Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Mediocrity is good enough.

In construction it is amazing what we will accept. Our
industry moves from boom to bust and then back to boom again with unbelievable pace. During boom businesses grow and make profit. In recession businesses cease trading whilst others burn cash, bidding jobs at less than cost to survive.  
We then move into growth again and more companies go out of businesses as costs increase as trades try to recover losses from the past.  
We have very short memories and very quickly forget the pain of recession. During recession we don't invest in the future due to lack of resource and in the boom times we still don't invest as we are too busy making money. 
The same issues are raised periodically as we move across the boom and bust cycle. “We don't train enough apprentices, there is a skills shortage. Trades people are in short supply. We can’t get bricks because we closed the plants” etc etc 
What I find exasperating is that this has been happening for 50 years and we never seem to change anything. We do like to moan about things but never do anything about it. 
If you want to change something you have change something! Doing the same thing will always give you the same outcome. 
The challenge we have is companies are making money again and it is difficult to break the cycle. House builders are making profits in excess of £350 million per year so why would they want to change the system. Their shareholders are more than happy with current returns. 
At Space Group we are doing everything we can to break this cycle and look at different approaches in construction which will allow us to invest in skills and products for the long term. We want to make construction an industry which is exciting and where the best talent wants to be part of it. 
Spacehus is an example of how we can improve outcomes by rethinking the entire design and construction process. The result is a high quality house which costs £80,000 and by offsetting solar energy generation there are no net energy costs. 
The house was designed digitally, so it could be prototyped and tested virtually. We then manufactured the components offsite and assembled onsite site. We minimised preliminaries and waste during construction so that additional value could be invested in the product. 
If we generated a pipeline profit would grow and we could invest in training and continuous improvement of the process and product. 
We can only achieve these outcomes by rethinking the entire construction process from start to finish.  
However we must want to change. From experience I find we have very short memories and much of our industry is happy with the status quo and mediocrity. At Space Group we are not. We will continue to challenge and be disruptive as we believe there is a better way. 

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