Get the Job: 3 Techniques for Bidding on a Construction Project Successfully

bidding on a construction projectGiven the resources invested in bidding on a construction project, your skill at choosing projects to pursue is a major factor in your success. A few simple techniques can help you identify and win the projects that will profit you most.

Watch Your Labor Investment

Bidding on a construction project is always a commitment of time and money, but it’s important to be alert for signs that a proposal process isn’t worth the effort. Watch out for highly labor-intensive proposals that require your technical staff to work out complex details specific to the project, such as LEED scorecards. If your marketing department can’t handle a proposal alone, you may be putting in too much effort.

Keep in mind the work you’ve put into the details doesn’t always go toward the finished project. Even if the client accepts your proposal, they may require changes.

When deciding whether or not to pursue a project like this, consider the potential opportunity costs. Tying up too many of your resources in one complex proposal can leave you unable to go after more profitable projects.

Consider PPP Projects Carefully

Public-private-partnerships, also known as PPP or P3, may appear lucrative, but the cost to pursue them is often excessive. Much of the cost comes from the need to hire an outside adviser who can conduct your due diligence in terms of legal issues. P3 projects are also rife with political intricacies that can complicate contract negotiations and cause delays. In addition, developing P3 estimates requires more documentation, such as the Operation and Maintenance Scope of Work documents.

Stay Flexible

The results of your go-no-go process shouldn’t be carved in stone. Stay open to new information about the client and the project, and update your go-no-go process documentation accordingly. You may find the client is difficult to work with, or that you’re bidding against an exceptionally strong competitor. That said, after you’ve finalized your go-no-go decision, it’s rarely beneficial to make major changes to your proposal.

For more tips on bidding on a construction project, contact us at Construction Monitor.


Implementing a Cost Management Plan in Your Next Build

cost management plan for construction projectsWith so many moving parts involved in every construction project, you’re almost guaranteed to see scope creep and cost overruns if you don’t maintain strict control. An effective cost management plan for construction projects helps you stay on budget and on schedule.

What a CM Can Do for You

A Configuration Management (CM) system gives you a way to accurately anticipate, approve, execute, and track all changes to your project. All relevant paper and electronic documents are added to the CM system to ensure no information is lost. More advanced CM software automatically analyzes data and alerts you to developing problems. Potential benefits include:

  • Reduced administrative costs
  • Less repetitive data-analysis work for your managers
  • Faster responses to Requests for Information (RFIs)
  • Faster processing of Change Orders

Best Practices for Implementing Your Next CM

A cost management plan for construction projects works best when it’s fully prepared before the project begins. Establishing baselines for scope, cost, and schedules from the beginning makes it easier to spot and prevent scope creep.

Define a schedule for the release of status reports to managers. These reports should detail the project’s present state and any changes that have occurred. Develop a change management plan that establishes a set of procedures for the consideration and approval of changes. Include a way to audit the success of each project and document any valuable information gleaned that can be put toward improving future projects.

Look for a CM software that offers Sentiment Analysis (SA). SA technology mines documents for specific words and determines if they’re used in a good, bad or neutral manner. It picks up on words that require attention, such as “delay,” and notifies managers in real time.

Data and text visualization capabilities also add value to your CM software. These analytical tools process live performance data streams to create charts, text clouds, timelines, and other visuals that let you review the status of your project at a glance.

To learn more about choosing a cost management plan for construction projects, contact us at Construction Monitor.

4 Benefits of a Telematic System in Construction

benefits of a telematic systemThe more information you have about your construction equipment, the more effectively you can use that equipment. The detailed data a telematic system provides helps you improve efficiency and cost control, but these are just some of the benefits of a telematic system.

Optimize Your Equipment Use

A construction telematic system uses Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers and modems to collect information about individual machines and transmit that information to a webpage where you can monitor it.

You’ll see exactly when a machine is in use and when it’s been left idling. Idling wastes fuel and creates unnecessary wear, so reducing idle time saves you money on operation and maintenance. Knowing how much use a machine gets can also help you decide whether it’s more economical to purchase your own or rent.

Streamline Maintenance

A telematic system simplifies equipment maintenance scheduling by making it easier to see which machines are due for maintenance based on their performance. Keeping up with maintenance reduces equipment downtime. Using a telematic system cuts labor costs by reducing the number of times you’ll need to send out a worker to check on a machine’s condition.

Keep Your Equipment Safe

One of the simplest yet most valuable benefits of a telematic system is its ability to prevent unauthorized use and theft of your equipment. A telematic system can sense when a machine is moving or operating when it shouldn’t be. Some systems allow you to set a curfew window during which the system immobilizes the equipment. If a machine is taken off site, the GPS receivers will help you track it down.

Make Smarter Financial Decisions

A telematic system makes it easy to track equipment hours. You’ll know exactly how many hours a machine was used on each day of a particular job, which helps ensure accurate billing. Knowing how many equipment hours are typically logged on certain types of jobs allows you to make more accurate estimates and stay competitive on pricing.

To learn more about the potential benefits of a telematic system for your firm, contact us at Construction Monitor.

3D Printing and the Future of the Construction Industry

3D printing in the construction industryOver the last 20 years, 3D printing has developed into an efficient method for creating a wide range of functional objects. The use of 3D printing in the construction industry is just beginning to show benefits, but it could soon change the way your firm does business.

The State of 3D Printing in Construction

In 2014, the Chinese construction firm WinSun became one of the first to demonstrate the capabilities of this technology when it created 10 houses by assembling 3D-printed components. In 2015, another Chinese firm, ZhuoDa Group, created multi-story homes with using 3D printing.

The Dutch firms DUS Architects and Ultimaker Ltd. have taken it a step further by developing their own printer, the KamerMaker (Room Maker). This printer creates entire rooms that can be tested for safety and usability, then assembled into a building. The 3D Print Canal House in Amsterdam is the firms’ current project.

New Possibilities in Architecture

The use of 3D printing in the construction industry opens up new design possibilities in terms of both aesthetics and practicality. You’ll be able to modify a building design and add individualized elements simply by changing the design model file.

This technology makes it easier to produce curved concrete components, helping you design more structurally sound buildings, given that curvilinear forms are often stronger than rectangular forms. Unlike conventionally made curved forms, 3D-printed versions can be made with hollow centers, letting you fit essentials such as electrical wiring inside the building’s structural elements.

When you create concrete components using 3D printing, you’ll see less waste than with conventional concrete forming techniques. Any components you don’t need can be recycled, reducing your costs and environmental impact. The potential for building with eco-friendly materials, such as the corn bio-plastic used by the KamerMaker, further mitigates environmental impact.

Printing building components requires less labor than conventional building methods and reduces the risk of injury to your workers. The considerably reduced expense means savings for your firm and greater availability of affordable housing for the public.

To learn more about 3D printing in the construction industry, contact us at Construction Monitor.

Where is Your Next Big Project Coming From?

lead generation in the construction businessFor any company, a steady stream of new customers is vital to sustaining the business. A commercial or residential commercial customer may have a large construction project for you, but once that job is completed, they may not need your services again. Lead generation in the construction business must be constant and consistent, taking into consideration the unique factors that drive commercial and residential work.

  • Use direct sales methods: Pursuing leads by direct sales methods such as one-to-one contacts can often be your most effective way of finding new clients.
  • Use social media: Social media remains a top-tier solution for generating leads and communicating with potential customers. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and the other social media sites give you the opportunity to promote your business while at the same time making direct connections with individuals and companies that might need your services. Social media participation helps you build trust, establish your credentials as an expert, and find out directly from leads and customers what they need and want.
  • Ask for referrals: When you finish a project and have created a happy customer, don’t hesitate to ask for referrals to others — friends, family, colleagues — who may need your services. A referral from someone they know will help break down any initial barriers to contact and communication and will put you ahead in the sales process.
  • Use statistics and trends: Construction industry trends and statistics can be a valuable source of leads. The type of data that Construction Monitor offers, for example, can show you where building permits are being issued and can give you important insight into the needs of building owners and builders. Keeping track of trends can help you locate geographical areas with increased construction activity and the types of construction projects that are underway there.

Owners, managers, and business developers can learn the latest about construction industry trends with Construction Monitor‘s statistics, regional reports, and other up-to-date industry data. Contact us today for more information on lead generation in the construction business and for the crucial data that can help you plan your business development and lead generation efforts.

3 Big Landscape Architecture Trends for Commercial Spaces

landscape architecture trendsIn commercial building projects of substantial size, the aesthetics and functionality of the space’s landscape architecture can be an important consideration for owners, builders, and tenants. Several landscape architecture trends are emerging that suggest that the look of the building’s exterior areas, along with their usability and sustainability, will receive greater attention as elements of successful construction and design. Here is some brief information on three of those landscape architecture trends.

  1. Aesthetics: The beauty and elegance of a commercial building are becoming a greater consideration in many modern construction projects. Well-designed outdoor lighting that highlights and intensifies the look of building exteriors and facades is one popular element in landscaping. Outdoor structures such as gardens, gazebos, and similar features provide places for rest and relaxation while improving the beauty of the commercial area’s outdoor spaces.
  2. Functionality: The functionality of the landscape architecture of a commercial space is becoming more associated with the blending of indoor and outdoor spaces. In essence, the dividing line between indoor and outdoor spaces is becoming more flexible, and the indoor/outdoor combination is creating spaces where tenants can relax, employees can achieve greater productivity, and individuals can find an escape from the traditional “cube farm” model of office spaces. This effect is often accomplished by opening up the facade of a commercial building to allow easy access to the outdoor areas. In some cases, the use of natural colors and textures can help simulate an outdoor space in an indoor area that can’t be opened up.
  3. Sustainability: Environmental concerns, interest in conserving energy, and consistent goals of making commercial spaces self-sustaining are driving trends for the sustainability of commercial spaces. Installing plants, bio-walls, green roofs, outdoor gardens, high-efficiency HVAC and lighting systems, energy-saving windows, and other energy-conscious features are some of the ways sustainability can be encouraged.

Managers, construction professionals, and trendwatchers can find the latest information on trends in the construction and architecture industries from Construction Monitor. Contact us today for more information on landscape architecture trends and how changes in landscape architecture will lead to more visually appealing, sustainable buildings.

Developing Adaptable Housing for the Elderly

developing adaptable housing for the elderlyThe most reliable statistics available indicate an unavoidable change in American demographics as the Baby Boomer population–those born between 1946 and 1964–continues to age. With age comes different residential and independent living needs, many of which are not being satisfied by current homes. Developing adaptable housing for the elderly is poised to become a thriving and much-needed sector of the construction industry.

Aging in Place

Many older couples and individuals are finding themselves still living in the homes that they owned when they were younger. An older home may be too much for an older resident to maintain. It also may not be suitable for senior living since the structure might lack accommodations for physical limitations, visual impairments, or other difficulties faced by older individuals.

For those who want to stay in their familiar homes during their senior years, housing renovations can be done to support aging in place. These include:

  • Establishing plenty of travel room for wheelchairs or assistive devices, such as walkers.
  • Providing adequate lighting for all rooms and areas where lighting is often limited, such as over kitchen cabinets and in closets.
  • Revising kitchen facilities to make it easier for persons to use them by lowering cabinets and counters, adding sliding drawers, and clearing space for wheelchairs.
  • Renovating bathrooms to increase safety by measures such as adding grab bars, installing floor-level showers, and increasing the amount of lighting.

New Designs for Adaptations

New senior housing projects are being designed and built specifically for the needs of older residents. For example, in some communities, abandoned malls and disused big-box stores are being converted into senior housing facilities. The landscape, public services, and amenities surrounding these types of senior housing projects are being redesigned to provide easy access to transportation, services, and recreational facilities.

Construction Monitor informs industry professionals, including managers, business developers, and planners, of the most recent and relevant developments in construction and design. Contact us today for more information on the challenges involved in developing adaptable housing for the elderly and how this segment of the construction business will become more important in the coming years.

Keeping Your Job Site Costs in Check

cost management plan for construction projectsManaging construction project costs is critical to ensuring that the project is completed on time, to the client’s satisfaction, and within budget. Cost overruns and other financial errors can lead to unhappy clients and a job that produces no profit or, worse, results in a loss. A cost management plan for construction projects should be developed early and followed closely throughout the lifespan of the project. As you develop your plan, keep the following in mind.

  • Plan for the unexpected: It would be impossible, of course, to plan for every contingency and head off each possible error. As you develop your cost management plan, however, recognize that there may be some surprises along the way. Do everything you can to allow some room in your plan for unexpected developments that could affect costs.
  • Strive to avoid omissions: Anything left out of a bid or contract could be a significant problem later. Make sure you understand the scope of work thoroughly and that you check your bids repeatedly to make sure all important points have been covered. Work in provisions that protect you in case the client leaves any elements out of the specifications, plans, or requests for proposals.
  • Do not make assumptions: Incorrect assumptions could be the source of lost profits on a job. For example, don’t assume that a certain procedure or type of equipment is allowed on a job just because it was allowed on another job. Incorrect assumptions can be particularly damaging when working in different geographic areas where rules, standards, and regulations could be different. Always check and recheck the details of a job before committing to a contract.
  • Inspect and prepare carefully: Inspect job sites, raw materials, supplies, equipment, and other elements carefully and thoroughly as you prepare to undertake a job. Surprises or missed problems at this point could delay the start or lead to unexpected costs.

Construction Monitor is the industry’s trusted source for news on trends, statistics, and housing starts in communities around the country. Contact us today for more information on developing and implementing a cost management plan for construction projects.

3 Reasons Construction Software is Vital in This Industry

benefits of construction software for contractorsIt sometimes seems like the advance of technology has been slow in the construction industry. Many contractors and construction companies still use old-style manual methods and paper-based record keeping. Several software solutions exist that can make these critical but time-consuming processes easier and more accurate. Here are three important benefits of construction software for contractors and why construction firms should switch to computer-based operations.

  1. Better cost control: Delays, cost overruns, and other problems can be disastrous to a contractor’s bottom line. Software-based operations give construction companies many effective options for controlling costs and ensuring that projects remain profitable. By using project management software, a construction company can have immediate feedback on the financial status of a project. This real-time reporting allows managers and owners to see where potential problems are developing and gives them the time to resolve these issues before they become financial disasters. Effective project management based on software solutions also helps managers and supervisors monitor progress, understand the status of contracts or change orders, determine expenses, and track shipments of supplies and raw materials.
  2. Better document control: Project management software and related technological solutions provide a single repository of project data that can be accessed by everyone who needs access to that information. Important data and critical documents are stored in the system, preventing them from being lost or misplaced. In many cases, the software will record who has viewed or altered any documents or data so that accountability is maintained.
  3. Standardization of processes: With a single software-based project management solution, the processes for recording, changing, monitoring, and reporting important project data are standardized. Everyone involved in the project has a single method for keeping track of information, reducing the risk of vital data being lost or misplaced. Document formats can be standardized, which helps present a professional image to customers.

Construction Monitor provides the most up-to-date information on construction industry trends, including building permit issuances. Contact us today for more information on the benefits of construction software for contractors and how the right software suite can make your operations run more smoothly and with higher profits.