assumed guilty by association.

If that is your concern breath easy. The ones who did the work properly, are likely doing, and have been doing work in the community in an acceptable manner for some time. They are known by their work.

The one's who did the poor work as John Q. described it, also are likely to have been doing work in the community for some time. Reporting this one job is not going to wipe them out. They, if John Q.'s observations are correct, have bigger problems caused by lack of skill, or effort. That is their problem, not John Q. reporting their problem. They also are known by, or will become known by their work.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Tue, Oct 26, 2010, at 9:40 PM

Miss Marple, I take it a friend or relative may have been a contractor that did some work at this place???? I too can not remember any of the names of the trucks that were parked out front of this building, I noticed work was being done and wondered when this place would open. Sorry Ms.M but I feel more for the owner of this place than for the contractors, as mentioned before those that are good contractors can prove it, and if anyone is going to have work done by local contractors...ask for references. I can't even imagine the anguish and money this "poor" gentleman has been out because a mans word/work was not upheld in a true craftmans manner. Hope it still opens, I can't wait to see it once its done!(properly)

-- Posted by MBGAL on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 12:52 PM

Here is one opinion I have taken from this article, it was very hard to read, follow and decipher the misplaced words throughout. Another opinion is that I dont remember the trucks parked out front, I dont know who did the shotty work but i do know that the work was either bid or hired out at some point and I will assume, wrong or right, that the owner accepted the lowest possible bid and did none of the reference checking that John Q. proposes, so some of the blame of what work he ended up with does fall back on the owner, you get what you pay for. I will also say, Miss M. that in any investigative piece names of contractors can and should be mentioned, if these "tailgaters" continue to do this work at this level then they should have their licenses pulled and to avoid that happening maybe local potential customers should have some insight as to what they just might be getting. No one hires them and that saves everyone the hassle. I think it is a shame that he (the owner) had to learn this lesson this way, bvut it might save another from the same heartache

-- Posted by thisguy on Mon, Nov 29, 2010, at 10:26 AM

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Larry Maxwell is a retired businessman who often writes about topics related to faith and religion.
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