For 21 years now, Schafer Construction, Inc. has been actively involved in Rebuilding Together Oakland (formerly, Christmas in April). Rebuilding Together Oakland, or RTO, works collaboratively with community partnerships to rehabilitate properties owned by low-income homeowners. RTO has also had an irreplaceable impact on non-profit facilities. RTO homeowners are diverse. RTO candidates and recipients are most often senior citizens, disabled community members, veterans, grandparents who have become primary care providers, or adult children caring for their ailing parents.
Every year, Rudi and his crew bring their construction expertise to the community. Rudi describes the opportunity to give back as, “gratifying.” Upon glancing in Rudi’s office, it is easy to see the impact his involvement with Rebuilding Together Oakland has had on his work. 16 RTO shirts line the wall of his office, with five remaining shirts still waiting for a space in line.
In April of 2017, the Schafer Construction team worked meticulously to prepare for the April 29th build. The prep-work included a demolition day on April 22, 2017 that would not have been the same without the overwhelming number of volunteers. On the last Saturday in April, Rudi and his team arrived in the early morning, ready to work. As the hours elapsed the deck was created right in front of your eyes, like a time lapse video come to life. The transformation to the property was almost immediate. Schafer Construction, Inc. completely rebuilt the dilapidated deck. Schafer Construction, Inc. transformed the heavy rot, 3 inch gaps in the decking, and precariously steep (and not code compliant) staircases. While Rudi and his team worked with efficiency to build the deck, numerous volunteers sacrificed their Saturday and cleaned up the front and back landscape, hauled items left over from the demo day to the dumpster, and assisted in general labor tasks.
Rudi explained the significant changes to the decking.
For the stair system on this deck, we redesigned them so they are code compliant, efficient, easy to use, and will last. We tore down the wide, steep stair case. Although the original staircase provided direct access to the garden and gateway, the stairs were a tripping hazard with an unreliable railing. The new stair system leads down into the center of the garden. The stairs also provide more safety in the railing system, and is enclosed enough that if one were to stumble, it poses less of a risk of injury. The new stairwell was measured with precision, easy to walk down and up, and is flush to the decking with no gaps or drops.
The fence and front gate were completely rebuilt. With a similar layout, the new fence was constructed with Con Heart Redwood. It is held together with appropriate fasteners, fresh hinges, and provides the homeowner with security and peace of mind.
We replaced the siding beneath the deck. We tore out the tired concrete and rotted wood and worked with precision to cut and fit the new siding flush to the house.
Schafer Construction, Inc. often reflects on their work with RTO throughout the years as sees it as an opportunity to bond, use their skills, and grow, all while having an invaluable impact on the lives of others. Rudi and his team look forward to the opportunity to continue to be involved in ROT and what they can accomplish together in the years to come.