Footage of housing issues in Chicago. This tape features two segments, one looking at porch repair and another at electrical upgrades to a building's intercom system.
00:00Copy video clip URL Title card: A Mini Zone Project Demonstration
00:21Copy video clip URL Title card: The Rehabilitation of a Back Porch
00:43Copy video clip URL B-roll of a decaying back porch on an old walk up in Chicago. A man explains that the joints are traps for moisture and the wood begins to rot. It gets covered up and that makes it worse because it traps moisture. Then the whole thing falls apart.
01:40Copy video clip URL Interview with a man who says that some of the danger signs are rot. You can test for it by poking at places you suspect are rotted. The wood gets soft. This porch had rotten decking and structural members. The corner posts were rotten. It’s all been replaced, as well as the railing. Probably this porch was bad because e the gutter was leaking at the roof. The object of the gutter was to keep water off the porch and it wasn’t doing that. This is about a ten-day job. That’s typical.
03:50Copy video clip URL Footage of the crew working.
03:55Copy video clip URL A worker says the porch sagged five inches. We’ve taken the old additions off, made it level. We’re pouring new footing in and then replace the entire post all the way to the top. Then replace the bottoms of the two center posts. In addition we’ll replace all three of the lookouts.
05:30Copy video clip URL Footage of workers mixing cement, cutting, setting foundations for the posts.
06:31Copy video clip URL Interview with the first man who says bad porches is a common problem in Chicago. In a two-block radius we can find ten bad porches. The reason they’re not fixed is that it’s costly. People put it off. It takes a lot of work to keep these wooden walk-up porches. It’s a costly porch design.
08:04Copy video clip URL Footage of the porch under construction.
08:31Copy video clip URL The man says he doesn’t know how often these porches collapse, but he just saw one on the news recently. It’s a common thing.
09:22Copy video clip URL Continued footage of the workers at work. Sawing wood, setting another post foundation.
10:07Copy video clip URL The man says you don’t need a permit if you’re just making repairs, which is what this is considered. The city won’t inspect this then, but they’re supposed to inspect back porches every year. They look for missing members, weak railings, deteriorated wood, rotten decking … anything that can cause injury. And in theory the owner has to fix it. But these types of three-flat buildings don’t have mandatory inspections. As a result, many of them don’t get inspected until there’s a tragedy.
11:32Copy video clip URL Continued footage of the work in progress.
12:23Copy video clip URL Interview with the man who says if taken care of you can find a porch like this lasting 40 or 50 years. If they’re painted properly, cared for, and gutters are in good order.
13:00Copy video clip URL Footage of the porch, finished and repaired.
13:20Copy video clip URL Black
14:47Copy video clip URL Video starts again in mid-interview with an electrician inside an apartment building. He is saying that the building originally had an intercom and bell system. It’s been neglected and torn up. It’s non-existent now that’s why they’re putting in a new one. The first system dates back to 1914. That’s what they took out.
16:08Copy video clip URL He says the majority of buildings in this city have antiquated bell systems, unless they’ve been maintained by custodians. You actually have to replace the wires because you don’t know if they’re damaged. It’s a chore to trace them. He shows some of the old wires. They’re rotten and just come apart. The insulation is dried up. They used cotton instead of plastic we use today. We have them brightly color coded so you can see what you’re working with in low light.
18:47Copy video clip URL The man says it’s basically a simple process, just about anyone can do it if they have the knowledge. He shows the replaces bell system: one button to talk, one to listen and one to buzz in a visitor. The back of the unit, he explains, is five wires. One is a common wire, one is for the bell, the other three are for the two-way talking unit.
21:03Copy video clip URL In the basement, the man shows the transformer and the primary 110 voltage wires. The 16 volt wire is the power for the entire system. It runs the doorbell intercom system, and powers the door.
22:04Copy video clip URL He shows the control box. It distributes the power and current to the intercom systems in the apartments and to the directory in the hall. Everything is color coded. He says he only wires the power after everything I complete and has been checked out.
23:42Copy video clip URL The man says because of the new regulation on mailbox sizes, they’ve increased 50 percent. He shows a panel showing the old size. He’s had to add new mailboxes and placed them in a different area because the size has changed. Now he has to mount a new directory listing all the apartments and buzzers for visitors to call the apartment. The security is fairly good. It’s hard to estimate how long it will take to install. With an existing system already in place it should take more than 2 or 3 hours to install the wires and hook it up. If you’re knowledgeable about simple electric wiring.
26:12Copy video clip URL Another man starts to talk about the directory panel, but the frame freezes.
31:15Copy video clip URL END.