• Field Notes 21.10.2009

    My son, after getting a degree in accounting, went to work for a paving and excavating contractor. Come to find out the same issues that affect the glass and glazing business are the same in the earth moving business: How accurate are your estimates? How well did you define your scope? Are you doing something for nothing because the field guys don’t know what they should or shouldn’t do? How timely are you paid? And the myriad of other legal, contractual, personnel, resource allocation and technical issues each of us address every day. It doesn’t matter whether it’s glass, metal or dirt; it looks like even the electrical, mechanical and all the other trades have to manage cash flow and control scope. It’s all plan, monitor, implement and change as required to meet schedules and budgets. 

    In those daydream moments we all have about things we’d love to do, but can’t without risking being fired, I’ve thought of some favorite things to put on shop drawings or in bid proposals or sneak into a contract now and then:  “Field Note:  Verify dimension in field, cut to length, beat to fit, paint to match.”  Or: “Sorry, we missed that during the estimating, so we will not be providing it.  It’s not in our scope.”

    Along with my business card for my day job, I’d also like to hand out a second card for a company I’d like to start: “Others Construction Company.” We don’t have to bid any work, people assign us work all the time. Have you never noted work as “By Others?” That’s my other line of work – send us your drawings, we’ll gladly do it. Fair warning: Don’t think we’ll do it for free just ’cause it was missed in the estimate.  

    Finally, can someone please explain why dates for buying or starting the work slip behind in the schedule, but the end date for completing the glazing never moves? So even if you start as soon as a purchase order or contract is signed, you’re already late. And why no one remembers even if or why the start date was postponed in the first place? But by George, the end date ain’t moving! Besides Lyle Hill’s immutable rules of the glass and glazing business, surely there are other “Murphy’s Laws of Glazing” out there. 

    I’d love to hear some other suggestions for things you say when no one is listening, or other laws of the construction universe you know about and would love to share, if nothing more than, “Hey if you’re not laughing …” To borrow on a line, “There’s no crying in glazing.” Those people have already quit the business.  But you’re still here.  Hang in there, the cream always comes to the top.

    Posted by Blogger @ 8:37 am

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USGlass Magazine

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