This being Capital Projects Month across all our publications here at Paperitalo means that my mind has been working overtime thinking about the some of the follies and pitfalls I have seen over the decades.
A most memorable project was a design/build turbine generator project at a mill in the US mid-south. Geniuses in the corporate office thought they would save a ton of money if they just wrote a design/build specification for what they wanted, put it out for bid and selected the lowest bidder.
So they did this.
They wrote a specification that said the unit had to be of a certain capacity, achieve certain outputs with specified inputs, reach a specific average annual operating days milestone and so forth. And, of course, it had to be constructed and operated within all applicable local, state, and federal codes.
They got exactly what they asked for.
Of course, they forgot a few things. Such as that it would be nice for the control room to be something of a pleasing place to spend your shift. That it might be handy if the MCC room was close to a door where one might be able to park a fork truck with new parts or be able to take away old parts.
You get the idea.
Of course, during construction, the owner's representatives brought up these matters as they saw them develop. The design/build firm smiled and presented a change order each time.
And they were all turned down.
Because the CEO had already bragged to the board about his own brilliance and there was no way he would ask for more money.
So, at the end to the project, the design/build contractors walked away, reputation intact, for they had followed the bid specification exactly and were on time and on budget. They even made the owner's rep sign a letter to this effect.
The CEO continued to sit at his desk in a city far away, operating the full-length curtains on the million dollar view out his office windows with a remote control on his desk--don't want the sun to bleach the furniture unevenly, you know.
Of course, he is retired now, probably spends a lot of time on his boat at Cape Cod.
And the employees in the mill continue to lug and manhandle parts that need to be switched out. And each crew continues to come to work in the closet that is called a control room.
And they wonder why they have a union in this mill?