Upham's Corner Online

St. Kevin's Starting Construction on the Wrong Foot

The St. Kevin's project started weeks ago.  All permits needed to start the building process were in place but not at the job site.  City ordinance requires the permit to be on display to the public and any weekend work requires a separate permit.  Both of these ordinances were ignored - no permits on display and working on Saturday without a permit.  Following conversation with Adrian Walsh from Bilt-Rite, the the permits are now on display and he says they will not be working Saturdays.

Construction Work on a Saturday without Permit

St. Kevin's working on Saturday 030814Early morning Saturday, March 8, 2014, construction workers had the sidewalk in front of 530 Columbia Rd blocked as they folded sheet plastic retrieved from inside the St. Kevin's building.  "Where is your construction permit?  Where is your permit to work on Saturday?"

The workers insisted they were allowed to work but no, they did not know where the permit was. "The supervisor is not here."  A call to the Mayor's Hotline brought a wrong answer.  "ISD is not open on Saturday.  You will have to call the Boston Police."  A lot of good that will do!  The police put such calls at the bottom of the priority list.  If they ever got to the site, it would likely be after the workers have left.

According to Michael Nee, the ISD inspector handling the front desk, no construction work is allowed on Saturdays unless a specific permit is pulled.  ISD also maintains a list of addresses for which no Saturday permit is ever issued.  The permit is not cheap - $100 a weekend.

However, he said the Mayor's Hotline had it wrong.  Every weekend an ISD inspector is assigned to handle any calls relating to Saturday construction work.  If the Mayor's Hotline won't cooperate, insist you know what you are talking about.  They will eventually get ahold of ISD. 

Most important:  ISD does not get paid (even though they are on call - so says Michael) unless they go out for one issue, so be sure to make the on-call status worth their while.  Any Saturday construction work should be called into 617-635-4500, not the police.

The Projet Permits are Active

The St. Kevin's project is comprised of three permits. 

516 Columbia Rd
Chg occupancy from school to 21 residential units.  Renovate 2 story schoolhouse / add 1 floor
530 Columbia Rd
Chap 121A BRA approved.  New 5 story, 47 unit mid-rise bldg with grd floor community space / offices
35 Bird St
New 3-story townhouse building for 12 residential units

Project Permits Not on Display

On Tuesday, March 11, 2014, a police detail was guarding construction work on Davern Ave at 530 Columbia Rd.  To the construction workers digging up the street, we asked: "Where is your permit?  City ordinances require the permit to be on display to the public."  The Bilt-Rite representative was Adrian Walsh who immediately said he had copies of the permits in his folder.  "That doesn't help us, does it. If you don't put the permits on display, ISD will shut this job down."  He answered with another excuse.  "I can't put up permits on a building that is coming down."  To that we responded:  "The other building (516) IS NOT coming down."  Mr. Walsh had no response.

In moments he left and we found him coming out of the open door at 516 Columbia Rd - the front of the school.  "You are not allowed to come in here."  That led to a bit of a conversation contest.  Was he going to insist on my leaving or was he going to answer the question about why they were working on Saturday without a permit. 

"The office was supposed to pull the permit," he said  As his two hands pointed in opposite directions at the virtual office that had not done their job, he stated: "We will not be working on Saturdays."  "Yes, but you worked last Saturday without a permit."  "Ok," he said, "we worked on Saturday without a permit."  [Thank you]

The whole point of the conversation was to let them/him know that the community expects Bilt-Rite to adhere to City of Boston ordinanaces and to respect our neighborhood. 

St. Kevin's PermitsThere was more.  If you ever get a chance to speak with Adrian Walsh, find a way to lengthen the conversation as much as possible.  This man speaks with the most beautiful Irish brogue.  Just to make sure the name was right (rite?), we called Bilt-Rite and the gentleman who answered the phone agreed:  Yes, his accent is wonderful.

Permits Now on Display

The permits are now on display in a first floor window of 516 Columbia Rd.  They are up too high to see but that's OK.  They don't say much.  Use the link below to see all the permits that are currently active for the three St. Kevin's buildings as of 3/11/14.


Bilt-Rite Construction
150 Shirley St, Roxbury, MA 02119
(617) 541-9777


St. Kevin's working on Saturday 030814 St. Kevin's working on Saturday 030814

St. Kevin's working on Saturday 030814 St. Kevin's working on Saturday 030814

Posted: Mar 11, 2014     Nancy J Conrad

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