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March 22, 2013

Friday Fun: A Story of Bidding for Fun and Profit
Filed under: Ned Weirdness — Tags: — nedpelger

I came across this story and thought you’d appreciate it:

Three contractors were visiting a tourist attraction on the same day. One was from New York, another from Texas, and the third from Florida.

At the end of the tour, the guard asked them what they did for a living. When they all replied that they were contractors, the guard said, “Hey, we need one of the rear fences redone. Why don’t you guys take a look at it and give me a bid?”

So, to the back fence they all went to check it out.

First to step up was the Florida contractor. He took out his tape measure and pencil, did some measuring and said, “Well I figure the job will run about $900. $400 for materials, $400 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.”

Next was the Texas contractor. He also took out his tape measure and pencil, did some quick figuring and said, “Looks like I can do this job for $700. $300 for materials, $300 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.

Without so much as moving, the New York contractor said, “$2,700.”

The guard, incredulous, looked at him and said, “You didn’t even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?”

“Easy,” he said $1,000 for me, $1,000 for you and we hire the guy from Texas.”

Hope you have a great weekend. Remember to spend some time planning and some time laughing.


February 22, 2013

The Exquisite Meanness in Construction
Filed under: People Skills — Tags: — nedpelger

Steve called me the other day with a great construction story. He runs a small electrical contracting firm and often works with a general contracting firm. They prank each other regularly, but Steve tends to be the more aggressive prankster.

Steve was working on a project for which he’d pulled an electrical permit, but knew the GC had done some work on the project without pulling a building permit. The building inspector who would have been involved is a real prick and would have made a big stink over the permit.

So Steve calls the GC and tells him the inspector was just on site and really steamed. Steve gets the GC worked up into a lather before he starts laughing and admits to messing with him. The GC responds, “Burn me once shame on you, burn me twice, shame on me. You will NEVER fool me again!”

Of  course, that sounds like a hard to resist challenge to Steve. A few days later, he’s working at an attorney’s office and shares the story with her. Coincidentally, the GC had done some work on her office that wasn’t permitted. The Attorney jumps at the chance to extend the prank and calls the GC and tells him that the miserable inspector stopped by and was furious when he noticed that work had been done without a permit.

The poor GC again falls completely for the story (never considering that Steve would enlist a client for his dirty work) and obsesses over the trouble coming his way. This time, Steve lets it simmer a day or so. Ah, the exquisite meanness in construction.

Hope your day is better than that of the hapless GC.


February 15, 2013

Friday Fun: Wheelbarrow Pitstop
Filed under: Ned Weirdness — Tags: — nedpelger

These guys look like they’re having some fun. Oh to be young.


Hope you have yourself a fun weekend. It will be what you make it.


February 7, 2013

Beware Revision Clouds
Filed under: Ned Weirdness — Tags: — nedpelger

My buddy Kneal sent me this photo that made me laugh out loud.

Before you decide I just fell off the turnip truck, I know that no one really saw this revision cloud and hole sawed that opening. I’m sure some wise guy looked up and saw the cloud-like shape and had a great idea for PhotoShop.

The photo reminds me of a story from my friend Bob Navitiski. He was working as an inspecting engineer down at the Philadelphia Ship Yards in the 1970s. He warned the contractor that their was a buried water line in the vicinity of their digging. They spent a day or so carefully digging pits and trying to find this rogue line.

After he went back to the drawings, he realized that what looked like a line on the old prints was actually a fold in the paper. They had been searching for a fold.

Construction isn’t for the perfectionist or the faint of heart. We do our best and keep moving forward, otherwise this crazy business would drive us to drink.


January 25, 2013

Wise Guy Friday
Filed under: Ned Weirdness — Tags: — nedpelger

One of the great joys of working in construction is the jobsite humor. Most of us that chose this industry are a little off and our sense of humor tends that way as well. Lots of quick witted guys and a high threshold for what’s considered offensive combines for lots of laughs on the jobsite.

So on the occasional Friday, I will post some Wise Guy thoughts that I’ve encountered that amuse me. John Wilkes, who lived in England in the 1700s, was one of the great smartassess of all time.

For instance, when told by a constituent that he would rather vote for the devil, Wilkes responded: “Naturally.” He then added: “And if your friend decides against standing, can I count on your vote?”

John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, supposedly said to Wilkes, “Sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox.”

To which Wilkes replied, “That depends, my lord, on whether I embrace your lordship’s principles or your mistress.”

I came across the chart below that also made me laugh, so thought I’d include it.

Hope you have a great weekend.


November 4, 2011

Pick on Someone Your Own Sise
Filed under: People Skills — Tags: — nedpelger

I was running a job meeting yesterday for a project that’s had all sorts of challenges, yet the progress on site amazed me. The Superintendent has gotten all the trades working together in ways that exceed my project schedule and my expectations. It’s great to see guys shifting around on the jobsite work flow to be efficient and keep things moving. The job meeting was a pleasure as we all laughed about several items and addressed some concerns.

I started thinking about the value of humor on the job site. A good laugh lubricates social interactions, making everything run more smoothly. So inject some humor into your work today. Understand that humor has risks and try not to cross the line. But if the choice is do nothing or get a bit closer to the line than you’re comfortable with, nudge yourself toward that line.

The Economist had a tongue in cheek piece a few years ago addressing the “Problem” of children. They made the economic argument that smoking, driving and mobile phones all cause “Negative Externalities”…a situation where  those around the smoker, driver or loud phone talker were negatively impacted (annoyed) by the experience. The article went on to say:

Governments typically respond to such market failures in two ways. One is higher taxes, to make polluters pay the full cost of their anti-social behaviour. The other is regulation, such as emission standards or bans on smoking in public places. Both approaches might work for children.

For children, just like cigarettes or mobile phones, clearly impose a negative externality on people who are near them. Anybody who has suffered a 12-hour flight with a bawling baby in the row immediately ahead or a bored youngster viciously kicking their seat from behind, will grasp this as quickly as they would love to grasp the youngster’s neck. Here is a clear case of market failure: parents do not bear the full costs (indeed young babies travel free), so they are too ready to take their noisy brats with them. Where is the invisible hand when it is needed to administer a good smack?

The article went on to propose “Child-free zones” in airports, trains, bus stations, etc and advocated for a tax on children. Two weeks later, in the letters to the editor section, Jessica Morley age 6 responded:

Sir, you are wrong when you say that children are like cigarettes or mobile telephones. No one has to smoke or use a mobile phone, but everyone has to be a child and you were once one too. You need children to pay for the pensions of miserable old people like you.

Now pick on someone your own sise.


Jessica Morley (aged 6)


May 20, 2011

Quick Laugh for a Friday
Filed under: Ned Weirdness — Tags: — nedpelger

Here’s a quick bit of construction humor to start your weekend.


Also, here’s a post from the Construction Knowledge Forum that I thought you’d enjoy:

I was on a construction job recently and we were installing petroflex, it was coiled on a reel cart. I watched as one of the guys thought he could reel it out by himself. I tried to warn him. I told him that he might be able to turn it 2 or 3 times but on the 4th or 5th time, he really would need more than his own strength to unreel it.

You know how construction workers are, a bit on the egotistical side and thought he could handle it…even laughing at me, telling me “Maybe YOU would need help!”

I watched as he unreeled…1..2…3 times on the 4th time, it snatched him off the ground and he spun around the reel 2 or 3 times. All I could hear was..”WOoaaaah” as he spun each time. After completeing his 3rd spin, the reel threw him to the ground. He hollered, “I’m hurt and man, you were right!”

Have a good one.


November 27, 2010

Men’s Restroom Etiquette
Filed under: Ned Weirdness — Tags: — nedpelger

Back by popular demand (meaning this video cracks me up and I want to show it again), here’s a post from a couple of years ago.

We went to Penn Cinema movie theater yesterday, as I walked into the toilet I remembered this video on Men’s Restroom Etiquette. It expounds on the social contract of male restroom use. Men are praised for their efficiency compared to woman, but warned of several rules to never break.
1. Wast no time: walk in, do your business, wash your hands, exit
2. Never make eye contact
3. Use an appropriate decision strategy for urinal selection
4. Speech is your enemy. Never ever, under any circumstances, say a single word in a Men’s Room.
Watch the video to understand one of the best lines in video history, “Ralph and Chuck begin to…ralph and chuck.”


Since most of us build toilet facilities in our buildings, I thought you would benefit from knowing the rules about how to use those facilities. You may want to forward this instructional video to Building Owners prior to beneficial occupancy. You may even want to insert this video in the Plumbing Operation and Maintenance manuals. I’m just saying…

By the way, I have a Drainage Calculation app review today in the Apps Blog.


November 24, 2010

Couldn’t Tell the Head from the Tail
Filed under: Ned Weirdness — Tags: — nedpelger

There was an old Construction Superintendent who lived in Arkansas and hadn’t been exposed to much beyond his little town. One day, he was out with his crew, framing a building on the edge of town, and saw the strangest thing in his entire life. He saw an elephant come walking down the street and go into cabbage field next to his jobsite.

This old Super just stood and watched this elephant in the cabbage field. As I said, he hadn’t been much for education and had never seen an elephant before, never even seen a picture of one.

Turns out the circus was coming through the town and one of the elephants escaped from a wagon. The sheriff came walking onto the jobsite and asked the old Super about the elephant. The old man replied, “I never seen anything like it. That critter keeps pulling up the cabbage with its tail.”

The sheriff said, “What? Pulled them up with his tail? What did he do with them?

The old Super replied, “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you!”


November 19, 2010

Friday Fun: Stupid Is as Stupid Does
Filed under: Ned Weirdness — Tags: — nedpelger

Take a minute to smile at the stupidity of others. Can you imagine yourself in any of those scenarios?


I’m working on a project right now to try to figure how to raise an existing roof 4′ for a steel framed joist and deck, EPDM roof system for a 130′ x 80′ room. I’m hoping we don’t end up on one of these videos. If you’ve ever done a steel roof raising, shoot me a note, I’d appreciate hearing about your experiences.

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