Change or die!
Contractor tip of the month
By Damian Lang
Do you have something that just isn’t working? If so, are you just ignoring it, hoping it will get better? And, the big question is, how far down will you go until you make the necessary changes?
I am big on networking with others in the industry as I have always felt two or more heads are better than one, if I want to make the right business decisions. So, while I was pondering my options on a difficult decision I needed to make at my company one day, I called Ed Davenport of Davenport Masonry for advice on my situation. He happened to be hunting at the time, but still answered his phone.
While sitting in his tree stand, he whispered, “I am watching nine does graze; there has to be a buck coming out soon.” I said, “Sorry, I caught you when you are hunting, I will call you later.” Ed replied, “No, it’s okay.” So I gave him details of my situation asking which way I should turn. Whispering again, he says, “If you’re not happy with what you are getting now, and you don’t make the change, you will not be happy with what you will have in a few years. That’s because you are probably already getting all you are going to get.” I thought, “What the hell did he just say?!” So, I pulled off to the side of the road and wrote that statement down. I was glad I did as within those few words was the answer to my dilemma.
A few days later, I called and thanked him for his help, then asked him to explain further what he meant about change. Ed said to just look at our industry. We go to the jobsite, and only half the details are on the blueprints when we get there as the owner never wanted to pay enough to get the design architect to work out the fine details up front. Then we spend all our time trying to figure out where things go through RFIs instead of installing materials.
Can you imagine what this is costing mason contractors daily? Not to mention, the end user of our services. We need to change that, or we will eventually die! This led us to talking about BIM (Building Informational Modeling), one of the current projects the MCAA is working on. I am the chairman of the marketing committee for the MCAA, and Ed is on my committee working on BIM with me. BIM is a concept many of the general contractors, construction managers, architectural engineers, and some subs are using during the design and construction process. Basically, it is a start-to-finish modeling program that, ultimately, will have all the fine details of the project worked out in advance of starting the project.
In the end, it saves the owner and all contractors on site money, because it reduces hold ups as details are worked out before the work starts. The MCAA believes we need to make sure masonry has a part in the BIM process, so construction professionals and owners will consider using masonry as an option during the design process. In theory, we want wall details at their fingertips, so they can click and paste to add any type of wall in their design as well as providing them the schedule and cost.
This is a major project, and the MCAA can’t do it alone. Therefore, we have a goal to bring many associations and product suppliers together to develop the BIM concept for masonry. As said earlier, if we don’t as an industry make sure we are included in the change of implementing BIM, we will probably be left to die. This is just one of the projects the MCAA is doing. If you are a member of the MCAA, you are helping promote masonry through your dues. If you are not, I encourage you to join to help us save our industry.
If you come to the World of Masonry in February, I invite you to come to our committee meetings to help with these great initiatives the MCAA is working on, so masonry stays on the changing edge of the construction market and isn’t simply left to die. It takes more than one voice and this is our chance to make sure we are included in the choir. Just like more heads, many voices are better than one.
About the Author
Damian Lang is a mason contractor in southeast Ohio and inventor of many labor saving masonry systems and products. Lang has served as the Marketing Committee Chairman for the Mason Contractors Association of America. He is also author of the book Rewarding and Challenging Employees for Profits in Masonry. To network with Damian on contractor tips or tips you have and would like published, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-749-3512.