The MEP Force 2021 Roundtable participants for this session were Tauhira Ali, Justin Saeheng, Nathan Wood, and Trent Leinenbach.
The participants discussed such diverse topics as:
- creating opportunities to figure out what people are good at;
- becoming advocates for your teams;
- establishing install rate values in the project model;
- true valuation of an installed element;
- the need for more VDC-trained journeymen to be ready when contractors make the switch;
- clear data collection from previous job performance;
- confidence in estimates;
- better takeoffs and “parametric takeoffs.”
A common theme of the discussion was that better communication is needed on all jobs, as well as more trust. To emphasize how important this has become, Justin added one of today’s popular sayings, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”
Following is some advice the participants had for people in the MEP industry in light of the new normal:
Tauhira: Focus. Check in with your teams upstream and downstream. It only works together for good when we do that. She added, “Everyone is exhausted. The more you check in, the better off your teams are. We need to be more resilient and compassionate.”
Justin: Maintain. “It’s a fluid environment, and staying fluid is important. Meet your business and your personal needs. Don’t burn yourself out.” He added, “Be intentional with the work you’re doing and your relationships.” He summarized that this will bring a better mindset and better productivity.
Trent: Be ok with change. “We all have to accept that change is going to happen. Change needs to happen to move things forward.” He pointed out that getting into comfort zones over the years has not been good for contractors on the whole. So these changes we’re going through are ultimately beneficial to the industry.
Nathan: It comes down to people; it’s a people business. Be willing to say, “Honestly, I can’t solve that.” Not everything is a tech issue, and it’s ok to be a professional amateur. Honestly communicate as much as you can, and empathize with people in the field. All sides need to understand why something is done a certain way. He also pointed out that effective communication will look different in the future. He summarized the discussion with another popular saying, “We’re in this boat together.”