Saturday, August 4, 2007

Cheap v. Quality

I've been pondering all the jobs that I've done over the last 18 plus years and I've come to the conclusion that this current job I'm on is most likely the most dangerous one yet. I have bruses and cuts and sore muscles which is pare for the course, but like going into a snake pit you just wonder when you'll really get bit. I can only take solace in the fact that workers some 80 years ago actually took great pride in putting up a building that, by todays standards, was overbuilt. It seems that back then they spared no expense in terms of labor or materials to build a quality product. Today it's all about the bottom line. Can we use one less bolt or less manpower and shave the expense to make more profit to look like heros to the stockholders? The problem with this new idology is that like making lemonade for a profit, you can only squeeze the lemon so much then you get into the bitter peel and the lemonade is no good.
The other issue in all of this is maintenance. As old as this structure is most of it's parts are still intact because workers maintained it, repairing worn parts when necessary. That idology seems to have gone by the wayside as well. If it's worn out we throw it away tear it down and build a new cheaper model only to have to replace the new model in 20 years instead of 50. And in the budget for what we build is there money for maintenance? At the beginning maybe, but as money becomes tight what's the first item to be cut from the budget? You can run your car for a long time without doing an oil change, but then the engine siezes and what do you have? You have one expensive bill or the cost of another car.
We are obsessed with "new" and it doesn't matter if "new" is better. We're also obsessed with appearance. "We need to get rid of this or that because it looks outdated. It's old, antiquated or retro.
Will we see more bridges and buildings going down? Without question. Will the rethuglicans do anything about it? Oh yes, they'll promise millions of dollars that will be stolen by their criminal contractor friends if those dollars even make it that far.
Remember Katrina. Need I say more?

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