This post explores the joy of the building process.
I have always considered myself lucky in my building career. From very early on, I’ve been able to move freely from one domain of the industry to another on any given workday: from the nitty gritty of on-site physical construction, getting hands on experience in building, to the hustle and bustle of the office environment, creating construction documentation and overseeing project management; and into the more rarefied air of board rooms, banks, and investor groups, participating in strategic decision-making and financing.
On the good days, work starts around 5:30 am, with a coffee, car ride, and confirmation phone calls that ensure everything, and everyone are on the way and on time. Arriving at the site, the crew is finishing up their own coffees, and pulling out the relevant drawings. The weekly meeting begins. All the work performed during the previous week looks great, and the materials and crews are prepped and ready for the week ahead. The team spend 20 minutes reviewing the plans, reviewing questions, and ensuring that the whole team is ready to collaborate for another successful week. Camaraderie and collaboration are clearly visible all around. People are actively looking to identify solutions for potential challenges that they may face.
I leave the site, and head into the office. I have brief phone calls with staff to discuss the goals and priorities for the day. This gets my juices flowing — I start thinking about the important decisions that need to be made in the coming weeks. Next, perhaps a meeting or two with clients. Finally, I head into an afternoon of strategy meetings with my business partners. We discuss new ideas and ensure the pipeline for future work is active and healthy.
When I am lucky enough to get days like the one described above, I love my work.
Of course, I do not always get days like these. On other days, I may use any number of less attractive adjectives to describe my work experience: difficult, contentious, litigious… take your pick. However, ultimately, I find that Building offers all of us the potential for joy.
At 65, I think I am increasingly lucky, for I don’t think most of my friends would say the same thing. When I was younger (20s and 30s), I truly appreciated the eclectic mix of academic, creative, and business challenges that building threw my way—even though the work was also often exhausting and nerve-racking, filling my days with a roller coaster of thrill and dread. Later, in my 40s and early 50s, I became more focused on the mundane issues of managing a small architecture, construction, and development organization. Although my work was rewarding, I don’t recall joy being a byproduct of my work. It was not until my late 50s and early 60s that I changed my focus and increasingly experienced the joy that Building offers.
Building is one of the few professional services where almost everyone has the opportunity to envision the future. Over the course of weeks, months, and years, a team of people come together to create a new built environment for the benefit of future users. Ultimately, they literally get to walk through the physical manifestation of the structure that may have started out as a vague idea, or a rough sketch on a piece of paper. This is truly one of the great opportunities that Building offers to every project team member, regardless of their level of participation. Everyone has an intimate understanding of how their daily work contributes to the end product, whether owner, architect, financier, superintendent, engineer, or laborer.
In the current work environment, the joyous experiences that Building can offer are often diminished, or even eliminated. Instead, people often experience needless frustration and aggravation. Whether you are a builder, owner, or vendor, stress & building can often be synonymous. The current process, even on well-run projects, often creates damaging conflicts among team members within the same company, and between rival companies.
The world is not perfect., You cannot design all the challenges out of a complicated process such as building, with its countless moving parts and various personnel. But BuildUSA is dedicated to the idea that a majority of the time consuming, frustrating, and unrewarding aspects of the process can be reduced or eliminated. We hope to not only optimize the efficiency, profitability, and quality of the work itself, but also maximize the joy of the people involved in the work!