Construction 2014: What 5 Industry Veterans Learned

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Part of being in construction is learning something new every day, week, month, and year. So we asked five industry veterans: “What was one new thing you learned in 2014?” Our respondents gave us insight into the field, from 2014 construction industry trends to personal approaches to improving process. (Drumroll.) Here they are:

Jeff Chapmanjeff_chapman
Title: Superintendent
Company: Kier Construction Corporation
Years in the industry: 31
Lesson learned in 2014:

“One new thing that I learned this year on the project I am currently working on is geothermal heating systems. I haven’t been on a project with this system before. The project is a nine-acre, 180-unit apartment complex in Midvale, Utah. It uses 400 geothermal wells, drilled 300 feet into the ground to pre-heat the water that is used for the heat pump system to around 68 degrees F. It does this using the earth’s natural heat.

This is much more efficient than heating water up at city water temperature of around 35 degrees F. This is also a low income property and this feature will go along way to help the residents have as low as possible heating bill in the cold Utah winters. I applaud our client for going the extra mile and spending the extra money for this feature.”

Dan Henriedan_henrie
Title: Safe Productivity Coach
Company: Jacobsen Construction
Years in the industry: 20
Lesson learned  in 2014:

“Over the years I feel the construction industry has added steps to our building process and it’s starting to bog us down. And what with a labor shortage, it spells trouble. So what I have learned about construction in 2014 is the need to simplify our construction process immensely.  Eliminating wasted steps and finding ways to reduce the remaining steps (taking an eight-step process down to four). Protecting the little yet valuable time given to complete projects.

Information technology is essential to reaching the objective. If time is wasted on slow information exchange, we need to analyze our process and find the steps that are of no value and eliminate them, while simplifying the remaining steps. When dealing with slow production or re-work caused by shortage or unskilled labor we need to examine all the steps we are using to construct; the way we communicate, implement BIM, produce shop drawings, types of materials we use and how we produce formwork. The technology’s there, now it’s time to utilize it.”

steven-bakerSteven Baker
Title: Production Manager
Company: Brock Built Homes
Years in the industry: 10
Lesson learned in 2014:

“I’ve learned the importance of making sure that we’re patient and that we hire the right people, not just fill the position. Our company has been in Atlanta for 30 years, but this is our first year in Charleston. We’ve developed our team and expanded to hire our first builder. Instead of jumping on the first person with a good resume, we got the whole team involved. It ended up we all decided unanimously on the same person.”

Mitch Kennedy
Title: Superintendent
Company: Rogers-O’Brien Construction
Years in the industry: 33
Lesson learned in 2014:

Mitch-retro-pic

“I learned how to control myself in this job that I call ‘ring master of the three-ring circus.’ I learned how to be calm, sit back and analyze. When you’re a superintendent you never have the chance to walk through a building without somebody approaching you. I used to be the kind of person that would react quickly. Now I just step away. I don’t leave the job, but I step away from the guys and re-group, center, walk around. It’s like a form of meditation, and I get a little exercise, but I get to still be on the job.”

Gordon Titus gordon-retro-pic
Title: Success Coach
Company: FieldLens (Formerly Project Engineer for Kier Construction)
Years in the industry: 15
Lesson learned in 2014:

“I have learned that there are some very exciting changes coming to the construction industry through innovations in technology.  I get really excited about things like drones for construction, 3D printers, and the latest green building advances.  In fact, I just learned about an amazing new trend called hempcrete.”

Happy Holidays from FieldLens! Thanks to our industry veterans for giving us insight into the work they do every day. Let’s keep sharing ways to build better in 2015.

More about construction industry trends from 2014.

Image © 26amandine via Bigstock.