Episode 4: The New Normal: What Does Construction Safety Look Like Post Pandemic?
07/29/2020

Episode 4: The New Normal: What Does Construction Safety Look Like Post Pandemic?

The coronavirus has changed how construction professionals view safety. HammerTech co-founder Brad Tabone and Caliber Safety founder Michael Fackler discuss how companies will need to evolve as they come out of the pandemic — and how they can better prepare for the next safety crisis.

 

Listen to "Ep 04: The New Normal: What Does Construction Safety Look Like Post Pandemic?" on Spreaker.

 

Brad Tabone:

Over the past several months, the Coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed construction. And while many construction pros long to get back to normal, experts say there's no going back, at least not for the foreseeable future. That means companies must figure out how to run projects under all of the virus's new job site demands, including social distancing, health checks and remote work. But while there's no getting back to normal, companies can prepare themselves for the construction landscape we find ourselves in now and into the future. What does that landscape look like today and into the future? Well, let's discuss it.

Today on our podcast, I'm talking with a leading industry consultant who helped me answer that question. I'm your host, Brad Tabone, co-founder and EVP of North America HammerTech. And I'm pleased to be joined today by Michael Fackler, founder of Caliber Safety, a full service safety leadership and management consulting company. Michael is a certified safety professional with over a decade of experience working with companies to improve safety and reduce worker injuries and worker compensation costs. Michael helps lead Optimize, an alliance safety and operational management systems and helps clients implement solutions that will truly contribute to reduce risk, fewer injuries, and in addition to positive long-term growth and sustainability. And that's probably why Michael we chat all the time, and I welcome you to the show.


Michael Fackler:

Thank you. I'm so blushing after that introduction.


Brad Tabone:

That's about as professional you've probably heard me come across to you.


Michael Fackler:

Yeah. That's right.


Brad Tabone:

Before we start talking about the industry's reaction to date and how companies are planning into the future, I'm curious what that looks like in your life at the moment, personally.


Michael Fackler:

Well, I mean, personally, I mean, it's taken getting used to wearing a mask out in public. It feels strange, dealing with that. And I think that's just indicative of what companies are dealing with. As we're starting to open things back up, people are getting back to work, companies are dealing with employees who are scared. How are they managing these new responsibilities? And how are they protecting the safety and health of their workers? Just everything seems to be in flux. It's just an extremely challenging time.


Brad Tabone:

It is. I mean, I remember, at least for myself, the first few weeks having to try and convince my wife to wear a mask or me feel comfortable wearing it. And then I got comfortable wearing it and I am comfortable wearing it outside. But then I've noticed recently that flux bit that you're talking about. I mean, I go for a walk or run down near Venice Beach and I get told nearly every single day, take off your mask. It does nothing. Why are you bothering with your mask? You're trying to do the right thing, and suddenly you get abused as well. So we're in that real kind of just making it up as we kind of go along, people changing their views, their moods, their opinions as the data flows and different opinions come into the mix. So yeah, I think in flux is a perfect way of a discussion.


Michael Fackler:

It's challenging because we're not used to a lot of these things. As things have started to open up, for example, I've been out and I've seen some customers. And you walk up to somebody and you extend your hand out to shake hands. It's just a natural response when you see somebody, and it's hard not to do it. And so it happened several times where we shook hands and like, oh man, we're not supposed to do that. We'll get hand sanitizer.
Or you think about not being able to see somebody's face. That's not natural because over time we know, well, who wears masks? Well, it's people that don't want to be seen. It's the bad guy. All right, now you're in Walmart and everybody's wearing a mask, it just feels awkward. So a lot of these things are new to everybody and there's a lot of people really struggling, and business owners are especially because they've got huge responsibility. And that's what we help companies with is hey, the game has changed. And how can you put a plan in place now to make sure that you're doing all you can.


Brad Tabone:

Couldn't agree more. I mean, last on this bit. I was just talking to a friend at DPI, Joe, who's in Texas, and obviously a few lax rules than California. And he was telling me to come visit in June and we'll go out to a restaurant. And I was like, go out to a restaurant. What? That feels so weird. Or one of my sales guys this week got his first deal. And I drove around to his house and we high five. I was like, we shouldn't have done that. The world's changing. The world's changing.

And so as we dig into this topic, let's talk about the difference you've seen in companies' ability to kind of pivot during the pandemic. What stands out for you? I mean, I've kind of talked about, the tide going out and those companies that have prepared are prepared and those companies that haven't kind of invested in this space, all of the processes, are scrambling. I mean, what are you seeing?


Michael Fackler:

I mean, I think similar to that point, I think that overall, larger contractors have had a much easier time than smaller ones. Their ability to pivot is in large part supported or it's hindered by prior investments in technology and digital infrastructures. Where smaller firms have had fewer resources, they're finding it much harder to adapt. Again with larger firms with a history of investing and integrating technology are having a much easier time.
And so you see GCs leading the way, and that's where we're seeing a lot of, not pushback anxiety, but you see GCs leading the way and trying to share access to resources with their subcontractor partners because they know they need help because again, these smaller firms are really struggling. Their ability to invest in new technologies, the situation is so precarious. As these projects are being shut down or they're being delayed, it's impacting the smaller firms the most. And so you already take a situation where they're facing a huge economic impact, and now you say, okay, I need you to invest in some new technology or you need to adapt your process or adapt your workflows, that's going to increase your project costs. It's a compounding situation. You follow me?


Brad Tabone:

Yeah, no. I mean, we're seeing similar things. We're seeing a lot of interest from kind of the mid-market, whereas previously we probably didn't hear in the United States. Our kind of ideal customer profile was probably more your 400-plus outside of that. Whereas now, because of the new process and the rest of it, we're seeing a lot more of the mid-market companies come in.

And I've been commenting internally when we kind of do our business planning and we look at what does the future look like? And projects drying up and the rest of it and these smaller firms are on much shorter cycle projects. And so the next layer of projects, we're already hearing from the whole bunch of people is they're drying up. Whereas in the larger commercial, like enterprise space, they might have a good pipeline for the next six, 12, 18 months. It might be slightly impacted, but they've still got projects that are going to be going for 12, 24, 36 months. Whereas the the mid-tier firms rely on constant flow and cashflow for one project to flow into the other.
And I guess that leads to the question, which is it seems like the smaller mid-size firms you're talking about are kind of in a catch 22. They need the technology to move forward, but the pandemic has made it difficult for the investment. I mean, what's your advice?

Michael Fackler:

Well, I mean, I think that this COVID-19 has exacerbated what was already some significant issues facing the industry. I mean, the construction industry has largely failed to capitalize on technology relative to other industries. As I was doing some research for this podcast, I came across a study about McKinsey & Company. What I found was McKinsey & Company did a study and they say the construction industry productivity growth has averaged just 1% each year over the past 20 years, compared with 2.8% for other industries. So construction growth and productivity hasn't grown.

And then you look at the construction management association of America in September of 2019, before all this hit, they had confirmed that. They said that only 23% of businesses, of construction firms had a clear digital business vision and strategy, and 54% had no strategy.

And so what this pandemic has done, again, construction firms were already not very productive and not very profitable relative to other industries, the adoption of technology had lagged behind other industries. And so now you force these smaller firms and these mid-size firms into a situation where they have to adapt or change or risk going out of business. It just exposes everything, some of the larger issues in the construction industry.


Brad Tabone:

Totally agree. I mean, I was talking to a strategy advisor in San Fran who kind of advises small construction tech or other kind of tech startups. And just talking about the construction industry as whole, we're talking about this productivity, or the lack of productivity compared to other industries, and the clear lack of, I guess, digital strategies around construction technology. And he made a really, really good point, which was construction is probably one of the only industries ... So he's been advising tech companies for 20, 25 years, and he's got the startups, ex-Tesla, ex-Spacex. So they're pretty smart guys. And the industries that they're working in outside of construction, there is this ability to kind of really want to test software, and if it goes well, then minimum viable product iterate, iterate, iterate, iterate. Where you're saying in construction, because of the risks in construction, due to the costs and the small profit lines, that you basically have to have a product that is finished. It's like zero ones. It either works, or it doesn't. There's nothing kind of in between.

And now we're working with a couple of companies that were probably happy to take it on at 75%, 80%, and then build out to a hundred percent. And I really do think that that's kind of, the industry is finding really small profit lines, and the rest of it makes it hard for companies to take the bet on that, because if it does go wrong and it impedes the project and you're on like 1-3% profit margins, that construction technology and making the investment can also hurt you.

But if you don't make it, then you're also stuck. And so what do you think companies can do to prepare for, at least the way the construction's going to be operating now and into the future? I mean, we've got COVID, we've got the fact that construction technology needs to work straight out of the box, otherwise basically it could harm the profit. I mean, what are you thinking?

 

I think that this COVID-19 has exacerbated what was already some significant issues facing the industry. I mean, the construction industry has largely failed to capitalize on technology relative to other industries.


Michael Fackler:

That's exactly right. So to your point, so there are all kinds of technologies out there that can help companies. The question is, can they take advantage of it? The answer really is, is there's no quick fix.


Brad Tabone:

Correct. I mean, I've been saying exactly the same thing to everybody. There's absolutely no silver bullet. And I feel sorry for the companies that are scrambling a little bit now, because you can make the investment, but again, it's not a silver bullet. You have to make it apply to your company and manage it right.


Michael Fackler:

We already talked about productivity and profitability in construction. And when you look at just the makeup of the industry, nearly 80% of the industry is made up of small and medium sized firms. What are they struggling with? They're struggling with the aging workforce, they can't find qualified people, shallow talent pools. And so it's finding people qualified who know construction and are comfortable enough with technology are becoming harder and harder to find. Again, that problem's only exacerbated by COVID-19.

So, I mean, when you think about, okay, so what can we do to fix it? What's the answer? And again, the answer is, well, there's no quick fix, but I think if we're talking broadly, companies need to invest in their people. So it's almost like when the chips are down, you almost have to double down and you have to invest in people. So you have to look at training. Training is obviously the key to leverage any new technology. So we're in a position now where there will be changes in how construction projects are managed, and technology is going to become an ever bigger part of how we manage projects. You can't avoid it. It's going to happen. But finding people who can leverage those new technologies is going to be key.

And so more and more project managers, superintendents, and foremans as they exit, it's going to be hard to backfill those positions. And so firms are going to be limited by the technology system they could use, simply because they don't have the people who can understand it and use it. And so you had to, in my observation, you have to build relationships with technology providers. I mean guys like you. So companies need to partner up with technology providers and say, hey, what is the plan to develop our people so they can leverage this technology to the fullest? How can we get every bit of value out of this technology?

There is a learning curve. And especially in a situation now where everybody's backs against the wall and you have to find solutions quickly, you have to get pretty comfortable pretty quickly in how we can do this. Again, you have to invest in people. You have to have a plan on how you're going to develop people. And then part of that plan is developing relationships with technology providers.

And then secondly, I mean, this isn't related to technology, but I think everybody supports this, is that supporting local apprenticeship programs. We have to get more people coming into the industry and seeing construction as a viable career path. Construction has to be seen as just a viable career path that people can earn a great living, as opposed to kind of how it's seen now. It's kind of tell somebody you're in construction and somebody is like, oh, wonder what happened to that guy. It's not seen as glamorous as going to college and getting a four-year degree. I know a lot of people in construction, trade guys, guys in the trades, who make a very good living. It's not seen that way by a lot of people, and I think that has to change.


Brad Tabone:

Correct. And I think it's top 10, 20% of companies, it's kind of like they feel like they're not stuck in an archaic industry. They feel like they can work with technology to make themselves more productive. It's not about technology replacing. It's about technology working in conjunction with the person. Like you said, for probably 60 to 80% of the industry, it's a chance now, and aiming to your point, which is build relationship with tech firms. There's no cost involved in building a relationship with a tech firm. I have people reaching out to me that don't even use HammerTech, And they're asking for advice or advice on training programs. I mean, your tech companies or people that have done implementations hundreds of times. They've seen and met every sort of construction worker there is. They've come across every personality on site. They've touched every type of experience.


Back in Australia, I met a guy that said that when he first started his career, he used to dip his pen into an ink pot. And now he's using a tablet. We've come across everybody. And there's no cost involved in reaching out and starting relationships with technology firms. I'm not just saying HammerTech either. I know there's many construction technology firms that I kind of speak to on a regular basis. And it's about kind of just talking to them, seeing what their thoughts are. If you were rolling out X, Y, Z, how would you approach it? You don't have to commit. You can even just ask the questions. I mean, I'm throwing it out there and saying use us a little bit, but use us. We're there to help. And at the same time, we get really, really good insights. We get what are the problems so that we can kind of listen and then respond to that.


It's a symbiotic relationship, and I think that's one thing that everyone always thinks that you have to throw money. You have to throw technology at it, and then technology is going to solve the problem. You've got to crawl. I always say crawl, walk, run. And what I'm saying to a lot of people at the moment is, there needs to be an investment into people rather than technology. Technology is a part of investing into people. There's got to be a need for training up. Because I think we're also seeing, I mean, a bit of flow and a detriment that occurred after the financial crisis nearly a decade ago now. But that created a huge skills gap and shortage. And then you've got people coming out of grads, and they're engineers, and suddenly a year later, they're a foreman and a year later they're a PM or a site manager really, really quickly. And that investment into them over the period that probably their predecessors have been isn't there. So they're not only trying to learn new technology, they're also trying to just learn the ropes of the job sites.


And so I think right now, training more than ever is important for both technology skills, but also just standard construction knowledge and skills around how the job program. Because you've got to merge those two together. Whenever I see a company that is shooting the lights out, it's where they've got the education or the experience on the job site, and they mix that with good experience and training and technology, and then they bring the two together. And I think that's kind of, what's lacking. And if companies are able to do it, even if it's small investment into the people and the rest of, if you make that investment now, I think they're going to be around in 12 or 24 months. I hope everyone's around in 12, 24 months. But I think it's those companies that are going to make investment into their people, which there is a cost associated with it. I think right now you've got to double down, as you said before.


That building of relationships I extend out to anybody. Reach out to your construction technology firms that you're working with today, reach out to us, reach out to you, Michael, and you can point them in directions of different companies for different problems that they've got. And start kind of investing into the people on the training side of things.


Michael Fackler:

And kind of as an aside, I think what COVID-19 is going to do, I think it's going to expose a lot of companies, and it's going to expose their real culture. Because you see companies all the time, they'll say, hey, our employees are our number one asset, and then next thing you know, half of them are getting furlough notices. It's like really? And so I think how people treat their people during this pandemic is going to set the course for the next five, 10 years. Because people aren't going to forget. They will remember investing in people so they can better manage these new responsibilities, provide them tools that make transition easier. People are going to remember that.
To your point, I think that it's not going to be seamless. I think there will be challenges. There will be bumps in the road, but if you communicate with people transparently and you say, hey, we brought this tool on to help us accomplish X, and we need your help and help them see that you're trying to do, as a business owner, you're trying to do whatever you can to support them and give them the tools, it just makes that transition much easier. And I think people will appreciate that.

 

Brad Tabone:

People remember. So whether it's their siblings, it's their children, it's their friends, how people treat each other during this, it is going to be remembered. And that's not saying ... I'm a business owner. I started off HammerTech, one of the founders. It isn't easy in this current climate at all. I can speak on, behalf transparency, ping a business owner through these periods, as you are Michael, it's not easy. You've got many, many people here in the U.S. And in Australia that we're responsible for.

But you really just got to kind of go, what do we stand for? And this is not getting high and mighty. It's just kind of, there may be a case that no matter what you have to make that tough call, that there are some workers that have to get furloughed. I mean, we're lucky enough that we're going through this at the moment and we haven't had to make that choice. And that's been a specific choice that we've made. And there's obviously other things that get impacted, like cash burn and the rest of it. But we're specifically making that call. But there are going to be some construction companies that obviously if their work goes down 50% and they don't have the cashflow to support everybody, that's made some hard decisions. And I'm not going against that.

But I think people have got to kind of ask themselves during this period that if you do have the cash flow, you do have the cash available, you do have the profits available, what is most important to you during this period? Are you a longterm business investing into their people? Or are you going to just put profit ahead of things? And I mean, that's a decision that businesses nee to make at the moment, I think


Michael Fackler:

That's why I was saying, because you've seen the news coming too of applied for PPP funds or whatever, and then turn around and lay their staff off. It's like, no, that's not what you're supposed to be doing with that money.

 

There is a learning curve. And especially in a situation now where everybody's backs against the wall and you have to find solutions quickly, you have to get pretty comfortable pretty quickly in how we can do this. Again, you have to invest in people. You have to have a plan on how you're going to develop people. And then part of that plan is developing relationships with technology providers.


Brad Tabone:

Couldn't agree more. And look, that might be controversial to some of the people listening. We're here to give our opinions. Look, my whole thing is there's going to be many tough decisions that need to be made throughout this period. But I think there is not one worker or person out there if they step back and their company communicates clearly to them why they're making decisions and tough decisions, and those decisions are made with the people actually at the heart of that decision, no matter what the outcome is, at that point in time, I think it's right. I think that people remember where decisions are made where suddenly messaging just changes or where there's messaging and then suddenly the actual action doesn't match up with the messaging. I think that's where people will remember.

I guess, as companies work to address all these areas we're talking about, training, recruiting people, taking advantage of local grants and loan programs, PPP for instance. Everybody, just be aware of the second train of PPP still has lots of money left. So the first train went really, really quickly. Second train still out there. If you haven't gone into it, go into it. It's money out there that is forgivable to support your staff. So plug for the PPP program and the SBA.

But as companies work to address all of those areas, what else can we expect from, I guess, the landscape that we find ourselves in? Some people are calling it the new normal, the next normal. I just like to call it kind of like the landscape that we find ourselves now into the future, because I don't think this landscape is going away. As companies where to address these areas, what else can we expect from, do you think, into the future?


Michael Fackler:

So I think it's going to be a couple of things. One, I think projects will cost more. I think as COVID-19 just throws in so many variables as far as the supply chain, the impact of social distancing on productivity and how many people you can get in any one area on any one job site. So you have extended schedules. That's going to increase the cost of the projects. You have higher risk of project delay. You've got fewer and fewer people getting into the trades. So all that just, I think it's going to just drive up cost. And again, to our earlier point, I think that's just going to increase pressure on those small and medium sized businesses. And the end result of that is that some firms are going to adapt and they'll thrive and others are not. And then they're going to leave the market. And I also think there's going to be a period of consolidation where smaller firms get bought up by larger firms.
So projects are going to cost more. I also think that all this increased scrutiny of how we get work done and comply with all the COVID-19 regulations, it's going to result in projects going to be safer. That's just my opinion. I think that, again, the increased scrutiny on the workplace is going to carry with it some of those ancillary benefits.

The last point, to what you said about modular, I think that you're going to see an increase in offsite construction. You'll have modular construction where you can build stuff inside a controlled environment. It's going to reduce traffic flows on the job site. It's going to allow scheduling flexibility. There's a lot of benefits to that. So that's what I see. So I think projects are going to cost more. I think you're going to see a period of consolidation, but I also think you're going to see safer job sites.


Brad Tabone:

Couldn't agree more throughout. I mean, modular is definitely going to take. I think this is going to be leaning where you can control the space everyone works in. You just use logistics to bring it to site.

I do agree in project costs in the short to medium term being higher. But I think as people actually use this to invest into technology, which they're going to have to, as people to invest into their people, which they're going to have to, and as people move towards perhaps doing more offsite modular work and manufacturing where possible, we're in flux at the moment. So as the least things start to normalize and people get used to them and the workforce gets used to them, I think this is, it's one of those things where I'm not saying kind of good things come out of bad situations, but there is always a silver lining to anything, bad events in human history. And I think one of the things, at least in the construction industry, is it's getting kind of almost a catalyst. You have to do some certain things to be able to kind of respond to the situation we're in at the moment.

But those things are going to play out in the long term to where I actually think lifting productivity. And I think actual productivity and job site costs overall in the medium to longterm will actually come down. But now the next one to two to three years, I couldn't agree more with you, mate.


Michael Fackler:

Yeah. I mean, I think a lot of firms, I think their backs are against the wall. So it's like, I've got to change, I've got to adapt, and I've got to look at what tools are available and what can we do differently in response to this. Because again, a lot of this stuff is going to be pushed down by GCs. And you're already seeing large general contractors go to paperless orientations, go to digital temperature and health checks on job sites, using cameras and facial recognition technology to maintain social distancing, using drone technology to do inspections.

And so smaller firms are going to have to adopt some of this technology, and the COVID-19 is just forcing everybody's hand. We've got to figure out how to do job site inspections without this paper form that we've been using for 15 years. We've got to get away from this Excel spreadsheet that we've been using because what we typically do is we'll print out the daily report, give it to the GC. Well, he don't want it that way anymore. He wants us to email it to him in the system, and we got to figure out how to do that. So it's going to force their hand.


Brad Tabone:

The biggest change that's probably had the impact on me around, it's never going to go back to the old way, I think, and it's nothing even to do with HammerTech, put that out there, is where I'm starting see jobs where you need city or state inspectors to come out and actually inspect things, and they're using three 60 cameras to basically pass that video feed onto the inspectors so they can inspect. And I'm seeing clients do it today. They're moving on to the next phase and they're closing out things in they're meeting fire stuff through the use of cameras and providing the digital data to the inspectors so they can look at it and then make decisions. I mean, that to me is improving efficiency. I mean, it's not having to wait for the inspector's day to come out and have to be onsite, dah, dah, dah, dah.

It's kind of actually therefore forcing how are we going to get through this and keep jobs working, and the industry's working with the inspectors to come up with faster ways and ways that can be done off site. And I guarantee if an inspector can still do a good enough job ... It's always about the quality, obviously. That's why the inspectors are there. And just get fed information and then feed information back in terms of what they got to do before they sign off on it. And they can improve the efficiency of that, like it's going to go backwards, it's not. That's what I'm talking about in the shorter medium term. There may be costs added on as we work out these things. But as we work out these things, I think the cost benefit will be there.


Michael Fackler:

When I was talking about cost, I'm just talking about the uncertainty. If I got a contractor coming in and he's got a crew of 15 and they're all working in one area and one guy comes up with COVID-19, well, that crew may be shut down for 14 days. So I'm saying you're going to have a greater risk of that types of delays that happen, but you also don't know what's going to happen to the supply chain. Our supply of steel and we've got a project going, how do we know that that supply isn't going to be interrupted? So I just think if anybody can tell you that they can know exactly what's going to happen. I'd say they're lying to you.


Brad Tabone:

Touching on your last point there, again, as a kind of an example in my head about why I think I want to hit this point home about why I think in the short term, it's going to be a bit of a cost increase, but in the long term efficiency: material tracking. So at the moment there's a problem, supply chain problems because the old way of tracking stuff with what's going on at the moment means we don't really know where anything is. And so I'm hearing people constantly come to us or do you know anyone that does material tracking Brad? Internationally? So where we can actually start getting a hold on our logistics, a hold on our material transfer and the rest of it.
And I'm recommending products and the rest of it. And again, so previously there might've been 1 or 2% of general contractors that were investing into material tracking. And now there's 20 or 30%. And material tracking allows you to capture data the whole way, allows you to kind of then run machine learning and algorithms over the top of it to make logistics smarter and all the rest of it.

Now, if you've only got 1-2% of the industry using it, the industry as a whole is not going to get productive. If this forces people to go down that route to solve a problem, in two, three years, once you've got 30 or 50% of the industry doing it, or the whole industry doing it, it's just the industry norm. And that's where productivity comes from.


Michael Fackler:

Yeah, no, I mean, I think you make a great point. So it's kind of like, all right, this is all culminating, and how the technology industry responds, I think what you're going to see is you're going to see more and more digital tools being adopted. And as these tools, as the demand for technology grows, so too will the VC flown into construction technology sector. I think that sector is going to continue to grow, and that growth is going to lend itself to more widespread adoption across the industry.

Because again, to your point earlier, there'll be things that come out that maybe you missed the boat. There will be some tools that emerged that really resonate and really have a lot of value, and those are going to blend themselves to be widely adopted. And I think that as these technologies become more widely available and integrated, that in itself is going to create some new challenges. The cyber risk associated with using these tools, and organizations now who maybe before had never, ever considered cyber risk. If I'm a small firm or a medium size construction firm, maybe I've never really considered the cyber risk. But now you've got these people using tablets and tools across projects all over the country. You might want to consider how tight is our cybersecurity? That's with anything. So we solve one problem, but we create another.


Brad Tabone:

I couldn't agree more. It's just like, even today on a job site, COVID is such a huge thing. And so everyone's attention is on COVID. But they're forgetting that a job site is really, really high risk today. And so on the last podcast, Sal from Kane Australia and James from DPR asked the question, are you seeing incident rates go up in other areas because of all the focus? So it's like, we fix one thing and we start getting our processes right for COVID, and then because there are attentions, all focus on that, the other stuff starts slipping. So look, we're in flux, we're always learning. Just needs a little bit of stabilization for some normalization to come through.


Michael Fackler:

I think it all comes with having a plan and working through how we're going to use these technologies and tools and how we're going to do so and remain focused on all the other things that are important to our business. I think successful firms are going to be those who have a formal plan in place, and it's not just shooting from the hip and saying, well, let's go ahead and get X. They've got a strategy around the technology, and they understand how they're going to use it. They've got a plan in place of how they're going to develop their people. And so they can get the most productivity, the most efficiency and the most value out of these tools.

It's easy for somebody to create a checklist for a mobile phone. I could do that myself, and I'm not even a coder. But it's like, how can I then take that data and use it? That takes having a plan for how we're going to utilize these technologies moving forward. And how do we use it to drive decisions? Not just doing it because the GC says so, but we've got a plan because this tool has been shown to provide value in X.


Brad Tabone:

And I mean, I'm telling people at the moment, don't just buy a tool to do a CDC checklist and check in on temperature for the day and do online orientations and stop there because that data can then flow through to so many other things. Come up with a plan. That might be step one. But don't just stop there and look at solutions that stop there because that data can flow through to pre-task planning, that data can flow through to the permitting, that data can flow through to equipment checks, scaffolding checks. I think that plan is the key, Michael. And I guess on that point, I think that's a topic for another day.

As usual, thank you so, so much for sharing your insights about kind of the world we find in today and into the future. And I'm sure our listeners will get a lot out of kind of your insights and the rest of it. And I thank you and everyone for being with us today and throughout this podcast series. And if you haven't heard the other podcasts, it's been three so far. I hope you check it out. Michael, big thank you.

And just to everyone, the series can be found wherever you get your podcasts, like Spotify and at constructiondive.com. Until our next conversation, this is Brad Tabone saying stay safe out there and keep elevating the conversation around construction safety.

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