Subject: NO

Jerry Painter  

Most of you that know me are aware of my masonry sermon telling any GC or CM “No” if they ask you to do additional work without a CO. Modify from the project drawings without an ASI, do any work that is contrary to best practices or different from the sample. The word “No” will cause yelling, cursing and nasty emails. When all the emotional waste of energy is over, there’s generally good and positive conversations or paper backup for your benefit. 

Those of you that have or have had small children know that the hardest words to teach some of them is no, don’t or stop. Sometimes they just don’t get it. Fortunately for me as a young child, I learned what they meant and how to stay on my grandfather’s good side. Some cousins didn’t. I would get to go to town with him on Saturdays to do his banking and would always get an ice cream cone at the drug store.  

The same would happen when he went to Birmingham for his doctor appointment. Good stuff would happen all because he never had to use those negative words. I got it and it paid off. I could go into the local country store and get things and put it on his account book because I knew how not to mess up the privilege. 

Just recently I was able to participate in a panel discussion at our state’s AIA annual convention. The subject was “What is Being Done to Increase the Masonry Workforce?” A very interesting discussion was going on with the architects asking very serious questions and participating in the discussion. Toward the end of the discussion, one architect asked a question about what he should do when he didn’t feel that he was getting “quality” work.  

Everyone turned and looked at me for the answer. One thing folks know down our way is don’t ask me a question if you can’t handle the answer. Once we got past the code violation and mockup consideration, my response was to tell the mason contractor “no or stop”. After the excitement over schedule, cost and just plain “you can’t do that” had settled down.  

Two architects told their stories of what happened when they said “No”. Both stated that after everything was settled their working relationship and quality of work with that GC and mason contractor have been very good ever since. Contractors if you “know” and provide quality mason you may not get a “No” on a project. 

Our state association gave out almost 2400 CEUs to architects. We made a presentation to over 115 superintendents of a design/build firm that works across the country on acceptable mason. The point is the GCs, CMs, and designers are getting more knowledgeable. Mason contractors please do your best to never get a “No” but if you do, be honest and knowledgeable. Use it to improve your finished product. Masonry is forever, do it right the first time. 

Until next time raise the line and come on around the corner.