Monday, March 17, 2008

Liquidated damages

I've been feeling a bit guilty about my lack of posts recently. It started with my early February flu, then my trip to Vegas, then my sister Kitty's visit to Denver, and then a busy week last week taking Revit classes. Many architecture firms are going to Revit instead of CAD, or more specifically, AutoCAD. AutoCAD is the Coca-Cola of CADD (computer-aided drafting and design), but it's always been a bit imperfect and hard to manage, always meant more for use by engineers than architects. Revit, which was acquired ten years ago by the same company that makes AutoCAD, does a better job of drawing buildings in 3D...once you get used to how different it is from AutoCAD and how it works. Anyway, I spent most of last week in a Revit class taught by Sarge, our CAD manager/drill sergeant/enforcer and erstwhile WAD fan and commentator. While I enjoyed the hell out of the class (and embarassing Sarge with my continual non sequiturs), all that time in front of a computer left me uninterested in sitting in front of another one, writing posts.

After last week's class, I should have been more interested in posting, yet there was one more thing draining my energy: Operation Clean This Place Up. A month ago, Guy and I set today as the end date for our cleaning, clutter-clearing, and renovation/improvement efforts. We've been working in fits and starts, depending on our health, energy levels, visitors, and vacations. In the past week, Guy managed to put the finishing touches on the painting job in the living room, and in the last few weeks he completed the casework in the hall. Since the start of 2008, we've also been able to clear a great deal of clutter out of the house: two bookshelves, a set of canvas drawers, clothing, old books and tchotchkes, and even a queen-sized mattress, box spring, and bed frame. God bless eBay and Craigslist.

But Sunday, yesterday, rolled around, and while things were looking good, we weren't quite done. The painting was done, very little cleanup on that left to do, but still...the closets were a little cluttered, I had several large unused canvases in the hall, leaned against a wall with my old drawings from undergraduate studio classes. Dressers had small piles of paperwork and mismatched socks stacked on them; copier paper boxes of need-to-shred old financial records stood silent-but-guilt-inducing guard beside the shredder. We just weren't...done.

I looked around as I finished my breakfast, peering over the Sunday funnies at a stack of odds and ends on the coffee table beyond Guy, who lounged on the chaise while perusing the business section and pondering aloud the fate of Bear Stearns. "Guess I need to get my ass moving," I said. "Tomorrow is substantial completion."

If Guy had been a cat, he would have barely twitched a triangle-shaped ear. "You know, let's just give ourselves an extra week," he said. "We got all the big stuff done, and we can use the extra month to haul stuff off or sell it on eBay. It's no big deal."

I sighed outwardly and rejoiced inwardly. "But if we're overdue on our deadline, who do we pay liquidated damages to?" I inquired of him.

Guy barely twitched again. "Dunno. Guess no one."

In Da Biz, a contractor and an owner agree on a date upon which the project will be completed. Sometimes, the contract will stipulate liquidated damages, which is a dollar amount that the contractor owes the owner each day that the project is overdue. Usually, the owner calculates this as a function of the money that they would be making if they had use of the facility. Sometimes, hospitals will stipulate and enforce liquidated damages, but you usually see it in buildings types that make higher revenue or high, fast revenue, like resorts, hotels, casinos, or even multifamily housing. This explains why there was still construction going on in the Palazzo tower at the Venetian when we were there a month ago--the contractor wanted the owner to be able to use th building and make money with it on a tight schedule, so they focused their efforts on the hotel rooms, the casino addition, and some of the retail and restaurants. This allows them to keep working without having to pay (or having to pay as much in) liquidated damages.

So, Guy and I are going to move the substantial completion date for the Happy Kitten Highrise out a week, which we can do according to our own fictional, totally-made-up-in-our-heads contract, which allows for us to move the deadline due to acts of God. An act of God might be a huge weather or geological event, or in our case, Guy's flu and Miss Kitty visiting for a week.

At least she cleaned the kitchen while she was here. Cleanest it's been in over a month.


Wilderness Gina said...

Is it time for me to visit next and GI the rest of the house? Out of the way Kets! G-ma is in de hause!

St. Blogwen said...

I like that. A sister's visit as an Act of God. In all the best ways!

faded said...

Liquidated damages, humm, let's see. What could the liquidated damges be for a married couple? Use your imagination.

Mile High Pixie said...

WG: Please do. I even bought you some Mr. Clean Magic Erasers while Kitty was here.

St Blogwen: Very much a good act of God. Or as we'd say in the South, an Ack of Gawd.

Faded: Baahahaaa! You know, I like the way you think, man!