“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.”
This website is for anyone involved in or caring about the creation of our built environment.
If you are one of these people, then thank you for visiting the site.
"The Engineering & Construction industry strongly affects the economy, the environment and society as a whole. It touches the daily lives of everyone... [and] serves almost all other industries, as all economic value creation occurs within or by means of buildings or other “constructed assets”. As an industry, moreover, it accounts for 6% of global GDP. It is also the largest global consumer of raw materials, and constructed objects account for 25-40% of the world’s total carbon emissions."
To add another fun fact, it also accounts for the highest suicide rates of any sector in multiple countries (that collect this sort of data). In short...
What we build and how we build it matters.
What is the purpose of this website?
To share construction sector related 'misadventures' in order to share learnings. No ill considered undertaking too great or too small to learn from. Without sharing and understanding what went wrong last time the industry is unable to maximise learning and thus a vital opportunity for improvement is missed.
Why care? The construction industry is awash with avoidable waste, generated all along the supply chain - from investment planning, to design activities, to construction works, and at every level of the project hierarchy. Waste includes the obvious, such as materials and time, but also the less obvious, such as under-utilised talent, opportunity cost, and even people's lives.
Why a website?
Often learnings are not shared due to commercial sensitivities and tight confidentiality clauses in contracts. Sometimes they are not identified at all due to ignorance, time pressures or even ego. An online platform enables anonymity and thus creates a 'safe space to share' for all levels of the project hierarchy and to the widest possible audience.Sharing stories on an accessible anonymous platform is also a way for us to gain perspective, see the industry for what it too often is - an exercise in insanity - and remind those who may be struggling that they are not alone.
Who has the most influence on 'waste'?
In project manager parlance this would be the 'Project Sponsor'. In plain English this is basically 'The Client' i.e. the party who decided 'we need a building'. The decisions that these parties make are critical to the overall success of the project. They influence not only the cost of the asset's construction, but far more importantly, the performance of the asset in use and the value it creates. And yes, we're using the word asset. Because buildings are investments, not expenses.
Surely it's the job of the supply chain to control the waste?
Yes and no. Yes, because (in theory) competition should incentivise the free market to be both effective and efficient (on which here's a great little fact sheet from our friends in America). But also 'no' because the market is often hamstrung by both a complex set of constraints and basically itself.
Why care if there is waste?
Good question. Waste is cash you may as well have put in a pile and set on fire. Does that make sense to you? And if it's a public sector client burning money then that's your tax contributions spewing carbon. As for the negative impact the industry can have on individuals, their families and the environment, refer opening paragraph.
Is any party in the supply chain so perfect it doesn't need to improve? No.
Why learn from your own mistakes, when you can learn from the mistakes of others?
Even better if you can be entertained along the way.
Want to read a story? Then head on over to The Confessions. This site is for you.