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ARCHITECT : KNOW YOUR CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENTS


As a project Architect, Knowing your construction equipments by name, is unavoidable. This post  is dedicated to highlighting the common construction equipments and explaining their uses.





PROJECT MANAGER : ISSUES WITH THE STAFF

This post is a sequel to the earlier post: "Project Architect: resolving staff conflict in site"

Enugu south international building materials market
from left: Architect, Carpenter
As a construction project manager, issues with staff are going to abound. What matters in the end is still Results!

In my experience, workers over time tend to grow too friendly and thence become rebellious. They suddenly seem to have got a hunch that you have been manipulating them into doing 'your' Work while you get all the 'big' money. This feeling if not checked leads them into acting abnormally uncooperative and even ready to end the relationship.

As the Architect, and project  manager, you have the responsibility of keeping your site in control so that you can continue to produce results, Especially if you work for a senior Architect who has entrusted the site in your management.

Here are a few of my own  tips on managing crisis in the site:


1. Understand that; when all is said and done, violence or force benefits nobody. With this in mind, you are left with the effective tool : diplomacy. Use diplomacy to coerce your workers into doing whatever you want without realising they are all players in 'your' game.

2. Your boss expects results, results and more results, he hardly has time to attend to reports from you or your staff, he believes you should Handle whatever situation arises on site with minimum supervision. Dont prove him wrong! 

3. Preach and emphasize teamwork to your workers. They would think twice before starting up a fire next time, if they see you as a brother instead of a boss.

4. Remain aloof, but make sure you are the smartest guy in the site. No tricks can evade you unless you let it for a higher cause. Use occasional little favours like careless tips, relaxed timing or bonus pays, to buy the hearts of your workers in preparation for the day you will make huge demands from them. 



ENSIBUM PROJECT ROUNDING OFF : REFLECTIONS ON LESSONS LEARNT

By Kosi Emmanuel Chukwujindu
Project Architect

ENSIBUM is short for the : Enugu-South international Building materials market. The first phase of its development is 95% complete. This zone is for sale of reinforcement bars. 

It features a small 3m x 2m office space with large 6m x 12m frontage/ per occupant for stacking the reinforcement bars for sale. A total of 200 single units have been completed so far, and is on sale to the general public at a flat rate of N2,500,000. 

As we know the developer is Mc.Donalds manufacturing and industries ltd. The technical consultancy service from scratch was rendered by GEOMETRIX consultants and Builders ltd. while the construction was done by MALDINI construction company ltd. our sister company. I have been the project manager here for over a year now.

This post highlights my personal reflections about the project as it gradually nears hand over. As a great man said: "in life, we never really lose, its either we win or we learn something". I can say I have picked up a thing or two while working on this project.

1. Never forget who you are directly answerable to. While assuming the perfect courtiers posture to everyother interests.

2.
Never conive secretly or openly with your staff to loot the company. It will be blown out of proportion when they speak of it and you will be made to look like a thief..just like them. As much as you can, keep the books tidy.

3. Dont assume you know everything just because you have a college degree. Listen to others ideas but remain the decision maker.

4. No matter how lonely she is at home, never bring your spouse to the site. Let work be work and family be family.

5. Monthly paid or at least weekly paid staff, perform netter overall than daily paid staff. They also offer greatter degree of dependability.

6. Dont live inside your own box, ask around elsewhere for broader ideas, methods and rates before you decide on your own project.

7. Dress for the job. Wear suitable clothes for the work always..make sure there is clear distinction between the worker and you.

8. Never employ anyone who is too old or way above your physical and psychological control. Make sure your staff remains loyal to you and you alone. Do not invite them to sit with the m.d when you are having a meeting, else they get a false sense of belonging and grow rebelious. Discharge such rebellious ones at once else they plan a mutiny against you.

9. Diplomacy is the key to manipulation. Use it always to get your way, without force, plead when you have to, enforce when you need to, coerce people to do your work happily.

10. If the project does not provide a vehicle, buy one for yourself!

11. Be reacheable and ready always.

12. Dont forget to learn!





PRODUCTION AND INSTALLATION OF DECORATIVE CEMENT SKIRTINGS

posted By : kosi Emmanuel Chukwujindu

Architect: and Skirting Moulders

There are many methods of producing decorative skirting used at the corners of columns, walls,Windows etc.  
There is the traditional plaster-of-Paris skirting made from white P.O.P cement. This is used mostly for suspended ceilings and waist level skirtings within the interior of buildings. This type has the advantage of being lightweight and mouldable into almost any shape or design. The challenge however with this type is that it is not very resistant to water and thus it is seen to depreciate in aesthetics when exposed to prolonged dripings especially when used in exterior locations.

There is however an alternative method; THE USE OF ORDINARY PORTLAND CEMENT moulded to shape and finished with white (or any color)  paint. Skirting made from portland cement are typically resistant to water and last longer than those made from P.O.P cement. It however tends to be limited in versatility of design, due to its heavier weight. it is usually used for window trims, wall edges and fence trims, and other exterior needs etc.

At the ENSIBUM market project, we decided to use skirting made from cement to add some mass to the already gigantic entrance gate. This post is dedicated to describe how we made these skirting in-situ and installed them.

STEP 1: MATERIALS REQUIRED; semi coarse sand, soft texture sand, water, cement, a custom mould. 

STEP 2: PREPARE THE BASE : start by making a mound of about 4ft. length and about 6" high  using the semi-coarse sand. this will serve as base for the skirting, as well as separates it from the ordinary earth after the cement has cured and hence makes it easy to lift and shift. Use two range devices to protect the boundary on both sides of the mound. Using concrete nails to support the ranges along the lenght, making sure the space between them is even all through.  This will provide for a perfect edged skirting in the end.

STEP 3: MIX THE CEMENT: The skirting is made completely of cement mixed with water and a little fine texture sand.( when necessary).  A bag of cement can be properly mixed with about 15 - 20lts. of clean water. it should be stirred properly in a bucket or bowl or any open container that will allow for ease of scooping while molding.

STEP 4: MOULDING :
Pour the cement paste gradually onto the sand mound. Use the hand held, locally carved  mould to shape it into desired pattern (as shown here) and allow in same position for at least 12 hours before attempting to remove.
Remember to make nail size openings along the skirting to allow for nailing during installation.

STEP 5: INSTALLATION: 
By physical inspection, you can tell when the skirting is strong enough to be handled without breaking. You can then raise it neatly, and carry to point of fixing. The plumb device is used to mark straight positions along the wall. this is to ensure that the skirting is not slant at any point which will look bad to the viewer.
Nail the skirting onto the wall, siupported by wooden noggins and use cement to dress the edges neatly!


BEFORE CEMENT SKIRTING


AFTER CEMENT SKIRTING

WRITING QUOTATIONS FOR PROJECTS


As an Architect, you will be required to prepare work estimates in form of job quotations for proposed projects. Your ability to predict or forecast real life site requirements from your drawing board will be tested.
Whether you fail or succeed has serious functional implications through the project timeline. Some contracts do not leave room for future amendments while some do. Whichever the case is, it is advisable to predict and provide for as much as possible afore time.