Back when I first bought the condo 6 years ago no work was ever done, and we just kept building up a nice HOA fund. It was great. Now... We have tons of work done, and it’s all contracted to the lowest bidder, with zero planning, atrocious management and blatant incompetence on all ends. Here’s the latest.
So. The image above is how they decided to do the new railing. There was no center rail before, now there is. Why is that bad? Because... When cars are parked in there spaces, we all have to squeeze through an 8 inch gap. Elderly people with trouble getting around? Sucks to suck, we’re in charge, it’s not like you own your place. Oh, wait... You do. Wheelchair? Nope. It would be impossible to get a standard wheelchair through even if cars weren’t parked there.
So they did that “wonderful work” four months ago. That railing setup you see above was repeated in every “pod”, for a total of 30ish similar setups with the exact same problem. This was a terrible solution in search of a problem that didn’t exist.
But hey, at least they did quality work, right?
No, actually. They had to redo the white concrete walkway squares, and in some cases built in a step (again, a fuck you to wheelchair users who could have lived in the middle floor) and in other cases just smoothed it all over to meet with the parking lot.
Problem is, the walkway entrance is not level. What did they do to get the center handrail level when the surface it bolted to wasn’t? They used shims.
The one above is one of the better ones. Most of them are so angled that the shims are an INCH THICK. it looks absolutely terrible, and the handrails themselves wobble like crazy. I’m 100% confident I could push and pull these hard enough to remove them (and genuinely considering it).
I’ve done zero work with cement, but I imagine they could have built up a level cube-like section with same length and width as the post bottom to make for a clean, stable install. No?
Okay... Moving on. As part of that great work above, they also replaced the staircase leading down to the ground floor units in each pod. It’s been four months... And we’ve still got unpainted wood, that’s now beginning to rot.
Speaking of paint... Another company was hired to paint the flat walkway on the middle level. Again, it’s been four months since then. 90% of the paint has flaked off. Now—I’m no expert—but I’m pretty damn sure I could find a harder wearing coating than the “plasti-dip, single coat” I assume they used. Or maybe they just did absolutely fuck-all for prep..? Not even a cursory blow off with a backpack blower, let alone some legitimate surface prep?
But you know what really grinds my gears?
They decided to redo the entire parking lot. Not just lay down another topcoat which looks great for a week then is back to normal. Nope, they were going to hire a legit paving company to come out and redo the entire surface, put in new curbs, paint on new lines. The whole nine years.
What a cluster fuck.
Zero communication between the property manager and homeowners. When I say zero I mean zero. Nobody knew when the paving company would come in and start working. Some days it was 11am. Some days it was 7am. Some days... They didn’t show up. Some days they dropped off gear and left a single guy to watch it. But the homeowners didn’t have a clue until they heard the tow trucks outside towing their cars so the work could be completed.
Despite the overall tone here, I’m a pretty calm, laid back person. I hate confrontations. But with that said... If I had came out to my Miata being towed away at 7 in the morning, three hours before work is supposed to start according to our HOA contract... With no forewarning that I had needed to move my car... Especially after the Miata had gotten broken into... I would have thrown a punch at the manager who’s done a horrendous job these overseeing these projects for the last two years, and gladly suffered the consequences of said actions.
And you know what? That “towed away with no warning” thing may not have happened to me, but it happened to many other people living here. There are a ton of enthusiasts living at my condominiums, and if they’re anything like me I can only imagine how terrible it must have felt to walk out and see.... Nothing. Just some sweaty workers in heavy machinery at 7am where your car should have been.
My buddy with the brand new Corvette? I left for the gym last week at 8am and saw a bunch of workers crowding around his car. I called him up to let him know he needed to come out asap, right as a tow truck arrived. Tow truck driver didn’t want to leave without getting his tow. Workers just wanted the vehicle out, and seemed to think my buddy was to blame. The property manager was there as well and talking about “the email” which apparently had all the details on when to move vehicles, but has conveniently been seen by none of the dozens of homeowners I’ve spoken to.
So my buddy is absolutely furious. He starts yelling. The foreman working with the pavers starts yelling. Property manager tells the tow driver to take the car. Situation is escalating in a bad way. With all the shouting, my downstairs neighbor comes out to see what’s going on. I’ve mentioned him before I think. 6'6 easy, built like a goddamn tank, that “look” that stops you dead in your tracks, questioning the life decisions that led up to this point... basically as intimidating as a human can be. This is the type of guy who makes bouncers look like complete pushovers. Marine, single dad to a young girl, works from home.
Anyways, I filled him in over the rising shouts twenty feet away, and he did what he does best, which is end confrontations with nothing more than his very presence. He walked over there, charming smile in full effect, and said quietly enough that I could barely make it out, “my daughter’s having trouble sleeping through the noise, you all need to leave now.”
Into a group that had the fuse lit, seconds away from real, physical violence. I don’t know what potential futures the foreman saw in my neighbor’s smile, but he walked back to his truck without saying a word, at a quicker pace than he’d shown during any of the prior “work” over the last two weeks. The employees followed him, no longer shouting, no more bravado. Tow truck driver was still visibly pissed off, but with one large dude redfaced with anger, and another much larger man with terrifying unspoken promises radiating off his smiling face... Well. The guy make the smart choice and left. Last but not least, Mr property manager, chief of incompetence. He said “they’ll be back at 10am” and walked off.
The workers were not back at 10am. In fact, they didn’t show up for another three days after that. It was quite pleasant, and it made me wish I had the personality and looks to make people stop being such morons with nothing more than a look.
Alas, they did come back. I’ll keep this short. They finished the entire project, and it actually looked fairly decent! I mean yeah, they were two weeks behind, had numerous issues with homeowners and almost started a brawl... But the work was... Decent! Average! Mediocre!
And then I noticed the new lines painted on the parking lot. For reasons completely beyond my understanding—what would I, an operations manager know about handling operations?—they had renumbered our parking spots, thus moving us all around. Was anyone complaining about their old spots?
Does it seem a bit... Strange... To switch parking spots of homeowners with absolutely no notice, let alone voting?
And now here I am, outside, looking at my Miata which instead of being parked directly in front of my bedroom window, is now parked 80 feet further down. And to top it all off, I now have a parking spot that has an extra curb, meaning I can’t pull forward all the way anymore. 100% a first world problem, but I’m paying HOA fees to these asshats to improve our complex, and they do something like this. It’s an inconvenience to me personally, and to many others. And again, what was gained? Half the homeowners are saying they won’t change spots, and the other half have already moved. Can you say “poor planning?”
I could go on for days, but I’ll leave you with just one more. We had 26 visitor parking spots in this particular section of the large complex. On average, 24 or so would be full every night. Second cars, friends, partners, whatever. Again, for reasons beyond me, they did away with 8 visitor parking spots. In the picture below, there used to be two more spots going towards the fire hydrant. Now, MAYBE they realized it wasn’t up to code and they needed more room to either side (there’s 45 feet from the end of the space to the hydrant now), but for the rest of the visitor parking? Gone. With no reason whatsoever.
Okay, that was my really long rant. This shit has always bothered me, but now that a huge part of my job is fixing problems, making systems work efficiently and improving all aspects of customer/employee/service interaction... Seeing how badly others do my job hurts me. Is it really that hard to organize things? Don’t these people realize that with some simple organization, they’ll be happier, the business will make more $/h, the customers (homeowners/property managers) will get better quality work, the referrals will pour in.... It’s not complicated!
Goodnight Oppo. Here’s a fence that’s had two separate painting crews out to work on it over the last year. Trying to paint it brown. Another year and they should be finished.