How to get stuff done while keeping "face"?

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How to get stuff done while keeping "face"?

Post by carteki » Wed, 11 Jan 2012 6:31 pm

I'm looking for any advice on how anything gets done here... I'm western and have a very western mindset of if you don't know what you're doing - ask for help and believe that managers should also provide assistance and guidance to staff who don't know what they're doing. When you get the "face" concept involved it seems that things are never done right unless the person doing the job actually knows how to do it because you'd never ask the mgr and for the mgr to offer help would also be an admission of the staffs lack of knowledge.

Today's example ... rusted metal fixtures. Never been painted in 6 years. Need painting before they fall to pieces. Painting gets done - primer and anti oxidant is painted onto the metal structure without first completely removing the original paintwork.
Image

How do you get stuff done properly, but bearing in mind the "face" concept? (The managers don't do anything either and I'm just a council member - so this isn't my job.)

(and while I'm at it - is it possible to get primer and anti-oxidant in 1 coat of paint? I thought you needed 2)

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Post by JR8 » Wed, 11 Jan 2012 7:53 pm

You can see where they’ve done some rubbing down, but in the featured joint they have not been able to remove the flaked paint using sand-paper. They should use a wire brush but maybe do not have one! If not done properly such weak-points are going to fail sooner rather than later. The use of the relevant paint system is usually detailed on the can of paint. The required steps between brands do vary. I too would have expected an undercoat on top of red primer.

Dulux below seem to have a product that combines primer and undercoat (but I can’t see if it is red!). Hammerite seem to suggest you can use top-coat over 2 coats of red primer.

As you’ve already identified though, initial surface prep is the key!

re: the face thing, I don’t know. If that is your ironwork somehow steering the issue towards the paint system (which includes surface prep) requirements might help?

http://www.dulux.co.uk/products/info/us ... primer.jsp
http://www.hammerite.co.uk/guide/red_oxide_primer.jsp


If you don't know Hammerite, they are specialist paint company providing products for metalwork (vs Dulux who are arguably more focused on DIYers). I'd reckon that all the black railings you see in London are probably done using a Hammerite paint system. I post the above links not as I'm assuming you're using either brand, but just to give you some food for thought on the relevant paint systems of two major brands...

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Re: How to get stuff done while keeping "face"?

Post by x9200 » Thu, 12 Jan 2012 8:11 am

carteki wrote:I'm looking for any advice on how anything gets done here... I'm western and have a very western mindset of if you don't know what you're doing - ask for help and believe that managers should also provide assistance and guidance to staff who don't know what they're doing. When you get the "face" concept involved it seems that things are never done right unless the person doing the job actually knows how to do it because you'd never ask the mgr and for the mgr to offer help would also be an admission of the staffs lack of knowledge.
IMHO it is on much more basic level. Simply, what you consider not right, they consider a perfectly done job. What you consider right, they consider something extra and if any form of aesthetics is involved they often don't get the idea (truly not) why you make all this fuss about. Both the painting guy and his manager see probably the job done properly. This is especially true for the small companies (contractors). Bigger ones often consider this "extra" component (if requested) as the right conduct but still it is something extra.
So I am afraid to answer your main question, if you want to have it done right, you have to do it by yourself or pay some extra money or have a fight.

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Post by nutnut » Thu, 12 Jan 2012 9:28 am

Yes, I agree with that, things don't get done right and when you question the people who do it wrong, they seem oblivious to the wrong doing!

Hence I always fight with them!
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Post by the lynx » Thu, 12 Jan 2012 10:01 am

Sorry I'm not really a handy person to begin with so any attempt for advice on this painting job is far from me.

On the 'face' note though, I can help :P

I always feel that it is an attitude of 'getting it by'.
As long as they get the job done, on-par quality is just a bonus. Heck, they don't even care!

A note to remember in future when engaging contractors like this, always be sweet and pleasant to the guys on the ground (not the sales person or manager) before and while they are doing it. You may be surprised, they will then always have a reason to give extra effort in their work for you (and even more). Even better if you're a woman :wink:

Trust me, it works a lot. And you lose nothing. Plus this is so much better than trying to salvage a below-par work after that. It will be a lost cause by then.

Fight only when you still have a substandard job done, after pulling off that 'being sweet and pleasant (with treats)' part. Then bare all those claws and fangs! :twisted:

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Post by JR8 » Thu, 12 Jan 2012 10:15 am

What if you're observing a job in progress, that is (in this case) going to be a sub-standard finish? Do you go on attack mode to the manager, while still acting nice to the guys doing the job?

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Post by the lynx » Thu, 12 Jan 2012 10:44 am

JR8 wrote:What if you're observing a job in progress, that is (in this case) going to be a sub-standard finish? Do you go on attack mode to the manager, while still acting nice to the guys doing the job?
Don't know about you guys but from my experience of having contractors over (who obviously knows their stuff better than I do), in this situation, I'd be at their mercy.

So usually what I'd do if I were to be around to observe such job in progress is that I'd hover a bit, show some interest, act pleasantly bimbotic, smile, strike friendly conversations with the guys and ask them what they're doing 'while showing interest in their work' (while whipping out ice cold drinks for them at the same time).

It always work for me. Either the guys would show more effort and passion in their work (while explaining the processes in detail), or the inexperienced ones will try to sneak a phone call to seniors/supervisors when they think you're out of earshot.

I know this sounds so low but hey, you get your stuff done -properly- at least!

Sorry carteki, I know you're looking for advice on the coating part, which I'm clueless myself :P

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Post by carteki » Thu, 12 Jan 2012 2:40 pm

Thanks guys for the feedback...
the lynx wrote:Sorry carteki, I know you're looking for advice on the coating part, which I'm clueless myself :P
Not really its on the "politics" this is a long-standing bone of contention with me across all dealings with them and the painting job was a great example of a simple job being done badly by people who are supposed to be professional building managers.

We're talking about a 500 unit condo here. I don't have the time nor the patience to stand over and watch people doing their jobs, so I'm trying to work out if there is some way that by changing the way I react to what I see as complete incompetence that will improve their output.

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Post by the lynx » Thu, 12 Jan 2012 2:44 pm

carteki wrote:Thanks guys for the feedback...
the lynx wrote:Sorry carteki, I know you're looking for advice on the coating part, which I'm clueless myself :P
Not really its on the "politics" this is a long-standing bone of contention with me across all dealings with them and the painting job was a great example of a simple job being done badly by people who are supposed to be professional building managers.

We're talking about a 500 unit condo here. I don't have the time nor the patience to stand over and watch people doing their jobs, so I'm trying to work out if there is some way that by changing the way I react to what I see as complete incompetence that will improve their output.
Now that you have described your predicament, this is definitely hard to chew through... :-| Difficult, very difficult...

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Post by x9200 » Thu, 12 Jan 2012 7:11 pm

carteki wrote:Not really its on the "politics" this is a long-standing bone of contention with me across all dealings with them and the painting job was a great example of a simple job being done badly by people who are supposed to be professional building managers.

We're talking about a 500 unit condo here. I don't have the time nor the patience to stand over and watch people doing their jobs, so I'm trying to work out if there is some way that by changing the way I react to what I see as complete incompetence that will improve their output.
Are you in any kind of control over their pay and payment schedule? Are they paid already?

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Post by carteki » Thu, 12 Jan 2012 8:42 pm

I wish - but no (and I suspect that the worst offender got a raise this year too). The day to day management of the condo is contracted to an "internationally recognised, reputable, ISO9002 property management company" (the managers words which he had to eat when I sent round photo's of the lack of maintenance (the attempted repair of which is shown above). This is their doing.

There is a cultural element here. I've experienced where staff haven't appreciated my helping them because they think this makes them lose face. I just don't know what else to do.

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Post by carteki » Wed, 18 Jan 2012 11:47 am

Just thought I'd update you guys on the result of my suggestion that the job was not up to standard. I assume that it is now nearly complete ...

Here is the result:
Image

Appreciate your feedback on whether or not that is a job well done.

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Post by nutnut » Wed, 18 Jan 2012 12:03 pm

You can see flaky paint under the paint they have applied, I'd not be happy with that, but I am not at all handy, so I could be wrong! It looks a little "slap-dash"
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Post by x9200 » Wed, 18 Jan 2012 12:20 pm

carteki wrote:Just thought I'd update you guys on the result of my suggestion that the job was not up to standard. I assume that it is now nearly complete ...

Here is the result:
[..]
Appreciate your feedback on whether or not that is a job well done.
I guess you know the answer.
Even if they used paint that can be directly applied on an uncleaned, rusty, non-pretreated surface removing what remained from the old pain AND is obviously peeling or chipping off is necessary. Very soon there will be cracks on such spots by mechanical damage or just day-night thermal cycling. Water will get in and corrosion happily will progress making the new paint peeling off as well.
Plus it looks bad aesthetically but I bet this part will not get through by any means.

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Post by carteki » Wed, 18 Jan 2012 2:33 pm

Thanks guys. I thought it was done slap dash, but I didn't know for sure hence the question (I'm an accountant, not a DIY expert).

The response of the condo manager to the pictures (and there were many more) is that he is going to investigate the "alleged defects".

Seriously, when you're in a hole digging is not going to make it better...

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