Holding onto ones principles at work can (to put a negative spin on it) be frustrating, exhausting, demoralising. Being a principled person in this very fallen world will definitely take it’s toll on even the toughest soul in the long run.

I have felt that way many a time when faced with an opportunity to take a short-cut in any way possible that might save me some extra time to do something else with my time. So you can imagine if it’s a struggle to uphold my own principles when I’m the only one who suffers for it is tough, it’s even harder when I have to impose my principles on someone else.

Namely when I go to site and discover (often to my horror) that the builder has done something that differed from the original design intention I’m stuck with conflicting thoughts: Should I insist that he correct the mistake so that the design looks good (and I feel great about it) or should I let it slide as after all it’s not worth the fuss of fighting over it. I know that it’s easy for me to scold the contractor and demand that things get changed but in the end it’s the poor worker who will have to endure the hacking, clearing, casting, etc that’s involved. And sometimes when I see the conditions that they endure daily part of me can’t bear to do so. 

Most times if it’s a small mistake I kick up a fuss, insist on it to be fixed and it gets done. When it’s a huge mistake then it’s a matter of calculating whether or not it’s worth the effort in the long run to make a mountain out of it. If the only thing that suffers is the aesthetic effect I’m more inclined to waiver. However if safety is an issue I will not (and in fact should never) waiver in my conviction to see it rectified.

I can live with a misaligned window, a wrongly specified colour and even the odd column that was somehow not coordinated. But I cannot live with the fact that someone, inhabiting a building that I’ve designed, was injured or (God forbid) died as a result of a lack of effort on my part to ensure that all safety precautions were made throughout the design and construction. 

That’s something you never let go of no matter the toll it takes on you.


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