Communication Breakdown

 Posted by on May 10, 2012  Add comments
May 102012
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This image attracted my eye as a bit of an “old and new” scene; with the right side of the building being an extension of the original courthouse in Invercargill. Granted, it is not really all that “new.” The closer I looked, however, the more I was drawn to the distinct break in scale between the two parts of the building.

This made me wonder about the reason for the change. I suspect a number of technical explanations would suffice, but I can't help but think that the new guy was given dimensions for the brick size and foundation height on a hand-written note or just over the phone. Everything seems to be peculiarly scaled down. Surely someone would have noticed on site, but by then it would have been too late.

How often in our own lives do we communicate an idea, a desire or a need with vocabulary reflecting the vision in our own minds without ever ensuring the message was received in the same way? A message has both a sender and receiver, and a loss in translation is the responsibility of both parties.

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  3 Responses to “Communication Breakdown”

  1. Interesting observation Dave,

    Im inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that there is a technically sound reason for the change of height. But I then wonder why noone thought that there was any value in incorperating the change with a design feature to soften it, or even fit the downpipe to cover it.

    Was it just the cheapest way to do it or did they not expect you to notice???

  2. I imagine that you saw the change in levels Dave because of your engineering training and observation. Well seen. It reminds me of that saying I heard sometime ago – “Send reinforcements we are going to advance” which got changed along the way to “Send three and fourpence, we are going to a dance” – macabre really since it was supposedly in the trenches during the war. It really does emphasise how we need to listen with our brains as well as our ears.

  3. Very thought provoking Dave. There is a building regulation reason for the new bit being different. But ideas like people change. What is important is the interface. There are several options , adapt the new thought to better blend with the old while retaining the same principle. Acknowledge the difference and make it completely different, or try and cover up the interface with a bit of “trim”. Or rebuild the whole thing. What methods do we use with others with different views than ours?

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