It’s been nearly eight months since the controversial series finale of “How I Met Your Mother” graced the television screen. While some people were glad Ted Mosby, the show’s protagonist, ended up with his initial love interest, Robin, after years of a “will-they-or-won’t-they” relationship, many were appalled with the way the show ended.
Regardless of how you felt about the series finale, though, it’s hard not to love and look up to Ted Mosby as a main character. Apart from being an ever-hopeful romantic and loyal friend, Ted holds a great deal of passion for his work. When he wasn’t on the hunt to find his soul mate or toasting his friends at MacLaren’s, Ted could often be found reciting fun facts about the Empire State Building, sketching architectural designs for his firm in New York or, in later seasons, teaching Architecture 101 at Columbia University.
According to an IMDb poll with a total of more than 2,000 votes, Ted Mosby ranks second as one of the best fictional architects that characterizes the profession. Many “How I Met Your Mother” episodes focused on his career and personal dreams, which were ultimately fulfilled when he became the youngest architect to design a skyscraper that became a part of the New York City skyline.
1) Identify the terms and conditions as well as potential risks that come with signing onto a new project.
Construction disputes are messy, as we saw in the sixth season when Ted is hired to design the skyscraper that would later become Goliath National Bank’s new headquarters. GNB’s plan to relocate is hampered when an activist named Zoey protests against the destruction of The Arcadian (an old hotel claimed to be an architectural landmark), where the new GNB building is supposed to be constructed.
This story arc is the perfect example of why it’s important for developers and owners to thoroughly research potential site locations, and for owners and contractors to draft construction contracts carefully. Kathlynn Smith, co-founder of the Smart Girls’ Guide to Construction Law, says contracts allow all parties to identify the project’s goals, set the ground rules for performance and assign responsibility before a dispute arises – in fact, even before a single hammer is lifted.
Additionally, Smith adds that contractors must be familiar with all local and regional building codes and ensure that the construction complies with all federal, state and/or local regulations within the construction contract.
“The project should be designed in a manner that’s not only buildable but also addresses the requirements or needs of the local area. For instance, a project in Detroit has different requirements than one in Los Angeles because of site-specific conditions, such as the likelihood and frequency of earthquakes in Los Angeles compared to Detroit,” says Smith, who is also a construction attorney at Hunt Ortmann Palffy Nieves Darling & Mah, Inc. “You need to be able to build a project that accounts for all of the ins and outs and peculiarities within each different region.”
Ultimately, you don’t want to step on any toes like GNB did in “How I Met Your Mother.” What follows shortly after Zoey is introduced is a series of rallies, an interference in Ted’s architecture class and, finally, a hearing that dubbed The Arcadian not a landmark – paving the way for Ted’s biggest project of his career.
2) Envision the people who will be inhabiting your building or project once it’s constructed.
In the eighth season finale, Ted shows one of his best friends, Lily, the house that he spent months renovating in Westchester County, New York. “Just think, this is the house your kids are going to grow up in!” Lily says when she steps into Ted’s future home for the first time. “They are going to roast marshmallows in this fireplace!”
There’s something exciting about putting the finishing touches to a construction project and handing the keys to your client when it’s completed. On grueling days when you’re working long hours at the construction site, remember that people are soon going to be inhabiting this space. You’re helping to build homes, offices and infrastructures that become a part of the municipality.
For JocCole Burton, CEO of Woodline Solutions, the most rewarding part about working in the construction industry is being able to develop projects that have a positive impact – for instance, buildings that are energy-efficient.
“I think it’s fascinating and wonderfully satisfying to be able to create something out of nothing,” Burton says. “The legacy of the structure you’ve built is visible to most people. In most cases, if I do my job right, there is a phenomenal sustainable impact on the people who use the buildings and the reason why they were created – whether that’s to conduct business, educate students, et cetera.”
3) Being successful in the construction industry requires creativity.
An effective team for a construction project should, Smith says, be made up of “people who are good problem solvers, who think critically and who always have the end goal of the project in mind.”
For years, we watched Ted take on countless architectural projects that, unfortunately, always fell flat thanks to his acidulous work supervisors and other unlucky circumstances. Season four is especially rough, as Ted gets fired from his firm after he sketches the design of a new skyscraper that’s better than his boss’s. Later, he’s hired to design GNB’s “Employee Transition Room” – a seemingly meager project that gets him fired again after he becomes too creatively invested in the assignment. It’s not until the GNB tower is conceived that Ted finally puts his design talent and imaginative ideas to use.
“If you’re on a construction site, you are confronted daily with new twists on familiar situations,” Smith says. “You have to be on your toes, and you have to be looking for solutions that make sense for the project you’re working on. So to be a creative person in the construction industry simply means you’re good at your job. You can’t be a robot.”
~ ~ ~
While Ted Mosby did not always succeed in his endeavors, his bank of architectural knowledge and passion for his work strengthened his character, helping to make “How I Met Your Mother” a much loved show for nine – legen-wait-for-it-dary – years.
This Week in Construction News:
Construction spending falls again, a negative for the economy, Market Realist
Architecture’s New Age, Wall Street Journal
Israel announces plans for new construction on disputed land, LA Times
Fantastic buildings that were never built, BBC
Practical Approaches to Managing Risk on Multifamily Construction, Construction Executive