Thank you to Maureen our client, who looked under the sink of her newly purchased apartment and said, “Wow how kludgey!” I must have had that puzzled look, because she explained to me, “You know – awkwardly put together- Rube Goldberg style”.

So here’s to addressing “kludgey”. Kludgey bothers me …not just the visuals but kludgy behavior, kludgey organization, sheesh!….maybe it’s my German upbringing and fact I’m a Virgo, or maybe that I love how easily projects unfold when a certain amount of order and structure is brought into a project….or….how easy to see when we gazed in amazement at the area below her sink that revealed six or seven code violations, poor craftsmanship, and questionable usability….

And from the school of “where there is smoke, there is fire”, we’ll know that these telltales will alert us to the future surprise that are buried into the wall and floors. We’ve seen how sloppy contractors will try to bury their mistakes. How did the inspectors let that slide?  WAIT, WAIT DON’T TELL ME!  

-So what to do: we need to advise the owner that unfortunately, there are probably more issues ahead that will need to be addressed and remedied.

Probes are critical to understanding the issues-Mt. Vernon NY
Probes are critical to understanding the issues-Mt. Vernon NY

-Foremost is safety: Wiring that is suspect – has to be investigated. Stability-what’s in that wall?
-Doors and windows that don’t close properly or diagonal cracks that run from the upper corners of windows and doors often indicate structural issues that require repair.
-Bubbling paint, basement stains, musty smells are often signs of moisture issues.
-Ponding outside, scouring driveway surfaces, sidewalk cracks are frequently related to poor drainage- and has to be repaired before somebody trips.

While these are all common construction issues, the analysis, diagnosis, and remedy need to be done by experienced, thoughtful professionals. The symptoms are not always caused by the same issue and the consequences of poor repairs are costly. Consider this

Much like a doctor, we’ll visit, evaluate, possibly perform some tests (or have other perform testing where needed) and develop a remedy. Occasionally, the situation is beyond our skill-set and we’ll call in other experts to review and suggest repairs.

Historic Restoration- McKim Mead & White Building, Mt. Vernon NY-before

During projects over the years, we’ve uncovered leaking oil tanks, human remains, mercury, Native American artifacts, mold and plenty more and then contact the appropriate parties as part of the discovery process.

Kludgey usually happens from a combination of reasons:

-Not enough time- and shortcuts are made to adhere to an artificial schedule or “we gotta get to the next job”.
-The proper materials are not on hand, substitutions often create an environment where materials are cobbled together with a lack of attention to connections, material properties and contextual use (i.e. plumbing pipe use for electrical conduit).
-Lack of experience to determine the issue at hand.

-Poor supervision

-Contractors not following the drawings or adhering to the specifications.
Enough Said, we don’t do kludgey or  recommend contractors who do.

Article by Steven Secon