Construction Curveballs

Remember how I said on my last post that we were having 3 inspections? Well, we got 2 BIG curveballs – the biggest ones – both water & power.

Right after my last post, we got hit with these big issues.

It was an extremely stressful week. One big hit after another. Both seemed at times pretty devastating.

The power issue came to be because we always knew we’d be upgrading the meter from 100 amps to 200 amps. All of a sudden it became an issue. We wanted DWP to tell us where to put the meter and then they questioned if there was enough power or if the whole block of units would need a power upgrade – and if an upgrade was needed – they said it would take DWP close to a year to do. That’s right, imagine hearing that when you’re 4 weeks from opening.

I was pretty devastated to hear this. I made 3 trips to DWP that week to see what could be done. One solution within my control and timing was to cut equipment to live within the existing meter, until DWP did the upgrade a year later.

So I spent a week figuring out what I would cut. Went to the engineer to recalculate the amps but he kept saying I needed to cut more. It was so hard and sad for me. It also meant we’d need to move all soft serve production for BOTH stores to the Glendale store. I started researching trucks that could deliver almost daily to the Echo Park store and thinking how production would work.

I had another call with the DWP engineer, and after sending him pics of the meters he said he thought there was a chance I could increase my meter to 200 amps without the major upgrade – a glimmer of hope.

So last week, both DWP and Building & Safety came out to the store to look at the meters, the transformer, etc. and it was still hopeful as he said the transformer was bigger than he thought. He needed a little more info from us and to study it all and would give me an answer soon.

And guess what! They approved my 200 amp meter – I’m good to go on power and don’t have to cut any equipment. What a relief. I was getting so sad cutting equipment and not being able to start with all I had planned. But now, we’re good to go!

But we also had a HUGE water issue. All plumbing in my unit is good, but there was an issue with the meter it was attached to. It was 5/8″ and we needed one that was at least 1″. So back to DWP we went to beg our case.

DWP said that it could take up to 90 days to get a new meter, but it showed there was an active 1″ meter at that location. I went from feeling defeat at hearing 90 days to some hope that there was a 1″ meter we could use.

We had to find out if anyone else was using the 1″ meter or if we could use it. The next day, with the landlord, we tested all the units and turns out no one was using it (we later found out why, there was a broken pipe that we needed to fix) so we could. I got us a permit to do the work that needed to be done, had an inspector come out, and we did the work last week. Now we just need the inspector to come out to sign off and we are good to go!

Can you believe this crap?

Both my General Contractor and I didn’t sleep for many nights as it seemed we were in big trouble. The possible financial implications for Yoga-urt were so huge, it’s scary to even think about.

So the bad news is we lost about 4 weeks (huge bummer) and there is an added cost for both the time lost and work needed to fix the issues. But this could’ve been so much worse. It could’ve gone on for months or even a year.

DWP was very responsive to me (helps that I went there in person 3 days in one week) and I’m so thankful for that. My GC helped me through the whole thing. My landlord was also very responsive and supportive. So even though it’s been very stressful and scary, I’m so appreciative that we can move forward.

I still don’t understand why these issues came up so late in construction, but my focus was on fixing and moving forward. Some things just don’t have clear answers.

This coming week, we are waiting for inspectors to come back. I hate waiting. We can’t do the drywall until sign off, so we wait. So frustrating.

But after inspections, I think we are moving forward until we hit the finish line. Crossing fingers for no more curve balls.

Still so much to to do and I just really hope that we can open the 2nd part of April!