Thoughts on construction law from Christopher G. Hill, Virginia construction lawyer, LEED AP, mediator, and member of the Virginia Legal Elite in Construction Law

The Achilles Heel of the “Super O”

Rob Mathewson, GeedraFor this week’s Guest Post Friday here at Musings, we welcome back Rob Mathewson (@geedrarob) of Geedra. Rob has spent twenty years in sales and marketing management roles with experience in industrial, consumer and construction markets. Rob believes the construction industry is ripe for innovation, based on its massive size, yet low productivity. Even with such inefficiencies, a building still rises from the ground. Rob’s goal with Geedra is to leverage technology to increase transparency and communication so that projects can be completed with less risk, effort and cost. Prior to founding Geedra, Rob was the Chief Marketing Officer for Construction Documentation Services, where he was responsible for sales, marketing and business development. He spent 15 years in the chemical distribution business, including eleven years as the Northwest Branch Manager of a $50 million distributor. Rob was the founder and CEO for On The Spot Games, a board game startup.

I LOVE construction operations directors (“Super O’s”). They live for creating systems that enable their organizations to deliver hundreds of millions of dollars in construction projects each year. If you are ever lucky enough to get one of them to look away from the daily hum of their operations and get him talking about the systems he’s built, you get the sense that there is nothing that can’t be broken down into a series of repeatable steps that deliver predictable results. Well, almost nothing.

It’s my unenviable task to engage these gentlemen* in a discussion about their systems for collecting and organizing their construction photos. As Chris and I have discussed before, photos are a critical component of construction documentation. The Super O’s know this better than anyone. So, they craft meticulous file folder systems and procedures for the proper storage of project photos. A photo filed away using a Super O’s system should be as easy to find when it’s 12 months old as it is when it’s 12 minutes old. That is, assuming the individual who took the photo followed the system. Hmmm, did I say assume?

That assumption is the problem. Experience shows that, in the heat of the day-to-day construction battle, individuals don’t follow filing systems uniformly. Sometimes they’re distracted; sometimes they make what seem like obvious interpretations. But in the end many critical photos get misfiled and the best systems in the world can’t bring them back. Unlike a misfiled document, there is no such thing as a global keyword search for a missing photo. Once that photo is missing, finding it is akin to finding a needle in a haystack.

*My apologies if you are a lady in this position, because if so, I haven’t found one of you yet. But I keep looking!

Rob and I welcome your comments below. Please subscribe to keep up with this and other Guest Post Fridays at Construction Law Musings.

The Achilles Heel of the “Super O”
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