Toxic attitude

Same wall

Same wall


The picture above tells a sad tale. A tale of bad project management, dispirited workers, and poor results for building occupants. I should note that I was the first person to access that space on the left in the 20 plus years since the building was constructed. I had to cut my way in because there was no access.

On the right is what you see. A pretty typical resort condo rental closet. No door, but you’re just here for a few days. But on the other side of that 1/2” thick drywall? That’s pretty nasty. Let’s run through what we can see and figure out what happened.

The drywall scraps are the big clue. Rather than tossing them out the window into the dumpster they just left them. Most job superintendents demand cleanliness as a basic element of job site safety and discipline. It’s not mean, it keeps things under control, and that’s good for everyone.

A well run job site is a wonderful place to be. The different trades, coordinated by a good super, work together and get along. Conflicts are minimal, and if they do arise they get resolved quickly with little ruffling of feathers. Assuming that the right plans are in place you get a well constructed building. Details attended to. Specifications followed. Quality construction.

Most general contractors and construction managers run good job sites. Some run great job sites. A rare few run really toxic sites. Incentives are all punitive. Cooperation among trades is rare and disputes are often ignored. Bad things happen. Insulation gets installed poorly, Poly sheets are slapped up with insufficient fastening and subsequent trades damage it and don’t fix it. And no one cares enough to worry about it.

Sometimes things get so bad that bathtubs get installed over windows and it never gets fixed.

img_0021-copyYup, same job.

I could go on about the faults in this space, and I will in another post. But I wanted to talk bout how stupid things happen. The sad thing is that the people who really pay the price are future occupants. Whether it’s a rental condo, an office or someone’s home, bad process leads to bad results.

When you’re hiring someone to build a building try to visit an in progress job. Is it neat? How’s the communication?  Don’t expect to see workers stopping to sing happy songs together, but if they’re at each other’s throats it’s a problem. Construction is a complex dance that needs a lot of coordination. Too many conflicts mean poor results. And that will be with you a very long time.

About Buildinggeek

I love buildings. I love thinking about how they are made and how they work. I am a building geek. I love to talk about buildings too. Get in touch.
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