Tuesday, 25 January 2011

On a Construction Site Expect the Unexpected: Potty Story

potty story: on construction site expect the unexpected, by wobuiltCollage: You Would Never Guess - Smell, Inconvenience and Expense
2011 @

Credit: MS Office ClipArt MC900030301

On a construction site
you have to expect the unexpected
and sometimes the bizarre.
Normally we don’t tell "potty stories".

OK, it is the slow season and I guess we are getting the winter blaahs. And I am suffering from writer’s block. I cannot think of anything interesting to write about the subject I love best, design and build of home additions and extensions.

So, here is a "you can only shake you head" story. On one occasion on one of our sites we disconnected an existing toilet and stored it away from the drain but still in the washroom for later re-installation. It was very obvious that there was no water or drain connection. Or so we thought. Some time later we noticed this awful smell emanating from the direction of said toilet. Further investigation found that someone left an offering to the "dunny" deities in the non-working toilet, "forgot" to tell us about it and left us to deal with the "sh*t". Why this person couldn’t use the working toilet on another floor is a mystery.

Now the issue with this situation is that you are dealing with biological hazardous waste and you have to get experts involved, the ones who come in with the suits, the masks and you hope..... an unmarked vehicle. Quite often these experts also deal with crime scene clean up and may advertise this on their vehicles. Nothing will excite the neighbourhood more than seeing a vehicle with "crime scene clean-up" written on the side.

Anyway, we did not envy them their work. It took several hours of gagging by the experts to dispose, clean, disinfect, sanitize and air freshen the site. I guess this was the best $500+++ spend for a long time. But if I ever find out who the culprit was I will…!!!!

On a construction site you have to expect the unexpected and sometimes the bizarre. No amount of supervision, foresight, rules, processes, signs, sign-offs and people acceptance of those can prevent all the human foolishness. It can only help to minimize them. Hence any incident which becomes humorous in hindsight is still bad, but bearable.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build
Wo-Built Inc: Design + Build Construction Company: Tales from the Renovation Track: One Woman’s Experiences of Being a Renovator
by Janice Bell Biological Hazards on Construction Sites
By Geoffrey St. Marie, eHow Contributor
updated: November 18, 2010 Ontario Ministry of Labour: Construction
Here you will find a wealth of construction safety information — and links to more resources.
Revised: September 2010 Ontario Ministry of Labour: Health and Safety
Safe At Work Ontario is the Ministry of Labour strategy to protect workers’ health and safety on the job.

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