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Contractors' Favorite Phrases

BulgarBlogger

1) "We do that all the time"

2) "We've never had to do that before"


Go!

 
Jul 25, 20 2:44 pm
Koww

3) "Nobody's going to see it"

4) "That's not what we priced"

Jul 25, 20 3:08 pm  · 
4  · 
citizen

5) "Where is that on the drawings?"

6) "It'll look fine."

7) "Hammer to fit, paint to match."


Jul 25, 20 3:20 pm  · 
 · 

8) “This is the way we’ve always done it”

Jul 25, 20 3:41 pm  · 
4  · 

9) "Can you print out the drawings for me?"

10) "We need drawings now, the inspector is here!"

Jul 25, 20 3:44 pm  · 
1  · 

11) “Can you approve this substitution? We’ll send a confirming RFI tomorrow.”


12) “This submittal/RFI/change order/etc. is hot. We need it back by EOD.”

Jul 25, 20 5:03 pm  · 
2  · 
rcz1001

12-part B) ...when they call you at 4:30 pm for that and you have just a half-hour before you close for the day.

My response: 

Save that for your response letter.

1  · 
archi_dude

Imagine you had to wait 5 days everytime time you needed to adjust something in CAD.

1  · 

Imagine reading the drawings during bid phase and imagine submitting RFI's and shop drawings in a timely manner.

1  · 
archi_dude

We do. 80% of the details are left out. The specs reference different materials, the schedules are empty and finishes are "TBD" in most of the "bid" sets. In terms of RFIs if it's so easy to forsee it, why isnt it taken care of in a QA page turn?

 · 

Sounds like two separate but related issues that neither the architect nor the contractor is handling well. If the architect can't produce a good set of drawings ... by all means hang them out to dry. 

At the same time, that doesn't give the contractor a free pass to ignore the process and not plan ahead ... which by the way, is not exclusive to projects with poor documentation. It would be one thing if it was a rare occurrence to get a "hot" submittal/RFI/etc. on a project. But when everything is "hot" it shows they aren't on top of things. It's in the list of favorite phrases because it happens a lot. 

I mean I've seen contractors try to push through submittals that we've been asking for for weeks at the last minute and tell us to hurry up because they have to pour concrete in the morning. "Sorry bud, that's on you. Feel free to pour if you must, but be ready to tear it out if something is wrong in this submittal which I will get to in a timely manner."

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archi_dude

Lol^ yup. I think the big issue is we are fighting each other when in reality, a lot of issues can stem from an owner pushing for low bids only or ridiculous schedules.

2  · 
joseffischer

What's a QA page turn, are we supposed to do that after the owner has picked all the materials, security, windows etc and after the owner approves half the substitution requests from the contractor and after the contractor has picked 1 of the 4-6 manufacturers for the product in the spec? If so, I think I'll be ready to do QA around the same time I'm doing my punchlist

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13) “The sub we contracted with isn’t approved by the manufacturer to install what you specified.”

Jul 25, 20 5:04 pm  · 
2  · 
jcrarch

Can't see it from my house.

Jul 25, 20 8:16 pm  · 
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SneakyPete

14) "I scaled the drawings and..."

Jul 26, 20 2:09 am  · 
3  · 
apscoradiales

WTF is this?!!!

Jul 26, 20 8:12 am  · 
 · 
randomised

15) "But you okay'd this over the phone"

Jul 26, 20 9:22 am  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

0.1? That'll be extra


Jul 26, 20 11:59 am  · 
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BulgarBlogger

these are hilarious...

Jul 26, 20 2:36 pm  · 
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citizen

Somewhere in a parallel, slightly crankier universe there's a website called Contractor-nect.com with a thread titled "Architects' Favorite Phrases."  And, oh, the fun they're having at our expense....

Which seems only fair.

Jul 26, 20 3:24 pm  · 
1  · 

The good contractors barely answer their phone. I have a better chance finding them at the local watering hole than calling them - and I have! One my guys, even had a bar stool and got up for a second to take my call, told me to wait and told the out of towner, that's his bar stool, guy got up and left, bartender had confirmed, and then we discussed construction details.

I can't believe these men still exist, but they do. They're usually 55-65 years old, started off as Framers and can build anything and they do it on their schedule, like you have to wait for them and many clients do....So this website Citizen will never exist unless they are millenial manager type contractors who do not know the first thing about building.

2  · 
citizen

I was being facetious, and pointing out that sometimes we're no picnic either. Also, 1) I'm glad those guys still exist; my brother is one. And 2), it's tough to imagine that the millennial generation doesn't (or won't soon) have something similar to A-nect.

1  · 

I have a weird tendancy to associate facetious with fascia, not sure what that means!...

2) I think maybe its a path to being a (hu)man very other than the garbage of the internet. The guys who like pick-up trucks, hunting, fishing (code for being left alone) maybe they'll never make a A-nect for their kind and trade.

Granted one kid I do know is on facebook and shows his work and his dad is one of the old dudes who built like half the town (which made the building department reviews interesting, all the inspectors figured his dad was helping, I did same, so NO ONE reviewed anything, and in the end his dad was intentionally having no input, which  led to some serious fuck-ups but in the end, maybe the kid learned, I fealt bad because I went along with the assumptions.)

1  · 

I'll expand on that story (based on real events)...

So when the shit hit the fan we met with the lead inspector and a zoning officer. As we were waiting

I said "So what does your dad think of all this?"

and he said "I don't talk to my dad about this."

and I said "Isn't your dad a builder?"

and he said "We don't talk about business."

Thereafter, it was a like a little league T-ball coaching session between me and the lead building inspector for the kid. The kid was down man, like down. He even started crying and the Zoning officer who I think knew him since he was like really small told him not to cry.

It was the only time I've ever used an English Dictionary (Merriam-Webster) to define terms not in zoning or building code/laws.

Worked.

3  · 
citizen

Now THAT'S a field story! Local conditions, including personal relationships, can have a big and sometimes invisible impact.

 · 
citizen

^ Well, invisible during the process, but often horribly visible when all is done.

1  · 

btw...older or younger brother?

 · 
citizen

Much older (I'm happy to remind him).

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chrischitect

"satanic clown orgy" as a description of the project's specifications and drawings.

Jul 27, 20 12:41 am  · 
1  · 
athensarch

I have a bunch from subcontractors....but it’s mostly them lying that they completed a deliverable. Then when I catch them they give a date a week beyond the deadline. Rinse & repeat the next few weeks.


Honestly, a lot of the comments above are interactions we get from low bid subs on public jobs. Lazy, half assed, late work. 

Jul 27, 20 7:09 am  · 
 · 
tintt

I don't email, okay?

I don't do paperwork, okay?

I don't read, okay?

That'll be a change order, okay?

Jul 27, 20 8:31 am  · 
2  · 
archanonymous

"I don't see why we can't...."

Jul 27, 20 9:09 am  · 
1  · 
gibbost

"Spoke to the owner today, said they're fine with the change.  Just need you to 'make it official'.  New drawing by tomorrow?"

Jul 27, 20 10:45 am  · 
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Nevah-Wen

"You want to remove something from the project?  We priced that, and it will be a cost add."

Jul 27, 20 10:51 am  · 
1  · 

"We don't do substitutions."

Anyone else getting this lately? I've been seeing it from larger GCs when they're submitting products and materials that aren't in the specs (i.e. substitutions). We inevitably return the submittal and ask for a substitution request and they say, "We don't do substitutions." To which I want to reply, "Then submit what we specified."

My guess is they attended some seminar recently where someone said they take on too much liability asking for substitutions ... I have my opinions on that, but that's for another thread.

Jul 27, 20 11:55 am  · 
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tintt

Or it is part of the "we don't do paperwork" bit. In other words, if it isn't boys with toys, it isn't building. Paperwork is for sissies.

 · 

tintt, I wish it were. If these were small local firms I'd probably think so. Instead these are large regional and national/international GCs whose main reason for existing is paperwork. These are CM grads who have likely never done much of the labor of building or got to play in the dirt with the toys. 

In one case, they were pushing through a waterproofing product from a sub because of phrase #13 and we pushed it back asking for a substitution request form to be filled out. They replied they don't do substitution requests. I found language in their own contract with the sub (not really sure why they shared it with us) about how the process for substitutions is supposed to work and they still refused. 

In the end they stuck with phrase #4 and the owner caved and paid us an additional service to redesign around the inferior substitute product because the GC scared them with the threat of a potential change order. Between the time wasted, the additional service to us, and the other changes we had to make to get close to an equivalent level of quality for the owner (all acknowledged by the owner's waterproofing consultant) ... it was probably a wash. Would have saved everyone a headache if the GC had just made sure the subs bidding the project could actually install what was specified.

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Nevah-Wen

GC: "Our company policy is that we don't do design".... 

Translation: "We don't produce any of our own shop drawings, we don't coordinate our subs, we don't propose any solutions to unforeseen conflicts, and if we don't want to do what YOU designed, we make you redesign it over and over until we're happy."

Jul 27, 20 12:16 pm  · 
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SneakyPete

Show me the money.

 · 
JLC-1

Can you send me the drawing? 

the same day concrete is being poured and having had said drawing for 5 months and never looked at it.


Jul 27, 20 2:07 pm  · 
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proto

i usually make them dangle on that one

"i'm not in the office right now, but i'll send it as soon as I get back"

i had a gc think i was a printing service...yeah, no, dude, you can get prints yourself; you've been provided w/ pdf's & hardcopies already

 · 
archanonymous

"we don't usually print out the specs"


I've heard this on multiple jobs and it's just baffling. What good are the drawings you printed (that you never look at) if you don't also have the project manual?

Jul 27, 20 2:12 pm  · 
3  · 

16)  Fucking Architect!


Backstory:  Addition to a 150 year old church.  Architectural drawings showed the cmu foundation wall in one spot, Structural drawings showed it 8" further out.  Contractor had started laying the cmu per structural's drawings (rightly so).  Contractor called me - asked the question.  Structural messed up and had the cmu wall in the wrong spot but everything else shown correctly - including the already order steel joists.  

When I called the contractor back to tell him of the error I hear in the background "Awwww,  Damnit.  FUCKING ARCHITECT" from one or all of the people laying the cmu. 

Luckily the mortar was still wet.   

Jul 27, 20 2:21 pm  · 
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archanonymous

heard back at the arch office , "fucking idiot contractor didn't even look at the full set of drawings before laying the foundation."

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whistler

Just had that phone conversation with a custom home builder who claims to be the "very best builder". gave out the wrong info to the excavator!!!!

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proto

"i only build what's scoped in my contract"

no, f*ckw*d, you are responsible for what's in the drawings

(luckily I've had few of those ^^^)

Jul 27, 20 2:24 pm  · 
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x-jla

I only build my own designs.  Sometimes builder me curses designer me, but usually in that direction...

Jul 27, 20 3:34 pm  · 
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mightyaa

A variation that basically means "I'll keep doing it this way..."

"No habla..." (lots of south american labor)

"ne goverit..."  I think that's the term... (lots of eastern block masons here)

Couple that with a PM/Super who also can't easily communicate technical details to their tradesmen. So it's one of those where who knows what gets lost or changed as it goes from me, to the PM, to the super, to the sub-contractor english speaker, to the laborer's.  I think it goes from specific 'here's how to flash a window'... to 'the architect is an asshole.. fuck him' along with a mysterious disappearance of the translator for the rest of the project.

Jul 27, 20 4:44 pm  · 
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JLC-1

hah! I grew up and did my first 10 years as an architect in a spanish speaking country before coming to the US, and I've found very useful not to tell the gc that I speak spanish, they get very surprised when they find out. I basically skip the foreman when I go to a site and speak directly to the laborers.

1  · 
Non Sequitur

I do something similar but in French. A large portion of trades in my city are native french(CDN) va few consultants. It’s not uncommon for me to switch on the spot to explain a detail to à labourer but I don’t advertise it. Keeps me incognito so I can listen to them complaining.

1  · 
senjohnblutarsky

"but what we did meets code", when told they hadn't done what was shown above and beyond code requirements. 

Jul 27, 20 5:04 pm  · 
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atelier nobody

"Pinché pendejo" is one I often hear from contractors...

Jul 27, 20 5:24 pm  · 
1  · 

no accent on the 'e' ... otherwise the emphasis is on the wrong syllable. PIN-che, not pin-CHÉ.

2  · 

^ bi-lingual pedant/pedante

1  · 
atelier nobody

This is what I get for taking French in school instead of Spanish, despite being a lifelong Southern Californian...

 · 
citizen

That does seem a bit harsh... though it looks like you bumped into her.

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rcz1001

You could call the guys a bunch of "cabrónas". Of course, the word gender says something as well as the word itself. A good way to piss off some people. You don't need to know the language well as an expert but you can know a little about the language gender forms, some of the slurs, and how to pronounce the words in the correct phonemes used in the language. The accents matters just as they do in French.

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atelier nobody

Several decades ago, I worked in the ever-so-fabulous food service industry here in SoCal, and got pretty good at communicating with the kitchen staff in Spanglish. Unfortunately, most of the words that carry over from food service to construction are the cuss-words, not so much the technical terms...

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tintt

Via text message at 5:10 am on Saturday: I got all these problems and need someone to blame them on and I blame you. I'm coming to your house today.

awkward,mariah carey,stunned,confused | funny gifs

Aug 1, 20 8:29 am  · 
1  · 

it's more creepy because it was 5:10am...i know contractor's get up that early, but on a Saturday they were probably still out drinking...

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tintt

12:12 pm: Apology via text.

Best Mariah Gif? - Page 2 - Entertainment Talk - Gaga Daily

 · 

/\ (my guess): yeah out drinking and regretted it...

I've had some clients text me stuff I quickly showed staff and said that's like crossing the line right? (usually women) I ignore and usually they never text something like that again...it's a fun profession!

 · 
tintt

Second apology came around 6 pm. At least he never came to my house.

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atelier nobody

I once stumbled home around 10 AM on a Sunday morning to discover a half dozen progressively angrier voicemails from my boss, between 10:30 PM and midnight Saturday night. My transgression: I had saved files in the appropriate directory on the server, instead of emailing them to him directly.

 · 
citizen

Atelier, if that's not a setup for an Office Space gif, I don't know what is.

Office Space sleeping in scene on Make a GIF

I just wish there was a better one.

1  · 
bowling_ball

Had a good one this week. "We cast the grade beam 2.5" out of square. How are you going to fix the detail?"


Ummm... 

Aug 1, 20 10:14 am  · 
2  · 
SneakyPete

The really sad part comes when they convince the owner they shouldn't rip it out at their own cost.

2  · 

2.5" on 200' ain't bad, for concrete.

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bowling_ball

It's over about 30'

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b3tadine[sutures]

I had a doozy of an episode; 

The exterior wall of a former supermarket, was due to have a number of punched openings for the new offices incorporated into the remodel, the challenge came from the fact the single wythe wall was also part of the structural frame of the building - deep joist girders were bearing on a continuous, grouted solid, cmu beam - which would require tearing the cmu at jambs out, putting in continuous reinforcement, and grout solid. 20' plus, two jambs per opening, about 15 or so openings. The contractor was balking, hard, haaaard. The were telling me "we've not had to do this on hospitals, with masonry openings!" and I'm like, sorry, hospitals are not typically designed like supermarkets, they're designed to handle conditions like this differently, this place was designed to do one thing, and one thing only, and the new owner needs it to do this. Well, they asked for other options, none of which were tenable, or affordable. They finally said to me, we'll do it our way. I said your way will require you to go and hire a structural engineer to design, and provide our owner with state approved drawings, or, you can stop fucking around, and do it the way we designed. 

After bumble-fucking around for two weeks, I won, and they shut the fuck up.

Aug 1, 20 1:10 pm  · 
4  · 

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