The man with the hammer

Jakarta 28th May 2013

As I was visiting a relatively new hotel property in Jakarta tonight as part of my continuous education (I am not ashamed to admit that I learn a lot from what others do- or not do), we inevitable got to talk about our project experiences. I went in the company of the interior designer and operator. What literally struck me was the story of the “man with the hammer”. I had ever experienced that with one of the project managers I worked with, this was a similar story experienced by the operator.

One of the most frustrating things in this part of the world undoubtedly is the value engineering that takes place behind your back or the poor workmanship we have to deal with. In the first case it is about finding out on inspection of the site that your original lighting specifications have been replaced by some “local” copy without consultation, without you even knowing. The idea behind it of course to cut cost, fair enough. But taking over the role of the lighting designer and making these decisions without consulting you is insulting to say the least. The point is that they know they would lose the argument in a direct confrontation, so they chose the silent route of secretly replacing your specs with their “choice” in the hope you will not notice. Not really clever when you deal with professionals… :) Likewise the cost cutting exercises also works negatively on the quality of the workmanship exposing poor quality of installation and obvious shortcuts.

The problem is that once it has been installed, removing, rectifying or replacing can be quite daunting and full of unwilling people. The contractor is generally not standing in the front row when it comes to it. The “man with the hammer” is the most effective solution I have ever encountered in this part of the world to resolve the issue without any possible option for negotiation…get a slash hammer and just demolish/ crush whatever is not complying to pieces. Very effective, very dramatic!. I have experienced the action personally with a project manager asking the contractor nicely to redo a stone bench top that definitely did not look as it should with some cracks and other. When the contractor refused the project manager took his hammer and slashed the stone to pieces…leaving the contractor stunned but with no options…

Light Watch 4-93: here are some mood pictures of the Keraton Hotel we visited in Jakarta

29. May 2013 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: light watch, lighting and culture, lighting design, lighting standards | Leave a comment

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