One very enjoyable part of writing and editing for CubicYard™ is the challenge of finding fresh material to publish – something useful, timely and relevant. It is much harder than you may think but just about every day I find something about property preservation that aggravates me or surprises the heck out of me. About 10 days ago, I had a QC work order to go behind a contractor and check her work. Just as I turned the key and gave the door a little shove, out of the corner of the door jamb came a swarm of kamikaze hornets. Running for my life and verbally attacking the hornets while swatting away did not do a lot to improve my situation. I decided to duck inside and slam the door. At least I would have a limited number of combanants to deal with.
My second step into the house sent me sprawling and noticing a considerable amount of pain in my left ankle. I more or less let the hornets have their way with me and looked for the reason for my fall. A door knob lock! Evidently, while blinded by the kamikazes, I had stepped on the lock and there I lay. My first thought – I wonder if I can sue this guy? After all this could be called negligence or any one of a number of good legal terms.
I finally cooled off and the swelling went down. In three days I was no longer thinking about suing but on the 4th day I decided this incident might make for a good article. I knew there was nothing in the HUD regs about leaving door locks laying on the floor but what is the industry norm? I still refuse to use the word “standard” because as of yet there is not one. There is an industry norm though – leave the door knob lock and all the pieces and all the drill shaving right where they fell. You know it’s true. You see it at every house. Almost every house.
I started calling companies trying to find out what they tell their contractors about what to do with the removed door locks and parts. Making the calls would make a pretty good story too – no answer at all at three companies, two that did not know what I was talking about a dozen that just shooed me away. My luck did change though, I finally got to talk with about six companies that said they had no policy. Hey, at least they were talking to me.
Finally, I had a breakthrough. I talked with a fellow by the name of Kim Fatica at SEAS LLC. Since it had been a long day with not much success when Kim told me “I don’t have our policy manual with me right now, but I will look it up and get back with you,” I thought “yea, right.” Since I am the gabby type I decided to talk about other things. Anything. I did not tell Kim that I probably knew more about SEAS than he did. He had told me he had only been there a couple of months. I have been snooping around for info on SEAS for a long, long time. Them and about fifty or so other companies.
What a surprise when Kim emailed me the next day:
Good morning, Terry,
Here is a response for you regarding the leaving behind of lock hardware:
Boy Scouts are required to follow Leave No Trace principles when enjoying the great outdoors, or as some Scoutmasters would say, “Leave it better than when you found it.” The same principle can be applied to property preservation. As part of our SEAS vendor training, we have policies about removing trash, especially that which was generated by the contractor. Clearly, if the hardware or lockset itself wasn’t on the floor when you arrived, it shouldn’t be left there when you change it out.
You are there to secure and protect the property, not to create a hazard or to make the property more unsightly.
When a lock change is performed, SEAS requires contractors to place the old lockset and old hardware inside the secured property, preferably in a kitchen drawer.
Let me know if you need anything further. Be happy to help you out.
Boy Scouts? Why mention Boy Scouts – especially in a business letter?
I called Kim. I was curious when he told me he had been involved with the Boy Scouts for around 40 years. He was/is an Eagle Scout. Our conversation was very enjoyable but he had to run so I started research on Boy Scouts – especially Eagle Scouts. As writers will do, I spent way too many hours reading up on something I though I knew about; certainly something that I had always taken for granted.
Wikipedia has some pretty good info about the Boy Scouts of America and nice content on Eagle Scouts. Here is what I found out and how I came up with the title for this article:
Eagle Scout may be earned by a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout who has been a Life Scout for at least six months, earns a minimum of 21 merit badges, demonstrates Scout Spirit, and demonstrates leadership in the troop, team, crew or ship. He must plan, develop, and lead a service project— the Eagle Project —that demonstrates both leadership and a commitment to duty. He must then take part in a Scoutmaster conference. After all requirements are met, he must complete an Eagle Scout board of review.
Of the 21 merit badges, 12 are required; these include:
Citizenship in the Community
Citizenship in the Nation
Citizenship in the World
Environmental Science or Sustainability
Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving
Swimming or Hiking or Cycling.
Cooking merit badge will be revised and required as of January 1, 2014, bringing the total required to 13.
As I read this list of merit badges, I though how acquiring them requires commitment. I also thought back to the motto Kim passed along: “Leave it better than you found it.”
So, recruiters, modify the questions you ask of potential contractors. Ask how many merit badges they earned. Then, maybe we will not have to deal with all this door knob locks on the floor.
Kim and I have exchanged plenty of emails. Look for another article about him later. He has an interesting background.
Wikipedia contributors, “Eagle Scout (Boy Scouts of America),” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Eagle_Scout_(Boy_Scouts_of_America)&oldid=578194031 (accessed October 23, 2013).