Tocci Building Corp: An Impressive blog that continues to inspire

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tocci blog

Tocci Building Corp. rightfully won the 2015 Best Construction Blog competition. And, in a recent view, I think if there was a “get out the vote” campaign, this blog would have a great chance of winning in 2018.

(Vote-getting campaigns are entirely optional; this year there is much less competition than previous years, but the underlying blog quality rightfully is defined more by its substance than how many votes the blog-owner attracts through active campaigns.)

Tocci’s blog succeeds because of a diversity of contributions that focus both on “big picture” issues and more down-to-earth project and company features/events.

For example, consider this post: Strong Teams Build Strong Buildings.

In an ideal setting, everyone works to their strengths, and while it is enjoyable to focus on and highlight strengths, you cannot progress forward until you address and overcome your weaknesses. Take construction for example: you cannot successfully build a sound and secure building without identifying weak points and working to resolve them. Weaknesses cannot be overlooked or ignored. When left unattended, our building’s foundation begins to crack and erode. And when the base isn’t strong, the building will crumble. Through teamwork, however; weakness can turn into great strengths.

When building a team, it is important to evaluate each member and their skills in order to find a balance amongst their combined talent. As a group, it is important to take what you have learned from past experiences and apply it so that you can become aware of what works and what doesn’t. At Tocci, we value the statement, “We all work for the project”. While integrating our departments to create high quality products and services, sometimes things go wrong. But by capitalizing upon our flaws and errors, we are able to identify best practices, solutions, and needs – in turn creating growth and improvement.

In another post, You Have To Love It, Taylor poses the question about whether she should pursue an architectural license — pointing out that she is doing hands-on work that goes far beyond the license, which would have little direct value to her knowledge and understanding.

She writes:

Striving after architecture licensure is a high risk, low reward endeavor. Licensure rarely brings a significant raise, more responsibility, or even increased opportunity. It essentially changes nothing except the accolades section of my email signature – “RA” (Registered Architect) or “NCARB” (National Council of Architecture Registration Boards).

However, she continues to explain why she is going for the license — and, reading this, you get a sense of the intellectual strength of Tocci’s staff:

On the bright side, licensure does provide a quick answer to the inevitable “What do you do?” question. I will finally be able to legally call myself an Architect. Worth it? I guess so. I mean, I love it. I’m not on a teleological quest; the journey is the reward. I want to know how to calculate the ultimate yield point of a HSS 4×4 column. I live for the thrill of understanding sanitary waste stacks and ADA slope requirements. You have to love it.

At least this is the attitude architecture students have conditioned themselves to adopt. I love it, therefore it’s all worth it – the all-nighters, the student loans, the devastating critiques. We are used to the high stakes, low reward model. You have to love it, because otherwise, you are insane.

But if I love architecture, how did I end up at Tocci Building Corporation instead of an architecture firm? Through a design-build program called Studio 804 at the University of Kansas, I developed an appreciation for the hands-on application of architecture. After designing and building a house with nine other students, the Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) role seemed a natural next step. In this role, I utilize my architecture background to help make the construction process more efficient. For example, MEP Coordination prevents re-work in the field during installation. We find building system conflicts in the BIM world rather than in the field, saving time and materials.

Studying for the architecture licensure exams and earning the title of architect helps me grow in the VDC role. I bring the knowledge I’m gaining into conversations with subcontractors, developers, and architects, increasing collaboration and reinforcing the idea that “We all work for the project”.

So the licensure process is worth it because I love it and because professional development can have intangible benefits. And if it’s not worth it, there’s a 50% chance I’ll fail anyway.

I really enjoy the Tocci blog, and think you will, too.

Voting closes in just a few days. Here is the ballot (good until March 31, 2018.)

Fill out my online form.

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