Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Step 12 - Line Up Your Temporary Services

In renovating extremely run-down properties, I've trotted through the first twelve steps without electricity and by improvising on a water source.  However, you're going to need to have reliable temporary power and water and there are a few ways to make this happen.

If you can use utilities already servicing your home, that's the best option.  Even if you have to shut off certain areas, some access to electricity and water inside is better than none.  Just be safe and take precautions to make sure exposed pipes and wires can't be turned back on inadvertently.    

The second option is to borrow from the neighbors.  If you're fixing up the ugliest place on the block or the worst property in the neighborhood, it's a safe bet that the people living around you will be happy you're there to make things better.  And, they'll probably let you use water from their hose bib and maybe even run an extension cord from an exterior receptacle.  However, you don't want to wear out your welcome with the friendly folks near-by so I'd recommend you only tap into borrowed electricity short-term.  Using water from someone next door is a different matter because fees are comparatively nominal.  So if you can get it from the neighbors, do that, and then try to help with the water bill.  The thing is, water is basically a non-issue for most people and they'll probably wave you off.  If they casually dismiss your offer, remember them at holiday time or do something to show your appreciation because they'll have done you solid favor.

Option #3 is to put some temporary services in place so you're self-sufficient.  This may appeal to you so you don't feel like you owe any favors or you may need your own temp power and water for other reasons.  On most of my projects I've installed a temporary power pole.  This usually requires a permit and an inspection. (see Step 7 and Inspections).  Some towns will let you pull the permit and set the power pole (per their specifications) yourself, but other officials will require that you hire an electrician.  Something similar goes for temporary water, but this has been a rare issue for me on my rehabs.  If absolutely necessary, a plumber can help you in establishing a temporary water spigot, but as a rule I don't call out the plumbers until later in the project when I really need them.

And it's worth adding, that if you don't have water in the house, you'll need to consider having a port-a-potty on site.  This will be a month-to-month agreement and will be a necessary expense if/when you have contractors and tradespeople on site.




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