By William Atkinson, Special to CONTRACTOR
HICKSVILLE, N.Y — When ABC-TV’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” arrived in late March on Long Island to help a homeowner, it was for a good cause. The new home was for a Suffolk County police officer whose wife died shortly after the birth of their third child.
“They lived in an 800-sq.-ft. house — really small,” said Hunter R. Botto, president of Botto Bros. Plumbing & Heating Contractors in Hicksville. “In addition, when she passed away, he had a
lot of financial burdens.”
The general contractor for the project was Allure Contracting, which is located around the corner from Botto Bros. Actually, Botto Bros. wasn’t even expected to be part of the project because Allure has its own plumber, Botto told CONTRACTOR.
However, Kohler was supplying a Body Spa shower system for the new home, and the installation needed additional expertise, which Botto Bros. possessed from having installed these units previously. So, Allure called Botto Bros. and asked the plumbing contractor to install the shower, Botto added.
He and two of his employees arrived early Saturday morning to get started. These were lead carpenter/plumber, Hank Behrens, and Botto’s Kohler authorized repair person, Tommy Giamo.
“When we arrived, we had a few-hour window to rough in the shower,” Botto said.
The reason for the limited timeframe was that the Sheetrock installer, spacklers and tile workers were scheduled right behind them. If that wasn’t enough of a challenge, though, upon arrival the team discovered that the Body Spa unit was not on the jobsite.
“We spent the better part of the morning trying to locate another one and finally tracked one down in Allure’s warehouse,” Botto said.
The team also had to stop by another supply house to pick up a shower base. At the same time, the TV show decided to renovate one of the neighbor’s bathrooms.
“As a result, we spent even more time driving around to pick up fixtures for the neighbor’s bathroom,” Botto said.
Hunter Botto’s brother, Roger, who is vice president/operations, handled much of this additional work. He came to the jobsite mid-day with all the supplies for the neighbor’s projects. The two supply houses that opened their doors for them that Saturday were Blackman Plumbing Supply and Greenart Plumbing Supply.
“We had to call the owners at home, and they were willing to come down and open up for us,” Hunter Botto said.
With all the supplies finally on hand, the team got to work and installed the shower base on Saturday. About noon the following Monday, the show asked them to return and install the shower enclosure. Everything was finished Wednesday morning, including the landscaping and the sod lawn, just two hours before the show came in.
In looking back on the project, Botto said he was incredibly impressed. About 100 people worked on the job, many of them working 24/7.
“It was an exciting and unique endeavor,” he said. “I’ve been in plumbing all my life, and I’ve been involved in a lot of Habitat projects, but I’ve never seen anything like this. There were so many people, and things were moving so quickly.
“If you stood around doing nothing for even a moment, someone would Sheetrock you in!”
In addition, he emphasized that everything was being done well. It was quality work.
“Inspectors from the town were on the job 24/7 too,” he added. “If there were any problems, they were fixed immediately.”
Botto said that his company didn’t do the job for the publicity associated with the TV show.
“It was just good to be part of it,” he explained. “I’ve always believed that, if you do good things, good things come your way. We’ve been in business 70 years, and things have gone well for us. It was also a good feeling to see my two guys working so hard and really enjoying what they were doing.”
After having this experience, Botto said hopes that similar opportunities present themselves in the future.
“I hope they do more of these,” he said, “because I would like to involve either our company or members of our local chapter of the PHCC in Nassau County.”