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The History of Construction

2,400,000 BC (10:16 a.m.) — Grog, a primitive man, stacks
one rock on top of another, thereby
performing the first act of recorded

2,400,000 BC (10:23 a.m.) —
Unk, the B.A. from Cave
Dwellers Local 369, shows up
and-claims the work was his.

2,399,999 BC (6:37 a.m.)
— Uk, Grog’s neighbor,
trips over Grog’s rocks while going
out for his

2,399,999 BC
(6:54 a.m.) — The law firm of Urk, Urk,
Wonk and Frug is established, specializing
in workers’ comp and liability

1,616,230 BC — Strange man wanders
onto job site with an unnatural selfsense
of authority and begins handing
out astronomical fines for safety violations.
In the first days, this intruder is
greeted by workers with (and subsequently
became known as)
“OH SHIIIIII.. . . . . ..!!!” Over
the centuries, this label is
shortened and becomes simply “OSHA”

60,080 BC — Massive immense comet strikes Earth in
the Gulf of Mexico, thus destroying
dinosaurs and all other vital, living
things on Earth. Only law firm of Urk,
Urk, Wonk and Frug survives.

2650 BC — In the first known example
of “value engineering,”
Egyptian architects leave nose Off of Great
Sphinx of Gizeh to save money.

2600 BC — The great pyramids of Giza are constructed.
Originally designed as large rectangular structures, Egyptian
builders run into stone-supplier strike
and run low of product shortly after project
begins, thus forcing them to taper down the profile
as structure grows, eventually leading to a point at the top.
The engineers are pretty sure nobody would

190 BC — Following the
lead of the builders of
the Sphinx in Egypt, Italian
designers, in the
quest of value-engineering,
leave arms off
Venus de Milo.

751 AD — “Pepin the
Short” founds and
builds Carolingian Kingdom, invades
Italy, and defeats Lombards. A frustrated
Mrs. Pepin cannot be reached for

752 AD — Taverns are invented.

752 AD to 1211 AD — No recordable
construction occurs. Experts are

1212 AD — “100 Year
War” between England
and France is fought for only 87
years, thereby laying basis for determining
the architect’s “billable hour.”

1241 AD — Sir Lancelot, fabled knight
of the Round Table, files lawsuit against
Canterbury Arms, lancemaker,
claiming his new lance is
too short. Other knights
table only point
and giggle.

1370 AD — Great
tower is erected in
Pisa, Italy.

1370 AD — First drug and alcohol program for
construction workers is implemented in Pisa,

1530 AD — Fellow drywallers, after working
side-by-side with feared Russian Tsar
Ivan the Terrible, decide he isn’t that bad
of a guy after all.

1668 AD — Though budgeted for
$500,000 Swiss Francs, the Swiss architectural
firm of Yenney and Yenney messes up
plans and specs and project comes in at $1 mil-lion
after bids. Y&Y then makes the bold, unprecedented
move of charging to revise their
OWN screwed up plans, giving them
even greater and additional fees for correcting
their OWN mistakes. Architects
from all around the globe declare,
“WOW . . . cool!!”

1708 AD — Plumb-bob is invented. Bob
sues for copyright infringement. Urk,
Urk, Wonk and Frug represent. Case still pending.

1752 AD — Great fire destroys most of
Moscow. Engineer blames electrician.

1803 AD — U.S. buys all land west of
the Mississippi River from Napoleon
and France. U.S. later declares it got
screwed when it finds there are no sewer
and water laterals. Suit is filed. Urk,
Urk, Wonk and Frug represent case.

1810 AD — Beethoven tries in vain
to finish symphony but architect
won’t sign off on punchlist.
Work remains uncompleted.

1812 AD — After downing
one too many English
ales, cement mason
Paul “The Turtle Trowel”
Revere acts on a dare
from drinking buddies to ride
through the city of Boston shouting
“The British are coming!! The
British are coming!!” A grinning,
naked Revere is later arrested.

1869 AD — Transcontinental railroad
is completed with the driving
of the “Golden Spike” at Provo, Utah.
Spike is later removed by a landscaper while mowing
and whole thing has to be laid out again.

1889 AD — Laid-off and bored Paris iron-
workers complain to French ruler, Sadi
Carnot, of having nothing to do. A
harried and busy Carnot finally
snaps, “Here … there’s a bunch of
scrap steel down behind the equip-ment
shed … go build yourself a damn tower of something!!”

1906 AD — Massive
earthquake topples
nearly four square miles of downtown San
Francisco’s buildings. Building engineers
blame design software manufacturer.

1912 AD — “Unsinkable” British
luxury ocean liner is lost in Northeast
Atlantic. 1,513 lives are lost.
Engineer blames painters.

1929 AD — Low-rise jeans
invented for plumbers,
leading to the citing of
many really, really great

1937 AD — Ervin Feinkhoffen, German
dirigible engineer working on the Hindenburg,
awakes from a nap during a Friday afternoon meeting and blurts out: “How
’bout hydogen?!”

1959 — In historic “Kitchen Debate,”
U.S. Vice President
Richard M. Nixon debates with USSR leader
Khrushchev at a U.S. trade show in Moscow. Pat Nixon
ignores the two block-heads
and goes with hickory
raised panel doors and gold
fleck countertop.

1964 AD — Civil Rights movement leads to ADA. ADA, of
course, stands for “Another Dumb Addition” to the cost of construction
by politically correct Plebians.

1989 AD — After an exhaustive review of AIA (American Institute of Architects)
contracts and documents – most often used by contractors entering into commercial building products by an unbiased, third-party analysis team, it’s
officially determined that through the wording of the documents
and indemnity clauses included in virtually every paragraph,
the architectural community has achieved its
gent, sought-after goal of having virtually no responsibility for
their actions.

1999 AD —The latest BOCA Uniform Dwelling Code is completed.
Six copies are printed and distributed in Cameroon.

2003 AD — While lounging gingerly in
his hot-tub on a hot August
night, cynical and snotty construction industry writer, S.S.
Saucerman, is beaten to death
by a pack of lawyers and architects
bearing rolled-up blueprints and brief-cases.
Local officials can only comment,
“and the screwy thing was, he was just wearing flippers
and a cape.” After
subsequent review, it’s
determined that
Saucerman deserved it. 🙂

About the Author

S.S. Saucerman retired after 26 years
in the construction industry. He also
taught part-time in the Building
Construction Technology program
at Rock Valley College
in Rockford, Ill., for 11
years. Today he is writing,
speaking and consulting on
a full-time basis.

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