The application of the “lowest price” criterion with tenders usually leads to the result that they are won by random people. The effects of such practice can be met with at every step.

Let’s make a trip to Busko-Zdrój this time where a new part has been opened in a spa park. They were some of the contemporary solutions in landscape architecture that caught my attention – a fountain, or perhaps a cascading watercourse. It was supposed to be made of stone. So why did someone choose thin stone slabs instead?

The consequences of suchlike decision are simply sad. The thin tiles hardly had a chance to last very long — edges and corners have started to crumble at whatever spot they could. The choice of adhesive mortar wasn’t a good decision either as tiles began to fall off.

The resulting holes reveal the method of gluing eventually – mortar was applied carelessly, there was no entire contact of the stone with the structure, mortar was only partly applied in many places. And of course, there are no traces of any anchors or other elements ensuring permanent fixing of the stone slabs.

But let’s start from the very beginning. The whole structure basically consists of arches. Why were these not made of monolithic elements? After all, such a solution would not be that more expensive, and it would have prevented many later mistakes. An arch is an arch so that it should be made of arched elements – on the contrary, vertical planes covered with flat plates look grotesque. Neither do the lids look any better. Cut out from rectangular elements, they were fitted on the spot, and everything was probably just done with ordinary hand tools – every single element looks different, and it is difficult to talk about the repeatability of any grout. This could not be the work of a stonemason, as none could have done it that badly.

It seems the site actually was the victim of yet another tender won by a company – not necessarily a stonemason company – that offered the lowest price. And this is a problem with a little wider impact. The project we are discussing here now can still be treated as anonymous. A similar quality of workmanship can, by contrast, more and more often be found in public projects of some more cultural significance such as monuments commemorating famous people important events. How can we talk about stone as a synonym for durability then?

To conclude, provided there has to be the unfortunate criterion of the “lowest price”, at least let the workmanship remain in line with the art of stonework so that the resulting structure lasts longer than until the first technical inspection.

Source: Kurier kamieniarski

Author: Bogusław Skolak  |   Published: 27 April 2014