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About Me


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  1. Ah, heart-in-mouth stuff this. The phone goes - new number - no half second when you can adjust to the person you know is on the other end because the name flashes up on the screen. Starting a phone conversation with a technical expert, but hoping for an emotionally literate, customer-focused, technically easy to understand response is not a pleasant feeling. Add to that a mobile phone with a hiccup and a slightly distracting tomcat (Sid) who fastens himself to my leg in mid-sentence, a recipe for miscommunication. Semi-Undaunted because I've done a bit of homework. I prepared a Briefing Pack for the Piling Contractors. They've got all the information I have got in front of them and I've asked for an initial chat. Important this: first impressions and all that. Imagine then my delight when I hear a man's voice says, you don't need [This Company X] because .............. and it would be better for you to use a different piling system because............ Customer Focus. Yippee! (PM me for the details of who and which company). And he proceeds to give me the low down on why screw piles are likely not the best system. Our Soil Investigation makes it clear that our land is not suitable for piling with screw piles. He's just saved me a lot of money. A lot. And I'm grateful. And they do MVHR and this and that and the other for new-builds. Who am I going to contact and ask for a quote for MVHR, this that and the other? Right. No brainer. Interesting then that another company [ Company Y] has already submitted a quote '... based on the information [ I ] have provided...' (which was exactly the same as to the former company) amounting to £23,000. Company Y manufacture the piles and licence an installer to do the work for them. In this case I would need to be really sure who takes appropriate professional responsibility for using screw piles - and be able to explain why they were not using another system instead. And in dealing with one quote which involves two companies, I'm asking myself where's the potential for conflict of interest? This sentence in their quote set my teeth on edge... '...As you are no doubt aware, some piling schemes are installed to a ‘set’. This means that the actual works and final costs can invariably increase on the day of installation...' 'Can' and 'invariably increase' written next to one another. The best I can say is that the sentence wasn't drafted with care. The Plot Thickens One contractor (PM for details) rings up and says. " Your piling requirement is for about 200Kn, so it can't be done with a mini piling system. So for the spec you have it'll need CFA (Continuous Flight Auger) piles - or some other system. Mind if we pop round to have a look at the site? I've had a look at the briefing pack you sent us, looked at Street View on Google Earth and I'm a bit concerned about access to your site. I just need to have a quick look. Will Wednesday morning be OK?" Customer focus writ large. Before the guy arrives (this is written on Tuesday, the day before he comes) I am well disposed to his company approach. He's told me that the two quotes I already have need to be re-read in the light of the access issue - and that one of them - the company that wants to use mini piles - probably hasn't read my briefing pack well enough. So that's why I changed the title of this post to [...], not so clueless of Lancaster So now I'm wondering whether the TAF (Temporary Amphibian Fence) forced on us by our blessed newts (I love them really) have screwed up access to the site. And in any case, this exercise has taught me that access needs to be considered for every large delivery. That is bigger than a 7.5 tonner. Hmm, how to do that efficiently? Ideas on a postcard please..... (06:00) Tuesday 08:10: See this comment by CalvinMiddle, and his further reference to this document...... (here). Bottom line; do your basic research. Interesting day ahead. Oh dear another over-long day ahead. Fun this retirement lark!
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