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Mentoring Innovation with New Home Builders

Written by : on Jul 08, 2016

How to reduce defects? Co-create with the experts – the trades!

Mentoring Innovation with New Home Builders

Michael Lio

July 5, 2016

I took my first R-2000 workshop in 1982.  Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) mounted these workshops to make builders aware of this new innovative way to build and also to demonstrate some of the new practices that define R-2000.  Three facilitators (including one builder) talked about insulation, did live demonstrations on poly wrapping windows, and led multiple HOTCAN (HOT-2000’s predecessor) modelling exercises for the builders in the room.  Thousands of builders attended these workshops over more than 20 years.  Despite the enormous training effort, R-2000 housing starts never captured more than a few percent of the market.

What became clear later, when we introduced Energy Star into the Ontario market, was that it was completely unreasonable to expect builders to be able to understand and adopt complex R-2000 practices by attending a workshop.  Perhaps the junior staff person, who was assigned to attend the workshop, understood the implications of adopting the innovation, but they could never communicate all of the implied changes to the rest of the company, let alone to the trades who actually built the houses.

Ten years ago we suggested to NRCan that workshops alone should not be relied on as means to facilitate change in the homebuilding marketplace. We suggested that workshops build awareness but that deep engagement and mentoring was needed with individual builders over an extended period of time to truly build enduring change.  NRcan supported the Building Canada initiative to do just that.  Building Canada engaged and mentored just 4% of registered Energy Star builders.  These builders, however, labelled almost 50% of all of the Energy Star houses during that same period.

To read more here, visit here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/mentoring-innovation-new-home-builders-michael-lio