Change happens slowly in the construction, demolition and recycling industries. While it’s true that shifting economic factors can bolster or impede industry growth in the blink of an eye, wholesale changes within the industries take longer to come to fruition.
If you regularly attend trade shows, read industry publications like this one, or otherwise keep abreast of business trends in construction, demolition and recycling, you know this firsthand. The hot-button issues of today are likely to be the hot-button issues of tomorrow when tracked throughout a calendar year. And although the change may appear gradual in the moment, I’m reminded of how constant evolution can be significant over time.
In his 1996 book, “The Road Ahead,” Bill Gates writes about the nature of this phenomenon, saying, “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”
Being able to step back from time to time to take inventory of the state of things is important whether you’re running a business or running a piece of equipment.
With this in mind, we compiled our 2018 State of the Demolition Industry report for this issue. This report, which was put together by responses from a closed-door State of the Industry roundtable with industry leaders and survey responses from Construction & Demolition Recycling readers, shows the impact of some long-standing trends and the more immediate effects of recent economic and legislative policies.
In order to get to where you want to go, you have to know where you’re coming from. And while this report offers a snapshot of the industry on a more macro level, taking stock on a more personal and companywide level can be just as instructive.
In this issue’s cover story, we profile the evolution of Austin, Texas-based Recon Services, which is a company that embodies how constant progress can manifest itself in major growth. In just over a decade, owner Walter Biel took his C&D roll-off company from three employees to 85 while building one of the most refined recycling facilities in the country.
Through the introduction of new equipment, new processes and new ways of thinking, Biel has set an example of what a C&D recycling facility can look like and how it can operate.
By being willing to push the boundaries of what was possible, Biel was able to overhaul his operation to create a model that could potentially have widespread implications on recycling rates, production capacity and worker safety and retention.
It didn’t happen overnight, but then again, few things of consequence do.