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The Building Industry & The Self Defeating Back-Stabbing Monster

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    The Building Industry & The Self Defeating Back-Stabbing Monster

    Simple question.

    At what point did the building industry become more about placing blame and playing dumb than creating excellent buildings? I'm really disappointed by the amount of time, effort, and money spent on finger pointing and trying to pass the buck.

    Anyone have any historical background on how it ended up like that? Or perhaps positive anecdotes that could cheer me up?

    Thanks.

    #2
    Originally posted by Darken Rahl View Post
    Simple question.

    At what point did the building industry become more about placing blame and playing dumb than creating excellent buildings? I'm really disappointed by the amount of time, effort, and money spent on finger pointing and trying to pass the buck.

    Anyone have any historical background on how it ended up like that? Or perhaps positive anecdotes that could cheer me up?

    Thanks.
    I think that in every market place there is a different point in time when the construction industry changed from a friendly, every one knows every one type of business environment. For me, in the commercial glazing biz in the SF bay area it happened during the '88-'89 recession. I started in my field in '69 and made many friends in the construction biz. I knew their kids names, their wives names, even their dogs names. Then it changed over the period of a year. Contractors would stab you in the back for $100 bucks. Contractors that historically knew the difference between a low bid from an unknown and a next to low bid from a reputable subcontractor that they had done work with successfully for years all of sudden didn't remember my name any longer. I lasted about a year in that atmosphere before I started my own business doing design and shop drawings for my former competitors in the glass biz. I've never had to advertise, I've never not had work to do, and I believe that it's because I never change my way of doing business based on the current business climate. My customers are my friends and I would do anything for them. And I think that they feel the same way about me.

    My thoughts about people who point fingers and place blame...It's my job to help them see the light at the end of the tunnel in a positive way. It's hard to be blamed when you're helpful and have a smile on your face or in your voice
    I'm retired, if you don't like it, go around!

    Comment


      #3
      Easy; People nowadays have the it's NEVER my fault and it's ALWAYS your fault attitude. Period. End of story. I'm one of the few people at my company that own up to my mistakes as soon as they happen. I never try to blame my way out of it. It just doesn't make sense to me. Own up to it, figure it out, get it fixed, move on. It makes life much easier.

      I bet it's that way in all walks of life, not just the construction industry.
      Dan

      Comment


        #4
        The first day of my first architectural studio in college back in 198... uh, a long time ago, the professor wrote a word on the blackboard. He said it would be a word that guided almost everything we did as design professionals. The word was PARANOIA. He was right.
        For some reason, that lesson has stuck with me - very memorable, and very true. Actually, the conclusion of that line of thought is one of the main reasons that I do not work on projects any more. At some point as an architectural project manager, I realized that it was my job to go to meetings and give everyone on the project bad news. I hated that.
        The BIM process embodies some hope for deliverance from the hell of the design-bid-build project process. To answer the original question, I don't know when it started. Perhaps when it was codified into law that public projects had to be awarded to the low bidder? When did professional liability insurance come into vogue as a contractual requirement? Somewhere in there.
        FWIW, my three laws of project management follow:
        -Faster, cheaper, better - pick two.
        -It's always better to act than be acted upon.
        -You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

        Comment


          #5
          I find it frustrating to be detailing a project and have redlines that suggest that if I don't call out the identical reveal every single place it shows up, the contractor will issue an RFI and try to make it seem like we haven't done our job, simply because he chooses to pretend to be dumb and lacking the common sense to understand that, in the same detail, two of the same reveal are the same reveal. I am of the opinion that you could understand that even without a second, third, or fourth leader from the same note...

          I dislike the mentality that Architecture is a game in which we try to play "gotcha" with the people who we should be working WITH, not against.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Darken Rahl View Post
            I find it frustrating to be detailing a project and have redlines that suggest that if I don't call out the identical reveal every single place it shows up, the contractor will issue an RFI and try to make it seem like we haven't done our job, simply because he chooses to pretend to be dumb and lacking the common sense to understand that, in the same detail, two of the same reveal are the same reveal. I am of the opinion that you could understand that even without a second, third, or fourth leader from the same note...

            I dislike the mentality that Architecture is a game in which we try to play "gotcha" with the people who we should be working WITH, not against.
            I agree. I actually had my steel fabricator tell me that I need to do a callout and detail for EVERY bend in a steel structure. Since I only showed one detail, he should only build one. Not the 8 that are required, even though they are all identical. That's just ignorance.

            My favorite thing I get is when my superintendent says "we've changed that in the field for years". Really?? Why am I just now hearing about it? You'd think they would tell me the first time so I can revise the plans and make them correct.

            Wow, Darken, it looks like you've really touched a nerve with this topic! lol
            Last edited by dzatto; December 15, 2010, 09:23 PM.
            Dan

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Darken Rahl View Post
              I find it frustrating to be detailing a project and have redlines that suggest that if I don't call out the identical reveal every single place it shows up, the contractor will issue an RFI and try to make it seem like we haven't done our job, simply because he chooses to pretend to be dumb and lacking the common sense to understand that, in the same detail, two of the same reveal are the same reveal. I am of the opinion that you could understand that even without a second, third, or fourth leader from the same note...

              I dislike the mentality that Architecture is a game in which we try to play "gotcha" with the people who we should be working WITH, not against.
              from the opposite side of the fence I hate it when I am depended upon to provide accurate and concise detailing for a curtain wall or window system and there aren't any dimensional references to grid or details etc on the Architectural plans. 90%+ of the Architectural drawings that I work with are severely lacking in project information. I know why too...Owners don't like to pay for complete project docs anymore so Architects get a minimal percentage of project cost to try to get something in front of GC's and subs that makes some sense.
              I'm retired, if you don't like it, go around!

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Dave Jones View Post
                from the opposite side of the fence I hate it when I am depended upon to provide accurate and concise detailing for a curtain wall or window system and there aren't any dimensional references to grid or details etc on the Architectural plans. 90%+ of the Architectural drawings that I work with are severely lacking in project information. I know why too...Owners don't like to pay for complete project docs anymore so Architects get a minimal percentage of project cost to try to get something in front of GC's and subs that makes some sense.
                I do my best from the design side of the fence to include details that show non-traditional or custom situations or indicate the portions of the assembly that are the most important to me. I find that many architects tend to go overboard detailing corner beads at 6"=1'-0" but then miss that custom detail where the wood ceiling meets the exterior curtain wall.

                It takes communication and a judicious use of careful thought to know where the line between not enough and too much is, and I find that many of my colleagues tend to have the same "us vs. them" mentality that they blame the contractors for. It always takes two to tango, and I'd rather work WITH someone instead of assuming they're out to get me and making sure I get them first.

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