Why I Hate Commercial Construction

 
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Old 12-28-2016, 09:25 AM   #1
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Why I Hate Commercial Construction


“You can’t spray flammable coatings while remodeling a 3-room 2,000 square foot retail store, particularly with no ventilation” I explained to the site Superintendent.

“I’ve gotta get this painted” he replied.

“Fine”, I said, “I’m outta here. Have fun with the Fire Marshall. He’ll be here soon.”

I’m trying to recollect yesterday’s conversation as best I can, but it was much more animated than the above exchange, believe me.

After a two-hour drive, I arrived at the Lilly Pulitzer store in Naples, Florida. I’d been hired to make the hard seams in a Glacier White Corian cash wrap and back wrap. The store is a mess, the fault of bad housekeeping. Show me a messy jobsite and I’ll show you an incompetent superintendent. There is packaging cardboard, plastic, and unused pallets lying on the floor along with cut wire, conduit, and empty soda cans for perfect trip hazards.

Right after I began working, I politely asked the Superintendent, Mr. Jim Stapleton, of Sachse Construction (say “taxi” with an “s” instead of a “t”), Detroit, Michigan, if he’d have the mess cleaned up. He did not reply. He did find time to cut an opening in the drywall, but he never found time to empty the dumpster cart.

I’m starting to think Mr. Stapleton hasn’t done much superintending. Why else, when he knew I was coming today, would he schedule five electricians and me to share the three-foot wide isle between the cash wrap and the back wrap simultaneously? I’m serious. Five electricians for a 12’ cash wrap. Maybe one for each access panel? Since I can’t speak Spanish, I had no idea what was so problematic with their job. In fact, my conversations with the Super are the only English I heard on this job.

By disassembly, I completed the back wrap seam, but Mr. Competent Super has allowed the cabinet installers to adhere the cash wrap top to the substrate. I pushed the seam as far apart as I could, decontaminated, and attempted a hard seam with adhesives. I’ll do an insert repair if that doesn’t work. I’d just cut the slot for the insert repair on the front of the cash wrap when Pedro the painter, wearing full respirator and suit, started filling the store with HVLP flammable paint. He didn’t pass out any respirators for me, the electricians, or his painters. Some just pulled their T-shirts up over their faces. Sorry, but that’s not how I roll. Apparently, that giant red flame painted on the side of his 5-gallon bucket doesn’t translate internationally.

The store façade has been removed and there’s a temporary façade of steel studs and drywall with a lovely mural painted on the outside for the enjoyment of Waterside Shops mall patrons. There is no window for the health and safety of the workers inside, however, there is a sign on each of the double doors on the adjacent wall instructing that they must be kept shut at all times. Can’t have any dust on shoppers, now can we? I propped the doors open, **** the mall, and called Mr. Stapleton on the phone. He was already on site and we had the aforementioned conversation.

I called the Fire Marshall, Mall Security, Stapleton’s boss, and Saches Corporate Safety Director, Mike McMahon. He about flipped when I told him what transpired. He had worked with my wife when we lived in Michigan.

The Fire Marshall arrived just as I was loading the last of my tools. I showed him the pictures of Pedro the painter and his 5-gallon bucket with the flame painted on it. He said he could smell the fumes when he pulled up, but then he’s trained for that kind of thing. He tried the double doors, but they were locked. Apparently Mr. Stapleton shut ‘er down for the day.

I sent my invoice to the guys who hired me and gave them the nonnegotiable terms under which I would return to fill in the Grand Canyon I left in the front of the cash wrap. 1. Apology from Saches. 2. Pay my invoice. 2. Certified check in advance to return and no Jim Stapleton on site while I’m there. I’ll probably get it since they hired me, told me they’d gotten someone else, told me someone else wasn’t capable of doing the repairs, and hired me back.

At my rates, and I charge hourly, I can afford to pick up my work area and a few paint fumes aren’t going to kill me. What I will never tolerate, however, is being treated like an illegal alien in my own country. I will not tolerate the disrespect shown workers, which is what willful ignorance of worker safety and security is, as demonstrated by Waterside Shops and Saches Construction. This lack of social status, the implication that I’m worthless and exploitable, is why I hate commercial construction.
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Old 12-28-2016, 10:06 AM   #2
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Re: Why I Hate Commercial Construction


Holy sh!t you're a real pain in the ass.

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Old 12-28-2016, 10:38 AM   #3
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Re: Why I Hate Commercial Construction


Yup, sounds like commercial. How many of your tools were stolen?

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Old 12-28-2016, 10:40 AM   #4
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Re: Why I Hate Commercial Construction


Geeze, man. You sure like putting people's names out there. To be honest, we don't need or want to know the names. At least I don't.

I get you are frustrated, but slow down a bit before putting it all out there.

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Old 12-28-2016, 10:46 AM   #5
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Re: Why I Hate Commercial Construction


Yeah this is really unnecessary and makes you look bad personally.

Yes if a jobsite is a mess that typically means the site super sucks.

Yes you shouldn't be spraying flammable products in an enclosed space.

But you're there to do a small job, step over the crap, walk to the hardware store and grab a respirator, walk back over the crap, do your job, get paid go home.

No need for all this other BS. As Jaws would say 'Cowboy Up'.
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Old 12-28-2016, 10:50 AM   #6
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Re: Why I Hate Commercial Construction


Miss Finster, Miss Finster.
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Old 12-28-2016, 11:53 AM   #7
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Re: Why I Hate Commercial Construction


You called the fire marshall? Boundaries man, boundaries. That's like a dude kicking another dude in the nuts, you just don't do that.
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Old 12-28-2016, 11:56 AM   #8
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Re: Why I Hate Commercial Construction


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaws View Post
On a serious note, I'm surprised to hear people say commercial sucks. I have found most resi builders to be lacking in the organization, planning and running jobs dept compared to the commercial guys I worked for. Maybe some low rent guys here.
The commercial I did was just really fast paced and less concentrated on quality and more on speed. Can't say I ever "hated" it. Everything had to look up to snuff, but tolerances were just a bit bigger. The tension was always a little higher too, but it paid bills. I just like to be a little bit more lax than what commercial allows.

The thing I did like about commercial was when a good super was there, if he told you the job would be ready on "x" date, it damn sure would be.
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Old 12-28-2016, 12:40 PM   #9
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Re: Why I Hate Commercial Construction


Well...as my ol' man once told me...'IF YOU DIDNT WANT TO WORK!...YOU SHOULD'VE STAYED HOME WITH YOUR DAMN MAMA!"
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Old 12-28-2016, 01:17 PM   #10
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Re: Why I Hate Commercial Construction


On a serious note....these store remodels that Kowboy was talking about are usually done with in a month...McDonald's ..Arby's..all of these fast food places are all remodeled with in a month, and a lot of them are still operating during the remodel....Thats why EVERYBODY is working on top of each other.

I little doubt Mr. Stapleton from Detroit, Michigan was going to shut the entire job down for the day, just so Kowboy could go in there and caulk the counter tops.

As a Sub...it's our responsibility to get along with the other subs, weather we all speak the same language or not.

And to call the fire marshall in because the painter was trying to finish while you were trying to do your job.....

There is so much more to be said...
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Old 12-28-2016, 01:26 PM   #11
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Re: Why I Hate Commercial Construction


Quote:
Originally Posted by brickhook View Post
On a serious note....these store remodels that Kowboy was talking about are usually done with in a month...McDonald's ..Arby's..all of these fast food places are all remodeled with in a month, and a lot of them are still operating during the remodel....Thats why EVERYBODY is working on top of each other.

I little doubt Mr. Stapleton from Detroit, Michigan was going to shut the entire job down for the day, just so Kowboy could go in there and caulk the counter tops.

As a Sub...it's our responsibility to get along with the other subs, weather we all speak the same language or not.

And to call the fire marshall in because the painter was trying to finish while you were trying to do your job.....

There is so much more to be said...
Food service and retail are the absolute worst. You are always ontop of each other. I try my best to avoid them for that reason. But if your average resi contractor was on one of those sites for the first time he'd probably lose his mind.
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Old 12-28-2016, 01:28 PM   #12
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Re: Why I Hate Commercial Construction


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Food service and retail are the absolute worst. You are always ontop of each other. I try my best to avoid them for that reason. But if your average resi contractor was on one of those sites for the first time he'd probably lose his mind.
......or call the fire marshall and have the job shut down
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Old 12-28-2016, 01:36 PM   #13
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Re: Why I Hate Commercial Construction


Quote:
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......or call the fire marshall and have the job shut down
Fvckin resi contractors.
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Old 12-28-2016, 02:00 PM   #14
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Re: Why I Hate Commercial Construction


Quote:
Originally Posted by Deckhead View Post
You called the fire marshall? Boundaries man, boundaries. That's like a dude kicking another dude in the nuts, you just don't do that.
We've had a bunch of threads as of late with people being killed n the job because of bad job-site practices... wonder how many guys who know better walked on by afraid to kick the dude in charge in the nuts...


... bet their family wished someone did ... nothing for the site super to worry about from the Fire Marshall if he's not doing anything dangerous to others... in fact, if it was bogus, it will go to his benefit...

Last edited by KAP; 12-28-2016 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 12-28-2016, 02:31 PM   #15
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Re: Why I Hate Commercial Construction


You guys have given me an epiphany and for that I'm so grateful.

I've done some additional research and as it turns out, they just put that flame picture on 5 gallon cans for amusement. It doesn't really mean anything.

Furthermore, it's completely safe to atomize the "flammable" (ha ha) paint with an HVLP sprayer inside an unventilated space. There's just no way possible for an electrician fiddling about to make a spark that would cause a store front in a busy mall to explode, killing innocent children.

I feel like such an asshole; I'm always overreacting. I hope you can forgive me.
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Old 12-28-2016, 03:21 PM   #16
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Re: Why I Hate Commercial Construction


If it was that serious of a risk he should have pulled the fire alarm and evacuated the mall.
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Old 12-28-2016, 03:53 PM   #17
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Re: Why I Hate Commercial Construction


I think Kowboy you are way outside your comfort zone.

You obviously have never been on commercial remodels.
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Old 12-28-2016, 05:18 PM   #18
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Re: Why I Hate Commercial Construction


The General Contractor you mentioned went from a company doing a few million dollars a year to doing 130 million dollars worth of work a year in less than a decade. This story sounds like many others I've heard from my subs that have worked on their job sites.

I see both sides of the fence though. As a superintendent the thing that bothers me the most is when a sub shows up their first day walks right up to me as I'm in the middle of dealing with the first twenty issues of the morning and then starts to tell me how it is. I appreciate subs who tell me when they will arrive on their first day so I can plan my morning to devote time to reviewing the work they are to do with them, and make sure that everything they need from me (i.e. access, clean up, electricity, water, etc.) is taken care of.

I'm not taking that guys side (the best superintendents are not usually the ones on the road), but if I got a note like what you left I would laugh and throw it away. The line of you're the only one who can fix it translates to your the only one who can fix it whose phone number I have and i don't have to try and find someone else.
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Old 12-28-2016, 05:24 PM   #19
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Re: Why I Hate Commercial Construction


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Originally Posted by Deckhead View Post
The commercial I did was just really fast paced and less concentrated on quality and more on speed. Can't say I ever "hated" it. Everything had to look up to snuff, but tolerances were just a bit bigger. The tension was always a little higher too, but it paid bills. I just like to be a little bit more lax than what commercial allows.

The thing I did like about commercial was when a good super was there, if he told you the job would be ready on "x" date, it damn sure would be.
I used to love commercial.There used to be alot of money to be made in commercial masonry around here. Not so much anymore.

Now there isnt much money in it..the help is hard to find...and they keep your money tied up so long.

The risk certainly isnt worth what little bit reward there is.
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Old 12-28-2016, 05:25 PM   #20
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Re: Why I Hate Commercial Construction


Are posts disappearing?

I thought Jaws has post #2 and I could have sworn KAP posted right after Kowboy's last post.

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