Heavy Construction Equipment Goes Electric

Heavy Construction Equipment

You unhook your hybrid from its charger and drive to the project site where you operate heavy construction equipment. If that’s you in 2023, you may be operating electric-powered heavy construction equipment.

For better ground contact, on mushy or soft soil, track loaders are often a better choice than skid-steers. Track loaders and skid-steers are similar, but track loaders run on parallel “tracks” rather than wheels and tend to be more compact. To add to the confusion, many people call a skid-steer a “Bobcat,” even though that machine is manufactured by several other companies.

In January, Bobcat unveiled its Bobcat T7X compact track loader at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2022). Bobcat says it is the first company to commercialize a dedicated all-electric compact construction machine. This fully electric piece of heavy construction equipment with electric cylinders and drive motors will eliminate emissions, reduce vibrations, and replace hydraulic systems and components.

Electrified Heavy Construction Equipment

Bobcat revealed its battery-powered E32e electric compact excavator in May 2022 saying the 3.9-ton excavator should be available in August. “Diesel-powered equipment is a big polluter,” says construction journalist Jen Miller. She says battery-powered heavy construction equipment could reduce emissions by 59%, based on a report from the Mineta Transportation Institute of California.

At this time, the only solution to high diesel prices is to settle for less profit. And the up-front investment in electric-powered construction equipment is (and likely will be for some time) expensive. But high diesel prices are increasingly prohibitive, so operating electrical heavy-duty construction equipment is beginning to feel more affordable. The push to operate environmentally cleaner, more energy-efficient equipment will drive the off-highway equipment market to $4.5 billion by 2028.

Balance Profit/Loss Using Better Business Development

Rather than settling for less profit, maybe it’s time to explore other avenues. Stroking current customer relationships is one business development tactic. Developing additional marketing strategies by putting available data to work for you is another way.

This is something we know about. Your competitors use our analytics to study their specific construction industry markets. There’s a good chance they know something you don’t. To find out, call 800-925-6085 or contact Construction Monitor.

Construction Industry DMI, Hiring Up

Construction Industry

“This peak is largely due to U.S. onshoring efforts,” says Construction Dive, “as more American companies move their manufacturing facilities back to the U.S.” Manufacturing returns to the U.S. are including food-related production and electric vehicle factories.

The Dodge Momentum Index is a monthly measurement of nonresidential construction industry building projects in planning. In June 2022, commercial percentages led by warehouse construction rose 4.1%. That increase in the DMI was a 14-year high for nonresidential building planning.

The numbers also indicate despite the anticipated recession, construction industry developers continue to be optimistic. The real test will be later, as higher interest rates impact businesses and consumer confidence.

When Amazon announced a warehouse construction slowdown, it added impetus to other warehouse construction planning because it shortened lead times for materials. It was anticipated to loosen constraints on obtaining materials as well.

But in July 2022, Amazon backed off and/or delayed 6 office development projects. Amazon said it needed to stand down and reevaluate designs. Because the pandemic changed the way we do our jobs, like other companies, Amazon’s still learning what the new normal way of working will be.

June 2022 also saw 16,500 new jobs in nonresidential construction but the loss of 4,100 jobs in residential construction.

In June, the unemployment rate for construction workers declined…It marks the lowest rate since May 2019…National Association of Home Builders

As of July 12, 2022, the U.S. Dept. of Labor said the mix of jobs in construction may shift as interest rates rise and then relax. Even though residential construction cooled, “jobs in nonresidential building, heavy and civil engineering, and nonresidential specialty trade” are rising.

It’s important to pay attention to national trends and international developments in our sector. There are many ways to manage today’s construction industry fluctuations, all of which impact construction jobs.

Things change.

What never changes is the need for you to maintain an ongoing business development plan. If not you, then someone in your company needs to utilize available data analytics to develop work, create construction industry alignments, and stay abreast of the competition.

Ask us how we can help. Contact Construction Monitor.

Construction Projects and Workforce Management

construction projects

You say you’re a “people person,” and as a workforce manager, that quality comes in handy. But do you have a concise process for knowing not only who’s who but who’s where and when? With labor shortages and high turnover, organizing personnel on construction projects better makes the difference between profit and loss, on time and late.

Personnel on Construction Projects

Keeping track of who is who on construction projects is a greater challenge than ever before. Good old Fred, who’s worked with you for 40 years, is retiring. You knew his kids’ names. You knew his dog’s name.

Workers you thought were company forever-employees are cutting away for other jobs and boomeranging back and even traveling to work on out-of-state construction projects. Organizational change is daily, and construction software can keep you up-to-date.

Here are two tips for efficient workforce management on construction projects:

1. Scheduling

If you’re in reactive mode when sending workers to projects, the biggest problem is you don’t know how much money this is costing your company.

  • Do you have a labor plan that ramps down the number of workers at the right time?
  • What skills are needed; where and when?
  • Who actually needs to be onsite early on?

Working with a limited number of employees means you need to better define their skills and experience. And you need to know more about who they are.

2. Forecasting

Paper spreadsheets vs. software? No comparison. Spreadsheets provide no real-time context. “By the time you forecast the storm, it’s already raining,” says Brian Witt of LaborChart. Software can’t help you make the best decisions, but it can certainly improve your odds of making the right ones.

Construction project software can cut those tedious labor meetings down to minutes. Everyone knows who’s where and who’s who every minute of every day. The time you save can be repurposed into developing and caring about your workforce instead of managing it. That kind of culture can maximize employee retention today.

We have the software that our marketing pros refine to give you timely and actionable information for business development. Just ask. Contact Construction Monitor.

OSHA Lists Construction Violations

construction violations

Change is a constant in construction. On the other hand, some things never seem to change, and that includes OSHA’s Top 10 more frequently cited violations across all industries. These accidents and injuries occur because the prevention programs are poorly supervised, mismanaged, or handed off to employees and forgotten.

Avoid These 10 Construction Violations

1. Falls – Protections should be in place for work above 6 feet, and this includes residential construction. Roofs are a major source of falls, but so are elevator shafts.

2. HazCom – Hazard communications entail informing employees of caustic materials and chemicals to which they may be exposed. Most of the problems involve a lack of:

  • Labeling
  • Safety data sheets (SDSs)
  • Training
  • Written inventories

3. Respiratory protection – Assessing exposure to lead means making informed decisions about protection. Dust masks are considered respiratory equipment. Respiratory equipment can stress bodies and many violations involve testing to see if employees are medically able to wear it.

4. Scaffolding – In addition to a lack of training, holes in platforms, inadequate fall protection, and inadequate points of access are cited.

5. Ladders – They must extend at least 3´ above the upper landing surface.

6. Lockout/Tagout – OSHA requires the development and implementation of a program to control unexpected energy releases when using equipment or sources of energy:

  • Chemical
  • Electrical
  • Mechanical
  • Pneumatic
  • Thermal

7. PIT – Powered industrial truck violations occur for many reasons, including untrained employees operating equipment. PITs include:

  • Forklifts
  • Order pickers
  • Powered pallet jacks
  • Stand-up rider trucks

8. Fall protection training – Certification must be issued to employees trained in fall hazard protections and procedures.

9. Eye/face protection – Employers are required to document risks and provide eye and face shields against:

  • Acids/caustics
  • Chemical gases/vapors
  • Flying particles
  • Light radiation
  • Liquid chemicals
  • Molten metal

10. Machinery guarding – Protections should be in place at the point of operation, as well as having the equipment properly secured/anchored during operation.

You can avoid the hazards of missed opportunities by taking advantage of Construction Monitor data analytics. We aren’t selling the software, just solutions. To learn more, contact Construction Monitor.

What Every Construction Business Needs To Know About Underground Utilities

Construction Business

Underground or subsurface utilities are infrastructures installed below ground. They include data cables, electric lines, gas/oil pipelines, telecommunication cables, and sewer/water pipelines. Most older utility lines were installed above the ground but are often reinstalled, as are new lines, underground for added safety and aesthetics.

Construction business excavations that damage underground utilities average 530,000 each year. “Contractors no longer accept utility strikes as part of the job,” says Hexagon’s Simon Pedley. “No strike is acceptable.” The market for construction business utility detection is expected to reach $1.7 billion by 2023.

5 Construction Business Utility Locator Challenges

Locators are the technicians tasked with preventing utility strikes during construction and excavation. A recent survey revealed locators’ challenges include:

  1. Arriving on site where there is no white-lining
  2. Difficulty meeting short lead times
  3. High demand/backed-up jobs
  4. High turnover
  5. Need for continuing education/training

The process for locating underground cables, lines, and pipelines uses electromagnetic locators (EML) and ground-penetrating radar (GPR). EMLs are unable to detect non-conductive lines, including concrete, clay/plastic pipes, and fiber optic cables. GPRs can detect non-conductive materials by transmitting a signal and receiving an echo. The problem with GPRs is they find everything underground. The technology requires a post-scanning professional analysis.

Contractors are frustrated when faced with old, out-of-date utility maps. They open trenches and vacuum potholes, which are inefficient, expensive, and often a waste of time. Uniting EML and GPR technologies makes sense. Pendley said, “I always suggest using both technologies. You want to have both EML and GPR on hand to give yourself the best chance of understanding what’s under the ground.”

You should be able to find construction business data analytics without digging too deep. The data we’ll provide you is presorted and ready to use. It’s specific to your company’s requirements for business development.

Let our marketing professionals explain which tools will work best for you. For example, Permit Insight Mapping provides an at-a-glance visual of opportunities in your area. It also tells you which contractors have the most activity.

To get your free weekly edition, contact Construction Monitor.

Construction Safety: Protecting Against Hearing Loss

Construction Safety

Have you heard of illnesses or injuries that occur because of lifestyle choices? For example, being sedentary as a choice has many unhealthy consequences. Aging rockers with hearing loss may regret standing near a concert speaker the size of a townhouse in 1976. Still, that was a lifestyle choice.

You shouldn’t need to worry about work-related hearing loss, but professional rock musicians are at-risk. So are construction workers.

There are many new-and-improved devices for construction safety. One of them can lower the risk of noise-induced hearing loss and even increase productivity, thanks to musician Jon Bon Jovi’s team of doctors and sound engineers at Bongiovi Acoustics.

Honeywell says the global market for hearing protection technology and devices is going to surpass $650 million by 2024. Not only will the newer devices protect against noise-induced hearing loss they may also offer advancements in hearing protection benefits.

Encourage Construction Safety Awareness

Working in a noisy environment puts personal and overall construction safety at risk. Being able to communicate by speaking and hearing nosedives, but the biggest safety risk (other than hearing loss) is reduced situational awareness. That can be deadly to you and others on a construction project jobsite.

Half of all construction workers are exposed to hazardous noise. One thing we should do is train workers and project supervisors to better understand the risks.

Any noise above 85 decibels (dB) can cause hearing loss:

  • Table saw – 93dB
  • Bulldozer – 100dB
  • Impact wrench – 102dB
  • Chop saw – 105dB
  • Chain saw – 110dB
  • Hammer drill – 115dB
  • Generator – 116dB
  • Hammer on nail – 120dB
  • Oxygen torch – 121dB
  • Jackhammer – 130dB

Blocking the noise doesn’t solve the problem. And most construction workers stop wearing protective devices exactly for that reason. They can’t hear what’s going on. The Bongiovi device (Clear 360 Pro) allows wearers to maintain communication with co-workers and hear – at safe decibel levels – what’s going on.

Too often, project workers are afraid to “speak up.” Developing and maintaining a construction safety culture encourages everyone to cite risks and seek solutions.

Our Construction Monitor marketing pros believe developing and maintaining a business growth culture can start with us. To learn how, contact Construction Monitor.

8 Construction Management Tips To Reduce Employee Turnover

Construction Management

You may feel like today’s workforce doesn’t care about working or success. It’s not that they don’t care. It’s that what they care about is different; for them, the definition of “success” is ongoing development, opportunity, and more.

Here are tips for construction management teams to attract and retain talent.

1. Match Their Goals With Yours

Review their accomplishments and discuss your industry as a global entity. Help them understand they’re part of a bigger picture.

2. Show Them a Development Path

Today’s high turnover is due in part to employees believing there’s no room for personal growth or career development. Construction management needs to be able to cite patterns for moving upward and explain how those promotions are attainable.

3. Inspire, Reward Meaningful Contributions

When one company planned to seek project funding, it asked every employee to submit ideas. Give employees opportunities to find meaning in what they do and excitement about what they can do.

4. ‘Love ’Em or Lose ’Em’

Provide mentoring, education, and development opportunities within their current roles. And employees often feel “lateral moves” are meaningless; a recognition or new title with no change in pay. They better appreciate bonuses and raises.

5. Provide Compensation, Benefits

One survey revealed 80% of employees would stay with a company that cared about their personal financial solidity. Retaining talent is heavily influenced by:

  • Disability insurance
  • Emergency savings programs
  • Healthcare plans
  • Life insurance
  • Mental health services
  • Paid family medical leaves
  • Retirement plans

6. Encourage Employee Engagement

The first step in creating employee engagement is to create an effective construction management team. Dynamic leadership teams understand that a positive employee experience can lead to profitability and higher customer satisfaction.

7. Prevent Burnout

Encouraging employees to take ownership of how they work is one way to reduce burnout. Top burnout causes include lack of flexibility, unclear communications, and no emphasis on mental or physical wellness.

8. Develop A Graceful Exit Program

When employees choose to leave, let them know they are still valued and the door’s always open. This kind of policy has led to boomerang employees that return when they discover the grass isn’t always greener.

For construction management business development that works hard for you, call 435-586-1205 or contact Construction Monitor.

The Value of Visual Data: Construction Industry Cameras

Construction Industry Cameras

When it comes to technology investments, if you’re a wait-and-see project manager, don’t wait too long. Your construction industry competitors are winning more bids because they are wowing project stakeholders with onsite technology like visual data equipment (construction cameras).

Are construction cameras worth it?

Visual data benefits like increased customer satisfaction and employee safety are hard to measure. Senserra Systems® says one number you can use is this: Construction cameras can increase your probability of winning bids by 20%.

Time-lapse and streaming technology company OxBlue® cites:

  • 80% fewer trips to project sites
  • Increased likelihood of early-completion bonuses
  • Reduced do-overs/reworks

The next generation of cameras is equipped with easier and faster reviewing as well as the ability to communicate changes in real-time. “AI proactively communicates when changes in activity, safety and project milestones,” says CEO Chandler McCormack. 

The Cost of Construction Industry Cameras

Safety and dispute resolution are high on the list of onsite cameras. Your record of construction activity provides greater accountability, something clients want. You can use them for vendor management and enhanced quality control. Still, these are benefits that are difficult to price. This is why project managers ask:

The expenses of next-generation cameras are verifiable but are they justifiable?

Costs include:

  • Cellular data
  • Data storage/cloud service
  • Electricity
  • Installation (electrical contractor)
  • Internet service
  • Purchase/rental
  • Setup/configuration (IT professional)

Questions Construction Industry Cameras Can Answer

The value of construction cameras is – for now – priceless. But the information your construction camera provides can generate measurable savings.

Visual data can answer questions like:

  • Are we on schedule?
  • Did materials arrive on time?
  • How many workers were in contact with the ill employee?
  • Was the weather that bad?
  • What happened before the accident?
  • When was the heavy equipment delivered?
  • Why was the project delayed?

Construction Monitor Premium Mapping

We don’t endorse any brand of construction industry technology. We can’t answer questions about construction business software. But our technology can answer questions your business development team may have. For example, Premium Mapping targets locations of interest to your business development.

With this feature, you can:

  • Add digital notes
  • Automatically count permit activity
  • Customization
    • Contractor
    • Project type
    • Project valuation
  • Displays contractors with most activity
  • Identifies potential opportunities

…and more. Ask our marketing professionals about other features that can increase your business.

To request a free sample, contact Construction Monitor

Construction Industry Materials and Decision-Making

Construction Industry Materials

Construction industry building materials can be innovative, exciting, and sustainable; clients are wowed when presented building material options. Those same materials can also be so high-priced and unattainable they jeopardize project deliverables, like completing the job within budget and on time.

Architects believe many construction industry contractors don’t make decisions that are in the best interests of clients. Many contractors believe architects don’t have a clear understanding of material decisions made after the bid and supply chain challenges. A report sharing these findings was based on architects and contractors surveyed in 2021.

AGC, AIA Collaborate to Assess…Collaboration

When a contractor tries to win a project by pulling a low-cost bid together, it can promise to bring the budget down. When a contractor and architect collaborate earlier on, those compromises are easier, and it’s not a race to offer the cheapest bid.Construction Dive

American Institute of Architects teamed with Associated General Contractors of America to discover what makes an architect-contractor relationship work or fail. The Architect’s Journey to Specification explores ways to improve the processes and offers suggestions to mitigate misunderstandings.

Findings included:

  • Almost half the architects surveyed believe they have majority ownership of decision-making. But a large majority of contractors believe decision-making is shared.
  • Architects and contractors believe more collaboration is needed, even though they frequently disagree during collaborative efforts.
  • Contractors need architects to be more responsive to RFIs (requests for information).
  • Material substitutions are a leading cause of conflict.
  • Some architects say contractors’ material substitutions are more self-serving than client-based. Contractors say keeping client projects on schedule and within budget is very client-based and those factors drive material choices.

The report suggests the solution is to collaborate early in the project. This will put material options on the table sooner and deter later conflicts.

Business Development: Operate With a Sense of Urgency

One of the greatest benefits of Construction Monitor building permit marketing information is it provides area-specific information before bids are requested. Use it to create project development forecasts and begin networking while your competitors’ attention is elsewhere. Also, we are happy when you make money using our data.

Ask us about ways to develop business leads, make money, and make us happy: Call 800-925-6085 or contact Construction Monitor.

The Best Construction Business Investment: You

Construction Business Investment

Starting a business isn’t easy for most of us. And to maintain a thriving construction business, financially and culturally, takes a bigger investment than money. If you want the right people working for you, start with becoming the right leader. They’re worth the investment and so are you.

4 Construction Business Leadership Tips

“You have to be the kind of person that people want to build with,” says author and business owner Kathryn Finney. She’s not exactly talking about “building” in the construction business sense. She’s talking about strategies for building any business.

Some leaders are born to lead, but it takes work and an investment in personal growth to be a great leader:

1. ABL

“Always be learning.” If you must schedule a time to research information, read or study, do it. Turn off the phone. Lock the door. Take the time. You’ll find yourself better equipped to be receptive to others’ ideas and your problem-solving skills will remain grounded.

2. Find Your Joy

You got into the construction business…why? You enjoy the work or the feel of creating something useful. You enjoy being outdoors. Don’t lose that joy. When your workers see your on-the-job excitement and visible happiness, it’s contagious. They begin to feel the joy too.

3. Reduce Stress With Body, Mind Health

When stress is greatest, we tend to neglect ourselves. We figure it’s a sacrifice, sure, but it’s for the greater good. Wrong. Do you really believe you make the best decisions when you’ve gone all day without eating?

Give yourself alone time to swim, read, exercise, or simply relax. Healthful solutions will allow you to better manage stress. Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

4. Walk Away

Being a great leader also means knowing when things just aren’t working. It may not be your fault. Maybe it is your fault. Whatever the reasons, stop sweeping the dirt floor and cut your losses. Walk away today and start over tomorrow.

Business-Building Tools

Construction Monitor provides construction business tools for great leaders. Learn how our building permit data can be used to develop marketing strategies. Contact Construction Monitor.