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Re: GBlist: Kadulski comments on housing costs

Richard Kadulski wrote:

<< I think we also have to recognize that there is a reason why the 
 construction industry is so conservative: namely, the implications of a 
 screw-up are horrendous, and not many people can afford to cover up their 
 mistakes or research.  Unlike other industrial activities, where generally 
 there is a full scale research program, so when a product is launched, it 
 will have been tested in many different ways, it doesn't happen in housing. 
 Each building, in effect, is a prototype.>>

The building industry has long suffered from an absence of RESEARCH (beyond
the old "we've always done it this way and it has worked" justification for a
particular habit or system.)  As smart as we are, we are still learning BASIC
PHYSICS about house systems.... moisture migration, pressure regimes,
structural systems, thermal envelope interactions, orientation dynamics, etc.
 We could take a few lessons from Microsoft, Intel and even the auto industry
by encouraging significant (>1%) annual R&D "investment" into building
science research and education.  The building inductry spends dramatically
less than that each year on its future... no wonder we have wet basements and
leaky roofs and cracked drywall and.... 
 <<If a builder uses a new product or system, if it doesn't work out, he's
 one that gets an angry call in the middle of the night to fix it 
 immediately, and then may be saddled with a law suit to boot! The supplier 
 is not always there to help him out either. The innovators don't get the 
 full respect. That's why the tendency is to do what's been done in the past 
 and by everyone in the industry, even if that means repeating past mistakes 
 - but at least he can say that it's "the industry standard".>>

"Industry Standard" can strike fear into the hearts of the bravest
innovator...  We must move to "standards" that are appropriate for the
building, system, climate and occupants.... not just what the "industry" has
always produced or what is in vogue today...   Industry is full of innovators
and companies looking for product and market differentiation.... if we ask
for it, with appropriate STANDARDS, odds are that it will be delivered by

Too optimistic?
Chris Mathis
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