It was 10:15 am and an Indonesian guy arrives to fix the replacement tiles in the laundry room…ummm…utility room. He was good enough to request to cut the tiles outside the apartment because of the dust. I prayed that there wouldn’t be too much dust..building management will not be too happy. Anyway, the building cleaner cleans the area everyday. That’s what we pay maintenance fees for, right? He cuts the couple of tiles he needed and installs them….cement, paint, clean and he’s done.
Francis arrives about 10:30 am together with Bernard. I guess everyone was shocked that the kitchen area was full of empty boxes and discarded items. Part of these things had been kept in the laundry room but the painters who had come on Thursday moved them out into the kitchen area when they wanted to skim and paint the walls. Plus, on Saturday, since I was expecting my Facebook friend Ar’nie and family to visit me, I had moved all the items stored by Bernard and / or his people in our breakfast area also onto the kitchen and the yard area! When the dishwasher came late Saturday evening, the delivery man also decided the kitchen was the best place to store the dishwasher! So there. I did not say anything to Bernard about why all that stuff was there. I had complained about all the junk that should have been moved out by his people and he promised it would be done today. I saw him moving the boxes outside himself and commented that he should have engaged some general workers to do those things.
Francis’ job today was to install the dishwasher and make sure it works. I saw him and another guy trying to put the dishwasher in its place and became worried when it appeared that it was too tall to fit! He stopped working and Bernard made some calls. Apparently, the Bosch people had forgotten something. Soon the missing part is delivered and the dishwasher is installed.
Later I ask about the built-in door of the dishwasher. Bernard tells me another bracket is missing from Bosch and they’ll do it tomorrow. Hmmmph.
They dismantle my washing machine and move it from the yard to the new laundry room…..ummmm….more like utility room. Francis was supposed to connect the piping and test everything but in the process he broke the tap head! That’s it. He packs up and says he’ll be back tomorrow to finish everything he was supposed to do. It was 3pm and I argued he could go and get the tap and finish that today. Bernard didn’t support me and I was really peeved. Are ALL contractors the same??? I wondered.
The contractors responsible for the glass splashback came next to install the splashback. The wall was more than 9 ft long so they had to join two pieces of the splashback because otherwise it wouldn’t fit into the lift. Bernard was right – once the splashback was in, you couldn’t see the plywood and the wiring tract behind it. What a relief!
Bernard told me this morning that the filter guy will come at 2:30pm to install the water filtration system. AND at 2:30pm sharp…..ding dong……there he was at my doorstep! Amazing. For the very first time in this kitchen renovation project, somebody was actually punctual. Now, if only ALL of Bernard’s sub-contractors and suppliers were like this chap! I told Bernard later that this guy – Jeff – was truly an amazing guy who knew his deliverables – he came, he measured, drilled the hole for the tap, installed the filtration thingy under the sink, attached the pipes, and did the first-time use drill…..made sure everything worked, showed me how to clean the filter, told me how often I needed to change the filters and gave me his card assuring me that I could call him 24/7 if I needed anything. Wow.
Bernard had got us the Diamond Energy Water filter. Its supposed to be the world’s healthiest water and its like drinking mineral water. And Jeff assured me it wasn’t an MLM product….
Since midday also, Bernard’s in-house installer had been installing the glass parallel opening doors using the Häfele system. Or I should say “trying to install”. This was the second time. The first time, it was around 10 days ago. Andrew, from Häfele was all set to install the glass doors when he realised the metal frames were too narrow to accommodate the hinges. He had to use a metal adaptor and it would show through the glass. Eeeeeeek! no way I would have that. No way. So Bernard had come the next day with samples and our only option was to switch to the “magic glass” door. No adaptors required, and hinges will not show through the glass. So today, I saw Bernard’s installer, manual in hand trying to install the doors.
I didn’t like the sounds I heard and from the looks on the face of the installer and Bernard himself, something was not right.
I hated it but what could I do. I could not hide my disappointment. I suggested to Bernard that if his installer did not know what to do, he should call Andrew from Häfele! When Andrew got here, it seemed he could not understand why the hinges were not working the way they should. I asked if it was a problem with hinges or the installation. He replied it was the hinges.
That was when all hell broke loose. Well, almost. Bernard is the kind of guy you couldn’t lose your temper to. He wouldn’t react anyway. He reminded you of a lost puppy.
I told him as kindly as I could that it seemed he didn’t have very much control over the project. Too many things had happened that wasted a lot of my time and HIS time. Doors getting sent back. Suppliers leaving things behind. Carpenters sending the wrong stuff. Taps getting broken. Tile cutters forgotten.….and more.
Basically the day ended with me reiterating to Bernard why we chose him and why he shouldn’t make me regret making that choice. I told him I expected nothing less than perfection and that he WILL deliver.
So Aldo Kitchen, get your act together and give me the kitchen I ordered.