I recently read an article in Explore Magazine in which Will Gadd asks the question, “Why are action sports progressing faster than any other sporting activity?”

 Will Gadd, by the way, is the guy who climbed the wall of spray ice at the edge of Niagara’s Horseshoe Falls in the winter of 2015.


It goes without saying that he knows a thing or two about action sports and taking risks.

Will goes on to make the point that performance standards over the last 20 years in action sports like skiing, climbing, kayaking, mountain biking and others have exploded. By comparison, performance standards in traditional sports like soccer, hockey or basketball have pretty much stood still.

The assumption is that this leap is a result of tech improvements: better bikes, sleeker skis, etc., and Will concedes that improved equipment is a contributing factor. But that alone, he says, does not explain the exponential leap in performance. What used to be a radical drop of six feet on a mountain bike is now a drop of over 60 feet. Paddling a kayak off a waterfall 100 feet high has now become a jaw-dropping 200+ feet. Now a wing suiter in nothing more than a glorified batman suit can poke holes in the atmosphere.

All very impressive, but here’s where Will really got my attention. He attributes these improvements in performance to three developments whose timelines just happen to coincide with enhanced accomplishments.

  • Manufactured Terrain – actually, make that engineered terrain. No need to live in the mountains, by the water, up north or down south when you can bring mountains, climbing walls, whitewater play parks and foam pits directly to the people.
  • Progressive Instruction – breaking down the process of doing something difficult into manageable steps so that, before you know it, you’re doing double back flips without breaking your neck.
  • Communication — I prefer to think of this as the visualization process, thanks to the Internet and our ability to learn from each other via YouTube. Not to mention the growing suite of software that is capable of virtually creating almost anything our imaginations can envision.

So what does all of this have to do with Verto360, construction and you? I thought you’d never ask.

As in sport, the construction world has seen vast improvements in materials, tools and methods. “Thank God for the Tapcon,” one general contractor recently quipped. And yet, in some ways, construction is still bogged down in convention.

Should we be expecting changes in performance? Yes, and here’s how:

  • Manufactured Construction — engineer and build to precise tolerances in a controlled factory environment using quality materials, then ship to site and put it up in a fraction of the time conventional construction takes. Expect superior fit and finish at a cost-competitive price. No need to turn every construction site into a mobile factory where tolerances are based on a cut-it-and-caulk-the-rest approach.
  • Progressive Design – do all the design work up front. Capture all the coordination issues, elevations and costs and get them approved before you begin to build. Eliminate contingencies and waste from the process rather than be subjected to unforeseen costs and missed schedule deadlines that come from a we’ll-figure-it-out-on-site process.
  • Communication – adopt a visualization process that allows all stakeholders to see what is going to be built and what it’s going to look and function like before they sign off on construction. Think 3D virtual reality and Oculus Rift – smart technologies that level the playing field for builders and clients.

And here’s the good news: We have all these elements in place at Verto360. We use them for all our construction projects. And we are seeing the kinds of improvements that parallel what’s happening in the world of action sports.

Being the impatient type, I can’t wait to see this leap in the construction world at large, where productivity (aka performance) is still stuck in the slow lane.