The fire marshal in the city where I live declared awhile back that all buildings must have sprinklers and other retrofitted fire safety things in the next few years. So many of the contracts my boss gets right now are for installing fire safety measures in these city buildings.
So recently, two guys and I had to put new locks on all the stairwell doors in this one high-rise building. Well actually, it’s called a “passage set” that we had to put on all the doors—a passage set can’t lock. These are like the handle on a closet door where there’s no lock and it can’t lock. So we’ve got to put this hardware on the doors because they don’t have them. What they had were doors that open and swing.
So my buddies and I install passage sets on 25 floors worth of doors (that’s 25 floors x 4 stairwells = 100 passage sets). It’s hard to do because you have to drill into these steel doors. Near the end of a long day, we had put handles on all these doors so you have to push down on the handle to open them. One of my buddies finished a lot faster than the rest of us, so when we were done I checked over all 100 newly installed passage sets to check if they were okay. I found 25 of them were no good and I had to re-fix them. I re-worked them until they worked, and finally went home.
It wasn’t long before the engineer of the high-rise started calling my boss saying that the locks are stuck. We went back to that building again and again to “fix” the passage sets (my boss sticks to his word, he gives a 3 year warranty on all our work, so he kept sending us back to this building).
There was two problems though. The first is that the passage sets the building engineer chose were mid-grade. When you buy mid-grade, you get what you pay for. It’s not that we didn’t install them right, it’s that they’re mid-grade passage sets! The second problem is that tenants of the building were being rough on the passage sets and destroying them. The people didn’t like the new passage sets because they were used to swing doors which open easily when they let their dogs out and stuff. So the tenants kept breaking them!
Each time I went back to fix them, the building engineer would give me a list of locks to fix, and I would adjust them and put in new springs. The building engineer was getting angry and telling my boss that I wasn’t fixing the locks on the list, and I looked like an idiot always going back to fix these passage sets! One time, I finally went through the building and fixed them all, like normal, but got the building engineer and walked through all of them with him to show that they all worked. And they did. And then I told him to call my boss and tell him that I did my job correctly and that all the passage sets were fixed. He was angry, but he did it.
When I finished, I told my boss that I never wanted to go back to that building again because the engineer was always yelling at me and telling me I didn’t know what I was doing! And because it wasn’t my fault that these things kept breaking, the tenants are mad about them and keep destroying these cheap mid-grade passage sets!
My boss sucks when it comes to giving me a raise, but he can be a stand-up guy, and he actually agreed that we were done with that building and that building engineer. And that’s good because I don’t know if I could’ve handled being yelled at again for not fixing something that I kept fixing!