Archive for the 'Construction' Category

21
Jul
17

The road to Grenfell

There are many routes, this is my route.

In 1938,  Liberalism was on the wane and some people thought a new direction was needed for the world. A conference was set up in Paris called The Walter Lippmann Colloquium, it’s aim was to  construct a new Liberalism as a rejection to Socialism and Laissez-Fare Liberalism. Twenty six men of like minds attended. They where reading Lippmann’s book, An Enquiry into the Principles of the Good Society. The term Neo Liberalism (free market capitalism), was first thought of by Alexander Rustow at this meeting. Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the gradual development of Britain’s welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism. I first learnt of it in 1973 in my GCSE History lesson, where the Socialist teacher in his hand knitted oversize jumper painted a grim picture of what was to come.

This Right wing Ideological fringe movement would be classed as obscure for many, until the arrival of Mrs Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and even then I don’t remember it being mentioned, as they would prefer it if  could be sneaked in, bit by bit, hoping its too late by the time you’ve noticed. Heath had started the attack on Unions some time before Thatcher’s arrival and her 84/85 Miners strike. The result a message to us all and a resurgence of the power of capital, over labour.

Callaghan had ditched Keynesian economics in 1976. Howe in 81 had 364 economists telling him his budget was all wrong, it was to bury Keynesian economics for ever. The removal of exchange controls meant travellers no longer had a £50 foreign travel limit. For business it was the free movement of money and investments abroad. But this also is part of the Neo Liberalism way of thinking. Small state and less regulation. Banks did well with high interest rates, but the workers didn’t, with high fuel costs and a rise in National Insurance, increases in Tobacco and Alcohol duties. It was the first Austerity budget I had known.

Personally it was the first attack on my wages. Men in suites stood around with clipboards watching people work, timing, recording. In the months that followed my prices went down. Things got Privatised Nationally. Add in the higher taxes and national insurance and a lot of us buggered off to Germany and beyond. I was on the Legoland Windsor project at the time, and it’s one of the only jobs I’ve left without finishing, such was the rush to get out. I’d realised the present order was not natural, but rather that it is new, that came from somewhere, and that it was designed by particular people with particular interests, like Alexander Rustow.  It felt like Management had secretly  been to night school and learnt a new meaner method.

It was the end of Society as we had previously known it, but they are not finished yet. Devised by people it can be undone by people, I hope.

.Com

The floatation of many company’s was another assault on the workers wages. Where does the money come from for the Shareholders dividend, and the new H&S department and the new HR department, it can only come out of the workers wages as the boss isn’t going to pay it out of his profit.

It tickles me to see Blair telling us we should stay in the single market and the Customs union for he is a Neoliberal as well. Seeing him wearing a Kippah reminded me of the string of Jewish names that are attached to this way of thinking, not forgetting the list of Billionaires, some Jewish, as it’s money that’s really in charge now.

They have a wish to remove Capitalism away from Government and a vote. Free of all constraints and controls. Free labour would be ideal, but they are settling for free movement at the moment. Anything that can be, is to be monetised.

The Wiki says:

Neoliberalism (neo-liberalism)[1] refers primarily to the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism.[2]:7 These include extensive economic liberalization policies such as privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, unrestricted free trade,[3] and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society.[11] These market-based ideas and the policies they inspired constitute a paradigm shift away from the post-war Keynesian consensus which lasted from 1945 to 1980.

That’s where we are, if we look out of the window.

We’ve seen the effects of economic liberalism, Enron and the 2008 crash to name but two. If we look at Chile in 1980, Neoliberal  James McGill Buchanan helped the Pinochet dictatorship write a new constitution, which, partly through the clever devices Buchanan proposed, has proved impossible to reverse entirely. Amid the torture and killings, he advised the government to extend programmes of privatisation, austerity, monetary restraint, deregulation and the destruction of trade unions: a package that helped trigger economic collapse in 1982. In 1986 James Buchanan was awarded the Nobel memorial prize for economics. Mrs Thatcher had Pinochet as a personal friend.

Privatisation has seen a none stop selling off of assets, you can be riding your bike now and told you can’t, it’s private land and there are rules you follow or don’t go that way again, you might even be fined.

Fiscal Austerity has seen an ever increasing drop in all aspects of life, especially in the care given by the Government to those less off in society. The NHS wasn’t safe under Labour and it’s even less safe now, as America is waiting to own it.

If you look back to 1938 (the year my mother was born) and beyond you’ll find the property supremacist John C Calhoun, who argued in the first half of the 19th century that freedom consists of the absolute right to use your property (including your slaves) however you may wish; any institution that impinges on this right is an agent of oppression, exploiting men of property on behalf of the undeserving masses. I’ve met bosses with the same mentality.

Deregulation has spread far and wide. There’s been a De Regulation for money and for control systems. Do you remember Trading Standards? did you ever read Which Cladding? obviously Kensington Council didn’t. Trading Standards could have stopped Grenfell if they hadn’t been told to let up and let the manufacturer’s check their own products. If local Councils still had their own Clerk of Works, he would have stopped Grenfell. If the local Council had sent a Fire Officer, they would have stopped Grenfell. If Grenfell had a warden, more lives would have been saved.

Un restricted free trade and free movement, the two go together.

Thatcher stopped the Better Home initiative which Grenfell would have been brought up to date in the 90’s under. Free movement saw the demise of the Industrial Process that used to insulate the blocks like Grenfell. Firstly, cheap unskilled labour was used by management to lower wages, secondly, they expected you to be happy with it, eventually all their trained workers left. Most left the Industry, never to return, hence the skills shortage across the land, and Bovis the house builders £7 million pot, put aside for snagging this year.  I haven’t stopped laughing about that. The quality the untrained could muster, you or anyone with the money wouldn’t pay for. Eventually the clients and local councils didn’t want anymore doing to that quality level and looked for something else, and picked Rain Screen as the new method.

As seven out of the ten company’s connected with the project where for the cladding side, pinning the blame will be difficult. Who would a quarter of Million pounds be a saving for, is a smaller list.

What you can’t see is the windows where moved from their original spot outwards, to aid light ingress as the cladding was at least 150mm deep. The fire proofing around the new window position will be under scrutiny along with the system makeup in the internal corners where the fire first travelled at speed vertically. You will hear much about the cavity fire stops, they survived the blaze, they are still there, they are on the floor pads in the final picture, just above the windows in an horizontal line. Where are the fire breaks in the flammable cladding, the cavity breaks stop against the back of the outer  cladding, under heat, they don’t make it to the outer edge,  can you see any in the extremely flammable cladding? no as there aren’t any. Molten Aluminium windows give us some idea of the temperatures involved. The temperatures reached in property’s is even higher than previous, with the invent of Lithium battery’s for phones and pads. Down in the right hand corner fourth square in on the second level you can see the colour of the FR5000 Insulation, which didn’t burn with the cladding, more it was turned to carbon by the flat fires that followed. If the fire hadn’t made it inside, the Insulation would still be there as the burning cladding had passed it quite quickly.

 

There is a chance more deaths on a large scale will have happened before we hear the final news on Grenfell. Is there a reason for the circle of Mosques that encircle London? imagine them as a boundary. Londonium will end there, and if your not the right colour or of the correct wealth you won’t be allowed to live there. It will be a fully privatised area of well kept lawns, homes and not a spot of litter or riffraff. In essence, it is a class war of the global rich against the rest of humanity. Its purpose is to destroy the gains made by working people since the 40’s, to increase the rate of exploitation and profit, and to redistribute wealth from labour to capital.  So they will build you a new house or block of flats but the developer will decide on the affordable figure, so none of Grenfell’s residents could afford the rent.

As James Buchanan managed to write a manifesto for Chile, then I’m going to write a manifesto for the world. I’ve tested it on a multi millionaire, it went down like a lead balloon, so I reckon with a little bit of fine tuning it will be good to go.

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22
Mar
17

Productivity

Barclays Bank, The Guardian, The Times and FT.com amongst others have covered it recently, it’s even been discussed in the Houses of Parliament and on the news. Here’s a snippet from the Guardians Phillip Inman, “There are generally two ways to improve productivity. One is the purchase of better machinery. The second involves a new process, which allows a worker to increase the speed or quality of what they are doing. Quality matters as much as quantity when firms can charge more for higher-grade goods.”

Having worked in Germany there is a bigger use of tools as men are dearer than tools. Here in the UK tools are more expensive than the workers. In Construction, for the Plastering trade there has been improvements in the tools, in the quest to shrink the skills needed to get it flat. There hasn’t been a pay rise after 1979/80 and if we take account of the effects of Privatisation and .com then the money in your pocket has been under constant attack since that year. Increasing speed started in Thatcher’s years, it had too, the family needed food. Firstly the Time and Motion book was re-written and the prices shrunk, then they had privatisation to pay for, and Privatisation to suffer as it hasn’t made anything cheaper. Lately they have had cheap immigrant labour that bosses have used to drop wages across the country. In my trade ten untrained men on £30 a day with food and lodgings have been doing the work of two fully trained men, but the quality levels reached wouldn’t have been paid for years ago. When a boss looks at the spread sheet and says “you need to speed up, these immigrants are faster” get another job. Your arms can only go so fast with a wet product and you will eventually wear out joints and Tendons.

Laughing I saw the latest House builders quality issues with one company putting aside 7 million in the hope that’s enough to put right all the problems. Imagine standing in your new house and asking the representative “is it really ready” and then proceed to note all the problems you can see just from where your standing. Self auditing is partly to blame, and management. News today, workers are retiring without a pension, really, I wonder why.

Real life, Devon this week.

A team turned up on site to unload materials for the system and start the job on a Subcontract basis. The materials didn’t turn up until Tuesday, even though it said Monday on the order, so no monies earned. On Tuesday the materials turned up without a forklift, 3.8 ton of materials. It says Forklift on the sheet as EU rules say it’s too heavy for handballing. After unloading and stacking they notice one key starter item is missing to be delivered on Friday, a ranting phone call to the system suppliers brought that forwards to Wednesday, no monies earned. Wednesday 10.00am the starter track arrives and they start work. After a few hours they realise the tradesman in front is way behind as he’s running the job as well. Wednesday afternoon they release a man from their team to speed him up. As work progressed they had noticed a problem, the scaffold wasn’t suitable for their install method. Who was it designed for? the Roofers. What is the Roofer doing on a scaffold? he climbs up it and accesses the roof and often its where he stores materials, especially on the top deck. To make sure he doesn’t fall down the 100mm inner gap a handrail has been installed around the internal, which blocks access for 2.4×1.2 metre sheets, limited monies earned. Thursday spray paint the trims that will be on show for the shocked client and generally sort out the system, what goes where etc, limited monies earned, but they have materials on the wall at last. Friday a system surveyor turns up on site, he says there should be a membrane on top of the other trades work to act has a barrier, “it’s not written down in the specification, not on your web portal, how where they to know?, “take it all off, install membrane, refit, not sure why it’s not in the specification” Surveyor says he’ll make a note. No monies earned.

Friday, foul weather but it’s all systems go. The Site manager, bald as a coot, has many long scars and scabs on his head, as the scaffold height is at 5ft 9” anyone over 5ft 5” isn’t wearing a helmet, the manager is visibly about 5ft 8/9”. As the team leave the ground floor and start floor one much swearing takes place, much banging of hammers and banging of heads, they can’t get past the 100mm gap and can’t feed past the inner handrail. Limited monies earned and an extra dinner had to be consumed. Over the weekend the scaffold is going to be altered and put back up at 6ft 6”.  How long have people regularly been seen at 6ft or above, anytime after the 1950’s, I shall blame meat and protein eating, after the wars ended munch, munch.

Now where in amongst all that would faster workers have altered productivity? Are the workers not working as fast as they can? all those on a metre price especially. Plastering along with other dusty trades have just been slowed slightly by the forced clean shaven rule and a Facefit mask, to be worn at all times, the clean shaven rule is rigidly enforced, any bum fluff and your sent home.

A team roll up onto a private house on an estate to install an Insulated render system. Day one unload materials and clear garden rubbish so they can access the scaffold. They note there is no outside tap, no water, and the occupant is at work. They phone the office, can you use a standpipe they ask, yes they had sourced a fire Hydrant close by on the street, one will be delivered to site tomorrow, No monies earned and a 120 mile round trip with fuel costs. Day two, 10:00am and the standpipe is delivered. Over an hour spent opening and cleaning out the hydrant, it’s an old one and the new pipe doesn’t fit. A local controller offers to bring water from a local garage, the team laugh at him, they need a constant supply and lots of it. Would the garage be ok with this? An adapter is promised for the day after, no monies earned and more fuel costs. Day three adapter arrives, it doesn’t fit, the team go home and source their own, no monies earned and fuel costs and adapter costs added.

Day four it’s all systems go. Time to earn some money. The firm refuse to pay a previously agreed waiting time payment. Where did that project go wrong? The initial survey/management should have noticed the house had no tap, the local controller could have cleaned out the hydrant and sorted a tap before they arrived. Workers need better protection from robbing bosses. Water is still a necessity for Plastering and has been for years. It’s the first thing a Plasterer looks for, seconded by access. Often the boss might think you are 9ft high or have really long arms.

Construction has seen a marked increase in bosses who don’t know what the job is , Geography teachers, Woodwork teachers, History teachers, Opticians, and Ex Council managers to name a few.

“Oh this looks interesting, never seen it before, easy is it?”, “who are you?”, “the system Auditor”.

News this week, Suicides amongst Construction workers is at an all time high, could this be the thought of having to increase productivity, again?, I’m guessing £7:20 an hour is partly responsible along with wage theft and crowds of management with no idea, slowing up their jobs and affecting their money, having to cancel their pensions and working conditions similar to a passage from Animal Farm,  never mind all those saying they need to speed up. “Where’s the toilet”, “under the bosses arse”, “where’s that”?, “about two miles away, go down here turn left, then right, follow it on until the second right, first left, then cut through a field, you will see his office in the distance, make sure you wear your hi-vis vest and helmet, all the way”, “what, even in the field?” Willmott Dixon management wear Pink hi-vis vests, just to add to the ambience.

Productivity could be improved by running, except running whilst your bursting is a recipe for a disaster, hence the smelly carrier bags of fouled jeans left in peoples gardens on a big job in Plymouth and Bristol last year, and those odd looking fellows back at work in the wrong size Primark trousers. How about centralised toilets or mobile ones?

There was no mention of management in the Guardian or the Times, or Barclays piece on the subject.

10
Jan
17

Dupuytren’s contracture

NIK_4384

It occurs more frequently in patients with diabetes mellitus, seizure disorders, epilepsy, and alcoholism, which isn’t me at all. Genetics seems to be the most significant factor, as 4 to 7 in every 10 people with the condition have a family history of it. It’s also more common and often more severe in men over the age of 50 and of Northern European stock, it affects 4-6% of Caucasians worldwide. Dupuytren’s contracture is generally not thought to be related to manual work or using vibrating tools, although some recent studies suggest there may be a link. If so why does it only affect the ring, middle and pinkie fingers, when your index finger has been doing most of the work? I think falling badly on the side of my hand on March 10 2016 was the start of it as I can’t say I noticed it until shortly afterwards. A previous injury to the hand, such as a broken wrist has  been associated with an increased risk of Dupuytren’s contracture, but it’s not clear how this may lead to the condition. The only good news is Rheumatoid arthritis seems to protect against the development of Dupuytren disease.

21
May
16

Brexit

Since that fateful day that Heath signed the Document we have sold shed loads of our assets and are in more debt than we can pay off, meanwhile a lot of the workforce are on reduced wages as bosses have taken advantage of the cheap labour, I’m still waiting for a boat load of  cheap bosses to arrive. Meanwhile the spread sheet mentality that seemed to follow the floatation boom of the Thatcher Neo Liberalism era lives on.

A new business model has surfaced in Construction and it’s off shoot of External wall insulation and it requires lots of cheap labour. Let the none English speaking semi skilled/ unskilled workers continue, even though they are doing it wrong, missing bits out or struggling to achieve the necessary quality/ ignoring any quality. Then they refuse to pay, ending up with a cheap job or a job they haven’t paid a bean for. Then they get a trained bod to attempt to put it right for the smallest cost, ending up with a really cheap job, albeit bodged. How many projects get ripped of, and started again? none that I’ve been on. This situation will only get worse if we stay in.

I’ve been to Turkey where some of the residents lived in the wilds, to say their kids looked like Urchins from Victorian times is and was an understatement, some in Turkey are treated worse than dogs. I’ve lived in Germany when the Turks where less than happy in their ghetto’s and where driving through the city of Kassel, firing their guns out of the window, as a nation are they well known for Construction, Farming, Hairdressing, Cleaning, no, and Turkey is 98% none Christian, what about the Albanians with 0.14% Christians , they should fit right in , it’s rich in Minerals so there’s quite a few miners, hmm, Thatcher got rid of ours, Textiles are another big Industry, we don’t have one to use them in anymore, Farming is another, but it’s nothing like our farming, comprising of small rural farms. Youth unemployment is around 30%, poverty around 14%, you can bet on which group is most likely to travel abroad. I bet bosses will think of something they can do on the cheap.

Locally this week a business meeting in Exeter took place to discuss Brexit, a Cheese manufacturer was in the remain camp due to some of her Cheese being held up at Norway’s border for so long the customer went off the sale. She also said most people don’t want to work outside most of the time, so welcomed the cheap foreign labour. Another from the farming world complained about the none existence of a level playing field across Europe, he was undecided. An Oil and Gas parts supplier was remain even though their market was not in Europe, but he relied on the European quality marks to save money. Another in Construction said there was a need for skilled labour in Exeter and there was a shortage, I see no evidence walking around Exeter at the new builds that the skill level has gone up, rather its gone down alarmingly. The drilling team could load their van up, drive down the Channel tunnel and drill a hole without any paperwork, so said the Engineering body, so they where in. I took from all those in the meeting, that it’s all about themselves, I have had the same from locals, cheap holidays, cheap mobile contracts when abroad, Education, free movement of students. No one mentioned Multi culturist, no one mentioned the debt, no one mentioned Turkey, or the really cheap Macedonians, when asked it wasn’t their problem. I mentioned the current EU UK fishing fleet problem. They will pay boat owners to scrap their boat, not sell it, scrap it, and leave the industry, so it makes it easier, less agro for the Portuguese fishermen and Spanish who are raiding our shores daily. I look on that as the ruination of our Industry that has been with us for Centuries, a criminal act against us as a country, wait till you find out they are subsiding the Portuguese to get them to increase their fleet, it stinks all the way to Brussels. I’m out on that. Brexit

A frequent argument is the need for skills to be able to move easily, (it’s a bosses dream, not the workers) I went to Germany during Mrs Thatcher’s reign, me and van loads of others spent years over there. We didn’t look much different than the vans that turned up in Plymouth or Bristol in 2000 or 2016, the vehicle was on it’s last legs, their clothes, my clothes, my car had a hole in the floor under the accelerator, it had just failed it’s Mot due to rust, for a £100 the engine sounded sweat enough for the trip. It cost me £100 to scrap it in Germany in the second year. I had been asked to go and work on what must have been an early German version of the Green Deal, by ex workers that I’d met in Bristol some years earlier, who where missing one part of a team and suffering, I was asked as a future integral part of the team. for over two years we cladded tower blocks from Dortmund to Kassel, Berlin to Belgium, to the same quality we had achieved at home. I would hear story’s of £1000 a week, £2000 a week, I let them go in one ear and out the other. The Poll Tax was just about to arrive, Capitalism was swinging towards the bosses, wages where being cut, monthly, there where Shareholders to pay, management bonuses to pay, more office workers to pay. As a member of staff, salaried, working on the Windsor Castle Legoland version 1 project, my newly floated bosses where beginning to show their metal. Working by the metre, payees by the metre, if all is going well, you don’t stop for breakfast, you don’t stop for lunch, it may get to early afternoon, before someone says, we will miss the canteen soon. So we stop, we are late, there is no food but a welcome mug of tea will do, meat and two veg later in the digs, with loads of gravy, we had the same every night. Mario the owner, Maltese, walked between the isles of tables armed with a hug jug of Gravy, “more gravy, more gravy” day three no thank you. But this afternoon we are sat drinking tea, a senior boss wanders in, clocks us, probably didn’t clock the soaked hair as we had only just stopped, no his next gaze was the clock, 2:20pm, he checked his watch and glared at us. The next day a sign on the door read no Connaught workers after 10:15 am and after 1:15pm, how crass, it got worse when they said they where not making enough money and we would need to provided our own place to stay, the fact the blocklayers had a different way of interpreting the scale on a plan was not our fault. But as we were the first affected, our only way out of the mess was an onsite redesign of manufactured details, which took time. They where lucky we had the skills to achieve the final outcome, but wouldn’t get the feeling anyone was pleased. I felt put upon, greatly. I pondered how much Mario’s cost, with his Gravy. That afternoon I phoned Germany and told them Monday, I’ll be there.

At the time in Germany they didn’t want to do the job, “will I  have to get up early”, “is it a dirty job” questions asked at interviews, they couldn’t get the project going without labour, us and the Italians are well thought of in the Rendering/ Plastering world. Plus we where already getting on the road at 4:0am and used to getting dirty. I and the team have been announced at gatherings, “these are my English Plasterers, who plastered the Church”, and very drunk we all got. I hadn’t had that recognition at home after the start of Mrs Thatcher’s reign and have never again to this day. My first day at work, arrived early, slept in the car for two hours with a coat still wrapped around my feet, freezing cold. Went to work at 7:0am, ate lunch from the local supermarket, and got home at 6:00pm, sat at the table calculator and pen, adding up our metres, I was surprised I’d lasted after my 24hr drive, “about £298, considering it was your first day, I know it will get better” I considered £50 for my efforts, when another said “ that’s each, yeh”, “yes of course that’s each” I worked out on the Church job mentioned earlier that we had been on £48 an hour. And thanked, and we always got paid.

That is a big difference from the last ten years here at home. The Latvians where educated and also the Polish but to a lesser degree, but they learnt early on that they where being used and some went home, but lots moved in to their trade from home, and for most it wasn’t Plastering, their influx has affected many trades. They where followed by the Romanians, firstly by those persecuted at home, then the masses that still arrive today to work under Polish gangers, just in my Industry. My ganger in Germany was Dutch and carried a revolver at all times, we found him straight as a die. Today the vans can be rotten, their clothes also, they work very hard, in all weathers, but not by choice. lucky if they make £4 an our, they don’t hear no cheers at the end. Speaking to a Nasty piece of work Polish ganger weeks ago in Bristol, sneering down his nose, “why nobody pay, all the time lately, oh, can’t pay, no no pay, I lose my Polish workers, have to use Fucking Romanians, it’s fucking shit man”, “why it like this”? I reminded him of a conversation we had previously had some four years ago, “it will only get worse” had been the gist of it, he sneered some more, gesturing towards me, “you”  Did you get paid on that job, I asked, stalling him, “ Fuck no, they robbing bastards, they all robbing bastards” I laughed and quickly walked away, my head is full of pictures of their work, it’s the business model mentioned earlier, get the job done, get the Scaffold down, “oh my god, look at that, stop the cheque”. I look at all the tower blocks in Poole and Bristol, London, Reading, Wiltshire, Dorset, we would have been stopped way before the Scaffold comes down, way before it was plastered. The job is now so shit, even the trod on Romanian reckons in his travels, Germany treated them like slaves, Italy and Ireland enjoyed humiliating them, but England had been the worse so far. “We are talked too like scum” he says. The exploitation of the unfortunate economic migrant has to stop, will Europe come to their aid or Turkeys and Albanian future Migrants, I think not.  In hi-vis and helmet with your back turned, perhaps a big fluorescent jacket on, where are you from? “hey you, you, you over there, at some volume, I turned slowly, as I wasn’t the only person around, some of the locals and a delivery man where feet away. I was aware of a bright pink Hi-VI’s, a very red face, “get your fucking gloves on now”, “you over there, yes you, he marched off towards a chap pushing a wheel barrow, don’t push it empty, pick up this fucking rubbish on your way, and started plucking Centuries old rubbish out of the long grass. The car park was frozen, like time had stopped, I looked down at my hand, my phone, yes I was on the phone, having just got out of vehicle after a long drive, of course I didn’t have my glove on. Coming out won’t change these idiot managers or the plight of workers in general, neither will staying in. I’m still out.

Debt is currently at £1.6 Trillion, cut the drain, stop the fraud, definitely Brexit.

The Magna Carter and the Justice system is not worth the price, Tony Blair was responsible for incorporating the European Convention of Human Rights into British law, which effectively made the European Court of Human Rights our supreme court. While it is not connected with the EU, the human rights court has undermined Westminster by allowing remote judges – many of whom represent countries which themselves have an appalling record of human rights abuses – to make up our own domestic law on a whim. And your thinking of remaining? definitely Brexit

British Home stores and yachts in the Med, cut the drain, stop the fraud, definitely Brexit

Because Edward Heath didn’t have the balls to run his pen across the page and put it in a bin, I’m doing it because of him, it’s been a total dead loss, and that’s putting it mildly, try telling me different. For the Country, Brexit

Tony Blair, Thatcher’s Nephew, wanting an un Elected European president as a future job for himself,  the Social Chapter, along with Jack Straw and the rest of the team. Definitely Brexit

Malcolm Rifkind, the Foreign Secretary, told top industrialists. In an attempt to counter Labour’s charm offensive with big business, he said that accepting the social chapter would damage industry and threaten Britain’s prosperity. It did, By signing up to the Social Chapter, Britain could subsequently be overruled by other European countries, under the system of qualified majority voting, in a number of key social policies such as health and safety and working conditions. These are not all in the interests of workers, but a lot will be related to risk, worthless lives in little boxes, Definitely Brexit

Cashless is next, all monies in the system to be accounted for Electronically, your level of attainment embedded or maybe visible in flashing micro L.E.D’s. Look at me I’m level 67, what are you, a 15? oh the sneering for the masses to come. It will happen either way. Brexit 

The EU is totally un Democratic, smoke and mirrors, at best does your vote count or has Spain got the Veto? I haven’t felt like mine has for years, and you can guess Edward Heath is to blame. Brexit

Staying in would see the rapid take over by Europe and a rapid dismantling of anything English, minority’s will have a say about the laws that govern them that they disagree with, the vast majority of the next wave will be Muslim, I can see where it’s heading. Like the Ten Tribes, we will be written about, what happened to the English. Brexit will delay the inevitable.

22
Nov
15

SAY HELLO TO your new robot

traveller

I first became aware of the Spread sheet and it’s use in Construction projects in the Thatcher glory years, when Company’s where floating on the Stock Market, daily.  Everyone was becoming a shareholder, bar myself and I still haven’t joined in, today.

I was on a Refurbishment job, in Wincanton, Somerset. My company had recently floated, a vast proportion of staff, had bought in. New Business managers had been taken on. The job had been priced and everything had been assigned a little coloured box within an Excel document. It was going to be done for that price in that amount of time. One price i remember well, was the price payable to fit a door.

A deal had been struck with Travis Perkins, i presume so prices could be fixed,, and volume buying could be worth a discount. Our discount at the time was better than a senior member of Travis Perkins was. All materials for the refit of the door could be obtained there.

My Carpenter and his team came from Yeovil, not too far away. The price for a door fitment, complete with frame, lock, hinges, door handle  and Architraves was £15. I had phoned the person responsible for the price, who had rustled some paper around, “ah yes, the door, i presume he has power tools, he continued,  the door, three hinges, routed, three screws, three minutes, door lock, routed”. He went on and on. “it comes out just over 45 minutes, i have been generous and paid for the hour”. I was enlightened, and dismayed. I informed him the house was old and the door didn’t fit. The frame was easy to alter, the door not so. The price didn’t alter.

The document above is part of another Refurbishment project.  It involves External Wall Insulation and render and as such it should involve the weather. Seeing as the weather is an unknown element there is no space for it on the sheet. The price payable for the system install was the lowest i had expected.

Houses where expected to start and finish on a set day. Partly running through the winter months, i’d mentioned the weather, holding a printed out Excel sheet for the first time in my life. Next Wednesday we would be starting Number 34, but they give a storm coming in. I voiced my opinion, not possible, and was duly stitched up and sacked. My first warning regarding the lengths managers will go too, to protect the spread sheet, even if it’s wildly wrong.

Last week Peter Hansford the Government Minister for Construction issued his recommendations, we/ I await any response. Part of the document mentions training and pay. I have asked for the price to be set by the supplier of the system, like buying a VW car. Sto Track and Rail system costs £? per metre to install to this standard, Alsecco Adhesive free system costs,  £… per metre, to install to a standard. Make them responsible for the training also. You can still add in the price for labour on your sheet, the figure can be obtained from them over the phone or by mail, easy peasy, it will come in an un-editable box.

 

list2All the ECO, Warmer Homes, Green Deal projects have all been guilty of this practice, hence the lowest price ever paid, and the lowest quality, and deviation from the specification, displayed on every street in the country. Hence my arrival on the list, partly shown here. Looking at the list a lot have had correspondence from myself regarding the spread sheet  and it’s operation. Real life excerpts off the shop floor, some in the list like BRE.co.uk went out and had a look, so alarmed where they and others, is why this report is out.

The suppliers need to step up their game, it’s their product on show, after all. Training needs to be in depth, where ever it’s practiced, none of this half a day and home, or NVQ’s on the doorstep. A proper visible achievement, visible by eye. Noted STO.co.uk didn’t have anything to do with any of the subsidised EWI, SWI installs over the last ten years.  They where protecting their quality standards.

Where are we at the moment?, every boss i have had since Wincanton has been looking in the boxes, shaving a bit here and there, none stop.  I’ve been fuming about it since that day. To achieve the required quality, we need to be Robotic in our attempts, the weather needs to be ignored, illness and public holidays. More often than not, it’s un-achievable, set by someone with no  idea of the job involved or just plain greedy/ tight. As we are not going to be saying hello to a Robot just yet, I’m hoping Peter’s report has some effect. I’m rubbing my chin trying to imagine, what..

On the shop floor, speaking to an ex boss (ex Green Deal and Eco warrior), only last week. “You can’t do it for £24.50 a metre” he says. He knows that, as I and others have been telling himself and others, since Wincanton. Along the way I’ve had a boss who reckoned he could get EWI/SWI done for nothing, his rendition of the Art of Plastering would have flummoxed any game of Charades. He wasn’t responsible for the Initial figure during Green Deal and ECO etc, the Government department DECC or Suite’s as I call them, where. Now we are left with that price. It was odd how his tone suggested it was a recent event, on the trowel it’s been a ten year slog at least. He had been alarmed at my suggestion of him loosing control of wages. I tried comforting him, “it’s just a box”. I can only try and imagine what the other boss would have thought about my ideas. It didn’t go down well. But it would be a box DECC and others couldn’t alter. He also dumbed down the skills needed. He actually said “it’s not Plastering” I begged  to differ. All in all, not a good chat, estimations of people dented.

Now they are having trouble getting people to do it for the amount they have left in the box. Most fully trained operatives have left the Industry, long ago. I thought this would be the outcome in Wincanton all those years ago after the phone call, luckily an influx of cheap labour has helped bosses shave the box ever tighter, but now they are training up, they want more money. For those who are already trained, this isn’t enough money and hasn’t been for sometime, I Brian (note the Capital) “The Individual” say so.

One other suggestion i have put forwards is bringing back the Clerk of Works on Retrofit projects. Put an end to the in house assessments. The cost of this can go in a box. I will let you know if any of these measures come in too play.




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