If I Told You, You Would Have Screwed Everything Up

I’ve written a couple posts about my superintendent Mike. This one involves another one of my superintendents in the past named Jon.

Jon and I were running a good sized job at a large, public transportation facility. Of course, the location of this facility shall remain nameless to protect the innocent.

This was a fast-tracked job. One of those impossible schedules with a daily financial penalty – a liquidated damages clause – if we finished late.

Jon and I were against the wall the entire project. It was impossible to complete on time. Halfway through Jon even asked me where the other 105 cubic yards of concrete were in the foundation pour – it was soon determined that the estimator miscalculated the concrete quantity. I was the estimator.

But that’s not the story.

Jon and I got that job done. And one Saturday morning after we had it done, he and I were out on that job site by ourselves. Me the project manager, and him the superintendent. I had a cup of coffee from the gas station and he had one just poured out of his thermos from his truck.

We were kinda patting each other on the back for a job well done and he says “you know….”, and then he took a sip of his coffee and a long inhale through his nose and exhale through his mouth, “I moved this entire structure about a foot and a half.”

I said “What!? You did what?! Why didn’t you tell me – we needed to get the Engineer’s approval. I could have written a quick RFI.”

He said, “Well there you go being an engineer again. If I had asked you for permission, and you asked the engineer of record, we’d have never gotten this job done. You’d have screwed it up. Now we’re done, it didn’t affect the quality or performance of this facility, and then and now, it didn’t and doesn’t threaten life safety. You really ought to say ‘thank you’.”

Therein lies the value of trust in a PM/Superintendent relationship.

We got the job done under budget and ahead of schedule, through a large earthquake, and had no injuries on the job. Kudos to you Jon – a fantastic manager of personnel and job costs!

Thank you Jon.

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