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Remember learning how to drive a stick shift? I recall teaching the kids too, it just takes some time to learn. That poor Toyota Corolla, at least 3 brothers, and some of their kids learned on her. It is with that grinding sound ringing in my ears and no forward progress that I write this article.
I deal with all sorts of impediments to progress, at times it seems like The Man is out to get me. I joke that if it were easy, everyone would be doing it…Oh, wait. One at a time please, give a brother a break. We are doing the best we can to meet schedules and keep projects rolling. I am responsible for the livelihood of 12 families at this time. A heavy responsibility that I take seriously. When my projects are delayed for hiccups in regulation I morph into finding a reasonable solution mode. Complaining doesn’t ever work.
There is no way that I am being singled out, so I just get dealt with the complicated projects? I find it uncanny that I am jumbled up with the authorities typically trying to make sense out of some strange situation where the rules need to be bent to accommodate a unique quirky thing. If there was a good ol’ boy system at one point, it is gone now. Normally if I present a logical case for an exception it gets acknowledged and resolved in a fair way swiftly.
Where is the Rub?
First off since COVID19 hit the area we have been struggling to get permits. Blame it on the forced premature rollout of a complex makeover of the electronic permitting process in the city. Blame it on a ratcheting up of requirements. Blame it on that we are involved in more complex projects. I am convinced that as painful as it is for me it is as painful for those on the other side of the desk too.
Secondarily, I seem to trip over booby traps regularly, most recently I triggered an Idaho Power mandate to create an easement across the neighbor’s yard because I altered the path of a power supply and blew the prescriptive easement out of the water. Thankfully for all parties, we figured out a way to avoid the easement that nobody wanted and cooler heads prevailed. Word to the wise. Avoid altering the angle of the wire that crosses your neighbor’s property or it’s going to get ugly.
Why Have a Building Code?
Code was born out of buildings burning down and collapsing. The insurance industry, not builders as you might have expected, to ensure life safety and eliminate losses that they were suffering. The building authorities have adopted it and are in a cyclical pattern of constant improvement. I am involved and get to make recommendations. I feel like I am doing my civic duty and am making a mark on the industry. They have not addressed everything yet, new materials and techniques are always being invented.
I came across a situation recently where neighboring building officials handle the exception one way and in the city, I am working in now… if there is no printed exception, I’m screwed. I am still pleading my case. If a building official makes an exception then it becomes the code. NO additional liability. Just a silly misunderstanding by a subordinate.
Moving Forward, How Will it Work?
Be kind, be considerate, understand that there are rules for everything and rarely are there published exceptions. Be committed to hunting down the person with the wisdom and authority to make decisions basses on common sense and sound judgment. Remodeling is challenging and filled with tough calls and more than one way to handle the problems we uncover. It is with my deepest gratitude and undying optimism as a serial entrepreneur that I push forward and dream of a day when we can stop grinding gears and make some unimpeded progress for a change. The iron is hot now, for how long is anyone’s guess.
Levco has Made Huge Strides During COVID
On a side note, we recently received a comment from a building official that we have made among the most positive strides of companies that do work with Boise City to learn the new system and cooperate to get our work approved in stride. Kudos to my team for making the necessary adjustments and learning to play well in the sandbox. The bright spot or the silver lining if you will, is that the harder they make it to get a building permit, the higher the bar gets for the rest of the playing field.
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