Tuesday, January 2, 2007

In Which Tom Crosses Lots of Fingers

Tom says:
Obtaining our permits is the highest priority right now. The city of Manchester's restaurant permitting process begins at the Health Department, continues on to the Building Department, and ends at the Fire Department. Each department receives its own copy of the plans and today's challenge was locating a printer who could read the plan files and, obviously, print them (mission accomplished).

I've got my fingers crossed that the permit process is quick and painless. When Little Saigon leased the space, they took on the initial conversion from plain, vanilla box to functional restaurant. In that sense, the build out is pretty close to brand new. That we're not making any structural or equipment changes are, I hope, points in our favor.

One thing I do know is that anything former restaurant owners might have been given a pass on, are often things the city will ask the new owners to remedy before re-opening. Whether this winds up being the case for us or not, there's little we can do about it except hope that we're lucky. I'm handling the permits myself because as of today? I'm my own general contractor.

How I came to that decision was the result of talking with at least half a dozen general contractors who were all too busy to take this job on in the timeframe we need it done. That's when I started getting nervous. Not so much because I couldn't find an available GC, but because if all the top-recommended ones were booked up, what did that say about the quality and reliability of the ones who were available?

I'll share the GC role with my long-ago roommate, Mike, who's a tile and stone mason by trade, but well versed in all aspects of construction. He was a bit skeptical at first, but once he saw the space and the plans, he was more than confident he could handle the job. As for me, the building trades experience I have comes from owning a four-family apartment building for the last eight years. Together, I think we'll pull it off. My natural fear, though, is by taking this on myself I risk delaying the opening which would be the opposite of good.

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