I am not much different than probably most of my readers, when we get to the end of the work week, it is time to kick back and relax. It was on one of these “after the work week” evenings, that I met with a few friends to indulge in our favorite beverages, grab a bite to eat and swap stories. One of my friends, knowing I do technical support for people who are constructing their own pole building kits (or have hired a contractor to build for them), wanted to know how much building technical support I actually do.
The question sort of caught me off guard. While I am officially, “Technical Director”, most of my time and energy is spent in educating staff, researching new products and structural design work.
Truthfully, I had to say, “Not very much”. I only talk to one or maybe two clients a week about true technical support issues.
Much of this I have to attribute to the rewriting of our Construction Manual, which was completed earlier this year. Previous versions just had more material added to the old ones, as we strove to add the solution to any question which was posed to us. We hadn’t changed the format in several years, and the book became, well…cumbersome.
The latest edition is a complete rewrite, from the table of contents to the glossary. It was made more user friendly by having numerous, very focused chapters, and hundreds of new drawings and photos were added. We also now have it posted online, where clients can login to view and chapters specific to their building are highlighted.
My experience is, rarely will a new pole building owner contact us with a question. Why? Because it is their building, they take pride of ownership. The plans are carefully followed and the instructions read.
By far the greatest majority of my support work ends up being done with contractors, building for others, who made assumptions about how things should be done, or failed to follow the plans. Many builders are experts at what they do, but “not all pole buildings are alike”. And ours is truly a hybrid of just about any style of pole building out there. These tech support questions are usually not as fun to take, as some builders can become overly defensive. For some of them, mistakes could “not possibly have been theirs”. The nice part is, I have yet to ever be presented with a problem, which did not have a solution – often times, without the client or builder having to order more materials.
For me, I am thankful and tip my hat to the wonderful clients and builders, who do their part, pay attention to the plans, use the instructions and in the end – have gorgeous brand new pole buildings they will enjoy for years!