Construction Physics

Brian Potter
Why buildings are built the way they are
Created 27 Sep 2020
  • What Construction Innovation Uptake Looks Like
    19 Nov 2021 • 10 min read • 10 5
    We talk a lot around here about construction productivity, and how resistant it is to improvement. We’ve also talked about construction innovation, and the structural reasons that make it hard to intr...
  • Japan’s Skyscraper Factories
    04 Nov 2021 • 11 min read • 18 10
    Building under construction with Obayashi’s ABCS system One interesting thing about the building construction productivity puzzle is that it’s a worldwide phenomenon. Unlike with say, healthcare, or t...
  • Construction and the Toyota Production System
    29 Oct 2021 • 12 min read • 19 15
    Folks have tried over and over again to make construction more efficient by applying lessons from manufacturing. Typically this means producing buildings in factories, instead of on-site by hand. And ...
  • Measuring Construction Efficiency
    22 Oct 2021 • 10 min read • 9 7
    (note: this post is more economics heavy than typical. I do not have any sort of training in economics, so it’s very possible I’ve made a mistake somewhere in interpreting this. If you see one, please...
  • Sketch of a Theory of Construction Productivity, and a Research Road map
    10 Oct 2021 • 13 min read • 34 16
    This newsletter is, broadly, about how the construction industry fits together, and why it’s so hard to improve its efficiency. The reason for this focus is that while many industries, such as agricul...
  • Construction Physics - Year One Retrospective
    30 Sep 2021 • 5 min read • 37 20
    This week marks one year since I started writing Construction Physics. In general I don’t consider myself a terribly interesting subject to write about, but I thought the one year mark would be a good...
  • Mass Effects
    22 Sep 2021 • 10 min read • 14 6
    Advancing technology generally leaves a reduced material footprint in its wake - as time goes on, it takes less and less physical stuff to perform some given function. Tiny transistors replace larger ...
  • Bricks and the Industrial Revolution
    17 Sep 2021 • 11 min read • 15 17
    Brick has a long history of use as a building material - in one form or another, it’s been in use for thousands of years. And though today brick is mostly used as a high end architectural finish (than...
  • Design Bid Build and the Construction Value Chain
    02 Sep 2021 • 11 min read • 9 8
    The most common method (or at least the most central example) of construction project delivery is what’s known as “Design Bid Build”. Under this method, the customer hires two separate entities - the ...
  • Building Complexity and the Construction Community of Practice
    25 Aug 2021 • 7 min read • 38 15
    It’s often hard to find valuable academic research on construction - the number of useful papers seems low, beyond just what would be implied by Sturgeon’s Law. It largely seems written for an audienc...
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