Quotes: Recipe for Disaster

Recipe for Disaster

  • Take one owner with capital budget; separate operating budget and ignore.
  • Add one architect and heat until steamed.
  • Expose three or more tenders, exchange parts, and trim extraneous portions.
  • Select thinnest and discard remainder.
  • Remove architect, save essence.
  • Assemble subtrades, compare and trim extraneous portions. Select thinnest.
  • Store subtrades in dark.
  • Collect shop drawings in separate bowls; do not premix.
  • Add subtrades one at a time, do not allow time for mixing, turn up heat.
  • Add just enough caulking to make it all stick together.
  • Turn over onto owner. Serve wet.


Why did water penetration into buildings suddenly become such a big problem? The BC government appointed a commission of inquiry headed by former Premier Dave Barrett to ask that question. The commission report should be required reading for anyone in the construction industry. Among the report’s important observations on ‘What Has Gone Wrong’ was the following:

In addition to economic pressures, climatic conditions, and a systemic failure of the building process, building science also played a role in bringing about this crisis of confidence. The factors related to … building science, include: …  a loss of collective memory, and lack of conventional wisdom, among inspectors, architects, engineers, developers, and contractors regarding the requirements for effective building”.

Systematic Integration of Details

John Edgar, 2001


Edgar, J.  Systematic Integration of Details.  8th Canadian Conference on Building Science and Technology, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 22-23 February 2001. Link

Barrett, D. 1998.  The Renewal of Trust in Residential Construction: Commission of Inquiry into the Quality of Condominium Construction in British Columbia, Government of British Columbia.

CSA S478-95, Guideline on Durability in Buildings, Canadian Standards Association, Rexdale, Canada, 1995