Live in your own building..!
I still remember a simple story my grandmother told me years ago. It was about a dishonest contractor who was awarded the contract of building a bridge across a river.
The contractor as most contractors of that day and today, used the cheapest of material, sand instead of cement, mud instead of stone, and finally gave the flimsy construction a coat of paint, hiding all the defects. All was well for a few months, till one morning the contractor received news that his son had been killed. “How and where?” asked the broken man to the bearer of the news. “He was crossing the bridge sir, when it collapsed and he was washed away..!”
Its a story I’ ll never forget. Retribution came full circle. Does it?The other day three wings of a four storey house collapsed due to a cylinder blast. Information coming in, says weak columns, frail beams and flimsy slabs caved in like a pack of cards. Thirty six people killed..!
I doubt the contractor’s family, or that of the architect or consultant engineer, the builder’s or the promoter were killed. Unlike the contractor’s son in the story my grandmother told me, I am sure they never ventured into their concrete creations, knowing how fragile they were.
An architect who had worked for a large company for many years was called in one day by the board of directors and given plans for a fine house to be built in the best quarter of town. The chairman instructed him to spare no expense, using the finest material and the best builders.
As the house began to go up, the architect began to think; “Why such expensive labour? Why use costly material? So he began to use poor material and hire poor quality workmen.
The difference in cost went into his own pocket. When the house was finished, it looked very fine on the outside, but it certainly was a weak structure.
Shortly after it was finished, the board of directors held another meeting to which the architect was called. The chairman made a speech thanking the architect for his long service to the company, as a reward for which they were making him a present of the house into which he could shift into immediately! Can you imagine the architect’s shock? Maybe a new law needs to be passed. Just as a cook is required to taste his own food, we need a law that says the architect, the contractor, the builder and their families live in the building they have put up for a period of not less than two years!
There, let them watch every crack on the wall with trepidation, stare at wet patches with apprehension, feel every tremor with fear. That master builder will dread the monsoon as much as his neighbour the architect trembles with every gust of wind and contractor sahib has nightmares of being buried alive under his own debris.
The building contractor looked at his supervisor with haggard eyes, “spend time on curing,” he whispered, “till those walls are as hard as rock..!”