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Miscommunication Leads to an Accidental Bulldozing

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Unanticipated mistakes that unfortunately occur all year round. For one man in Pittsburgh, one such bungle did more than ruin his new year—it left him homeless.

Prior to the this, Andre Hall was optimistic about refurbishing a foreclosed property in the East Liberty suburb of Pittsburgh. After purchasing the estate, he had a total of six months to repair the house and bring it back up to code. And though renovations were moving along smoothly, they were brought to a sudden and massive halt.

Despite the ongoing contract, newly replaced windows, and stacks of drywall visible inside the home, Hall returned from the holidays to discover his house was bulldozed to the ground. Sadly, the demolition was a terrible mistake.

Indianapolis consultants review accidental bulldozing

Image via Yahoo News

The error, according to the story, was due to a break in communication:

John Jennings, who heads up Pittsburgh’s Bureau of Building Inspection, claims that his department called off the demolition of the house on November 3 pending its sale . . . Nevertheless  “a couple of things went awry,” Jennings explained, with the contractor the city hired to do the job. The workers on the crew tore down Hall’s house “in error” when they were only supposed to demolish the house next door to his — a structure that the city had also condemned last year.

Hall, for his part, reports that after he’d tirelessly worked to fix the house up, he was preparing to move into the 1631-square-foot house within three weeks — together with his girlfriend and her five children. For now, they will continue to live in Hall’s one-bedroom apartment in the Pittsburgh suburb of East Liberty. The city solicitor’s office is reportedly investigating what happened.

The Bureau’s explanation is certainly obscure. We can only speculate as to how such a mistake could have occurred. At the very least, one would hope that their demolition records include more than just an address to avoid this very problem! Yet, no matter how simple or complicated it may be, it’s reasonable to see that one hiccup in a system can lead to larger issues that not only affect business, but—as our business improvement consultants have previously discussed—damage credibility, financial status and leave lasting effects on stakeholders.

The sad thing is, this isn’t a totally isolated incident. From the article:

Experiences like Hall’s are distressingly common. There’s the homeowner in Carrollton, Georgia, who saw the house built by his father flattened by careless city contractors who’d been following a faulty GPS locator. There was the woman in Denton, Texas, who was working in her garden as a demolition crew, mistaking her lot for a condemned property across the street, gouged an enormous hole into her front yard, which promptly claimed her porch, and rendered the remainder of the house structurally unstable. And there’s the Jackson, Miss., woman whose home was flattened after pranksters took a sign erected to condemn an adjacent vacant lot and placed it in front of her home.

The fact this is a common occurrence shows that far too many organizations have broken workflow and process problems. A mistake of this magnitude should never happen, and it wouldn’t if there was a better system in place for deciding which houses can be left standing and which are going to actually be bulldozed. There are an array of ways to fix these specific problems, not the least of which would be adding an extra lock on the bulldozer doors!

If there are systems in your office that could use improvement consider reaching out to AccelaWork. Take the opportunity now to improve workflow and increase productivity. Reach out to our business process improvement consultants today.

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