This is my first blog and I am very happy to join the blogging community and write about an industry I have spent my professional life in and truly love, construction.
In my opinion the constructing of buildings by general contractors and their subcontractors is a great way to make a living. You get to meet some of the most extraordinary people who are continually problem solving complex problems in an effort to take a set of drawings and turn them into a real building.
You get to work with trade people who have perfected their skills over many years and who at any given time can perform extrodinary pieces of work. They can take a set of flat drawings and build something really beautiful.
You meet contractors who have gambled everything and have worked tirelessly building their companies. In many cases the last of a dying breed of individualist whose independence and sheer desire to succeed is not only admirable, but is what has made this country great.
That is what this blog is all about. The men and women of this great industry. This blog is for and about the contractor and all who make up his world. As this is my first blog, I want to be able to put it all in perspective for my readers. The best way I know how of doing this is to tell a story about a situation that happened to me many years ago,
In the 1990’s the New York City School Construction Authority took on the restoration of an old high school in upper Manhattan. The building was declared a landmark and was in really bad shape. The envelope had been taking water on for many years and the roof leaked like a sieve. Although it was a building that looked beautiful in its day it was a sad sight the day the SCA undertook this project.
It turned out to be one of those projects where the entire team turned out to be way above average. The SCA assigned two of their brightest Project Officers to the project; the Construction Manager put their “A” team on the site and the General Contractor was an extraordinary contractor who chose only the best Subcontractors for the project.
Once the walls and ceilings were opened, the real depth of the decay and disrepair of the building revealed itself. Everything was wrong. The building needed entirely new electrical and mechanical systems. Asbestos was everywhere, windows were bad, roof was shot, floors looked like roller coasters, walls and ceilings were in terrible shape and the entire envelope needed to be re-pointed. It turned out that large sections of the structural steel were bad and needed replacement which necessitated some really innovative shoring. The problems were endless and if it had not been declared a landmark it probably would have made more sense to demo it and build a new building on its site.
The entire team approached the project with talent and enthusiasm. Problem after problem was solved and when one problem was solved two new ones took its place. It took the better part of two years, thousands of extra hours and many additional dollars, but when it was finished the building looked as beautiful as when it was first built.
The actual building required hundreds of change orders on which I had spent considerable hours negotiating and settling. As a result, I was invited to the ribbon cutting. The ribbon cutting was held in the beautifully restored auditorium of the school. When I arrived I sat with the General Contractor and his subcontractors all of whom I had spent so many hours negotiating the necessary change orders that got the building built.
The stage was filled with all the local politicians and dignitaries who made speech after speech congratulating each other on the success of their vision and restoration of this magnificent building. As I sat and listened I could not believe that not once did any of them mention the actual team that had performed the painstaking work. Even the moderator forgot to mention the SCA or the Construction Manager and more importantly never mentioned the terrific General Contractor and his Subs who had actually built the building.
I promise that will never happen on this blog. General Contractors and Subcontractors will always be treated like the extraordinary people that they are. If I had had my way I would have put on center stage the General Contractor and his subs that had done such a wonderful job on the restoration. And that is what I intend to do on this blog-Spotlight the contractors who should be on center stage.