Thursday, January 15, 2009

In search of snow

Tuesday came and went, with two more people gone. One being my friend Melissa, who was secretly delighted since she's been struggling a lot lately balancing two kids under 3 years old and a husband that constantly travels, and the other one being Jon who worked on my team...if you can call it "working". He was pretty useless and arrogant too, so I was glad to see him go.

That afternoon, the president got us all together to talk about what had happened. The Cliff Notes version is that yes, they laid off a total of seven people. Yes, they are done...for now. No one can predict what the market will be like, so there are no guarantees. They are aggressively pursuing projects in the hopes of keeping everyone else employed. Hoo boy.

Once I had a chance to breathe on the way home, I started thinking about the seven people who got the ax. Two were part-timers who were "overhead" costs versus being reimbursable like most of us are. One was working out onsite at a project that was pretty much done and they had nowhere to send her. One was a superintendent that had quit three weeks ago, asked to come back and work things out, and then obviously was on the list to be cut. And the other three were project managers who were relatively new at the company, didn't have a lot of projects going on, and really didn't have any oomph in their resumes that made them a "must keep". The core group is still here, still kicking ass, and honestly once the meeting was over it was like a huge weight had been lifted off the office's collective shoulders.


In the comments on my last post, Marcia Ann asked a question about LEED projects that I wanted to comment back on. In terms of difficulty of these projects, it kind of depends on what side of the table you're on. As a designer, it's difficult because you have to design the whole building including all of the systems inside to meet LEED requirements and get enough points to have the building certified. As a contractor, you are required to comply with the requirements and document, document, document. On a LEED project, I spend an enormous amount of time chasing down documentation not only from my company, but from my subcontractors and suppliers. Frankly, it's a pain in the ass. West Coast contractors have a distinct advantage in that they have been building "green" much longer than we East Coasters have been, so trying to make a supplier in West Virginia understand VOC requirements can be like talking to a rock. It has gotten significantly better in the past four years, but we still have a long way to go.

Then, Marcia, in terms of the attorneys in your office getting LEED certification, I would imagine it would benefit them if they practice construction law. They would need to understand the credits and ins and outs of the system for litigation purposes. Let's say, for example, that we came down to the wire on a LEED project and as the contractor, we suddenly got blamed for not making one of the credits happen. Our attorney would need to understand the credits, what we could and couldn't realistically do, what was required by our contract with the client (because it's gotten to the point where they specifically spell out what credits we are responsible for), and so on. LEED is like the "hot" thing right now and if you're in construction law it certainly will become a big part of any litigation in the future since it's becoming such a huge part of the industry.

Marcia, I hope this sort of answers your questions...if not, definitely email me at LEED-er at your service!


Today, we leave for the state convention for general contractors. We're going for Joey's business, not mine. No one from my company is attending this year. And I am going with the intention of trying to help him network with some of my competitors in the hopes that he can pick up a few projects and hopefully not have to lay anyone off at his office. Yay.

We're headed here. It's supposed to be something ridiculous like 12 degrees, but they have one important thing we haven't seen in years here. SNOW. Lots of it.

Monkey Man is beyond excited.


Two days ago, in the car...

"Mommy, can I call you and Daddy 'Mom and Dad' now?"

"Sure sweetheart, why?"

"Well, you know, I am seven now and all."

So now, I'm officially Mom. And a little piece of my heart is broken.


Tree said...

I've been Mom since N was 5. I cried a little that day - even my coworkers noticed it. Fortunately J still calls me Mama. Now I need to teach her to say "hot" first...

Have a great trip and network like crazy.

Gretchen said...

I'm Mom for the most part. Though Brynn still calls me Mama. The other to do when they're sick.

If you want snow (and the Mall of America) you're welcome to visit me.

Of course with the temps well below zero, it's too cold to play outside.

MarciaAnn said...

Thanks ... the LEED info did help greatly .. I posted same on FB, but thought I'd mention it here too