construction in 2020

An industry that needs to evolve

When I discuss witht the previous generaiton that worked their entire life in construction, I still hear stories such as: " nothing has changed!" " We use to work at piecework for X dollar per square foot, now construction costs are 10 times higher, but piecework rates haven't changed". "Kids today aren't as strong as we used to be, we would work 60 hours minimum and if you didn't run with drywall in your hands you weren't considered a real drywaller.  

Today's generation has evolved and their mindset isn't the same at work, but the installation methods haven't changed accordingly. Nowadays we focus a lot more on the health and safety of workers, we try to have a work life balance. Compared to not so long ago, where harnesses were optinal to save time and if we weren't fast enough we were guaranteed to be yelled at! Yelling, that's something that is much less common lately and a good thing too. We discuss instead, we accomodate family situations since most parents both work now, there are more laws and regulations that need to be followed, a lot more paperwork to fill in, labor and material costs have gone up, but developers would like to have the same prices and timeframes as 20 years ago. Clearly, that cannot work....

We need addiitonal ingredients to make it happen. 

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STATISTICS

In Quebec, 132 million hours are worked in construction excluding residential workers annually. The construction industry represents 165 000 workers registered in the union. This represents 2% of the current population. If we bring this statistic to the national level, it represents approximately 750 000 workers. Imagine if we collectively succeed by gaining simply 5 minutes per work day in productivity. This 5 minutes would result in billions of dollar saved. Studies by McKenzie have demonstrated that the consturction industry falls in the innovation ranking below the fishing and hunting industry! We clearly have room for improvement, no? objectives: reduce health and safety hazards, increase productivity of a task on jobsites by at least 3 times and therefore reduce construction costs and finally be easy to use. Being faster while using our tools, it means we offer a solution to the lack of labor as workers will be done before and will be allocated to another task. How can the industry benefit? How can we market it? We were already dreaming of being at a negotiating table with a company like Hilti presenting them our products that have no comparison thus far. When you’ve worked on jobsites with your bare hands, that your back has hurt, that you arrived home tired from working physically all day, that you’ve cut yourself more than once, that you avoided falling from your scaffolding hundreds of times, that you’ve lost count of times where a wire almost got into your eye, you understand the job risks. So now, imagine if there were actual solutions to work faster without any of those risks. There’s no reason to stay in a garage and not have all the workers from this industry benefit from it. In my case, I had previously managed many work accident cases and productivity is also constantly in my mind, so I automatically recognized the value of these innovations.

THE ACCIDENTS

For many years now, it has been repeatedly mentionned that it is imperitive to focus on the health and safety of workers. We nowadays see more working methods with an increased level of safety included. Additional measures are implemented in companies in order to minimize safety hazards. We all know that scarce qualified labor force is a stake that cannot be avoided. Thus, having additional workers on workleave due to an accident isn't helping deliver projects! 7%, the percentage of work accident related to the construction industry in Quebec. That's over 7000 cases declared by the CNESST in 2018. Clearly, there is room for improvement and that's one of the main reasons why Goliath we aim to solve a part of this issue with tools that minimize health and safety hazards.

ONE STEP AT A TIME

I don't expect to revolutionize the industry tomorrow, to see zero accidents in a year, nor to have our tools in every workers tool kit! Baby steps. One worker at a time, one company at a time. After seeing our first prototypes at work, it was clear to me the benefits that it could bring to the industry. What I quickly realized though was that workers education was fundamental before selling many units. Changing the way we have been doing things for years, takes time, effort, education and demonstrations. Change is not intuitive to everyone. We since then have promoted the Goliath way or working with various technics such as live demonstrations, educational videos and client surveys to increase credibility, functionalities and workers comprehensions. Let's work together to show that the industry is not that archaic! 

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