Sometimes, the path of least resistance is also the wisest. I’m all for hard work but also equally a big fan of efficiency and making life easier wherever and whenever possible. Experience has taught me that working smart is just as important as working hard.
A great case in point is our recent purchase of four inflatable tents that we’re now using to cover our in-progress installations during the winter months. As anyone working in construction here in the seasonal Northeast knows, inclement weather causes havoc with your schedule and can take a hard toll on your crews, who are forced to endure the harsh conditions, and in our case, build the world’s best swimming pools in the process.
It’s costly and at times brutal, causing you to always play catch-up while delays stack up as the cold months wear on.
That’s why I made the investment in a product known as the Fast Tent, which is made by Rhino Shrink Wrap across the pond in Holmes Chapel, England. The four tents we purchased measure 33-by-16 feet and are 17 feet high. They can be attached or used separately. They look great and have changed our working lives; at least they have this time of year.
This may sound like a simple thing, and indeed now that we’re using these tents, I find myself wondering why we hadn’t been doing so years before. It just makes common sense. For starters, working under cover essentially expands our building season by three months, or more. That enables us to do more work and do better work in much shorter and more reliable time frames. No longer do we look to the sky, genuflect and cross our fingers hoping that Mother Nature will smile upon our weary souls.
It no longer matters — rain, snow, sleet, hail, frigid temps, or howling winds — with our tents in place, we have become almost invincible where weather is concerned.
Beneath the Big Top
Inside the tents, which are heated and thermostat controlled using small, highly efficient propane heaters, it’s always the perfect temperature, dry, and comfortable. That saves tremendous wear and tear on our crews, who can now show up to work knowing they’ll be in comfortable conditions. Suffice to say, they love it.
And it is a game changer when it comes to cure times for shotcrete, plaster, mortar beds, and tile grout. Some of those products and procedures require controlled conditions; now we have them, always, all the time, every time. But the benefits don’t stop there. Our new tents now carry our logo, which has huge promotional value, and they contain dirt, dust, and other construction detritus.
The job site is essentially hidden from view, which has a hugely positive psychological impact on our clients. The mess of construction is out of sight and out of mind during the construction process, and the pool is only revealed when the project is complete, creating a “Wow!” moment worth savoring.
Finally, it’s just more professional in appearance and application. These wonderful tents go up and come down in a matter of minutes. Yes, they were expensive, but gaining so much time and control over the installation process, it’s easy to see how they will pay for themselves many, many times over. In dollars and cents, it’s a true no brainer with an almost infinite potential ROI.
Taken all together, something as simple as an inflatable tent can make a remarkable difference in our ability to meet our clients’ needs in a far more reliable and timely fashion. That’s what working smart is all about.