Programmers Building Buildings

I have translated the following text from Russian. I don't know who the author is. Also, sorry about my imperfect English, feel free to correct it.

-- AlexeyVerkhovsky

If builders built buildings like programmers wrote software, then TheFirstWoodpecker to come around would destroy civilization (Weinberg's Second Law)


1.03. Hurray! We are offered a large contract to build 12 stories apartment block. Everybody is wildly enthusiastic. Drank 2 boxes of beer. [Tr.: 1 box = 10 liters]

2.03. Client doesn't like the expression "rather soon". He wants specific dates. Ignorant people, those clients, don't understand a thing about high technologies.

3.03. Discussed deadlines. Drank 3 boxes of beer. B.B. says that it's a 4 months job. In practice, therefore, it will be 8. As a result, put in the contract 12. Although we'll hardly finish it sooner than in 16.

4.03. Celebrated contract signing.

5.03. Celebrated contract signing.

6.03. B.B. went to the shop to return the bottles [Tr: and get back deposits].

7.03. Continuing celebration with the money that B.B. gained.

8.03. Celebrating 8th of March [Tr.: Women Day in Russia]. There are no women in the company, so nobody spoils the celebration.

9.03. For a long time were trying to recall what did we celebrate yesterday. Alex came and said that it's probably time to start working. Asked him to bugger off. Playing Quake.

1.04. Sidorov came and said that it is time to start working. Who does he want to fool with his Fools Day joke?

2.04. B.B. also says that it is time to start working. Are they conniving with each other?! Built a fence around the site and hanged beautiful posters "Construction by Domostroy Co (" Playing Quake with the warm feeling of fulfilled duty.

20.04. Client visited, asked how is it going. Sat him at a computer, fired Quake and let him kill us all. He left extremely satisfied. However, it seems that it is indeed time to start working.

21.04. Discussed the project. Sidorov proposes large-block architecture. B.B. says that blocks are cumbersome, attach to each other poorly, have a lot of unnecessary stuff, and as a matter of fact nobody knows what are the cracks they can have inside. He also states that building from large blocks is for complete lamers; insists that everything must be built the old-fashioned way, from bricks, even though it'll take much longer. Alex proposed the most radical way. He says that we shouldn't build the 12-stories apartment block at all, instead we should build several dozens of wooden cottages and connect them with an underground tunnel. Supposedly, it is fashionable in the West today. Reminded him that the client specifically required 12 stories apartment block. He screamed and shouted that clients are dumb by definition and only complete lamers listen to them. At the most interesting stage of the discussion we ran out of beer. Suspended until tomorrow.

22.04. Tried to resolve the dispute by Quake duel. Alex with his cottages was knocked out at once, but B.B. and Sidorov made a draw. As a result, each of them will build his half according to own plan, and afterwards we'll try to connect all this so that it stands.

23.04. Began construction work. Everybody is wildly enthusiastic.

30.04. Ground floor is ready! Showed it to the client. He wondered why different rooms have different ceiling height, why bricks are falling off from walls and why the building has no entrance door and it is necessary to climb into a window. Explained him that these are limitations of a demo-version. Leaving for the holidays [Tr: 1, 2 and 9 May are public holidays in Russia] feeling proud.

10.05. B.B. sobered up first and started cursing. We thought that Alex had drunk all the beer. As it turned out, it was even worse. B.B. recalled that we forgot to lay the foundation. It is, of course, described in project specifications, but as everyone knows, only complete lamers read project specifications.

11.05. Demolished the ground floor. Everyone is annoyed. On the other hand, it is good that we didn't start working earlier, otherwise a lot more labor would have been wasted.

11.07. Working. B.B. is finishing the first floor, and Sidorov the fourth. Alex has built the elevator shaft up to the eighth, it is sticking out and staggers ominously in the gusty wind. Installed temporary wooden supports.

17.07. Alex is building the attic and roof. Because upper floors are not finished yet, he has to build them on the ground. We'll hoist them with a crane afterwards. At least, Alex hopes so.

13.08. Some Sidorov's blocks do not attach. The gap is more than a meter wide. There is no properly shaped block to plug it up. Sidorov summoned B.B. and proposed to close the gap with bricks. B.B. announced that he is up to the eyebrows in his own work, and that without knowledge of blocks internal architecture it is not possible to do anything at all.

14.08. Broke apart a few blocks, so that B.B. could study their internal architecture. B.B. is cursing, shouting that the designers of the blocks are complete lamers.

17.08. B.B. plugged the gap. Truth be told, the offending blocks were warped in the process, but never mind. We had to pull electric wire out of both blocks and tie it on the outside. B.B. took some electric tape, made a few rolls around the knot and assured that everything will work, at least as long as there is no rain.

1.09. Concrete factory started to produce new blocks, with improved durability and heat retention characteristics, with built-in closets. They are also incompatible with the previous blocks neither in shape nor in size; besides, they are three times heavier. Sidorov is eager to break down everything we've already built and rebuild with new blocks. Hardly managed to talk him out of it. Anyway, the foundation would not sustain such a load. What kind of architecture were they thinking about, these factory guys?!

16.09. Alex ran in with a 'great idea'. Proposes to make all windows in the building resizable. Says that the client will be ecstatic. Told him to calm down.

2.10. B.B. made it to the fourth floor. Is very proud. Brought to his attention the fact that his wall is tilted 40 degrees. He was cursing, shouting that we are all complete lamers and don't understand anything. Afterwards, promised to think about it.

3.10. Client visited. Asked why is the wall tilted 40 degrees. Explained him about Coryolis force. He listened carefully, than said that he, of course, is not an expert in the construction business, but there is a house nearby his office, built by the same specifications, and the wall there is straight. Damn! I hate smart clients! Then this idiot Alex mentioned about his resizable windows. Client, naturally, loved the idea and now insists that we do it this way. Double damn!

4.10. Asked Alex if we'll have to rebuild everything thanks to his windows. He said no. Allegedly, standard blocks have such undocumented function. Naturally, it does not apply to the brick part. B.B. is categorically against.

5.10. B.B. admitted that there is indeed a problem with the wall. Says that he laid some brick somewhere the wrong way. But to figure out which one is the culprit, he must go through them all. And it will be easier to break everything down and build anew.

6.10. Were persuading B.B. that he already has no time to build everything anew from bricks. Showed him estimations on a calculator. B.B. was cursing, shouting that calculator was invented by lamers. Finally, agreed to build with blocks and left to drown his sorrows in booze.

8.10. Demolished the brick half. Incidentally damaged the other half. The whole construction is squeaking and reeling menacingly. Strengthened with wooden supports and went to play Quake.

17.10. B.B. returned from his booze session. Working.

7.11. Celebrating November 7th [Tr: Communist Revolution Day in Russia], or whatever it is called now. We have no communists in the company, so nobody spoils the celebration.

15.11. Recalled that our hoisting crane can only reach 7th floor. Sent Sidorov to find a new one. Playing Quake. Alex won a deathmatch against B.B. Young generation growing!

24.11. Sidorov returned. He could not find a crane, but found a very cool excavator. Proposes to dig a deep pit and build not upwards, but downwards. Says that it is nowhere in the contract that all 12 stories must be above the surface. Hardly managed to talk him out of it.

25.11. Organised a brainstorming session on the crane problem. Solution came with the last bottle of beer. The main construction work is suspended. Now building a small 4 stories house nearby. We'll pull our crane onto its roof!

25.12. Celebrating catholic Christmas. There are no Catholics in the company, so nobody spoils the celebration.

[Tr: in Russia, 31 Dec, 1, 2, 7 and 13 Jan are public holidays]

14.01. Don't remember anything. Head is aching. Guys, what is the year now?

2.02. Uff� Looks like we are finishing the last floor. Tomorrow will fit Alex's attic and roof.

3.02. Alex is a lamer. The roof is slipping all the time. For the time being, propped it up with the crane. Thinking about what to do next.

4.02. Alex is arguing that he is not at fault. It's just that Sidorov's 12 stories are 4 meters higher and 5 meters wider than B.B.'s 12 stories. As it turned out, they were building from different blocks. Yet, Alex is a lamer anyway, because his roof doesn't match either of them. His elevator shaft, by the way, doesn't match anything, too.

5.02. Patching up, strengthening and widening the roof. B.B. says, it will stand as long as there is no snowfall.

7.02. Snowfall.

10.02. Nailed the roof together from plywood sheets. Painted it to look as steel. Let's hope that the client doesn't notice.

11.02. Tested the elevator. It stops between floors, but it is possible to get out of the cabin. On even floors by crawling, on odd by a pull-up. Must remember to describe it in the manual.

12.02. By the way, the elevator is extremely slow. B.B. curses everyone as lamers and plans to do some optimization.

13.02. B.B. optimised the elevator. It sped off, went through the roof and flew nobody knows where. Thanks God, the roof was from ply. After this incident, elevator shaft collapsed. Obviously, we forgot to replace wooden supports with something more solid. Never mind. Walking is good for health.

15.02. Doing the paintwork. Painters and plasterers mysteriously disappear. Asked the subcontractor to send in some more.

17.02. It turned out that due to Sidorov's mistake doors on floors from 1st to 5th can be opened only for entrance, but not for exit. As a result, painters and plasterers on these floors cannot get out. Sidorov promised to fix everything. Meanwhile, feeding the painters through windows.

20.02. At last, Alex has finished his resizable windows. Tested them. Discovered that when the frame is resized, the glass in it breaks. Besides, there are some collateral effects. For example, w.c. bowl and bathtub from one flat can move into the living room of another. Also sometimes doors disappear and balconies crumble. No reason to complain to the concrete factory, they'll rightfully say that we shouldn�t have used undocumented features.

21.02. Client visited. Asked, if we can make some small changes in the project. Particularly, instead of 12-stories house, to build a complex of wooden cottages connected by an underground tunnel. He read that it is fashionable in the West now. Neutralised Alex before he opened his mouth. Politely but firmly explained to the client that he is not right.

22.02. Balconies continue to crumble, although we haven't touched the resizable windows anymore. Apparently, it is some unrelated bug. It is too late to try localise it, so we simply ripped off the remaining balconies just in case. Will try to explain to the client that it was done for optimisation.

23.02. Celebrated 23 February [Tr: Army Day in Russia, in a way it is the counterpart of Women Day, which is two weeks afterwards]. There are no servicemen in the company, so nobody spoiled the celebration. There are no women, either, so no gifts. Alas�

25.02. Alex tried to fix his windows. As a result, half of them shrank to zero size and cannot be restored. Told him to stop messing with the construction, or else.

27.02. Remembered today that we still forgot to make the entrance door. Were thinking whether the building will fall if we cut it out now. Sidorov said that we better not take this risk. B.B. called him a lamer and agreed. Must remember to describe entrance through a window in the manual as a design feature.

1.03. F-first of M-march? How comes? Yesterday it was still� Damn� Who knew that this lame February has only 28 days! So, object delivery is not in a week, but day after tomorrow?!!

2.03. All hands on deck! Working 24 hours a day without waking up.

3.03. Persuaded the client that we need one more day for final testing. Well, we did some funny things yesterday� Okay, it is not as terrible as it seems. So, what the heck if some doors are through a floor or a ceiling or lead from the 9th floor straight outside, if some flats are impossible to get into, w.c. at some places is combined with the kitchen, half the building is without water, the other half without electricity, sewerage ends on the 5th floor and stairway between 7th and 8th is a rope ladder? Key thing is to lead the client through the right path. Also must remember to hang some pictures with suitable landscape where the disappeared windows should be�

4.03. YES! YES! WE DID IT!!! Celebrating project delivery. I am trying to drink as little as possible. Must get out of this company in time, before this darned thing crashes to hell�

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