In 1994's catchy gangster movie Pulp Fiction, the characters Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) suddenly face an acute and dramatic problem. Because of a bump in the road Vega accidentally blows their hostage through the head, so that their car all of a sudden is sprayed with brain, blood and skull bone. Enter The Wolf, a memorable accompaniment of Harvey Keitel. The Wolf is the ultimate problem solver-to-call, who effectively and efficiently smoothes the penile situation with a strong hand.
Mercenaries who solve specialist jobs are also found in the Dutch construction practice.I am not talking about day-labourers from the former Eastern block, but about managers that I have now seen in various projects for different contractors to put the clients under pressure.
The mercenary arranges claims of delay, additional work and changes even before the first pile has gone into the ground. And needless to say he conveniently employs time pressure and the natural tendency of clients to avoid legal proceedings.
The exact motives for this modus operandi are unclear. Is it a delay tactic because the construction organization has not yet been set up while there are obligations? Did the contractor bid too low and requiring correction from day one.
Of course, the builder is also entitled to a healthy project; Changes, third-party delays and unforeseen circumstances are accountable aspects that must be settled in reasonable terms. Any discussions about this should however not impede a proactive, damage-limiting approach.
And that is where the difference lies between the two types of fixers: where The Wolf is a real rubble clearer who eliminates obstacles swiftly, his Dutch construction-variant raises problems to use them as a means of pressure.
Ronald Schleurholts, director-architect cepezed, Delft
Cobouw, 2 November 2017