Adobe Stock/Sandra Gligorijevic

ACI started a new constructability committee last week (Committee 134, Concrete Constructability). Turnout for the inaugural meeting was great, with about 35 people in the room, and mostly the kind of people you want if you're trying to accomplish something important. The chairman is Jim Cornell, one of last year's Most Influential People.

While I don’t have a lot of recent direct experience trying to efficiently build something from an unworkable design, I have spent the last 25 years listening to contractors whine about the idiot engineer or architect who designed this thing. And being a professional engineer, I have designed a few structures over the years and have been told to my face by a contractor that “we can’t build it that way!”

But here’s the thing: I was always willing to listen to the contractor’s concerns and make changes when it would benefit the overall project. Some engineers are not; they think they know more than any contractor or they think the contractor is just trying to cut corners. But designing a more constructible structure mostly comes down to communicating and listening—and to both the designer and builder getting their egos out of the way and finding common ground.

The new Concrete Constructability committee plans to move forward rather quickly on developing information on the topic—more like short articles or case studies than a full-blown committee document which can take years to complete within ACI’s structure. There may also be an effort to set up an online forum for idea exchange.

Now we just need to decide if it’s spelled "constructability" or "constructibility."