Steel Beam Assurance

Steel Beam Assurance

I wandered around the construction site, routinely tapping on steel beams and frowning into a clipboard. Eventually, a supervisor wandered over to me with a questioning glance.

         ‘Can I help you with something?’ he asked me, accent as rough as his stubble. Here was a man who had a cigarette with his breakfast – two if he had time.

         He was perfect.

         ‘Where did you get this steel?’ I asked him, tinging my voice with concern. ‘How long has it been installed here?’

         ‘The steel?’ he frowned, confused.

         ‘The steel!’ I repeated, tapping the beam with my clipboard. ‘How long has this steel been installed? Where did it come from?’

         ‘I’ll have to talk to one of my guys,’ he said, pointing vaguely behind him. ‘What’s the issue with the steel?

         Good, I chuckled to myself mentally. He’s on the hook.

         ‘My department has been tracking the steel beams for sale in Melbourne, all the ones going in and out of sites like yours,’ I told him, doodling absently on the blank paper in my clipboard. For some reason, they trusted you more if it looked like you were only half-paying attention.

         ‘Tracking the steel…’ he said, frown deepening. ‘What do you mean? Why?’

         ‘Quality assurance,’ I told him, with a grin I’d specifically calculated to make it seem like a lie. ‘Just routine stuff.’

         ‘Why does it matter how long it’s been installed?’ he asked me. ‘Is there a problem here?’

         ‘Depends on which Melbourne steel fabricator you used,’ I said, grin still in place. ‘You’re probably fine. Odds are good.’

         ‘And if they’re not fine?’

         ‘Then, uh…’ I trailed off, scratching under my hard hat. ‘Well, that’s why we want to know how long these beams have been load-bearing.’

         His eyes widened, and he looked on the verge of hyperventilating. Here we go, I thought to myself.

         ‘We’ll take your steel off your hands,’ I told him. ‘If it’s not correct. So don’t worry – I’m here to help.’

         He whistled sharply for his men to come over.

         ‘Start helping this man load our steel beams into his truck,’ he said.

         I nodded my silent thanks.