The week that was 22-26February 2016
Singapore – Auckland – Papeete – Bora Bora – Papeete – Auckland – Singapore, Weekend 27-28 February 2016
Far away destinations
This week I started my 2 week monster trip where I go from Singapore to Tahiti (-18 hours) via Auckland (+5 hours) and then back to Singapore for the connecting trip to Oman and Istanbul (-5 hours). The biggest challenge is of course to remain fit and rested which is not as easy as it may look. The time difference upsets your body clock and hence your eating and sleeping patterns, but I learned to eat a bit and sleep a lot and so far so good. It would be unthinkable to do all this flying economy class and then expect to be fit on arrival to start meetings and discussions as if you just stepped of the bus! Once in a while maybe but as you get a bit older the recuperation time is a bit longer and so is the adaptation time. So pacing yourself and building in enough time to “breathe” is essential. The trip to Tahiti has an overnight transit in either Auckland or Papeete so there is some rest build in. When you fly from Auckland to Papeete the time difference is -23 hours so after a 5 hour flight you arrive the day before and do a groundhog day routine as your biorhythm is not really disturbed and you start the same day again… As I write this blog I am reflecting on our meetings and discussions while in transit in Auckland for my flight back to Singapore.
This is my second visit to the island and this time we have a fully present consultants team including client and contractor. The biggest challenge in this project has really been the communication between the Tahiti based team (client, architect and contractor) and the Singapore based team (ID, LD and operator) with a kitchen and signage consultant caught in between from New Zealand. Despite weekly Skype conferences, a shared FTP site and all email communications the exchange between the various teams has been challenging and being all together for this meeting on side proved once again that nothing beats face to face meetings with the added value of having the actual site outside the meeting room to check out site issues or measurements on the spot as needed. We have worked closely with the ID in Singapore and developed our design package to both our satisfaction, but with many perceived “holes” as a result of missing information from the local architect. They of course are under local pressure from client and contractor to finish the job as per schedule (time is money!) which has resulted in unilateral decisions to avoid delaying the project. The problem however is that as a result the communication stream has developed as a one way street where the Singapore team provides design information but the local interpretation if I may call it that way, is not been recycled to the design team to verify its compliance to design intent and standards.
I understand the pressure put on the architects to meet deadlines, but it came out very clearly that without the due diligence with the design team we were at risk to get a half-baked end result. I was dying to see the architect and the ID together to resolve the lighting issues still outstanding and the intensive meetings we had showed it was not a luxury. Site constraints in relation to installation of linear lights had not been communicated back to us and limited time to rework the electrical infra-structure also dictated a different approach to lighting layouts, installation points and resulting technical specifications. Now that we have gone through that I feel much better. Now I understand the decisions made by the architect and contrary to my earlier belief (funny how you tend to negatively assume peoples actions when you don’t know all the back grounds!) they have done a great job and through our meeting we were able to re-align and re-adjust the lighting design approach within concept design intent and expected operational standards. With stage one opening later this April, this meeting was long overdue!
Most of all I think any negative perceptions have been cleared between the teams on each side of the ocean and by all intents and purposes we have re-ignited the communication lines and information exchange to bring this project to a successful end! As I prepare to board I leave you with some images from the site. This time we “endured” near constant storm and rain which and while this helped us focus on the work at hand, our thoughts went out to the honeymooners vacationing in the resort…spending all that money and travelling from oh, so far to find yourself holed up in your villa while the rain is pouring down must be a real bummer…