Over the years, I’ve often been asked “so, what exactly do engineers do, is that welding?”
Well, today, I present the Mashugenish Guide to The Building Industry
1. Someone buys a house they don’t like, or they inherit it from their funny-smelling Aunt Etna when she dies at the age of one hundred million.
2. One day while drinking heavily, and probably smoking weed, they decide that something’s got to go: the house or them. They either decide its them, and go back to step 1, or they decide the house and its on to step 3.
3. Find an architect, and tell them your drug fuelled fantasy. They’ll generally nod sagely, write down a number with many zeroes and say “you should have just gone straight to the crack cocaine yourself”
4. The architect stews and sweats for 3 months to 10 years, and sends the plans to an Engineer. The engineer goes “goddam drug dealers!” votes for Law and Order in the next election, but most importantly does the next step: The Big Ol’ Guess. They’ll dream up some implausible future science to hold the house up, then pass it to the structural drafter and say “’tis pretty simple, just cobble together some standard details, and I’ll need that by this afternoon”.
5. The drafter, who hasn’t seen daylight in 5 years, will take this back to his desk, sweat blood for 3 weeks, and hand back something that works. Meanwhile the architect has been phoning the engineer every 30 minutes, because the client is phoning them every 15 minutes, to get the job done. The engineer promises that he already completed the job in a previous life and he’s bound to remember it any day now.
6. The engineer gets the plans back, produces calculations with a plausible looking but entirely fictitious connection to reality, and sends this to the council.
7. The council will receive the plans and go to the Wheel of Fortune. This is a giant wheel which lists all parts of every building. They spin the wheel, and write back saying your design doesn’t do “X”.
8. Having torn out the last of his hair in frustration, the engineer sends the completed and corrected drawings to council.
9. The job gets held up for five years by the resource consent process, in the interim the builder has gone out of business and monoslope rooves are either back in, or back out, depending on when you got your drawings done; meaning it’s back to the architect for a currently-trendy house. But it doesn’t matter because prices have risen at 10 times the rate of inflation, so you can’t afford to do the work anyway.
10. You give up in frustration, and die a bitter old man, leaving your beloved house to your favourite nephew.