Regarding the story "Jobless rate building; Construction companies struggle amid severe slowdown" in the Business section of the April 26 Steamboat Pilot & Today:
We can't get through this economical downturn by becoming cutthroat and driving labor prices down across the board. There seems to be a misconception in our economy, that "if you swing a hammer, you work for free or next to nothing." Yet, the sad truth of it is that our overhead still remains.
I get the feeling that everyone wants things done cheaply, but it has been my experience that "cheaper turns out to be twice as much." So much of what is involved in our trade is not seen; it's those small details that we do that are covered up. If you shortcut around those small details, the infrastructure of the project is weakened. In layman's terms, "You can't fix a leaky bucket from the outside."
I learned the trade in Dallas, starting my career working for a mechanical company that did heating, plumbing and electrical work. Our work was primarily in Highland and University Park, a very high-end section that compares with Hollywood. At the time, a $2 million or $3 million mansion was flawless. Being an old-school contractor, I see that our trade has gotten away from that. There have been some great moves in this trade to make our work go faster, but so many have gotten away from the science of what actually gives a home or structure durability, and that takes away quality of workmanship. I don't see any home produced today that will last 100 years and become timeless.
As a contractor, I try to give people the quality they deserve. Unfortunately, most times they just want the job done now, foregoing the fact that it's the quality of the work that will make it last. It's time to let go of the greed and do the job that should be done, not the one that will last only until the check clears.
Gary L. Wall
Associated Building & Remodeling, Steamboat Springs