During the course of the Façade Improvement Project, Patapsco Heritage Greenway faced challenges which might be instructive for others considering a similar project.
- Working with multiple grants and agencies extended the project lead time substantially as the scope of work and budgeted expenses had to be approved in advance. Nothing could be ordered or purchased until all approvals were in hand. Of note is the time needed for design, budgeting, applications, approvals and contracts exceeded the time for our façade rehab construction.
- PHG, as tenant, navigated through the layered paperwork for this project on behalf of the owner. A pro bono attorney reviewed our contracts with both owner and licensed general contractor to confirm everything was in order. Key to the success of the contracts was making sure they spelled out a detailed scope of work and phased payment schedule.
- Another surprising challenge that threatened to derail the façade project when it was discovered there was a discrepancy between the official permitted use of the property and the description within the lease. After tense and rigorous review, the discrepancy was ironed out and the project proceeded.
- Another unanticipated item was that while there were no structural changes proposed to the façade, the Howard County Department of Licenses and Permits’ regulations still mandated a Building Permit be pulled. As it turned out, we were required to pull a permit in order to ensure that appropriate exit hardware was installed inside the doors. Another example of the need to “plan for the unexpected”!
Despite these challenges getting rolling, the early spring weather was conducive to the work and project completion was expected on time. Then on May 27, 2018, the epic flood of Ellicott City stopped all onsite work for weeks; access to the core of the town was limited to essential personnel. While our site did not have major damage, it was inaccessible due to restrictions on the entire town. Luckily once water, power, and parking lot access were restored to Tonge Row, our contractor was able to finish façade work before the end of June after all.
In the end, we had finished a project to be proud of–from the high caliber of the construction work and careful attention to restoration details to the custom-made, durable wood door frames, copper-capping for the shutters, and high-pigmented alkyd oil paint protecting the new features.