The Menard’s Disaster

This may not sound like we are going down the road to actually talk about go karts ore may not sound like it’s even relevant to go kart at first but you’ll see as you read through this article how relevant this Menard’s disaster is to building a go kart and avoiding pitfalls in projects.

Right now I’m the general contractor for an addition project that were putting on our house. What that means is I’m overseeing making sure that all contractors and all the parts that are purchased are correct. I also have to make sure that the building inspector and the codes are all up to proper specifications so that the houses does not fall down or catch on fire or that the basement is leaking and so on. But believe it or not keeping things up to code is not really as hard as making sure that you have all the materials correct.

As you can probably tell Menard’s was involved somehow. Menard’s has this service where they provide you with all the materials, basically a picking list, for your project. For example you can go over to a computer console and say you want to put up a garage, you can click on all sorts of things and it will spit out a price for all the components that you will be putting into this garage project.

Well there are a lot of unknowns with the project of that scale and so Menard’s provides a service where you can provide them with your plans, a blueprint for example, and then they will get everything in line.  All you have to do is bring the picking list up to the desk and order it.

So what they will do is deliver all the components: boards, insulation, nails, screws, drywall, glue, paint and all sorts of things that are involved in the project.  They’ll basically delivered on a forklift and put it where you want it.

This actually is quite a fantastic service because it saves you a lot of energy making your own bill material, and making multiple runs to the Menard’s store. I believe that other stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s have similar services but Menard’s is closer to us and  more convenient. So we used their service and their prices are pretty decent too.

Well  we are getting midway through the project and one of the major parts of it are the main floor, which involves “I“ joists and then there is the roof which involves “A”-joists.

As we were progressing through this project, all a concrete had been poured and all the footings have been done and were getting ready to put the floor on with the “I”- joists in place.  It was noticed that what was delivered was too short.

Being too short has serious consequences to it “I”- joists in that an “I”- joists is designed to have a bearing surface load on its outward surfaces ends and if it’s not supported there properly they could collapse right through the floor.

So as the work started to be progress forward it was noticed that the I joists were not going together the way they’re supposed to and there must be something wrong with the length. After subsequent investigation it was discovered that the “I”- joists have been designed for a shorter length like an even number 16 feet versus 16’10”. Well as you can imagine everything was 5 inches short.  And that just didn’t include the “I”- joists, it included the “A”-joists as well. As a result the whole project timeline was thrown off.

The project timeline was thrown off by the days that it took to get the “I”- joists in and as most builders know they’re trying to get stuff in before the snow flies or rains. So as a result the timeline was thrown off by about two or three weeks.

How did this happen?

The way mistakes like this happen is that the assumption is made that even numbers are being done even though plans can be right from you. The lesson to be learned with this particular project is that all things that you work on have to be done and examined with a fine tooth comb.

The service that Menard’s renders is one of doing fine tooth comb for you, however because are doing it for free you,  really are taking that for granted and the quality that you’re going to get for from a free service is just that: 50-50 chance.

So what you need to do when a project like that comes along is you need to go through with a fine tooth comb and ask as many questions as you can about lengths, widths, heights anything that than if he is not standard with your particular project.

For example on a go kart if you’re assembling all sorts of components, a double wide go kart for example will be in excess of 40 inches. To actually get an  axle that’s going to fit on a double wide go kart at that is that why did you run into problems with the rims of the tires rubbing against the side of the framework.

What you need to do before you commit and buy, is make a mockup or measure two different ways the axle that your you will be getting and determine whether or not it’s actually going to provide the clearances that you need. Otherwise you’ll be spending money on axle, you may get your money back returning it, however you be spending money on shipping which can run up to about $16 one-way and $32 box both ways.  Then you will need another axle and that is $16 again.

The costs of projects can get out of control if you don’t take into account shipping costs and if you have not sat down seriously to figure out how each component is going to go together.

The moral of the story is that any project that you work on:  “Count the cost before you finalize it.” What that means is if you’re making a go kart,  figure out where you get all the tubing from, where you get the engine from, additionally, the drive system costs, such as the clutch, the chain, the sprockets, the axle and so forth. It’s a good idea to have a tally list and keep it running and determine if you’re staying on budget as year making the project go.

In the case of the Menard’s disaster it actually turned out to be not a disaster, but has a bright side. Or Menard’s pulled through with a clutch. Because they realized they did the error they basically swapped out the proper sizes with no price change. Additionally, any components that suffered because of the project that went ahead with trying to make the shorter parts work, those parts were replaced.

That doesn’t replace the timeline problem or the vacation days that were taken. However, the cost was minimized in that the shipping costs did not have to be re-calculated and the parts themselves were restored to their proper lengths.

All in all the project could’ve gone ahead sooner that’s the real shame of it all, however, in a go kart project it can be a lot more impactful or serious in that you may end up spending hundreds of dollars that you didn’t really anticipate that you wanted to because you didn’t take into account how much it would cost in the beginning.

The following downloadable spreadsheet  is a bill material list that should help a go kart designer figure out where the component costs are going. This particular chart is available for free download when you sign up for the Go Kart Guru newsletter. Putting together a simple bill material like the following can save you hundreds of dollars and is important for the whole overall project scope.

If you would like to access the Bill of Material List go to the following link: Click HERE

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