Life is full of “plan ahead” moments.
When it comes to building things, if things aren’t well thought out, all kinds of unintended consequences can occur. The less experienced the “doer” is, the more likely someone is going to end up the “doee.” I realize “doee” is not a proper word but it ought to be.
A doee is anyone that has to deal with the unintended consequences of a doer.
Now granted, not all unintended consequences can be foreseen, but when it comes to residential construction, most things have been done over and over again so many times, the only real excuses for things being done wrong are laziness, ignorance, arrogance, or fraud.
Today we will pick on ignorance.
Take this driveway for example.
The settled areas are the result of the collapse of the ground under the asphalt. Now there can be many causes of this settlement but all of them relate to improper preparation of the ground before the asphalt was laid down.
Pulling out stumps and filling the holes with the surrounding dirt is a common cause of this type of settlement. Another cause is where the stumps were simply cut off and left to rot under the driveway. This eventually results in settlement as the stumps rot away. A properly prepared substrate for the driveway, including drainage gravel and proper removal of stumps and roots, can make for a very long lasting installation.
This is where the “experience” and “understanding” of the doer assists in having a happy outcome for the doee.
Another example of unintended consequences is where the original installation itself may have been well thought out, but some element was included that over time created unintended consequences.
In the following pictures one can clearly see that the doer had no idea that trees grow.
What likely started out as a nice little tree at the center of this nice patio, has–over time–completely destroyed the patio–unless the original intention was to create a “self-building skate board park.”
The thing is–in both these instances–there is no new information involved.
Trees have always grown–and stumps always rot.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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