It’s not every day you run into a female MBA who can’t stop thinking about construction. I’m not sure which raises more eyebrows — my disclosing this to my Stanford business school classmates or my showing up at a construction site in high heels.
My obsession stems from managing the build-out of my company’s headquarters office in NYC, for which we were attempting to create a showcase of sustainability, health and innovation for the industry. I began my career as a green building consultant before joining wellness real estate startup Delos, so this project felt like the opportunity of a lifetime.
However, while the Delos HQ was successful as one of the first projects in the world to pursue the highest levels of green and healthy building certifications, what surprised me about the project was nothing about health, sustainability or innovation. What shocked me most was the way that we still build buildings. Construction is an extremely fragmented industry, and nearly all is still done the way it was 100 years ago — with a lot of paper and a lot of phone calls. I’ll never forget my frustration when I showed up to a meeting to find that the construction team had printed out my emails and written responses rather than emailing me back.
Though I had watched clients navigate the process, construction felt different when I held the checkbook. For every incorrect product delivery or delay caused by someone’s forgetting to order a product, the cost of the project increased, and I had to report back that our move-in date was once again delayed. Unfortunately, the project was not an anomaly. 98% of construction projects finish over time and over budget.
How are we ever going to build healthier, more sustainable and more innovative buildings if we are still just trying to finish construction projects on time? I used business school as a time to explore how to evolve the antiquated construction systems that are in place. People in the construction industry are some of the greatest people I have ever met, and I want to give them the tools they need to bring construction into the present, or better yet, the future.
This journey has led me to co-found Bundle, the one-stop shop for building materials procurement. Bundle aims to simplify both the traditional bidding process and the complex distribution networks that exist in construction procurement today. It may not yet solve all of construction, but it is a start. Stay tuned for more and check us out at www.bundle.build