I had heard that Las Vegas construction was in huge trouble.
According to the reports, the financial meltdown had broken the city’s back.
The cranes were idle, the jackhammers silent and the workers sent packing. Put
a fork in all those huge building projects - they're dead. Or are they?
In the second of two parts, the author discusses why he feels the
the building industry
needs to re-evaluate the usefulness and cost effectiveness of Return Air Plenums. Do they increase the cost of construction and
decrease the healthiness and safety of our buildings?
Living in Michigan has many perks. Unfortunately, I can’t
think of any right now. I’ve cleared my driveway for the 200th time this winter (OK,
it just seems like 200 times) only to have it recovered with a fresh blanket of
snow before I drive away. I am hoping my pain translates into good news for
construction, service and maintenance professionals.
Regardless of where you fall in the political spectrum, you
are likely looking forward to a change in Washington. If you are a business
owner or manager, you are especially excited by the prospects of a new cadre of
leaders generating optimism among consumers. I am right there with you. Consumer confidence is the
lynchpin to fixing our broken economy.
I visited Paris with my family
over the holidays. A couple days before Christmas, we walked to the Eiffel Tower and
encountered very long lines of tourists. By contrast, no one was standing in line at the sewer
tour’s ticket booth late Christmas Eve morning. We walked right up, purchased
our tickets and down the stairs we went to begin our self-guided tour.
For the last few years, anything green has received
incredible attention. The high price of oil, the threat of global warming, and
a strong economy have caused us to view the world through green-tinted glasses. Fast forward to today. Oil is cheap, icy weather engulfs the
U.S. (global cooling?), and our economy stinks. Could the vast green sea become
The advent of air conditioning a century ago brought us into
a new era, the AC in HVAC. While heat
could be delivered in various forms into a space, cooling came in one medium -
cool air. The more, the better. Somewhere you had cooling coils to create
this new-found luxury, and fans and ducts to deliver the valued commodity to
the place it was needed.
Once the cool air had severed its purpose, it had little value.
The French arrangement of placing
the toilet in a separate room from the rest of the bathroom fixtures makes
sense to me, for the most part. I’ve encountered this setup in French hotels
and, recently, in a private apartment in Paris where I spent Christmas with my
wife, our three grown kids and relatives who are living
there. After all, why should someone
experiencing French cuisine on top of a trans-Atlantic flight tie up an entire
bathroom for long periods of time?
The recent spate of mergers caused me to wonder why we - the valued
customers of these companies - were not consulted about their unions. I know we
could pick better partners. So at the top of my 2008 Christmas list, I asked
for mergers that will bring a smile to the face of every employee, customer and
even those not-so-lovable boardroom Scrooges.