Apple’s perfectionism slowed construction on its new spaceship campus – The Verge

Apple’s “spaceship” campus was supposed to be ready in 2015, but it now isn’t expected to open until later this year. If you’re wondering why the project — which started back in 2011 — is still in the works, Reuters may have part of the answer: Apple is being ridiculously perfectionist about it.

Reuters spoke with about two dozen people who worked on the project to get a sense for Apple’s behavior. And the picture it paints is one of a company that values attention to detail, but also has little idea of how construction works.

One particular highlight of the report is Apple demanding that doorways be perfectly flat, with no subtle bump between the outside and inside of the building. A construction manager told Reuters that “months” were spent debating this, because they’d have to spend time and money figuring out a way to accomplish it. Apple reportedly wouldn’t give in because it worried that “if engineers had to adjust their gait while entering the building, they risked distraction from their work.”

The report also says that months were spent on signs, with Apple demanding a minimalist look, and the fire department demanding that people actually be able to read the signs in case of an emergency. “I’ve never spent so much time on signage,” a fire chief who worked on the project told Reuters.

Reuters calls out several other instances of excessive attention to detail:

  • No vents or pipes could be reflected in the building’s glass exterior
  • There are 30 pages of guidelines on how to use wood
  • Apple inspected “thousands of ceiling panels” to ensure they were “immaculate inside and out”
  • Debate over what doorknobs should look like went on for over a year and a half

On one hand, this is the kind of stuff that everyone loves from Apple. Attention to detail is part of what makes people love its products, and there’s something nice about knowing that the value is so deeply ingrained in the company, that it can’t even let go when the debate is over piping that few will ever see.

On the other hand, some of these requirements sound truly ridiculous, and you have to imagine that time could have been better spent elsewhere. But I’m sure looking forward to seeing the inside of those ceiling panels when the building is demolished sometime in the next 50–100 years.

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