Warehouse of Horrors

I was hired by a client about six months ago to renovate a warehouse they had recently purchased. It had been vacant for a while, which is always a bad sign when you start actually looking into the building—you see where things were neglected and misused during the off period. I have worked on other buildings that were poorly maintained, but I can assure you that this one took first prize.

I walked through the building with the client and talked about what he envisioned for the space—what sort of work would be done there, how many employees and that sort of thing. We immediately decided that the break and bathrooms would need to be enlarged, as he was expecting to hire more people than the rooms were originally designed for. This would cut into his available workspace, but we were able to reconfigure some of it to make up the majority of the room lost by expanding those facilities.

Then it came time for the demo and construction. I started to hear about mice from the team doing the work. Ugh. Mice are one of the two dreaded things to find during a renovation (in case you’re wondering, the other is mold). Not many things stop a project as quickly as a mice infestation. Since I try to be as conscientious as possible, I don’t see much point in killing these creatures—who can blame them for using the space, after all? Nobody else was. They seemed to be relatively new tenants, which was good. We didn’t see much damage to the interior of the walls and they hadn’t appeared to gnaw through any wiring at all, thank goodness! We set down some humane mouse traps to solve the problem.

Once the mice were safely and humanely out of the way, we were extra careful with the rest of the demo and did a serious clean out before we started building again. We located some hazardous materials that needed to be disposed of and a lot of rusty, unsalvageable equipment. Once we had that out of the way, we had the building checked twice more to see if any of our little friends had returned. We had to set down a few more traps, but all in all the situation got under control fairly easily. It could have been a lot worse.

We are nearly done with the renovation part now, and once that is complete, we’ll do another inspection to make sure everything is up to code before we start putting in the furniture and equipment. This has been a challenging project, to say the least. I think I will be done with warehouses for a bit after this one, and possibly off buildings that were previously abandoned altogether!