A paradox is a statement that, despite apparently sound reasoning from true premises, leads to an apparently self-contradictory or logically unacceptable conclusion. A paradox involves contradictory yet interrelated elements that exist simultaneously and persist over time. In the case of the commercial construction bidding process, the statement that has been passed down through generations and seems sound and true is, “If I bid my project, it will yield creativity, motivation, honest pricing, and an efficient schedule.” However, allow me to shed light on the costs of not negotiating with trusted partners that make this statement not only completely false, but detrimental to the future of our industry.

Economics defines a commodity as goods or services that are treated as equivalent with no regard to who produced them. As such, bidding actively attempts to commoditize the process of building. Relationships are abandoned for perceived savings, creativity and craft are exchanged for control. People are devalued and their jobs void of meaning. When commoditizing a project, an Owner essentially strips the soul from everyone involved. The impact of the resultant unhealthy environments, loss of productivity, abandonment of projects, and increase in apathy will undoubtedly reverse the savings gained on day one. After all, why would a worker bring the a-game somewhere it’s not valued? When this happens, change orders start flying and the only way for anyone on the construction side to feel halfway valued is to preserve their dignity. The “team” that never really was. An Owner not well served. Until the day when buildings are completely produced by a factory or 3D printer, there is no place for commoditizing construction.

Additionally, the construction industry is facing a labor shortage. It’s not just happening in major markets - we are feeling that pain here in Denver. Recent media articles discuss the lines our youth are standing in for college juxtaposed against the well-paid job postings in the construction trades that are going unanswered. Why? Freedom. Respect. Meaning. Agency. We define a successful career with these words. Today’s youth know that the construction industry still brims with the hard-bid mentality. They see the lack of fulfillment their grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles had in their construction careers and want none of it! They want to be valued for their creative contributions. They want to work at the top of their capability. When people can work at the top of their capability, efficiency and job satisfaction increase and costs go down. If we don’t change the perception of the industry by changing the way we procure work, the shortage will get worse and we’ll end up hiring less qualified people for more money. Costs go up and quality goes down. Everyone loses in a race to the bottom.

We offer a different approach. The 8020 Principle. 80% of the value of your project is determined in the first 20% of the process. When values align, together we can leverage the first 20% of the process to make sure you meet your budget and execute your project in a way that fosters creativity, values the capabilities and contributions of all team members, and brings meaning to everyone involved. By sharing vulnerabilities, we foster trust in one another that allows the entire team to focus on the real challenges of creating a successful project for everyone instead of constantly having to infight to protect hard bid day margins. Come build with us!

Steve Rogers