I recently had a meeting with Darren at Stylerite Windows in Ballarat to discuss a few current projects. As with most work related discussions the conversation lead to the airing of mutual frustrations, (i.e we complained to each other).
The thing I love about having a good old whinge session with people in the trade is that the discussion of problems can lead to some pretty good solutions.
In this particular case I shared some observations with Darren, he listened, we had a look at components in the factory and developed a method to greatly improve the performance of the windows…..what an incredibly worthwhile conversation!
I can’t emphasise this enough. Talk to people in the trade!
When we search for academic solutions to a problem we often fall for the trap of limiting ourselves to the academic pursuit. In doing so we can also dismiss those in the trade as having nothing worthwhile to offer. This is a big mistake. Talk to chippies, brickies, sparkies and plumbers. Talk to tilers, plasterers and joiners. Talk to installers and manufacturers. Be humble. Chances are that these people know something you don’t.
Also, tradies aren’t as resistant to change as you might be lead to believe. You will find that most tradespeople are receptive to change if they understand why the change is important and how it works. This is where they begin to highlight any potential problems and offer suggestions to improve the system.
As much as I like the nerdy side of building science, researching and tinkering with software, I highly value the input from tradies. It’s no good having a brilliant idea if it can’t be built. If you take the time to talk to the people in the field you will be all the better for it.