The Grapevine of Wrath 2: Jackhammers and Dumpsters

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Morse Code “Good Morning”

A few weeks ago I wrote about the pitiful communication skills many HOAs and management companies use when communicating with residents.  Who knew I would get a second example so soon?

Imagine your Saturday tranquility shattered by jackhammers ripping through concrete minutes after sunrise at 7 a.m. Turns out that a building with ground-floor commercial space chose Saturday morning to allow a renovation to begin after the space recently changed hands.

Needless to say, residents were unhappy and loudly voiced their unhappiness over the din of the demolition.

It was only then, jackhammers jacking, that residents were told the renovation was happening and had been allowed to work outside the building’s usual Monday-to-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. hours. The new owners were able to work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Insert grumbling, calls, and email blasts.

Then, that night at 11 p.m., after a few short hours of peace, the 40-cubic-yard dumpster, filled with the day’s detritus, was picked up and replaced from the front of the building. As you see above, an empty dumpster screeched and rumbled off the back before the full one scraped and screeched its way back on. Insert a full chorus of backup beep-beep-beeping.  At 11 p.m.

Again building residents were alight with rage.  And who can blame them after a 7 a.m. jackhammer blast bookended by a semi hauling it all away? Irate residents were on the street in PJs and robes.

How Did This Happen?

Months prior, the new owner had petitioned building management and the HOA about their desire for extended work hours.  There were meetings and negotiations before the final days and hours were agreed to. That final agreement was hammered out (pun intended) over a month prior to the jackhammer wake-up call.

The building manager made the case to alert residents but was overruled by the HOA and the building management company.

It’s important to note that even though this was a months-long negotiation, it was never discussed during an HOA meeting and so was never officially recorded as happening. Residents were completely blindsided.

During the initial brouhaha, one email string copied an HOA board member thinking that the construction crew had gone rogue.  When that board member finally replied to the original poster (who owned other units in the building who the board member was the rental agent for), she replied that all her tenants had been notified.

Sooooo, the construction noise was enough of an issue to alert her “customer/tenants” but not the residents of the building she represented as an HOA board member? Nor her own client?

Her reply questioned the wisdom of allowing the construction … that she as an HOA board member approved of in the closed-door meetings (she left that part out).  One respondent questioned the wisdom of the HOA for not alerting owners. Her response was a complete dodge telling that owner to contact the management company.

Finally, the management company replied the email string they’d been added to and admitted it was completely his fault (and not the building manager who’d rallied for a notice – his employee).  It’s been a week, and no building-wide communication has gone out.

Harking back to my original post, I wonder if building residents had seen this weeks prior …

“Beginning February 23rd, New Owner will be undergoing a renovation that will last until March 31st.  The HOA made the decision to allow extended working hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday through Saturday during this period.  We made that decision because had New Owner adhered to our published rules, the renovation (and noise) would have lasted X-weeks longer.  We thought the accommodation was worth the shortened schedule for all residents …”

Anyway, tomorrow is another Saturday. I wonder what that will bring?


Remember:  High-rises, HOAs and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement.  If you’re interested in hosting a Staff Meeting event, I’m your guy. In 2016 and 2017, the National Association of Real Estate Editors has recognized my writing with two Bronze (2016, 2017) and two Silver (2016, 2017) awards.  Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make?  Shoot me an email

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Jon Anderson

Jon Anderson is's condo/HOA and developer columnist, but also covers second home trends on An award-winning columnist, Jon has earned silver and bronze awards for his columns from the National Association of Real Estate Editors in both 2016, 2017 and 2018. When he isn't in Hawaii, Jon enjoys life in the sky in Dallas.

Reader Interactions


  1. Charles Carneal says

    The communication was poor. AGREED.

    Personally, I would rather get it over with. If the Owner/ Contractor are willing to pay overtime for Saturday, I would rather do that than look at the dumpster and the mess for additional weeks.

    P.S. I am a morning person and up at 5 or 6 most days.

    • mmJon Anderson says

      I suspect many of those residents would agree about extended hours and shorter time (I would too). But communication is key.

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