The “Man Sleeping in the Grass”

“There is a man sleeping in the grass…  And over him is gathering the greatest storm of all his days.  Such lightning and thunder will come there as have never been seen before, bringing death and destruction.  People hurry home past him, to places safe from danger.  And whether they do not see him there in the grass, or whether they fear to halt even a moment, but they do not wake him, they let him be.” – Alan Paton, Cry the Beloved Country

We all turn somewhere when we need comfort, explanation, or words for our feelings.  For me, phrases from my favorite literature often pop into my head to explain concisely what I feel.

I’m currently the specifications consultant on an out-of-state project in which the Construction Manager, who has an AIA A133-2009 Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Construction Manager, is acting like a Design/Builder, and like a Construction-Manager-as-Advisor, and like a hard-bid General Contractor, and like a geotechnical engineer, all at the same time.  Part of this project is bidding right now.

I can’t ignore the future disaster that could occur if this behavior continues.  When I see irregularities in Construction Management early on, in preconstruction and in bidding/negotiating, I usually end up seeing irregularities in Construction Management later, in the middle of construction, when it’s more crucial and impossible to ignore – but at that point, it’s too late to change the course of things.

So I have pointed out these irregularities to my architect-client.  I don’t want the Architect or the Owner to be “the man sleeping in the grass” that Alan Paton described.  I won’t be one of the people “hurrying home.”  I encourage everyone else who foresees problems in construction to try to point these things out to the people who can right the course of the project, before it’s too late.

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