The mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) sector is a community of quality, talented individuals. These companies share a bond through their creation and installation of systems that provide comfortable spaces for people who live in and use buildings.
There is a lot of work to be done in construction as a whole. More buildings are needed, and MEP trades workers have a large part to play in meeting that need. Estimates are that MEP systems account for over thirty percent of a building’s budget.
More can be accomplished by the MEP trades when they interface with peers and experts. That knowledge transfer helps build community. Fortunately, MEP companies are a sharing group. Companies sharing their experience brings energy to the entire industry. Collaborative efforts around the hard truths can serve to change behaviors and workflows to fit more modern efficiencies. One of those hard truths is the need to change and adapt to a more technology-centric industry.
By changing behaviors and workflows, people can take advantage of new technologies to make their life better. Change involving sustainability, visualization, computer-aided design, building information modeling, cloud collaboration, computer-aided manufacturing, prefabrication, computer-aided engineering, robotics, artificial intelligence, reality capture, and other emerging technologies is required to achieve better workflows. Everyone in the company needs to harmonize over changes and improvements. Owner involvement is key, as well as grassroots worker interest, buy-in and participation.
There are hurdles that MEP and many other sectors face. One of the most notable is that people are resistant to change. However, the negative perceptions and opinion that the construction industry isn’t willing to change do not ring true. The industry is steadily improving its productivity, efficiency and adoption of technology. The types and number of startups and innovations on the market are increasing and getting more functional. The construction industry is ready for technology. Now technology is getting ready for the construction industry.
New technologies can improve modern efficiencies and improve the quality of life for construction workers and MEP trades workers. Improving jobs and improving lives is increasingly important, whether that is for the project manager, project engineer, detailer, or people with journey-level experience in the field.
In order to tackle the skilled labor challenges the industry faces, newer generations of workers need to be attracted. These incoming workers are looking for something greater than what they do for a living. They are aiming for good work-life balance. Initiatives like diversity and sustainability are important to them. As an audience, they need to be reached with a story about what the company stands for. They need to see a vision for what the company is doing. For example, the larger vision of building a hospital equals saving lives.
Construction companies help achieve the greater good. The construction industry and MEP trades build the buildings for civilization.
Tune in to the special Bridging the Gap Podcast episode 168, recorded live at November’s MEP Force 2022 in San Antonio. I got to sit down and interview several guest experts about managing change in MEP.