Foresight; the missing link of success

A phrase that is common to building professionals, goes something like this. “Only with experience, comes speed”. And speed comes from working well with others. Working well with others comes from having ‘Foresight’. Due to the practical nature of the business, it is essential that builders have foresight for interaction on the job site. And it is imperative novice builders gain this intuition as early as possible; if they plan on a successful career. Foresight is “being five steps ahead of oneself”. It is working with a crew and instinctively knowing  the next steps not only you will make, but also that of your workmates. It is seeing the need of another builder and providing information or material BEFORE the working partner has a chance to ask. This is where the speed, or efficiency comes into play. And it is ‘What we get paid for’! So, lets give a few examples of ‘foresight’. Many times in residential building, framers pair up. High work is a great example. One person is working on a man-lift or ladder and cannot practically use a Skilsaw. Therefore a second person is on the floor making the cuts. The ‘foresight’ comes to play when the ‘down guy’ makes a series of pre-cuts on building material that would have to be cut anyway. The ‘up guy’ sends information, or ‘numbers’ to the ‘down guy’ and the time to create the finished material is dramatically shortened. The ‘up guy’ receives the stock and installs the material in short order. Meanwhile, the ‘down guy’ is cutting more material to be installed.

For the apprentice or novice, foresight needs to be acquired early. It comes by hearing the orders made by the lead man or contractor; and retaining the information. I understood this at an early age as I always carried a notepad. But even carrying a notepad will not get you ‘foresight’, as the order of tasks is part of the equation. The apprentice must realize the continuity of the job, lest he get confused in the process. My father, a general contractor in room additions and remodeling, had a dozen construction related quotes. “Construction is mostly repetition”. And; “If you don’t make the guy any money, how do you expect him to pay you?”. Foresight!

For the home owner who wants to be an owner-builder: Foresight (or the lack of) will kill you in this business if you’re not equipped to be an owner contractor. Practical example is the construction calendar. Not knowing when different tradesmen or suppliers are ‘on deck’ or ‘in the hole’ can be the difference between success and failure; foresight! This is why you should hire a professional. Many a home owner has been ‘conditioned’ (see my blog title Conditioned to Buy) to think home improvement is so easy anyone can do it. The trouble lurks here in the self confidence of deception. In all cases, the missing link of success in building is ‘foresight’. OK if you have some construction and/or construction management experience, but nothing will replace ‘Foresight’. At least have enough foresight to realize financial disaster.

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