Workflow

At around midnight on Monday evening, an ominous dripping sound started to come from our guest bathroom. Closer inspection revealed water pouring through the ceiling.
I arranged some buckets and the dance began.
Call developer hotline, explain what’s happening, am told emergency team will be dispatched.
Emergency team arrive two and a half hours later. They ascertain that the water heater is at fault, switch it off, leave hot tap open to drain it. They leave, telling me that they will inform that call centre that the water heater needs replacing and that someone will come to do it tomorrow.
Noone has arrived by 1100 on Tuesday, so I call the contact centre, who have no idea what is going on. I explain to them that there is a leak and that their own team said that the water heater needed replacing. They promise someone and two blokes arrive an hour later than expected.
The two men clamber around the water heater and then tell me it needs replacing. A discussion ensues, during which I tell them that I knew that already and that I thought they were there to replace it. It turns out that is not the case, that the previous team had no updated anyone and that they thought they were just there to fix a leak, not to replace a water heater.
Whilst these guys are here, I get a call from the sub-contractor asking me about a leak and whether they need to send someone to fix it.
After much confusion, I ascertain that the people currently in the flat are from the property developer’s emergency team, there only because the contact centre told them to fix a leak.
Someone has, however, alerted the sub-contractor, telling them that they need to visit to work out what needs doing.
After a tense discussion, I explain to the sub-contractor that they have to send someone now and that I am very sorry, but it is not my fault that people have gone home already.
A nice bloke, we’ll call him Dave, who I know already, comes round. This is a British guy who works for the sub-contractor and is the only person I have met, during the whole time I have lived here, who is pro-active and demonstrates any common sense. He confirms the water heater needs replacing and explains that it will take at lest two days, but probable longer. This is because of issues with the sub-sub-contractor, who are useless and who don’t keep spares and who allow people to go on holiday with no replacement, meaning that emergencies such as water heater replacements cannot be dealt with. Dave tells me he has almost 10 cases similar to mine to deal with. Luckily I have a second bathroom, others do not, so they are facing several days with no hot water.
Dave says he will pursue things.
On Weds I get a call from the sub-contractor’s customer services, arranging an appointment to ‘fix the leak’. I explain that they have already ascertained that the water heater needs replacing, so whoever comes around should be coming to replace the water heater and that they should take to Dave first.
This morning, the sub-sub-contractor’s team arrives. They are lead by someone we will call ‘Raju’. My heart sinks, as Raju’s normal job appears to be to pretend to fix your toilet, then disappear, then come back again three weeks later to fix the toilet after you’ve logged another call saying the toilet wasn’t fixed the last time. Raju appears unable to admit that he doesn’t know what to do, or that what he is trying to do is impossible. There is some cultural issue that prevents him saying ‘no’, ‘not possible’ or ‘I’ve not been trained how to do this’. He has a tourette’s like need to answer ever question with either ‘yes’, or ‘no problem’. This means he is stuck in a Dante-like circle of hell, going from apartment to apartment uttering the magic words ‘finish sir’ when it is clear that things have either not been repaired or have been made worse.
My favourite Raju moment so far was during a visit where he was supposed to stop water splashing out of the toilets during flushing. After uttering his magic words, ‘finish sir’, I made him stand next to me as I tested each toilet. The first one we tested splashed water out even further than before, breaking a new world record. Raju’s response was not to say ‘sorry’, ‘oh dear’, or ‘I will get the manual and try to work out what was wrong’. He simply asked me to sign the form stating he had completed the job. On this particular occasion I simply laughed. In future I may simply throw myself off the balcony in frustration.
Raju and team climb up to look at water heater and inform me it is leaking. I explain, remarkably calmly, that I am aware of this fact already and that they are supposed to be here to replace the water heater. I see the words ‘finish sir’ forming on Raju’s lips and decide to cut him off and call Dave instead.
Fortunately Dave is in the area and pops around to explain to Raju that if the water heater is broken, they need to replace it. He tells them that even though the replacement’s not available, they might as well remove the heater for now.
This involves ripping out part of the ceiling – the property developer has apparently built 100s of apartments in such a way that none of the replaceable items – AC components, water heaters, etc – can be replaced, or sometimes even accessed, without tearing the ceiling down.
So, as of today, we have no hot water for the main bathroom and a gaping hole in the guest bedroom. Dave is attempting to squeeze some replacement water heaters from the sub-sub-contractor, who have none in stock, it seems.
All this could be avoided if –
– the contact centre applied some common sense when managing calls.
– the sub-sub-contractor kept major items in stock.
– whoever designed the ceilings possessed a brain cell.
What makes all of this rather worrying is that the apartment will no longer be under warranty from October. On top of that, I have discovered that the outrageous service fee we pay doesn’t cover any maintenance work in the aparment.
There is one thing to be pleased about – Dave informs me that our block is the best built of the lot. This means we appear to have been spared AC leakages, walls falling down and sundry other disasters.
The joys of home ownership.

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One Response to “Workflow”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    so now you realise that the properties in Dubai were not meant to be lived in, but to launder money.

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