Our industry, the building industry, is in technological stone age.
In the age of information we build information in CAD, reduce it to the PDF, email to our colleagues to print it and look at it same way they would look at a drawing in wet sand thousands of years ago. We make our specification in word/excel format, rebuilding every time thousands of pages of general notes sprinkled with few specific model numbers which we found in the browser and retyped in our document and again- pdf, email, paper, same as clay tablets. In the morning we say: “OK Google, play me the latest Black Keys album, Volume 60%”, and continue to the office to again and again scramble through the folders wondering what is the latest version of the document we issued. We post our cats to Instagram , but once we put gyp board up over the studs, nobody knows anymore where are the pipes and the cables. Every new job we get will come thru referral, but we don’t know which people we worked with on previous projects because LinkedIn doesn’t keep project directory. We deserve better!
Our homes deserve better. Everybody treats a house as a one time transaction: agents sell them and forget about them, builders shake them and run, architects design them and throw out the drawings, and homeowners sell them and erase their history…..while buildings live longer than us. For most of us they are the most valuable asset we will ever have….they are 30%+ of our income….our savings, our pension funds…they are in most cases half a million dollar assets, and we buy them “as-is”. When we buy a used car we want to know the history, but when we buy a home, it’s “as-is”. Did you have a flood? — I don’t remember….Do you have drawings for the addition? We lost them….Did you make any photos during construction? No, we didn’t have camera handy…Water heater warranty? Um, dog ate it……While medical records, the last bastion of non-digital era, are falling fast, our industry is still holding. My bet is that 10 years from now, house with the record will be more valuable than the exact same house next door without the record ….. even if the record showed flood.
Most of the people in the industry already lost hope. They learned not to expect any better. Most of the tech people looking at our industry say: “It’s too messy. Each one of you does things a bit differently and is ready to fight to prove that his way is the only way. There is no pattern here, it’s unsolvable.”
We deserve better! It is improvable! Don’t you agree?