Finishing Others’ Construction Projects: Yes, It’s Tricky

construction projects

This would make for a great Halloween blog: It’s no treat to finish other companies’ construction projects. And being politically correct when dealing with another construction professional’s mistakes is tricky.

You may be finishing up for a competitor, but you’re also dealing with the work of a company that may be a future partner or source of more work. And if it happened to them, it might happen to you someday.

You literally don’t want to burn any bridges here.

Taking On Construction Projects Halfway Through

What happens when you’re asked to take on construction projects halfway through? The first question to ask is, “Why?”

Relationship conflicts, disagreements, job conditions, financial issues, personal emergencies, or unforeseen circumstances can lead to a general contractor or subcontractor leaving a project midstream. If you’re the replacement, it’s important to know why they left.

Look Before You Leap

It’s a bit of an ego-trip. Everyone wants to be “The Wolfe,” the prestigious problem-solver in Pulp Fiction. Don’t let the initial excitement of landing a new project cloud your judgment. If you do, you could wind up with the same issues as your predecessor. 

  • If the first contractor was overwhelmed, that’s something you can manage.
  • If money was an issue, it might not have been the general contractor’s lack of money. It could be a delinquent client.

You also need to know exactly how much money is available for the scope of work you inherited. “You may get in and think you have $1 million of work to do, and the bank may think you have $100,000 of work to do,” said Michael Rune II, Carlton Fields P.A.

Are There Do-Overs?

Your contract should specify the work that remains as-is, work to be completed, and itemize any crossover work. If you’ll be responsible for the quality of any scope of work, make sure it’s your work. You don’t want to assume 100% liability for 10 percent of the contract price, Rune continued.

If you’re taking on another company’s construction projects, the bottom line is how much you’re willing to risk to turn a profit. Only you can decide.

Other Construction Projects Impact Your Business

Construction industry businesses know what’s important to business development. You should be regularly evaluating your competition, seeking alignment with other companies’ construction projects, finding mentors, or nurturing startups.

Construction Monitor has been providing data analytics for construction business development since 1989. Let us give you information for a better 2021.

Construction Industry: Equipment Uptime

Reducing do-overs and avoiding downtime is easier said than done, especially when a project has suffered work interruptions. Many 2020 projects continue operating with a reduced workforce and money has been tight. One of the inefficiencies that haunt construction projects is construction equipment failures.

Fallout From Construction Equipment Failures

Insurance companies say not recognizing the risks of construction equipment failures is problematic. (Remember, “Plan for the worst; hope for the best?”). Project managers should put mitigation equipment failure measures in place by creating actionable processes before the project begins.

Failure to mitigate equipment failure risks can lead to:

  • Equipment/machinery needing to be quickly replaced
  • Liability exposures/on-the-job accidents
  • Project delays/losses
  • Safety/environmental non-compliance due to defective machinery/equipment

Preventive, Predictive, and Reactive Maintenance

Obviously, preventive maintenance is key to maximizing equipment performance. Construction equipment is designed to work hard and long with proper care. Manufacturer-recommend maintenance and parts replacements are basic and preventive.

Predictive maintenance is data-driven: You use historical and performance statistics to best-guess when a piece of machinery or equipment is likely to fail. Then you put a plan in place for that event so your team can make an almost seamless transition and fast response.

Reactive maintenance is another way to keep a project on-time and within budget. Using a checklist, inspect each piece of equipment. If a problem is identified, reactive maintenance manages the problem sooner, rather than later. Corrective repairs take time, but they are easier, smoother, and usually more effective when you’re not under pressure.

Technology Facilitates Communication

Eighty-four percent of construction equipment repair time is spent coordinating and communicating with managers, repair specialists, manufacturers, and team members. The repair itself is much faster.

When you use technology to put a predictive plan in place for equipment failure, you’re going to save time. And you’ll have a better profit margin because of less downtime.

Construction Monitor also offers a technology tool that can lead to increased profit. The information you get from our customized datasorts is knowledgeable and actionable. You simply have to use it. Building permit information can lead to better business – more business.

Call 800-925-6085 or contact Construction Monitor to learn how.

Reduce Waste for Your Construction Business

construction business

“Haste makes waste.” “Waste not; want not.”

Wasting time, labor, materials… For a construction business, waste means fewer profitable projects or worse. A good question we should be asking ourselves is, “Why do we waste so much?”

A more important question is, “How can my construction business waste less to earn more?”

Construction Business Technology Drives Efficiency

“Rework costs, including labor, materials, equipment and subcontractors can run from 2%-20% of a project’s total contract amount. That equates to an estimated total of $15 billion a year,” says communications professional Eric Harris. The construction industry also generates 39% of global carbon emissions; a lot of it is due to waste.

If you’ve implemented processes to increase productivity and efficiency, good for you. But if your construction business team is ignoring the amount of waste you’re generating as well as the amount of energy you lose to reworks and runarounds, you’re only tackling part of the problem.

BIM (building information modeling) is a process utilizing technology to digitally generate and manage construction business projects. This streamlines production in theory but sometimes fails in reality.

Ordering more materials “just in case” is a prime example of wasteful working practices we need to manage. Most companies don’t even realize how much waste they were generating until they get the technology to measure it.

Here are 3 examples of companies that used technology to reduce waste:

  1. A project timeline was shortened from 120 to 42 days at a cost savings of $500,000 by using a materials management system and modern technology vs. manual methodology.
  2. An excavation operations construction business worked 41% faster with 75% increased accuracy when machine-control technology was introduced.
  3. Working from 2D drawings, one company averaged 10%-15% waste in rebar fabrication. Using constructible models, 99% of the rebar was fabricated correctly.

Construction Monitor Generates Profits

Construction Monitor is the construction business resource for accurate, timely, and geographically complete building and solar permit information in the United States. Our construction leads help building professionals, general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers reach new customers

 Contact us today.

What is Lean Construction?

lean construction

Working “lean” is a business principle for reducing waste and increasing profits. It can apply to any industry.

Lean construction has been slow to develop, according to the Lean Construction Institute (LCI). But construction technology developments are making this practice easier to implement and therefore more attractive to construction business owners and managers.

How Does Lean Construction Work?

Lean construction shares the same 5 business principles as lean manufacturing:

  1. Identify value
  2. Map the value stream
  3. Create better flow and fewer bottlenecks
  4. Establish a pull-planning system
  5. Seek perfection and continuously adjust principles 1-4.

The most basic residential renovation has thousands of documents and pieces of information. Today, it’s impossible to manage without technology.

Value stream mapping approaches the job from the customer’s point of view and explains the value possibilities and how you’re maximizing them. “Necessary materials, labor, and other supplies are identified before each stage of work,” says PlanGrid “…rather than during the fray or only after bottlenecks create delays.”

Lean construction principles reduce waste:

  • Defects/reworks due to lack of skilled/trained labor, outdated information, etc.
  • Excessive inventory ordered “just in case”
  • Extra materials processing (dimensional lumber cutting, assembly of trusses never used anyway)
  • Unnecessary transportation of unnecessary materials, workers, or equipment to a jobsite
  • Wasted time due to unnecessary distances between worksite locations and/or poor storage sites

Benefits of Lean Construction

The new generation of workers is invested in your company. They will appreciate lean construction business principles and take pride in working for your organization. They’ll delivery higher quality work. You’ll also realize higher quality work by virtue of early problem-solving to reduce rework.

Advanced pull-planning encourages effective risk management.

You sometimes know when a project is designed with a formula for failure. Walk away before you waste time, lose money, and lower morale. Remember, you’re seeking higher profit margins and greater ROI (return on investment). You’re using lean construction business principles.

Information You Need

Business permit data sorting is time-consuming. Construction Monitor does that for you. Call 800.925.6085 (International/435.586.1205) or contact us today to learn more about using business permit data to increase profits.

Cyberattack: The Other Virus

While we’re developing processes to protect workers from each other during a pandemic, we may be lowering our defenses against other viruses. Cyberattacks are becoming more cause for concern in the construction business, but we’re taking fewer steps to mitigate cybersecurity.

Construction Companies and Cyberattacks

“Hackers are increasingly going after construction companies,” said Zachary Phillips of Construction Dive. And construction companies are often underprepared for an attack. “The disconnect between the field and the office can create lapses that hackers can exploit, and there are more chances employees can make mistakes.”

How They Hack

Hackers will pose as subcontractors. They’ll message construction business A/R (accounts receivables) or accountants and claim to have a new routing number.

Another hack is to email an employee at 4:00 p.m. on a Friday, just as things are wrapping up for the weekend. The hacker will ask for vital information and hope the employee is too distracted to see the red flags.

5 Clues You’re Being Hacked

“Odd-sounding” wording and spelling mistakes are often clues to a potential hack. Other indicators your construction business may be the victim of a cyberattack can include:

  1. Action pop-ups – One of the more successful pop-ups says, “You’ve won! Click here to claim your prize!” A more deadly pop-up is “Your files have been encrypted. Send $1,000 by noon tomorrow or we’ll delete the key.” It’s called “ransomware.” Even if you send the money, you may not get the key.
  2. Crashes – Uploaded malware can cause crashes or slow-running equipment.
  3. Mass emails – Employees not known for sending mass emails about anything suddenly send one to the entire organization.
  4. Network performance – Your construction business router or network slows substantially. A hacker is downloading large amounts of information or connecting to your network.
  5. Unusual activity – You see activity at vacant workstations. Working employees may notice their cursors move or programs and files open “by themselves.”

Construction Business Intelligence for Our Industry

Your construction business has technology options to maximize efficiency, including cybersecurity software. Make one of your new year resolutions to explore cybersecurity options for your company. You may think you’re “not big enough” to be a target, but you’re wrong.

Construction Monitor uses business intelligence data to help your organization work smarter and more competitively. Contact us today.

Building Permits: Your Secret Weapon

building permits

Are you wondering what neighborhoods your business should expand into? Do you wish there was a way to know which new services would bring you the most profit? Well… there is. As surprising as it may sound, building permits are the secret to making smart business decisions in the construction industry. 

When a homeowner or a contractor applies for a building permit, they provide a lot of information — the project budget, contractor name, home value, and so forth. Construction Manager obtains this information and then compiles it into statistics that contractors and business owners find helpful.

Here is some of the building permit information available to business owners:

Company Names

Do you want to see who the major players are in the roofing industry in your area? Building permit data can tell you. Maybe you want to know how many companies are currently installing windows a few counties away. That’s something else you can gather from permit data. As new companies enter the market, you will see their names pop up on permits, enabling you to reach out and possibly form relationships.

Project Types

You can look at building permit data broken down by project type to see which sectors of the construction industry are getting the most work currently. You may see, for instance, that there are 100 permits per month issued for roofs, but only 50 permits are issued for window replacement. 

Project Values

Although they are often just estimate, project costs are included on building permits. You can see what the average homeowner in your area is paying for a certain service and use this to guide your pricing.

Market Shares

You can also use building permits to see the market shares owned by certain businesses in your area. Maybe one company installs 80% of all solar panels in your area; you now know they’ll be your major competitor if you decide to offer solar installation. 

Building permit data is your secret to making smart, informed decisions for the future of your business. Contact Construction Monitor to sign up today, and use our data to your advantage.

Construction Industry Recovery for 2021

Construction Industry Recovery

When will it end? As we rounded the corner into 4Q 2020, COVID-19 reared its ugly head and roared with a vengeance. The devastation to families and businesses, including the construction industry, continues.

Pandemic and Construction Industry Trends

Many construction industry firms have provided support for area hospitals and organizations during this time. If your company is in a position to help your community, thank you. But more of us are suffering. “Most sites that are open have faced disrupted supply chains and operational restrictions,” says McKinsey. “A fast return to business as usual seems unlikely.”

Depending on economic and public health policies, we could be doing well next year. Or it could be 2023 before we are back on track.

Short-term construction industry trends are:

  • Increased digitization – Working remotely has forced construction industry organizations to invest in shared software solutions. More information shared by more people is a good thing. Monitoring employee health and safety using apps is going to be necessary for quite some time.
  • Materials reorganization – Building inventory to rebalance supply chain disruptions is necessary.

Long-term construction industry trends include:

  • Increased digitization – Skilled labor shortages can be better managed with increased productivity. Invest in software apps for:
    • 4D simulation
    • Advanced schedule optimization
    • Real-time progress tracking
    • Workflow management
  • Offsite construction – Building/assemblage offsite is faster and safer because environments are more controlled.
  • Sustainability – Healthier living will be a key motivator behind government programs/incentives for the construction industry.

Building Permit Data for Better Business

Construction Monitor provides vital information for construction industry companies, but many others use building permit data as well:

  • Investors – Opportunities for financial growth are all over the place right now. That means you have options for investment in many geographic areas and industries. Building permit data gives you the information you need to make choices.
  • Marketing, software companies – The construction industry is experiencing change like never before. There’s potential for you to help them succeed with your products and services.
  • Startups – Protecting your investment in tough economic times is a priority. Stay abreast of state and local infrastructure and housing developments before your competitors.

Contact Construction Monitor today. We’d like to give you a powerful tool for business success in 2021.

Must-Have Construction Technology for Your Company

Construction Technology

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is nothing new. The acronym was probably coined around the 1880s when protective eyewear was patented. Actually, PPEs have been around for centuries; we have always protected our hands with glove-like coverings when necessary.

Mask-wearing has become politicized, but businesses – including construction industry-related businesses – don’t have the luxury of choice. We are duty-bound to protect our workplaces, employees, and customers.

We’re already looking at 1Q 2021 and wondering if it’s going to be more of the same. At least IoT (Internet of Things) technology is going to give us construction technology to track PPEs. In any instance where diligence is a good idea, being able to prove due diligence can save your business.

Construction Technology: Contact Tracing Tools

One of the new tasks surrounding the pandemic is contact tracing. You’ll issue and/or post jobsite guidance for distancing. And if a case of COVID-19 is suspected to be jobsite-related, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) have guidelines for reporting, tracking, and monitoring infected individuals.

We recommend you read Guidelines for the Implementation and Use of Digital Tools to get an idea of what may be required at your end.

Construction Technology Software

IoT technology has been utilized for the better part of a decade and is proving to help improve safety, lower risk, and give management and workers the peace of mind needed…
ConstructionDive.com

Supervisors will have a greater responsibility to maintain the accountability of employees. There are software apps that can give you a real-time “picture” of every employee’s location on a jobsite. You can view bottlenecks and problem areas and address issues immediately.

Proximity Trace™* alerts workers if they get too close to each other. Information is stored, so if there is a COVID-19 incident, employees don’t have to use their memories to reconstruct where they were and with whom they interacted on any given day.

Construction Monitor for Real-Time Data Analytics

If you receive weekly reports from Construction Monitor, you’re already utilizing a powerful construction technology tool. Have you heard the phrase, “Use it or lose it?” That’s exactly what happens to business development if you don’t use the information we provide.

Call 800.925.6085 (International/435.586.1205) or contact us today. We want to know where you want to build.

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*Construction Monitor does not endorse nor recommend any software brand for use in construction technology applications.

Which Businesses Can Benefit From Building Permits?

building permits

At Construction Monitor, we collect information from building permits issued throughout the country. We then analyze and compile that information to provide our clients with useful data that they can use to make smarter marketing decisions. Our clients can see which contractors claim the most business in a certain area. They can see which neighborhoods have the most homeowners applying for permits, and so much more.

One question we sometimes get is what companies can benefit from the building permit data we compile. We would argue that any company in the construction industry can benefit. But in particular, there are a few types of businesses that should make this sort of permit analysis a priority.

New Construction Businesses

If you are opening a new construction business, accessing the building permit data compiled by Construction Monitor can help you make smarter choices from the beginning. You can see what areas the most work is being done in and choose to locate your office in that area. You can also see which niche may bring you the most success in your chosen locale.

Businesses Looking to Grow

If you want to expand your business into a new area, data from business permits can help you decide which area to focus on. If there were only 10 new permits a month issued in City 1, but 100 per month in City 2, then City 2 is your best bet for expansion.

Businesses Looking to Diversify

Are you wondering whether you’re better off adding plumbing, electrical services, or sewer services to your roster? Permit data can help you see which service will bring in the most profit.

Marketing Firms With a Focus on Construction

Any marketing firm that works with construction companies and contractors needs to rely on permit data. This will help them determine who their target market is and where to focus their advertising.

Building permit data can be incredibly informative for most any business in the construction industry. Contact Construction Monitor to learn more about our services and statistics. 

Construction Trends to Drive Infrastructure Development

Construction Trends

Annually, the U.S. spends around $450 billion on infrastructure, only 2.3% of U.S GDP, far below the 5% of European countries’ GDPs. The U.S. needs over $2 trillion of infrastructure investment by 2030 just to keep pace with the country’s economic activity.
Kate Gasparro

COVID-19 has dominated our attention for an entire year. It gave us previously unheard-of challenges in the construction industry. It forced us to work differently; maybe forever.

The pandemic may have also drawn attention away from some critical problems our country was facing, including this one: The U.S. is falling behind developed countries in infrastructure spending.

Technology Key to U.S. Lagging Infrastructure Construction Trends

If infrastructure investment could increase, its positive impact on our economy and the construction industry would make for a much happier new year. Infrastructure industries include:

  • Architecture
  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Real estate

Gasparro says investment in technologies could increase infrastructure project profits by 10%. Here’s what we need more of for 2021:

  • Climate-change and pandemic impacts on construction trends – Be prepared to develop:
    • Car-free zones
    • Dedicated bike paths
    • Larger public spaces
    • Renewable energy sources
    • Wider sidewalks
  • Construction technology – Construction trends are technology-driven with:
    • 3D printing/blueprints
    • 4D/5D simulation project plans
    • Building information modeling (BIM)
    • Drone surveying
    • Materials tracking software
    • …and much, much more
  • Organizational technology – Construction trends toward energy conservation, economic growth, and societal safety are being incorporated into construction industry best practices. Jobsite management will use software to see where workers and materials are, real-time, and avoid potential health exposures or materials logjams.
  • Supply chain solutions – It’s time to rebuild inventory and secure materials. Examine supplier sources to find alternatives to critical material shortages.

Staying in business isn’t easy when it’s a jungle out there. But you can cut through the tangle of obstacles and setbacks with the right strategy. Construction Monitor has been in business since 1989. We haven’t seen it all, but we’ve seen a lot of construction trends come and go.

Ask us how we can give you the data tools you need to get beyond survival and into profits. Contact Construction Monitor today.