The Construction Industry and Life Sciences Projects

When your 7th grader says she is studying “life sciences,” you might be puzzled by that term. It’s what we called “biology” in school. Life sciences is the study of living organisms:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Botany
  • Microbiology
  • Physiology
  • Zoology

…and more. It’s a sector of the medical research and development industry that is taking off like a rocket. Or as reporter Sebastian Obando puts it, “the life sciences gold rush.”

Construction Industry Projects for Science Studies Have Special Code Considerations

A life science construction project isn’t as cut-and-dried as an office or retail complex. There are building codes to follow defining how many chemicals are allowed in a laboratory structure. For research scientists, the more the better, so one of your jobs is to maximize the number of chemicals allowed.

Current building codes allow for more chemicals on ground and bottom floors. You can request design strategies that allow for more chemicals on upper floors.

The Devil’s in the Details

A commercial property’s ultimate use in the life sciences sector is critical. You need to know how much, what kind of, and where equipment will be located. Retrofitting and repurposing those empty office buildings to serve as life sciences space is the construction industry challenge. But it has its rewards: Demand is high and so are profits.

Typically, buildings that offer a 20-to-25-foot column-free span from the perimeter work well to provide lab bench areas with lab support and offices towards the interior core…generally steel will offer the most flexibility in a retrofit.Joseph Whalen, Suffolk New York 

Life science buildings require stronger weight-bearing infrastructures, specific floor-to-ceiling heights, and more to be converted from an office or retail space to a laboratory. With 2021 past the halfway mark, an anticipated $90 billion is anticipated to be invested in the life sciences sector.

You Can Watch It Happen or Make It Happen

Building permit information can be sorted into marketing leads for your company. Analyzing the data you receive from Construction Monitor is great. But taking action to increase profits is what we intended for you. It’s not rocket science (or life science) but if you aren’t sure how this works, just ask us. Contact Construction Monitor today.

Leadership Development Will Drive Our Construction Industry

construction industry

Technology has transformed the construction industry. But one thing that won’t change is the need for people-to-people communications and negotiations. “There will always be components of the building process which require excellent use of collaboration, conflict management, and critical thinking skills,” says human resources consultant Debbie Burkett.

The Construction Industry: We Have a Leadership Gap

Research has confirmed critical-thinking abilities and effective communication competencies (soft skills) cause workers at every level to outperform other employees. Think about that. If the construction industry selected its workforce from those with above-average soft skills, the impact on productivity and profits could be huge.

  • We will see a construction industry growth of 8.55 million by 2026.
  • 41% of the construction industry workforce will retire by 2031.
  • 55% of CEOs consider developing the next generation of leaders their biggest challenge
  • …But only 11% of HR divisions report having a strong base of employees that can fill leadership roles.

Those are the numbers but now what?

How do you put this information to work for your company? A billion-dollar corporation can afford to hire consultants and establish in-house leadership development programs. But what about you?

What you can do today:

You hear and see two words repeatedly as you study ways to improve your business: “Software” and “communication.” You can teach self-awareness. You can encourage integrity. Those are 2 critical skills leaders need. But communication is the skill we need to most nurture among our employees.

Even when you utilize the best project management software and everyone on your team is proficient, onsite conflicts and office-vs.-field communications can be a problem. No matter what size your organization, you can develop leadership skills specific to our construction industry. Communications and leadership development programs impact everything, including project safety, productivity, employee morale/turnover, and much, much more.

Employee development initiatives designed to improve competencies and change behavior without addressing and cultivating soft skills is like trying to use a hoist without a cable. It just doesn’t work that way. -Debbie Burkett, MHR, SHRM-SCP, PHR

Construction Monitor can’t exactly provide HR solutions, but we can provide marketing development tools. You can benefit from our leads-to-projects information. The increased profits can be funneled to leadership development.

Click to Chat or contact the marketing professionals at Construction Monitor to learn more.

Construction Industry Safety Means Following OSHA Guideline

construction industry safety

It’s that simple: Every time you look the other way when you spot a safety violation you’re putting your co-worker, the project, and the company at risk. Following an investigation into the deaths of two men, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) fined Atlantic Coast Utilities LLC/Advanced Utilities Inc., (predecessor company Shannon Construction Company, successor company Sterling Excavation LLC) and company owner Laurence Molony $1.35 million.

Construction industry journalist and Construction Dive associate editor Matthew Thibault attempted to learn more. He tried to contact the company and its owner but was told he called “a wrong number.”

The two employees, 27-year-old Jordy Alexander Castaneda Romera and 33-year-old Juan Carlos Figueroa Gutierrez were struck by a dump truck that pushed them into a 9-foot-deep trench…OSHA cited the contractor for 28 willful, repeat, serious, and other-than-serious violations, according to a Department of Labor press release. -Construction Dive

Owner Laurence Maloney had been previously investigated six times and received 14 citations prior to incident. OSHA told WBUR News of Boston Maloney “knowingly” disregarded safety guidelines. He also dodged fines by shutting down his businesses and re-opening under a new name.

The citations included:

  • Failure to conduct onsite hazards inspections
  • No employee training
  • No safety training to avoid work-related hazards,

In an August 18, 2021 Associated Press statement, Atlantic Coast Utilities LLC said:

The company will assess the actions taken by OSHA
…and will determine its next steps, including contesting any assertion of company error or negligence.
…This was a tragic accident and any attempt to portray it otherwise is both inaccurate and imprudent.

“Two hardworking people lost their lives because Atlantic Coast Utilities put its own profits over workers’ safety and health,” said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. Maloney’s prior fines totaled $81,242. He has paid $7,700. Atlantic Coast Utilities LLC is also under investigation for possible violation of the federal wage law.

Construction Industry Information

Construction Monitor promotes construction industry safety by sharing information. We consult viable resources of current construction industry trends/news and use our blog to share what we learn with you.

Our main goal as a company is to give you actionable information. Construction Monitor’s construction industry data analytics lead to…leads. You can develop a marketing strategy that includes direct mail and database-driven direct contact with potential clients.

Like any other news source, our weekly business permit editions tell you what, where, when, and how much. Contact us or send a message to learn why you need Construction Monitor data.

Apprenticeships for Women in Construction

women in construction

In 2020, only 4% of skilled construction workers were women. Women in construction are seeking jobs that are considered nontraditional employment roles. And yes, there have been barriers to overcome.

There is one nonprofit – WINTER (Women In Non-Traditional Employment Roles) offering a free pre-apprenticeship program for women. The Apprenticeship Readiness Program tackles two of the problem areas for some women: physical strength and mental toughness.

Women in construction comprise 9% of federally registered apprenticeships. In addition to facing bias among reporters, “Women also frequently face sexual harassment and bullying on job sites,” says retired electrician Meg Vasey. It’s almost as if getting an apprenticeship is a “family secret” she continued.

Networking among friends and family likely leads to more apprenticeships than anything else – for men. And unlike most men, housing and childcare are concerns for women in construction.

New Commitment To Funding for Women in Construction

An apprenticeship is one of the many forms of construction craft training. In a construction apprenticeship program, apprentices learn skills and knowledge from experienced craft professionals. Examples of craft specializations that might be taught through an apprenticeship include carpentry, masonry, plumbing and welding.BYF.org

President Biden shared his infrastructure proposals in April 2021. In addition to focusing on highways, bridges, and transit systems, a proposed $48 million was earmarked for workforce development. Biden wants to create 1-2 million apprenticeship openings.

“That funding includes a special focus on creating new registered apprenticeship slots as well as support for pre-apprenticeship programs for women and people of color,” says Fortune.com “to ensure they are allowed an equal share of those opportunities.”

Meg Vasey says she sees more hope for women in construction than ever before.

The Change Begins With You

Women in construction add value to our industry. Mentoring is one way to encourage women and minorities to tackle apprenticeship programs. Possibly the most important thing you can do is to make high school students aware of their options. Presentations explaining “earn while you learn” will go a long way to creating interest in the construction industry.

The challenge to create construction employment opportunities is real. But if you don’t cultivate job opportunities, it’s a moot point. Building business leads using building permit information is what we do. Contact Construction Monitor for more information.

Construction Firms and Pandemic Mandates: Inconsistency Is the Formula for Failure

construction firms and pandemic mandates

No doubt about it; these are strange times. We thought (hoped) the great mask debate would be history by now. We also hoped the pandemic of 2020 wouldn’t repeat itself as soon as it did. But now we have the Delta variant. Construction firms cannot avoid dealing with the realities of the situation any longer. 

Can Construction Firms Mandate COVID-19 Vaccinations?

No matter how you feel about it, mask-wearing and vaccinations are tricky topics. You may say that most of your workers are outdoors, so mask-wearing is unnecessary. But you have an office staff that works primarily indoors.

You cannot mandate office workers wear masks but let field personnel have a choice. You can, of course, but you’d risk discrimination charges.

What if your client insists? In addition to requesting eco-friendly materials, clients are demanding construction firms require employee vaccinations. If you’re working a government contract, that makes a difference.

The location of your project site matters, too. Many mask mandates expired in March 2021. As another fall pandemic looms, there are states, counties, and cities returning to mandatory masks. Arkansas says you cannot enforce mask-wearing. But some Arkansas cities disagree and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) puts most of that state at high risk.

California says fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks. But fully vaccinated or not, if your project is a retrofit for an open school or operative healthcare facility you probably – perhaps legally and even ethically – need to wear masks.

(California) employers must provide unvaccinated employees with NIOSH-certified respirator masks for voluntary use when working indoors…Employers must also make masks available to
vaccinated persons upon request.
Littler Insight

Legal Sources Advise Transparency, Consistency

Regardless of which approach you take, make sure every employee knows what your company is doing. “Updated policies should be clear and unambiguous and in writing,” says construction news source Construction Dive.

Before you issue mandates, consider the unique factors of your workplaces. Choose your policies wisely and make sure everyone knows exceptions exist. Documenting policy violations remains critical. Consult with local union advisors. And before you risk firing non-compliant employees, make sure your company can manage the turnover.

Construction Monitor Data Analytics

We pull building permit information pertinent to your company and your location. We then refine it so you won’t waste time sifting through pages of information you can’t use. And we do this every week.

Ask Construction Monitor about marketing tools you can use.

Why Construction Cost Data Accuracy Matters

It’s safe to say that cost overruns in construction projects have become an industry-wide status quo. In fact, according to a study from KPMG, just 31% of all projects came within 10% of the budget in the past 3 years. –Grace Ellis, Digital Builder Blog

Cost overruns don’t have to be an acceptable loss. With the right construction cost data, many mistakes can be avoided and budgets could be more accurate.

Construction Cost Data Minimizes Loss: Causes of Overruns

It’s never “just one thing” that throws the construction process into a cost overrun. It’s a lot of minor mistakes, usually in the initial stages of the lifecycle, according to construction information management company Gordian.

Project managers anticipate costs; they plan and submit budgets based on projected expenses. Then the bids come in. The market has taken a downturn, materials have become scarce… For whatever reasons, the bids are higher than anticipated.

That’s the beginning of what will become cost overruns. Accurate construction cost data is necessary for estimating expenses. Yes, it’s a software solution. But it can improve and even fast-track planning, reduce mistakes, and minimize waste that can lead to overruns.

In addition to poor cost estimating, overruns occur because of:

  • Administration errors
  • Last-minute project scope changes
  • Not hiring the right subcontractors/team
  • Not planning for change orders
  • Poor site management
  • Uncoordinated schedules
  • Unrealistic designs

“Many contractors and owners believe…the best solution for bad administration is to simply increase the size of the administration team,” says Autodesk. “…increasing the number of people in administration could lead to collaboration failures that will almost certainly involve a cost overrun. Instead of adding more to your admin team, equip them with the right tools.”

Software Solutions Delivered Ready-To-Read

Building permit information is construction data available to the public. But it’s a lot of information and it takes a great deal of time to sort through and find what you need.

Construction Monitor was one of the first companies to generate customized data analytics from building permit information. Our subscribers want to study their competitors and develop their target market. They are creating marketing strategies that will generate leads. Those leads can lead to greater profits.

Subscribe today.

If you have questions, Live Chat or contact Construction Monitor.

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Please note:
Construction Monitor does not endorse nor recommend any software (except our own).

What Makes a Strong Construction Project Manager?

construction project manager

A construction project manager needs skills and qualities that justify and reinforce his or her leadership position. If you’ve ever worked with or for a bad construction project manager, you know exactly which problems arose from poor leadership and usually, poor communication.

Qualities a Construction Project Manager Should Have

In my opinion, all leaders have one thing in common—they do, as opposed to just talk. Leadership is about action, not position. Eric Sheninger, ICLE

Qualities are born, not made. Your qualities as a person were formed genetically and during your childhood. They were influenced by family and friends as you developed.

Some of the qualities you need as a project manager include:

  • Adaptability
  • Compassion
  • Enthusiasm
  • Honor
  • Low panic threshold
  • Problem-solving tendencies
  • Trustworthiness

There are many more good qualities project managers need that make them successful leaders.

Skills Can Be Cultivated

You can develop good communication skills. Some authorities list good communication as a quality, but it’s a skill you can learn.

Skills and experience as well as qualities are core competencies. “If a project manager can run a $15 million project and make money, they must be doing those things correctly,” says Construction Business Owner.

In addition to superior communication skills, construction project managers’ skills include:

  • Ability to deal with uncertainty – Alert the media if a construction project ever has a cookie-cutter script to follow. Project managers balance the frustration of ambiguity with here’s-what-we-know and work it.
  • Proactive planning skills – Effective construction project managers plan for worst-case scenarios and strive to attain best-case results. And they always have a Plan B.

Construction Monitor Data Analytics for Business Development

If your goal is to become a great construction project manager, market analysis is another skill you’ll need to develop. You should know what’s happening with the construction industry globally. More importantly, you should know your construction industry dynamics at home; where you live.

Construction Monitor data analytics can make that happen. Every week, we offer the most up-to-date information available for your state, county, community. Contact us today to learn how local information can become a project management tool.

How to Streamline Construction Processes

construction processes

Six years ago we blogged about construction issues related to miscommunication. Three years later, our industry lost $31.3 billion to rework caused by miscommunication. Thanks to technology, we have continued to perfect construction processes, but project managers still spend about 4 hours/week on miscommunications, including poorly documented data.

Clearly, communications rank high among the construction processes upon which we should focus. But technology continues to provide ways for us to reduce errors and rework.

Construction Processes, Management: An Automated Alternative

How do you gain insight into a process that’s frequently long, complex, and expensive? How do you measure progress, enforce QA/QC, share insights, promote collaboration, and create a single source of truth?Construction Dive

Project progress reports are another form of communication. In addition to being informative, they reassure stakeholders and inspire confidence in backers. Using 360-degree visuals as a management tool provides insight into the realities of each construction project.

Benefits include:

  • Minimizing project costs
  • Reducing project site risks
  • Winning more work (see: “making more money”)

Using 3D visuals isn’t new technology. But incorporating them into a management software platform is “new and improved” among construction processes. This can save days – not just hours – in construction design alone.

As-built documentation can:

Enhance progress management – “In the old days, if you spotted an issue, you went to the engineer with an RFI. It might take a couple of days to get an answer back.” Days are reduced to hours.

  • Improve productivity and work quality – Stakeholders can view digital models and as-built at the same time.
  • Improve safety protocols – One project dog/camera (aka “Spot”) roams the project site making 360° videos. This provides transparency, increases onsite safety, and offers investors another avenue of risk management.
  • Minimize project costs – Yes, it’s an investment. But it’s an investment that pays off.
  • Slant project bids in your favor (win more work/make more money) – Delivers better scope of work and adds trust as a bidding factor, making your company more competitive.

Save Time, Make Money With Customized Data

Technologies like BIM (business information modeling), VDC (virtual design and construction), and the software platforms that deliver them appear to have measurable ROI (return on investment). In fact, if you’ve invested in construction industry-specific software that didn’t deliver what you hoped, we’d be interested in your feedback.

Meanwhile, we believe the best software for business-building is ours. Request a free edition.

Contact Construction Monitor to learn how our data analytics can streamline your marketing program.

The Fight to Veto Construction Industry Federally Mandated PLAs

PLAs are construction industry project labor agreements. They are usually created for a specific project and are enforceable for the life of that particular project contract. They guarantee the use of union labor, and unions are supportive of PLAs.

…To prohibit financial investment by a United States person in foreign industrial defense corporations with substantial contracts with, ties to, or support from, the Chinese military and affiliated entities, and for other purposes.HR1093/Stop Funding the PLA Act

While AGC supports the Fair and Open Competition Act, it is not expected to legislatively advance given the political dynamics in Congress.agc.org

PLA benefits include:

  • Ensuring project completion on-time/within-budget
  • Making large projects easier to manage
  • Providing contractors with reliable/uninterrupted supply of qualified workers
  • Reducing labor strife; prohibiting strikes/lockouts
  • Uniform wages, benefits, overtime pay, hours, working conditions, etc. for major construction projects

Increasing apprehension about government-mandated PLAs on federal projects for agencies like the Veteran Affairs and Army Corps of Engineers, as well as federally funded construction projects has led to action to stop PLA funding.

In February 2021, The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) announced support for the Fair and Open Competition Act sponsored by Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Reps. Ted Budd (D-N.C.), and John Moolenaar (R-Mich.).

ABC says PLAs encourage a “rigged bidding process” that forces contractors to:

  • Follow “inefficient” union work rules
  • Obtain apprentices exclusively from union apprenticeship programs
  • Pay into union benefit/multi-employer pension plans that nonunion employees are unlikely to ever access
  • Require existing workforce to accept union representation, pay union dues and/or join a union as a condition of employment on a PLA jobsite
  • Use union-hiring halls instead of utilizing their existing workforce

Construction firms can continue to voluntarily enter into a PLA. But the ABC is committed to fight mandated PLAs on federally funded jobs.

Build America Local says it reduces competition and increases project costs. The organization says ensuring fair and open competition on taxpayer-funded construction projects leads to saving money and more opportunities for small- and minority-owned businesses.

Construction Industry Information: Your Most Valuable Resource

Construction Monitor and many other construction-industry organizations want to provide relevant information to its supporters, customers, and any company for which construction is an interest.

We want you to be able to make informed choices, so we provide blogs and other news sources.

When it comes to customized building permit data, Construction Monitor has no competition. We continue to be the main source of lead-generation information used by construction businesses like yours.

Contact Construction Monitor to learn more.

Aging-Out Re-Emphasizes Need for More Construction Workers

construction workers

We emphasize technology and investing in it for better project management. But we need humans to build homes and commercial properties. Construction workers’ median age is 41, based on 2019 survey data. That’s a contributing factor to the current construction workers shortage.

Construction Workers Declined During Office-Jobs Push

For many years, it was a cultural thing in our country to steer our kids toward the college path. Despite the earnings potential of working in the trades (to say nothing of the burdensome student loans), young people were encouraged to avoid construction work. The career track leading to construction was almost completely devalued.

The fairly recent cultural concept that manual labor is not a good job is an important contributor to what will soon be an aging-out-of-the-workforce situation. Construction workers must be physically healthy to do the work, and the statistics support the claim that we need to recruit younger workers.

In addition to 41 being the median age of construction workers:

  • First-line supervisors’ median age is 46.
  • Midwestern construction workers average under 38 years of age.
  • Supervisor helpers had the youngest median age; 30.
  • U.S. East Coast construction workers tend to be the oldest.

The AGC (Associated General Contractors of America) is spearheading recruiting drives and also asking President Biden to discontinue unemployment pandemic supplements for construction workers. While half our states agreed the unemployment program is disincentivizing U.S. workers, several states restored the unemployment benefits.

Construction Is Essential

AGC’s “Construction is Essential” program focuses on attracting, training, and retaining construction workers. They are seeking federal funding for career and technical education programs as well as partnering with community colleges and technical schools.

The push to recruit is timely because we need our 40-something workers to share skills and information with new-hires. “You need to fill [those positions] while some of the folks are still there so that they can help transfer what they know to the next generation of workers,” said Brian Turmail, AGC’s vice president of public affairs & strategic initiatives at the Associated General Contractors of America.

You Can Be Your Community’s Construction Authority

You can coordinate recruiting and public speaking events to share the need for construction workers now. You can also write your own blogs and newspaper articles. Information-sharing is a way to building your company’s brand and also finding employees during a workforce shortage.

Call 800-925-6085 (international 001-435-586-1205) for more information. We also offer Live Chat.