Wednesday, March 16, 2011

From an Inspector's point of view.

I was reading a minute ago Robert Reich's blog on why major international corprations  can't and shouldn't be allowed to be self-regulatory.
I have to tell you he is as I find it spot on to his assessment. You can't ask the fox to watch the hen house and not expect a few chickens to come up missing.

In their competition with other companies GE the manufacture of the nuclear reactor in Japan that is in a "China 'syndrone' they came up with a design that was cheaper to build but if something happen to the cooling system they could expect a meltdown. and that is just what is happening right now.

While I am not totally against Nuclear power plants I do believe that you must have so many redundant safety backups that it to some where profit is king would not most likely build any of them.

As a construction inspector for forty years I came to see what happens when you allow the profit to become the driving motivator for a project and specifications and regulations take a backseat to the quality of the work. The end result is bridges that fail before their time, roads that do not hold up to their expected lifetime and buildings that become condemned before their time.

We all have seen the shoddy workmanship that so often inhabits the items we buy and in result we have to replace the TV or refrigerator or home. Why?  Bbecause it was more important that the price be competitive and failure to regulate resulted in what seem to be affordable but when you have to replace it before the years end. No item is that cheap that it can be totally disposable.

Are our life's disposable? Does the time you spend working to pay for the food you consume. the housing you live in , the cars you drive, the hospitals your children are born in and probably you will die in, and I could go on to just about every aspect of our life's that easily disposable. 

The purpose of regulation and inspection by these regulatory bodies is to insure that our money and our life  is not wasted on the altar of corporate greed. So next time you hear about the need to deregulate an industry look to see who is calling for it. Most likely it will be the fox watching the hen house.

Finally let me say it is not the responsibility of the regulatory agency to ensure that corporations  make a profit. It is the responsibility of the corporations not only to design and build a product that will make a profit and a product that meets and even exceed specifications and applicable regulations. It is the responsibility of the regulatory agency to ensure that the product meet those regs.

If we don't support the regulatory agency's that are our watchdog's protecting us from this mindless profit at all cost then the result will be another glycol in our food made in China or a world of nuclear holocaust of Chernobyl, Three Mile Island  or  Fukushima Daiichi plant. Can Nuclear power be safe? Yes I believe so. Can it be done profitably? No, because of the inherent dangers you must put it squarely on the shoulders of the people to build it removing the profit motive.  If it fails then because of shoddy planning or workmanship you have no one to blame but yourself.

As a side note. In my 40 years as a construction inpector on more than one occasion I would be approached to turn my head the other way to quote one idiot "What will it take to make this go away?" My response was for them to do it right. I never responded well to threats or cajoling or to any bulling. I always made a scene for I knew it was the squeaky wheel that get the most oil. For me that meant the quality of the work came first.


Well I finally gave up and bought a used pickup on a note. The prospects for a used cash truck just didn't exist that would stand up to the test of time and use.

I bought a 2000 Chevy Silverado C1500 short bed standard cab with a V6 engine and automatic. To be honest if I have to make a payment then this would be a good one. with less than 100K miles and in pristine condition I am well pleased.

2000 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Reg. Cab Short Bed 2WD

That is it in the above photo. Immediate plans for it or a K&N air filter, Folding bed cover that works with a tool box and a new MP3 friendly replacement radio. Also I will install a type 3 receiver hitch to use with a power chair carrier.

In The Shop

Good news today is payday and I will be getting supplies to finish the table and start other projects.


  1. Nice truck. I agree with you on self regulation. It doesn't work. I once worked for a company that made products out of polyurethane. Each quarter, or what ever the time period was, there was a limit to the polutants that could be emitted into the air.

    One time, they hit that limit and had to basically stop all production. I know that the plant manager was paid a bonus on profitability and if that limit was up to the him to enforce, the likelyhood existed that he would make the wrong decision - he never had to make that decision, so I don't know.

  2. On a number of occasions I worked as a inspector for the contractor in house quality control. Each time I guit because I was asked to falsify test results or turn my head or distract the City or county's inspector so that something could slip by. Production ruled over quality.

  3. I really do not thing there is such a thing as regulation anymore Dave...with state and federal hiring the ceo's of the companies they are supposed to regulate?
    Great truck and good luck with it!!!

  4. I fear you are right Warren. The monkeys are rulling the hen house.