Neighbor Magnet

NOTE: As of September 23, 2009, this post has been edited in
accordance with a court-mediated settlement. The names of the
contractor and his excavation subcontractor have been replaced with

Nothing brings out the neighborhood (kids and adults alike) like construction equipment. The rumblings began at 8AM, when several trucks arrived, carrying "Bobcats" of all sizes:


A few minutes later, The Excavation Subcontractor (who later drove the bobcat into the side of our house; just a foreshadowing of how wrong this all would go) and his team started ripping up the concrete at the back of the house:


It's not understating things to say that we have a hate-hate relationship with the concrete in our yard. In recent memory, neither Ayse nor I have felt quite as elated as when we saw this stuff being ripped out. The Excavation Subcontractor (in the cab) has obviously been operating this gear for years. It was as if the hydraulic arm and bucket were extensions of his own body, so dextrously did he manipulate the concrete, bricks, and other debris. At one point in the operation, he carefully scooped up several score bricks and carefully stacked them a few inches away from the shipping container in the backyard. It was impressive. Here he is, stacking a big pile of concrete debris:


Once the two concrete slabs had been removed (yes, two -- the previous owners poured a second slab over the first one for an unknown reason), The Excavation Subcontractor started removing the foundation at the back of the house. You can see how that "pre-shoring shoring" helps here to hold up the back of the house (the light-colored beam just above the digger's bucket):


Another angle:


Everything was going smoothly until the cast concrete stairs needed to be removed. They were difficult to dislodge. When they finally "gave," a large section of the wall came with them:


Contractor A (who would later declare bankruptcy in order to avoid taking responsibility for his actions) shouts "Woah!" and jumps in quickly to assess the situation:


Things don't look good. The footing underneath the support has been half undermined. The back corner of the house is in serious danger of collapse:


Contractor A (who has on several other cases included gag orders on his former clients because he was afraid they would tell other people what he was like) calls a halt to the digging. The contractors quickly reinforce that corner by adding a second vertical member:


We would have loved to stay all day and watch the progress, but we had a date with friends in the city. More soon.

posted by noel on 02/13/05