What not to do when entering your project for steel awards!

PART 2
By Spencer Erling,
Education Director, SAISC

Please do not misconstrue this article as a gripe, winge, moan from the Institute team. There is no doubt that we are having a go at the guilty parties. Yes, this is definitely “many a true word said in jest” article. But not every entrant is having a finger wagged (remember ‘die Ou Krokodil’ and his finger?) at him. Those of youwho get hot flushes of embarrassment when you read this article should know exactly who we are talking about.

Our real aim is to save embarrassment (of which there are plenty examples coming) and make our lives at the SAISC a little easier in future years.

You have finally made the ratings for Steel Awards…

Now we start the process of making the video. We know for sure that most of you\ who submit entries are professionals or experienced contractors. Boy, do I hope you read your contract documents or requests for quotation clauses better than you do the requirements for entering Steel Awards. I suppose you do, because if you treated your contractual clauses in the same ham handed way you do our requirements I am convinced you won’t be in business for too much longer. To clarify please allow me to quote (in part) from our entry form:

Conditions of entry:

Written and illustrative material forming part of the project entries will become the property of the SAISC.                                    The SAISC reserves the right to publicise the nominations and awards as it sees fit.
The SAISC may visit short-listed structures for adjudication, publicity or filming purposes. The nominator and members of the project undertake to assist in arranging such visits and to furnish the SAISC with additional information about the project on request.
By submission of an entry, the nominator assumes responsibility for the accuracy of all information, and provides the SAISC with assurance that permission for the submission has been obtained from the owners of the project.”

And

“Material to be submitted:

To enable the SAISC to give proper publicity to the nominations, the following is requested:
Note: It is critical that project information and names of the team members are submitted accurately (also details such as (Pty) Ltd, JV, etc.) – what is submitted will be used in the publicity regarding Awards projects. Errors lead to embarrassment for everyone involved with the project submitted and for the SAISC. Please prevent this by double-checking all details.
Pictures of the project: A minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 high-resolution digital photographs on a CD (jpg format, at least 300 dpi)“

We contact you and ask you to arrange a visit to site so that we can take a camera man to capture the project on film for editing into the Steel Awards feature ‘movie’.

Now all of a sudden we get “well I don’t know if we are allowed…”. That is sure going to frustrate the team that drives the video production. They are under extreme pressure to meet the deadline set a year before (when we booked the function rooms which we have to do kind of 11 months ahead of time.)

The last thing in the world we want to hear is that when we (SAISC representative, camera man, producer) arrange to go to (say) Cape Town for filming that one of the sites is not available on the chosen date or that we have some red tape to cut through and are trying to get permission from a hierarchical group of people we only hear about on the day we start arranging the ‘shoot’.

Didn’t you read the bit about “and provides the SAISC with assurance that permission for the submission” before signing the entry?

Now comes the time to give you written publicity…

So we write a ‘teaser’ article in Steel Construction (or forward it to a whole host of technical journals, weekly papers and the like) before the event about your project. We do want a few nice pictures for the article only to discover that you sent us a bunch of low resolution pictures (sometimes taken from a cellphone!) not suitable for publication.

Didn’t you read the bit about ‘Pictures of the project: A minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 high-resolution digital photographs (jpg format, at least 300 dpi)’.

So we ask you for high res pics, and only too often we now get told “well I will have to get permission for you to print the article” (goodness knows what would have happened had we not asked for the hi-res pics) or my client wants to censor (that is what it feels like to us)/review your article and he needs two weeks to do it” I will not repeat the ‘permission’ bit again!

No ways guys, why not tell us that in the entry form, then we will not have last minute ‘meeting print deadline’ calamities.

Please let us know up front in your entry if there is some red tape involved with the ‘permission’ bit such as ‘approving’ all articles, need at least one week or longer to get you onto site etc. Remember that site visit access changes from construction phase to when the owner is using it!

The great evening comes and goes…

The SAISC team get through ‘unscathed’. None of you picked up the ‘disasters’ only we are aware of, none of you know how close we came to dropping the proverbial ball. Lots of you compliment us in various ways, verbally and by e-mail (you just do
not know how good a feeling it is for us to read compliments that some of you take the trouble to write, thanks!).

Then the complaints start to roll in. Usually from some poor unsuspecting ‘victim’ who was left off the contracting team roll used for everything we do, i.e. our articles in Steel Construction and press releases for the media, for the rolling loop tape of all the entries, for those who made the short list and were covered in the video, or for those that actually received certificates for winning awards.

For example…

“I was the main steelwork fabricator, but because I fought with… (usually the guy who submitted the entry)… he left my name off” or “I was a partner in the JV but my name was left off” or in the case of one of our category award winners this year, had Spencer not actually discussed the entry with the engineer, and mentioned it to Reneé, then the engineers would probably not have been on ‘roll’.

APOLOGIES AND RECOGNITION TO THOSE PROJECT MEMBERS OMITTED OR NAMED INCORRECTLY IN PROJECTS
ENTERED FOR STEEL AWARDS: CATEGORY WINNER – ARCHITECTURAL:
Freedom Park: Museum
Architect:
Office of Collaborative Architects: Gapp
Architects / Urban designers, MMA Architects (not Luyanda Mpalhlwa Design Space Africa), Mashabane Rose Architects
CATEGORY WINNER – COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT:
Meetse-a-Bophelo Primary School
Steelwork contractor:
Jomi Project Management & Cicon Project
Management
CATEGORY WINNER – TUBULAR STRUCTURES:
Mbombela 2010 FIFA Stadium, Nelspruit
Steelwork contractor:
Cadcon – A. Leita JV
Steelwork sub-contractor:
Omni Struct Nkosi (Pty) Ltd

Didn’t you read the bit about “Note: It is critical that project information and names of the team members are submitted accurately (also details such as (Pty) Ltd, JV, etc.) – what is submitted will be used in the publicity regarding Awards projects. Errors lead to embarrassment for everyone involved with the project submitted and for the SAISC. Please prevent this by double-checking all details”

If (in reality “when” because it happens every year) you do get it wrong, it is the SAISC that gets embarrassed in these situations – not you. We have to do the written apology (which is included in this article!) for your not doing your entry forms properly.

The SAISC really does pride itself in the quality of our annual Steel Awards competition. The fact that over 1 200 of you came to our functions in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg speaks for itself. We really only get a small handful of gripes about what we have written about in this article.

In the end we strive to make your projects look good. So please help us make next year an embarrassment free year. Remember the old adage, “When all else fails please read the instructions”.