A backhoe breaks through the floor of the Concord cottage, completing one end of a trench that will bring in essential services from the street.
Like a master puppeteer, John Aiello sits in the cab of his excavator and manipulates hydraulic levers that control a backhoe arm extending 20 feet ahead of him. As a police officer redirects oncoming traffic, he quickly carves a trench 7 feet deep into the street in front of Janet and Jeff Bernard's 1894 Shingle-style house in Concord, Massachusetts. Somewhere far under the layers of asphalt and soil lies the sewer main — an 8-inch-wide clay pipe that Aiello, a foreman for an excavating company, needs to connect to the barn in the Bernards' backyard, which This Old House is converting to an in-law cottage for the current TV project.

The sewer line will be just one of several new systems installed to serve the modest outbuilding that the Bernards are making into a residence for Janet's parents. Before TOH general contractor Tom Silva can turn this former chicken shack into a snug cottage, he needs to bring in all the basics: sewer, water, gas, and electric — not to mention high-tech necessities like telephone, cable, and Internet lines.

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