How can I Keep Construction Equipment Cool This Summer?

Working in the excess heat of a summer day can be a significant danger for your employment and construction crews. However, an overheated work environment can also be a potential problem for your costly and hard-to-replace construction equipment. If your work equipment gets too hot, malfunctions, breakdowns, and serious damage to engines and other important components can result.

construction equipment
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Here are some tips on how to keep construction equipment cool during the summer so you can keep moving forward on schedule and without expensive repairs.

  • Avoid working in direct sunlight: When possible, do not operate or store construction equipment in direct sunlight. When equipment is not being used, move it into a shaded area or a storage building to keep sunlight off it. If no storage space is available, cover the equipment with a tarp or similar covering to prevent direct exposure to sunshine.
  • Try to schedule work for cooler hours: As with working in direct sunlight, work schedules may make it impossible for your crews to work during any time other than the peak hours of the day. It’s during these times when outdoor temperatures are going to be highest. When possible, however, schedule outdoor work for earlier or later in the day when temperatures are lower. Extremely hot work environments may make it necessary to start earlier or finish later to avoid the effects of the sun. Have a supervisor monitor temperatures for both worker and equipment safety.
  • Shut equipment down when not in use: When you aren’t using a piece of equipment, turn it off and allow it to cool down. If the equipment has a “sleep” mode, use that during short periods when the machinery will be idle. The better solution is to park the equipment in a shaded area and shut it off completely to allow it to cool off while not being used.

With the most up-to-date industry information from Construction Monitor, industry professionals can plan and execute procedures to gain more business and more effectively complete ongoing projects.

Contact us today for more information on how to keep construction equipment cool during the summer.

Hot-Weather Safety Tips for Your Summer Construction Projects

Working outside in the heat of summer can pose some significant health risks to construction crews and laborers. Even seasoned professionals can feel the effects of the heat when temperatures get high enough. Here are some hot-weather safety tips for construction workers and managers that will help reduce the chance of heat-related injuries during summer work.

construction worker drinking water
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  • Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated is probably the most important thing you can do to stay comfortable and injury-free during the summer work season. Individuals working outside in the heat of the day should drink plenty of water to maintain their health. Regular tap water is fine as a hydration source. Adding some flavorings such as lemon or lime juice can make water more tolerable. Commercially made drinks that are rich in electrolytes could also be substituted for water.
  • Avoid energy drinks, sodas, and caffeinated fluids: Do not drink high-caffeine energy drinks since they provide only small amounts of hydration while increasing your heart rate and acting as a diuretic that removes water from your system. Carbonated soft drinks and sugary sodas are also not recommended for hydration purposes.
  • Stay out of the sun as much as possible: It is not feasible to completely stay out of the sun on a construction project unless work is being performed indoors. However, for outdoor workers, shade can provide cooling when needed to prevent overheating. Use canopies or other shading systems when possible. Even occasional access to shade will help workers stay cooler and help prevent the effects of excessive heat.
  • Avoid work in high temperatures: When outdoor temperatures are extremely high, consider rescheduling the work for a time of day when the weather has become cooler. Temperatures above 90 degrees can be dangerous for outdoor laborers. See if the work can be done in the evening or even at night when it’s cooler outside.

Construction Monitor helps industry professionals keep up to date on important trends and developments in the construction sector, including building permits issued and construction projects started.

Contact us today for more hot-weather safety tips for construction crews and project managers.

How Big Data is Transforming Construction Businesses

 

In many business sectors, big data exists as a way to collect and analyze vast amounts of relevant data and then apply those results to solving business problems. Locating new areas for expansion, finding overlooked areas where costs could be trimmed, and forecasting revenue and profits are a few of the ways big data is used.

big data
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In the construction industry, big data is used for similar purposes, with additional applications of identifying and resolving real-world problems that occur during construction projects.

Here are some insights on how big data affects construction businesses:

  • Extracting useful information from large amounts of data: Big data allows construction companies to collect and analyze huge amounts of data, such as cost information, reasons for delays and overruns, and characteristics of successful projects. This data can then be processed to derive important trends, insights, and conditions that typically affect a company’s work. Problem areas can be identified and areas of exceptional performance can be recognized. Big data analytics, for example, may uncover consistent problems with bidding on projects or negotiating costs with suppliers. With these issues identified, they can be resolved.
  • Predicting risks: Big data in a construction context can contain detailed information on potential risks and problems that could occur during a project. For example, the potential effects of a road construction project on surrounding ecosystems can be analyzed with big data techniques. Big data systems can help with identifying risk for insurance and bonding purposes.
  • Finding problems in advance: Using big data analytics, important information can be extracted before any work begins so that troubles can be eliminated in advance. For example, physical issues on construction sites, conflicts in design and implementation, and unfeasible procedures can be identified and resolved before any physical work begins. This helps stop cost and scheduling overruns and expensive on-site rework.

Construction Monitor provides the most up-to-date information on trends and developments in the construction industry, such as building permit issuances and construction starts. Contact us today for more information on how big data affects construction businesses and how your company can effectively use big data in its operations.

5 Ways You can Generate Leads Through Contractor Marketing

The construction industry shares at least one thing in common with every other business segment: a steady stream of leads and new customers is essential to sustaining and expanding a company.

lead generation
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Here are five contractor marketing tips to generate leads that can help you find more customers and increase revenues and profits:

  1. Capture attention: Whatever media you are using for your marketing, you must get your prospects’ attention. Use attention-grabbing headlines and intriguing images to entice your leads to look at your marketing material. Make sure the copy is interesting, relevant, and free of errors. If necessary, hire a professional writer or editor to create your marketing materials.
  2. Make customers your focus: Leads and potential customers don’t particularly want to know about your company. They want to know what your company can do for them. The old saying “What’s in it for me?” applies here. Deep down, any lead or potential customer will want to know how you can help them.
  3. Highlight solutions to problems: Keep the focus on your customers and how your professional services can help them solve their problems and eliminate their “pain points.” Emphasize the inconvenience and troubles associated with problems you can help resolve–the stress and aggravation of not having enough space in the home, for example. Then position your services in building additions as a clear solution to the issue.
  4. Provide proof: Where possible, include proof of your ability to solve customers’ problems. This can take the form of customer testimonials, lists of previous projects, or memberships in professional organizations.
  5. Give a distinct call to action: Make sure your marketing and advertising contains a clearly stated and distinct call to action. A call to action tells your lead or potential customer what to do next, whether that’s to call now, visit a website, or pay a personal visit to your store.

Construction Monitor helps construction industry professionals expand their businesses by providing the latest information on developments and trends that affect them. Contact us today for more information on marketing your construction services and for additional contractor marketing tips for better lead generation.

How Your Builders can Build Stronger, More Sustainable Homes

Along with energy efficiency, the strength and stability of a new home are among its most important characteristics. A sturdy, well-built home lasts longer without the need for substantial repairs or renovations. It also offers a more sustainable structure that can reduce the overall demand for building materials and energy. The following is a brief introduction to how builders can build stronger, more sustainable homes.

steel frame
Source: iStock.com/levkr
  • Use steel frames: When constructing a strong and sturdy home, it is often better to use steel framing instead of wood. Although wood is a traditional material in house construction, steel offers greater strength and durability for a home’s frame while being almost as versatile and adaptable as wood. Steel also lasts much longer than wood in a construction project. Steel framing provides benefits that wood framing cannot match, such as lack of warping or shrinking. Steel also cannot be affected by termites, moisture, or other natural factors that can severely damage wood frames.
  • Apply structural panels: Many past home construction projects left openings in the structure’s walls for the installation of insulation, usually fiberglass blanket insulation. While this insulation is effective, it does not offer any boost to the strength of the home. Structural panels are designed to fill in the same space while creating additional support for the home’s walls and ceiling. The rigid foam construction of structural panels provides excellent insulating properties while adding to the home’s durability.
  • Use modular construction: Construction projects have long been controlled by what happens on the construction site, with last-minute alterations being made as the building is put together in the field. Modular construction allows for particular segments of the home to be built beforehand in a factory or workshop environment. Modular construction is often controlled by computers and can be monitored carefully to ensure all specifications are met.

Construction Monitor provides professionals with the most accurate and recent information on industry developments, including building permits issued, housing starts, and important trends. Contact us today for more information on how builders can build stronger homes that will last for years without the need for major repairs or renovations.

How Contractors are Embracing Solar Energy Nationwide

Interest in solar energy continues to grow throughout the United States, and in response, many contractors are making solar power systems available in their design and construction projects. Advances in solar equipment and the positive response to this efficient and sustainable energy source show how contractors can use solar energy to improve business while providing green services to their clients.

solar panels
Source: iStock.com/zstockphotos

Both commercial and residential construction can benefit from the inclusion of solar panels in the building’s design. At one time considered an add-on that might be incorporated after the building was completed, solar energy equipment is becoming more accepted as a standard part of new construction.

Reporter Adam Groff, in an article on the Construction Global website, reports information from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) that identifies a 34 percent increase in solar power usage in the United States from 2013 to 2014.

Groff also noted that the SEIA reports a total of 650,000 residential and commercial solar installations in the United States, with almost 200,000 new installations made in 2014. The solar power systems produce more than 20,000 megawatts of energy, which can provide enough power for more than 4 million homes.

Solar power can typically slash a home’s energy requirements by a substantial percentage. In some cases, solar energy systems can produce all the electrical energy a home needs while leaving excess energy that can be sold to local utility companies.

Commercial and institutional use of solar energy installations is also increasing, Groff reported. Business and institutions that require large amounts of energy can benefit significantly from solar power systems that reduce costs and provide a steady supply of power. Three of the most common applications are in:

  • Offices
  • Schools
  • Hospitals

Rooftop installations of solar panels are the most common type of solar power systems in these facilities.

Construction industry professionals turn to Construction Monitor for the most up-to-date information on construction trends and developments around the country. Contact us today for more information on how contractors can use solar energy as a benefit for their customers and as a way to increase business and overall profits.

Paternon, New Jersey Contractors Protest the Handling of Building Permits

Construction workers and contractors in a New Jersey town clashed with police and municipal authorities in an April protest against delays and denials in building permit processing in New Jersey.

building permit
Source: iStock.com/Branislav

The protests occurred in Paterson in response to what the protestors considered extreme slowness in processing and issuing building permits for new projects, reported Ed Rumley in an article in the Paterson Press that appeared on NorthJersey.com.

The delays in building permit approval have severely damaged construction workers’ and contractors’ ability to make a living, the protesters claimed. Denials of some building permits have also significantly affected the livelihood of workers in the Paterson area, according to the protestors.

Many of the protestors’ objections center on a relatively new inspector, hired about nine months prior, who they accuse of being too rigid and unwilling to compromise, Rumley reported.

The protests eventually led to a confrontation with the local police, who told the demonstrators to disperse since they didn’t have the required permits for the gathering. Tensions increased at that point, Rumley reported, but were defused after Paterson Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres arrived and spoke with the protestors.

The exchanges between the protestors and authorities sometimes became heated, but the protests broke up without incident.

Torres acknowledged that the building permit process has been taking too long. He promised the protestors that he would be making changes to the way the building permit process works, according to Rumley’s article. Torres indicated that system-wide changes were needed and that plans were underway to make the long-term shifts in process and policy that would make it easier to get building permits approved.

Torres’s solutions include a reorganization of Paterson’s community improvement division, which handles building permits.

Construction Monitor helps industry professionals stay up to day on trends and developments in the construction trade throughout the country. Contact us today for more information on the current controversies surrounding building permit processing in New Jersey and how this situation may affect construction projects in and around that state.

How the Construction Industry can Recruit and Train Modern Workers

The good news is that recent trends indicate a marked increase in construction employment across the country as the construction industry recovers and more projects begin. The bad news, however, is that there is a shortage of qualified workers to fill all the required positions created by this expansion of construction business.

construction worker
Source: iStock.com/kadmy

Industry sources suggest that a weakening of the educational and preparation programs that once supplied construction industry workers is partly responsible for personnel shortages. The fact that many construction workers and professionals are nearing retirement age, or have already retired, also plays a major role in labor limitations.

Modern construction labor requires not only strength and stamina, but also the ability to understand technology that was not available just a few years ago. Current construction workers must have a better grasp of this technology and how to use it to its best effect.

In an article by reporter Kimberly Hegeman on the For Construction Pros.com website, the Associated General Contractors of America sets out some suggestions that can help alleviate the current labor shortage while improving construction worker recruitment and training. For example, the AGC suggests:

  • Reform the Carl D. Perkins Career & Technical Education Act, which was at one time the major source of federal funding for construction-related training and education.
  • Support private funding of craft training programs.
  • Improve the Workforce Investment Act. For example, the ACG supports making registered apprenticeship programs Eligible Training Providers, making it easier to get funding for tools and supplies for apprenticeship programs.
  • Support more, and more effective, partnerships between registered apprenticeship programs and community colleges.
  • Provide free community college career and technical programs to high school students.
  • Improve the processes to make it easier to create public schools with a concentration on career and technical education.

Construction professionals rely on Construction Monitor for important information on developments in the industry, including detailed data on employment and training trends. Contact us today for more information on construction worker recruitment and training and what can be done to ensure the industry has enough qualified workers to meet demand.

Our New Features Help You Stay in Touch With the Latest Construction Leads

Construction Monitor has introduced two new features that help construction professionals find new business. Whether looking for construction leads in Cedar City or elsewhere, we can help you locate the industry resources that can help you expand your business.

Improved Weekly Edition Archives

construction worker
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Improvements in Construction Monitor’s Weekly Edition Archives have made it easier for users to download, view, and use data from archives of previous time periods.

It’s now possible to view weekly archive editions by year and download a full year of data at one time. As an additional feature, users can see what their subscriptions provide and what data is unavailable based on the type of access that has been purchased.

Users can access the new archive features from the Weekly Editions page at this link.

Click on the “View Archive” link for the appropriate area you’re researching.

Change the time range in the dropdown control near the top of the page to reflect the beginning and ending dates of the period you want to research.

Click the button under the appropriate column heading to download all of the files in the column in one zip file. Remember that larger files with more data are likely to take longer to download.

Saved Search Notifications on Power Search

Users can now receive weekly notification for saved searches on the Power Search page. They can also choose who receives these notifications.

When Construction Monitor publishes new data matching the criteria of the saved search, specified users will receive an email notification. The email will include information such as the type of new results in the search, the number of new results, and a link for loading the saved search for the appropriate week.

On the Power Search page, users can select “Weekly Notice” to enable the feature. Email recipients can be specified in the “Notice Emails” input box.

Construction Monitor continues to add new features that make it easier for construction professionals to gather, track, and analyze important industry data. Contact us today for more information on our new features and on construction lead services in Cedar City.

Get Smart: Why Construction Professionals Use Building Information Modeling

Building Information Modeling, or BIM, is a relatively recent digital technology that promises to dramatically reduce project costs, slash waste, improve scheduling, and allow construction professionals to accomplish their goals in less time.

Here is a brief introduction to the use of building information in the construction industry:

Building Information Overload

construction worker
Source: iStock.com/gpointstudio

Construction projects are governed by vast amounts of information, from the dimensions of walls and rooms to the cost of materials used. In the past, the majority of this information was kept on paper–in architectural drawings, price and materials lists, and even on notes kept in the foreman’s pocket. This resulted in situations in which much important data did not get shared, and in which many of the separate construction segments involved in the project were not able to communicate with each other.

Without this communication, conflicts were almost always inevitable; a proposed route for a plumbing system might not work in reality, for example, which would require costly and time-consuming redesign and revision in the field.

How BIM Improves Projects

  • Building Information Modeling dramatically improves processes on the construction site by transferring vital data and building information to a digital format.
  • The BIM software allows all participants in the process–architects, engineers, plumbers, electricians, and others–to aggregate all of their relevant material in one place that can be accessed and evaluated by other colleagues.
  • It can generate real-time models of the construction project, or any section of it, that shows how the project will look. These models allow for easier identification of conflicts or problems before any work is done in the field, reducing waste, eliminating costly mistakes that can throw projects off schedule.
  • BIM can also automatically recalculate costs and expenses based on changes to the design made in the software, allowing managers to keep close track of ongoing costs.

Construction Monitor provides regular reports and detailed insight into construction trends and developments, including building permit issuances and housing starts. Contact us today for more information on building information in the construction industry and how this digital visualization process can improve all aspects of a construction project.