Paul’s March 18, 8:20pm email + thread, posted by Harold

This could be titled “anatomy of poor and miscommunication.” I’m posting it for documentation purposes–we are still working on improving the information flow between LRP and homeowners. See also the note in Harold’s 3/19 construction meeting notes.

Dear Bob and Jacklyn,

I hesitate to question the way the good people who are fixing up our places do their job, but I was surprised to observe today that the crew working on the 920s knocked off at 10:30 this morning. I thought they were going on a break, but the guy who was renewing the stucco around our carport did not return, and no further work was done on our unit after 10:30. That leaves the wall open to the elements with rain on the way tomorrow.

At least there is some paper in place that may provide something of a water barrier. The same cannot be said for the large vertical hole that was opened up on our back patio wall next to the dining room. While we were away late last week, they did some pressure testing on the drain pipe there. Water came gushing out of the dining room wall through a wall plug, drenching the floor there, and also the same upstairs in the #2 bedroom.

I had expected that you or someone would come by today to tell us how you were going to fix that drain pipe problem, but no one came by, and worse, nothing was done. Now that vertical section around the drain pipe is open to the elements, with rain coming tomorrow. The water stains on our dining room ceiling have grown since Friday.

What is your plan for fixing this? How are you going to make sure that there is no water damage from the rain?

Thanks for your attention to all these issues–our particular holes in the wall, the leaky drain pipe, and the fact that the workers left quite early while we are presumably paying them to work a full day.


About hmarcuse

I've been an environmentalist since my college days in the 1970s (May 1977 Seabrook, New Hampshire occupation) , and am now a professor of German history at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
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6 Responses to Paul’s March 18, 8:20pm email + thread, posted by Harold

  1. hmarcuse says:

    Todd Squires posted a response to the wcp community list asking for better communication and about the drain testing protocol–I don’t have a copy of that, but it is referred to in subsequent correspondence.
    Bob met with Paul around 8am on Tuesday 3/19 and clarified what had actually happened. He asked Paul to send an explanation to the list. This is what Paul wrote Tuesday morning:
    Dear Bob,

    Thanks for coming by this morning to talk with me about the matters I raised last evening. I now understand what you and the workers did and am fully satisfied. I would have appreciated having this communication come by email or phone somewhat earlier, but I happily accept your apology on that score.

    For any others out there who may have been freaked out by my email last evening, please be assured that I think Bob and the workers did the right things. I understand now more about how the testing process works. They used the testing to identify the source of a real problem that has plagued us for years, caught the problem quickly, and dealt with it effectively, without lasting damage. Provided they get the hole in the stucco covered up before the rains come, I think we will be problem free. As to the workers’ schedules, Bob (and Gail last night) explained to me that we are paying by the job not by the hour, so moving the workers yesterday morning from our pod to another pod is not a problem.

    Thanks to one and all,

  2. hmarcuse says:

    Juan Campo resonded to Paul’s second message as follows:
    On Mar 20, 2013, at 4:55 AM, “Juan E. Campo” wrote:

    Paul & Other Neighbors,
    We have found Bob & Stonemark to be very responsive to all our queries and complaints. With our cluster I think they have mastered the process of protecting units from the rain. We had some leaking thru our deck when it was exposed, but they took care of it promptly, restoring our damaged garage drywalls to even better condition than they were before the leak.

  3. hmarcuse says:

    Thereupon Todd responded:
    –On 3/20/2013 5:52 AM +1300 Todd Squires wrote:

    Juan, Paul (and Bob) —

    Thank you for your re-assurances about Bob. I am glad to hear that —
    despite having experienced real “collateral damage” to your houses as a
    result of the LRP — you emerged from private conversations with Bob
    satisfied with the process.

    A real issue is that none of the rest of us has been privy to these
    conversations. And so every one of us is left to “have faith” that
    everything has been carefully planned and correctly implemented,
    particularly when faced with practices that seem to be counter-intuitive,
    and potentially disastrous.

    Bob, given the praise that both Juan and Paul have for your ability to
    address their concerns in private, I would ask that you please communicate
    more publicly and regularly with the rest of us homeowners to allay
    concerns that seem (to me) to be reasonable. Please anticipate practices
    and procedures that could raise anxieties amongst reasonable, but
    uninformed, homeowners such as myself.

    It may well be that all of this work is being performed properly — from
    Paul’s note to you this morning, he certainly seems satisfied with your

    However, it can also happen that a construction crew will make mistakes or
    do things incorrectly.

    I do not think it is fair to ask, nor ultimately productive, to expect
    homeowners will simply entrust that everything is ok. I would never (and
    won’t ever) do this with contractors I hire to work on my house. So rather
    than respond privately to individual concerns — particularly those like
    Paul’s, which have been raised in a public forum — I would ask you to
    communicate with our community more broadly on issues like these.

    Many of us, quite obviously, share very closely related concerns about what
    is happening to our homes. I think most of us are reasonable, and have
    obviously agreed to live through all sorts of inconvenience (or perhaps
    flee to Kazakhstan, South Africa, or New Zealand), but we nonetheless need
    to understand what is being done and why it is proper and necessary to do

    These leak “tests” are a prime example — I’ve fanned the flames of panic a
    bit on this one, as I’ve still not heard any justification for provoking
    failures to test susceptibility to leak failures. But having just put in a
    new kitchen and floor, I predict an early aneurism if such tests damage our
    cabinetry or floor, particularly when I don’t understand the logic. Paul
    now does, and is happy with the procedure, which gives me confidence that
    the rest of us could be as well.

    So please — take this as constructive criticism. A little extra effort to
    be proactive with public communication will have a very broad and
    productive impact.

    3 homeowners sent messages supporting more communication, such as the following:
    Dear Todd,

    Thank you very much for sending this message. I share your concerns and desire for more public communication with homeowners about the leak remediation process.


  4. hmarcuse says:

    Thank you, Todd!
    we also share your concerns!

    and thank you Paul as well!

    we would like to see more messages like this in the future on this list,
    so we know, what is going on and to hear the voices of all parties involved!
    panicky or not, please keep on posting them! it makes the whole process more transparent and makes as feel, that we can be better prepared!

    ieva & marko

  5. hmarcuse says:

    I want to second concerns and request for more information – any information, really, from Bob and Stonemark. I know that we have been directed to the blog but I would appreciate more open communication about what is going on. Those of us in other clusters tend to hear more about mistakes and mishaps than fixes. I think more information would help ease concerns.

    It would also be great to receive an approximate timeline of progression to other clusters. I’ve asked for this before and have been told it is still in the works.


  6. hmarcuse says:

    I have been exasperated by the lack of communication between the Stonemark managers and me as a homeowner.

    An example:
    Last Tuesday Bob insisted that there needed to be water testing on my unit and the three others in our row (911-914) that necessitated my giving them access to the interior of my unit. I had obligations at school and said, yes, I could be available until 10.30 a.m. but had to leave promptly. Bob: “Fine”. At 9.30 no one had come to my unit to do any work so I went to the construction trailer. Me to Bob: “Is anyone going to work on my unit this morning? I have to leave in an hour.” Bob: “Oh, the was a conflict in the schedule so we are not going to do the testing today.” Me: “You need to send an email communicating that to the people scheduled this morning and this afternoon.” Bob: “Yes, you’re right. I’m so sorry.” I have been willing to accommodate their schedule as much as possible, but they in general do not communicate changes to us.

    During construction, several of us in the 910s have experienced considerable damage to our units. I left the country on Dec. 22 and on the evening of Dec. 23 I got an email from my cat sitter who was coming in twice a day. “There is water pouring through the kitchen ceiling. What should I do?” I contacted Stonemark. Some drain had been defective or installed improperly. Bobby (different from Bob) came and put tarps over the roof area. Ultimately all the drywall in my laundry area had to be removed. In my kitchen half of the ceiling drywall was removed as well as all the upper cabinets by the stove. The stove itself was moved to my dining room and my microwave set up on top of it. Dehumidifiers and fans (very noisy) removed the moisture. Everything seemed set to put things back together again, then we had another downpour Jan. 24. I went downstairs to find water all over my kitchen floor and soaking the drywall in my laundry area. More dehumifiers, more blowers. Eventually the Groundhog Day scenario ended, my kitchen and laundry were put back together, but I was without a functioning kitchen for over a month.

    I hope that the construction guys have learned a lot from the experience in our cluster so that things go better in other clusters.

    For me the reno has been very stressful and wearing — noise, dust, heavy machinery omnipresent, plus the management issues of lack of proper communication and multiple private apologies.

    I do like the new, much bigger windows. But most of my downstairs windows and doors have been covered with plywood for at least two weeks. One neighbor described it as like a bunker. It is not clear when I get the new doors installed.

    I found an old Stonemark communication that said the 910s would be done by February 1. At this point I’m hoping for May 1. They have been at it since early November.

    Sarah Cline

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