Over the years, most FCAs were completed by design, project management and/or construction professionals “on the side”. The work was done on a part time basis either to fill in gaps in workload for core services, or to try to secure downstream work associated with the actual renewal projects.
As mentioned in my previous post, for teams that were primarily focused on assessments, staff often turned over frequently. There were two main types of assessors. Young, recent graduates that wanted to give FCAs a try. The second group was former designers that wanted to do something different later in their careers. In both cases, the tenure of these staff was somewhat limited. Most new grads lost interest in FCAs after a couple of years, again because all we were doing was pushing out reports. The more senior staff were closing in on retirement, so their time frame was shorter.
In the early 2010s, as the value and meaning of FCAs became greater as a result of clients moving from a report focus to a data focus, we started to see the emergence of the professional assessor. We were able to keep staff engaged for a lot longer and people started to see Professional Assessor as a third option for their career.
As clients were looking to rely on the data provided, firms were able to take advantage of professional assessors who were sticking around longer, getting better and more efficient at collecting data.
To be completely honest, when I founded Roth IAMS in 2014, I had assumed that if we were lucky in 10 to 15 years, we would be able to build a firm of 20 to 25 people. One of the main reasons behind this assumption was the difficulty we had historically in retaining staff beyond a couple of years. We were in a constant cycle of hiring, training, rehiring and retraining. Thankfully we were able to break that cycle and we were able to help our clients and staff find meaning in the process and the results. After less than nine years we have been able to assemble a team of nearly 100 people that come to work everyday to collect data on existing buildings that will help clients improve their buildings for the benefits of the users.
These two simultaneous changes reinforced each other to drive further change to the industry. A more experienced pool of consultants was available increasing the quality, consistency and defensibility of the data provided, making it even more useful for prioritized capital planning.
The higher level of trust that our clients felt in the data provided by professional assessors added rocket fuel to the spark that came when the sector made the shift away from reports and towards data and laid the foundation of the next big change, moving beyond a short-term view. More on that in my next post!
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