Idiort
Posted by Jessica Sykes on September 06, 2001 at 00:54:58:
In response to Idiort
: DESIGN IDIOTS

: This job was bungled from the drafting table. Scene Washington, DC, Polish Consulate under the Communists. Design from the Polish communist bureau in
: Warsaw.

: A nice guy appeared at my counter one day holding in his hand and with an imploring look in his eyes, a Jenkins circa 1900-steam radiator angle valveļæ½size wow. I asked him where it came from and he said the Polish Consulate on Wyoming avenue, a posh district here in the Nation's Capitol. Well I told him the
: pattern had been reduced over the years (showing him a new one) and that he wouldn't find it because it had been manufactured when Ignaz Paderewski had been Premier of Poland. He left!

: Several months later a delegation comes into my office from the Polish Embassy.
: My office, because I'd at least been polite and informative previously. I was asked for a quotation on 42 new radiators. My reply was do what? Nobody remodels a whole building with cast iron radiation because it costs a fortune and
: what about the Air Conditioning while we're at it? I got the expected response. It's too late to change the plans the bureau in Warsaw has decided. Comrade Babushka ME would not change her mind this was how they did it in Poland and
: that's the way it had to be. So OK I gave a price on new Burnham radiators. I had already supplied submittals on fin tube convectors but this was obviously turned down despite the fact that it was a fraction of the price. I am, however invited to the job.

: The First Secretary and I went over to the jobsite and I walked into the basement. I found a brand spanking new Weil McLain oil boiler next to a 2" gas line again a spec. from Warsaw? I found 20 workers with no shoes wearing shower tongs making (by hand) radius bends in steel pipe to repipe the heating system. I asked why not copper with fittings. He said do what? I explained the difference in cost and labor as best as I could and suggested an expedition to K-mart for decent work shoes and safety goggles for the men. Upstairs in the converted offices in this old (marble all over the place) Mansion, I found column steam radiators recessed behind decorative brass grillwork. Absolutely ideal for recessed fan coil units, heating and air conditioning. I was sick.

: The First Secretary, (just under an ambassador) said this copper system would be studied for the remodeling of the Embassy, HMMMM. BTW the Polish Embassy is between the Italian Chancery and the Cuban Embassy on 16th street. An interesting place, diplomats and drug dealers across the street.

: While at the consulate, I pointed out the rather small round carrier central air units sitting outside the mansions around his building. I explained that these units carried the whole building. Boom, First Secretary calls Commissar job boss
: over and asks why this was not considered? I got a dirty look from the Commissar, and the First Secretary got I dunno? The plan to attack the air conditioning was to install 43 window shakers with 43 dedicated circuits and each
: surrounded by hand welded decorative iron security bars. I explained that running this would result in a monthly statement from Potomac Electric Power approximating the Polish National Debt. The First Secretary asks for a gun. Not being literate in Polish I can only say that the ensuing conversation resulted in a beet-red face on the Commissar and laughter from the workers. Idiot seems to be a word used in all languages. The last thing I said on this job was don't run the copper water pipes up the uninsulated front wall of the building. Copper was used for the domestic water.

: I did not supply the radiators nor the steel pipe but did get all the "gravy" on this job which was considerable. Communists or not, I felt sorry for these people. I had seen better working conditions on a chain gang.

: Well next thing you know Madame Babushka ME from Warsaw is snooping around the newly renovated OAS building, just up 16th Street from the Embassy, looking at air cooled chillers and fan coil units just as I had recommended for the consulate. The idea flew. I suggested zoning the Embassy so that heat and AC could be separately regulated in the occasionally used public rooms and left to run normally in the office and living quarters. This idea flew.

: Next I am asked to quote on Trane Air Cooled Chiller and Trane fan coil units and a modular boiler system. Well Trane had a lock on that so good bye HVAC.
: However, I did catch a big mistake in Madame Babushka ME's heating calculations as she put in more Tons of AC than BTUs of heating. It went from a
: 3 module boiler system to a 4 module boiler systems. Goes to show you about
: kilocalories per square meter Vs BTU per square foot. SNAFU!

: But the Embassy plumbing was to be completely redone in PVC and copper so I had a field day marching the workers (who knew their stuff) around the bins to pick out what they needed. This got around driving a translator nuts going from technical Polish into technical English. This went on for six months. Following again designs from Warsaw, they came into buy 2" PVC P-traps. I said do what? They had stubbed out the whole building in 2". Well that turned out to be 2x1-1/2 reducer day. I heard a lot of "Dupa" being said. The next bungle was the fire system. Automatic sprinklers were not considered because of the electronics and being new-fangled, but fire stations were to be installed. Up comes a request for a 1" fire hose valve. I said do what? I sold them 1-1/2" Fire Hose valves, cabinets, hoses and nozzles bushed down to 1" inlets. I know they won't work but Madame Babushka ME, had spoken. I did explain to the First Secretary that his personnel could pee harder than the stream coming out of these fire stations and he laughed and threw up his hands.

: The upshot of all this was that I personally inherited all the plumbing problems at
: every Communist diplomatic building in Washington. I called myself diploplumb.
: Aspirin took on new meaning.
: ROD STINE
: Inside the Beltway, DC
: Flush Twice!
: It's a long way to the Capitol




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