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I visited Tehran on business a couple of times just before the Shah's got
overthrown, it probably was 1978. It was quite an interesting place with a
significant dichotomy between the haves and have-nots. Manpower made up for
a lack of construction equipment in a noticable way.
Last week's earthquake reminded me of something I observed there and never
forgot. They were building what looked like a 5 or maybe 6 story steel
framed office building right across from my hotel and I could look out my
room windows and watch the progress.
The first thing which stuck me was that the steel skeleton was noticable
thinner than my recollection of similar constructions over here. I
immediately thought "earthquake".
The work force on that building had some ways of doing things which I'd
never seen back home. A large number of the workers "slept on the job"
overnight, by curling up in bedrolls on the ground floor. I used to see then
preparing their meals there in the morning and evening.
But one scene I never forgot was watching them move a pile of bricks from
ground level to the third floor, before the walls went on. OSHA would have
A guy on the ground was bent over the supply pile picking up one brick at a
time and throwing it upward without straightening up or looking overhead. A
worker on the second floor was leaning out by hanging onto an upright with
one hand, catching the bricks with his free hand, and flipping them up to a
guy similarly stationed on the third floor, who cought them and flung them
onto a pile on the floor slab.
No hard hats of course, and I suppose those guys had some sort of signal
they'd yell out if one of them missed a catch.
Come to think of it what they were doing wasn't too far removed from what
I'd read used to be common practice here when steel building skeletons were
fastened together with rivets. One guy would heat rivets red hot in a
portable furnace and then grab them with tongs and toss them one by one to
the riveter, who cought them in a bucket, stuck them through the holes in
the parts to be joined and headed them over before they cooled down.
The other quaint thing I saw was watching them pull some HVAC equipment up
to the roof of a multistory building. No Helicopter cranes for them, they
had what looked like 50 guys standing in a line down the sidewalk holding
onto a line which went through a pully mounted on a big truck and then up to
a jib off the roof. The boss man yelled somethiing to the pullers, and "up
Nehmo Sergheyev wrote:
Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
"If you can smile when things are going wrong, you've thought of someone to
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