Tuesday, October 15, 2013

When did Atlas Shrugged become the "How to Manual" for the US Government?

Since launching Collaborative Construction in 2007 I've worked hard to develop integrated legal instruments that support building information modeling (BIM) on the one hand lean construction processes enabled by integrated project delivery (IPD) on the other.  I've presented hundreds of workshops throughout the US, Canada and Europe and I've scheduled and conducted dozens of high level meetings with public and private decision makers.  I've explained the benefits of BIM and IPD to those decision makers in compelling detail.  And through tenacious efforts I've won some great work.  But far too often precious little progress was made in either the public or the private sector.

On reason for the lack of progress is that the built industry is comfortable with its wasteful and inefficient ways.  Few want to make the effort to change and those who do investigate the issue often realize their entire business model is premised on waste and inefficiency and they see no reason to revamp that model.  In other words, too many companies - and individuals within those companies - get paid to massage waste and inefficiency and, therefore, have no interest in getting paid for adding value.  Adding value is harder, requires more effort and, importantly, requires significant change.  If there's one thing those feeding off the teat of waste and inefficiency want to avoid its change that involves payment for delivering value rather than managing waste.

The foregoing is par for the course though.  Collaborative Construction, in conjunction with other business partners, has developed a variety of tools for implementing change and real success can be had when the owner and other key team members buy in and champion change.  In short we can address fear of change.

Corruption and cronyism, however, is much harder to tackle.

The one recurring theme that vexed me in my journey over the past 7 years has been the flat out refusal by public and private decision makers to pull the trigger on a process that would eliminate waste and inefficiency in so much of the planning, design, construction, operations and maintenance of facilities and infrastructure.  Lip service was paid to the savings - both in planning, design and construction and over the life cycle of the project - but in far too many instances the decision makers refused to move forward with BIM and IPD.  Frustrated, I began to corner individuals and press them, asking, "Why not?"

The answer was - and is - disturbing.  

Public sector decision makers waffled and beat around the bush, but often fell back on the canard that the  "the procurement process is complex and it will take a long time to get Collaborative Construction approved as a vendor, etc." or some variation on that theme.  What they didn't come right out and say was the bribes are required.

By contrast, the private sector clients were a bit more blunt and their answers a bit more revealing.  Decision makers at large private companies patiently explained to me that now is not the time to invest in new facilities or infrastructure and or new business models related to BIM and IPD.  When I asked why I was advised the companies had determined their money would be better spent on lobbyists in Washington D.C. or in a state capital.  In essence what these people were telling me was that Washington D.C. was becoming "The Capitol" depicted in the Hunger Games.

Reluctant to accept this reality I have continued pressing forward, arguing for reduced waste and increased efficiency.  Sadly, the article excerpted below drives home the point that Washington D.C. has essentially adopted Atlas Shrugged as a how to manual.

The biggest problem with Healthcare.gov seems simple enough: It was built by people who are apparently far more familiar with government cronyism than they are with IT.
That's one of the insights that can be gleaned from the work done by the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that focuses on government transparency. In a report filed this past week, the group examined why the system broke as horribly as it did: The contracts awarded to those who built it were, by and large, existing government contractors with "deep political pockets."

As frustrating as the foregoing is, there are still great opportunities in the built environment for champions of change and those more interested in delivering value than managing waste and inefficiency.  Here at Collaborative Construction we continue to press forward with initiatives like the Smart Built Cultures Series that raise awareness of BIM and IPD and to hew a path through the procurement thickets blocking the industry's path to efficiency and productivity.

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV

Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446

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1 comment:

Steel Buildings Ventura said...

Nice one! I like the outfit of the characters. Wish i could do the same thing too but im not that techie.i like the outfit of “from farmer to warden”.. really interesting