author: Eija Paavola

10 Jan, 2022

10 Jan, 2022

No day without a challenge

There is a lot of work and hurry involved in the daily life of the building process of ship's interior. Sometimes setbacks, but also memorable situations.

I see nothing but steel below, above, and all around me. A web of pipes and cables spun across the ceilings and the walls. I observe one steel block that still needs welding and mentally note that I need to find out when the welding will be done. The pungent smell of hot metal from the straightening process of the steel decks lingers in the air. Wool insulation work will soon commence. The area looks desolate and there are only a few months left. There are so many people working in the area that it is hard for us to all fit in. There are welders, insulation workers, electricians, painters- you name it. Internally I muse whether the site will be ready for deck leveling work according to schedule or not.

Wall elements are nearing completion in a workshop and wall panels that will be installed on-site are arriving at the warehouse. The factory was a bit behind schedule, but fortunately, this didn’t have any knock-on effects. The challenges in the element production process are being solved by an experienced designer, however, his flow of questions is constant. At long last, the drawings are finalized so production can begin. A continuous deluge of questions is directed at me daily: What does this mean? Can the final production design be altered because what was approved in a mock-up is not suitable for final production? Where is the wallpaper? 

Silently I wonder if the wallpaper is lost in the abyss of the warehouse or if the supplier even sent the product at all? I know the invoice was just here somewhere… I search for the packing list and since the warehouse keeper is busy, I go off in search of it myself.

Great, now I’m late for the mock-up show. The architect, owner, and shipyard representatives along with a few others hang around in a freezing warehouse discussing what to do with this piece of furniture. They wonder if the corners are too sharp and if it should maybe be a few centimeters higher. My toes start to freeze in my summer shoes on the cold floor. I need to look for a pair of winter safety shoes.

The owner isn’t satisfied with the quality of the large ceiling modules. The fact that it was impossible to guess what the final result would ultimately look like was something we had warned them about in advance. It is a fully customized solution after all. Time is running out and we can’t take the scaffolding down. The deck-leveling is delayed. Carpet installation can’t start as planned so the installer leaves to work in a different site for a while. After considerable negotiation, we find a solution, and work continues.

A courier has delivered a package and it is now lost. I discover that it has been delivered to the shipyard warehouse, even though I specifically requested that my name and the company name be written on it. No one informed me where the package went. It is such a small package that was lost, and I tell myself there are bigger things to do. However, the contents of that small package were essential components that I had ordered with express delivery.

We agree who will participate in the sea trials. All technicians are required but the supervisors must draw lots. After a few hours all supplies need to be onboard. Once the trials begin nothing more can be loaded onboard. I drive many rounds back and forth between the shipyard and the hardware store, then the shipyard and the tile shop. Just when I thought I was done, I realize I must go back to search for supplies for the painter. 

Does all of this make me want to quit? Absolutely not. I want to follow this through to completion and see the final product. My days are long, but it’s ok when you get to be part of something you enjoy. The final result is breathtaking. I have a strong sense of accomplishment when I look at the wake of the ship as it vanishes over the edge of the horizon.

The big picture and details go hand in hand. Cruise ship interiors are complex puzzles where all pieces must find their place for the final result to be successful.

At ShipPalette we have experience from many projects. Having worked for outfitters and ship owners, we understand the challenges at construction sites on board the ships and that building projects rarely go exactly according to plan. We never drop the ball if something unexpected happens. We overcome challenges together and ensure the project continues.


author: Eija Paavola

Eija Paavola | Senior Consultant, Materials specialist, purchasing, sourcing | | +358 40 861 5992

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