Readers, if you'd like a more detailed explanation of why our move has taken SO long, here's a timeline that explains why ERS Construction is THE WORST. At the beginning, there was three weeks worth of work to do. They started in November. As of February 1st they not only hadn't finished, they had to UNDO some of the work they did because THEY READ THE SKETCH UPSIDE DOWN. Eventually, we got them fired and replaced them with a better contractor, but they delayed the opening of our new location by three months (and counting).
Note: I've put the timeline in reverse order to make it easier for returning readers to see the latest updates. If this is your first visit, start at the bottom of the post and read upwards.
March 28, 2019. Now that the contractor has the job in hand we can return to some of our other tasks: today we give the sign company the go-ahead (and the deposit) so they can get started on our beautiful new sign.
March 27, 2019. Sometimes, good things come to those who wait: completely by accident we discover that Gulf Coast Woodworking has a stash of poplar crown moulding we can buy for the shop. Best of all, it looks beautiful stained with our new favorite blue color! This is the final piece that will tie our "Industrial Atlantis" design together.
March 26, 2019. A shopping expedition to Fort Myers yields good results: we have selected our flooring (and it's gorgeous).
March 25, 2019. Our new contractor meets with his electrician and plumber at the site to get their input before the final quote comes back.
March 20, 2019. We spend three hours at the county building, meeting with the reviewers and our new contractor, and the permit issues are resolved! Hurray! Now they can actually DO the thing.
March 18, 2019. The HVAC contractor (who is separate from the general contractor and permit) starts his installation today. We schedule a meeting for later in the week with our new GC to sort out the mess that is the building permit.
March 11, 2019. We get them to agree to fire ERS - but only if we first find a replacement who can start immediately. The quest begins... and over the next three business days we interview 17 contractors and speak with nearly 80 (I had no idea there WERE so many contractors in Charlotte County).
March 6, 2019. Today the new blueprints go to the county to be attached to the original permit application. While at the county we discover even MORE things ERS did wrong: he failed to file the "Subcontractor Worksheet" for each of his subcontractors, such as the electrician; he also failed to have the final inspection done on the demolition before he moved on to the remodel.
March 5, 2019. The new blueprints are ready! We pick them up from the architect in Englewood.
February 14, 2019. ERS finally meets with us at the site. (This is the first time I have met ERS in person, although I have been trying to pin them down for over two months.) We discuss the fastest way to fix the mess they made.
Unfortunately, since ERS did a terrible job on the original permit application, a permit modification is necessary, and the blueprints from the architect (which ERS should have obtained back in November) are still needed. Since we do not trust ERS, we contact the architect directly. He kindly expedites the work for us.
February 12, 2019. After great effort, I find the name and number of the “fixer” at ERS and he meets with me at the site so I can explain the most urgent problems:
ERS ignoring calls and emails from me and from Lee
ERS submitting the permit application without allowing us to review it
Where did these random walls come from? Who built them and why?
February 2, 2019. We discover that several unnecessary walls have been installed in the building. These walls are not permitted, nor were they requested by Lee or by us. ERS ignores my calls.
January 11, 2019. ERS finally replies to my email - and says he is under no obligation to provide info!
January 10, 2019. I email Lee and tell him that ERS is ignoring my emails. I copy ERS.
January 7, 2019. ERS re-submits the permit, once again behind our backs and without our review. This one is, if possible, even worse than the previous one. Somehow, it gets approved!
January 4, 2019. After ERS has dodged us (and Lee) for a month, we attempt to discuss the build out via email. ERS ignores all of our calls and emails.
December 28, 2018. I talk to Lee, and discuss the problems with the application that ERS submitted. I suggest the option of firing ERS and retaining another contractor, but Lee is concerned that would cause a further delay, so ERS stays for now.
December 5, 2018. ERS submits a building permit application without telling us, and does not allow us to review it. The application is incomplete (due to shoddy work by ERS), and it is rejected.
At this point, the next step is for ERS to obtain blueprints from the architect. Those blueprints will be the basis for a complete, detailed permit application. (Complete applications are approved much more quickly than incomplete ones!) However, ERS never even calls the architect.
ERS is told to allow us to review the building permit application before he submits it to the county.
November 16, 2018. We provide ERS with detailed scope of work documents listing everything that must be done for the build-out. These documents should make his job much easier!
November 11, 2018. Demolition is finally begun, by the new contractor: Robert from ERS. Since it has taken so long, Lee provides us with storage for our books and shelves, which we can use until the build out is completed.
September 26, 2018. We sign a Letter of Intent with the owner, with a move-in date of December 1. There's about three weeks worth of work to do, after which we can start building bookcases.
August 21, 2018. We visit 5240 Duncan Road and meet the owner's agent, Lee. The building needs a lot of TLC, but the owner is willing to do what's necessary to make it work for us.