Monthly Archives: July 2013

Project management: size doesn’t matter

I am a member of the sandwich generation, meaning that I have children at home and retired parents living nearby.  My mother and father are closing in on their 80th birthdays, and are thankfully hale and hardy.  They have me handle all of the details of any project having to do with their townhouse, and I am going to tell you about their upcoming project to replace their wall to wall carpeting.

It is a two story townhouse and they have an Acorn Stairlift to get to the bedrooms on the top floor.  The entire house is carpeted except for the entry hall and the kitchen and bathrooms.  This means as well as moving all of the furniture around as we remove and then lay the new carpet, we also need to remove and then replace the Stairlift as the stairs are being re carpeted as well.

Seniors want one person in charge of the entire project, it lessens their stress and makes them feel comfortable with any “issues” as they arise.  This means that I will be dealing with three separate contractors:  the carpet wholesaler, the carpet installer, and the Stairlift maintenance staff.  The potential for challenges are several, the biggest being unable to get the Stairlift back in working order quickly, which has a very serious impact on my parents’ quality of life.

It is going to be a three day process from start to finish.  A non exhaustive list of challenges is:  carpet not precut correctly, missing pieces of carpet, contractors showing up late, potential finger pointing exercises due to a contractor not having their “normal working conditions”.  A project manager (who needs to be a very effective communicator) is responsible for handling all of these situations and to ensure the work meets industry standards and is delivered on time and on budget.

In terms of all of the projects that I have dealt with over the years, this one is very small.  But it needs to be remembered that as far as the clients are concerned, it is very big, and will be the focus of their lives for the entire three days while the work is going on.  A skilled project manager will make it all go smoothly and on budget.

Because in project management, size doesn’t matter.

Somebody should do something about that.

Ah Summer!  Time for you and your imagination to get outside and do something with the yard, if only because the grass is now so high that you cannot see the dog.  But wait, what is THAT on the side of the house (this is where you can fill in the blanks, that could be peeling paint, missing trim, etc.)

This time of year is when even the most novice of homeowners looks at their home and says to themselves “something has got to be done about that”.  But then life gets in the way, it gets put off, another spring comes, and so the cycle continues.  Looking around Victoria tells you that many homes are now into counting decades when the last real maintenance, yes maintenance was done.

We have such a mild climate temperature wise that most people simply wait for their house to break, then they will fix it.   Then they need cardiac help when they get the quote/bill for neglecting their house.  It is always less expensive to maintain than repair or replace, presuming that quality materials and workmanship were used in the first place.

A simple list of things that could need checking: perimeter drains (keep those basements dry), siding (keep those insects out), foundation (twelve inches between the ground and below the siding is ideal, so use the compost somewhere else silly), windows (are they sealed, is water getting in around them, drafts), eavestrough (they connect to perimeter drains, are they clean, do they drain in the right direction, do they leak, are they secure), soffits (ventilation for the attic, keep insects out), roof (shingles all there, any leaks, tin around chimneys, seals around ventilation pipes for plumbing), chimneys (pointing, tin work, covers), you see there are a few items.

Get in contact with a professional contractor and ask them to help you setup a maintenance schedule.  This would mean that all of those items may not need to be addressed right away, but you could budget for them and knock them off the list over several years.  This is a true win/win:  you get your home fixed before it “breaks” at a good price, and the contractor has work booked with smart clients.