25 February 2013

Copper-fastened #nlpoli

According to the Telegram editorialist argued last week, this fuss over renovations was nothing at all.
At any rate, renovations planned long in advance — to keep the legislature from falling apart — are hardly a fair target for criticism.
It’s fair to say if the Opposition’s roof was leaking, they’d be singing a different tune.
This conclusions assume one thing not actually disclosed in media reports on the need to relocate three floors of the Confederation Building tower and another thing that’s actually preposterous.
First, the big assumption, namely that the relocation was planned well before the lawyers on the fourth floor were told to pack up and shift.

Was it?

There’s absolutely no evidence to suggest it was.  As recently as last November when asked about the escalating costs, public works minister Paul Davis didn’t mention them.  In the House, Davis said nothing about old electrical wiring and a heat, ventilation and air conditioning system that needed replacing.

Nary a peep.

If he had, then none of this reno story would have gone anywhere.

He just talked about windows.

To the contrary, the evidence suggests that the relocation and the wiring and HVAC is a very recent story dating from after Christmas.

Second, there’s the funny comment about leaky roofs.  It’s funny because in the 1980s, the Tories stuffed the Liberals in the most run-down, drafty, decrepit part of the Confederation Building they could find.  Their crowd have never had to live in such conditions, ever. There was a roof right above them and it used to leak.
But it’s really laughable because the editorial seems to know very little about the actual construction of the building. He or she also didn’t pay close attention to the comments about who is getting shifted.

confed cropped
Original architect’s drawing of the Confederation Building, showing the copper roof.  Drawing originally owned by the roofing contractor, Simon Lono Ltd.

The Premier’s Office is on the 8th floor of the tower. There are two floors of offices above it – 9 and 10 – that are also getting shifted.

Then there’s the cabinet room up on 11.  No word of any renos there.

All of that was overhauled in the early 1990s as part of the renovations begun under the Tories in the 1980s.
Once you go up above the cabinet room, there is a mechanical space and then you get the roof:  a geezly big, literally copper-fastened thing, no given to leaks.  Again, no word of renovations to the roof.

Now to continue the editorial’s logic if you had a leaky roof, you’d do more than complain.  You’d fix it.  Yet there is no word of any work done on the roof.  It was completely redone in the early 1990s, again as part of previous renovations.

What’s more, the Premier’s Office is Four floors below the roof.  If the roof was leaking, then the water would hit  - in order - the mechanical space, the cabinet room, the now-humourously-named communications and consultation offices, and the cabinet secretariat before it got to Kathy’s noggin or the buckets supposedly forming a maze on her floor.

Again, no word about any of that.

So let’s say that right now it looks like the Premier’s story was as accurate as her story about Joan Cleary, the bankrupt mill-buying company or a dozen other such examples of when what Kathy said and what happened were not even on the same continent.

But here’s another funny thing. All those floors in between are steel beams and concrete.  Not exactly like the wooden floors in your house for letting water through.  Water could find it’s way the holes for wiring and such through but it would have to be one helluva flood to come down to the 8th floor in such amounts that the floor was covered in buckets.

It would have to be like a break in the heating system that happened during the 1990s renovations after they moved the House of Assembly off the top floors.  Someone on the 9th accidentally broke one of the hot water pipes for the heating system that, if memory serves,  was coming out in favour of electricity.  Water poured into the Premier’s Office and pooled on the floor like a giant lake. You couldn’t get from one side of the room to another very easily what with a couple of inches of water pool up there.  In any event, it didn’t require any wholesale decamping to another floor, dislocating that floor’s original inhabitants while all the construction work got done.

Curiously enough that happened before the renovations to the 8th floor in the 1990s, as public works finished off the series of long-planned changes to the building dating from the 1980s.

In any event, some water probably worked its way down through electrical and mechanical access holes in the floor.  If memory serves though, it didn’t make it down to the floor where the Premier and her staff these days will find themselves comfortably housed for the next year or more.  That would be four more floors made of concrete and steel beams.

Sometimes people can’t see what is right in front of them. They make assumptions or they just don’t know some basic information that puts the whole thing in a different perspective.

That’s when you get opinions that are full of holes.  That’s when you get comments by politicians that are as far from copper-fastened as could be and that likely wouldn’t stand the gentle breeze of a few pointed questions.

Unlike the roof at the Confederation Building, copper-fastened by expert roofers about 20 years ago and still holding up all that time later.



Peter said...

Rather than resorting to truther-like discussions of architecture and concluding the premier is a bald-faced liar, have you considered the possibility that leaky windows and such can cause water to travel laterally, and that the premier (and editorialist) simply meant ceiling, not roof?

Edward Hollett said...

There may be some water issues but certainly nothing of the sort the Premier suggested nor anything that apparently would necessitate a year-long disruption of four different offices.

Don't forget that the leaky roof and buckets story was not the one from the department. They talked about HVAC and electrical wiring and that is ALL they have ever acknowledged, but only when asked. Kathy talked about living in a death-trap that was falling down due to a supposed lack of maintenance.

The Premier's story was preposterous on the face of it. The fact no one else talked about it and that they never brought it up until they are now under political pressure suggests it is a pile of nonsense invented to distract the gullible.

Stop and think about it for a second. What the Premier described is a building that is so decrepit that it is actually a life safety issue. How could they NOT do something about that three years ago? How could they NOT make huge political hay out of that sort of neglect when faced last fall with accusations about the massive cost over-runs on the project? They went to enormous lengths to pillory Jim Bennett for a silly phone call or to attack Yvonne Jones as a sexist.

Yet they ignored this.

The reason is simple: the Premier's story isn't true. It is an exaggeration of the type she has been known to get on with when, as in this case, she is under pressure and facing criticism. Williams used to do the same thing and it appears the current learned from the former.

Peter said...

"Hype" and "not true" are not quite the same. I have no problem believing her description is exaggerated. But it's possible they were originally quiet about it because they feared the reaction they are now getting. Now it's even worse. PR is not this government's strong suit.

Edward Hollett said...

I find it fascinating that some people feel the need to go to all sorts of lengths to avoid describing a simple situation in the simplest possible terms.

What the Premier said was not true. There's no evidence to believe any of it was in any way, shape or form factually correct. She presented no evidence to support her claim nor is her claim in the list bit plausible based on some fairly simple tests.

To avoid that simple conclusion you suggested that I was engaged in some sort of 9/11 truther nonsense or, as in this latest comment, offered up some theoretically plausible but highly improbable alternative all to avoid the simple conclusion that Premier was patently full of crap.

You suggestion is implausible because the reasons the Premier offered - severe deterioration based on demonstrable neglect - is such an overwhelming case on the face of it that any backlash would disappear immediately in the face of evidence. The truth would indeed set anyone free of the fear of such a backlash.

That they kept it secret for so long and have invented preposterous stories now that the fact of the renos has been exposed itself suggests they have other reasons for the renos than the preposterous stories.

Perhaps if people looked at those potential reasons rather than tried to reconcile foolishness with reality, we'd actually know what has been going on.