Getting Back to Construction After COVID-19

Construction After COVID-19

April 16, 2020, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) released a revised training and audits statement. The wording is telling: Discretion in enforcement when considering employers’ good-faith efforts to comply with safety and health standards will lead workplace standards during and after COVID-19.

Basically, they’re saying continue doing your best to keep your workplace and employees safe. Continue efforts to meet training requirements by exploring available options. If you’re at a standstill today, create a master plan that details what you plan to do later this year.

Don’t give up.

Coronavirus and Workplace Risks

Hospitals and healthcare facilities may be subject to more onsite OSHA inspections. They are the high-risk hotbed for cross-contamination and protecting workers will take priority for the remainder of 2020.

Here are risk-level examples; they include but aren’t limited to:

  • High risk – Healthcare facilities, hospice/homecare, medical laboratories, medical transport, aerosol-generating engineering sites, etc.
  • Medium risk – General public workplaces (retail, public services, etc.)
  • Low risk – Jobs that require little-to-no contact with general public and co-workers (open-space workplaces)

‘Essential’ Work

Construction is an essential industry but regulations regarding activity are strictly local. Some cities shut down construction work altogether. Some area construction businesses have chosen to stand down to protect their workers.

Project contract wording is now critical to the construction industry. You can’t put employees and/or sub-contractors at risk to fulfill the terms of a contract. Established project requirements are out the window, so re-negotiating will be essential throughout 2020.

Supply Chain Challenges

What materials are plentiful and which ones are in short supply will also dominate our industry throughout the third and fourth quarters of 2020. Much of our plumbing and electrical components come from China.

Building Permit Analysis Now Prepares You for Later

Construction industry companies use building permit data to plan marketing strategies. The information can target specific locales and give you some idea of what commercial and residential real estate development is. Those numbers are used by national economists to predict our country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

You can use that data now to study previous trends and how long our recovery time may be. But before you return to project sites, establish precautions and new workplace guidelines for onsite employees.

To minimize financial losses, take action now. Keep projects alive and get everything in writing. (Emails and texts are valid correspondence to corroborate agreements, but contracts are always better.) Despite the public lack of commitment to “non-essential” construction projects, your vigilance is what will make the difference during this time.

Keep work alive and lay the foundation for new projects.

Information and what you do with it is more critical than ever. If you have questions about data analytics and how to use them, call 800-925-6085 or contact Construction Monitor.

Essential vs. Non-Essential Construction During COVID-19

Construction during COVID-19

Retail stores and other commercial businesses have adjusted to the COVID-19 pandemic as possible. Social distancing governs how we live, work, shop, and play. We’re living in a strange time now.

There’s been much discussion about essential and non-essential services in the United States. How we do business in the construction industry is greatly altered.

“Essential” construction industry projects are prioritized and may resume quickly. “Non-essential” construction projects may be on hold another month. Or longer.

Essential Construction

San Francisco has defined essential vs. non-essential construction for in-the-works projects. There are 8 categories of essential construction projects that may continue working if they follow social distancing requirements:

  1. Affordable housing/income restricted residential units’ development
  2. Construction necessary to safeguard existing construction sites
  3. Construction/repairs for Essential Businesses’ properties
  4. Critical, non-commercial services projects involving homeless, economically disadvantaged, special-needs, and/or elderly
  5. Healthcare projects directly related to COVID-19 response
  6. Projects directly involved with maintenance, operation, or repair of Essential Infrastructure.
  7. Public works projects
  8. Shelters/temporary housing (not including hotels/motels)

The Gray Areas

Companies must follow state-and-local-government-specific construction guidelines. In most areas, non-essential projects are on hold. “New parts of a non-essential infrastructure project” may not be started. However, if your project falls under the non-essential category, there are situations in which you might be able to complete work.

For example:

  • Completion is permissible if the work needed to shut down the project is equal to/more than completing the project.
  • If a housing project has a defined percentage of affordable housing, construction may continue.
  • New housing starts must meet a “critical need.”
  • Residential renovations may continue if the continuance is necessary for safety/functionality.
  • Residential work on vacant properties may proceed if the work will make the property habitable. Construction can be completed to guarantee usable:
    • Bathrooms
    • Ceiling/walls paint (for sanitation to prevent mold/vermin infestations)
    • Electricity
    • HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning)
    • Kitchens
    • Plumbing
  • Roof installation can continue for weather protection.
  • You’ve got 3 walls built. You can build the fourth wall so the structure “stands secure.”

Site-Specific Health and Safety

By now you have developed your company’s site-specific health and safety plan, based on COVID-19 Construction Field Safety Guidelines. Record-keeping is critical: You will need to be able to track employee movements and note potential exposure events.

Be prepared. Soonyou’ll need to work harder…and smarter.

Construction Monitor’s success depends on your success. And the success stories for 2020 will be the construction industry-related businesses that used construction data to gain insight and develop marketing strategies. Call 800-925-6085 or contact Construction Monitor to learn more.

Anatomy of a Building Permit Report

building permit report

Building permit reports are used by economists, marketing professionals, real estate specialists and practically every business in the construction industry. Organizations analyze building permit reports to make informed decisions.

You hear a lot about “informed decisions” these days. The phrase is a logical result of our unlimited search for information. Even gamblers don’t make decisions without analyzing data.

You may feel like the construction industry is gambling with its life right now, but you can make business plans and “informed decisions” using building permit reports.

Breaking Down Building Permit Reports

Economists and investors use building permit reports to evaluate financial stability. These reports are financing, employment, and economic indicators. They can be geographic-specific and because it’s a small world, building permit reports can reflect our global economy. Here’s how:

Types of Building Permits

There are 2 types of building permits: commercial and residential.

Projects that need commercial building permits can include:

1. Commercial new-site construction – Excavation/demolition, reinforcement, and new building construction.

2. Change of use – Permit required to convert a building for another purpose. Requires:

  • 2 sets of floor plans
  • Notice of Commencement
  • Owner affidavit
  • Site plans

3. Interior remodel – Remodeling permit is required plus:

  • 2 sets of building plans
  • Owner affidavit
  • Notice of Commencement

4. Roof covering – Re-roofing, repair, recovering an existing roof. Installation of a new roof requires:

  • 2 sets of site/building plans
  • Application for permit
  • Notice of Commencement
  • Owner’s affidavit
  • Product approval

Residential building permits are needed for most remodeling and/or construction projects.

What Building Permits ‘Tell’ Us

An increase in commercial building permit applications indicates a need for more commercial properties or housing subdivisions. A rise in residential building permits can indicate an older neighborhood is about to renovate/transition into a hot real estate market for investors and young professionals.

If you’re in a holding pattern, you’re not taking advantage of this unique time in our history. Start laying the groundwork for your company comeback in 2020. Construction Monitor is the U.S. building permits generation source. Ask us about ways to develop 3Q2020 marketing projects using comprehensive, up-to-date information customized for your industry.

Building Permit Data: Learning About Competitors

construction business competitors

Another company has outbid you and you’re wondering why. Let’s see…both businesses are located in the same state, county, and city. You’ve actually been in business longer and you know the ins and outs specific to the job you just lost.

The answer is available using building permit data analytics.

New and Improved

You aren’t a startup but your experience pales in comparison with several big kahuna companies. Have you heard the phrase, “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer?” Building permit data can tell you which competitors might be in over their heads.

When you see a fish bleeding in the water, it’s sometimes a good idea to be a savior, not a shark. Offering to help can benefit your fledgling company in the long run.

You Can Know What They Don’t

On the other hand, swimming with sharks can make you a better swimmer. Using building permit data for a competitive edge is just plain smart. Your first task is identifying the competition.

Historical Data

Look at last month, last year, last decade. Which companies are getting more wins and which ones seem to have dropped off? Building permit data sorts by market share to show you competitors’ historical trends. With a short time investment, you can learn more about competitors’ businesses than they know themselves.

What You Need to Know About Your Competition

No one is without competition. Here are the key elements you should examine when undertaking a competitive analysis:

  • Advantages/disadvantages of their employment benefits
  • Advertising tools
  • Affiliations, organizations
  • Annual report
  • Are they flagship-innovative or one step behind the real leaders?
  • Brand and values
  • Community support efforts
  • Customer reviews/loyalty
  • Number of and types of employees they have
  • Owner/stockholder personality/reputation
  • Prices
  • Products/services
  • Technology – website, internet rank, email marketing
  • Their distribution and delivery

Real-Time Leads, Detailed Statistics: Construction Monitor

For over 30 years, Construction Monitor has been the industry source for U.S. building permit data. Our information helps many businesses to target new customers and identify competitors.

Call 800-925-6085 (international callers 435-586-1205) or contact Construction Monitor to discuss how timely, local information can improve your company.

9 Tips for Getting Your Contracting Business Through COVID-19

Contracting Business

The National Law Review offers this piece of advice for your contracting business: Get it in writing!¹ That’s especially true during the coronavirus pandemic that is threatening our nation’s population and economic health.

Coronavirus vs. Your Contracting Business

This situation is here and now. It changes every day, so if you had an optimistic 5-year plan for your organization, toss it away and get ready to move quickly. 

Here are 9 tips to get your contracting business through COVID-19:

  1. Be proactive – If you’re silent, clients and employees become extra-nervous. Communicate with emails and online how you’re managing this event. Share due diligence efforts and business recovery plans.
  2. Communicate early – By now you should have reached out to all project stakeholders to review terms of performance, timelines and costs. Strive to keep projects alive and get everything in writing.
  3. Consider mobility implementations – If administrative and back-office personnel can work from home, consider making the move to a mobile workforce.
  4. Contract modifications – Every project contract you have in the works needs to return to the table. Try to recover or offset rising costs.
  5. Coronavirus impact – The time to “wait and see” is past. Your contracts should have included “excusable delays” or “force majeure” clauses. Provide notice to all contract-holders how coronavirus has impacted contract deliverables, including supply chain issues. Cite all time/performance delays, real and predicted.
  6. Cybersecurity – If administrative people will be working from home, you may need to upgrade cybersecurity and educate them about not compromising confidential information.
  7. Prepare for new workplace safety requirements – Your employees will need masks and/or gloves to reduce virus cross-contamination.
  8. Put it in writing – Document every communication, every delay, every challenge… If you weren’t the kind of person to keep a “diary,” you need to start. Others are depending on you to show diligence in trying to salvage work.
  9. Update policies for paid days off/sick days – This is going to be a tricky area. Employees must not be “punished” for staying home when sick, but your guidelines must also be reasonable. Consult with HR and/or legal professionals to revise employment terms.

Construction Monitor is Here for You

What’s happening now is temporary, but it will change the way we do business forever. Your contracting business can prepare for growth, even while time seemingly stands still. Call 800-925-6085 or contact us to learn more about using construction data reports.

We wish continued good health for you and your company.

What Does COVID-19 Mean for the Construction Industry?

construction industry

By April 10, 2020, the Associated General Contractors of America revealed more than half of the construction firms in the United States had stopped work and 40 percent had laid-off employees, due to the coronavirus pandemic. 74 percent are seeking loans using the new Paycheck Protection Program.

In one week’s time, the number of canceled projects more than doubled. Shortages, including personal protection (masks) and construction materials, were reported; a small percentage of contractors reported equipment shortages.

“The construction industry is ready to rebuild our economy,” said AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr, “But that can’t happen without strong federal support and investments.”

EPC Contracts Will – or Won’t – Protect Construction Firms

Projects that aren’t being abandoned will need to return to the table for renegotiations, but not quite yet. No one is able to predict when our country will return to nearly normal.

All bets are off regarding future market shifts. No one can recall dealing with anything like this. Ever. Every industry in the world has felt the impact of COVID-19.

Most project developers feel as if we’ve gone far beyond standard “force majeure” language in construction contract terms. “Contractors will likely re-think whether traditional exclusions for relief are acceptable,” said law firm White & Case.

EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) projects have been scuttled due to government-imposed regulations. Cities, state, and federal shelter-in-place requirements may impact force majeure unless there are changes in law; specifically, changes in the language of some laws. Contracts between construction firms and developers and stakeholders/investors will come under close scrutiny.

Recovery is Guaranteed

We’re Americans. We always come together in times like this and we will come back better for it. Try to avoid hard-and-fast business decisions based on economic advisories. However…

After examining the numbers – coronavirus and economic trends – here are what equity analyst Preston Caldwell and CFA Karen Andersen suggest:

  • Restrictions will begin lifting in June 2020.
  • Social distancing measures will return as the virus resurfaces throughout the year.
  • The dire predictions regarding long-term economic disruption are incorrect.
  • Fiscal stimulus should prevent a collapse in demand.

“Overall, we still expect a modest long-run economic impact, with GDP down 0.9%,” said the researchers. “In our view, a COVID-19 recession doesn’t fit the mold of a 2008-style recession with longer-lasting economic impact.”

Refer a Friend and Read Construction Monitor on Your Kindle Fire

Use this time to prepare for a construction industry economic upswing. And stay connected with us. Construction Monitor is the construction industry source for applied building permit information. Call 800-925-6085 or contact us today.

We’ll send a new Kindle Fire to you if your friend purchases an annual subscription. (This also applies to friends that were members before 2013.)

Using Building Permit Reports to Grow Your Contracting Business

building permit reports

The second quarter of 2020 will be difficult for most contracting businesses, but it’s temporary: Tough times won’t last. Tough companies will.

You can cultivate ways to grow your business while business is essentially on hold. Using building permit reports for construction data can generate a new-and-improved marketing strategy during difficult times.

3 Ways to Build Your Contracting Company: Preparing for Economic Upswing

Coach Bobby Knight seldom had a losing season. He would say it was simply “a building year.” That’s what 2020 is going to be for many of us. Use building permit reports to strengthen your business:

1. Direct Mail

An article from another construction industry challenging economic era said most contractors send mailings that are large and “unfocused.” Target one type of project – apartment renovations, for example. “You might only get 10 responses, but you have a better chance of keeping up with calls…and you can do a quality bid that way.”

2. Educate Yourself

If underbidding has been your strategy, it wouldn’t have worked much longer. Now’s the time to get beyond the low bid and bid more strategically. This is a good time to put construction data analytics to work. Review your demographics. Take a harder look at your competitors. Suggestion: The last economic crisis that had a devastating effect on our industry was 2007-2008. It’s time to review construction industry trends from that era. Use building permit reports from that timeframe through 2010 to be a bigger part of our economic recovery.

3. Revisit Previous Jobs

“It’s not my job,” you might say when looking at older building permit reports. Maybe it wasn’t your contract, but you can connect with developers and builders to see how things went. Ask how things are going now. What’s in the pipeline for summer? And as a gesture of goodwill, connect with previous clients. Reaching out to “old” clients can often generate leads.

Timely Info for Difficult Times

Don’t wait. Savvy construction contractors can get ahead of what’s going on in the construction industry. Construction Monitor is your source. Call 800-925-6085 or contact us today.

Dave is growing his contracting business
using building permit reports.

Be like Dave.

Building Permit Reports Can Help You Make Better Business Decisions

building permit reports

Building permit reports are necessary for all construction and some home remodeling projects. To obtain a building permit, companies apply to the local (city/county) government and include a construction site plan and architectural blueprints. Getting building plan approval can sometimes take weeks or even months.

While the project stakeholders are waiting for the go-ahead, what are you doing? You should be using the information – building permit reports – to quickly begin cultivating marketing potential.

Big Business Strategies Also Work for Small Businesses 

If you think the largest chain stores in the U.S. use building permit reports, you’re right. Everything imaginable that is sold or serviced has a demographic or the potential to create a need in a region.

Up-to-date information is critical but historical data is necessary as well. Here are 4 ways to use building permit reports:

  1. Direct sales – Connect with contractors, subcontractors, architects, developers…key players involved in all building projects. Arrange a face-to-face to explain what you can do for them and why they need your product and/or service. And remember, when you don’t close a sale, open a relationship.
  2. Door-to-door marketing – New homeowners pay close attention to snail-mail advertisements. Never lose a chance to introduce your company to prospective customers.
  3. Expand – Subdivisions and new developments in a specific geographic area are your cues to consider another location for your business.
  4. Sit tight – Housing starts are the primary indicator for the economic situation in every locale. If you look at recent building permit reports and see a downhill trend, it’s time to assess your company position.

Business Decisions and Priorities

Making payroll, earning a profit, quality workmanship, customer satisfaction; these are priorities. Your business decisions consider those and many more factors. 

We are facing economic uncertainty and you may be making business decisions you’d rather avoid. But it’s a good time for building permits research and development. Take one or more tutorials and get a free report.

Subscribing to regular building permit reports from Construction Monitor is a good business decision. Contact us now to begin building your business for a new economy.

Using Construction Data to Compare Market Share

market share construction data

“Market share” is the percentage or portion of the market controlled by a company or its products/services. If you’re the largest distributor of construction widgets in Maricopa County, AZ, you have the majority market share.

You should use construction data analytics to keep an eye on other companies. (They may try to cut into your market share.)

Perhaps you would like to target another market; a different location. You need to evaluate your competitors. What market share does each company have and what are their vulnerabilities? Construction data using last year’s building permit information and historical trends will give you the numbers you need.

How to Calculate Your Market Share

There’s an easy, logical formula to calculate your construction-industry widget sales market share. First, pick the timeframe, such as 2Q 2019.

Take your total revenue, 2Q 2019 and – this is where it gets tricky – find the total sales revenue for all construction widgets in your market.

Divide your revenue by the total revenue and you now have your market share percentage. Or you could simply request a construction data detailed statistics report.

Markets Vary by Location

For every 1,000 average single-family homes built,
2,975 jobs are created.
Builder magazine

New home building trends show an overall drop in new housing between the mid-2000s and 2020. The world is so much smaller today! You should closely follow national and global industry trends. But you can’t lose sight of the fact that data for Mississippi may have no bearing on your company in Washington.

Coronavirus 2020 and You

Put your market share information to work, and do it now, while you’ve got some “down” time. This is no time to spend working jigsaw puzzles at home (Although many of us in the construction industry enjoy that particular hobby).

Pull the reports you need from Construction Monitor, then contact us and ask one of our construction data professionals for suggestions on how to implement a market-share action plan using construction data. Call 800-925-6085 to learn more.

Meanwhile, we wish continued good health for you and your loved ones.