|The Community Builders: A Practical Guide where People Matter (GTZ, 1989)|
It's a great joy
to work with a Community Builder sharing an interest in our project; a builder who cares about the way things are built; and project staff who recognize the potential of what we are doing in serving the people. This tests our mutual trust and toleration, and our desire to achieve beautiful community building.
We must now
work as a team; the Community Builder supervising the work, for he provides continuity, translating our ideas into instructions; the builder coordinates labour, materials, and orders the work, the Building Committee monitors progress, expenditure, and keeps an eye towards the completion.
Starting off right
We shall make a good start, however large or small our job, by
bringing together at the very beginning everyone involved in organizing the
work. This we call a preliminary site meeting, for no work has yet started.
Circumstances will indicate who should attend, though it is important that the
Building Committee always be represented by a member of the project staff
directly affected by the work.
Site meetings should be held on a regular basis on all but the smallest jobs involving very few people. There must, however, always be a meeting when a decision is required, such as programming, the progress of the work, or choice of colours. Someone, usually the architect, must take minutes, the form depending on the nature of the work (see 'How will we run our committee?' ). What we have to discuss is, of course, determined by whether we are organizing the job ourselves or employing a building contractor. Our first site meeting therefore has to make clear who does what, for communication now becomes more important than ever before.
Messages are sent back and forth, for Ralihaha is trying to
arrange a site meeting of everyone who will be involved in running the job. Fr
Pierre, having done his own building previously, is not convinced of the need
for this but reluctantly gives way to Ralihaha. Tuesday next week they will be
there, Fr Pierre, Ralejoe the working foreman, Malichelete the bookeeper, Nurse
Lerato, and of course Ralihaha. Together they must organize and plan the
Ralihaha is there well in advance of the appointed time to set-up a blackboard. In bold capitals he writes 'AGENDA' and leaves the remainder of the board blank. Of course he knows what topics have to be covered, but he wants to get people to contribute, so he will ask for their suggestions, each from their own point of view. Malichelete arrives with Lerato, bearing a tray of coffee mugs. Fr Pierre and Ralejoe come in bringing some chairs. It will, Father knows, be a most serious meeting, so they might as well be comfortable. Ralihaha laughs, he can see they all know what to expect!
"Right," says Ralihaha, "Can we make an agenda please? Fr Pierre, I would like to ask you to start by reporting what the Mission Board have decided." "1," says Nurse Lerato, "would like to know when we are moving the clinic." Ralihaha adds that to the board. Fr Pierre joins in asking that it be made clear just what he has to do. Ralejoe is quiet, but Ralihaha asks him how he intends to organize the site? "Yes," he says, "we need a material store, there is not enough room in any of the Mission buildings, And I'd like to know how many extra men I can take on?" "OK," says Ralihaha, "I'd like to add control of expenditure and site programming. Now we must discuss these matters so that we all know what has to be done and who is responsible."
Ralihaha calls on Fr Pierre to make his report. He clears his
throat. "The Board had a long discussion and really examined the risk factors in
organizing the job ourselves. They noted with concern that the income of the
clinic may fall while the work is carried out and therefore stress that the work
must be finished as quickly as possible. There can be no waiting while we seek
additional funding and therefore the expenditure must be very carefully
controlled. They ask to be informed how this will be done. The work round the
Mission should not suffer, and they ask that extra men be hired to help out.
They are pleased that Ralihaha will supervise the work, as this will help me
with the work of rebuilding the clinic. Here is a copy of their actual minute,"
he says, laying it on the table.
So the meeting continues. Afterwards Ralihaha asks Lerato and Fr Pierre to organize a meeting with the village women to get the work started on the overnight house.
Organising the job ourselves
This has to involve not only the architect, builder and members of
the Building Committee, but also the person managing the accounts, paying the
bills and wages, etc. and making the reports. The agenda should include:
1. Who does what? The architect must supervise the work, and give the instructions to the builder, but what else? Who will record the attendance of the workmen? Is there need for a site clerk, maybe one of the trainees, to keep records on the site. The builder, if he becomes too involved with the wages, will not have time to get on with the job. Who will order materials and how are they to be issued on site?
2. Materials. Procedures for ordering and obtaining.
3. Labour. Procedures for hiring and paying. 4. Inspect the site. Check what has to be done before starting work -clear existing buildings, remove rubbish, protect trees, etc.
5. Builder's water and electricity. Locate supplies.
6. Access and storage. Where is access for vehicles? Where to store sand, stone, etc., mix concrete, dump rubble and so on. Where to place site huts and workmen's latrines? 7. Temporary removal. How to organize? 8. Programme the works. Draft an outline, noting when reports and payments have to be made .
9. Cost control. Make clear how orders are placed and payments made (see section D2). 10. Next meeting. Agree frequency.
Using a contractor
Our first meeting has to discuss:
1. Introductions. Who is who? Including site foreman.
2. Inspect the site. Record any variations from the drawings. Note trees etc. to be protected.
3. Builder's water and electricity. Locate supplies.
4. Materials. Inspect access for deliveries, where to store stone, sand, etc. and mix concrete.
5. Locate site huts, workmen's latrines and where to dump builder's rubble.
6. Programme and payment. Agree start date, handover, and relate payments to progress.
7. Communication. Note purpose of Building Committee. Make clear that to avoid confusion all instructions will be given by the architect. Architect will also certify requests for payment.
8. Next meeting. Agree frequency.
Our Story -Meeting the contractor
Mr Pitso, the contractor providing the labour for the job, has no
telephone, so Ralihaha writes him a letter. "Please can we meet at Mission
Clinic on Tuesday 26th to discuss the organization of the work. Everyone
involved in running the job will be there." On the day they start with
introductions. "I will be working on the job myself," says Mr Pitso. "I can turn
my hand to many things, for at one time I was an instructor at the technical
school." "I'm the architect," says Ralihaha. "I drew up the details of the job
and will be supervising the work." Fr Pierre states that he will be ordering the
materials and Mr Pitso adds, "I already know Nurse Lerato."
"Shall we start by walking around the building?" asks Ralihaha. "The plan is to move the clinic into the church hall whilst the work is being done, so you will have a free run inside this fence. The village women are about to start building the new shelter house over there," he adds, "so you will both be working here at the same time. The new pit latrine will be on that side." "OK," says Mr Pitso, "how would it be if I put the site hut here. I can mix concrete here, next to the tap, and tip the sand just inside the gate."
Next they return to the clinic where there is a table they can work at. "Here," says Ralihaha "is a list of what we need to discuss. Does anyone have anything to add? OK, let us start with the materials. Here is the material budget I have prepared. You had a copy when tendering. Fr Pierre will arrange for the materials to be delivered in blocks, according to the work stages shown on the cover . Please check carefully that everything is included Mr Pitso and confirm this to Fr Pierre along with any site measurements he may need. We will make a programme and on this show when the materials are required on site .
"All site instructions will be given through me," says Ralihaha. "In my absence Fr Pierre will deal with any problems. I will confirm everything using this duplicate book. May I suggest that you do the same for your communications concerning costs, payment, and so on? It is handy to have all the copies bound together."
"At what points do you wish to be paid?" asks Fr Pierre. "Well," says Mr Pitso, "I usually ask for one third at the start, one third halfway through, and one third on completion." "I think" says Ralihaha, "that we should link payment to the programme. This will provide an incentive to make progress.
"Now to the programme. When could you start Mr Pitso?" "Oh,how about the first of next month?" Ralihaha looks at Lerato and Fr Pierre, "Can you move the clinic out by then? It would be best to allow a few days in between, to make sure the building is completely cleared." "Yes," says Fr Pierre, "we have discussed that, and could do it next week. We need a day to erect the temporary screens, two days to move, and a day to settle in. It will be a good opportunity to sort everything out in the drug stock, throw away whatever has expired and set aside equipment that has to be repaired.
Good supervision is so important
Supervision is a team effort, conventionally between the architect
and the builder. Each has his own distinct contribution to make. If one tries to
do the work of them both, he becomes a jack of all trades and master of none.
The result is unsatisfactory. Why should this be so?
The complexity of building is usually underestimated by people without specialist training. The range of skills and experience required is exceptionally great and there is too much to do in too little time A well-run job must take these into account as well as a person's ability.
The architect, because he has usually seen the job through from the beginning, understands what the people want. On the other hand, the builder, being in constant touch with the supply of labour and materials, knows how market forces limit what he can do. The architect looks to see if everything fits together and that materials and workmanship are right. The builder checks material quantities and that the men understand just what they must do. So both contribute their skills and experience, building, one with the other, as partners.
A well organized site improves productivity. A tidy site indicates a foreman in control who knows what he is doing. Rubble underfoot and materials lying around in disorder indicate someone working in considerable confusion. So it is that a good foreman can relieve the builder and the architect of some of their burden. They ignore this at their peril, for both are involved and each can learn from the other.
Builders working in community based projects have additional problems to face, for the work may involve much more than conventional construction. They may have to rely on the local community to provide water, and employ local people. Supplies may be inadequate and skills lacking, so that training may be necessary. As a result, extra supervision is required.
Further problems arise if the person supervising the work lacks
appropriate experience. They may, for example, try to direct the work from their
office, rather than getting out on the job alongside the men. Or the architect
may lack authority because he is not mentioned in the Building Agreement or
letter of acceptance or be involved in controlling the payment. The result may
be that the work is unsatisfactory and leaves maintenance problems, progress is
slow and workmanship poor. It costs more to put something right afterwards, than
to get it right in the first place.
Plentiful supervision is crucial to the success of the job. An architect living at the project provides the best answer. Visiting can be inadequate, for distances may be great and roads very poor. This is especially so in the Third World where technical skills, that are taken for granted elsewhere, are lacking. The solution must thus be related to the work in hand. A local tradesman may be the best answer where self-build instruction and motivation are required. On larger jobs the need may be met by a resident clerk of works, or someone working at the project, who can keep an eye on what is being done in the architect's absence. The solutions are many and varied and every job has its own needs. If, however, the challenge is not met, there are sure to be problems in due course.
Our Story -Fr Pierre's men move in
On the day that work is to start, Ralihaha and Ralejoe inspect the
empty building. They take chalk and walk round marking the location of new
openings' numbering door and window openings with the references shown on the
plan, and discussing how the work can be tackled. When they are finished,
Ralejoe really has a grasp of the work and Ralihaha has a good understanding of
how the job will be begun. The workmen from the Mission will do all the
stripping out and cutting of new openings, so that when skilled men are employed
to do the main part of the work, everything will be ready. Ralihaha requests
that there always be someone employed who goes round clearing away the rubbish
all day. He likes, he says, to see the site tidy at all times.
Next time Ralihaha visits the site he finds Nurse Lerato in the midst of trying to explain to Ralejoe and the bricklayer something about a door. To his great surprise, he finds a door is being cut into the wall where none exists on the plan. "Oh," explains Lerato, "Dr John thought it would be such a help to be able to move direct from the consulting room into the drug store." "But," says Ralihaha . . . Lerato interrupts, "Yes I could see there were problems but he was in such a hurry." "It messes up the room layouts" says Ralihaha. "Leave it until I have spoken to him. Perhaps when he sees the effect of this, he will agree to leave it as it was."
On another day Nurse Lerato comes up to Ralihaha. "I have a suggestion," she says, "It comes from Mapalesa. There is a spare window frame that has been taken out. We wondered if we could use it on the side of the nurse's room next to the door? It will let a little sun into the back of her room late in the day." "I see no objection to that," says Ralihaha. "Let us have a look." And this is how they proceed.
demonstration of how to fix the height of a window.
Ralihaha has learnt that successful colour schemes can be achieved by his finding someone who is interested, explaining to them what is available, and leaving them to propose the scheme. Nurse Lerato says, "Let's have some bright fresh colours." "What would you choose?" Ralihaha asks. "Well," she says' "I like soft, warm, restful colours inside, but the doors and fittings could be painted bright colours." He hands her the colours. "Can you choose from these?" he asks. "Oh, leave these with me and I'll think about it." Everyone was delighted with the result. Outside the walls were a deep pink and the windows were red. It was very striking. Lerato was very proud of this.
Golden rules of site supervision
1. At the start of the job. Talk with the foreman, establish a working relationship. Learn what you can safely leave to him, what are his weaknesses and where to provide support and advice.
2. Get out on the job and away from your office. See for yourself just what is being done. Take time and trouble, let everyone see that their work matters and the job will be greatly improved.
3. Discuss with the men what they are doing. Encourage comment,
listen to their ideas and solve problems together. Show your respect and they
will respond. There lies the secret of success.
4. Look from above and look from below. Get down in the foundation trench, climb up on the roof. There you will see what matters, things that are not visible from the ground.
5. Be there when the work is in hand in time to put matters right, identify crucial points in the construction that require special attention, the foundation, consolidating fill, the roof. Check, is the wall ready for plastering? A patch will always show as a blemish. Later, return and see if the job has been properly done.
6. Stand back from the work. Does it look right? Is it straight,
square, and in line? Encourage the men to check for themselves, getting it right
without need of our comment.
7. Question yourself: Does it follow the drawings? Are the materials as described? Is there any unforeseen problem? Will everything fit together when the building is complete?
8. Discuss progress. How are you getting on? Anticipate what is needed; extra men, more materials, and what the local people are doing. Involve the men in planning the work so they grasp what is required and support one another.
9. Site instructions. Any variation from the drawings and description must be recorded as we proceed. These are essential in controlling the cost.
10. Let people see the building as it is growing; discuss it with the Building Committee, explain it to the people working there, and don't forget the local community. Agree samples and colours, consider changes here and there, such as moving a window, that can improve the building, but which don't burden the builder.
The next week when Ralihaha arrives at the clinic, he is pleased
to be greeted by great banging and activity. The patients are standing around
outside the church hall, waiting to see the nurse. He goes to look for Mr Pitso.
The job always seems to go fast at the beginning. The work has been set out
using chalk and line for cutting the new opening. The damaged ceilings have been
removed and doors and windows, that are unwanted, taken out. This is all work
for the labourers and Mr Pitso is erecting the site hut. Sand has been delivered
and the new door and window frames are standing nearby. Ralihaha can see that Fr
Pierre has been busy.
"Everything going well?" he asks Mr Pitso. "No problems," he replies, "Can we look at the drainage layout together? I just want to check that we have it right. Here is where the manhole will be, and there we are digging the pit for the soaka-way. The vent pipe, does it pass through the roof, or stop under the eaves?" he asks. They agree that when all the trenches are dug and the fittings laid out, they will look at it together and check the details. "May we look at the ceilings?" asks Mr Pitso. "I have asked Fr Pierre to get some extra timber because these must be replaced where the roof was leaking." Ralihaha is surprised he missed this, perhaps there was an interruption when he was describing this in the Building Work Descriptions?
Ralihaha is troubled to find that the concrete for the verandah
has been laid flat, so that the rainwater will pond there. The bricklayer says,
"Oh, the doctor was here. He asked for it to be flat so that a wheelchair would
not run away." "Oh dear," thinks Ralihaha, "now there'll be complaints about
people's feet getting wet. I wish he had checked with me first. However, there's
nothing that can be done now it's laid, so just leave it that way." Afterwards
he begs Mr Pitso, that when something like this crops up again, please to check
with him before proceeding. But Ralihaha can see that Mr Pitso is anxious to
please everyone, so the best thing to do is to raise this again at the Building
Our Story - The overall site programme at Mission Clinic
Note -headings payment, equipment, etc. vary with the organization
of the job.
Here is the programme they made at their first site meeting. Ralihaha set it out, spacing along the top the weeks that they had estimated the job should take. Down the side he itemized the construction stages. "Right," he says, "now let us add fixed points in the programme. We do not have any phased handover, but there is a public holiday in November, that's about half way. In my experience we should allow half the programme for fitting out and finishes, so the holiday will be a good time to aim to complete stages 1, 2, 3 and 4, and be well into 5. Now we can space stages out each way." "I think," says Ralejoe, "that there should be plenty of time allowed for completion. I'd rather hand over early than have Nurse Lerato cross with us for late completion at Christmas."
"Now, can we relate this to payment? I would like it to be clear just what has to be finished before payment is made." In this way they go on to identify when the materials, the equipment and even skills such as bricklaying' carpentry and painting are required. People think Ralihaha is being over-fussy, but he knows that this will set them all thinking about what each of them has to do to complete the job in time.
Why site programming?
Many builders, on being asked when they expect to finish the job,
respond by giving a date which is intended to please us. In so doing they give
little or no thought to what is involved and so it is a matter of luck whether
they achieve it or not. This can be very frustrating to us on the receiving end
when the date arrives and the building is still unfinished. On the other hand,
it is all too easy to blame the men. The work may appear to be going slowly and
so someone is sure to feel that this is because they are lazy. This may not
necessarily be so, for if the men lack a sense of direction they may be a bit
confused about what they are supposed to be doing.
Programming the work should therefore be seen and used as a tool, causing us to stop and think, plan ahead and understand how we can achieve what is in front of us. It is not a fixed thing, but something that is flexible and may have to be updated from time to time. We should turn this to our advantage by drawing people into the discussion about what has to be done. It is here that the architect skilled in community building can be of great assistance to the builder, by applying his experience in creating good discussion.
There are two stages to site programming, the job and the work. The first is an overall programme that concerns those running the job. It should be drafted at the first site meeting when everyone is present. For the second the tradesmen gather round, making their contribution, so that they go on their way knowing precisely what has to be done, how, and who to turn to for co-operation. Together these can make a marked impact on the productivity of us all! On the next page we examine how to assemble these programmes.
Here is the plan for the site works which Ralihaha makes with Ralejoe, the foreman, and the men. They do this every two or three weeks during their Friday break and it covers the next 15 days or so. Ralihaha starts by asking the men what they are doing today? "Oh," replies Thabiso the bricklayer, "I am laying mortar on top of the wall for Lebohang to fix the wall plate." Lebohang is the carpenter. He says, yes, he is working with Thabiso. Phoka, the plumber, is laying the water supply pipe and Pitso, the plasterer, will be starting on Monday. "Right," says Ralihaha, "and what will you be doing next?" Thabiso says he intends to bed the window sills and maybe make the concrete steps, Lebohang says he must fix the door frames ready for Pitso the plasterer; and Phoka says he will put in the rising main. "Oh no," says Pitso, "I must get the backing plaster done first.'' "Well in that case," responds Phoka, "I can complete some work on the drainage." So the discussion goes on. "Tell me," says Ralihaha, "how long will each of you take to comeplate this work?" In this way Phoka knows when he can start fitting the rising main.
Programming the job and the work
In section B5 we estimated the time needed for the job. The
builder may, however, have a better idea of how long the job will take. Be
careful that he has some basis for this and is not simply guessing. This
provides a check on the completion date given to the Building Committee. The
overall programme for the job assists the builder to know what he has to achieve
at each stage of the job. It has to set out the fixed points, the dates for
starting and of completion, holidays, phased handover, and most importantly it
must fit in the work stages (see A to Z of construction headings p.
This provides the basis on which to organize the work. It will succeed only if we gather the tradesmen round the table so that they contribute to the discussion, actively taking part in planning the work they have to carry out. It covers only the next two to four weeks, for the longer it continues the more vague it becomes. Start by listing the work in hand, asking each man what he has to do. Consider one trade at a time, so that brickwork is separate from plastering, for example. Now plot in how long each man thinks he will need to complete what he is doing at present. Then ask what they expect to do next. This will generate discussion, for one will say, "I'll do this," and another will say, "no, I have to fix the conduits before you can plaster." So problems are resolved now without losing time on the site. Co-operation grows as a result and everyone is encouraged.
With this knowledge the men will return to their work knowing just what they have to do and how this relates to the work around them. They do not need copies of this programme, for they know it all. It is, however, useful to pin it up on the site where the men can refer to it. It is time well spent, for noone will have to be told what to do and the work will go more smoothly as a result. The builder also knows if he needs extra men to maintain the overall programme; when men are free to move to another job; what equipment is required and whether the materials are adequate, for all these things will have to come up in the discussion. The architect can now report to the Building Committee on progress in relation to the programme.
If you are organizing your own men, there is greater opportunity to implement effective programming techniques. However, a sceptical builder can be won over once he has experienced the benefits and sees for himself the job running more smoothly. He is then more likely to be pushed by his foreman into taking the initiative in preparing the next programme for the men. Your men will, if the programmes are prepared on a regular basis, start to think ahead and plan for themselves.
Applied to self-build co-ops for example, it can bring together the people, materials issued from the store, equipment that is shared, skills teachers and tradesmen, all on the same day in the one place. Thus can be avoided great frustration that generates mistrust and can destroy good will so painstakingly built up from the start. Responsibility for the well-being and success of the project thus finds its roots here in what can be otherwise a rather laborious task.
When making programmes that involve rural people, be sure to check on the agricultural seasons when people may be away in the fields and unable to work on the building. It is surprising how even the best informed extension worker can overlook the time for ploughing, weeding when the rains come, or the gathering of the harvest. So plan the work in full consultation with the people who are to carry it out.
Our Story - The Building Committee discuss progress
Everybody comes smiling to the next meeting of the Building Committee. "Isn't the work going well," comments Dr John, and Lerato adds, "what nice men the builders are." Ralihaha smiles as well, for he has much that they must discuss. "Right," says Ralihaha, "let us make an agenda as usual. I have my progress report to present, that will raise a number of issues of concern to us all." Dr John says he wants to know about the colours; Fr Pierre says he has some questions to ask about the delivery of the materials; and Lerato says they must talk about the overnight house the women are building.
"Let us start with my progress report," requests Ralihaha. "Here
is the overall site programme that was made at the first site meeting with the
builder. 1 have applied colour to represent the actual progress to date. You see
that some things are a bit ahead, but others are falling behind. What worries me
is the carpenters; we urgently need two but have not been able to recruit anyone
with adequate skills. You see, to
finish by the builder's holiday at Christmas, we must maintain this programme, for we cannot rely on making it up towards the end."
"Oh," says Lerato, "Christmas, and even more so New Year, are very busy and I was hoping that we would be back in the new clinic by then." "Well," says Ralihaha, "the trouble is that Mr Pitso has taken on another job and is dividing his time between the two." "Well," says Dr John, "please keep on trying and let us know how you get on."
"Next item, Fr Pierre you have something to raise?" "Yes," he says "I have managed to get most of the materials required, but there are a few things that I am having difficulty with. The supplier in town keeps on promising they're on the way, but nothing turns up. Cement was running low, so I used my own stock, but that has fortunately now been replaced. It is the door locks and latches, window fittings and glass that are causing me a problem at the moment. Fortunately none of these are yet holding the job up." "Well," says Dr John, "I am going to the city next week, could I try there? Mr Pitso has been asking for extra items, and most of these I have been able to buy using the petty cash at the village store, but I don't know how these relate to the budget." "Yes," says Ralihaha, "we are due to make a budget report to the next meeting. Let us look at it together" (see section D2).
(Stories A, B continue)
Initiative in good communication
Conventionally, the architect is thought of as the one confirming
all his instructions in writing. In fact, on a successful job everyone is
involved, from the tradesman to the foreman, the builder to the office clerk, in
a free flow of information. Where this is not happening, the tradesman, for
example, relies on the builder to buy what he needs; he may make a guess,
essential items are overlooked that delay the work, so extras are bought, the
cost goes up and profit down. No wonder that builders acquire a poor reputation
for getting the job done!
The problem in applying standard forms is that they tend to originate in the office and lack practical application on the site. Many builders are therefore rightly sceptical about their use. There is, however, a simple alternative, based on the initiative of the people running the job. This does not rely on printed forms, but rather makes use of the standard duplicate book (or triplicate if necessary) that is obtainable worldwide. This encourages the tradesman to anticipate what he needs, rather than to leave the builder to think for him. Instructions are issued then and there and not delayed while waiting for confirmation from the office. As people experience the benefit, the work moves faster and the builder has fewer worries.
The duplicate book works like this - Each man has his own, the copies being bound together to make reference easy for checking deliveries or reminding someone of what they should have done. It is used to convey messages, raise queries off the site, detail the work and, of course, order materials. It applies to each of us as follows.
The architect has a large duplicate book (usually A4 size) to confirm his site instructions, one for each job, that he carries around with him. In a second book he records meetings, programmes the job, sends messages, sketches details of the construction and so on.
The builder likewise has one used to instruct his men, send
messages, make notes, organize equipment, order materials and so on.
Each tradesman has a small duplicate book, kept in his tool box, to order materials, equipment, send messages and check deliveries with what he actually needed.
The driver uses a triplicate book kept in the vehicle to record all that he accepts and delivers. There is thus a record of all materials and equipment on the job, that is kept in the office, from which the builder can check what is outstanding. The man receiving, signs the book and keeps one copy.
The wages clerk has a small duplicate book in which to set out the calculation of everyone's wage. On receiving his money, the man signs the book and keeps the top copy. Queries are easily checked and the auditor is satisfied that the money was received.
In the office copies are sorted according to kind, material orders, instructions, job notes and programmes, etc., and equipment displayed on a board so that, at a glance, it can be seen where any particular item is.
On site each man has a large envelope, clearly labelled, one for each job, in which to keep loose papers and drawings.
Our Story - The village women begin building
Mapalesa has been explaining to Ralihaha how the village people
come together to help each other in building their houses. This takes a long
time, spread over the year, because it has to fit in with the agricultural
seasons. In September and October the thatching can begin and is the work of the
men. The women then begin smearing the walls, painstakingly building up layer
upon layer of soil mixed with dung to make the walls perfectly straight. By
Christmas they would be applying colour and decoration. They must therefore,
said Mapalesa, encourage the women to obtain the thatching materials now, so as
to have them ready.
Nurse Lerato came to Ralihaha when he was at the clinic one day, asking him if he would join the village women in setting out the new house. "Some of them are here now," she said, "they saw your vehicle passing by and came." "Surely," he said, "they know best how to do this?" "Well," replied Lerato, "they just want you to join them. You can show them where it is to go, they will decide where to put the door. That is how the chief would allocate them a site."
After this, cart loads of rough stone began to arrive and was piled around the site of the house. Ralihaha suggested that instead of using the sandy soil as bedding mortar, they use the termite hills. He had learnt this from an old priest whom he had helped to build a children's village. It sets like cement, making the walls very resistant to erosion by the wind and rain. When work started, no foundation as such was dug, just a tiny trench, no more than two or three inches deep. ´'No wonder," he thought, '´that the erosion exposed the foundations." So Ralihaha tried to persuade the people to dig a deeper trench. They were very polite about it, and just filled it up again with lots of stone and soil, without building a wall. Little was achieved!
Ralihaha noticed that the walls were built by the men. This was called building, whereas the women's work of finishing was not regarded as such. The women also did the fetching and carrying, and mixed the mortar used in the wall for the men.
Here is the plan of the home they build. The porch is a traditional feature that provides good shelter. It faces the rising sun and is a warm place to sit -just right for the waiting mothers.
If problems are resolved in discussion, letters (or duplicate
book) are a good way to confirm what is agreed and the action to be taken. When
things are going well there should be no need for demanding letters. It is when
we are in difficulties that the temptation arises to write in a way that may
upset co-operation and the implementation of the Building
Therefore, if you find yourself writing a letter in anger, or when you are cross, enforcing your opinion, by all means draft it in the heat of the moment but then wait until the next day before sending it off. When you are cool, stop and think, read it over and review what it says. Should it convey your emotions, be uncertain about how you can come together to work as a team, or be unkind, then tear it up and rewrite it. Worst of all never write 'secret' letters, but write openly what you can say face to face and be challenged on. Secret letters are sure to backfire on you sooner or later and you will regret what you have said.
Will there be
-good back-up and management?
-any responsibility unattended to?
Is the building committee
-to be consulted about alterations?
-given progress report?
-involved in the work?
How will the builder
-follow up our instruction?
-be sure we've got all the materials?
-know the completion date is viable?
-know if the work falls behind?
-catch up again?
Work that is not well done
-do we consider why?
-weigh-up the alternatives?
-know what to do?
"If one of you is planning to build a tower, he sits down first
and works out what it will cost, to see if he has enough money to finish the
job. If he doesn't, he will not be able to
finish the tower after laying the foundation; and all who see what happened will laugh at him. 'This man began to build but can't finish the job!' they will say." Parable used by Christ from Luke 14: 28
Our Story -They discuss how to take care of their money
A special meeting of the Building Committee is called to discuss
how to look after their money. There is already a special savings account
established for the job, with Fr Pierre and a member of the Mission Board as
signatories . Now they must start using the money.
"Well," says Dr John, "if we were simply employing a contractor we would transfer the money to the Mission account as it was needed, and they would make an extra column in their cash book to itemize its expenditure. But as we have to buy materials, hire labour and reimburse the Mission, etc., I feel we should have a separate bank account with its own cheque book. It will then be self-contained if there are any problems to sort out." "Yes,'' says Ralihaha, "that would also make it possible to provide the funding organization with photocopies of the cash book and statements, rather than filling in their special forms which can be a lot of extra work." "Perhaps," adds Fr Pierre, "the same reports could be used to keep the Mission Board informed about how the money is being spent."
"Well," says Fr Pierre, "Ralihaha, Ralejoe and I have already discussed this with Malichelete, the Mission bookkeeper . I did think to ask her to join us at this meeting, but decided to wait and see what transpired. I don't want to overburden her. Although she is only young, she has made very good progress working on the bookkeeping and accountancy course run by the distance teaching people, over the radio. I feel that if we can expand her work through the building project, then she will be able to take over from me more of the running of the Mission's finances. That would be most welcome." "Good," says Ralihaha, "can we list what we will be spending money on and who needs to use it? We can then build up a system that will control our cash" flow. At the moment we have a savings account, it has two signatures, like this:"