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Concrete Spreadsheet Errors

We tend to discuss spreadsheet errors in the abstract, but I thought that people might be interested in my recent very concrete spreadsheet error. For I have been doing some renovations recently, and used the attached model to calculate the volume of concrete required. It involves adding and subtracting various carefully measured volumes to achieve an accurate estimate. You will appreciate that once a concrete truck arrives there is no getting a bit more or putting a bit back.

There was, of course, an error in the spreadsheet, which the Spreadsheet Detective would have easily found. But I did not use the Detective on my own spreadsheet! After all, such a tiny model. I can only plead physical exhaustion from unaccustomed real work as an excuse.

But whatever the excuse, when the truck arrives, all the form work is filled, but the concrete keeps coming, and coming, and coming, then the error becomes very ... concrete.

But at least I am in good company. Below is Microsoft's advertisement for the Surface tablet. (One commentator remarked that as this was built by the marketing department it is surprising that they got so close!)

Surface Tablet Ad
Microsoft's Numbers do not add up.