aecHive

Construction Brothers Podcast

We’ve saved all this data… Now what? (feat. Jeff Sample)

Jeff Sample is known to many as The Ironman of IT. That title is not metaphorical. He’s an actual “Ironman” athlete and he works in construction-related IT. Jeff has worn many hats within the construction world, but he’s currently the primary host of the ContechCrew podcast and the “Industry Evangelist” for Join, which specializes in helping owners, designers, and contractors improve workflow through increased collaboration.

Information

Jeff is all about data. Well, to be more precise, Jeff is all about information. He wants to see everyone in the construction industry use data to make better decisions. Jeff helps others use building information modeling (BIM) data to work more smoothly and efficiently. As we discussed what he does, these insights were shared:

  • Contractual obligations can cause digital waste. 
  • Our goal should be to encourage collaboration.
  • It’s not data-driven; it’s data-informed. The data is there only to support the human decision-makers. Data leaves room for each party to have their own focus and creative freedom (within reason).
  • The design-bid-build structure creates an adversarial relationship between contractors, which unnecessarily complicates the building process for everyone.
  • Communication is part of our job. We need to help other people make sense of data that means something to us when viewed through the lens of our unique experience.
  • We need to create a climate of collaboration rather than fear of litigation.
  • “Communication is contractual. Collaboration is cultural.” 

The Shift Toward Manufacturing

We spent a good deal of time discussing the shift toward a manufacturing mindset within construction. We agreed that this will bring as many opportunities as it will bring challenges, and we explored these thoughts: 

  • Wise contractors will niche down because increased specialization is on the way.
  • Robotics will assist to an increasing degree, but they will not replace humans for a very long while.
  • Nuance is not going away. Builders and their “amazing minds” will continue to be essential to the construction process. 

Other tidbits and shout-outs in this episode: 

  • Eddie and Jeff are both Adam Grant fans, but Eddie’s fandom has gone further with the hairstyle imitation.
  • Shout-out to Kelly Doyle for his insight that “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast”
  • Props to Pete Dumont for his work toward setting up an OS2.0 for construction so we’re living in a “neighborhood” together 

When handed the megaphone, Jeff explains that we need all parties within the construction industry to work thoughtfully and conscientiously toward making a profit. He explains that our ways of thinking have the ability to drive us into a recession, but he reminds us that construction is critical to the success of our economy and our country. We can employ people. We build the environment. We create the infrastructures. We build the supply chains. If you can look at what the country needs and fulfill that need profitably, you can help this recession be a speed bump. You can be a key component of a vibrant economy.

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