Solve a Problem - Relieve Stress - Build Relationships

Last business day before Christmas, I received two email messages about a project that will be issued for construction the first week of January. The architect's office always closes for Christmas week. So I called to find out if replies were needed, immediately. No, they could wait until the new year, I was told.

A Sore Point
The conversation revealed what was not in the email. An on-going confrontation was continuing between a purchasing agent and the architect. The agent was expecting written confirmation of fire code requirements that applied to the finishes and furnishings the agent was to provide.

By talking and listening (rather than emailing), I understood this issue was the source of much stress. An immediate solution would be best.

The Stress Source

The agent listed fire testing requirements that she believed to be commonly required for hotel guest rooms. However, the listed requirements were not entirely correct. Carpet was expected to be ASTM E84, Class A. This test is meant for wall finishes, not for floor finishes. Carpet cushion was expected to meet ASTM E648 and ASTM E662. Neither test is cited by the code. The code requires the cushion and carpet to be tested by NFPA 253. And the list goes on for several more similar items.

The Relief
I spent about an hour. I read the purchasing agent's comments; researched the California Building Code; and responded to the email. I provided details, including the applicable code citations, for each response. I recommended a solution for each condition. Some affected the construction specs. Some affected the interior design specs. Each solution was simple.

The Result
Near the end of my day, I received this reply from the architect.

"Quite impressive. It's a privilege to work with someone of such great knowledge. You make our business so much easier. I learn a lot from you.
I will pass this back to all parties.
Thank you again and have a great holiday weekend." - Rafael Velazquez, WATG

What a great way to end the day, the week, and begin the holiday season. I was glad I could help. And the recognition? It makes me want to help again, the right attitude to bring to the New Year.

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