Guest Blogger: Jim Danis
I was first exposed to DIRTT as a contractor three years ago and honestly saw it as a threat. The products sitting in front of me and processes that were being utilized were literally revolutionary. To simply call it “modular” or “tall furniture” is a mischaracterization and would lump the solution into something that was rigid, inflexible, and without custom options. Instead, this was a new way of thinking about how to streamline the construction process in a way that let the end user create anything their mind could envision.
I stopped seeing DIRTT as a threat when I recognized that we, as a country, are on the precipice of a serious skilled trades shortage. I saw hard bid projects last summer run 30% over budget because of the shortage in masonry, HVAC, and electrical trades personnel. In a recent study by Travelers Insurance, 74% of construction firms are having trouble finding skilled trades personnel. Additionally, the Associated General Contractors of America found that 70% of their members were paying more for skilled labor in 2014 and 13% of that group said the pay increase was “significant.” The survey also noted that the South and Midwest regions of the country were the most at risk from this shortage.
This is why I believe DIRTT is going to be a major force in our region in the future. The end users maintain full design flexibility and the manufacturing process ensures the end products are produced precisely to the specifications, all while reducing the labor costs and increasing the speed to occupancy. As a bonus, since no one knows what the future may bring, the system allows end users to easily change technology without dust, noise, vibration, or extended downtimes.
To recap the primary benefits of DIRTT:
1. Shortens Schedule
2. Increases Quality
3. Decreases Costs
4. Easily Adapts to Future Change
If you agree with Western Union executives in 1876 who stated, “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us,” then I would understand brushing off DIRTT as a temporary “flash in the pan.” However, I prefer to follow Isaac Asimov’s line of thinking when he said, “It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.”