February 28, 2010

about 15K, they always say no

Our goal for week eight was to finish up a lot of loose ends. Three projects, Vosburg addition, Pandora and a restaurant called Wingstop, were all in their final stages of construction documents and needed to be sent out to bid. Next, our “take a seat” project that Meg started a few weeks ago, needed a set of construction documents drawn up for it so a structural engineer could be sure the bench would be safe for public use.

My duty was to draw the construction documents for the bench project. This was more of a challenge than I thought it was going to be. The bench is mostly a composed of curves, so I needed to insert a few straight pieces where they would be appropriate. Having the ability to contribute design solutions is something that most firms won’t let new employees/interns have any input on. One of my friends who works for a firm in Kansas City told me that he has offered some potential design ideas, but no one in the firm will even consider it. So far, working for RBA has had many advantages over working for a larger firm.

With the bench drawings finished, I helped Chris with Vosburg and Pandora. The Vosburg drawing set only had a few things that needed to be fixed before they could be sent out to three different contractors for bids. Pandora had a bit more design work to do on it before it was ready for contractors. The owner of Pandora decided that she wanted a drop ceiling in the new space. This seems simple except for the fact that there was already a business in this space before and a cloud ceiling over part of the store was already in place. What we had to do was figure out how low the sprinkler heads dropped to see if the spray pattern would be affected. We learned that the heads weren’t low enough to put a new ceiling in to cover the old and still have the sprinkler heads unaffected. Randy told the client it would cost about 15 thousand extra dollars to the overall project cost just to drop the sprinkler heads to the correct height. The client changed her mind really quickly when she heard those kinds of numbers.
When looking back on that situation, it didn’t even occur to me right away to think if there were sprinklers in the space and if there were, would they be affected by the new ceiling. Learning little pieces of information are beginning to form what Randy calls, “embedded knowledge.” He says the only way you can learn this type of knowledge is through years of experience.

By Thursday, Meg and I started a project that will be taking us to the end of next week to compete. Randy has done away with “snail mail” and business cards. He wants us to enter all the business cards, addresses and emails into the data base so names and numbers are much more readily available. It turns out Randy knows a lot of people. So far, each of us has made it through about 300 business cards and that’s not even denting the pile.

The weekend brought warmer temperatures and my friend Tim from Kansas City. Meg, Tim, and I decided that it would be a perfect day to go back to Mt. Crescent and go skiing. The temperature was just barely above 32 degrees so it was as good as it could get for skiing in Nebraska. We spent most of the day skiing/snowboarding and by the time we left, we were pretty worn out. After rejuvenating we grabbed a Goldberg’s burger, we took Tim down to the Old Market area of Omaha. There were a lot of people down there having a good time, but we decided that stick around longer the next time he comes in town and it’s warmer.

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