Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Holy Goddamned Fuck, Architects Are Some Of The Stupidest Fucking People On The Face Of The Planet

Greetings Fuckheads!

It's been a while, but I'm back with style. Now that I no longer have to work with Architects on a daily basis, it's easy to forget exactly how mind-numbingly fucked in the head the vast majority of them are.  I guess it should be unsurprising that Autodesk was able to foist bullshit software like Revit on them (and therefore the rest of the design community) considering that they can be distracted by shiny things - even while those shiny things are fucking them (and by extension - everyone else) directly in the ass.

So I had a guy ask me last Friday if I could talk to a G.C. and find out about getting a background for a project.  The G.C. gave me the architect's name and number - I called him, and requested the background.  I still hadn't heard anything yesterday, so I called and left a message (trying to keep from laughing, because despite being located in Huntsville, AL - their voicemail system picks up and has this very British sounding woman (possibly a robot?).  I reiterate my need for the files, and make sure to clearly spell out my e-mail address - just in case he had not received it.

This morning, I still hadn't received files, so I call again and reach him - he says 'I've sent out those files like 4-5 times this week'.  I asked him if he had sent them to my e-mail, and he said 'oh - no, I didn't have that one' (eye roll).  He sends the e-mail and bang - a fucking .pdf.  I ask him if he can provide a CAD file (or whatever - I can convert from Revit, Microstation, etc. - and even .pdf, although results vary).  He finally sends the thing over, and I get to work cleaning it up.  The first thing I notice is a drinking fountain lovingly crafted in 3d (4878 lines - which I replaced with a fucking square).

I fix a handful of other minor fuckups (including a handful of their columns not lining up with the column lines), and then I'm off to the races.  My only concern is that based on the lack of fucks given by the architect up to this point, that changes will most likely come down the pike that I will only find out about if an AHJ notices deviations between my plans and theirs.  Fortunately at this job, if this results in more work, it will almost certainly result in more money for us - as opposed to my previous job, where architects (and their clients) could run us through the wringer, and nobody would ever dare ask for more money.

I remember a meeting where a project manager/architect lackey was showing us a floor plan - she said 'this is what it looks like now', and a mechanical designer replied 'I don't care what it looks like now - I want to know what it's going to look like in three weeks when the project is due' (cue laughter).  Sure enough - by the time that project went out, it had gone through several iterations as the client waffled, budgetary realities kicked in, and (of course) the Reviteer Club took each of these iterations through to completion before tossing them on the trash heap and starting basically from scratch (or worse - trying to tweak their models to take into account the clients latest whims).

There were a few exceptions - I've probably mentioned one job before (a large church - in Florida) where the mechanical engineer had designed what was basically a giant ice maker that would run all night (off peak hours) and then use the ice it stored during the day rather than run a chiller (or a bunch of condensing units) during peak hours.  It was a fairly pricey system up front, but would have saved them a fortune on their electric bill (I don't know what the payback time was, but it didn't matter - because people tend to only look at up-front costs).

The mechanical contractor told the owner that they could install split systems (i.e. - a bunch of condensing units) and some RTU's much cheaper than the stored ice system - so then we have the owner wondering why we would 'gold plate' this project.  The contractor ended up looking like the hero, except for one minor detail - they couldn't just slap whatever in there without a complete redesign of both the mechanical and electrical drawings (which we weren't about to do for free - although there were a few tense moments between when they informed us of their 'cost-savings' measures, and when we let them know that they had signed off on the HVAC system we had designed.

This underlines a common issue with projects that I ran across over the years (and am thankfully no longer in the middle of).  You can sit there and explain shit to a client - and they will sit there and nod their heads, but they will still come back at the end of the project and pretend like they weren't involved on the front end.  In some cases it's because their eyes glaze over the second you start talking about something that isn't whatever they do for a living - but in most, it's simply because they don't want to get stuck having to pay for changes resulting from details that everyone thought were (and for all means and purposes should have been) hammered out from the very get-go.

They would do their very best to make it sound like we had taken off in some random direction by ourselves.  Obviously there are times when you have to fill in the blanks with your best guess - and while I would always try to inform people of when this would happen, they wouldn't always grasp what I was telling them (or think to send it on those who might need to know about it).  There is a certain logic to not wanting to needle the client with a million little questions - after all, we were professionals who were hired to make some decisions for them, but when it came to items that might require their input (and where assumptions could result in major rework) someone at some level would have to take the initiative to get them involved.

My opinion is that if the focus had been on the project - rather than attempting to wrangle Revit into producing a usable set of construction documents, there would have been resources and time to devote to making sure we were doing things (as much as possible) right the first time.  Instead, because of 1/2 day burning 'workarounds' to get something in Revit to work (which may very well get tossed on the trash heap once the decision making process is actually implemented) a panic would set in that they didn't have anything to show the client - and therefore would do as much as possible to avoid any contact with them until they had very well gotten going in the wrong direction.

As many of my posts mention, a lack of communication between the architects, project managers, and Revit Monkeys (much less MEP) could result in some very elaborate bullshit getting cranked out - which would then have to be carefully combed through to figure out where it had gone wrong, and then backtracked to a point where progress was even possible.  That whole fucking process could (and can still) suck my entire dick.  Removing myself from that environment was one of the best decisions I've ever made - and I'm never going back.

Fuck Autodesk, Fuck Revit, Fuck Revit Apologists, and if you don't like it - well....


-S.F. 2016