Monday, May 15, 2006

Construction Update, Part XXVI

For the past year and a half, I have been working my Clooneyesque buns off for my custom home client, aka The A.H., and there have been -- as is the norm -- plenty of bad news opportunities. One of them came this morning, when I informed him that the contractor and I recently discovered that the area of the asphalt driveway was underbid by about 200 square yards.

That's a lot of yards to miss by. It happened because of a shared communications error between myself and the contractor. But fortunately, it was only going to cost the client less than a thousand bucks to correct. Since the contractor's bid clearly and accurately specified the less-than-desired quantity of asphalt that was priced, and since the client was going to receive full value for the cost of the added asphalt, the contractor was fully justified in expecting him to pay for it if he chose to put in so much added paving.

Of course, I expected his anger, but I didn't expect such rabid insults and threats of physical assault directed at me, the messenger -- despite his history of same. At first, I wanted to just walk away from the project. Instead, I (perhaps foolishly) offered tonight via email to pay for it myself if he promised never to insult or threaten me again, under agreed penalty of my taking a permanent walk from the project -- contract be damned. He hasn't responded yet as he's a morning person.

This should be fun. I'll keep you posted...

Update: My client apologized, saying he sincerely regretted inappropriately directing his anger my way. He also said he would never insult or threaten me again. We'll see. As for my offer to pay for the asphalt... let's just say his position softened, but that one's still up in the air. I love my clients and thank God for every one of them. But this one is unlike any other I've ever had to deal with.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, that's what I hate about business too - clients. They're such a pain in the you-know-what. My life would be much easier without them.

6:58 AM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger HRlaughed said...

My life would much poorer without them.

This client is the first one in nearly 20 years of professional practice whom I would officially classify as a true pain in the ass. And even then, it's been worth it.

8:54 AM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Cara Lietuva said...

I think architecture schools should have a course near the end called "Client Management." It could be taken concurrently with a course titled "Project Management." You could also get into subspecialities such as "the education/public works client," and "the cheapskate millionaire-wannabe residential client," and the "I'm a doctor I know everything about architecture as well as medicine" client, as well as the "I'm an artist, therefore I know how to design buildings" client. Did I miss anybody?

12:49 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger HRlaughed said...

Yeah, the "I have a magnificent dream and I hired you, the architect, because I trust you whole-heartedly to help me realize it" client. However, this one is so rare that it's even rumored to be extinct in this cynical cynical 21st century.

Amazing how you so clearly identified and categorized the majority of my clients through the years, Cara. Psychic?

2:24 PM, May 16, 2006  

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