Attachments to Nigeria
Has anyone noticed as we get older the time flies by more quickly? It seems like just a couple of weeks ago I was writing the last blog in the San Antonio Airport and in a blink of an eye its months later. Where does the time go? Happy New Year! My New Year’s resolution is to be more consistent in getting these blogs to you.
I mentioned that I was on my way back to Nigeria to train our crew on how to install No-Bar and flexible attachments. This was a very large project for my parent company Pentagon Protection Plc and I left on July 29 for one week or so I thought. Seventy days later, I finally came home on October 9th. When I got there I found the project in a bit of disarray as the crew we hired from Egypt was without a foreman and was being pulled in four different directions. There were three 11-storey buildings to be filmed and each one had a different general contractor all wanting to be the first one finished.
So it was necessary for me to stay and take control to make sure we met the deadline. Challenges were numerous as only one of my Egyptian crew spoke English and I didn’t speak Arabic … I do a little bit now. The installers were fantastic, hardworking, quick learners and great human beings.
Besides the language barrier, which we overcame, there were many other obstacles. Let’s face it, I was in a third-world country and you can’t just run down to Home Depot to get supplies. They do have a tool/hardware market but it’s a little different than what most of us use. The prices are all negotiable with each vendor and being an Oyibo the price has a tendency to go much higher. (Oyibo is a Nigerian word for a Caucasian. It is not derogatory. It is just a word used to identify a white person.) So I would go along to show my contractors what we needed, then disappear while they haggled the price.
This project called for four different attachment systems, Hanita No-Bar, Pentagon Elite, Pentagon Z-Lok and wet glazing. The wet glazing was four-sided on the lower floors and two-sided on the upper floors. I was told that the crew was already experienced in wet glazing but after seeing the samples they did it was clear that they needed some additional training, better tools, better materials or all three.
The quality control contractor Patrick (he was from France) was not happy with the look of the silicone on the few windows already done and asked me to give my honest opinion. I looked him straight in the eye and said “it looks like crap.” After a good hearty laugh together he thanked me for being honest and we got along great from that point forward. I suggested he let me do a sample window of wet glazing and see what he thought. I did not come prepared to do silicone so I didn’t have my normal shaping tool (white Teflon card) so I had to make one. In the trash I found an old plastic bucket lid. A few MacGyver moments later I had my shaping tool. After taping off the window and frame with the low grade masking tape they had, I proceeded to work my magic as best I could. When I pulled the tape I got a lot of “ooohs” and “aahhhs” and Patrick looked at me and proclaimed “magnifique!” Honestly, I thought it was just okay because I really needed some 3M Blue Tape to make the finished edges sharper.
I came to find out you cannot buy 3M Blue Tape anywhere in Nigeria so I had to order some from the States. We went through the first shipment of tape very quickly and my second shipment was held up in customs. Apparently there were some shenanigans going on at customs because they were shut down for several weeks while being investigated. So we had to make due with a very low grade masking tape. Then we went through all the masking tape in Abuja and we came to a standstill until my crew had a great idea. They came to me and said what about Egyptian Tape. What the heck is that?!
As all installers know, when you’re on a large project you always have excessive waste of film trimmings. Sometimes you can use them for smaller windows, but usually they get thrown away. But you know what they say: “necessity is the mother of invention.” My guys came up with this idea and turned the scrap you see to the right into the tape you see below.
Egyptian Tape-1 Here’s a video of the Egyptian tape in place. (Click link at left to view video)
I must say it was a great pleasure working with the Egyptians and sharing information, techniques and stories. We had some cheap ladders (the Arabic word for ladder is sullam) that were bought at the start of the project, but several of them were broken. You can’t buy a Little Giant at the market here in Abuja, Nigeria, so you make do with what you have. It got to the point where the crew was moving so quickly doing the silicone that we didn’t have enough ladders. Rather than slow down, they came up with other ways to reach the top of the windows. I walked into one office and saw the two guys in the picture (Maged on top and Lamaei on the bottom). I asked what the heck were they doing and they responded
“Egyptian sullam.” LOL!
In the last blog, I asked the survey question if you preferred tubes of silicone or sausages? I must confess that prior to this Nigerian job I had only used tubes, but on a large project sausages are the only way to go, especially having to run a large bomb-blast bead.
The results of the survey were pretty even as 46.4 percent preferred tubes while 53.6 percent liked the bigger sausages.
In the next blog I will show you the No-Bar and the Pentagon attachments we did in Nigeria. But for now I will say so long and I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday Season and let’s hope for a Prosperous New Year for our Industry.
This month’s survey asks a two part question:
If you answered yes (regardless of what country you live in) send me an email with your resume at email@example.com.
Quote of the Month
“By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.”
– Robert Frost