This post started out to be a quick update on the two renovation projects we currently have running, but you know me: I can’t resist wagging my tongue when something finally sinks in. So, I’m going to preach (probably to the choir) about dumpsters first, and give a short update at the end.
Many rehabbers use dumpsters at their projects—certainly all of the ones you see on television. But others let the refuse pile up or pile it onto trailers to take to the dump when they are ready. The GC I have used for the last eight years falls into the later camp. “Why pay the money for a dumpster when I can haul stuff away much cheaper?” he asked the first time I suggested getting one. Not being intimate with that part of the business, his logic swayed me. He is handling the Villa Park project.
We decided to use a dumpster at the Blue Ridge project as we brought on a new GC who actually preferred renting a dumpster. The photos at the right show the difference between the two projects, both run by professional contractors who are very good at what they do.
I won’t compare overall costs, because the two projects are radically different and have produce dramatically differing qualities of debris. But priced by the yard, the dumpster method seems to win out, even in cost. Thirty yards of debris cost roughly $500 to dispose of at Blue Ridge. The same amount of debris cost about $450 to dispose of at Villa Park. So I saved $50 by having my GC haul off the waste. But take another look at the two pictures.
Now here are some hidden costs of having your GC dispose of the construction debris:
- Lost work
- Your crews aren’t making progress on your project when they are at the dump.
- Neighborhood respect
- While I haven’t received a single complaint about the debris at Villa Park, I haven’t had a single neighbor inquire about what we do and if we can help them. We have had a stream of neighbors at Blue Ridge wanting to see the project, and several talked about friends whom we might be able to help.
- Workplace safety and productivity.
- None of the crew on any of my projects has ever reported an injury. That said, I can’t help but believe piles of trash around a project have to decrease productivity as workers carefully negotiate the paths they have left.
- While I am proud of the work we’re doing at both projects, and I know I will be extremely proud of the final products, I am ashamed of going to the Villa Park project now that I have seen a well maintained workplace at Blue Ridge. I believe the workplace conditions will also affect the pride of craftsmanship in the workers, too.
I am now an advocate. We are ordering dumpsters for the Villa Park project, and I have made a convincing economic argument to that contractor in favor of them.
Villa Park Update
We have now passed all inspections and are moving forward with finishing out the walls. The skylight has been removed and roofed over. It wasn’t leaking, but they eventually do.
Blue Ridge Update
All walls inside the house have been refloated after removing the popcorn. We lost a day because someone turned off the heat, and the drywall compound didn’t dry overnight. We should be ready to paint early next week, and the flooring will go in shortly thereafter.