What if it was free?

The best part of 2017 saw me actively involved with my team working on the next wave of products we’re launching and getting a better understanding of how we relieve the pain points for many customers.

This generated much discussion where facts, data and issues on building failures we’re rattled off. Yes, these are long in the tooth with many of the horror stories the Australian construction industry keeps hearing, and particular relevance to me is the incidents of leaking homes, dampness issues, major remedial costs in buildings. We were discussing the cost of one prominent player in the construction industry on a national level that is spending up to $1million annually in remedial costs both during and post construction that are directed back to leaks in the building, and this is a home builder. $1 million, let me say it again - $1million. Lots of problems many home buyers are dealing with. This is one (1) major sized building company in one major city, so what is the collective spend across the country on these issues? Not sure how we would stomach the answer.

If I overspend what an average home would need to outlay for long term effective waterproofing I could state a figure of $2k (that is way more than the average home needs to spend) and run that figure over a grossly underspend total cost to build a new home, using a figure of $150k (not much gets built for $150k) then the % spend of having quality waterproofing would be 1.33% on the total construction cost. We have the products, the measures, the processes and the quality out in the market to ensure homes and buildings don’t leak. What we don’t have is the mindset.

This is a building process that really is simple but made complex by humans. If I went back to this building company with their $1 million spend on leaking remedial works and offered the scenario that waterproofing needed for their home building would be absolutely FREE, yes for gratis, at the expense of someone else, what would be done differently? I could guarantee building companies such as this would demand the best product, process and methods available to prevent these leaking home issues, now that it is at someone else’s expense.

The sad fact with this hypothetical scenario is the final spend on proper waterproofing measures taken up by someone else would still equate to approx. 1.3% of the total construction cost. No Einstein is needed to work out that the cost of doing it right for this building company would certainly be far less than the $1million being spent to deal with these issues annually. So why do we continue to build and be happy to deal with these types issues later instead of getting them right at the start.

Like all things in life, it starts with the mindset and when this is programmed wrong we get what we’re experiencing now – a plethora of issues to the point of embarrassment. Basically crap going into the building process equals crap result to the building owner.

If we really want to eliminate these issues then there are levers that can be used to change this mindset in our industry, it’s just that there are no fingers near the activation button to re-program this mindset.