Construction Curiosities #5 – Stupid Questions, Norman Doors, What Recession?

Hey! Happy Friday! Matt here. Welcome to the Construction Curiosities newsletter. Especially to the New Subscribers. We had another 20% increase in subscribers since last week! At least we are still outpacing inflation by over double. Thank you! If you get value from this newsletter, please help us continue to grow and share this newsletter all over everywhere.

This weekly Newsletter will explore my Curiosities around the Construction Industry. It’s meant to make you think, smile, and become a better, more well-informed Construction Professional.

The real value in this newsletter however isn’t necessarily what I think and say, it’s the conversation by the group. I hope you will join the conversation on !


This week we will look at:

  • One Musing: Ask the Stupid Question
  • One Article: What Recession?
  • One Video: Norman Doors
  • One Quote: No Stupid Questions
  • One Meme: Education Is Important

One Musing

YARN | there are definitely stupid questions | The Big Bang Theory (2007) -  S10E19 The Collaboration Fluctuation | Video gifs by quotes | 539e07cd | 紗

Don’t be afraid to ask the “Stupid” questions.

As an Owners Rep Construction Manager, I’m in a lot of meetings. Like a lot of meetings. Project Design Meetings. Kickoff Meetings. OAC Meetings. Preinstall Meetings. Site Walk Meetings. Company Staff Meetings. And on and on.

I’ve found that many times my job is simply keeping everyone thinking and engaged on the project. One of the ways I do this is never being afraid to speak up and ask the “stupid question.”

I’ve found that many times when I think I have a silly question others have the same question. But are simply too afraid to ask. These stupid questions sometimes get a response of “Uhhhh I’m not sure, we’ll have to get back to you.” Or better yet, two completely different answers from two different people in the same meeting. Obvious questions don’t always have obvious answers.

Best A Good Question GIFs | Gfycat

This doesn’t apply to just sitting in meetings. The same concept applies when you are having a one-on-one with someone or even in emails. Although it’s typically in meetings, in front of a group, when too many “stupid questions” go unasked. In general, people are afraid to speak up and be vulnerable enough to admit that they may not know everything. Like that would be a mark against your credibility.

It’s the opposite actually.

Having the courage to speak up and ask thoughtful, problem-seeking questions will make you stand out but will also help get the project team to pick their heads up out of the weeds and think differently.

Caution though. Don’t use this newfound freedom to just go about slinging a ton of “Simple Dumb” questions. These are the ones that are easily Googled. The ones that if you just opened the project plans or specs you would find the answer in 12 seconds. Asking too many of these questions will make you appear uninformed and lazy. Always strive to be the one that shows the initiative to figure those out.

I like to lead with, “I’m going to ask a stupid question here but … ”

It shows a vulnerability that you may be asking something obvious and it allows everyone to let their guard down. Then when you really do follow through and ask a dumb question, at least you warned them it was coming.

Confused GIFs | Tenor

Thoughtful Stupid Questions > Simple Dumb Questions

Are you afraid to ask Stupid Questions?

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One Article

Dodge construction index rebuffs recession fears, hits 14-year high

“Manufacturing construction starts led the group and reached a record $41.6 billion over the last 12 months ending May 2022. That’s 161% more than the 12 months ending May 2021, according to Dodge data.”

Is this a sign things may not be as bad as we thought? Or that everyone is trying to lock in funding before rates increase further?

One Video

We have all done it. Pushed the pull door or walked into the restaurant’s kitchen looking for the restroom. At times architects, engineers, and designers, get too cute and design the intuitiveness right out of the product or building.

Introducing the Norman Door

One Quote

Read it twice.

One Meme

Thank you for reading! Head to the Substack post page to join the conversation.

Let me know in the comments or send me an email ([email protected]) what you liked, didn’t like, want to see more of in the future, or have suggestions! Look forward to hearing from you.

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