As an industry, we need to start looking into the future of designing buildings that are sustainable energy wise, but also we must look at our material waste factor. It seems that our major concerns have been turning towards energy; how we use it and where it comes from, but no one is paying attention to how we can optimize the way new homes are constructed.
As a component designer, I see plans come across my desk that make no logical sense the way they are designed. Everything is built for aesthetics. There is no thought put into how efficient the building COULD be put together without the aesthetics changing. I feel this is from a lack of communication within the industry and also a lack of education between the trades of the industry. How is an architect going to design efficiently if he is not aware of new and innovative building techniques? We must educate everyone about what we know within our own trade as much as possible. We can no longer assume that people are educating themselves.
Another major factor in this broken system we all call the construction industry is the permit process and how the rules fluctuate between states and counties. To this day, I have no idea how some house plans are accepted and passed through the permit process. As a component designer, we need specific information to accurately design and build the creations that designers and architects draw. Without this basic information, such as roof pitch, overall dimensions, overhang dim, bearing wall locations, etc.. we become the architects. We have to decide how everything will work together, all the while finding ways to build efficiently. Why are the building departments allowing poorly designed structures pass through their hands and given to the industry to figure out? I have come across designs that are not even structurally safe to build the way they are designed, so extra cost in materials is added to the job to make it safe. This is extra cost added into the building process. It then trickles down to the contractor and sub contractors. Extra time and materials are added when they would not have been needed if design efficiency was taken into account in the beginning of the design phase. This all goes back to education. Educating the decision makers of the design before it hits the desks of the people in charge of physically building the structure. We all must do our part to learn why all of this is allowed to go on. It is hurting us all, one way or another.
The world is changing and there is nothing we can do but change with it. If you do not change with it, you will be left behind. We all need to be worried about how we impact this earth and what we can do to do our part. Our industry has a major impact on this world and we need to start acting now, not in 10 years. Our government will eventually realize all homes need to be designed at a higher standard to keep up with population growth and the demand for energy use. Europe and Canada are already making moves in the next 5-8 years to do just that. They are focusing around sustainability and efficiency, forcing the industry to change for the better. This will happen to our country as well. We have to open our eyes now or they will be forced open sooner or later. This is inevitable my friends. So please:
- Ask questions when you do not know the answer. This will save time and money..I promise
- Think efficiency when designing that next home. Aesthetics should never suffer because of this. It will increase everyone’s profit margin and be helpful to the earth as well.
- Think outside the box! Become the pioneer of your trade. Ask why! Why are things done the way they are done? Is there a better way?
- Take Pride and ownership in everything you do. People that are passionate about what they do create a better product or service.
I hope some of you find value in this article. I want people to know that we have a broken system and we need to do something about it. We have to work together to change for the future. We cannot do this alone.