Sometimes the best part of being in the condo development business is actually getting on site. Okay – often the best part.
Today was one of those days. And it’s beyond “often”… it’s always, that you walk away with a tremendous appreciation, respect and pride, for all of the effort that your on site teams put in. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. The coordination, cooperation, and communication that goes into “building a building” is unprecedented and as a result, there’s a camaraderie that’s tough to match. I challenge anyone to do so. (Firefighters exempt, of course.)
In just a couple of hours, you can witness a multitude of acts on a construction site that make you proud to be a part of something bigger than yourself, as is often said.
Here are just a few that I caught a glimpse of this morning.
Continued Commitment. Senior Site Superintendents have an expected time-frame on site. Generally when a super hits a stage of post occupancy, they can be transitioned to another site, as had been the case in this particular community. It was a pleasant surprise to see the Sr. Site Super, whom I thought was no longer there, as I walked into the construction trailer. I was curious too, nonetheless, as it was my understanding that he was now working in another site in another area of the city. Reason being? He was there for a meeting with a civil consultant for an inspection of site services connection to the municipality roadway. Even though he was currently working on another site in another area of the city, he remained the one that was the most familiar with the site since it’s infancy, and so he returned to facilitate the meeting. Just like a construction day doesn’t often have a clearly defined start and finish (“hour” and minute “wise”), neither does the duration of a position of this magnitude. There’s no hard stop. Your job doesn’t necessarily come to an end once you reposition to another site. There’s a willingness and a commitment to continue to help and take care of something that you’ve been so intimate with. In fact, I also learned that goodbyes to a place that you’ve helped shape and create for over four years, can almost be tearful.
Self Care = Site Care. Of course, the blue sky and bright sun today led to the discussion on how beautiful the weather was. All were in agreement, this was a great day… particularly in comparison with two days ago, when Toronto broke a heat record set in 1969.
With near heat exhaustion of some of the team “in the pit”, despite cooling stations and additional efforts, the team is constantly encouraging one another to drink water, drink water, drink water. There is NO selfishness in a construction environment. “Self-care” translates to all encompassing “Site care.” You are so interconnected and reliant on one another, it’s truly “All for one and one for all.” And despite hardships of the physical environment, it’s not all that surprising that construction workers are some of Canada’s happiest employees.
Teamwork. Inside and Out. Not only is there often much problem solving required on a construction site with your own crew, but often also with the many others that contribute to the project. Such as the trades that play such a large part in the creation of a new community. During my visit it turned out that there was a meeting with one of the suppliers of a natural material that was showing some minor distortions in its physical appearance…cause to be determined. There were many possibilities. There were many people involved in the conversation. What there was not however, was any pointing of fingers. What I witnessed was professional adults, having a creative dialogue about troubleshooting and next steps to rectify the issue.
Safety never stops. (Nor does learning.) After a joint health and safety committee meeting finished, I had the pleasure of catching up with one of our Safety Co-ordinators. That was, ahem… after she smiled and told me she’d have to write me up a ticket for wearing a tank top. Huh? I was up to speed and well dressed in my hard hat and steel toes – I wasn’t however up to speed on the no sleeveless shirts or tanks. And that, my friends, was my cue to exit. No detail too small. And safety… never compromised.
Yes, these are things that are seen on a construction site. But I’d be amiss to say that they’re on all or any of them. Like a great building, it starts with a foundation. And it starts with the values that are lived within an organization. We have all of the above. That, I am sure of. I couldn’t walk away prouder this morning seeing a truer example of a team that demonstrates first hand all of the critical skills in the industry to build a building… . teamwork, camaraderie and collaboration. And if that’s what’s described as essential when putting up one building. Imagine what’s required when putting up FOUR.