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Well folks it has been a wild couple of weeks but have finally settled down to ask myself a few questions.
#1 Am I truly a minimalist like i claim to be? Being in several industries where everything is temporary I have always considered myself a minimalist, the fewest part and pieces to get the job done right. Right? Well I am thinking that I have re-evaluated that position a bit and I have noticed that as I get older, and hopefully a bit wiser, I don't think some of the short cuts I used to take are such a good idea. While I think the term "short cut" may be misleading it is the simplest term for our discussion. Today was an interesting day where I was put in the unusual position of inspection someone else's scaffold for the purpose of making sure it was in good order before the customer used it. While they were not my customer per say, they were someone in need of good scaffold advice and since it is one of my favorite subjects I obliged them. I showed up to inspect a 3 tiered swing stage, of which I have to question the design. It was designed with good old fashioned 16' x 24" wide aluminum picks u-bolted onto a 2' side sectional frame. I checked the roof rig which seemed to be in good order minus one of the tie back cables was installed wrong (at an angle on one side only) and then went down to inspect the stage. The Ironworkers building the stage, to use the stage, were not very comfortable with the design and the further I looked into it neither was I. The entire 2 lower tiers were supported from the pick board. (see pics in " What not to do.") While I will never claim to be an expert on swing stage design, I do know how to read. I read the edge of the platform and it gave a total capacity of 500# (which is typical of most aluminum picks I have experience with) and the rep of the company whom they rented the material from said that it would support the lower 2 tiers plus 2 men. (information which was not conveyed to the customer by the way) My math can't make this equation compute. So after much discussion, with the company rep, whom I am sure probably thinks I am an idiot, and the customer it was finally decided that the company should send their rep down to educate the customer on how they improperly built the stage. Before leaving I asked the customer to see all of the documentation that he ha d been supplied with and I was shocked to see a pencil drawing on graph paper that gave the basic layout from a single elevation only of how the thing was to go together, along with a layout from the manufacturer on how it was designed and it listed specialty connectors and used a modular type platform, which the customer did not have...As I sorted through this small pile of documents from several different manufacturers and different designs I came to my conclusion that I am no longer a minimalist and I would like to have more information than I could ever possibly need. If the company who supplied the pencil sketch would have spent more than 5 minutes on it and would have put more detail into the drawing like which side of the support the top pick goes on, today could have been a stress free conversation and simplified inspection. But since we, as scaffold designers and builders, only gave them a minimum of information they took way to long to get it done and it still isn't done because somewhere in this process one of the motors malfunctioned and now it must be replaced. While I remain a firm believer in if you don't know what you doing leave it to the professionals, when they ask us professional, we owe it to the to overload them with good information about the task at hand.

JW 7-27-10

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