Whenever we get appointed to design something, it is often a serious uphill struggle to get hold of the information we need. Data that should be readily available often isn’t. Records of existing underground services are invariably missing, incomplete, out of date, or some combination of the aforementioned.
I have no concrete proof that municipalities and other public entities employ five-year olds to manage their archives, but the circumstantial evidence is starting to mount up:
CLIENT: We need you to upgrade a sewer.
ME: Ok. Can we please have your record drawings for the existing pipe?
CLIENT: We don’t have any.
ME: Why not?
CLIENT: Dunno. They’re gone.
ME: Well, ok. Can you tell me who did the original design?
CLIENT: No. We don’t know who did it.
ME: Look, are you absolutely sure that there actually IS a sewer there?
Anyone who has discovered a long-abandoned jam sandwich hidden somewhere among the couch cushions will know exactly what I’m on about here.