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Construction Saturday 11/11 May 7, 2007

Posted by jeanne in construction news, Urban Development.

ednesday 6/7 steel beams ready for lifting to the floors

supposed to going to rain. even tho it’s veterans day, the steel guys were there, wrangling beams. yesterday i watched as the crane let down a rope or cable, and the two guys standing around on the ramp hooked up a small beam, then a long rope and another small one, and then had the crane operator drop the lower one to the ground and they attached a big one in between. the suspended beam was swinging the whole time, wildly. the guys were ducking. they could control it with a hand when it was moving, but there was lots of momentum. it scared me looking at it. one single slip, one moment of inattention, and the thing could brush you and crush your skull. i see an accident waiting to happen on this one.

talked to the steel foreman for awhile. he’s from boston, and about as old as i am. it’s veterans day, why are you working, are you getting paid more? probably not. he’s not a veteran. we had a conversation about some of the ways guys kept out of going to vietnam, and how the guy i used to know that sounds like him was way fucked up by the war. everyone seems to forget how people saw it as their patriotic duty to resist the draft and run away from going to vietnam. having fuck tatooed on their saluting hand, shooting themselves in the foot. going to college. today he was going around checking and fixing all the safety violations. he does this once a week, and figures if his company sends out their inspectors midweek he’ll just take it. if osha came thru unannounced, they’d fine both the sub and the general contractor (forman wasn’t in until after we were standing there talking to him for awhile. he brought his kid, who brought his skateboard, and went all over the parking deck with it, swoosh.) the steel foreman said they started out having a week to do each floor, but now it’s down to 4 days, and he’s got to work them hard to get there. and the guys are climbing all over the steel, using the lifts to get themselves up to the level of the floor, using the lifts to balance the steel while it’s still attached to the crane, wedging it up and down and from side to side, taking out long bars to wedge them into the slot. they slot the beams into the I part of the uprights, and then they go up and down loosely until some other guys come along and bolt the down.

he was saying how the grout should have been put on top of the cement columns already. i told him how forman told me they were going to wait until the structure was up and then slew it square and then fill it, and he agreed that it was a bunch of bullshit, like when the mechanic says it’s road noise. the steel guy says there’s no slewing anything around once he’s finished. he agreed that it’s very dangerous work, and that they have to pay attention all the time. but he really enjoyed it when he was doing it. he’s foreman now, and misses the work. i said take a cut in pay, and he winced. now he gets up and does some when someone’s missing, or when it’s really stuck and they make him get up there and do it himself. he loves that part.



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