by Cindy W. Baldwin, CGC, LEED AP, CM-BIM, CM-LEAN President of VDCO Tech, Inc.and Regional Lead for Florida, USA.
Sounds crazy, I know… but hear me out.
Architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and owners all come to a project with their own cultures, rules, self-interests and approaches. Egos run rampant. Schedules are unrealistic, working conditions can be less than pleasant in 98-degree heat or, worse, bitter cold, and the physical demands are both dangerous and grueling. The job demands of your time and body. Laborers, foreman, supervisors, operators, welders, inspectors, plumbers, electricians, pipefitters, carpenters and more are tasked with building someone else’s vision. Given instructions and then crammed into trailers and even tighter workspaces, not even knowing each other, they are dependent on one another to get the work done.
And get it done they do!
There is no bias, no prejudice and no judgment. People of different religious backgrounds, education levels, political opinions, ethnicity, color and gender communicate, collaborate, and find consensus. On a construction site, no one truly cares if you are a girl or a boy. They don’t care about the color of your skin or how much money is in your pockets. The focus is on safety, on quality and on reliability. The focus is on trust and transparency, collaboration and communication. Everyone contributing to solving problems and to getting things done. Where once were strangers, teamwork builds friendships and personal bonds, and the chaos that was present at the start turns into a project at completion that all are proud to call their own. Curse words turn to compliments, and everyone moves on with a renewed sense of personal satisfaction and self-worth.
Imagine what we could do if the world ran more like a construction site?
All the bickering and back fighting might begin to be put aside. Problems would turn into potential and chaos to calm. Through trusted communication, compromises and consensus, we could truly build something that everyone could be proud of.
Featured image is the author’s Grandfather, Edward Gordon Webb