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“What bloody deadline ?”

Posted by Big John on March 30, 2008

Why is it that in this country nearly every major building project either fails to be ready on time or cannot function properly when it does open.

The latest cock-up is of course Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport. I won’t go into detail as you will all have already read plenty about it over the past couple of days.

In recent years we have seen a number of fiascos including Wembley Stadium, The Dome, The British Library etc. etc. … which makes me wonder …

Was it always so ?  …

“Don’t worry your Druidship. The henge is only a couple of stones short, and there’s always next year’s solstice to look forward to”…  or  … 

“Sorry Hadrian, old cock, but you’ll have to put up with all those blue painted buggers crossing the border for a bit longer as the gates for the wall don’t quite fit”… or …

“I know that the tower is not exactly white William, but those stupid Saxons won’t notice anyway ?”  … or …

“So we are running a bit late bishop, but then it’s a long way to Canterbury and we’ve only got one horse and cart”…  or  …

“Tis true, Mr Shakespeare, that we hath forgotten to finish ye thatched roof on ye theatre , so let us pray that it doth not pissith down on ye opening night”… or …

“What’s that Albert ? …  There is plenty of glass, but they’ve run out of putty. We are not amused”.

It’s now four years until London hosts the multi-billion pound 2012 Olympic Games, so Seb Coe and his mates have plenty of time to pocket their hard earned cash and ensure that all will be ready on time, but don’t be surprised if you see some bloke in a hard hat standing in the middle of a muddy field and hear those familiar words …

… “Opening when ? … No chance guv ! … Where do you think you are ? …

…     bleeding Beijing ?” 


4 Responses to ““What bloody deadline ?””

  1. Londoners face one sort of overrun every week: “scheduled engineering work” on the tube system that takes place over the weekend (and sometimes at night during the week) is never finished on time and every Monday morning (and some weekday mornings), commuters are faced with a struggle to get to work.

    Why is this? I would say the answer is pretty simple: no one takes deadlines seriously. Putting it another way, there are no penalties for not finishing on time, so builders and “engineers” can overrun as much as they like.

    There should be penalty clauses. If you don’t finish in time, a certain amount is lopped off your payment. Delay too long and you’ll end up paying us.

    Why isn’t this done? Possibly because those who commission the works get kick-backs from those they commission, so it’s not in their interest to be too picky about overruns and failure to keep to budget.

  2. Creepy said

    Actually, Crystal Palace DID encounter a ton of problems and delays when they were building that – I paid a visit to the Crystal Palace museum so I know this.
    My girlfriend was caught up in the fiasco. She’s lost her suitcase – they neglected to bring ANY of them from that plane over. Idiots. I just hope she gets it back eventually.

  3. Red Baron said

    It doesn’t help that no-one really gives a toss, and why should they, a group of ponces in their ivory towers pays for a lesser group of ponces to sit on their arses all day telling real people what to do. Is this inspiring, empowering no so why bust your balls and possibly your back lining the pockets of the already overpampered. Penalties if introduced for the firms would merely herald the further eroding of what few rights modern workers have left and fine levied would be taken off future pay increases and certainly not shareholder dividend or directorate pension plans.

    If you contrast this with a person’s building of their own house where they control much more of the process ad the work to be put in there is far less delay because the person has a stake in the venture. It is in their best interests to get it finished on time without the workmanship being of shoddy standard.

    So what’s the answer? Well hackneyed old theory though it is you have to go back to a bit of old fashioned nationalisation coupled with education so that people feel they have a stake in society again because at the moment it crumbles around our ears and all we do is complain about the noise.

  4. Ginnie said

    Hi John: My oldest son is an architect and usually the project manager for his group. It drives him crazy when the jobs get held up and I couldn’t resist sending your blog entry to him. I have a feeling he will quote from it a lot …

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