back to article BOFH: Building changes

"Just before you go," the Boss cries, waving some building plans at me as I'm ducking out to lunch. "Can you just take a look at this?" "What is it?" "We're just looking at making a few small alterations on the third floor," he responds. "And I'd like to get your thoughts on them." "Didn't we make some 'small' alterations …


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  1. Michael Born

    Talking of office moves...

    The most recent brainwave of my management is that the customer service, scheduling and technical functions all need to be separated to operate together more efficiently!

    My Customer Service team is moving to Milton Keynes, UK and my Scheduling function is moving to another building!!

    I, personally,, think that management should NOT be given direct/indirect access to planning materials as a matter of course, 'cos as soon as they get involved in an office movement, EVERYTHING WILL turn to custard!

    On a personal note, I am looking to get out of here anyway, but it's going to be fun watching the operation go through it's death-throws whilst I am here!

    Looks like my management actually DO care about there staff - They cared enough to move them to nice surrounding (at a cost to the business in man-power, support, and logistics, of course!!!)

    Have a good weekend people!!!

  2. Paul Landon

    Where Has Episode 30 Gone?

    Where has episode 30 gone?

    We have jumped from episode 29 to 31.

    Was this jump trans-dimensional hyperspatial?

    Or was episode 30 there, but has now disappeared into The Twilight Zone and is living with Elvis Presley and Princess Di in Saudi Arabia?

    Maybe the counting is some strange numerical base?

    Maybe they have used a Microsoft sorting algorithm and episode 30 will be after episode 31 (but before episode 33)?

    If anyone has spotted episode 30 in Area 51 or on Google Earth we want to know about it.

  3. Thorin

    Episode 30?

    Something fishy is going on, episode 30 seems to be missing.

    BOFH: New toys Episode 29 And how to keep them 17 Aug 11:02

    BOFH: Building changes Episode 31 Gotta watch those professionals...14 Sep 11:22

  4. Syren


    What happened to number 30? Are we being robbed of an episode??

  5. david


    I have trouble counting to 30 every time i try i end up getting lost and only noticing around about 5000

    i go 28.. 29.. 31.. and never seem to stop when i get to 30

    Im glad to see all the BOFH episodes are here though

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    God that hit's nerve.

    Yup were ripping out all the pod desks and replacing them with normal desks (and all the cabling needs to change at the same time. Not tooooo bad, about from they only put those deks in a year ago.

    Still at least we no longer sit next to the team week work with every hour. They've been moved to completly the opposite end of the (big) room. Now we work next to people who we have no idea what they do for a living.


  7. Hans-Martin Eng

    missing link

    Episode 30 is gone from the episode list - it may be found there

    Continue having fun, folks!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uni Rennovations

    THis story reminds me of the building shared by Computer Science and Architecture (with some sprawl from the library), in which there have been continuos renovations and rebuilding since before the building was finished (they had contractors building one part of it while other contractors were demolishing other parts to move walls around), in which not only are there continuous efforts to replace the comms cable without having to chip though new concrete put around the old comms cable, both schools having changes made so that they can get more space at the expense, and such gems as an old corridor which has been turned into a men's lavatory and now leads nowhere, rooms which have been walled off an forgotten, mainframes with dedicated air conditioning unit which are too old, slow and power-hungry to run, but have had the entry-ways by which they were installed demolished or walled up (with huge layers of concrete), so that to get them out requires not only enlarging the doorway, but also either demolishing several offices, an external, load-bearing wall, and a lounge (which appears to be no more than a forgotten room in which old sofa were dumped), or dismantling the machines so that they can be carried out by hand; a flight of three steps which leads into a now blank wall, and rooms which you have to walk through lecture theatres to get to, owing to the foolish decision to replace a doorway out onto a seldom-used balcony with a window.

    (I am referring to the Plaza building at Adelaide)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Day in day out

    This is what my working life is like almost every day. No matter how many times I tell the Property Services people to get me involved when they first think about these projects I still get a call when they're ready to start shlapping paint on the walls.

  10. Quinten Lansu


    Where's number 30 you guys?

    Or are you sectretly holding out on us?! >:O!!

  11. Iain Watson

    Missing episode

    What happened to episode 30?

  12. Michael Warburton

    Episode 31?

    What happened to 30?

  13. daniel Silver badge

    Architect's instructions

    Most architects should be rogered with a dead stiff cat, then... humm.... left to die by dehydration in a tape safe<ahem>comms cupboard<ahem>raised floor<ahem>cable duct....

  14. Adam

    every two weeks?!

    Why has the last two episodes taken two weeks to arrive? I miss having something to laugh at every friday! :(


  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ daniel

    I utterly concur; we had a renovation here recently, and all talk of floorboxes was shitcanned in favour of having cables run through grommets in the raised flooring to (I'm not quite sure I can say this without weeping) hoeizontally mounted surface mount boxes screwed into the underlying concrete. Because it looked nicer. It doesn't, actually, it looks like shit and is a pigging nightmare to work with. That's before I get onto the cabling modules that are bolted to the desks and equipped with the crappiest, cheapest Cat5 and 25mm fuses that the fitting company selected by our architects could get hold of.

  16. Steven Walker


    I think you will find that they own 30 and that it was skipped to save on royalties. Think before you use that number, it could cost you!

  17. Andrew Macrobie

    Oh Hell...

    B*gger. I'm 30 - no wonder I feel like I'm in some sort of perpetual twilight zone here !

    As for the office moves, it's plainly the responsibility of senior management to avoid every single opportunity to involve ICT staff until the management, sparkies and architects have finished making arbitrary decisions about where people are going to work and where the structured cabling should go.

    I mean, God forbid that someone put a floor point somewhere logical and / or sensible. For example; actually NEAR a workstation - someone might run over it with their wheelie chair, and break something (hopefully the CEO and his neck as he rattles down the stairwell, negotiating several tight turns while duct-taped to his chair. That's the kind of pleasant thought that keeps you warm at night.)

  18. Andrew Sheehy

    Done one right,,,,once

    Yes. Usually mgmt, the architect, and the construction trades ususally manage to keep IT out until it is to late. But I did work for a small manufacturing company once upon a time where I got to do it right. They involved us at the beginning and we got such wonderful things as;

    * Installed port density based on footage, not the current number of staff. This meant when they added or moved staff, no desperate calls to a cabler were required AND when the auditor quislings showed up for the yearly audit and were crammed into warehouse space, we could actually give them network connectivity without scrambling.

    * Wall jacks were installed at what we we called "crotch level" (this amused the CFO and CEO so much that I am sure that is the only reason we got this approved) not ankle level. This makes it easier to connect and move stuff around. Looks better to.

    * And, we did not have to share our network closets with janitor closets. That was heaven.

    I don't work there anymore, but I still hear they know how to involve IT. Don't lose faith. These places do exist.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Look on the bright side

    Just think, they could have got the sparkies to do the comms cabling... that's what happens in most smaller jobs that I have seen. Obviously I see them when it's too late and they've fubar'ed it all!

    IDC connections do in fact need screwdrivers to push the stripped and twisted together cable in, none of this namby-pamby lay the cable on and punch down stuff, no, that would be easier and more reliable... why would we want to spend £11* on a tool that would do that when we've got this here screwdriver that'll do the job and can be used to mix paint as well.


    and breath

    * £11 for the really good ones which cut the cable as well, almost nothing on the plastic 'inserter' tools.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Try this...

    Our *MAIN* site network closet presently sits in a secured room directly adjacent to IS' primary office space, and directly above IS Storage, Decommissioning, and Workshop areas, which are located in the heavily secured basement. We recently received word that the CEO needed a bigger office, and that our network closet had been chosen, as it's the biggest closed-plan space. The architect, attempting to win us over, told us that it would be possible to air condition the new closet, which is to be located directly below the current one. He said they'd even leave the comm risers, which run floor to ceiling and penetrate into the basement, in place - and cover them with faux columns to make the CEO look important, and that they'd patch all the fiber and copper wiring in a small closet in the CEO's office that he wouldn't have a key to.

    So we took the architect into the room in question - he'd never been inside it before, because NOBODY - not even the fire department - can get into that door without IS staff letting them in. All his plans had been based around the original, 1995 plans for the building. Only IS had the updated plans after rennovations, because nobody in facilities gave a damn when we offered them access.

    The room is VERY air conditioned now. There aren't just two comm risers in a pillar-appropriate space - there are EIGHT of them now, scattered about the room as required.

    The architect left without saying a word, and we haven't heard anything since.

  21. D. M

    It is commonly known

    that in any big company/department/organizations/etc the one who makes decision has absolutely no knowledge on how to make the proper decision; and the one who has the knowledge is either not involved, or has absolutely no say to the decision.

    At my workplace, the only correct word for big decisions been make is - "brain dead". No one has ever asked the person/people who know how it should be done, or the management asks for an opinion, then throw them away.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not only office architects that don't know their arses from elbows..

    I've lost count of the number of schoolrooms I've seen with the electric sockets next to the door - this of course being the one place in the room where you can't locate the computers, projector, TV etc.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    more of the same...

    Here's how bad it can get.. I USED to work for a private school, you know, the sort where the teachers are supposed to be a cut above the rest etc.. chunks of money to throw about etc...

    They decided that as part of one of their 'Facelifts' of the site (A pretty, Big glass Atrium - that I've since heard leaks like a seive) that as there were more computers on the other side of the road, they.d move the server room over there.

    Nice idea (Hah) The first thing that happenned (and this was just the groundwork) is that they managed to sever the fibre connection to the English Block, which they weren't even supposed to be anywhere near!

    Next. Area set aside for IT on top floor of new 'Atrium' building - quite generous, space from that taken by 'Director of IT's office - Most of it - leaving the server room smaller than it currently was and with the only access through her office!

    Finally (in her words) "The architects know what they are doing!" (This was when we questionned why there was only two cables running to the new server room, both 20 pair phone cables - No cat5, No Fibre)

    ... and some people wonder why I got out of there as quick as I could?

  24. James Condron

    Episode 30

    I guess i was one of the few people who read the damn thing? Ah well, guess we found some prime examples for post natal abortion?

    Another great episode, to stay on track ;)

  25. bio toxicens

    Number 30

    Ep 30 can be emailed to you after you buy something at the reg. =)

    it was a hidden message in ep 31. If you look at every 30th letter you'll see the hidden message.

  26. Jon Tocker


    Years ago, while working for [large Tertiary Education provider] I took a call from one of the staff in one of a clump of prefabricated buildings off to one side of the campus - could not log in, "server not available" type of message. Got them to check a couple of things and then told them I'd look into it.

    Before I could move, the phone rang again, different user from same "prefab", same problem, rapidly followed by a call from a different prefab in the cluster, this time network connectivity had suddenly dropped off. Then another call from yet another prefab.

    By this stage I was thinking the router had hung and needed a restart so I escaped from my desk before the phone could ring again and headed across the campus to check out the situation.

    I mounted the steps up the hill to the long wooden walkway that connects the prefabs together - the long wooden walkway with the data cables connecting the prefabs to the rest of the network stapled to the wooden frame just beneath the roof - and saw that part of the roof was now a couple of feet higher than it should have been...

    ...due to the actions of a bright yellow hydraulic digger that was being used to tear the roof up and off the walkway.

    I eyed the carnage, utterly aghast, for a moment then did a brisk about-face and headed back to the office.

    I told my boss that there was an issue he really had to have a look at and led him back to the walkway.

    My boss stared at the demolished walkway for a short while in stunned silence and then my (extremely Fundamentalist Born-Again Christian) boss said "The Property Manager needs a bullet."

    Regrettably, no bullets or BOFH-like strategies were employed but I gather the Property Manager came away from his meeting with my boss with a firm understanding of why it pays to consult the IT Department before ordering things to be ripped apart with excavation machinery.

  27. Ian Damage

    So true..

    At a company I used to work for, I was asked (told) to relocate 50 machines from one floor, to the one above which had undergone renovations, at 4:30 on a Friday arvo. My manager said "no arguements, just do it."

    Each time I opened my mouth, he repeated "dont argue, just do it."

    What my manager didnt let me tell him, was there was an email i had sent him that very morning, stating that the electricians wouldnt be finished on that floor for another week, there was no power apart from lights, and the data cabling hadnt been terminated.

    But myself and the lads did the relocation anyways. Monday was very interesting as we all lobbed up to work bearing some form of "injury" from Friday nights work, and hence unfit to move all those machines back to their original locations.

  28. Jay


    Many moons ago the company I was with decided to move to a nice new shiney building. The IT bods said they they should floodwire all the floors to make life easier. But management knew best, and had worked out a floorplan with some stupid dogbone-shaped desks, where there would be floorboxes in various places under the desks.

    All fine and well until management decided to move desks to new localtions (to fit more people in). Every time this happened (which was often) you'd have to call in cabling guys to take up loads of floortiles to move the floorboxes. With all the money it cost to get the cable guys in every other week they could have floodwired and saved us all grief...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pesky data cable

    A 'friend' was recently refitting an office and had BT in to put in an internet line. They chose to re use some existing cable coming into the building and when they chopped it they realised that they had cut throught the fibre feeding the other floor of the building. A quite large insurance firm was without phones of internet connectivity until the very embarassed BT man fixed the problem.

  30. D. M

    Where is the cable

    Well, nothing compare to some of your guys, but: Years ago, I was working for a small company. One of our clients moved office and called us because part of their network were "gone". I was sent do check it out. There were couple of offices suffering from bad cabling (move the machine away, to a known good office, it works), and one of the "very important" machine was not connected (in a locked room). I was surprised that I pull the cat5 cable easily out from the wall, and the other end was not connected to anywhere. When asked if they have a floor plan to show all the cabling, etc.. None could provide one. It seemed they asked the floor to be changed to have more rooms and offices block, but no one thought about data cable. One "manager" just assumed the builder would connect everything and test them.

  31. Joseph Zygnerski

    Episode 30 is lost?

    I can't understand why everyone has trouble finding the "lost" episode 30. It's there every time I look at the BOFH page. Didn't we go through this with 29 as well?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Adam

    I agree, why its now every 2 weeks, I am missing my weekly fix of BOFH

    I guess all the people that are missing 30 have been away for a week, 2 weeks ago when it was on the front page, infact didn't people complain they couldn't see 29 when 30 was out, maybe the every 2 weeks BOFH is making people miss count

    Come on lets have it back to weekly BOHF Episodes :)

  33. Roland Korn

    Its there but were you?

    Always remember to check the directory or the archives first.

    You would thing we were dealing with middle managers here or something....


    I'll get the nail gun ......

  34. Slim

    Feng Shui

    one of my previous employers had the idea to move the whole of the main office (luckily IT was not part of the main office so we had total control of our room!)

    we got the plans and started work 5pm friday, did the underfloor cables, tested the network points, made sure that the switches/cabling was mapped, put all the floor ports/plugs in. finished by saturday.

    sunday the decorators/handymen came in to put the new false walls, desks, draws etc.

    bank holiday monday we turn up to put the pc's in to find that the plans had changed and now the desks were in a totaly different position and the ceo's bit of crumpet i mean PA telling us we have to re-wire the whole office again.

    the reason why the plans had changed? frigging Feng Shui. so we all spent most bank holiday monday in the pub, much to the delight of the ceo who walked in tuesday to find all the desks upside down!

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