CONNstruction - Summer 2011 - (Page 7)

newsandviews Restoring Craftsmanship CCIA President Craftsmanship has always been a significant part of the construction industry. It’s often the factor that distinguishes great projects from good ones. Even though it has been a highly regarded aspect of our industry for years, it may be on the decline. Craftsmanship derives from an innate human determination to produce superior results, which is aligned with, but runs much deeper than, workmanship and quality. An intrinsic personal care and drive sets a craftsman apart from the average worker. Craftsmen take their work to heart. They have a certain confidence and pride in their job. They identify with their work and care about the end product. They regard their work as a reflection of their personal character and integrity. They are constantly sharpening their skills. They are always looking to improve their work and the process. They are often experts and teachers of their trade. They leave their signature on the final product. A few years ago, management consultants noticed that the tempering work environment and employee expectations of entitlements, regardless of performance, were eroding craftsmanship. They felt that the old days of discipline, accountability and structure were conducive to the growth of craftsmen, and that a general apathy in the modern workplace was nurturing lackadaisical workers. The consultants believed that Americans were no longer driven to achieve large endeavors and were content with doing small things; there was an erosion of moral values; and money was no longer a motivating factor in a person’s performance. By Donald Shubert Today, craftsmanship is not only suffering from cultural and workplace influences, it is facing significant market forces. In this competitive construction marketplace, speed and cost are a priority. Some companies feel that they don’t have the time or money to invest in craftsmen. To them, craftsmanship is unnecessarily expensive and considered something that is exclusively for luxury items. New prefabricated building materials and lean construction methods are diminishing the role of the craftsman in construction. Innovative technology and precision manufacturing are removing people from the process. Recently, the Construction Users Round Table began encouraging designers and contractors to use more sophisticated methods of prefabrication and modular construction techniques. CURT is seeking to cut time and cost from construction and to complete projects more safely with fewer workers, which will displace craftsmen. Even though there are several forces at work in the industry threatening craftsmanship, conversely, there are new influences in the marketplace increasing the demand for craftsmen. The complexity of new facilities and the push to sustainable construction are driving specialization. Today, workers are receiving more specific training and gaining certifications for the installation of new building products and systems in a variety of applications. The installation of many innovative building products, before standards have been developed, depends on an intrinsic human element beyond typical skill and experience. Here, the craftsman’s value is considerable. I remember the days when construction companies relied on craftsmen in management and the trades to survive in the marketplace. A deep inner pride in one’s work was the hallmark of success across the industry. A company’s reputation and image were a reflection of the craftsmen who worked for it. Whether the role of craftsmanship in construction is diminishing or merely changing remains to be seen. It is hard to imagine construction without it. As you will see in this edition, often it is the personal touch of a craftsman that distinguishes a great project. CONNstruction / Summer 2011 / 7

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CONNstruction - Summer 2011

CONNstruction - Summer 2011
Restoring Craftsmanship
How Hiring Preference Laws Could Impair Quality Craftsmanship
The Disappointing Performance of the NLRB
Specialty Contractors Benefi t from AGC and Vice Versa
New Life for Old Buildings
Maintaining the Tradition
Developing the FutureDeveloping the Future
New Perils for Contractors in the ‘Greening’ of Connecticut
The Associated General Contractors of Connecticut Annual Meeting – February 2011
Senator Richard Blumenthal at CCIA
CONNDOT Paving Conference
Index to Advertisers

CONNstruction - Summer 2011