3D printing is not the death of construction, we are!




See the problem is not that the construction industry is archaic or 3D printing technology. The fundamentals, which are grounded in science, will never change. Let’s look at the advances over time.

We started with wood, then moved to stone. Now we use concrete and steel. What’s the difference? Not much really. The fundamentals are all exactly the same. A solid foundation, strong walls and then a roof.

Where too from here? Well, in 2000’s we still have a solid foundation, just that we can now dig down further than ever before. This let’s us build higher than ever before, fancier shapes than ever before.

Then this ‘new’ technology came along 3 Dimensional printing of buildings. OMG! Let’s just stop for a second and look at this technology. 3D printers print with conventional construction materials, concrete, polymers, etc. It has a large machine to print with or simply prints smaller modules.

When the Dubai government printed the world’s first office building, and to be clear I am using the term ‘printed’ losely. They used the services of a Chinese company SunWin. Now as the story unfolds, the building was printed in modules, brought to site to be ercted. Which was followed by finishing trades to complete the building. (See links below to reference article and YouTube videos).

Now how is this any different to how we have been building? Its not. Call me a critic, but we are seeing a shift in construction. Why? Because as an industry, we have lost our way. We have broken down our trades so much that we can no longer call tradesmen, ‘Tradesmen.’

We are specialists in our fields. For example, drywall installers (plasterer, setter) once was one trade where one person, fixing (sheeting), taping (setting), sanding, soctia (cornice) install. Guess what, each one of them are now sub-trades. You can call yourself and ‘AND WE’ let people do this, call themselves tradesmen.

It has nothing to do with technology, look at our trends in the last 30years. As business gets tougher and tougher, companies start to niche down, specialize in a small portion of their respective trade.

Where we have failed as an industry, we have highly specialized companies that employ apprentices. That is great for the first year and a half. Now that apprentice is great at one portion of his trade. What happens when they go out into the world as a ‘Tradesmen.’

These poor tradesmen suddenly have a real wake up call. They go out, go to work for another company that specializes in a different section of their trade. The apprentice learned a little of everything will doing his college theory work, but never experienced it in the real world his whole trade.

Here is the problem, the industry just failed him. We just set up another apprentice for failure. We didn’t teach his trade; we gave him an insight into the world of his trade. This is where it all collapses in a heap. This apprentice has now had to learn real quick what he now thinks is his trade ‘by himself’. Now assuming, and I mean assuming he got taught the fundamentals of his trade he may do alright. But what happens when he employs an apprentice?

Now we have a problem. This tradesman, that may or may not be taught the fundamentals is now teaching the next generation of tradesmen. And this has been going on for generation after generation. As business niche’s down, the real victims are the future generations of tradesmen.

When you go back in time, and you only have to go back as far as the 70’s. An apprentice had to do at least 4 years, some trades longer. Now days, you can get a trade certificate in matter of a few years, sometimes quicker. You only have to prove that you ‘know how to’ do something, you don’t even have to show you doing it.

3D printing is not the problem; 3D printing has evolved out of opportunity and leverage of technology. 3D printing buildings don’t have a building built in half the amount of time. Nor does modular buildings result in the building built in half the time.

No, what these new building methods/technologies do, reduce the ‘onsite’ time. Once a wall has been ‘printed,’ it still needs to be finished. Tradesmen are still required to complete finishes, fixtures and everything else.

Modular buildings are the same; they are simply built in a factory, which still takes time. The only difference from the outside, the ‘onsite’ time is reduced. Guess what, everyone in these ‘new’ technologies are marketing their buildings get completed quicker. I dare you to ask what the ‘lead’ time is? Suddenly your onsite time doesn’t look so good; it looks very much the same as a ‘covenantal’ build.

So why the new technology companies? Simple, try finding a good tradesman that knows their entire trade? A tradesman that knows the fundamentals?

They are few and far between, and as the older generations retire, we are screwed. It has nothing to do with technology that is going to disrupt the building industry. Technology is going step in to fill the gap that we have created in our handing down of our trades.

Buildings will always need a foundation, walls, and a roof. Buildings will always need to be maintained over time. There will always be a need for tradesmen. There simply won’t be any tradesmen.

Reference materials

First office building

1- http://newatlas.com/3d-printed-office-dubai-completed/43522/
2- https://youtu.be/a0FNKGTNIhE

Bonn Germany, buildings and construction

Tower crane base, Bonn germany




I spent about a month in Bonn Germany and got to see a fair amount of the city. The city center is relatively small so walking around is a viable option. Being able to walk around was good as my German language speaking skills didn’t exist.

If you would like to find out about the city, I recommend checking out Wikipedia. And there is a good travel website Wikitravel which lists out all the places to visit, like Beethoven’s home.

As for this article, I have written a caption under each photo to give you an insight into my trip to ‘Bonn, Germany.’

Bonn town map
Nothing like a map of the town center to find your way.
tower crane, Bonn, Bonn germany
Bonn tower cranes #1
Tower crane base, Bonn germany
Love the fact that the crane is sitting on timber.
tower crane, Bonn germany
The first of two tower cranes.
mobile crane, tower crane setup
This mobile crane was setting up a tower crane, lifting over the footpath without CLOSING the footpath.
tower crane, rhine river, bonn germany
Installing a tower crane on the Rhine river.
tower crane, rhine river, bonn germany
The completed tower crane on the Rhine river.
awesome jacket, bonn germany
Love this guys jacket.
piling machine, bonn germany, excavations
This piling machine was sitting on the outside of a 2.5 story hole.
Construction at night, Bonn Germany
Construction sites at night have a certain appeal about them.
Basement construction, commercial building, Bonn Germany
I took a few photos in of this basement from over the fence. One guy beeped his horn at me.

The Rhine river through Bonn

River rhine statues, river rhine
Can you find the three men looking out over the river? I didn’t notice them at first.
Rhine river germany, rhine river
The Rhine river in Bonn looking towards Konigswinter forest.
River boat, Rhine river
Riverboat heading up the Rhine river.

The ‘Love Bridge’

Bridge, river rhine
The River Rhine under what I call the ‘Love bridge’.
Love bridge, Bonn germany
The bridge has padlocks all the way along both sides. Each padlock is engraved with dates and who loves who.
Love bridge, bonn germany
It is a little romantic seeing all the padlocks along the bridge.
Love bridge bonn germany
Some more padlocks on the ‘Love Bridge’. I wonder if the love is still there between the lovers?
Bridge, Bonn germany
The ‘Love Bridge’ or as my friends called it the ‘Green Bridge’ in all its glory.

Cathedral that calls Bonn home

Bonn's Cathedral, Church Bonn germany
Bonn’s Cathedral. I have no idea of its name. Compared to other cities I have visited, this one is a little underwhelming.
Bonn Cathedral, Germany
Bonn’s Cathedral side building. Wait till you see the heads that go with this building.
Bonn Cathedral at night, Bonn Cathedral
Bonn’s Cathedral by night. I think that it looks better personally.
Castle in Bonn
I am guessing this has been left as more as a monument than anything else.

Bonn’s Christmas markets 2017

Bonn Chrsitmas markets, xmas markets germany
Bonn’s Christmas markets had so much ‘Wurst’ it wasn’t funny.
Bonn xmas markets, Germany Christmas markets
There was always a crowd regardless the day of the week. The weekends were the worsts.
Christmas market stalls, Bonn christmas markets
Even the stalls were crowded. The heads on this one moved to corals.

Some of Bonn’s buildings

Bonn's town hall,
Bonn’s town hall stands out. Even without being told this is the town hall you can tell.
Bonn's parliment building, Bonn's government building
Bonn’s government building. Apparently, this was the old parliament building.
UN Building Bonn, Bonn united nations
UN Building, I took a few photos and was expecting to get arrested.
DHL post tower, Bonn DHL
The DHL post tower building can be seen from pretty much anywhere in Bonn.
DHL post tower rear entry, DHL Bonn Germany
DHL post tower has one of the nicest rear entry’s I have seen. No dodgy fire door here.
Old building in Bonn Germany, Building Bonn Germany
Old school timber building in the middle of the city center.
Modern building, Bonn modern architecture
This is a random modern building. My photos don’t do the building justice.
Old buildings at night, night buildings, bonn germany
The old buildings with a little bit of light shining on them come up a treat.

Sculptures throughout Bonn city.

Bonn Rhine river sculpture, Bonn sculptures
This sculpture when I first saw it, I hated it. It has slowly grown on me.
Twin heads, Sculptured heads, Bonn Germany
The twin heads are out the front of Bonn’s Cathedral. They make for so interesting photos.
Bonn sculptures, sculpture Bonn Germany
This is random if you know what it is please let me know.  I think it’s faces stacked on top of each other??
track track Bonn, railroad bonn germany
I got a kick out seeing this on the way to filming one of my earlier videos. I took so many photos of this piece train track.

Random photos of Bonn Germany

Underground walkway, tunnel, Bonn Germany
When I first walked into this tunnel I thought of ‘Rompa Stompa” the movie. I took some photos as this old man was coming down the stairs behind me. I thought he was talking to me, I can’t be sure cause he was talking in German.
Train line, train power line, Bonn Germany
I just thought this was a cool photo. It’s a train line power pole.
designer hand basin, hand basin, Bonn Germany
I know bathroom photos are dodgy. But that had basin is awesome.
Flowers, plants, Bonn Germany
Something a little different. Flowers in the winter.
Snow Bonn, Germany
Not a lot of snow, but that made my morning seeing it.

 

 

 

How to structure your building contractors website




What is the purpose of a website for building contractors? Well, the best way to relate to your website like it is a 24-hour shop front. A place people can come and take a look around at your services. What work you have done in the past, check out what other customers have to say about you. All without you having to do any customer service work.

Your website is your opportunity to build credibility with potential customers before they call. How many times have you checked a business out online before you have called them?

When looking for businesses on the internet, you are looking for something in particular; you just want to find the information you are after. It could simply be a phone number, or you may want to see if they have a particular product or service. The same with your potential customers. I say, potential customers, as past customers will likely base their decision to use you on their last experience of working with you.

Being a builder or trade contractor, your website doesn’t need to be flashy with all the bells and whistles. All you need is a nice simple easy to follow website.

There are only a few key pages you will need for your website.

  • Homepage
  • Services page
  • About page
  • Contact page
  • Blog (optional)

An optional extra is to include a blog on your website. A blog is like a roll of articles that you can add too over time. A blog gives you an opportunity to write about services in more detail and past projects. It is also a place for you to write about frequently asked questions. By linking to these articles to other pages on your site helps to start to build a relationship with potential customers.

Before we get into what each page contains, there are a couple of sections that remain the same on each page.

Header Section

Website header layout, website header, building contractors website layout
Website header layout

In the header section you have your company name and/or logo your logo. You will have your business phone number and a menu which lists the different pages on your site. The menu usually only lists the main pages, for example, home page, services page, about page and contact page.

Body Section

Website layout, body layout, building contractors website layout
Website page body layout

The body section is where you place all the content (content is images and text) that is relevant to that page. In the text, it is always good to link to other pages on your website. Linking makes it easy for people to move around your website while keeping engaged in whatever caught their attention.

Footer Section

Website layout, footer layout, building contractors website layout
Website footer layout

The footer is the very bottom of the page; here you have your copyright statement, links to pages (optional, but recommended) and your business phone number. It is also good if you are not linking pages at the bottom of your website to still have a link to your contact page. You can also include links to your social media accounts.

What should each page contain?

Homepage

Your homepage is where you introduce your business.

  • Header section (top of the page)
  • Body section (middle of the page)
    • A couple of images whether this is your team or a past project photo
    • Some text about your company &/or services however this is not always necessary
  • Footer section (bottom of the page)

Services page

This is where mention the services that you offer.  For example, you might be a plumber that only does maintenance work.

  • Header section (top of the page)
  • Body section (middle of the page)
  • List of services
    • Each service to have a paragraph or two about what you do with an image
    • Each service listed could link to a separate page that goes into detail about it, and you could include photos relating to that service.
  • Footer section (bottom of the page)

About us page

This is where you talk about your company.

  • Header section (top of the page)
  • Body section (middle of the page)
  • Image or two of you &/or your team
    • Text about your company
      • Who you are
      • How you started in construction
      • Why you started your company
      • Any credentials, media mentions like TV, etc.
  • Footer section (bottom of the page)

Contact us page

Simply where you list all your contact details.

  • Header section (top of the page)
  • Body section (middle of the page)
    • Business phone number
    • Email address
    • Social media links
    • Contact form (optional)
  • Footer section (bottom of the page)

Blog

Where you write articles that are relevant to your business and services.

  • Header section (top of the page)
  • Body section (middle of the page)
    • List of articles/posts that you have written
    • Articles or blog posts ideas
      • Past projects
      • Services you offer
      • Frequently asked questions
  • Footer section (bottom of the page)

Your website doesn’t necessarily have to be laid out correctly as I have mentioned, your options are endless. But keeping it simple and covering the very basic points above, you are giving your potential customers an opportunity to get to know you.

We all know that when we instil confidence in potential clients that we are likely to win their next project. By having a website, you are creating a good foundation for you to build their confidence.

What is online content / marketing? Is this relevant?




First I am going to make a statement that may or may not upset a few people. ‘Online marketing’ is the same thing as ‘online content.’ That is anything that can be found by a Google or any internet search.

What is online content?

So what do I mean by online content? Online content is simply anything that you or anyone posts on the internet. Whether it is on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc.), your website, YouTube or any paid advertising on the internet.

How is that online marketing?

Online content, online marketingEasy, Google your name, throw your name in any social media network. Watch what happens. What you see is your online content, yep that is you and your business. I hope good things popped up on your screen.

Whether you like it or not, what you saw is your online content, your online ‘marketing.’ Because if you saw all that, so did all your customers. Just to be clear, it doesn’t matter whether you put that information up there or not. The fact that the content is there to be found makes that marketing. If you did put that information online, great, you have control over that piece of content or information. If you didn’t put that content online, you need to take notice. Because again your customers / potential customers just saw that information and you DO NOT have control over that content.

As you can imagine, all of this becomes very real and very relevant. Where the biggest impact lies is with your potential clients. The reason for this, if you have a happy relationship with previous customers, are more likely to base their decision on their experience of working with you. Their searching online is more likely looking to see what you have been up too since their last project.

Potential Customers

The same as you, your potential customers Google and search for things online. They are comparing you to the next contractor and what they can find out about you. This in of its self is not a problem, especially if you have a good online representation.

Couple a good online presentation with good face to face conversation, you are in a good position.

What you have online whether it is your social media accounts like Instagram or Facebook, is a great opportunity to better position yourself in the market. By putting in a little time, you can improve the confidence that you leave with your customers when they find you on the internet.

Kathmandu & Pokhara commercial construction

Pokhara construction, Nepal construction, commercial construction




Commercial construction in Nepal, in particular in Kathmandu & Pokhara is not that much different to that of Australia, well not at a fundamental level. All buildings start at the foundations, then the structure (framing) is built, and finally coming back down finishing the outside.

The building structures in Kathmandu & Pokhara are predominately concrete. The concrete structures are constructed the same as the rest of the world. There is steel reinforcing, formwork and so on, but there is where the difference start to show up. The biggest difference that stands out is the scaffolding.

From what I saw, there are some very real differences in the scaffolding between that of a first world country and Nepal. First thing is how bare the scaffolding structures are left once erected. Australia has restrict rules on scaffolding, for example, minimum working platform widths. Well as you can see in the below pictures places to work are tiny, if they exist at all.

What was evident as well was how scaffolding doesn’t seem to exist until the very last moment. You can see this in a few of the photos. Please enjoy the pictures and leave your comments below.

Kathmandu construction, concrete column reinforcing, nepal construction
Concrete column reinforcing placement. Would you join this guy standing in the column.
Concrete stair construction, kathmandu construction, nepal construction
Concrete stair construction in Kathmandu. Pretty much the same as every where else.
Pokhara construction, Nepal construction, commercial construction, commercial scaffolding
Regardless of how many floors, scaffolding in Nepal is bare.
Commercial scaffolding, kathmandu construction, nepal construction
Scaffolding in Kathmandu looks awefully bare compared to home.
Commercial construction, kathmandu construction, nepal construction
A typical commercial construction in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Commercial construction, kathmandu construction, nepal construction
Another view of a typical commercial construction site in Kathmandu.
Commercial construction, kathmandu construction, nepal construction
Aside from the obivous differences in construction practices, the fundamentals of building are still the same everywhere.
Commercial construction, kathmandu construction, nepal construction, pokhara construction
I love the way the middle floor ceiling is completed before any external walls have been built.
Pokhara construction, Nepal construction, commercial construction
This building in Pokhara, Nepal simply captured my attention.