Was Grenfell’s disastrous fire due in part to an all-too-common risk transfer strategy?

Grenfell Tower, a UK public housing project that caught fire recently, was a true disaster that is most likely directly attributable to incompatible design specifications and implementation by established architecture, engineering and construction professionals.  I’ve been holding off publishing much about the event until there is more consensus from the forensic experts regarding root cause, … Continue reading Was Grenfell’s disastrous fire due in part to an all-too-common risk transfer strategy?

Seth Godin reaffirms the importance of first defining “Quality” before it can be achieved

Quality, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Having been involved in evaluating quality at more than 10,000 building units over the past two decades, the definition of the word quality is something I’ve spent many, many hours contemplating. When it comes to quality in the marketing world, and particularly in writing about marketing, … Continue reading Seth Godin reaffirms the importance of first defining “Quality” before it can be achieved

Marriott to use prefabrication and modular construction on up to 50 new hotels

Marriott is going modular in a major way. By prefabricating portions of hotels off-site in controlled environments, and then assembling the modular components, the hotel chain sees numerous advantages. With one prefab modular hotel already operational, the company is now planning to pursue the process on up to 50 more. Clayton Moore, of Digital Tends, … Continue reading Marriott to use prefabrication and modular construction on up to 50 new hotels

Risk Management: Don’t drive forward with all your attention in the rear-view mirror

Jennifer Hermes, writing for Environmental Leader: Risk management professionals should be leading the charge to help their companies understand how disruptive technologies will affect business strategies and operations – and those risk managers who don’t lead the way will be relegated to a support role, according to the new 2017 Excellence in Risk Management (PDF) report. Disruptive technologies as … Continue reading Risk Management: Don’t drive forward with all your attention in the rear-view mirror

Quality goes up, mistakes go down when people know their work is being evaluated

Quantum mechanics, at first glance, seems like it has nothing in common with human behavior. But what if human behavior was actually influenced by quantum mechanics?

One of the most mind-blowing experiments I recall learning about in my advanced physics classes is the famous double-slit experiment. Without getting too deep in the weeds of quantum physics, the experiment basically demonstrates that a particle behaves one way when there is an observer, yet behaves completely differently when not actively observed. In other words, whether or not someone is observing the experiment directly impacts the outcome of the experiment.

If particles behave differently when being observed, what about living, breathing human beings? Does quality of human work product improve or decline when workers know they are being watched? Continue reading “Quality goes up, mistakes go down when people know their work is being evaluated”

UK: Poor quality new homes don’t solve housing shortage

Housing shortages abound throughout the modern world, and in the UK, the situation is not much different than here in the US. Also not much different: substantial claims of defective construction due to cut corners in an effort to meet demand. In fact, the country’s National House Building Council, which provides 10-year warranties covering most newly constructed … Continue reading UK: Poor quality new homes don’t solve housing shortage

Wearables for the built environment: Smart Hard Hats and Smart Glasses

Back in June of 2015, a relatively unknown company by the name of Daqri introduced an augmented reality-enabled hard hat that they dubbed the Smart Helmet. While there clearly is not yet massive adoption among the trades for a more than $1,000 hard hat, that doesn’t mean Daqri has ceased innovation. In fact, as Construction … Continue reading Wearables for the built environment: Smart Hard Hats and Smart Glasses

Apple is either the best kind of construction client, or the worst, depending on your perspective

Part of the magic that separates Apple from being just another consumer technology manufacturer is the relentless pursuit of perfection. Steve Jobs famously describes lessons imparted from his adoptive father imploring him to make the unseen components of a product just as beautiful and carefully executed as those that are plainly visible. Jobs’ final product, possibly his … Continue reading Apple is either the best kind of construction client, or the worst, depending on your perspective

Rush to market sacrifices good quality assurance for GoPro’s new drone line

Ever since GoPro tried to launch their new line of drones for their adventure enthusiast market, problems have tarnished the normally stellar reputation for solid, quality-built imaging technologies. Forbes’ Ryan Mac wrote a thorough analysis of the saga, with the provocative headline, “The Sky Is Falling For GoPro.” The article opens with a story of … Continue reading Rush to market sacrifices good quality assurance for GoPro’s new drone line

Lessons learned from the Navy SEALs on what “resilience” really means for the built environment

A short while back, I had a chance to meet an extraordinary young man named Brandon Andrews. As he was transitioning out of the Navy SEALs, he launched a new company called Trident CM LLC, with the brilliant idea to recruit former SEALs to provide construction quality management on DOD projects.

In the built environment, from the Northridge earthquake, to Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and other disasters, resilience has become an imperative. But what does that even mean? Continue reading “Lessons learned from the Navy SEALs on what “resilience” really means for the built environment”