June 8, 2022

Changing How to Build with Hal Macomber Part 1

The current state of construction is changing. More and more people are changing how we build. Hal Macomber is a strategic advisor to the AEC Industry for growth, high performance, and helps teams rapidly build new capabilities. He has directly helped te...


The current state of construction is changing. More and more people are changing how we build. Hal Macomber is a strategic advisor to the AEC Industry for growth, high performance, and helps teams rapidly build new capabilities. He has directly helped teams across the whole industry implement change including Lean Construction tools like Last Planner System, Takt Planning, and more for decades. Today he is concerned and hopeful that companies are paying attention to people and environment, social, and governance issues. 

 

Free Takt Resources:

https://www.elevateconstructionist.com/taktbookresources

 

Free Construction Scrum Book Resources

https://constructionscrum.com/downloads 

 

Connect with Hal via 

LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/halmacomber/

 

Connect with Felipe via

Social media at https://thefelipe.bio.link 

Subscribe on YouTube to never miss new videos here: https://rb.gy/q5vaht 

 

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Today’s episode is sponsored by Bosch RefinemySite. It’s a cloud-based construction platform. Bosch uses Lean principles to enable your entire team, from owners to trade contractors – to plan, communicate, document, and execute in real-time. It’s the digital tool that supports the Last Planner System® process and puts it all together in one simple, collaborative ecosystem. Bosch RefinemySite empowers your team, builds trust, creates a culture of responsibility, and enhances communication. Learn more and Try for free at https://www.bosch-refinemysite.us/tryforfree 

 

Today's episode is sponsored by the Lean Construction Institute (LCI). This non-profit organization operates as a catalyst to transform the industry through Lean project delivery using an operating system centered on a common language, fundamental principles, and basic practices. Learn more at https://www.leanconstruction.org 

 

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Transcript

Felipe Engineer  0:00  
Oh my god, it's like magic.

Hal Macomber  0:02  
Yeah, it's something like magic.

Felipe Engineer  0:04  
sounds incredible. And I would say that your life has been so full. What has been interesting.

Hal Macomber  0:10  
Recently, I've been developing a lot of concern about our industry. At the same time, I've got a lot of hope, watching what people who are friends of yours and I are doing, they're exploring the whole people side of, of the construction industry and in a serious way, that gives me a lot of hope. People like Jessie and Jan and Adam Hodes, and, and there's many others that are paying attention to this in a serious way. But on the side over I'm concerned is our friend Cynthia Sol says the planet's on fire. And we act like that's not the case, we've got a lot of work to do to address sustainability concerns and resiliency concerns, everything from schools that are inappropriate places for, for children to be given the the HVAC systems and two bridges that are being inspected, and as their bridges in the Massachusetts are being inspected monthly, because they're that close to failure. And that's a state that has money. You know, imagine other states that don't have money, there's so much work to do, we're at a time where four, I think ANR reported this sometime this past month, than five for every five people that are leaving industry, one person is coming into it. And we don't have, we don't have enough people today to do the projects. Intel's paying, and Facebook, in New Mexico, they're paying $4 An hour bonuses for people to stay on their jobs. And he's like, stay with us until the job is over, don't go moving, and you'll get an extra $4 for all the time that you've been here. Imagine what that's doing in the economy. You know, the upset that that's going to be and then Intel announced $20 billion investment in Columbus, Ohio, the biggest chip fab on the planet is what they said this week. Like, where are those people coming from? And that's work that requires the best of construction workers to build a fab it is. I mean, these people, they really do know their jobs.

Felipe Engineer  2:18  
One of my good mentors, Brian worked at fab for a long time in the US and abroad. And he told me it's a two step place where when something the wrong chemicals mix, you take two steps, you're dead. It's very dangerous work. Very precise work. Yeah. So you gotta be on your A game for sure.

Hal Macomber  2:38  
As is the construction of the facility, it's very precise work. And as you're talking nanometers, in terms of the the etching for the for the circuits, it's the you can't have any vibration. So these things are built these fabs are built in ways that nothing we don't build anything else that way people are excited about building data centers. Yeah, okay, I get it. But it is nothing like these these food processing plants and and advanced manufacturing, biopharmaceutical all that stuff. And then there's the rest of them, then there's infrastructure that needs attention, you know, one to $1 trillion i From what I understand. The current estimate is going to take 40 trillion. So this is a down payment. I mean, we're not going to get to 2050 and be at only one and a half degrees centigrade over warming right. We're at 1.1. And look right now look what's happening. All the modeling that was done on on climate. It was optimistic.

Sponsors  3:39  
Welcome to The EBFC Show, the easier, better, for construction podcast. I'm your host Felipe Engineer Manriquez. This show is all about the business of construction. Today's episode is sponsored by Bosh RefineMySite is a cloud based construction collaboration platform that applies Lean principles to enable your entire team to plan, communicate and execute in real time. It's the digital tool that works in tandem with your last planner system process and puts it all together in one simple, collaborative ecosystem. This easy to use platform is available in English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and French and can be used on desktops, tablet and mobile devices. According to Spencer Easton, scheduling manager at Oakland construction, refined my site in my opinion, is the best cleanest tool on the market for the last time. Here's what our users have to say. We've looked at three other digital scheduling platforms and none compared to the straightforward approach refund my site takes from milestone planning all the way down to daily tasks. This program gives every general contractor and their trade partners meaningful collaboration, accountability and KPIs. Registered today to try refine my site for free for 60 days. Today's show is also sponsored by the Lean construction Institute. LCI is working to lead the building industry and transforming its practices and culture. Its vision is to create a healthy and thriving industry that delivers outstanding project outcomes every time for everyone. Check the show notes for more information. Now, to the show.  

Felipe Engineer  5:27  
Welcome to the show hell makeover Hal. It is my honor and pleasure to have you on the show. You are a giant among people leading the industry in Lean yesteryear. And currently today, you're a mentor to many of the people that I look up to, and I do have nothing but respect and admiration for the work that you do. I always want to thank you right out the gate Hill for all your contributions to, to spreading the good word. In the early days, when I first started studying lean hill, there wasn't a lot of places to go, I couldn't go to like Wikipedia, in the early days of my starting to study, lean and find anything. I mean, nothing. And thankfully, your work and lean project consulting with other people like Kristin Hill, you guys republishing papers, and getting the word out on these alternatives to how we can actually build things. And you significantly impact and improved how I built in my career. So thank you, again, on behalf of so many people that don't even know the influence you've had, how please tell the good people, The EBFC Show a little bit about yourself. 

Hal Macomber  6:29  
I've had two, two big careers, a 20 year career in manufacturing, mostly in the computer industry. And with that some time in software. I worked for both Digital Equipment Corporation and IBM, there's not a lot of people that that got to do that. And that's where I learned about Wayne, I was digital sent about four or five groups of 24 people to Japan, but before to study at the Japan union of scientists and engineers, I was in I think, the third cohort. And but to do that you had five, five months of study prior to that. And it was at the level of grad school kind of work that we were doing it at DEC. Two in preparation for three weeks that we're going to spend. In Japan, I got to go back a second time, there was a quid pro quo, that the companies that we got to visit a lot of firms while we were there, and they, we all came back with assignments. And they said yeah, we want to see the work product from all the assignments that these people have. And they picked me to go back and show the work that I that I had done. And I got to spend more time another two and a half weeks in Japan. Then through something kind of serendipitous I ended up in in Switzerland for ABB and and then I found my way to the construction industry. One of the things I learned from Fernando Flores, he Do you know who he is, or

Felipe Engineer  8:16  
oh, I've heard of him from IRIS told me that he's still active in Berkeley area, and that he's somebody I need to talk to for sure.

Hal Macomber  8:25  
And he'll and you'll love talking to him. So Fernando was a teacher, and mentor. I hired him to come over into Switzerland and do some work at ABB. I then went to work with them after I left ABB and learned learn to coach and learn to consult. And then I happen but one of the things I learned was I learned about innovation. And there's this little company in Colorado called the Needham company, and they held a winter conference every year for their their clients and their supply chain partners, the trade contractors and their employees, and they wanted to work on innovation. They couldn't get any of the the renowned people at that time. They all declined. They said there's nothing nothing happening in the construction industry by way of innovation. And after saying no a half a dozen times I said yes. And I went and did a three day workshop on innovation. And in the last half hour, not the last half hour plus tutorial two hours or so. Someone complained about like okay, this is all great, but we've got this other problem here. Like we don't treat each other very well. Like we've got plenty of time for our clients but they don't. We don't take care of each other And they asked, Could I fix it? And I said, Well, maybe. So I invented a little game and taught them how to make requests and promises. And it was from there that a whole bunch of work on my part took off from making and securing reliable promises. It was something that in the industry, people were used to taking orders. And not making prompt that like they didn't you didn't have a choice, right? The man on the side, the super who would tell you what that you had to do, and nobody would argue with that person. And so nobody made promises. But you know, it it took a while there was a lot of pushback when I was talking about that I I introduced it to Greg Powell and when Ballard while, during the first few years of LCI, we were one of the name was one of the six sponsors of LCI. And we put up $30,000 A year, six companies to support basically those two to get that that launched. And so we got a lot of time with Greg and Glen, and and I said, yeah, the the secret about the last planner system is the, the promising that goes on. And we were well into it. And they said, This is crazy. No, no, no, it's a it's a planning system planning and control system. It took about five years, and somewhere around 2002, or maybe three, Glenn Bell has started talking about reliable promising, it's like, yes, that's a central aspect of the system.

Felipe Engineer  11:51  
And I've been so lucky to stand on your shoulders, hell and use the standard work from lean construction Institute to develop some, some unique practices that worked, I was working for a large general contractor, and using that standard work and building on a lot of that foundational work that you were a part of. And I saw your fingerprints on it in many different areas. And I gotta tell you, like for people that are listening to this, and you've never heard of last planner system of production controls, what Hal is describing here is really an evolution that came from the early foundational work that Fernando Flores did. I didn't find this out until having coffee with Iris and some other areas.

Hal Macomber  12:34  
It's not exactly right. The work, the foundational work was done by Glen Ballard. And in 9291 92, he made it public in 93. Glen Greg Howell was key in that we didn't meet them less planning system was being used in South America and in oil, refinery, plastics, big, big, heavy construction situations up until around 98. And, and then when we began shifting into general building, and that's when I met him. Well, that's when

Felipe Engineer  13:12  
you had your influence. I mean, if I trace back when I had it, yeah, yeah, you started to influence it. And it changed. Yes. And it's, it's changed again, it's continued to evolve, it's become more of a framework now. And the point I want to make to the audience listening, if if you're just using like what Hal described, where the superintendent just tells people where to be, how much to get done every day, that still happens on the vast majority of project sites, even even now, and 2022. If you're listening to this in the future, it's still very common and typical, but on sites where they use pull planning, or last planner system, in particular, you have something totally different happen. You have people making commitments to each other, and promises and actually being there limiting the work in progress. And most of those projects. And I'll say every project I've ever done it on, we improve the schedule by 20 to 35%. At worst, and at best, we've taken months and months and months off of schedules on jobs that are a year long, two years long or longer. Even on projects that are five years long, we've taken a year off of the project easily. And that's that's the power in those making commitments and promises and making things visual, but can you tell us about your early days when lean wasn't the thing and it was just quality? And you mentioned that you're you're in in Massachusetts getting some diversity training.

Hal Macomber  14:38  
So I was working for Digital Equipment Corporation. I came out of college in 75 went to work for the Bank of Boston in operations research and deck was just exploding and I went to work for them first and logistics and then in production control on had 31 So I was three years into working At digital, I had diversity training. And it was many days long, where everybody in manufacturing went through it. I don't remember about the engineering part of the company what, what their involvement was. But I looked back, I was like, I can't believe that this really happened. The attention that we had at that time on getting women in senior roles in companies and, and, and we had in our plant, we had many women in senior roles. We had people of color in senior roles. This is once I say that's 81. Anyone in, in leadership positions, and my friends would think, you know, I talked to him outside of work and like, he's like, No, this isn't happening. But first, unfortunately, I mean, this is 40 years later, we still don't have enough of this going on,

Felipe Engineer  15:57  
right? This is still a problem,

Hal Macomber  15:58  
a serious problem.

Felipe Engineer  16:01  
It's big time problem. And I mean, we just have current use today. That's been all over Twitter for the last week, the Miami Dolphins coach has brought a lawsuit for now against the NFL for discrimination. And even though it's going to hurt his future prospects of getting a job, he's saying that this is an important enough topic, to ruin his entire career, to get it out there into the ethos so people can start to look at this and deal with this. I want to transition back into construction. How and we talked about ESG ESG is environment. The S stands for social, social, and the G is governance, governance, right? Yeah, environment, social and governance. And I was telling how before, we got together on this call that I been fortunate enough to do some research with the construction industry Institute, in partnership with the University of Houston, and their forward looking future thinking workshops. And we were looking at ESG, in particular. And so we had a series of workshops, there'll be a paper published later this year with the findings of that result. And we found that this is something that is absolutely critical, and worth looking at, like how talked about in the beginning, you know, infrastructure in Massachusetts, for example, bridges being inspected monthly, because they're so unsafe. We've had in the media, here in the United States, some catastrophes with structures multiple times, both in construction and post construction. It's not going away. And like you said, Cynthia rightly said, the planets on fire, how long are we going to ignore it?

Hal Macomber  17:41  
It's a different sort of a different way to to come at being responsible corporate citizens. ESG is about being responsible. Beyond the concern for the shareholder, essentially, I mean, we've got a $1 trillion dollar $1 trillion funding for infrastructure. And the term is used broadly, but we've got significant concerns with infrastructure. From what I've read recently, that's a downpayment. That's a very small downpayment, that we're going to need to spend $40 trillion between now and 2045. there abouts. And today, I mean, construction is not affordable. There's such a shortage of housing, when you even when it gets built, it's already out of the economic viability for the people. And you know, we're talking like in a lot of places, people are using the term workforce housing. And what they mean is, it's affordable for two for a couple that are both employed in good jobs like a nurse and an electrician, generally, well paid professions. And then we have to build special for that group. That's the workforce suddenly, what about affordable we, there's nothing, we're not gaming, getting anything close to that.

Felipe Engineer  19:01  
I'll just throw some numbers at Joe's talking to a friend of mine that used to be an executive in residential housing last night, and he was telling me in the early 2000s, he was in the Atlanta area, I believe, he said they were building something like 8000 homes a month, new construction starts a month and then we had a downturn in the economy. And then that 8000 number went down to 100. So just magnitude, and it just wiped out the whole residential construction area, and the time and then we saw the financial collapse in 2008, with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the housing but what people just now call the housing bubble, but it's like a housing explosion. A nuclear bomb of lending just stopped that also affected commercial construction as well. Many companies burned through their backlogs, and downsized the years preceding that so 2009 2010 2011 got nobody's that survived severely downsized. And the people that were in those companies that were let go from the industry when some executives were using phrases like calling the herd or eliminating people that were not necessarily performing. And those people never came back. And while you were saying it's worth saying two times, because it is so crazy a number you think you're quoting, an a&r article that you read. And for every five people that leave construction today, in 2022 2021, through 2022, only one person comes in, that's a net for people leaving. And so this is a major area of concern. The environment that we live in, is not like some other place. It's like the where the corporations are, and where the people are. We're all in the same system.

Hal Macomber  20:51  
So let's just touch on governance, you brought this up. So how do you understand it from the work that you had with CII?

Felipe Engineer  20:57  
That was so funny, the the ESG, we had the most fun in workshopping in the E and the s. When it came to governance. A lot of people were like, Well, I'm not a corporate executive. So it's not my issue, not my issue. The in the early research, it looked like a lot of people are looking towards leadership to take on this responsibility. And when I say leadership, I'm talking about large corporations, like we would consider companies like the Dow Jones Industrial Average, or the s&p 500, like the top not 500 companies, but like the top companies, fortune 500, fortune 300 companies, large companies, even companies operating, especially those that operate in multiple countries, multinational companies. So the sense in the workshopping is, we were just exploring the topic of governance, people from construction executives down to, you know, directors inside of companies. And the consensus, it seemed to be emerging was that there is a bit of people being out of touch. And then some of the corporate policies and practices don't align with the E and the s. And the governance was supposed to be an attempt to create policies and practices that do take into account the environment, do take into account sustainability and social impact. And even things that we were talking about with diversity, equity and inclusion, the EI, right, and those and some of the large corporations, those things are sometimes just words on a page. And they have the policies for equal opportunity employment, but the practices don't match. And so there's become like this, us versus them. And in the governance piece, people are like nearly rebelling. I mean, there's been in the media in the last two years, we've looked at headlines as well, there have been some CEOs of very prominent companies that have done some things. And there's been social media backlash, and people have been forced to resign from their positions. And so that's the type of stuff that is came out of the governance. And the the consensus was that the shareholders, the board members, and the executive officers of these companies need to take a hard look in the mirror. And I'm super simplifying like the research, apologies, University of Houston. But this is just from every from over six months ago. And these companies that we're looking at in the governance part, people are very much you can see the full the hidden philosophies at some of these organizations are win lose, and the pie, the economic pie is fixed. And in order for the company a to benefit. It has to be at the expense of either other companies that they're competing against, or has to be the expense of the environments and the communities in which they work. And that's that's a win lose philosophy. Right? Totally different from win win. And so it's a I don't remember the we got to a solution on the governance part hell, but I'm, I'm open to hear what you think about it.

Hal Macomber  24:14  
So there's a couple things. One is that companies go through the routine of, of thinking, Well, what's their mission, vision and values? Could you name the values of the company? That's right, randomly pick somebody? 

Felipe Engineer  24:30  
Absolutely correct. 

Hal Macomber  24:30  
And in a leadership role, and they can't tell you what it is. Yep. That's a governance problem. It's a governance problem. When you're the people that you employ, are on food stamps, like what is going on with your your, and this is the case $1 $1 stores, the dollar store, I mean, the people they have there, they aren't paid very much. They're on food stamps. Is that right? We've got some use the term system, I've, I've been bringing systems thinking to the industry from day one that I was in the industry. And that's what I studied. When I was in college. It had a different name than it was called operations research. But yeah, the system is perfectly designed to give us the results we're getting, we have got to change the design at a systems level, not just layer on a new policy, not just say, Okay, have governance. It's no, no, the families need to be doing well. Not just an employee, you know, is not just one employee, the kind of action that Digital Equipment Corporation took with their diversity training it. Yes, it was taking a larger responsibility for what was going on in the world. And that was 40 years ago, we don't have that kind of thing. Now, good news is the the the Business Roundtable, Jamie Dimon from from Chase, he said, Yeah, we need to, it's more than the bottom line, it's more than taking care of shareholders, we have to take care of more broadly, stakeholders. And that includes, you've got to take care of your supply chain. companies like Toyota aren't having these kinds of problems. They don't have a like they're taking care of, of the environment, they're taking care of sustainability, they were taking care of governance, they, they broadly take care of their shareholders and their stakeholders. And they always have,

Felipe Engineer  26:40  
I just want to contrast a couple of numbers that are held for people to understand like how big of a problem this is, in the United States of America, 2021 numbers, I'm just using those over 40 million Americans are on food stamps, which means that they're at risk of not having food. And countless other cities are reporting, homeless populations are doubling in size in just the last five years. And that's a significant number of our population, that's almost 15% of Americans don't make enough money, so that they can have food, and they're relying on subsidies from the government. That's a real problem that they call it the working poor. And the other thing that you're you're mentioning, howls you're talking about this, you know, you've there's been a movement for over 40 years of some companies doing pockets of this improvement. And in the construction industry, just on average, large commercial construction companies, companies with a billion dollar backlog where they put in a billion dollars worth of work a year, which is, you look at the E and R list, it's basically any company that's on that list is somewhere around that level. So at least 100 Different general contractors, and then trade partners. Most of those companies have attrition rates or employee turnover rates at 25% or greater. And a stark contrast, like warehouse said Toyota doesn't have that problem. He's absolutely right. At Toyota, the attrition rate is less than 1%. It's such a tiny number, that people that go to work there, make an entire career there and have a good life there. And it's just, we don't even understand that we can't even comprehend that, like, um, I've seen the stats, and I've got friends that currently work at Toyota. And I can tell you people, they're not going anywhere. They like working there. And they feel well taken care of. And they've contrasted that they've left construction, and gone to work for an automobile company. And they're never coming back to construction. I have more than a handful of friends that have that have done that. And that's been the case. So just to put some color on what you're saying how keep going. Thank you.

Hal Macomber  28:58  
There are firms that in retail that follow that lead Walmart now pays, I think they're just now above $15 for starting wage and the you can go to school, they'll pay for you going to school. So come to Walmart and and get an education. Target has done something similar. There's a lot of stories where people are paying more, but it's like Starbucks is doing it yet. But Starbucks is union people are unionizing at Starbucks. So it's kind of like, that's not enough. There's got to be this great resignation and a great retirement is going on. People are not willing to put up with whatever they have to put up with to earn whether it's good money, or it's not so good money, they're not willing to do it anymore. And that has to change.

Felipe Engineer  29:52  
Absolutely. And this is this is happening to people across different age groups. I know of a story. This was a person I graduated from college last year, went to work for a large commercial construction company. And six days later quit and said at the exit interview, this is not for me, this is not what I expected. I'm not working in construction, and had no plan. They had no plan to figure out what they were doing next. They just said like, this is not going to work. And then upon further review, the team was mobilized into their in a construction site. There wasn't running water on the site yet. plumbed in, it was just porta potties and handwash stations. And though some of the conditions, which you know, of how you know, yourself, myself, we've been around this business for a while, that was like normal to us, right? People, people coming from like, nice college dorms, or just better conditions are just like, you know, being in civilization, that seems like you're at a, you're at some kind of like wilderness, when you don't have running water. And this is during a pandemic, or we don't have running water, or hot water, in a pandemic, with I mean, this is like things that are real simple. But if you're not paying attention to the working conditions for the people, which a lot of companies don't, you're going to lose people.

Hal Macomber  31:25  
I mean, it's it's an absence of respect, I won't say it's disrespect, because that is active. But it's an absence of respect. Marty Walsh, the, the former mayor of of Boston, and now the labor secretary. He shut down, like really early, he shut down construction work in the city of Boston. It wasn't around March, or whatever, it's eighth or ninth, when others started doing it. It was it was earlier than that. And the CDC had said, you need to have warm water, or hot water to wash your hands. There's no hot water and porta potties in the city of Boston. At that time. In the wintertime, there is no hot water or the summertime, he challenged the city, it's like, yep, when there's hot water to wash the hands, then we can go back to work, say had hot water on site within a couple of weeks. Right? It's, it's they fixed that problem. And, but to think that, and he was, by the way, he was formerly head of the building trades. Alliance. He was the senior guy months, all the collection of trades in the greater Boston area. Like, and for him. It was he spoke a little bit about this in an interview with the Boston Globe, but it was a it was just taking it for granted. So yeah, well, that's the condition on a job site. He was a laborer. That was the that was what he did.

Felipe Engineer  32:56  
So he knew firsthand some of the conditions, people listening course he did. Yeah, if you're listening to this episode, and you've never worked in an active construction project, prior to 2020, this might not be resonating with you conditions have radically changed. If you're just joining construction. Now, the conditions that you're probably walking into are just out of this world better than what it used to be. And I'm not saying that it's better everywhere, right? It's not? Yeah, it's not, there's still a lot of places where just I mean, there's some simple formulas to use for porta potties, you know, just temporary toilet facilities for the construction workers on site that people don't pay attention to. And they let the conditions get out of hand. And we don't allow people spaces to take a break with their food and eat during the day or use the facilities. But and this is this is not something that anyone would tolerate anywhere else in the world. But all the built world that we live in. This is what we subject, you know, this part of the people one out of six people how worldwide works in construction. That's a huge number of people in the world that don't have good working conditions.

Hal Macomber  34:11  
So we're gonna have to do this again Felipe we this is there's way too much to explore here. There's a few things that we need to do. Start we need to stop being alchemists in our of our production systems. Alchemy is not based on on theories proven theory, there is proven theory for production. All projects, production systems need to be designed based on that theory period. We get much more work done, and we get much better performing products. We need to use flow as our improving measure. We need to include the workforce, the people who have their hands on material, who are doing the design work, who are are using tools these people are, they're not doing improvement activities in their own work. The Japanese call that kaizen. But it's through both being doing that being engaged and growing while you're improving, that this workforce is going to get better. And then we need at that takes respect to get that to happen. We need as well to have trust. And the industry is an industry of distrust. If you spend any time with contracts, you understand fully understand that we don't trust people to do what they promised to do, and what they can't. And the what they contract to do. That routinely doesn't happen. So Nick, Fernando Flores spoke at the aglc conference in in 2021. It was a virtual conference, and he was the keynote speaker. And the people go to idlc are about 40% or so them are civil engineers with PhDs. This is not your usual group of people. But this is a group of people who are training the folks who, and when you have a PhD, you're, you're going down generally going down the path of research and or academics. He said, we've got a big trust problem in the industry. And it's at the center of that is that you have no affection for each other. And then He repeated it. Yeah. Yeah, we have no affection for each other. It was stunning. I replayed it and replayed it and talk to friends about that. There are civil engineers, it's like, shrug and like, What the heck is this all about? It's like PhD, like, who the PhD civil engineers having affection with it's, this is not the Fernando was actually speaking. I don't know whether he grasped what the audience really was. But he was speaking at the level of plumbers not having affection for electricians, well, they don't even know each other's name, let alone having affection. So maybe we work on affection. And I think in a really deliberate way we could do this, we'll get those four things that I was talking about before, using sound theory using flow as an improvement measure respecting people to the level that they're involved in, in improving their work and themselves. And trust. Without affection, I don't think we've got a shot at working on any of those things. And the planet. And our future depends on that, though, we've got a crisis that we can, that our that our industry is failing today. And the crisis is only bigger. The that we're kind of stuck in it with this systemic distrust that we have that goes into the cont the way we contract for things, and the way the contracts are written, we are expecting to be screwed over by people who are otherwise be our friends. You know, it's because it's just business, you know. But the most, The striking thing that he said was that we are not going to deal with the issue of trust, until we have affection for each other. It's like, yeah, someplace in here. Early in the conversation, I want to talk about trust and the breakdowns and make that comment about affection. But one of the things I can see, like you and I don't haven't known each other very long. I've known about you for a long time, but and I think it's the same way with me. Right? Right. But immediately we have affection for each other. So it's not like people strangers can't do this. But we don't we haven't designed our system or the prac our everyday practices. So that we do it on a job site. Mostly most people like plumbers and and electricians who work side by side are in and out of the same space adjacent play through the whole project and they don't know each other's names. That's right. It's it we don't have the practice for being affectionate with people around us

Felipe Engineer  39:48  
And the everyday construction project for those you that never had the pleasure or for some of you displeasure working on a construction job. The the environment is set up on a typical project where Are hundreds to in the smaller side dozens of people to a very large large side 1000s of people are working together like hell says like imagine the two more people working in the room that were hell is or two more people working in the room with me. And we are not, by by design going to just naturally talk to each other and get to know each other, we're going to come in and do our work, like very transactionally in the environment, and pass on with as little conversation as necessary. And if something comes up, like if house, you know, installing that doorknob on that closet, and I see a mistake that he's making, the system that is this construction project encourages me not to mention to how the error he's making, but actually to call the general contractor and tell the general contractor that there's could be a problem with how or the more natural thing is just to keep my mouth shut and let the mistake happen without me saying anything.

Hal Macomber  41:00  
So let's get clear about our problem. The industry is problem today, housing is unaffordable, whether it's single family, or it's multi residential, people who are are living in tents or not without tents. That are existing infrastructure, whether it's bridges, or is schools, or roadways, the money has not been there to take care of it. On top of that, we have the challenges of of sustainability, resiliency, and social justice. And I see those three completely intertwined with each other. From a sustainability point of view, we have to switch over from fossil fuels, to raw sustainable energy. Where's the money coming from for that? Where's people coming from? for that? We spoke earlier about the number of people who are leaving, you know, for every five people that are leaving, one person joins that our industry that's in construction and design and architecture and engineering. I don't know what those numbers are. But I know that design firms, they are all looking for people. In fact, there's such a problem. Big companies are being bought just for the because so they can hire. It's called Higher acquisition, higher cause something like that, but we've got it we've got address sustainability, but then we've got to address resiliency, we've good whether it's bridges, that can be washed away, they're otherwise fine, but they weren't designed for, you know, they were designed for what people thought were 100 year events, but are now happening every five years or or wastewater treatment plants, that sure they can withstand a hurricane or maybe even something like other significant other events like tornadoes. But they can't they can't survive the downpours that we're getting in some areas. And so there's all kinds of work that needs to be done, whether it's harbor fronts or or existing in for inland infrastructure, that where are the where's the money and the people coming for that? And I look at all this from a systems thinking perspective I I've been I actually was trained in systems thinking before it was called at 50 years ago in college, which today, I just, I'm kind of flabbergasted that I've got into that situation. But our industry is having Systems Thinking is a new thing in our industry. And yet, it is responsible that there were systems thinkers, long enough ago at MIT to Jay Forrester is a guy that that turned a kind of a general systems thinking approach. And the system was called systems dynamics. And a group of people with that begin looking at limits to growth and specific specifically, and what impact that would have on the environment. And and then they predicted this problem that we have that that we are likely not able to sustain the practices that we have on the planet at one point at above 1.5 degrees Celsius. Unfortunately, they were optimistic because what we're seeing at 1.1 is what we were expecting to see it 1.5 And we're at about 1.1 Higher right now than than where we were historically. So we've got to address this via I have to address it for our industry. at a systems level our industry is broken. We continue to contract in ways that will keep us from doing what needs to be done. We spoke earlier about the 50,000 people that are needed and Phoenix 50,000 construction workers that are needed in Phoenix for their funded infrastructure programs that is not available. And that's just one metropolis that we've, we've got this problem all over. So from a systems thinking perspective, they could make a change, and say, Yeah, we're not going to use the usual contracting procurement approaches that we've been, we've been historically taking, we could do something that's more like they're doing in the UK. And in Australia, they call it a licensing. Essentially, it is having very long term contracts with a IDIQ, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity approach to contracting, and there's just going to be work for 2000 people for six years. And they could contract for that with some civil teams and some building teams and some infrastructure teams. And then without going through all that contracting, and then all the inspection of all those contracts, right, which is impossible, wherever those resources come from the city, that we do things that can the systems change, we change the system so that we can bring the people to the table, some of the biggest, since we spoke last I, I started talking, thinking about this conversation and talking about it with some of my friends. And I got to the point when I was talking, when we began talking about we're not designing our production system based on proven production, loss, proven theory that's well adopted all over the place, including in the software industry. And if people think of the software industry as a production, she's like, Yeah, what do you think we'd benefit from Google having this continuous production approach, with new features coming on in Chrome and Gmail and, and others, they're not the only ones. But they're, they're very reliable in their production approach. They follow the Four Laws, period. And we're alchemists. He's like, we were making shit up. In the way we produce our production plants together. It's crazy. And we get what we get late projects over budget, people getting injured and worse and dying on our on the projects with good intentions. And it's ironic when someone dies, in a building a hospital, it's like come on, and that unfortunately happens way too often. And we can make that go away. Just design production, the production system to give a reliable result, a result that others are enjoying, whether it's in health care, they're enjoying it, whether it's in software, they're enjoying it throughout project production of, of goods and services, and thankfully, food all conforms to that sound production theory.

Felipe Engineer  48:22  
Very special thanks to my guest. I'm Felipe Engineer Manriquez. The EBFC Show is created by Felipe and produced by passion to build easier and better. Thanks for listening. Stay safe everybody. Let's go build!