Thursday, June 3, 2010


Access Horror
We had contracted to build a cabin at a popular lake near a remote village in Southwest Alaska in 2004. We had flown the material down in a DC-6 with Northern Air Cargo and it was sitting at the airport waiting to be transported three miles to the jobsite. The only problem was, we had no legal access to the building lot. This was not divulged to me before contracting the job which was my own fault, I hadn’t asked.
When I called our customer and explained him of our predicament I was told that that was my problem. That much was true, it was definitely a problem. The building site was on a lake with public access so I knew we could do it, but it would definitely take a huge bite out of our profit.
I ordered some Styrofoam float logs and had them flown down so we could build a raft. Now you can see where I am going with this. We wound up floating all of the material from the boat landing to the lot, unloading it and carrying it to the building site. This wouldn’t have been so unusual if we had known about it ahead of time and could budget for it.
So, if you are doing a remote project and I am asking a few questions about the site that seem ridiculous, you will know why. There are always surprises but we try and keep them to a minimum. We do operate on the premise that once we contract for a project, the price will not change if we find we neglected to do our due diligence and the conditions are not what we expected. It is our responsibility to check out the site if we are concerned about conditions.
Most people are very honest and forthright when they give us the information on there building site so it hasn’t really been much of a problem. I am proud to say that we have never asked for more money due to “unforeseen conditions.”

You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him. ~Leo Aikman

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