Sunday, September 25, 2011

Poor Workmanship Is Common Place

Is It A Lack Of Skill? Knowledge? Or Morals?

The leaky condo fiasco that hit the British Columbia housing market several years back is a prime example of a complete failure in the field of workmanship. From the architects and designers, to the contractors, sub trades and building inspectors there is evidence that doing your job, and doing it well is simply an old fashioned idea of a bygone era.

Gone too is accountability and bearing a consequence for not doing your job well and that is a plague that applies to all levels of our society today. Big banks, greedy traders and brokers can basically lie, cheat and steal with impunity these days, so it is little wonder that the guy working for $15 - $30 an hour no longer takes responsibility for the quality of their work and no longer takes pride in his/her work but simply sees it as a means to collect a pay cheque.

Sticking with the construction business for a minute I recently came across a perfect example of lousy workmanship in the home my wife and I have lived in these past 12 years. For the sake of 50 cents worth of material and an extra 10 minutes on the job a area of flashing and caulking was ignored when a previous contractor put the new shingles on the roof and installed new gutters. Their lousy workmanship gave a small place for water to enter behind an area of stucco rather than being directed into the gutters and away from the wall. It has taken many years for that water to rot the wood behind the stucco which has now allowed an area of stucco to fail. In the overall scheme of things it is not a really big deal as the damage is merely cosmetic and the rot did not enter anything structural. I am capable of making the repair myself and the material involved would not likely exceed $100.

However, it is the same lack of quality workmanship that has led to a minor inconvenience to myself that has led to thousands and thousands of dollars being spent by homeowners who thought they were buying a brand new condo which they would expect to last a lifetime.

A few days ago I wrote a small article about my experience with two different national companies in the oil and lube business who both failed to properly lubricate the five grease fittings that are a part of the steering components of our car. The damage caused to steering components has run into several hundred dollars, simply because at least two different people either don't know or care how to do their jobs properly.

We may pride ourselves with all our great technical advances but I fear we have failed to carry forward the same work ethic and pride of a job well done that served previous generations well. It was this same lack of pride that allowed the North American auto industry to loose their place in the world as a maker of quality automobiles. Japanese automakers, did not overtake the Big 3 because they discovered quality, they overtook the Big 3 because they cared and took pride in their work, while we in North America were more interested in how much sick time we could get, how many paid holidays, how large our pensions would be etc.

I can remember many years ago, it was common knowledge not to order a North American car if it came off the line on either Friday or Monday, as both days were famous for the production of lemons. We've certainly come a long way!

allvoices

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