I haven’t written much about St. John’s house, primarily because we are fairly passive in that deal. Our friend Larry is managing that project through his San Antonio GC, Abigail. Overall, I am very satisfied with the progress, even though we are now way behind schedule, but that is the topic for another post. Today I want to talk about a lesson we learned the hard way.
Back in January, I talked about the value of using a dumpster to organize a construction site, keeping it neater and safer. We learned another valuable lesson about dumpsters thanks to the St. John’s project.
There are two basic varieties of metal roll-off dumpster: covered and uncovered. Dumpster covers can be hard shell or tarp. Either way, covering the dumpster securely can make it harder to get into when left on an empty job site.
Why is that important? Keep reading.
Even though we are beyond demolition on St. John’s project, there was enough landscaping debris and scrap from an unplanned upgrade to the house that we decided to bring in another dumpster as we wound down. The waste removal company delivered the dumpster near the end of the shift, and the construction crew had them place it where it would be accessible then left for the day.
Overnight, someone came by and completely filled the dumpster with paint cans and other containers full of used motor oil. My guess, based on the volume of oil, is that someone had been paid to cleanup another site and dispose of the oil legally. But when they saw a convenient empty dumpster, they decided their profit margin would be considerably enhanced by not paying for a legal disposal. They simply filled our dumpster with their hazardous waste and called the job done. Even though theft of services is a crime—in this case a felony because of the economic value of the theft—there were no witnesses to the crime and not enough clues for the police to investigate. The problem is made worse because motor oil can’t legally be disposed of in a dumpster. Duh!
Now the burden and expense of legal disposal falls on us.
Would covering the dumpster have absolutely prevented this kind of theft? No, but it would have made the process more difficult and slower. Criminals tend to look for easy prey, like an uncovered, unattended dumpster. The more difficult you make committing a crime, the less likely you are to be victim of one.
In short, rent a covered dumpster and make sure your crews secure it every night before leaving the site.