If you came here looking for a way to help out the Linden Family,
you are now a member of Annabelle's Circle.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Annabelle's Circle is a Completely Legitimate Operation

One of the untold stories from last week are the events of last Thursday. I have been a licensed, bonded and insured general contractor since 2002, license #810162, with a clean record of no complaints. Though I specialize in the patio cover business, I have some experience in nearly all areas of home building, but I am neither a skilled electrician, plumber, or craftsman. I can get by on some jack-of-all-trades knowledge, but I know enough to leave the tricky stuff up to the professionals. We all should -especially when it comes to the homes we live in. The building code is there for everyone's safety, and is one of the reasons why this country is so well-built, so safe, and so great. When a bunch of us got together last week to fix up a friend's house, it was just that, and nothing particularly fancy. (I mean, we weren't building a hospital or anything!) Imagine the demoralizing moment when the Lemon Grove Building Inspector and Code Enforcement Officer dropped by unannounced last week, putting a stop to our efforts on the Family Room.

When we ripped the old siding off the front of the house to replace the cracked aluminum window, some stucco repair had to be done. The paper was quickly stapled up onto the wall, flashed haphazardly, and basically flagged down the officials as they drove by. They stopped in to check out what was going on.

It looked to them to be an illegal garage conversion. Though we had assured them that it wasn't, and merely a mess of new drywall and minor repairs, they had to put a stop to the efforts while they pulled the building record from the county. Everyone on site rallied to get the heartbreaking story out, and it should be noted that the men from the city were very understanding. All the same, any work on the house had to be done legally and it had to be done right. They encouraged us to keep going on the landscaping and the floors, and focus on the cosmetic stuff while they got to the bottom of the situation. I was off-site at the time, purchasing the wood for the deck repairs. I got the call while I was standing there in the lumberyard, and my heart just sank.

When I got back to 2016 Dayton, I was glad to see that the group would not be deterred by this setback. We quit the Family Room and the stucco while I got to the bottom of the situation. Everyone moved outside, grabbed a paint brush and went for it on the landscaping. They were really making a difference.

Down at the building department I learned a few things about the house. The inspectors had found that the laundry drain and vent were improperly installed, that the electrical panel was an illegal installation, that the deck railing and stairs were not to code, that the gas line to the water heater was the wrong size (for starters.) Nearly all of these things were problems inherited by the Lindens when they bought the house, and out of nowhere, in the middle of a busy and exhausting week, they had suddenly become our problems.

The good news is that the record finally came back from the county yesterday and it stated that the garage had been legally converted into living space in the sixties. The bad news is that a lot of the stuff in and around it is old and busted, and poorly done to begin with. I pulled the permits for electrical, mechanical, and plumbing right then and there. We can make this house safe, functional, and legitimate.

So there are a new set of hurdles before us. It seems there is only 110 coming down from the power pole into an illegal (and full) electrical panel. A work order has to be filed with SDG&E, and the panel needs to be replaced. (As well, the laundry and Family Room both should have dedicated circuits.) The water heater is an old Bosch tankless that was improperly installed on too small a gas pipe, so new lines must be run out from the meter. The deck we fixed and built up to code, the stucco and window flashing we can easily do right, and all the other little things will take some time but are not impossible. If anyone has a connection with a licensed electrician or plumber (or even a window installer or stucco specialist!) who is willing to contribute some time on Annabelle's house, it would be sincerely appreciated.

We're all relieved that we have the necessary permits for the repairs and upgrades. The people working for the city of Lemon Grove were interested to hear the whole story and were moved to be patient and helpful with the property at 2016 Dayton. I told them of my intent to get this house up to proper specs, and that if the inspector saw anything that looked wrong or out of place to please let me know.

This episode has all been a blessing, really. We were able to finish the exterior stuff as a result of the redirection of efforts, and the home will soon be legal and current.

Everyone wants the house to be perfect, finished, warm and complete.

1 comment:

HB said...

God bless our Hawkins.