The Throwaway Building


In the US, there is a phase, "The Throwaway Society".  This refers to people throwing things away that are too bothersome to be repaired or getting rid of something because they want something new.  Ultimately this boils down to people desire, or should I say "right", to have more for less.  It has even started invading my life, I recently had to retire a one-year-old printer because of a bad print head.  This is a part I cannot buy.  When looking at new printers, it became apparent that they are just a mechanism to sell you ink as the ink and the print head are easily half the price of a mid-to-entry level printer!  So let's translate this into today's building environment.  We also have the "more for less" or "cheaper and faster" dilema but what happens to our buildings?  We can only cut so much before there is an impact.  If we cut the design labor money we start to get unchecked designs from young engineers or unfinished designs from the more experienced.  The same can be said for the construction side.  But there you have the option of installing cheaper products that may wear out sooner or fall apart quicker.  Owner's have to be educated to the fact that to have something built right and built once they need to spend the extra money and unfortunately, have more oversight to insure that those additional funds are spent correctly.  We as building professionals need to fight hard to resist the tide of becoming a commodity, working at the cheapest rate.  Because as your quality falls, your reputation suffers, and soon you might as well be working at a sweat shop designing and constructing a throwaway building.