September 23, 2011

Rusty Dreams

To jog in the mornings has taught me a lot in life. Cities look much different during morning hours and you tend to pay attention to totally different thigns than during the day.

One morning this week I had incredible experience, while jogging at the Juhu beach in Mumbai, India. Here is what I saw: aristocratic ladies walking with their servant, Bollywood star practicing her some sort of fit-out videos with cameras, some kind of male dance group streching prior their term in front of cameras, wild dogs having their morning breakfast by eating trash, early morning cricket games on the beach, fat businessmen jogging slow with their personal traners. There were things I definitely do not see at home in Europe - during one run.

What paid to my attention was the ugly palace at the sea front. The building itself looked great, no problem from the shape of it. But oh my God, how ugly it had become because of rusty water flowing on the facades.

How much the builder saved by not using galvanized or stainless materials? Maybe a lot. But over time, dream had not become true, but rusty.

How much the North American and European building owners owe money to strict norms and tight building codes that enforsces the use of stainless stell and galvanized steel? This week I realized that we owe a lot.

September 13, 2011

Mountains can be difficult

I had the opportunity to spend some vacation days in Switzerland and again, learned a lot of things.

On the positive side, it was nice to see a lot of construction activity on-going, particularly around the tourist sites. I hope the currency fluctuation of Swiss Franc is not making all tourists to avoid the country - I paid almost 15 euros for my Bic Mac meal and it really made me cry....

But what made me to think were the mountains and how the building sites were organized. It was incredible to see all crane/lifting arrangements - it was interesting to see how the shape of the country affects the building habits.

Firstly, I can now understand why Switzerland is cast-in place or in-situ country. It is just impossible to transport any precast elements if roads are narrow and have 40 degree angle....It was pretty understandable that e.g. bricks were used so much at the building sites - it was easy to have also smaller trucks to carry some pallets of products up hill.

Secondly, it was pretty amazing to see small, permanent cranes over the small building projects. The chaleets were like small apartment buildings, and when you looked at the shape of a ground again - crane was very much needed. In most countries all lifting would have been done by portable cranes, however, when again looking at the ground - portable cranes would have been impossible to bring to the site.

Thirdly, it was amazing to see how clean the building sites were. After seeing many kind of sites in my life, the Swiss punctuality was also visible in the sites. It was good for also for tourists to have a look.

All in all, mountains effect the life of Swiss people, also the construction workers. And make the life of tourists also pleasant.