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ken hercenberg
Senior Member
Username: khercenberg

Post Number: 238
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2012 - 11:32 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I was just talking with a friend about some of the things we used to do, and got away with, that we probably couldn't do any more.

One of mine was walking the jobsite with a can of safety orange spray paint, tagging every wet piece of gyp board, polyiso, and fiber insulation to make sure they didn't get dried and returned to the site. I'd probably get billed for defacing property if I did that today.

I also used to bring a small bottle of iodine with a dropper. We found that while PVDF coatings with 70 percent resins didn't stain (AAMA 2605 nowadays), many AAMA 2604 coatings did. I'd put a drop in a non-obtrusive location, walk around looking at other items, come back and wipe off the iodine. No stain = compliant; stain = rejected.
J. Peter Jordan, FCSI, CCS, AIA, LEED AP (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2012 - 12:28 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Not sure about the orange spray paint, but the iodine test could be specified under field quality control requirements. Would be great if this could be a recognized test.
Steven Bruneel, AIA, CSI-CDT, LEED-AP
Senior Member
Username: redseca2

Post Number: 340
Registered: 12-2006

Posted on Monday, May 21, 2012 - 03:57 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

What I remember is walking the jobsite with a bottle of white-out in my pocket and a collection of razor point felt pens.

When RFI's or other issues came up I would liberally apply the white-out to the Contractor's drawing and hand draw in the required change right on the spot. RFI turn-around time: 90 seconds.

On our current hospital projects in California the tiniest change now take weeks and create a huge paper trail. Now I carry a PDF of the AOR's stamp and sign, because it has to be on everything.
Mark Gilligan SE,
Senior Member
Username: mark_gilligan

Post Number: 477
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2012 - 06:12 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

"Now I carry a PDF of the AOR's stamp and sign, because it has to be on everything."

The engineers licensing laws in California prohibit the use of signature stamps. They alow electronic signatures in some cases but that is not the same as a PDF.

The need for a pdf with the AOR's signature and seal is the result of many principals only having minimal involvement with the day to day operations of projects. Not sure this was what was contimplated by the licensing laws.
Robert W. Johnson
Senior Member
Username: robert_w_johnson

Post Number: 191
Registered: 03-2009
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2012 - 07:01 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Going way back early in my career I remember the days when it wasn't so combative and litigious. I remember doing CA on work (including public school work) where we didn't do change orders on every little change but rather just went ahead and kept a mutual running tab (you owe me now) on the balance between costs to the Owner and the Contractor. Towards the end of the job we did a change order if necessary if there was a substantial balance due. Again this was on little stuff. Life was a little easier in those days!

I also remember bringing some beer to the site at the end of the day for some workmen installing relocatable partitions for a school under a separate contract. They needed to work extra hours to complete for the school that was to open in the next day or two. It was a way to show appreciation for their extra efforts. That probably wasn't too smart of me as the school district's representative, but the school opened on time complete with partitions.

The other story I like to tell was on that same school that was right on the edge of being ready for the school opening. After doing the final inspection and punch list, I allowed the Contractor to do punch list items while parents were registering their kids for school. So there were workmen working with wires hanging down from the ceilings etc. Some mothers got concerned and called some school board members. So there I was later that day talking to some school board members at the school explaining the situation and how it would be OK the next day. My young son was with me that day and I had to shut him up from trying to tell the board members how they didn't understand! The superintendent then came out later to see everything was fine after the workmen had left. Of course there was a picture of the board members and construction in the background on the front page of the local paper. On opening day we had the same reporter and photographer visit a school that had been in operation for some years and this new school. You couldn't see any differences. The headline in the next day's paper was "Miracle Worked Overnight!" I showed that paper to my son for him to learn early in life that you shouldn't believe everything you read in the paper!
Ron Beard CCS
Senior Member
Username: rm_beard_ccs

Post Number: 390
Registered: 10-2002

Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 12:31 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Is that the same son that is in business with you today?
"Fast is good, but accurate is better."
.............Wyatt Earp
Robert W. Johnson
Senior Member
Username: robert_w_johnson

Post Number: 192
Registered: 03-2009
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 11:00 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

No, my son is not in business with me - he never really had an interest in design/construction in his formative years. He ended up at Sandia Laboratories where he is currently a project manager for a group of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.

There was to be another Johnson, but that never worked out so Johnson & Johnson is in reality a misnomer.
Anne Whitacre, FCSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: awhitacre

Post Number: 1261
Registered: 07-2002

Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 04:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

a few years ago when I was still in Seattle, I talked with one of the older contractors and the reason it wasn't so "combative" was that typically a contractor put in enough profit to take care of changes. I had a couple of guys tell me they put in 20% or more -- and if they didn't need it, then it was profit. in the meantime, they didn't argue about changes until they got close to that number -- they just fixed stuff. And, we regularly recommended to both clients and contractors that they carry a 10% construction contingency.
no one does any of that now. Much of this changed in the late 70's and early 80's when interest rates were in double digits -- and no one could afford to keep a pile of money on hand anymore. The 10% "construction contingency" went away a decade ago, no matter what we advise our owners. And there is an expectation that buying a building is more like ordering a car from a dealership -- you know exactly when it will be done and exactly what it will cost -- and who carries the warranty for the whole thing.
of course, the aspect of continual communication hasn't helped either -- not only can people complain instantly, but demand that we pay attention!
Wayne Yancey
Senior Member
Username: wayne_yancey

Post Number: 525
Registered: 01-2008

Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 04:54 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Ahh the good old days.

When the super would call me as a LAST resort if he could not find something in the drawings and was royally pissed off when I could quickly find the item. How did you do that?

When we talked on the phone and at site meetings and RFI's had not yet been invented.

When we had a clerk of the works on site.

When draftsmen knew how a set of drawings went together and how the building went together.

When we had a chief draftsman and job captians.

When we had morning coffee break from 10:00 to 10:15 a.m. and afternoon coffee break from 3:00 to 3:15 p.m.

When we had Playboy and Penthouse magazines in the break room.

When I made $350/month, got married and had a honeymoon, had a good car, rented a 2 bedroom townhome for $125/month with washer/dryer.

When we used sepias and cat piss to make changes.

When specs were printed on a gestetner.

When I used the Leroy machine. Died and gone to heaven.

Letraset. Died once more and returned to heaven.

When a glass of cold draft beer cost $0.20 per 12 ounce glass.

Cell phones were only in the movies.

Fax and couriers were king.
Russ Hinkle, AIA, CDT, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: rhinkle

Post Number: 102
Registered: 02-2006

Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 05:06 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Copies of details were done with sticky backs and a xerox machine.

I burned my nose on amonia running bluelines after school and used the rubber thumbs to collate spec's.

On the weekend I clean the toilets and emptied the ash trays for $2/hr.
Russ Hinkle
Steven Bruneel, AIA, CSI-CDT, LEED-AP
Senior Member
Username: redseca2

Post Number: 341
Registered: 12-2006

Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 05:11 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Long before I was licensed, I worked as the support staff for a residential architect in his 2 person office. We had an active practice with a dozen or more major residential remodels and several new custom homes each year, all in San Francisco, often classic old victorians.

A side effect was that we were essentially responsible for keeping two small contractors full time employed, and once we knew the clients, we would recommend whichever of the two seemed to be the best psychological match.

Contractor A had a frugal approach and always appeared in old jeans and a beat up pickup. He would bid low, say $100,000 for a hypothetical example. Each week he would present various change orders, excuses and pleas for more money. By the end of the project, the cost had gone up to $135,000 and the client was no longer on speaking terms with them.

Contractor B wore Banana Republic on the jobsite and drove a Jaguar XJ. He would bid high, his bid for the same job would be $175,000. He kept the project site emaculate, brought catered food from 3 star restaurants to the jobsite for owner walk-throughs and was generous with gifts to the client. Beautiful flowers in an Alvar Aalto vase were a nice touch. By the end of the job, the cost was still $175,000, the client had named their new born son after the Contractor and the families had vacationed together in Italy.
Wayne Yancey
Senior Member
Username: wayne_yancey

Post Number: 526
Registered: 01-2008

Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 05:15 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The ammonia attracted the flies. Target practice was with an imperial triangle scale and a 1/4" rubber band.

Metric units introduced in April 1976.

Paper cuts.

Electric earaser.

Erasing shield.

Koh-I-Nor pens and the ultrasonic pen cleaner.

Rosin bag (mouse).
Dave Metzger
Senior Member
Username: davemetzger

Post Number: 426
Registered: 07-2001
Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 05:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Addiators. In the late 80's I was checking a string of dimensions using an Addiator. The young kid at the desk next to me, fresh out of architecture school, looked at what I was doing. His eyes grew big, and in an awed tone, he asked, "Is that a slide rule?"

That's the first time I really felt old.
Marc C Chavez
Senior Member
Username: mchavez

Post Number: 457
Registered: 07-2002

Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 05:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I got into architecture just in time for all of that to go away. I do remember diazo prints and sepias. but I always used a computer to add and to draw. - but I loved drafting instruments - so now I collect them. I have a couple of Deci-Lon slide rules from K&E (not that old) and my oldest drafting set is from the 1850's and I have several elipsographs - my holy grail is a voluter (a gadget that makes volutes) from the 1750's
I say let's get back to burnt sticks and animal skins and do real architecture!
ken hercenberg
Senior Member
Username: khercenberg

Post Number: 243
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 06:06 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Remember how people used to say that once CAD took over we'd be able to get everything done in 40 hours?
Now people are saying that with BIM, clash detection will eliminate errors and we'll be able to generate fully coordinated specs at the touch of a button.
Russ, were there any funny looking butts in those ashtrays?

When I was in DC last week, catching a ride from an waterproofing consultant buddy, we saw a truck from one of the roofing companies that both of us used to prefer to use 'in the old days'. I recalled how the owner and founder used to personally ensure that every project was done right. If it wasn't done to his satisfaction, he'd have his guys come back and make it right, even if everyone else had already signed off and accepted the work. His name was on the truck and there was no way he was ever going to let a less-than-perfect project be associated with his good name. I sure do miss him.

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