Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Please visit this blog at its new home

March 12, 2012

Thanks for visiting. New posts for Changing Construction can now be found on the Geedra blog.

Catching Construction Defects Early

February 10, 2009

One of the lessons I’ve learned during the development of Geedra is that software construction and building construction have a lot in common. The graphic below was lifted from a white paper on software development, but it could easily have appeared in a construction management textbook. In reading this I’m reminded of an old college professor of mine, who hammer into us the importance of planning the logic behind a software program before writing a single line of code.  “Make the mistakes on the blackboard” (I told you he was old) “because they’re a lot cheaper to fix there than they are once you turn them into zeros and ones.”


Everything is Temporary on a Construction Site

August 15, 2008

In a scene from Moonstruck Loretta’s father played by Vincent Gardenia in a rather exasperating moment proclaims “Everything is temporary!”  Truer words were never spoken, especially when it comes to a construction site (ironically, Gardenia’s character is a plumber.)

Everything in a construction site is temporary. The obvious – office trailers, porta-potties, etc. And the not-so-obvious – quality systems and business relationships.

In this setting, why would any principle project partner invest financially in an enduring quality system that becomes as important to the building as the foundation?   It just doesn’t pencil out.  As a result, I’ve seen contractors who use standalone spreadsheets (created from scratch by the Quality Manager) to record the conditions on $150 million projects.  To put this in perspective, imagine how absurd it would seem for a factory with a $50 million operating budget to similar ad-hoc documents.

It’s ultimately up to the fiduciary partners (banks and insurers) who have a longer term interest in the success of the building to demand better. Improved systems for recording and monitoring construction operations add significant value to a building  during its construction by providing a means to reduce defects. The payoff for such systems would continue over the useful life of the building as the details of construction remain fresh and accessible years after the last sections of temporary fencing having been hauled away.

Important Things to Know About Construction Photography

May 1, 2008

Here’s some interesting information to keep in mind the next time you decide to record the water proofing details way down in P5 using the same camera that you used to shoot  your kids birthday party. Thanks to our Construction Verification Supervisor Bob Gross for providing the expertise.

So it basically breaks down like this.  Most of the time we get asked what is the difference between the photos we take and photos other consultants take.

We use Canon 6.3 megapixel digital SLR’s and they have a removable lens.

Most of the other consultants including the QA\QC guy for the contractor use a simple point and shoot.

We use a full size flash (externally)  and they use the flash that is built in (to their point and shoot)

There are several major differences.

First of all the lens that we use is 55mm in diameter.  The larger the glass lens is on the front of the lens the more light it will gather.  An average point and shoot has a lens that is 15mm across if that.

Second the flash that is built into the average point and shoot is built to go 15 feet and light up two faces.  It is designed to take photos of people.   Our flash is 6 times bigger and made to throw up to 50 feet.  More light means better photos.  In a dark room (think condo before the electricity is turned on) more light is a bonus.

Third.  Our digital SLR’s have a better infrared beam built in.  Digital cameras throw out an infrared beam that measures distance a split second before taking the photo to judge distance for the autofocus feature.  Larger lens, better light, more light, better infrared beam means not only better pictures but, more in focus pictures.