Contributed by Roy Schauffele
Late fall and during all winter, concerns and problems arise with air barrier applications on CMU (Concrete Masonry Unit). I know because I get the phone calls. Generally speaking, the fluid applied water-based vapor permeable air barriers go on OK but take a long time to cure or set.
Additionally, I’ve observed a myriad of job site problems with self-adhered vapor impermeable sheets, flashings and tapes. The vapor impermeable materials were applied properly but exhibited blistering and lack of adhesion within days. When investigated there was always liquid water on the adhered side of these sheets.
Observations of quite a few jobs leads me to state that, in this investigation, the vast majority of “problem” jobs had the following in common:
OK, let’s deal with what will lead to an excellent new construction air barrier installation and long-term performance:
1. If the Architect/Specifier has specified a dry water repellent in the CMU, it is already causing a potential problem with the adhesion of a water-based air barrier or primer. This issue has been written about previously in an article in Coatings Pro Magazine July 2018 “Legacy Specifications, Wall and Air Barrier Performance”. The Air Barrier installer absolutely needs to make the Architect/Specifier aware of this prior to bid.
2. If the project is wide open with doors, bay doors and windows not finished or openings not protected from water entry, then a tremendous amount of water can enter the CMU causing some of the problems referenced above. The top of the walls and window openings should be treated in such a way as to prevent water from running in to these open areas.
One of my friends and great technical writer in Austin, TX, Mr. Dave Watts, RA, has the following statement in his specifications: Section 04 20 00, 3.18 PROTECTION OF FINISHED WORK, 3.18.e “Protect tops of masonry with waterproof coverings secured in place without damaging masonry. Provide coverings where masonry is exposed to weather when work is not in progress.”
Contributed by Jef McCurdy
Whether it is carefully cultivated or haphazardly ignored, every company has a culture. Top leaders create cultures that encourage quality, respect, accountability and more. These values help to create an environment where clients and staff feel confident in the value of the services or products delivered. However, culture is an often-overlooked aspect of the trades. Ask yourself this: Why would anyone want to start or continue working with you and your company?
If the answer is, “They need a job, and I’ve got work”, don’t expect to have long-term, loyal employees. Companies with weak cultures have retention issues. Because they do nothing to create loyalty, their employees are easily poached. Because they are constantly training new employees on the basics, they struggle to develop the higher-level skills required to meet client demands.
Conversely, employees in environments of appreciation, trust and development are far more likely to remain loyal and deliver greater value to your company as their skills and knowledge increase. When leadership has their backs, employees are more likely to remain engaged and proactive.
It is commonly accepted that working in the trades is supposed to be stressful, but I disagree. Hard work is expected, but bad leaders burden their staff with undue stress and uncertainty. I have found that bosses who yell the most, explain the least. I was on a job site a while back where another trade was also doing work. As I set up for my day, I noticed two of the guys arrive. They waited around for about 45 minutes until their boss finally arrived. He then berated them for at least 15 minutes for being lazy good-for-nothings for having not started working before his arrival. Their explanation that they did not know what he wanted them to do and were unable to get a hold of their boss fell on deaf ears.
The following day, the guys again arrived before their boss. Fearful of being humiliated in front of everyone on the job site again, they found work to busy themselves. On this day, their boss was an hour late and again upset with his crew. Calling them names and yelling, he said that they were idiots and should have known that their self-assigned tasks were a waste of time.
Luckily, I was quickly off to another project. But my short time with the yelling boss left me very uncomfortable, even though I didn’t have to work directly with him. Ironically, the predetermined belief that his crew was lazy and didn’t care about the quality of their work likely created that exact scenario.
Contributed by Eric D. Lussier
In a few short days, Cherise and I will once again jump on a plane and converge on a new locale to spread the Let’s Fix Construction message. A new conference, and with that, a new audience, awaits in Anaheim at the AEC Next Technology Expo & Conference to hear a little about the who and a little more about the why behind what we’re doing.
With LFC being founded steeply in our Construction Specifications Institute roots and beliefs, much of the message of LFC and CSI remains in our closed loop circles if we do not do our part in getting in touch with the onlookers and informing new individuals about the who, the what and the why in 2019 and beyond.
These continued opportunities will never cease to amaze me. Cherise and I go into each one grateful for the chance to spread the message of Let’s Fix Construction and to perhaps spark an AHA! moment for even one of our attendees. For I truly believe that it only takes one person to walk away from one of our workshops to know that we’ve done our part. One person to tell us after attendance that they could feel our passion for what we’re doing. One person to say that they got more out of one session than a year of box lunches.
And Cherise and I are just two voices for Let’s Fix Construction. With our Speed Mentoring session in Anaheim, Let’s Fix Construction becomes dozens of voices, encompassing hundreds of years of construction experience, which will be conveyed to dozens more new receptors of our message and mission.
The AEC industry is undergoing monumental change and culture shifts and the next twenty years are vital to not only our future, but our children’s, grandchildren’s and great grandchildren's future. It’s important for all of us to continue to spread our knowledge and experience, and personally for Cherise and me, our mission and our passion that we deploy within Let’s Fix Construction.
You may not have the opportunity to join us in Anaheim at AEC Next, but there will be other chances. We’re always listening and open for new formats to offer creative solutions, separate myths from facts and erase misconceptions about the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.
Contributed by Eric D. Lussier
The AEC community needs more people like Michael Riscica.
Michael is a Licensed Architect who once resided in Portland, Oregon, with his Labrador Retriever, Molly. And to say he is passionate about helping Young Architects is an understatement. After becoming licensed, Michael was frustrated by the lack of support, bad advice and misinformation he had during the years between graduating architecture school and becoming a licensed Architect. In early 2014 he began blogging at YoungArchitect.com to address that problem.
A few years back, Michael sold most of his personal belongings, bought himself a van, packed up Molly and only what he needed and literally took Young Architect on the road. Rarely in one place for long, you can typically find Michael speaking to aspiring designers somewhere. In five years, he has assembled a massive following of future leaders in the architecture industry through presentations, persistence, and passion.
Cherise and I were fortunate enough to meet Michael a handful of years ago and we immediately saw a kindred spirit, an individual who was not happy with the status quo in AEC and set out to make a change.
Recently, Michael announced the first ever Young Architect Conference, which will be held over three days, August 23rd to the 25th in Portland, Oregon. The mission for the Young Architect Conference is to explore leadership, connection, and service within architecture. All keynotes, workshops, parties, and everything related to this conference will connect back to these three themes in some way, shape or form.
Here is the proposed agenda:
Let's Fix Construction is honored to be friends with Michael and involved with the Conference, as Cherise will be leading the session 'Public Speaking in Architecture'. We're also a hand-selected affiliate of the Young Architect Conference. What does that mean, exactly? That means, you, as part of our community, can register to attend and save $$$. You have one month to use the code LFC for $150 off of your registration.
Please take two minutes to view this message below from Michael and then visit the Young Architect Conference website for details, registration and more.
Contributed by Michael Chambers
I recently had the opportunity to discuss specification marketing strategies with a former publisher of a national architecture magazine. I mentioned that a very powerful strategy was to ensure that the appropriate competitors are named in manufacturers guide specifications. A look of abject horror greeted that remark which, of course, caused me to launch into a primer on specification marketing to design professionals.
Additionally, there has been a significant discussion on 4Specs.com about what specifiers want in manufacturers guide specifications. Interestingly, naming appropriate competitors was mentioned numerous times.
Specification marketing is second only to continuing education presentations as the most effective branding and marketing tool for construction product manufacturers. A product representative must be a good educator and highly knowledgeable about specifications to be truly effective with design professionals.
While the industry understands competitive advantage in terms of faster, better, or cheaper, a product representative's competitive advantage lies in the following 3 critical elements:
It is critical for specifiers and designers to understand how not to use or apply a product or system. This may seem a bit counter-intuitive but it is not. Many, if not most, product failures begin with the designers and specifiers not understanding how to appropriately use and apply a product or system. More than anything else help specifiers avoid mistakes.
Every competent manufacturer and product representative intimately knows and understands who the competition is and how their products and systems stack up. Share that information with designers and specifiers and instantly you become the go-to expert and resource.
Sole source specifications are a powerful magnet for substitutions. Make certain that specifiers and designers clearly understand why you are suggesting competitive products and why you consider them equivalent. Remember, there is no such thing as “equal” products, just equivalent.
Offering specifiers a list of equivalent products allows product representatives to level the playing field and narrow the competitive arena. Be careful to ensure that appropriate competitors are named or your reputation may be damaged.
Solutions NOT Products
The final, and arguably, most important element of competitive advantage is the product representative=s relationship with designers and specifiers. Provide solutions not products. Sell yourself, your expertise, your industry knowledge not your products.
Whenever possible, request a copy of the specification and offer to review and comment on project specific information. Any specifier worth their salt will provide project specifications for review. This is a significant opportunity to expand relationship, build credibility, and find out what the specifiers knows about your product.
In the final analysis, what a manufacturer may reasonably expect from a specifier is a well-crafted specification that lists the appropriate competitors. Who better to help the specifier accomplish that task that a knowledgeable product representative?
Protect your competitive advantage by supporting specifiers in producing complete specifications that contain appropriate requirements and truly equivalent manufacturers and products.
(Editor's Note: Michael D. Chambers, FCSI, FAIA, CCS is Associate Vice President and Senior Project Specifier for HGA and is responsible for the specifications in the four California offices and is principal of MCA Specifications. Michael also sits on the CONSTRUCT Education Advisory Council with Let's Fix Construction Co-Founders, Cherise Lakeside and Eric D. Lussier.
NEW FOR CONSTRUCT IN 2019!
The NEW Product Rep University Program has been designed to meet the needs of Manufacturer's Representatives of Architectural Building Products, as integral members of the project team. The program features a full day of education (6 sessions) to help you stay up to date on current trends in the industry, and refine your interactions and relationships with design professionals. Get additional details on the Product Rep University here: https://www.constructshow.com/en/education/ProductRepUniversity.html
CONSTRUCT will be held October 9 - 11, 2019 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, MD. Details and registration will be opening soon. Read more on CONSTRUCT here. )
Let's Fix Construction is an avenue to offer creative solutions, separate myths from facts and erase misconceptions about the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.
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