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Old 06-13-2012, 03:49 PM   #1
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Consequences

Consequences......they are a bitch. Recently, I bid a project removing the lead based paint from the structural steel comprising the superstructure of a C-130 Hercules nose hangar during a massive rebuild that would convert the building to accommodate the entire plane. Asked to perform all the new coating work as well, I went ahead and got some sub-bids to do the work. The specifications were quite clear about he proximity to the flight line [80 feet] and the prohibition of using airless sprayers, HVLP or any other method of atomization for application. This was strictly a brush and roll job, and it has turned out to be an olympic sized goat rope. We will make money on it, but not a hell of a lot.

Anyway, the restriction against any other than brush and roll extends five hundred feet all around the flight line. At a building around a thousand feet from our site, another contractor has similar work that we bid, but lost the work to a small out-of-town group that had never worked at an aerospace facility before, yet wanted the work, so they went in at about half my price. These geniuses got permission to work extended hours last Friday and Saturday, and work they did! Those jackelopes used an airless sprayer....actually they used three of them.....to paint a shitload of structural iron.

As you probably can already tell, there were consequences.

The reason they were so cheap is they never intended to brush and roll a fucking thing. They intended to brush and roll the edge striping, welds and swabbing of the bolts, but fully intended to come in out-of-hours and spray the steel with conventional sprayers. What a severe rectal scorching these idiots just got!

Monday, we were approached by four men in an SUV with rifles and uniforms along with an angry lieutenant. We were herded in to a common area, instructed to sit on the ground and hold our ID cards out for collection and scanning. Afterward, my superintendent was directed to show them our equipment storage area and provide a sample of each and every type of paint on-site. Then, each man was questioned about the previous four or five days, to include where you were on Saturday and Friday night.

They gave us back our ID cards after they scan matched them to entry records. Later on, I found out that these idiots had sprayed all evening Friday, and had in fact been asked to leave when someone saw them still working after 7:30 in the evening. They returned early Saturday and worked until 6:00, spraying like mad banshees the whole time.

Well, Florida is pretty damn windy this time of the year, and being located [the air base] within sight of the ocean, we have daily sea breeze set up in the afternoon every single day.

Today I found out from a "little bird" that three C-130 Hercules aircraft, one C-5 Galaxy, two F-18 fighters, several T-38's and some helicopters had substantial over-spray on them, necessitating a complete re-paint. Let me repeat that, a complete re-paint. Now, keeping in mind that most of the above-mentioned aircraft have radar reflective/radar absorptive proprietary coatings on them, along with an alodine primer that is a world class motherfucker to get off, and a paint job on just one C-130 comes in at around 275,000.00 per coat, these guys are completely and irretrievably fucked.

As I have complained about in the past, there are far too many low-life motherfuckers out there who are willing to compromise worker safety, product reliability and cheat on every single regulation in the book, and they will do it just to make a fucking dollar. Well let me tell you folks, I am not usually one to take shaudenfreude when something like this happens, but at this point, I am fully ready and willing to throw these fucknoodles under the bus. As a matter of fact, I am willing to push them face down on the third rail.

One of the men was arrested because he signed the orientation paper warning about being on base when not authorized to be there and the other three or four guys were stripped of their badges and put on the OPM black list. That means they will never set foot on federal property again unless it is through the back door of a federal courthouse in handcuffs.

The damage done as a direct consequence of a mans greed will measure in the multi millions just for the coatings application alone. These aircraft will have to be transported to Charleston I believe, and be treated and coated in a special hangar before they can be put back in service. I would not want to even speculate about how much that will cost.

Consequences man, they are a bitch!
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Last edited by ancona; 06-13-2012 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:01 PM   #2
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The other lesson to take from this, is to not take the cheapest bid (especially if it is near half), blindly without asking any questions. If I have a few close bids at work, and I get one at half the price, I question the hell out of it.

Good read. Are you going to be able to re-do the job?
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:02 PM   #3
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Yeah! /taxpayers
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:09 PM   #4
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Their paint job is not the issue, it is the ten million dollars worth of damage [or more] they did by over-spraying billions of dollars of aircraft protected with world class, proprietary radar reflective/radar absorptive paint on them.

These guys are in for a world of hurt, because as you already know, our rich Uncle Sugar is without a sense of humor, and when he has a case of the ass like he does right now, he can be a vindictive motherfucker. The owner of the company will not be able to hide behind the corporate veil over this one my friend, I can assure you of that. The GovCo can and will go after the bonding company, insurance company and probably the owners of the company directly. In addition, there will be civil charges filed and maybe federal charges. These guys did not just have an ordinary fuck up, this was epic in scale and beyond anything I have ever been this close to besides a workplace death.
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:15 PM   #5
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They dug their own grave. Anyone could tell you that spraying it would be a lot cheaper than rolling it. The government was obviously willing to pay to have it done the expensive way because it is what needed to be done. Some people don't understand and think they are smarter than the system.

I am sure the gov is furious, this could have potentially put peoples lives in danger.
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:17 PM   #6
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Despite the right people being fucked - so will the taxpayers. You ever seen the gov even break even on one of these?

Otherwise ROFL-LMAO.
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:24 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by 69mach351 View Post:
If I have a few close bids at work, and I get one at half the price, I question the hell out of it.
30 or 40 years ago I heard of a government somewhere in the world (don't remember which or where) that would call for bids for a project.

They would throw out the high bid because they figured the bidder was trying to scam the government. They would throw out the low bid because they figured that there was no way the bidder could do the job without cutting corners.

Then they took the remainder of the bids and averaged them. The closest bid to the average got the job.

*******

In this case I fault the government as much as the bidder because the government did not do due diligence to make sure the bidder was not cutting corners. A bid half of what would be expected would have sent red flags to the moon in any competent organization.

Hmm, I guess that means the government is not a competent organization???
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:28 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mmerlinn View Post:
30 or 40 years ago I heard of a government somewhere in the world (don't remember which or where) that would call for bids for a project.

They would throw out the high bid because they figured the bidder was trying to scam the government. They would throw out the low bid because they figured that there was no way the bidder could do the job without cutting corners.

Then they took the remainder of the bids and averaged them. The closest bid to the average got the job.
Interesting method, but I do not agree with it at all. That would have its own set of problems.



Originally Posted by mmerlinn View Post:
In this case I fault the government as much as the bidder because the government did not do due diligence to make sure the bidder was not cutting corners. A bid half of what would be expected would have sent red flags to the moon in any competent organization.

Hmm, I guess that means the government is not a competent organization???
I see what you did there Too funny!
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Old 06-13-2012, 06:11 PM   #9
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In this case I fault the government as much as the bidder because the government did not do due diligence to make sure the bidder was not cutting corners. A bid half of what would be expected would have sent red flags to the moon in any competent organization.

The USGovCo will never do that because it makes perfect sense. At this point, we are working for razor thin margins and every job is a nail biter, because anything can and does happen. With coatings application jobs you are at the mercy of temperature because if the surface gets too hot or cold, you can't apply coatings. If the relative humidity is too high, the solvents can't flash off correctly and the paind cures poorly leading to eventual early failure. If the temperature is too close to the dew point, you can't apply coatings to non-porus surfaces such as structural steel. If the wind is too high, you have to stop working in/on elevated work platforms and mechanical lifts. If the contracting officer gets his kicks by stepping on your dick every chance they get, they can simply sit in the parking lot with a hygrometer and thermometer. and bust you out fifty times a day, or they can walk up to a random structural beam or member, pop on a magnetic steel thermometer and tell you you have passed a stop point with the steel temps and close you down.

The Davis Bacon wage ratge, including labor burden and G&A is approaching forty bucks an hour, so if I only have four hours of productive time a day between set up and break down, it ends up costing me a small fortune in lost productivity and puts me at odds with the schedule.

Every job is a crap shoot these days, and this one is no exception. We bid the fucker last September, with the assurance of the prime contractor that they wanted us to start right away. This meant to me a start in September or October and a completion somewhere in February. The way it went down was quite different and we ended up getting an ass fucking; pure and simple.

I'll be lucky to get it done at cost.
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Old 06-13-2012, 06:26 PM   #10
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i see a 4 ft wide paint roller ( like a tractor hedge cutter ) on a cherry picker with automatic paint feed ............... only in my mad inventor mind though


does it really have to be a diy homebase roller n paint tray ?
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Old 06-13-2012, 06:55 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by rblong2us View Post:
i see a 4 ft wide paint roller ( like a tractor hedge cutter ) on a cherry picker with automatic paint feed ............... only in my mad inventor mind though


does it really have to be a diy homebase roller n paint tray ?
No roller trays brother, we have a screen that hangs over the side of a bucket, and tghen we pour in two or so gallons of paint and roll it out with pro "bananna rollers" these are narrow 3/5/6" roller heads on a smallish brace that allow me to control application depth and coverage.

Most folks have no idea when it comes to equipment for commercial coatings brother. We use some crazy looking shit around here! We have a curved roller, made up of small 3/4" sections of roller cuts that go on a radius frame for doing pipes and such.

For every job there really does exist the right tool!
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:51 PM   #12
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I'm very surprised that they would approve for them to work extended hours, without forcing them to pay for additional inspection / resident project representative time...

An RPR on-site probably would have stopped that scenario right quick.

Either way, they are big-time-screwed.

Darwin, man. He was right on...

It's too bad you are taking a hit on your job, though. It's good to hear that you know how to do things the right way and then *do* them the right way --- even if you aren't making as much as you had hoped. That's character right there.

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Old 06-13-2012, 09:01 PM   #13
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Would it make sense to do the job again since the paint job is actually fine?

They would have been less screwed if they weren't able to work extended hours and had to do the job right.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:13 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by 69mach351 View Post:
They would have been less screwed if they weren't able to work extended hours and had to do the job right.
Cheapos, thieves, and crooks will always find a way to "beat the system" even if you sit there and babysit them. And, of course, when that action comes back to bite them they have no clue that THEY caused the bite that they got.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:20 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by mmerlinn View Post:
Cheapos, thieves, and crooks will always find a way to "beat the system" even if you sit there and babysit them. And, of course, when that action comes back to bite them they have no clue that THEY caused the bite that they got.
100% true. It is never their fault.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:20 PM   #16
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The US Govy procurement has procurement vehicle called "Best Value", which allows them to turn down the lowest bid if they deem that the vendor has little experience or track record. Either the Procurement Officer or their Tech Monitor or both were asleep at the wheel; one of them should have flagged this. What a royal mess Ancona!
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:53 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by ADK View Post:
I'm very surprised that they would approve for them to work extended hours, without forcing them to pay for additional inspection / resident project representative time...

An RPR on-site probably would have stopped that scenario right quick.

Either way, they are big-time-screwed.

Darwin, man. He was right on...

It's too bad you are taking a hit on your job, though. It's good to hear that you know how to do things the right way and then *do* them the right way --- even if you aren't making as much as you had hoped. That's character right there.

ADK
Actually, we are required to have a NACE inspector present to verify atmospheric conditions and approve means and methods prior to any application event. This insures against exactly what happenned in the first place. Those guys get paid upwards of 600 per day and are the MD's of the paint world. The djiblotties in question clearly did NOT have the requisite NACE inspector, and as this plays out the rest of this week and in to next week, I will keep you folks aprised of the evolution of this.

As for thi hit on my job, I am seeing a delta of around 65K as the ultimate outcome. I don't trust the prime contractor now and I didn't trust them when I bid this puppy, so I gave them a "fuck you" price, so we're covered in most eventualities anyway. As far as the USAF is concerned, they pretty much leave us alone since we've been out here going on 29 years and they know us by name and rep.
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:58 AM   #18
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It still blows me a way that someone was this stupid. Oh, well, it is good for a laugh when I need it
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:41 AM   #19
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Did they hire your neighbors?

Seriously.. I hope they have insurance to cover that because that kind of damage is extreme.
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:16 AM   #20
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Most specs require a 1 million dollar GL policy and statutory limits on WC, so they had to have that before entering the base in the first place. My firm has a 5 million dollar GL policy, but that's a fluke. We did a job for Lockheed Martin that required us to have a higher limit, so we paid the vig and got the upgrade for the rest of the year. Otherwise, we usually have a 2 million GL with a pollution rider.
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