Construction Data: What to Review This Spring

construction data

Construction data included in building permits changes with the seasons. Projects encountered in autumn, for example, are generally not the same as what’s happening in spring and early summer. Contractors and subcontractors can benefit from targeting their focus to fit the time of year.

Spring is the season for home improvements and remodeling. As the weather improves, houses open up and homeowners tend to start planning updates. Among the most popular are:

  • Kitchen renovation. Kitchen revamps typically appear in building permits as electrical alterations to accommodate the new appliances as well as replacement/expansion of kitchen plumbing. Cosmetic changes like installing new counters or cabinets, conversely, generally don’t require building permits in most locales.
  • Room additions. Adding a new room to a home or converting a garage is often not feasible during winter. As spring arrives, however, permit data shows that room additions spike. In addition to the general construction permit, there will be increases for specialty trades including electrical, HVAC, and plumbing.
  • Roofing repairs. That leaky or snow-damaged roof homeowners put up with all winter requires a permanent fix now that the weather’s improving. Any roofing work more complex than a simple single patch shows up in building permit data, including new shingles and subroof repair.  
  • Window replacement. Cold drafts and heat loss due to aging single-pane windows have taken their toll this winter. As summer approaches, the installation of new energy-efficient windows is often on the agenda. Because installing dual-pane energy-efficient windows usually involves alterations to the window opening or other structural changes, it requires a permit.
  • HVAC and associated work. Residents ready to upgrade a central air conditioner or furnace often put it off until outdoor temperatures moderate in spring. Replacement of a central A/C or furnace—or associated work such as replacing or extending HVAC ductwork—requires permitting and appears in building permit data for that locale.

Reviewing construction data for season-specific projects helps keep work and profits consistent as the calendar changes. Contact Construction Monitor for more details.

Why Windows Require Building Permits

building permits for windows

Construction data included in building permits reveals that both window retrofits and new installations are more popular than ever. Homeowners who are getting these new windows, however, often have a question: Why is a building permit required in the first place for the usually simple process of installing new windows? 

County building departments actually do have valid reasons for ensuring that replacement windows are subject to the permit process. Here’s why certain specifics about window installations often appear in building permit data:

Safety

Not all windows are created equal nor installed in similar places in a residence. Many building codes require windows in certain locations to have tempered glass rather than standard glass (i.e., windows immediately next to a door, windows that extend all the way to the floor, and windows in or near a bathtub or shower). 

Tempered glass is more resilient than standard glass; plus, it shatters into small pieces rather than splintering into more hazardous sharp splinters. Thus, tempered is considered safer in these locations and must be stipulated in building permit data.

Egress

Egress means that windows installed in bedrooms need to be openable and large enough for an adult-sized person to climb out in the event of a fire or other emergency. 

However, some existing homes may have been built before the egress safety standard became common. In that case, upgrading windows in bedrooms of these homes may require also enlarging the opening and/or other changes to accommodate today’s standards. To verify compliance, this alteration must appear in the building permit.

Style Matters

It’s not just finicky neighbors who want all houses to blend into the neighborhood. In many locales, the building department does, too. To that end, building permit data may require details about the replacement window style to ensure it doesn’t clash with other houses. For example, installing cheap, bare aluminum window frames might be prohibited by the building code in a neighborhood with traditional homes that have more subtle, classic frame styles.

For more information about construction data included in building permits for windows (and why), contact Construction Monitor.

FAQs About Building Permits

FAQs About Building Permits

We as a society have become crazy-thirsty for knowledge. Meanwhile, information has become a bottomless pool. We have so much data to gather and we must sort that data to filter irrelevant information out. 

Then what?

Then you use that information to bid, price, evaluate materials, inventory… You do what you need to put that data to good use. The goal is to turn a profit and/or grow your business. If you’re involved with any aspect of local commerce, building permits contain information you can use.

Building Permits Analytics

If you apply the necessary analytics to local information, your business can do more than survive; you can become a flagship in your industry.
Using Data

Construction Monitor provides the most up-to-date statistics taken from building permit applications in your region. You can access historical data that can tell you which trends were successful and which competitors to watch. You can put that information to work.

If you’re new to evaluating building permits, here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs):

Q: Do I have to use a computer to access my information? Can I use my phone?
A: To help prevent misuse of the data, each device used to login will need to be verified the first time it is used.

Q: How do I receive weekly information?
A: You can choose a .pdf or a .csv format. The CSV can be imported into spreadsheets and other business management applications. There are 3 non-published weeks: July 4th, Thanksgiving, and Christmas weeks.

Q: How can I organize my searches after I’ve found them?
A: You can print your information, make notes, and save to your hard drive. You can save each building permit data as its own page (single-page layout), which is great for meetings. You can generate labels for target marketing using fields like “builder,” “designer,” or “owner.”

Q: I’m only interested in multifamily complexes. Can I sort the information for that?
A: There’s a Permit Description field. Think of all the words you can use to search and enter them in the Permit Description field separated by commas:

Apartment, high-rise, tower, condo, townhouse, co-op, tenement

Construction Monitor: Your Information Resource

Start with a free sample. Or request one of our free whitepapers which include information about direct mail, multichannel marketing, and the popular 7 Common Marketing Mistakes.

We want to answer your questions by offering relevant information. Contact Construction Monitor to learn more.

Which Industries Can Benefit From Construction Data?

construction data

Construction data can tell you a lot about what’s happening and where—in new construction as well as renovations. For companies with related products as well as the contractors who get the job done, data derived from building permits provides a valuable perspective on the current status quo of construction and other associated work performed in a specific geographical area. It also provides a heads-up to upcoming trends on the horizon. Because the accuracy of construction data in building permits is enforced by local regulations and confirmed by inspection, it’s an authoritative source for reliable information.

Industries that can benefit from organized access to building permit data include:

General Construction

All new construction draws permits, but certain renovations and re-builds also must meet this requirement. Any work that demolishes a load-bearing wall in a house, for example, will be reported in a building permit.  Likewise, any new addition to a house that expands or otherwise alters its existing envelope will be reported. Garage conversions are another typical permitted project.

Electrical

Major permitted work includes installing new wiring or adding additional circuits to an existing system.

Doors And Windows

Exterior doors as well as replacement windows that require any alterations to the existing opening draw a permit.  

HVAC

Projects that include upgrading to a new furnace or central air conditioner, as well as installing ductwork, will be found in permit data.

Plumbing

Permits record information on major plumbing work, including pipes, fixtures, sewer lines, water heaters, water softeners, etc. Many DIY plumbing projects are also included in the permit requirement of most counties—often to the surprise of the homeowner.

Roofing

Permit requirements vary by locale. In general, roofing material replacement—not including simple patching— requires a permit. Replacement or repair of the underlying structure of the roof, or any work that alters the roofline, almost always gets a permit.

Chimney and Fireplace

Because of obvious safety issues, a permit is required for any alterations or other work on these structures. Exception: chimney cleaning.  

Learn more about Construction Monitor and solutions to identify and target opportunities. Contact us today.

Using Construction Data in the Roofing Industry

roofing industry construction data

Specific construction data harvested from building permits can assist in targeting products for the roofing industry and ancillary companies. While small, limited roof patching may not require pulling a building permit, virtually all municipalities do require building permits for any re-roofing project that exceeds mere patching.

What’s Up On The Roof?

Relevant information to be gleaned from a roofing building permit includes the total square footage of roofing to be installed. Material details specified in the permit also include the type of decking and underlayment to be installed, the type of fasteners—nails, staples, etc—and/or adhesives utilized for installation of the roofing, and the roofing shingle material itself.  

Opportunities for targeted sales of roofing materials include:

  • Roof decking. This is typically plywood sheets or OSB (Oriented Strand Board) that serve as the solid surface on which the roofing shingles are installed.
  • Underlayment. A water-resistant layer that serves as a barrier to protect the decking from severe weather. It’s typically made of asphalt-saturated felt, synthetic underlayment or rubberized asphalt.
  • Shingles. Most residential re-roofing utilizes one of three common types: asphalt shingles, tiles molded from terra cotta or slate, or wood—usually cedar or redwood.  
  • Flashing. Metal strips that divert water flowing down a roof away from an intersecting vertical surface, such as a wall, chimney or other construction.

Ancillary Opportunities

Re-roofing a house often also presents an occasion to make other improvements. Construction data from roofing building permits can point the way to a market for products or services that are not specifically roofing materials. For example, the installation of new improved gutters and downspouts usually accompanies a new roof.  Buying decisions about home improvements, such as skylights, which require cutting holes in the roof, are often made when a house is being re-roofed.  Adding a new roof is also an opportune time to install solar panels if the occupants of the house are inclined towards solar power.

For more information about the benefits of building permit data related to the roofing industry, contact Construction Monitor today!

Marketing Construction Equipment: Get Data-Driven

marketing construction equipment

In the construction equipment industry, there’s no such thing as too much information, otherwise known as TMI. Today’s customers, in their quest of wanting to know more about everything, have become data-driven. Businesses slow to catch on will be the also-rans in a competitive race for market share. If your business includes marketing construction equipment, your goal should be TMI.

3 Marketing Construction Equipment Tips

Marketing to the right people at the right time requires knowledge and no small amount of commitment. Using data to narrow the construction equipment customer field is what will make your company stand out. When the right customers need you, you’ll already be there.

Here are three data-driven strategies for marketing construction equipment. You need to be able to identify who, what, and when.

1. Who

You can’t keep throwing money “out there” and hoping for hits. Bad leads will waste valuable time and resources. Identify your prospects and get down to the basics. Historically, who are your likely customers? Now look beyond that to explore who would benefit from your equipment and/or services. You can use historical data trends or current building permit data.

2. What

Brand loyalty is what you want to cultivate. Round up every testimonial from every customer you’ve had and publish them on your website. Informed buyers seek testimonials before they buy. If your construction equipment is a national leader, find loyal consumers in your area and initiate a relationship.

Prospective buyers who say “I only buy (XYZ equipment)” is not worthy of a lot of your time, but…again, build relationships. They might convert and become customers that say they only buy from you.

3. When

When is your potential customer ready to make a decision to buy? Data analysis can help you determine buying cycles and capitalize on each one. Buying cycles are:

  • Awareness – The buyer sees your product as a possibility.
  • Consideration – Now is the time to make the buyer aware of your equipment and brand advantages.
  • Purchase – Buyer makes the final decision. If you have a clear understanding of your market, the odds of your buyer choosing you are greatly improved.

Use timely, relevant information to increase profits. Call 800-925-6085 or contact Construction Monitor.

Can Building Permits Help You Sell More Windows and Doors?

can building permits help you sell more windows and doors

Projected sales of windows and doors are trending positive through the end of 2021 and likely beyond. According to industry forecasts, the market will see increases of at least 4.5% this year and next. The increase will include products ranging from lower-priced, hollow-core doors and vinyl windows up through to the more expensive high-end solid doors and dual-pane, energy-efficient windows. The only question seems to be: how can you effectively identify opportunities to take advantage of this growth in a targeted area?

Setting Your Sights on Building Permits

The marketing edge you need is found in the permits. Building permits can be a gold mine of information about home construction and renovations, which also include installation of new windows and doors. Instead of a scattershot approach to vaguely-defined prospects, vital data harvested from building permits drives a more sharply-focused marketing strategy to reach out to the right customers at the right time.

A simple one-to-one replacement of an existing window or door without any alterations typically doesn’t require a building permit. However, resizing an existing opening—common when upgrading windows—or cutting an all-new opening to accommodate a new window or exterior door triggers the building permit requirement in most municipalities. Additional facts appearing in the floor plan accompanying the permit application typically include the number, type and size of windows and doors. The estimated valuation included in permit applications also gives you a snapshot of typical prevailing budgets in a given area.

Connecting The Dots

Armed with relevant information from permits, you’re also able to discern specific product demand, such as particular materials or desired features, empowering you to adjust your marketing focus to emphasize these products.  Permit data helps extrapolate from particular products or services to related options that might be in demand, too. For example, permit data indicating a trend in installation of high-efficiency HVAC systems or upgrading home insulation might indicate an up-and-coming opportunity for marketing energy-saving windows or doors as well.  

Fine-tune your efforts to identify expanding markets and product trends with specialized data from building permits. Contact Construction Monitor for more details now.

Building Permit Reports for Construction Data Analytics

Building permit reports

Don’t think because your target market is Small Town, Oklahoma you don’t need to follow global and national construction trends. You do.

Many countries follow our lead in global construction solutions and advances. But several European countries are more advanced in setting construction-industry trends. What they’re building today is likely your project focus tomorrow.

Nothing is more important to your business right now than accessing local construction information. To make solid decisions, your data analytics must include building permit reports for your state, county, city, and nearby communities.

Track Trends

Don’t look for A-frame houses to make a comeback, but if they do, you need to be one of the first to capitalize on that knowledge. Construction trends in your market are critical to your marketing plan.

Which contractors are solid alignments for your business? Where are your competitors heading and why? The data is provided. Some of the analytics are also provided but it’s up to you to use what you’ve learned.

Access Tools Your Competitors Don’t Have

Your software program for estimating costs and expenses is an integral part of your business. It likely forms the foundation for your company’s in-house toolbox.

You have online tools as well. You have exclusive, powerful data tools available to you for analyzing construction industry information. Your online toolbox is one of your greatest assets. It can help you determine more competitive, profitable pricing. With it, you can stay up-to-date on data for a specific area you need to be knowledgeable about.

Construction Monitor is the U.S. leader in timely and accurate building permit information. Call 800-925-6085 (international callers 435-586-1205) or contact Construction Monitor with questions or concerns.