Monday, June 24, 2013
I've continued to ponder on Jimmy Ray's comment a few weeks ago when he observed that I was doing three different roles on St. Ermahgerd. The staffing on this project has been problematic for a long time; even a year ago, Howie confided to me that the project was understaffed and had been for a while. On the Uber MOB I did 18-24 months ago, which was of a similar size and complexity as St. Ermahgerd, we had two architects and four interns working on just the interior architecture. St. Ermahgerd in contrast had me and two interns for most of the project, and then we picked up another architect (actually, we stole him from the St. Ermahgerd exterior team) to help during late DDs.
Further complicating matters is that the St. Ermahgerd schedule kept stopping and then starting with a vengeance, so we'd suddenly have a lot of floor plan changes plus a fast deadline. We didn't have enough people to make these deadlines, to make the plan changes, and to add in all the additional bits of information and details that make a set of DDs look like DDs. Hence, our DDs were really more like 50% DDs, and we then had two months to take 180,000 sf of building from 50% DDs to 100% CDs. (We usually get about four months for CDs on a project of this size and complexity.) In order to make this even kinda sorta happen, I was having to scramble to find staff to help us during the week, on the weekends, after hours, whenever and wherever we could. Instead of working on redlines and specs, I was having to find staff I also had to match the available and willing staff up with tasks that they could do in the time they had available--I had some experienced folks and newbies, and we kept finding that unfinished tasks tended to remain unfinished.
Even more difficult was that Chloe was clearly pregnant, and there seemed to be no strategy in place to fill in for her while she was out for three months with a newborn. I have to wonder if perhaps that the plan was that either my other architect or me were expected to be this person, but both of us are technically planners, not project architects--we need to be available for the next project coming down the pipeline, not stuck doing CA for the next 15 months. The fellow who ended up filling in for Chloe started at Design Associates five weeks after Chloe went on maternity leave, so I'm still getting calls and emails because I've had to be Chloe and me for a month.
I'm at the point where I hate having to do anything on St. Ermahgerd, even if what's being asked of me is perfectly reasonable. I'm worn down from having to make all the decisions on everything. Thank heavens that some other architects in the office have been answering questions regarding the exterior RFIs and shop drawings, because I really can't make those decisions, having not worked on the exterior (that was Chloe, who God bless her is still taking my occasional emails regarding questions on this project while being sleep-deprived and nursing a baby). It's like when you get barfing drunk on tequila, and then you get nauseous when you just see a bottle of tequila on a shelf. That's how I feel about St. Ermahgerd when I even think about it--nausea.