This week I witnessed the sad death of a perfectly good, albeit somewhat aged, household bath tub. The following photos show you what a tragic, unnecessary demise it really was. Here are the ugly, despicable results of total sub-contractor neglect and abuse. In my expert, clean-freak eyes the torture this bathtub underwent is nothing less than a horrific crime! If I knew the perpetrators, I'd smack them across their faces with my dirty scoring pad, and then spray bleach in their eyes. (Not really... that was just my evil revenge fantasy... but I'd sure give them a big piece of my mind and turn them in to the EPA, too!) AND, I'd let the builder know who the guilty party is, as they can impose fines on these second rate companies to make them pay for their negligence and the damages caused to property. After over a hour working on this tub to restore it to an acceptable state for use by an incoming property tenant, there was nothing left to do but read it the "last rites" and let it R.I.P. (Rest In Peace). If there's a tub heaven, this one has passed on to it, I'll guarantee you that.
In the professional world of post-construction clean-up, we call this "excessive debris". In real-life layman terms this is called simply idiotic and even grossly illegal. You see, the paint contractors on this job-site thought it would be acceptable to pour their paint brush clean-up buckets right into the tub (and the toilet, too... but that's a whole other article!) What amazes me is that THEY DIDN'T EVEN TRY TO HIDE THEIR STUPIDITY! I'm sure if confronted, they would no doubt deny their low-life actions. This completely unprofessional lack of caring, ethics and integrity is what gives many sub-contractors a bad name. You know, we've all heard the "drunk plumber" and "lazy painter" stereotypes. This is unfortunate and not really fair, as there are many construction professionals who truly do take great pride in their work, and in their clean-up, too! In my experience on job-sites however, it is glaringly obvious that there are just as many guys who don't give a hoot about doing things the legal, proper and clean way. This makes me not only angry to see, but deeply sad.
Now this tub photo is also a tough one to look at. Like going to a morgue to identify the body, I feel shaky and my palms begin to sweat as I force myself to get a good look. What happened? We'll never really know, but it seems some low IQ labor thug thought they should get rid of excess flooring glue by putting it into the bath tub. Once again, this tub may be a total loss, as all expert cleaning methods failed to really bring it anywhere close to a sparkling and smooth condition. Why, oh WHY on earth are these guys paid for their work when they can leave such horrendous messes behind for the post-construction clean-up crew to try to clean? In my opinion, they should either be fined and/or have pay docked for these disastrous atrocities to property. Damage risk is high, by the way, when you hire folks right off of Craigslist without checking their background and doing drug tests, I might add. Also, the builder themselves should hold the sub-contractors more accountable by checking all of their work areas daily and setting a higher standard in their work contract from the start. I mean in all seriousness, I've seen kindergarten students do a better job at cleaning up after themselves.
In conclusion, we DO post-construction clean-up, it's our business, so we do it with a happy smile and a skip in our step. However, the needless extra expenditure to our company by the builder or the client themselves causes me to take pause and question why so much clean-up is needed in the first place!???! And why would builders want to risk needless property damage by allowing this type of low-class behavior? Also, some companies seem to skimp on the number of "chiefs" in charge of too many "Indians". Some of the project managers and superintendents we work with could really use an extra set of eyes and hands (or two!) on the site during the job. One guy, no matter how proficient he is, can't be everywhere at once, and when a job is huge, like a large apartment complex or hotel or senior living facility, etc., then having all this "baby-sitting" on just one super is just too much at times. My suggestion: Why not hire, at a lesser pay rate, a bi-lingual helper or two for each on-site project manager who can help manage all of the various sub-contractor crews. The outgo of funds in this regard would be rendered a good cause by any accounts payable department when they see the funds needed to pay for post-construction clean-up crews is greatly lessened and of course, when it proves profitable for less property to be damaged by this simple, but important positive change.
In the meantime, sure, go ahead and create loads and loads of messes for our company to clean-up... the worse the mess, the more we can charge you, the builder, and your client. Who's complaining? Not us. I especially love the challenge of cleaning in the dark and without water..... but I'll save that for the next ranting blog I write. Until then, you keep dirtying things up guys, and we'll be your happy partners to keep cleaning it all up! Thank you for your business, dear builders! :-)