In the construction industry there are a lot of places to get stuck, fall down, face liability. As I entered the profession some 20 years ago I knew of almost none of these opportunities. I was open, ready, and willing to take on any challenge because I did not understand the dangers in front of me. As I have now been in the industry for over 20 years, I find it very easy to follow a simple rule: Fall Hazard, please keep door locked at all times. Is this the right place to be as a “seasoned” professional?
This is the easy path to make sure you make it safely through a day and avoid any damage to yourself or others. However, it limits your ability to take a problem you are facing and flip it to see it a different way. It stops innovation. It limits creativity. It continues the problems that do exist with the way we design and build.
“We have not found a sustainable solution, we simply have found ways to be less bad.”
In a time where our industry and our planet need us to push for better solutions we often find ourselves going back to what we have done in the past. While it was not the perfect solution, it was ok and fits within industry standards so we are safe. As I learn more and more about health impacts of our buildings on occupants and pets I can see our current norms are not sustainable solutions. As our energy appetite continues to increase and the impacts of burning fossil fuels continue to impact us globally, I know there is a better way of doing things. As I continue to find major energy gaps, durability issues, and indoor air quality problems in homes that are 3, 5, 10, 25 years old while doing energy audits I know that falling down is not the most dangerous approach in our industry. Continuing to build homes that impact our health and environment is the most dangerous thing we can do. We need to start searching for the best solution instead of the safest time tested solution. We need to push the envelope of what is considered good design. We continue to search for a better understanding of building science, construction techniques, and product solutions. There is certainly not a perfect solution that I have found so far, but hopefully I can continue to refine our approach to deliver the best possible with the resources available to each of my clients.