Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Too little, or too much

This is what it all comes down to: the money and there never being enough of it. Architecture is taught in a vacuum, we learn how to make nice drawings of pretty buildings, and the importance of choosing the correct shade of white; but I swear that in my five years in college, money was only ever mentioned in the canteen at lunchtime. Pah. It's all about money; it's only about money.

G has spent the last four days wading in Excel up to his chin, calculating the probable cost of construction. This is a thoroughly futile task: every time he pares 10,000 Euros off some aspect of the building works, one of the engineers calls up and throws down a new bill for a further 20,000 Euros. Their lastest drollery was to decide  - after two months of deliberation - that half of the existing basement (which was to be reused) is in fact not reusable, but must be rebuilt. Another 85,000 Euros to be taken from the general construction budget - which was already exceeded by 60.000 Euros before that phone call. It is to cry, as the French say.

The big joke is that the architect is paid a percentage of the construction costs: the harder G works at cutting costs, the less we will earn. Ha bloody ha.

The stakes are high. The goal is to reduce the expected cost to a level at which the mayor of Smalltown is able to grant permission for us to go ahead, rather than needing money from the regional government, which would require him to ask their permission, which would mean a delay of at least three months, and that would mean that the project was dead and we were out of work.

We are all just sick of the project and of each other. The only thing any of us wants now, is for the damned job to be finished.

3 Comments:

Blogger brooksba said...

I do not know much about designing buildings or architecture. What I love is that you are able to write about the process and I can follow it and enjoy your writing. You have a wonderful talent.

I hope the building comes in under budget and gets built and I hope that it is enough that G gets a good sum. G deserves it for all the hard work put into the project.

December 14, 2005 at 3:07:00 AM GMT+1  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

That would drive me crazy. Which I deliberately take happy pills to avoid. So glad I didn't decide to become an architect. Not that it would have been a valid career choice for me since I managed to squeak by in my drafting class with a C- (teacher felt sorry for me). I'm one of those people who can't draw a straight line with a ruler.

I hope everything works out, Udge.

December 14, 2005 at 1:49:00 PM GMT+1  
Anonymous liquicat said...

i can relate so well to this post and project for i have myself implemented the project from hell. it was a 1 million euro EC funded technical assistance project in one of the new member states with two (or three!) problems appearing for each problem solved. in the end we prayed for completion and never to have to see each other again :) after 1 year of struggle we were successful (with the addition of a few grey hairs all around) and you will be too. i am holding my thumbs for your happy end.

December 20, 2005 at 7:32:00 PM GMT+1  

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