BSF & PCP: who's idea is this?
The High schools within my local borough are going through BSF at the moment, work having started in the first of the schools last summer.
As part of this, Some monies have been granted to the Primary schools so that their ICT infrastructure is up to the same sort of standards as the high schools are getting. A lot of primary schools have neglected ICT requirements over the years, and certainly the school I joined recently has had a bad run of luck with their equipment, budgets and providers over recent times.
Well 1 month after starting my new job as Network manager here, and having a busy time keeping up with all the various happenings, I have had my new network installed (or thereabouts, more on this as this saga goes on!) and thought I'd share my experience, and see if it's just me who is utterly frustrated with the whole thing, and wondering how these companies are allowed to do this?
When I was first interviewed for the job, I was asked as to my availability to work February half term, as I would normally be employed term time only. I was informed that the school had got a grant to have it's network infrastructure upgraded, and it's server's overhauled as part of the BSF projects.
The project had largely been finalised before I'd even started at the school, with time plans drawn up, initial surveys completed, and proposed plans had been released but not yet reached final approval.
2 weeks before half term, we meet up with the project managers, and I get my first glimpse of what's going in... Fully managed Layer-3 network, with a managed wireless that covers the whole school, seperate vLAN's for admin/curriculum etc, full Cat6 cabling, the works. We said that we hoped for the work to be carried out during the February half term as planned, and arranged for the cabling team to complete a final survey a couple of days later.
So 2 days on, the cabling manager comes round, and decides that he cannot run the cables over the roof (we stated that there had been a history of vandalism from local yobs up there) and it would have to be properly trunked, and the building was a flat roof... Which apparently meant that they could do this.... When I asked why they could do it, they answered "Because we're not roofers?" (LOL to a company that throws 200 network cables loosely over the roof of a school, and cannot do something as simple as SEAL A FLAT TAR ROOF!).
As a result, they decided the work could not be done during the half term week as had been stated/planned for 6 months, and it would take 2 weeks or more, and would need to be done at Easter. This wasn't possible, as the School is open for events, holiday classes etc during the Easter holidays, and the school was only available during the February half term, or the summer, which was far too long a time to wait, as a number of issues had stacked up in prep for the new network install.
So they agreed to do it during the half term only a few days beforehand, as long as we noted "That there is a chance of overrunning". Work began on the saturday morning, and I made a point of popping in every couple of days to see how things were going. I was officially to work on the thursday/friday to begin the prep work for getting the network back up and running again ready for the return on monday, like config, putting back the PC's etc. I had already pre-warned my head/deputy head that the work was likely to run over to the weekend, and I would probably have to work overtime at that point.
Well on the friday the work was not even close to completion, and the workmen, of which there was 4-6 of them at most, had been working 12-14 hour days up to this point. I rang the project manager to get his viewpoint on how things were going, and when work was expected to be completed.
-At 10am, completion time was Saturday afternoon for all work
-At 2pm, it had moved back to Saturday late evening
-At 6pm, i was told that the workmen would be working THROUGH THE NIGHT, and that the work would be physically completed by Saturday evening, with testing to be done on Sunday, when I would be needed to complete the configuration.
So I turned up 9am Sunday, to find the workmen STILL working, and that they had indeed worked through Friday night, and then did the same thing all the way through Saturday night as well... Not only were they still working, there was nearly 10% of the school still uncabled, and work had only just begun on terminating some of the cables.
Myself and the config engineer began installing and setting up the switches regardless, The 2-3 hour install job taking a total of 6-8 hours. The workmen were still running cables and terminating at 3/4pm. I had started putting the suites back together, and tidying up. At 7/8pm, half of the workers have had enough, and decide they want to go home (60 hours working with barely 2 hours sleep tends to make you rather unwilling to work....), leaving just 2 of them to complete 20% of the terminating, along with all the testing, and then clearing up afterwards.
The site agent comes in about 10.30/11pm, and the two of us start cleaning the school and tidying up, making good on as much as we could, finishing about 1.30am, when the 2 remaining engineers had packed up their stuff and headed home as well.
The result from the last 2 days would be a slightly more thrilling tale, and would also make me sound like a whiny teenager, so I shall avoid going into detail.
The TL;DR is that after working their workers beyond the point of exhaustion for 10 days, my network is a mess.
-17/25 Wireless access points have not been installed
-20-30% of the network ports are completely unlabelled and unconnected
-50% of the network ports are untested
-3-4% of the ports are faulty, damaged already, or weren't installed yet.
-The phone lines to the nursery which is housed in a seperate building were cut, and not repaired.
-Mains sockets have been damaged
-Large chunks of plaster and brick missing from walls around the school
-Mains cables that used to be in trunking are now loose and in hazardous places
-Ceiling tiles not put back
-Trunking not tidied/finished
-I've been told I am not allowed access to the Switches for port configuration in case I decide to maliciously mess around with it!
-Equipment damaged in our storage areas
-Cannot lock one of the cabinets as it is not deep enough and cables are pushing against the door
-Wireless controller box does not fit in the cabinet, and is on desk in my 2nd ICT room!
And probably more I've forgotten due to the excessively long list of things not working.
I am looking to wait another 2-3 days before any of this will be fixed as well.
A quick rundown of what we've got:
Approximately 250m square area of building, with 25 wireless access points, 210 network points in about 35 rooms. 1 Main cabinet with core switching, with 2 sub cab's linked by optical cables, one of them in a building about 3 metres from the main building.
If anyone has any comments/questions or just feels like adding to the love, feel free. I will not for the time being post details of companies involved, though an astute person with good search skills may be able to discover who it is anyway.
Im setting myself for another 2 12-14 hour days later this week while they finish their work! I now have to go as my site agent is kicking me out (he wants to go watch the football! :p )