Monday, November 08, 2010

Well, they didn't just walk off by themselves...or maybe they did.

How difficult can it be to figure out who cut and removed the phone lines in an office suite?

Consider the mystery which took place at an institution of higher education recently. A renovation is taking place. In one week, one half of the hallway (renovation #1) is to have its offices renovated and in the following week, the other half of the hallway (renovation #2) is to have its offices completed.

On Friday and in preparation for renovation #1, the individuals who occupy the office suite move out so it can be renovated. There are three phases of renovation. First, the carpeting/tile and asbestos underneath must be removed. Second the flooring contractor lays the wood floor. Third, the individuals who work in the suite will paint on their own offices. Takes about a week to complete.

After the wood flooring is installed (one week after the move out), one of the individuals who works in the suite begins the painting. It is at point she realizes that somewhere between phase one and three (one week) the phone cables were completely removed from the three offices in the suite. Someone pulled them out through the ceiling. Not only that, but the end of one of the cables was found in one of the offices, just laying on the windowsill. The phone it was connected was found in the cabinet in that office with the phone cord neatly wrapped around it.

And so began the saga of trying to figure out who cut and removed the lines. Was it the asbestos abatement contractor? The flooring contractor? Telecommunications? Or was it the cable network systems people who were contracted to run some cable in the GIS lab on our floor?

The asbestos abatement team denied cutting/removing any lines. Then the flooring contractor denied doing so. That left the cable guys. But they didn't do it either. Their work order was ONLY for the lab on our floor, down the hall from the suite, which is owned by another academic department. Frustrated, calls were made to the project manager in charge of getting the crews in and out to do the work. He had no idea what happened, he did not authorize it. Calls were made to the telecommunications department on campus in case they were doing any work in the building. They had no knowledge of it. They suggested calling the information technology guys on campus who may be running new cable. And of course they had no idea what was going on but were sure it wasn't them. It was beginning to become a nightmare just trying to figure out WHO cut and removed the wires. Two dozen phone calls were made with all the individuals saying "We didn't do it, call so and so"

Finally to help the people who work in the suite, the guys from the cable network service who were running cable in and out of the GIS lab came back in and offered to run some cable into the suite to get phone service. But they can't actually connect it, no the telecom installation guys have to do that. Ahh but that is going to cost someone. Who will pay for it? The department? They did not do it. The asbestos contractor? They did not do it. The flooring contractor? They did not do it. The cable guys? Nope. After hours on the phone it is still impossible to determine who did this dastardly deed and nobody is sure who is going to pay to have the lines reinstalled. And be assured that whenever there's a state run institution involved in anything, there's never a simple solution to any problem. The truth of the matter is that two people in the same department in some areas of these institutions can have absolutely no idea what each other is doing. But I'm quite sure you are not surprised.

And just when you thought this was the end, there's more.

A few days later, one of the offices at the end of the hall which was renovated at the same time as the office suite, was found to have both phone cables still hanging along the wall, with one exception...their ends had been severed. So now they have no phone service either.

At the very moment I was told about the phone lines being severed in this latest office, I heard a noise down the hall. It was very distinctive and familiar. It was the sound of a very sharp flat metal object scraping something. Yep, it was the asbestos guys down the hall removing the tile from the floor with those very shovels. Which leads me to wonder...considering the cables hang in corner of the office, did they, instead of taping the cords up to the wall, simply leave them on the floor, cutting them while shoveling up the tile?


Except this one mystery still lingers: Where did the cables go in the suite? Those cables were not only cut but completely disappeared and were pulled through the ceiling never to be seen again.

Considering that the left and right hands in some areas of said institution have no idea who is doing "what" and when "what" is being done, everyone is probably better just now knowing, although, at a place like this, it is actually easier (not to mention less stressful) to believe the cables just cut and removed themselves than to believe this problem will be solved quickly and efficiently.

And oh by the way, so far renovation #2 is underway and the cables have not decided to vanish. But I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

  1. being the die hard that I am, I would put some Physical Plant employees under the hot lights for an answer to this mystery. I could tell you some stories about them that would make your hair turn white.