A Personal Note Of Thanks To Builders For What You Do, ... And What You Still Have To Do
The Builder's Daily celebrates and extends thanks to the homebuilding business community for 2021 achievement, and years-ahead of livelihoods that make lives and communities whole. Here's 10 blessings.
To us, our house was not unsentient matter -- it had a heart, and a soul, and eyes to see us with; and approvals and solicitudes and deep sympathies; it was of us, and we were in its confidence, and lived in its grace and in the peace of its benediction.”
Housing's challenges have become an echochamber. Its plentiful risks, threats, and perils make up a noisy feedback loop that would put Philip Glass's repetitious layers of sonic ambience to shame. Single-word bullets speak to tomes of analysis, reams of pages of reasons why, nanobytes of data, and, now, machine learning patterns that triangulate ever more dire and fast-spreading urgency for people who make a livelihood of housing and community development.
They're there now as they have been there, those core-level plaguing challenges, and are not going anywhere soon. These words contain multitudes, blanketing the supply-related choke holds of the present and spanning across to the tightening grip of nature – both human and environmental – on the shape of opportunity's horizon.
Still, today, this Thanksgiving 2021 eve, our focus seizes on the home whose doors, windows, and boundaries contain the livelihood of making homes, constantly rediscovering their value and adding individuals and families who live in that worth. It's a livelihood Mark Twain could use these same words to describe, housing itself, where we work "in its grace and in the peace of its benediction."
So, one does not need to sugarcoat nor whitewash the all-too-evident problems housing's community of people face as they build – from corner offices to loading docks and job sites – to make a living, make business empires, make viable, prospering neighborhoods, and make a societal impact, to feel encouraged, hopeful, expectant looking ahead.
If problems rattle in the echochamber; their solutions – no matter how dark and daunting those problems may be – take root in the fertile culture of the many dozens of separate trades and expertise areas and practices that comprise building, and get born and flourish in applied brilliance, unrelenting commitment, and willingness to go at the enterprise hand in hand.
Here are 10 specific brightspot realities that spark unabashed and unrestrained gratitude for what people who make careers in the "home" of the business of housing have done and do every day they show up at work, as hard-evidenced reason for hope in their presence, and belief in both what they know and can learn, and trust that current and still unforeseen challenges are only there to be overcome.
- Embrace of new homes .... The moment the COVID-19 pandemic laid its heavy hand on life-as-we-know-it, a collective switch flipped. Because of all the groundwork builders had done for decades to make new homes safer, healthier, more-connected, and more resilient, no refuge nor sanctuary for the flocks of people seeking it offered what new-homebuilders and developers design, produce, and activate in their 2,300-or-so square foot homes and communities.
- Policy support ... Recognition that the essential nature and societal fabric impact of the livelihoods and ongoing work of home production and a robust pool of ready-demand for the output bridged two Presidential Administrations, bipartisan action, trillions of dollars of support in low borrowing costs for all, forbearance programs, stimulus, etc., and sustained focus on housing as a necessary and increasingly critical dimension of America's stability and dynamism.
- Demographics ... Millennials' partially-delayed arc on the path to peak earnings, their lifestage pivots to households and communities that they intend to mark with their own signature, and their roles in regenerative family formation give pan-cyclical visibility to the promise of community making; as does the universe of wealth-holding 55-plus adults, powered by healthier aging and expanding community options.
- Leadership intention/presence ... Clear signs that evolving and committed paths of improved respect, regard, and care for workers at all levels of housing's value cycle – asserted as essential business success tools, investments, and imperatives among industry leaders -- can and will transform residential real estate and homebuilding workplace and jobsite culture to attracted skill, talent, merit-based associates of all colors, creeds, gender, and financial levels.
- Innovation, technology, data science ... "Better homes, built better" today comprises holistic solutions around health, location and placemaking, access, lifetime value, environmental, economic, and social impact, durability, attainability, aspiration, work-life balance, empowerment, and well-being. Innovators in process, leadership and strategy, capital applications and investment, building technology, design, and engineering, materials sciences, home technology, and friction-freer buying-selling-renting of properties suggest the early 2020s will go down as the early-curve inflection point for innovation solutions for housing.
- Partnership as a strategy ... At no time like the present has the risk-benefit profile for future-fitness, sustainable prosperity, and dynamism so favored operations and investments in an aligned ecosystem of trusted partners. From the basics of attracting a new next generation of human talent and workers into the field, to the capability of securing resilient supply chains that support just-in-time lean asset light investments, even-flow production, and long-term value-generation solutions platforms. Learning to collaborate – as a foundational goal – has gained a strategic foothold.
- Resolve/no-quit and fun ... Such are the human souls of those who choose homebuilding as careers that the obstacle course of messy reality stirs redoubled effort, fiercer determination, and an elevated focus on what matters most. Then, to top that off, they have fun, infectious, contagious fun going at it.
- Adaptiveness ... Understanding, as Mark Twain notes above, that houses – single-family, multifamily, attached, detached, vertical, clustered, rural, or urban – are not "unsentient matter" nor a "consumer durable" nor a unit, but places with "hearts, and souls, and eyes to see us with," builders and their partners constantly reframe the business that they're in around the people they serve.
- Kindness ... where else, other than in the homebuilding community, do lives get touched and lifted and hugged and nurtured, as they do everyday of every week of every month of every year in homebuilding. Programs such as the Building Homes for Heroes initiative willingly embraced by Melbourne, FL-based Holiday Builders and Habitat for Humanity’s Veterans Build program, Operation Finally Home, Homes For Our Troops (HFOT), the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program, The Warrior’s Project, sponsored by Operation: Warrior’s Path, Operation Homefront's Homes on the Homefront, and PulteGroup's decade-long Built to Honor. Kindness and support run deep in this livelihood.
- Resources ... Finally, what ensures the certain capability of individuals and teams – across the many bridges that connect homebuilders to investor-lenders, developers, planners, municipal officials, Federal policymakers, manufacturers, distribution partners, architects, engineers, building crew members, data scientists, etc., to meet and overcome the severest most threatening and existential challenges is the foundation of plenty. Those resources may be finite, but their limits define opportunity to learn to replenish them and help them regenerate as we discover – again and again – what home means and why homes matter.
The Builder's Daily reflects an early-learning curve effort to address both stark realities and achievable opportunities that await the work of people who make homes and communities their livelihoods. In pandemic-era matters, our professional and personal lives have washed across one another, and in all ways, what makes us grateful personally can be seen in the obstacles builders overcome on a daily basis. That's the way you're built.
As much as it's our job to challenge you, it's equally our intent to celebrate the reason we remain committed and hopeful. Thank you for doing what you do – for you literally give us our reason for getting up and coming to work each day!