Let us start with a very blustery night a few months back; the winds were so strong they literally snapped fence posts bringing down large panels of fence. It was quite a storm to say the least, but should not have been that devastating. Fast forward to a couple of days ago; a crew arrived to reset the fence posts and put the fence back up - The stage is now set.
For those of you who not familiar with how fence posts are set, it goes something like this:
- You dig a hole that is a meter or so deep and a third of a meter wide.
- A circular tube, called a sonotube (which acts as a concrete form) is placed on the hole.
- The fence post is placed into the sonotube and the tube is filled with concrete.
- The post is then squared up to ensure it's perpendicular to the ground and braced with temporary supports.
- A couple of days later, the concrete has cured enough that you can put the remainder of the fence up.
At this point, it is important to note that when you fill the sonotube with concrete it needs to be levelled to "grade" (level with the ground); if this is not done, water will be able to pool and over time the wooden post rots. And when the wood rots, it just isn't strong enough to stand up to a spring storm.
So the result of not ensuring the original fence posts were "sunk" properly are as follows...
- A day to dig around the old fence post footings so they could be removed.
- A long day to remove 600 pound concrete footings by hand from holes that are a meter deep and two thirds of a meter wide. (This particular crew had limited access to tools and got very creative with levers to remove the old concrete. It was a reminder to always bring the right tools.)
- Two days to reset the new posts and let the concrete cure.
- A day to put the fence back up.
So there you have it... the story of high winds, a fence, and what happens when someone does not put in the effort to ensure the job was done correctly in the first place.
As I watched this unfold in front of me, I was struck with how the efforts of someone you may never know, can, and will affect you down the road; creating quality foundations can have a profound effect - It is the same with the effort and quality in what you do, as it too will effect someone down the road.
So, put the best effort into everything you do! And in turn, hope someone else is doing the same because we all know every once in a while it gets very windy.
And there you have it, a Quality Fable*
* Technically speaking fables include cuddly animals as the characters, but we all know a rabbit or a squirrel couldn't lift 600 pounds of concrete... so I took some artistic license.