Thursday, February 24, 2005

Leaky Roofs

From Anonymous:

I am looking forward to when potential bidders are taken on a tour of LANL and are shown buildings (at TA-3 SM123 and SM200 for example) where water from leaky roofs falls onto expensive equipment and desks requiring them to be covered with plastic, causes mold to grow in the walls, drips into huge waste cans via an assembly called a "diaper", causes ceiling tiles to fall, and causes the work area to smell like a dirty fishtank. Who wants to contract to manange a facility where the repairs to aging buildings will cost millions of dollars and trying to build new structures can easily be a 7 year project because the money has to come from the DOE?


The facilities people at LANL have wasted several years and many thousands of dollars trying to patch flat roofs, thus making the KSL roofers richer and richer and moving the leaks from one location to another. Before long employees working under such miserable conditions will start reporting work related illnesses because of the mold and the stench.

Then another scandal about LANL will reach the newspapers.

And, what is new?
Ok, Ok I get the point, my building is not so bad, we just don't have heat in the morning. Takes most of the day for our little space heaters to get it up to 65 F (we really can't leave em on at night, safety first you know)
I was just wondering how you got pictures of the mail room in SM200 as it is in a security area? I sure hope that you didn't use your own camera. Can you spell S-E-C-U-R-I-T-Y I-N-F-R-A-C-T-I-O-N?
Don't be so quick to blame the facility staff for wasting funds. The root cause problem is a sub-contrator (KSL) monopoly driving costs far beyond reasonable and a pathetic lack of funding for overdue repair projects (like a new roof). As a facility manager, I can tell you we would have rather replaced the roof years ago instead of patching the patches with too-expensive KSL crews.

Scientists are not the only professionals in LANL being hamstrung by poor decisions made at senior management levels. We ALL are suffering.
To anonymous who sent in the comment, "I was just wondering how you got pictures of the mail room in SM200 as it is in a security area? I sure hope that you didn't use your own camera. Can you spell S-E-C-U-R-I-T-Y I-N-F-R-A-C-T-I-O-N?":

Thank you for being concerned, and yes, I can spell security infraction, and no, I did not use my own camera. The pictures were taken by LANL. They took a circuitous route to me - all perfectly legal. They show nothing that could be deemed classified in any way, shape, or form.

Also, I would like to comment on the post that said, "The root cause problem is a sub-contrator (KSL) monopoly driving costs far beyond reasonable and a pathetic lack of funding for overdue repair projects (like a new roof)." Another post on this blog described a decision made by some unknown at LANL about contracting to KSL rather than local businesses. I believe a Congressional investigation of how LANL contracts is warranted, especially since using local businesses was always supposed to be a goal at LANL and the RFP requires it also.

However, that investigation should also require the DOE to justify how it did not fund basic building maintenance at LANL, but instead funded make-waste projects such as replacing bathroom sink fixtures in several buildings at TA-3. Instead of fixtures where hot and cold water have to be turned on, we now have those that run the water when they sense movement under the faucet. They guarantee that everyone will wash their hands with cold water, thus spreading more colds and flu. They are totally unhealthy and should never have been installed. The argument is that they save water. But the lost work time because of illness costs more than the water.
Just a friendly reminder, since many people are unaware of it -- KSL mostly
consists of Halliburton's KBR service company that we've all come to love
and know from the Iraq War fame. In fact, here's a direct quote from a
Congressional Oversight Committee meeting:

"KSL is a joint venture between the following companies: Halliburton,
Kellogg, Brown & Root; Shaw, and Los Alamos Technical Associates."

You can google this for yourself if you don't believe me. So, yes, maybe
some Congressman would be interested in how Halliburton is ripping off
both DOD and the DOE. Of course, Halliburton does have friends in some
mighty high places. And the rip-offs KBR has been doing at the Labs are
small potatoes to the stuff they get away with overseas.

As far as the pictures go, I'm glad the guy who posted them replied back
with more info. Doug, this blog is a "high wire" act, and I've been
concerned for some time that someone might fall (ie, post something
that might, in some way, violate security). If that happens, the blog
could be shut-down pronto. This is especially dangerous, as the blog
is not moderated in any way. Suppose those pictures were illegally
procured. Then, Doug, you might be on the hook for a potential security
infraction for posting them. And if you failed to inform the Security
office about your concerns after they were posted -- well, you get the
point. You can be sure that officials are monitoring this site, so folks,
be extra careful about slipping off the "high wire". If it was me,
I wouldn't have posted those pictures, just to be extra safe. Let's
not put Doug in any danger. Think and look over your words carefully
before you hit that "publish" button. No doubt, there are some people
in the crowd who would cheer if someone happens to slip off the wire.
The pictures describe better than any words the conditions that some are exposed to when at work. People should not have to work in mold and stench. The DOE has not lived up to its responsibilities to keep our facilities in good shape. There are buildings at TA-3 where water drips in from around the windows, where the restroom floor is in such poor shape that it sags when you walk in, where there is no heat in the water, no A/C in the summer, etc. And I am sure these buildings exist at other sites. This is not what the taxpayers expect of the DOE.

Furthermore LANL management should not allow this to continue. It is impossible to understand why no one in management has not taken the responsibility to solve this problem. If it's too expensive to have KSL do it, then what does it cost for a local roofing company? Who is in charge of solving this problem? What steps have been taken. Trust me, the people who work in that environment certainly do not know what's going on.
How does the old saying go? "Keep them in the dark and feed them sh_t."

Well, look at the leaking roof as something that LANL managers sees as
necessary to create the medium used for practicing Mushroom Management.
What? You thought Mushroom Management was just a phrase? Well, here at
LANL we practice it to the fullest!
I thought LANL did Mushroom Cloud Management, not Mushroom Management. At least that's what our Santa Fe friends think we do.
The Support Services Subcontractor (KSL) was hired by Joe Salgado over the recommendations of the committee established to evaluate the bidders. It is true that Haliburton is the major stakeholder in the company. In addition, the contract is a cost plus award fee agreement where the contractor is paid for all work (right or wrong) on set hourly rates. The award fee is in addition to the loaded labor and materials charges. This is THE WRONG CONTRACT FOR THE SSS! Making matters worse, the performance measures for the first 6 months of FY05 were never made public for facility staff to use or provide feedback to senior managers to support award fee determination. In essence, senior managers will likely award or slash KSL fee as they see fit without input from the field.

What is KSL's punishment for all this poor performance? Senior managers are going to hand 2.5M sf of "green buildings" to KSL for them to manage without LANL involvement. So, it seems poor performance is being rewarded with a lucrative sole-source and uncompeted facility management contract for over 25% of all Laboratory space.

Just when you think things can't get any crazier....
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