Week #26 — multi-tasking mania

Photos tell one type of story but by the time the photo is taken there could have been a whole series of decisions leading up to it that were not photographed.

For example this photo:

shows electric wiring, but in the wrong location. Part of the problem resulted from language barriers. Other parts from relying on a computer drawing that was misinterpreted.

This is just one of numerous behind-the-scenes activities that take place each day.

With four teams working simultaneously there’s new things happening each day and along with the excitement is a certain amount of anxiety that the tasks are being executed properly.

And then there’s the fact that I want changes to the original plans at times, and those changes have to be drawn and handed over to a team. It can be a bit like the telephone game that perhaps you played as a kid, where you whisper something into the ear of the kid next to you and then 12 kids later the story is completely different.


Shower tile arrives

There is a critical transition point when constructing a building. It’s the moment when you go from completing the underlying structure, to beginning to finish off each and every room with everything from paint to power outlets.

With a limited crew you must complete the structure before beginning on the finishes. With a sizable crew, or even multiple crews, you can start on the finishes with one crew while the construction crew works on the roof, for example.

So that’s what we have here. The brick and plaster finishers are able to add shower tile to any completed, concrete-plastered wall while construction is still underway.

I didn’t expect this development as my previous experience has been with smaller crews. And with the materials I used in the USA, primarily a wood stud structure, it’s mandatory to get the roof on and protect the wood from the weather before you get going with finishes.

But here in Indonesia we can have large crews at very reasonable labor costs per worker. In addition, the floors are concrete, which means rain won’t impact certain kinds of finishing work going on under a covered floor.

So while many aspects of the construction process here are labor intensive, there are some efficiencies when the building gets to a certain state.

The bottom line is that when you start to see ceramic tile arriving at your building, you should know that you’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The light may be fuzzy or cloudy and even a bit unsettling, as a new set of decisions come into play. But it’s a light nevertheless. You are emerging from the mud and the darkness — and splattering, wet concrete falling off a freshly poured roof.