Monday, November 15, 2010

A quick note on the now infamous 6-day Chinese hotel

Most of us have, by now, seen this story. Matthew Kahn comments here. For me, there are three unaddressed points:
  1. Did it have electricity, plumbing, etc online and working?
  2. How important is it that the materials were constructed off-site, as opposed to being built on-site? That seems important in determining how accurate the 6 day estimate is.
  3. Finally, most critically imo, how does the bureaucratic approval process compare to most municipalities in the United States? How does this process account for local stakeholder interest in the project?
#3 is the point of greatest interest to me. Maybe it is excellent in China. But if this project required 15 years of bureaucratic approval and disregarded local concerns of the residents, then I will find this to be a less impressive process overall. In the U.S., a good portion of local bureaucracy revolves around satisfying local stakeholders (for good or for bad). No trivial portion of this is local interest lies in a customized look, which I suspect undermines the potential for pre-fab products. My preference would be to compare how quickly a property owner can go from starting the paperwork to cutting the ribbon on completion at a ceremony everyone will voluntarily smile at throughout.

1 comment:

Matt E. Ryan said...

Concerning #2: That's the whole story. If you take a double-wide and set it up in a trailer park, have you built a home in an hour?

I'm also guessing the bureaucratic process, in terms of time required to reach a decision, was far less than what is witnessed in the US.