Deadline angst

Alas I didn’t post yesterday, as part of the #blogeverydayofjune challenge. However I’m hoping that as I started this blog on Thursday but am posting on Sunday it will count towards Saturday. I shall also aim for a second post today, so that at least I’m keeping up with 30 posts in 30 days.

I wanted to share this. This excerpt is from the primary school newsletter – the weekly letter from the Principal:

In last week’s newsletter I wrote that things are “moving along extremely well on all aspects of our building project”. With 35+ years of experience in education, I should have known better than to make such a statement as in the space of a week it has all gone pear shaped and expected timelines have been potentially blown out of the water. All was progressing well until the roofer left the job site and will not be returning. The ramifications for our building project are huge as roofing plumbers are very difficult to find due to the vast amount of work currently occurring at schools all over Australia. A great deal more roofing needs to occur to join the basketball stadium and arts precinct and our staff room, office and administration area has also ground to halt as no further works can take place until the roof goes on. All in all we have gone from chocolates to boiled lollies very quickly and the larger ramifications are huge.

Projects have a way of moving off target. Though I haven’t mentioned it anywhere, this is what I do. Projects. Library projects to be specific. And this made me smile in complete understanding. In most projects I have been involved in, planning is the most crucial stage – nutting out ever aspect of a project and attempting through risk management to identify the potential threats to timeframes and delivery.

But – you cannot predict everything. This delay to building at the primary school particularly resonates, as one of my first large projects was personal – building our house with MotH as owner-builder. Working to a deadline, the building process was cruising along, till we got to the roof. We had a tight timeframe – 7mths maximum to build the house if we wanted to be in before Kid2 arrived. Roofing time arrived – no roofing plumber. With a husband as a ‘tradie’, we were of course using ‘mates & family’ to build the house. The roofing plumber was a second cousin. Having booked the cousin’s time in advance – the time came and he was nowhere  to be found.

After numerous phone calls, we located him. He was locked up – in jail.

Now I can’t really remember why, but it was something reasonably minor – unpaid fines or something such. But, as the young man in question had avoided payment and the associated summons, the police had indeed come to take him away. For three weeks. In building terms this could be seen as a relatively small delay – except that I could not similarly delay the expansion of my waistline!

Ten years on, it seems trivial, but I do remember our angst at the time. Our house was completed, and we moved in – 11 days after Kid2 was born. It was still a remarkable achievement, to have built our house in 7.5 months from the land settlement date. It was also an incredible learning experience, and while I now do projects professionally I have personally vowed never to build again unless we have the finances to stay put until the new abode is completed. And that won’t happen – unless we win the lottery!


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