Construction competence

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One of the good things that’s been surfacing in the midst of our current recession is that many of the incompetent builders and contractors have simply gone away.

Many resumes arrive to our office each week. Recently we were in need of hiring rough carpenters for a new project in San Diego. Out of 386 resume reviewed for the position, only 3 seamed most qualified with great references and were hired the next day. Within 2 days they were fired due to lack of competency. Our loyal superintendent told reported that the fundamentals of construction was simply absent from the applicants and that letting them go is justified. It doesn’t take much convincing to recognize the level of competency and experience. It is simply observed by the way a carpenter holds his hammer, to some extent.

I like to think that we in the south west particularly in San San Diego have the competence levels within the likes of our predecessors prior to 1950 but I’m not going to kid myself.  We have few builder/contractor competence here in southern California and I think it’s because of mass building of track housing aimed to make fast cash for the developers. The cheaper and faster they can build them, the fatter the bottom line. This has been going on for decades. This way of thinking produced countless of trade illiteracy work force in our business and countless of badly built homes and building.

I usually don’t like to point out a piece of work and label it as anything at all, let alone label it as ‘bad’. But let’s not keep our mouth shut. In my humble opinion, most builders of today think more is better and dismiss traditional craftsmanship prior to 1950. I must also mention the lack of literacy in today’s architects. Many architects dismiss traditional architecture of the Irving Gill’s and Frank Lloyd Wright’s and the Green & Green’s.

It is of great fortune that we’ve managed to stay busy simply because of our reputation. Word of mouth is most powerful. We strive to follow in the footsteps of the greats in our business and I feel very fortunate to know a few of them.  Keeping the standards high and preserve the fundamentals and the literacy of building construction is our life time goal.

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