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  • Eagle Project scope creep


    One of our scouts approached our charter some time ago about doing his Eagle project at the Charter. They had a pavilion over a fire pit that had a very low flat roof with wood rafters and a tin roof. Consequently the rafters often caught fire. The structure had caught fire so many times that it became an unusable eyesore. The charter agreed, signed off on the project and the project was approved by council.

    As written the scouts project was to replace the roof and leave the posts. In the process of the demolition the posts were pushed over; they were not cemented and had been in place many years. The scout asked me the engineer to help him design a new pavilion. I designed one with a pitched or gabled roof and a hood over the fire pit. The pavilion is 16 x 12 and the scout used the material take off list to estimate the cost at just over $1,000 without the hood.

    We had a business meeting with the Institutional Head (without the scout) and he brings up the pavilion.
    He wants the pavilion to be 20 x 12. The cost is pretty linear so the cost will go up by $250. My self and the other leaders at the table tried to perused the IH that the pavilion is plenty large enough with 3.5 of covered isle way around the fire pit. We also tried to instill that the project is already marginally too big for the scout. And that by adding another 25% to the project will push it over the edge for a boy that turns 18 in January. He got upset with us and suggested we could cancel the project.

    I dont want our charter to be upset with us, but on the other hand we are not contractors. The only reason we agreed is that some of the dads are pretty handy with a hammer and it was going to be convenient place to work at the Charter.

    How should we handle this?

  • #2
    What was written in the descriptive sections of the project workbook which the beneficiary agreed to when he signed it on page 10?
    That is what the boy has agreed to as well.

    Edit: If the IH guy is talking in terms like that he already sounds ticked off. It might be time for the boy to rethink the project and decide on something that can be completed before his time's up.
    I have to also ask, how much of this project has actually been the scout's idea and initiative? From your description it sounds like an 'adult-led' project.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

    Comment


    • #3
      First, you guys should have politely told the IH he really needed to have had that conversation with the Scout. I know often non-Scouters don't understand the importance we place on youth leadership and think we're just being PIAs, but when it got down to substantive negotiations regarding the project, you needed to involve the Scout.

      That said, had the Scout come to me having had the conversation with the IH, or had he asked for my input after I sat quietly through the meeting, my advice would depend on where he is in the process. If the proposal has been signed by the CO and approved by the council, he needs to respectfully remind the IH they already have in signed "contract." (Me, I'd make a joke about our usual change order fee.)

      Ultimately, the Scout needs to understand he needs to do what the property owner wants. Having built a number of shelters like this (not to mention being a contractor for 20 years) I don't see the 4' addition as a big deal. You're probably close with the $250 bump in materials but there's not going to be a big differnce in labor -- two mors trusses to set, three sheets of OSB and a half square of roofing. I think a strong negotiating position for the Scout would be to make the addition but to ask the IH if they would contribute the $250. With the Scout already making a $1000 contribution to the CO, I don't think that's an unreasonable request.

      Failing that, I think it reasonable for all the hammer-handy dads to maybe kick in a little extra green when the Scout is doing his fundraising.

      But seriously, don't use this as an excuse to jump in and "rescue" the young man. If he asks you advice and help, give it. Coach him on how to negotiate with the IH. Help him understand the importance of the troop's relationship with the CO and help him to see the big picture. Run through a few possible scenarios the coversation may take. You know -- do that Scoutmaster stuff. But then let him handle it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yah, what TwoCubDad said!

        This is somethin' for the lad to discuss with da IH and make a decision about, not you. How's the young lad goin' to show initiative and leadership if yeh keep gettin' in the way? Why were you "agreeing" to anything?

        My guess is that this is somethin' that an Eagle Scout can handle.

        It's also somethin' that might make for a reasonable request for an extension of time by the boy. We found an unanticipated problem, as a result da beneficiary wanted a much bigger job, I want to do my best for 'em but it will take an extra two months I expect is somethin' that would fly without a second thought.

        Beavah

        Comment


        • #5
          Who's paying for the materials? If the CO is willing to accept the bump in cost, it might be worth doing.

          The IH may have seen a number of functions in the old pavilion when the crowd was at or over capacity.

          Sometimes the problem with Eagle advisors is that it puts a layer of bureaucracy between the boy and the beneficiary. We have been very fortunate in that our IH has been willing to work closely with the boys to support them when their project was at the CO.

          Get the scout at the table with the IH and see if they can set a reasonable goal for making this work.

          Comment


          • #6
            Sooooo, Thomas is this your son????and what is your position in the troop??

            Most everyone has beat me too it????

            So why are you talking to the IH instead of the scout??????


            Is it your eagle project or the boys?????


            So how is he going to answer the question if asked.......What was the toughest thing about the project????? We the IH changed the design on me, but Mr. Thomas spoke with him and worked it out for me.

            The boy is 17 if he is an eagle candidate he should already possess the skills to deal with the IH.

            If the IH head wants it canceled relay that to the boy and tell him to get another project.....

            Comment


            • #7

              I am the scoutmaster.
              The eagle candidate is not my son, just a boy in the troop.

              Packsaddle wins the cigar. He is pissed-off.

              I will post the other 1 hour discussion we had with IH in another post. I did not go to there to discuss this project with IH.

              The scout is paying for the materials through fundraising.

              I did design the Pavilion and am serving as the coach for this scout.



              Comment


              • #8
                thanks for the clarification.....

                Honestly it doesn't sound like the scout is really involved in the project at all.

                Scrap it and let the scout find something he can do....

                If you guys go ahead and do it the IH could refuse to sign off on the completed project if he is not happy with it.


                Question to the forum.......Isn't the scout supposed to plan the entire project???? I understand using subject matter experts...An engineer to design the pavilion makes sense... a bricklayer to lay the block......the trades guys make sense.....

                Shouldn't the scout do the rest???

                Comment


                • #9
                  Basement - the way I read it, the original project, planned by the Scout, was to replace the roof on an existing structure - that is the plan that got approved. In doing the work, the Scout ran into a not uncommon issue - the original work was poorly done and the posts holding up the roof collapsed meaning the original project couldn't be completed.

                  At that point, the project gets a bit more complicated - now, the pavilion has to be replaced in it's entirety, and in order to do that, you need drawings (replacing the roof requires no drawings - you take the old roof off, replace with new materials but the roof doesn't really change, not unless you've redesigned the roof as well). The Scout appropriately asked for guidance and is fortunate to have someone who could draw up the plans for the pavilion (unless donating time, an architect could have charged quite bit for new plans - forget an added cost of $250 for the extra amount the IH wants, think another $750 or more just for plans).

                  The Scout is still running the project, I see AN adult acting as a professional advisor at this point, an appropriate role for an adult with this kind of project.

                  As for the scope creep - you've already had it when the original plans collapsed with the collapse of the supporting poles. I take it your replacement plan was to build a pavilion using the same foot print of the original building? Question - was the CO consulted about the new plans? Maybe not this new IH, but the old IH, or whomever originally signed off on the plans? Did they sign off on the new plans?

                  The IH talked to you about the project during the course of another meeting - it's appropriate to let the new IH know that you'll pass that information along to the Scout and he should expect a call. Then you should let the Scout know about the conversation and ask what he thinks he should do. It might be easy to say just go do something else, but there is a complication in this instance. The pavilion was drawn up as a replacement for a pavilion that has already been knocked down - it seems there is an ethical and moral obligation to replace the pavilion that was already removed rather than just abandoning the project altogether. If the plan was to replace the entire pavilion and no physical work had already started, then walking away to find a new project might have been best - but since the Scout has already knocked down the building, it needs to be replaced.

                  Here's the options as I see it - they will require some communications with folks from the IH and Council.

                  The Scout replaces the knocked down pavilion with a duplicate of what was there, rather than with the new pavilion design. The IH probably won't sign off on the project being completed - and this is where you and the Scout talk to the COUNCIL advancement chair to see if this would still count for his project if the beneficiary won;t sign off because he's not happy with the Troop.

                  The Scout replaces the knocked down pavilion with the new design, as drawn up, with no changes, The IH probably won't sign off on the project being completed - see above.

                  The Scout adds four feet to the project and raises another $250 for it. There is still a risk that the IH still won't be happy and won't sign off.

                  I think your first step is to contact the Council AC before you folks go any further - if the AC says without the beneficiary signature, it won't count, the Scout needs to decide whether to look for another project - pronto and then the Troop figures out a way to build a duplicate of the original pavilion. Question - what position does the person who originally signed off on the plans have with the IH now? If he's still an officer, can you bypass the IH completely on this and have him sign off as an officer? Sure, the IH will be hacked off, but it sounds like he already is.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Agree with the others; the scout should have been discussing this with the Commander and you, the SM. Was this the sole purpose of the "business meeting"?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The knocking down of the original pravilion may be an issue, but maybe not. If it is true that as Thomas states the fires cause it to truely be an unusable eysore, then the troop just knocked down something that would have sat there until it collapsed on it's own.. Possibly a potential danger if kids from the church played around it as it became more dangerous.

                      Had it been in use, but just needed new roofing then I would agree with Calico.

                      Then again, the fact it is your CO, their perception of how you leave this project will effect the relationship with the troop..

                      Lots of things to think over..

                      I also understand going into a business meeting without the intent of discussing the Prabilion and the IH bringing it up. But, as others said, not your place to come to the conclusion for the scout, even if you know that that would be his reaction.. Sort of hard though isn't it? To resist that knee-jerk reaction, especially when unprepared for it and it hits you in the face? Depending on how ticked off the IH was, I as a SM or parent may be a wee bit upset if you sent the scout in their on his own and he got that reaction. There is anger at a scout, and then there is bullying of a scout that most of us would rise up to defend.

                      So what to do?.. I agree with the suggestion of the extra cost being paid for by the church. Up to the scout, but if it was me seeing that the project grew larger then anticipated, I might also not just depend on my troop, but look for other willing volunteers from the church congregation, in order to help alleviate the unforeseen project creep. If he hasn't already looked there, perhaps questioning him on if he could think of any place else he might look for extra volunteer help might get him to thinking over some other options.



                      Comment


                      • #12
                        >

                        Ummm. This was the first mistake. Completing the original project should have been the objective!


                        >


                        This was the second mistake! The Institutional Head should have been referred to the Scout who is leading the project!



                        Few things are as common as discovering that the scope of work on a construction task expands when doing work on an old existing structure.


                        This should be a lesson for the Eagle Scout ---- PLANNING for such an issue should have been a part of the project!


                        I would say that carrying out the original project is the responsibility of the Scout. He ought to be prepared to carry out the original project as specified and if that involves additional time and materials ---- tough!


                        The beneficiary of the project isn't entitled to unilaterally expand the scope of the project or impose additional costs and time on those who agreed to carry out the original project. If the beneficiary now desires an EXPANDED project, that is something to be negotiated with the Scout who is carrying out the project.

                        The Scout may need the beneficiary to supply additional labor and materials to do the additional work desired. Or perhaps he will hold the beneficiary to the SIGNED agreement to carry out the original project.


                        The main issue here is that the Scout Troop --- probably the adults involved, have allowed themselves to be involved in managing the project. If that were left just to the Scout, the relationship between the Troop and the COR would not be at issue.

                        My inclination would be to put the onus of completing the project as agreed back on the Scout where it belongs!(This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          As the Scouts Eagle Project Adviser, you need to bring this information back to the Scout. Your Scout (with you along as the adviser) should make an appointment to talk to the Commander of your AL Post. The Scout should have done this as soon as the posts got knocked over, and he discovered the project needed to be expanded to building a whole new structure.

                          Did this Commander sign off on the original project to simply replace the roof? Or was it the previous Commander? If it was the previous one, perhaps the Scout can contact him for help with the new IH.

                          I would also have the Scout contact the District/Council Advancement Chair as suggested by Calico.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            >>Agree with the others; the scout should have been discussing this with the Commander and you, the SM. Was this the sole purpose of the "business meeting"?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think people are being unfair in criticizing Thomas and his leaders for the discussion on the Eagle Scout's project with the new IH. It was the IH that brought the project up in a meeting with these leaders on other issues. Thomas has shared with us his impression that the new Commander is going to be difficult to work with. Yes - in a perfect world, the leaders could have explained to the IH that the pavilion discussion was something to be had with the Scout, and it appears they did try to do so, but my impression is that the IH wasn't at the meeting to listen and learn, he was at the meeting to demand that certain actions take place. In reality world, if you tell someone like that they have to talk to the Scout about it and not the leaders, they tend to get even more belligerant and angry. Pushing him to follow the BSA procedures (talk to the Scout not the leaders) would more likely cause the IH to just unilaterally declare the project was dead and the Troop was out. I think Thomas and his fellow leaders did the best they could in a difficult situation to allow for some time to get away and reflect and talk to the Scout about what's going on.

                              I'm not seeing adults taking over a project here - I can't imagine where anyone else is coming up with that idea. I see a Scout who asked a qualified adult to help design a new pavilion (and I've a hunch that Thomas worked with and reviewed the plans with the Scout as they were being developed and that Thomas let the Scout know how much time he put into designing the new pavilion so the Scout could add his hours in). I see leaders ambushed by a new IH who can now have a conversation with the Scout and give him warning and time to plan what to say to the new IH. Better the leaders were ambushed than the Scout. This new IH already threatened to cancel the project if he didn't get his extra 25%. If I were a leader ambushed like that, I might consider agreeing to it as well if only to save the Eagle Scout's project and to try to start re-building a relationship. Of course, its still up to the Scout to decide if that agreement will be honored or if the project just gets dropped altogether. It's pretty clear to me based on questions in a related thread about how much fundraising the Troop has done for this Post that the Post isn't about to cough up the extra funds - maybe that's something the Troop should do if the project moves forward.

                              I say good job in a difficult situation - and hope everything works out well - let us know.(This message has been edited by calicopenn)

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