^^ A very typical stock image for "construction" ^^
Contributed by Darren Lester
For as long as I’ve been involved in and around the construction industry, there’s been an underlying consensus that we need to clean up the public's perception of the industry.
Disasters like Grenfell Tower and scandals like the Carillion collapse tend to bring this into sharp focus and we see a renewed energy to show people the positive stuff in construction.
The legitimate worry is that all of the negativity, combined with the image of the stereotypical construction worker, complete with hard hat and hi-vis jacket, will limit our ability to attract younger, smarter, tech-savvy professionals and the must-needed next generation workforce.
So the logical conclusion is to try to push the good stuff even harder.
But perhaps this is the wrong approach.
Unfortunately, the truth is that the public image of the construction industry exists for a reason — it’s mostly accurate.
To portray anything else would be misleading.
Our industry has huge issues, from top to bottom.
We’re embarrassingly inefficient. Rarely deliver as promised. We overspend. We’re huge polluters. We're wasteful with resources. We put people’s physical health and lives at risk on a daily basis. We have a terrible record of mental ill health amongst workers. We’re rife with corruption and 'old boys' clubs. We treat women unfairly. We lack any sort of competent leadership. And we’re pretty much the worst of laggards in adopting digital technology.
I could go on.
If we continue to try to put a positive spin on things, or suppress these issues in order to exemplify the glimmers of hope there are within the industry (and don't get me wrong, they do exist), then we’ll end up with another generation of workers who simply knuckle down and accept that this is as good as it gets.
Ironically, shining a light on these shortcomings, by making them painfully transparent to the whole world and by holding our hands up to say “sorry, things aren’t great”, perhaps we can give ourselves the best chance of driving change.
Because all of the sh*t that’s wrong with our industry is actually what could attract the smartest, most ambitious young professionals and entrepreneurs (and the capital to back them), who see an opportunity to really disrupt and rebuild a huge industry.
Yes, we should continue to educate young professionals about the industry, and show them that there are more options to a career in construction than working on a cold, wet building site. But all industries have their stereotypes - that in itself isn't holding us back from change.
But perhaps we should also share with them our biggest failings, and present them as rewarding opportunities for those willing to challenge the status quo.
Not an easy thing to do, but maybe we'd end up with real change, rather than a slightly improved public image.
Contributed by Elias Saltz
There is some misunderstanding, both inside the profession and among the population at large, about what architecture is and what architects do. The misunderstanding begins with popular cultural depictions of architects, both fictional and real, as iconoclastic visionaries who wave their hands around, making beautiful buildings appear - buildings that will be immortalized in the glossy pages of magazines and hardcover coffee table books. This image of the architect is being reinforced by modern home improvement shows like "Fixer Upper" in which the designer and builder are the primary on-air personalities and it only takes one hour to buy, design and renovate an entire house. It's also being reinforced, unfortunately, in architecture schools, where professors are teaching aspiring architects to think of their designs as grand conceptual gestures and to equate architecture with culinary arts and fashion design, but not to anticipate what working as an architect will really be like.
Architects are taught in school that what they want to design matters, and little is discussed about client expectations, except that in the case of design studios, the clients are the professors. Architects learn to please other architects to ensure the best critique, grade and peer recognition. That peer recognition extends into professional life, where architects look to have their work published in journals juried by other architects.
This is obviously a wrong approach. Architecture is a professional service. Most architects come to understand this fact as they move up the ranks of practice. When you look in the offices of real architecture firms today, you don't see Joanna Gaines or Howard Roark (perish the thought!) or Bobby Flay. You see people who are working hard, using their knowledge and experience and skill to design projects on behalf of their clients. But habits of hand-wavy thinking remain, embedded through the architect-as-chef idea, where big ideas matter and where a silver cover is whipped off a plate, revealing the delectable and beautiful creation hidden within (or, similarly, posterboards on wheels that depict the "before" condition are pulled apart to reveal the hour-of-TV creation), and that is why architects sometimes think that their beliefs matter more than those of their clients.
Contributed by Cherise Lakeside
If I had a dollar for every time I have heard ‘I’m too busy’ in my 30 years in the AEC Industry, I would be a very rich woman. Very rich!
According to AIA Best Practices “Quality Control: Managing the Top 5 Risks”
“No matter how desirable a program of in-house loss prevention might be, such a program will not function if it imposes unrealistic burdens or unobtainable goals. It must, therefore, be implemented with little or no increase in general overhead expenses.”
This original article was published by Schinnerer & Co. in 1973. Since that time, the five areas within architecture practice that most frequently give rise to claims have remained the same.
Seriously? 45 YEARS and we still haven’t found a way to knock these items off the list. Why? Because we are too busy! Sorry, sounds like an excuse (and a poor one) to me.
In my humble opinion, we have to make the time. We can’t afford not to. In the long run we make it up tenfold in the often challenging construction phase of the project.
In my experience, most design contracts are front loaded. Most of the fees are received by the design team by the end of construction documents. The construction phase portion of the fee (typically 20% to 25%) is spread over the length of the construction period. This can be a long time to break up a very small portion of the fee. Most design firms can’t financially survive unless they have projects in design at the same time they have projects in construction. There is just not enough money coming in during construction to pay the bills.
Anyone in this business who has been around for a while will know this. Yet, we continue to operate in way that expose us to this risk. Why? I will go out on a limb with this one and say it is because it is easier to do what we have always done rather than find new methods. Change is hard, it takes work and nobody has time to learn to do it a different way. At least that is the excuse I hear.
If you haven’t read a blog from me before, you should know I have worked for a general contractor, an MEP engineering firm and now for an architecture firm. The short story is that I have seen these issues from multiple viewpoints.
Some of my personal observations on these items of risk:
Contributed by Eric D. Lussier
Let’s raise construction as an option in the eyes of the world."
This sentence was penned by Thad Goodman, in an article entitled "It's an Image Problem", which you can read here on the Let's Fix Construction blog. Thad also states "one of the bigger issues we have currently is labor. Or should I say a lack of it."
So, when one of the largest private employers in the United States last week announced a $50 MILLION commitment to train 20,000 new construction workers over the next ten years, Thad's concerns from August of 2017 seem to be validated. That employer, The Home Depot, ranks fifth (as of 2016) in total number of employees with 406,000, and while they depend on skilled trades to shop at their establishments across the Nation, they also rely on tradesmen to install construction materials and appliances for their customers directly.
In the coverage of the Home Depot news, the USA Today stated that '84% of contractors surveyed by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo in December cited availability of workers and cost as their most significant problems last year'.
Our hope is that more of the major names in the construction industry step forward to address the concern about the lack of the skilled trades, across all industries within AEC.
Please read on for the entire press release from Home Depot, which you can also read here.
ATLANTA, March 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, The Home Depot® Foundation announced a $50 million commitment to train 20,000 tradespeople over the next 10 years in order to fill the growing skilled labor gap.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently 158,000 unfilled construction sector jobs in the U.S. – a number that is expected to increase significantly as tradespeople retire over the next decade. The ratio of construction job openings to hirings, as measured by the Department of Labor, is at its highest level since 2007.
In 2017, The Home Depot Foundation launched a pilot trades training program for separating military members in partnership with nonprofit Home Builders Institute (HBI) on Ft. Stewart and Ft. Bragg. The first set of students will graduate this March. The 12-week pre-apprenticeship certification program, which is provided at no cost to students, uses an industry-based curriculum recognized by the Department of Labor that integrates work-based learning with technical and academic skills. The program, which has a job placement rate of more than 90 percent, will now roll out on additional bases across the United States.
“We want to bring shop class back, from coast-to-coast,” said Shannon Gerber, executive director of The Home Depot Foundation. “We’re thrilled to train 20,000 next-generation plumbers, electricians, carpenters and beyond. It’s a true honor to welcome our first classes of separating soldiers as they transition to civilian life and into successful careers in the trades.”
“HBI has a 50-year history of training individuals with the skills they need to succeed in the building industry. Our program prepares men and women for high-growth careers in the industry after leaving military service,” said HBI CEO John Courson. “With 200,000 service members separating from the military every year, our partnership with The Home Depot Foundation enables us to serve more veterans across the country.”
In addition to serving separating military members, The Home Depot Foundation is establishing an advanced level trades training program in partnership with the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA) for residents of Atlanta’s Westside community. Over the next 10 years, the Foundation will expand training support to include the broader veteran community as well as underserved high schools across the United States.
Today’s announcement expands The Home Depot Foundation’s mission beyond its existing quarter-of-a-billion dollar commitment to veteran housing, as well as its commitment to serve communities impacted by natural disasters.
About The Home Depot Foundation
The Home Depot Foundation works to improve the homes and lives of U.S. veterans, train skilled tradespeople to fill the labor gap and support communities impacted by natural disasters.
Since 2011, the Foundation has invested nearly a quarter-of-a-billion dollars in veteran-related causes and improved more than 37,000 veteran homes and facilities. In 2018, the Foundation committed an additional $50 million dollars to train 20,000 skilled tradespeople over the next 10 years starting with separating military members and veterans, at-risk youth and members of the Atlanta Westside community.
To learn more about The Home Depot Foundation and see Team Depot in action, visit thd.co/community and follow us on Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram @teamdepot and on Facebook at facebook.com/teamdepot.
HBI is a national nonprofit that provides training, curriculum development and job placement services for the building industry. With overall program job placement rates at over 85 percent for graduates, HBI training programs are taught in local communities across the country to at-risk youth, veterans, transitioning military members, justice-involved youth and adults, and displaced workers. Visit www.hbi.org for more information.
For more information, contact:
Financial Community News Media
Isabel Janci Amy Crouse
Investor Relations Public Relations
Contributed by Lori Greene
Each school shooting brings renewed attempts to secure our schools and prevent the next tragedy.
Unfortunately, in the rush to do something (anything!) quickly and within tight budgetary constraints, safety is sometimes overlooked in favor of security.
Retrofit security products, also known as classroom barricade devices, have entered the market in recent years. Although these devices may have an attractive pricetag and are less complex to purchase and install than traditional locksets and key systems, there are risks, liabilities, and unintended consequences to consider.
For decades, the model codes have included requirements which help to ensure free egress, fire protection, and accessibility, and the 2018 model codes have an additional requirement for access to locked classrooms from the outside using a key or other approved means. When these codes are enforced, classroom barricade devices cannot be used in addition to the existing locking or latching hardware.
The video below covers the model code requirements, the 2018 changes, and other concerns regarding classroom security.
Want more information on classroom security? Be sure to look into the following:
Decoded: Classroom Security Code Update
National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) – Classroom Door Security and Locking Hardware Guidelines (PDF)
Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) – Position Statement on Classroom Barricade Devices (PDF)
Door Security and Safety Foundation (DSSF) – LockDontBlock.org
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