Tips for Preventing Dangerous Distractions on the Job Site

Keeping hazards out of the work zone is part of what it takes to ensure safety for construction workers. Distractions aren’t always obvious hazards, but investing the time to identify and control them goes a long way toward protecting your workers.

safety for construction workersAvoid Distraction of Speed 

Schedule jobs with ample time for completion to avoid pressuring your crew to rush. A focus on speed distracts your workers from safety and encourages them to take potentially dangerous shortcuts. Avoid incentivizing fast work over safe work, and remind your supervisors not to push the workers. After all, accidents and injuries cost more time than providing safety for construction workers.

Remind Workers About Safety

Workers who perform the same task repeatedly have a natural tendency to run on autopilot and skip safety procedures because the task is so familiar. To prevent this problem, keep safety guidelines fresh in the minds of your crew members by holding frequent safety meetings.

If your crew is working at night, hold a safety meeting at the start of every shift and check the crew over to be sure everyone’s well rested. This is especially important for crews working between midnight and five in the morning when human alertness is naturally at its lowest.

Inspect Regularly

Conduct regular walk-throughs to make sure workers are wearing proper safety gear and using equipment correctly. Keep an eye out for workers who seem distracted or tired and could use a short break. Make your inspections frequent enough to be unremarkable or the stress of a rare inspection becomes a distraction in itself.

Consider Nutrition Needs

A worker who is hungry and tired can’t fully concentrate on what they’re doing. Poor eating habits are a major cause of post-lunch drowsiness and overall fatigue, so remind your workers to choose healthy foods. On hot days, the ideal meal is something light and low fat, such as salad, sandwiches, a vegetable dish or fruit. These foods provide a burst of nutrients, but are easy to digest, making the afternoon slump less likely.

For more tips on safety for construction workers, contact us at Construction Monitor.

Understanding the Cost of Project Management Software

Useful features aren’t the only thing you need to think about when you’re choosing project management software for your construction company. Cost is another important consideration if you expect the software to help you improve your bottom line.

choosing project management software for your construction companyKnow Payment Options

Several pricing models are used with project management software:

  • Perpetual License: carries the highest upfront costs, but it lets your firm use the software for as long as you want.
  • Subscription Service (or SaaS software as a service), requires a monthly fee to use the software online, but you won’t incur the costs involved in an in-house solution.
  • Open-source Software: can be downloaded free, but there’s also no customer support center available to help with installation, upgrades, and problems.

The number of people who will be using the software also matters. Some software companies charge per individual user. Others set pricing tiers such as one rate for one to five users, a higher rate for six to 20 users, and so on. Still others charge a flat rate for an unlimited number of users.

Consider The Hidden Costs

Open-source and perpetual license software are installed on your own servers. That means you may need to invest in new hardware and pay IT specialists to install the software, set up terminals or access points, and migrate your data from the software you’re using now. You’ll also incur maintenance and upgrade costs. A perpetual license makes sense if you plan to use the software for many years.

With a subscription service, you won’t need new hardware or software, there are no installation costs, and maintenance and upgrades are taken care of for you. Depending on the provider, however, there may be set-up fees and data migration costs. Overall, this option offers the benefit of low upfront costs and saves you time and hassle, making it a good choice if you’re on a budget.

For further guidance on choosing project management software for your construction company, contact Construction Monitor.

How Universal BIM Standards will Improve the Construction Industry

Broader use of BIM software in the construction industry holds great potential to reduce errors and rework. Without standardization, however, adoption of BIM software has been relatively slow. While universal standards aren’t right around the corner, they are increasingly close.

BIM software in the construction industryToo Many Standards Impedes Collaboration

For BIM software use to become universal among construction industry professionals, the software must be practical and easy to use. This can only happen when these programs are standardized enough to allow all team members to collaborate on the same building model no matter what BIM software they’re using.

As it stands, a number of differing standards are used to develop BIM software. Of these, the National BIM Standard-United States (NBIMS-US), created by the buildingSMART alliance, is the most promising option for a universal standard, but not all software developers use it.

Varying standards mean building models developed in one software can’t always be viewed and edited in another. Even if you and your partner use the same software, you can still run into trouble if one of you has a newer version that isn’t compatible with the old version.

Universal Standards Promise Greater Efficiency

In the UK, Norway, and Finland, national standards for BIM software in the construction industry are already a reality. When BIM software is designed to a single standard, it paves the way for everyone involved in the design, planning, and construction of a building to easily share information.

When everyone has access to the model and related documents, the review and approval cycle is shortened. Errors and omissions happen less often because team members can double-check each other’s input. A more accurate model reduces errors during the construction phase. Your firm will have less rework to deal with, saving you both money and time.

There are also intangible benefits. The process of model creation and development encourages a sense of team spirit. The more team members you can include in this process, the more efficiently your team will perform.

For the latest on BIM software in the construction industry, contact us at Construction Monitor.

Tips for Managing Construction Project Cash Flow

The profitability of any individual construction project depends on effective management of construction material costs and labor. On a larger level, effective cash flow will ensure that your company can meet all its financial obligations and stay in business. Here are some suggestions for managing cash flow that can help you manage this crucial area of your business.

  • construction material costsCheck out potential clients: The larger the project, the more important it is to know your potential clients. Perform some due diligence to find out their creditworthiness and how they’ve managed their financial relationships with other firms. Ask for a financial statement, check credit ratings, or get references from other contractors who have worked with them in the past.
  • Negotiate the best terms: Before starting a project, make sure you’ve negotiated the best contract terms possible. Terms should include not only payment amounts but payment terms and schedules. The contract should include information on who is responsible for what costs and when supplies and materials are paid for. Make sure you and your client understand the contract and that both of you sign the contract to indicate agreement.
  • Conduct cash flow analyses and projections: Create a realistic and well-reasoned cash flow projection for the project. Estimate project costs such as materials, labor, subcontractor payments, and related costs. Determine the amount of work that can be completed each week and month to give you an idea of how much can be billed each cycle. Compare your estimates to actual expenditures to help improve your forecasting and estimating skills.
  • Maintain your payment and collection schedule: After establishing a payment schedule, ensure your client sticks to it. Maintaining regular collection processes will ensure your cash flow stays consistent.
  • Avoid unprofitable projects: If your estimates show that a project will not be profitable, don’t even submit a bid. Staying busy is not the same as staying profitable.

For more tips on how to manage cost flow on your construction projects, contact Construction Monitor. We are a leading firm for construction information and updates on housing and industry trends.

Managing Negative Comments and Reviews on the Web

The importance of the online environment for lead generation in the construction business has been proven time and again. While the benefits of the Web cannot be denied, negative comments and reviews can harm your business if left unchecked. Here are some practical ways to manage negativity that has been directed at your company.

  • lead generation in the construction businessStay calm: In the face of negative comments or reviews, it is vitally important to stay calm and avoid hasty, angry responses. An inappropriate response can make things much worse and can bring more negative attention to you, even if your reaction is justified. Take time to calm down and approach negative comments or reviews rationally. They may still be frustrating, but approaching them with a clear head will make it much easier to put together an appropriate response.
  • Consider the source: Assess whether the negative comment or review is genuine and whether the person who posted it has a legitimate reason to complain. An authentic complaint should be given the respect and attention it deserves. However, if the complaint seems to be the work of an Internet prankster or someone with an agenda who is trying to harm your business or get a reaction out of you, the complaint can be dismissed, deleted, or ignored.
  • Listen to the comments: If the complaint or review is valid, pay careful attention to the reasons why the complaint was made. You’ll be able to learn where something in your organization went wrong and will be better able to formulate a mutually beneficial response.
  • Respond positively: Respond politely, positively, and with genuine sincerity when someone posts a legitimate complaint or negative review about your company. Contact the person making the complaint to see what can be done to make amends. Responding positively to these types of events will improve your company’s reputation for outstanding customer service.

Construction Monitor helps construction firms, contractors, designers, and other industry professionals manage their businesses and succeed at finding new clients. Contact us today for more information on how to manage negative comments and reviews online while pursuing lead generation in the construction business.

Leveling the Bidding Competition

Your skill at bidding on a construction project is a major factor in ensuring your firm’s success. There’s no need to overcomplicate the process, though. Sometimes a few minor improvements in your technique are all it takes to outmaneuver your competition.

bidding on a construction projectCover the Basics

It may seem obvious, but before you create your bid, thoroughly review the project requirements and make sure you can meet them. Avoid the temptation to take a scattershot approach by bidding on everything you can. Bidding on a construction project you’re not a good fit for only wastes your time and resources.

If the general contractor requires a prequalification form, you’ll need to submit one to even be considered. Show you’re serious about the work by filling out the prequal form with complete and accurate information, and include all requested supporting documentation.

Review the latest version of the project plans, along with the most recent addenda. Skip this step and you could end up submitting a proposal that fails to address a critical point. When you create your proposal, state what plans you based it on and note the approval dates of any addenda.

Put in a Little Extra Effort

Submit your bid to all the GCs involved, not just the one you usually work with. By limiting yourself to one, you’ll lose out if your favorite GC doesn’t win.

Sitting around waiting to hear back on a bid is not only frustrating, it’s often counterproductive. Instead of waiting, check up on your bid in a friendly, professional manner. GCs have a lot going on, so your check-ins keep you on the radar and help you stand out from your competition.

When you’re offered work, take the time to protect your own interests by thoroughly reading every contract involved before you sign it. Signing off on something you assume is a routine formality could lead you into some expensive, time-consuming trouble if the contract contains unexpected requirements you weren’t prepared to meet.

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

How Social Media Can Magnify your Marketing Efforts

Even when traditional marketing methods work, their reach is relatively limited. Using social media in the construction industry is a more effective way to get in front of a global audience, build personal connections with potential clients, and reach new demographic segments.

socia media in the construction industryReach Out

Find out what social media hashtags are popular with your target market and use them when relevant to get your company’s name out there. When you attend a networking event, tag your posts to let others know you’re there. Check what’s being posted under the event’s hashtag to connect with others.

On Twitter, follow people who interest you and reply when you have something to contribute. When you connect with someone on LinkedIn, suggest an in-person meeting. On Facebook, focus on sharing photos.

Show What You’ve Got

Visuals grab attention and convey information fast, so they’re an easy and effective tool for leveraging social media. Share photos of your completed and in-progress work, your offices, and your materials and equipment. At networking events, take time to snap a few pictures to post online. Tag the people and companies in your pictures and reply to anyone who tags you in theirs.

Include plenty of informal, behind-the-scenes shots. Share photos and videos of your team so potential clients can put faces to names. Your willingness to let people see the real you demonstrates an openness and authenticity that builds trust.

Have a Little Fun

A little playfulness sets you apart from the firms that hide behind cold corporate facades. It makes working with your firm seem truly enjoyable, encouraging people to connect with you even before they need you. Humor also holds our attention, making it easier to educate clients about your vision and your skills.

Share funny quotes your clients can relate to, post a picture of your sales manager dancing for joy over a new construction contract, or create a video of an employee’s cute son or daughter explaining the benefits of your firm’s specialty building materials.

For more tips on using social media in the construction industry, contact us at
Construction Monitor.

Qualifying Construction Leads: Best Practices

Lead generation in the construction business, as in all businesses, is vital to the continued operation and growth of a company. Here are some best practices you can apply to your lead generation processes that will help you find and capture the most appropriate, and most profitable, projects for your company.

  • lead generation in the construction businessIdentify and use your best source of leads: Determine your best source of leads and use them more frequently. Do you get the most leads from advertising in local media? Do the most profitable leads come from referrals from satisfied customers? Are your best leads generated from a subscription service or lead-development company? You know your company and its business development processes better than anyone else, so use that knowledge to narrow down your lead generation field to potential customers who will be your best options.
  • Ask questions of potential leads: The more you know about a potential lead the better you’ll be at determining if you can provide what they’re looking for. When you are talking to potential leads, ask questions to get to know them and their needs. Encourage the lead to ask you questions, as well. The better the communication early on, the more likely it is that everyone will be happy with the deal.
  • Ask for referrals: When you’ve completed a project, ask your customer if they know of anyone else who could use your services. A happy customer will usually be glad to give you a referral, and new leads often appreciate hiring a company based on recommendations from a trusted source.
  • Don’t be afraid to decline leads: It may be hard to turn down business, but if you determine that your and your potential lead are not a good match, don’t be afraid to say no. Declining an inappropriate project will save everyone money, time, and hassle.

Construction Monitor gives companies the information they need to locate new business and find out important information about potential projects and partners. Contact us today for more information on lead generation in the construction business and how you can qualify your leads accurately and efficiently.