Sunday, September 16, 2007


Lattakia centre opens!

We opened the Lattakia regional centre on 4 September, which went very successfuly, even if many of the big potential donors were still on holiday. The centre has been a struggle to get completed. There have been matters of basic workmanship, connected both to notions of acceptable quality and ready availability of effective production tools. [For example, the graphic panels were sawn to a drawn line rather than on a full frame, making some the edges curved rather than straight.] Contractors arrived on site often without proper tools – measuring, cutting, assembling – to do the job; not one contractor arrived with a stepladder for instance, few had tape measure, none had a spirit level. There is no culture of site cleanliness, clean hands, no smoking, and so on. Components and supplies sourced locally were often not to specification (nearest equivalent available) or did not work when tested in situ. Clean and reliable power supply has been a major issue. Late design changes (albeit improvements) complicated and delayed completion. We had project management functions in London and Damascus for a site in Lattakia, and sometimes communications went awry. Suppliers and subcontractors were in Canada, London, Germany, Damascus and Lattakia. Some critical components were late in arriving.

But it's open!


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