If there is one thing about the construction industry that OnSiteIQ board member Michael Feigin has always challenged throughout the course of his career, it’s the “if it ain't broke, don’t fix it” mindset. Feigin’s passion for construction efficiency began in 1989 when he first became introduced to the construction business.
Before Feigin fully dedicated himself to the construction industry, he first graduated from law school in 1985. This education gave Michael a unique mindset that he carried with him as he worked his way through various aspects of the construction industry.
Beginning first at what is known today as LendLease, Feigin worked as an in-house counsel which ignited his journey into thinking about managing risk and the ramifications of inefficiency in the construction business. This is because, during his time at LendLease, Feigin was moved to the operations department where he ended up having all business operations reporting through him.
It was in this operations role that Feigin discovered his passion for efficiency and process and its role in managing risk in construction. He realized that combined with his law background, a unique opportunity presented itself to develop a keen eye for improving construction efficiency and risk management, in an industry historically known for its operational stubbornness and wastefulness.
Or in other words, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” is the mindset Feigin decided to challenge, by asking himself one simple question:
As Feigin set down the path of challenging this archaic mindset, he was often met with questions such as:
However, Feigin thought that logic suggested the industry itself could be thinking about these questions differently. For example, does anyone ever consider if budgets are traditionally too high, even if it is done unconsciously, or if schedules might not be aggressive enough? In his opinion, the construction business was ripe for a new way of thinking, but it would take years of Feigin fighting an uphill battle in his stops along the way.
One of those stops was at AvalonBay Communities as the Chief Construction Officer. Upon his entry, one of his first efforts was to implement new paperless technology with the intent of making projects faster, better, cheaper, and safer. This faster, better, cheaper, safer mindset became a sort of mantra at AvalonBay, and it was here that Feigin was able to implement his philosophy of construction efficiency in a way that produced results.
Supported by his team at AvalonBay Communities, in 2017 Feigin implemented a fire elimination program that ended up winning the Insurance Risk Management Institute’s prestigious Gary Bird Award for Innovation in 2018.
Furthermore, in the highly touted Engineering News Record Top 25 Newsmakers Awards, Feigin was recognized as a top 25 Newsmaker for AvalonBay’s industry-leading fire elimination program.
These accolades are evidence of how the construction market could benefit from a similar philosophy of challenging the status quo to improve safety, efficiency, and profitability. With a case study to now show proof of concept for this philosophy, Feigin was well-equipped to look ahead towards opportunities to collaborate with like-minded up-and-comers.
On the heels of the success of the fire elimination technology, Feigin proceeded to put together an innovation group with the intent to discover new products and services in the construction industry that adopted his mindset of efficiency.
From this group, OnSiteIQ came across Feigin’s desk, and he immediately recognized the opportunity. Feigin explained:
“If you think about innovation in quadrants, and you have the X-axis as impact, and the y-axis as ease of implementation, you are looking for opportunities in the upper right-hand quadrant. Easy to implement. High impact. OnSiteIQ landed in this corner.”
Through a mutual connection, Feigin was introduced to OnSiteIQ’s CEO, Ardalan Khosrowpour, and the decision was made to implement OnSiteIQ’s photo and video construction documentation technology at a new project taking place in Florida. According to Feigin, this seemed like a great alternative to flying a project manager down to Florida every week.
Although the Florida project experienced technical growing pains in Feigin’s first go-around with the photo and video documentation, the opportunity remained incentivizing. Coming from a place of understanding, Feigin knew that a degree of industry-wide education must take place to accept a new technological system within the construction workflow.
Furthermore, Feigin became a believer in Khosrowpour’s commitment to improving the technology and the OnSiteIQ process by implementing feedback from his clients immediately. According to Feigin, it was the “agility, focus on the client, and attentiveness to improvements” that were key reasons he believed in the potential of OnSiteIQ from the get-go.
Feigin’s belief in OnSiteIQ kept him in touch with Khosrowpour. Feigin playfully acknowledged that Khosrowpour was calling him, “nearly every week,” so the decision was made to formalize Feigin as an advisor to the company.
As an OnSiteIQ advisor, Feigin hopes to contribute to the development of an innovative technology that serves to progress the construction industry forward. According to Feigin, “OnSiteIQ has a real opportunity, is currently a leg up on their competition, and has all the pieces in place to grab this opportunity and catapult itself into a leadership role.”
Feigin hopes to be a key player in growing OnSiteIQ into a household name of the construction industry and looks forward to bringing his unique background to OnSiteIQ for years to come. As a lifelong disruptor of construction norms, the potential and approach Feigin brings to the OnSiteIQ team are second to none.