How Would PRO Act Impact Construction Business?

construction industry

Passage of the PRO Act would represent the biggest change in labor law in decades. –National Law Review

On March 9, 2021, the United States House of Representatives passed the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. They also passed it in 2019, but it never made it out of the Senate. The bill currently has 45 backers. It needs 60.

The impact on construction business operations could be profound because PRO passage may reclassify some independent contractors as employees.

Construction Business Operations Depend on Independent Contractors

Independent contractors step in when short-term talent is needed. Employers don’t pay benefits, workers’ compensation, or withhold taxes. It’s an uncomplicated business arrangement that is beneficial to employers. We use the IRS guidelines to define construction business independent contractors and their work. If passed, the PRO Act would make employment guidelines much more stringent. It would also expand unionization rights.

Workers will be considered employees unless:

  • The service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer.
  • The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed.
  • The worker is free from control and direction in connection with the performance of the service, both under the contract for the performance of service and in fact.

Most of the time, an independent contractor’s work is performed within “the usual course of business.” This could be the most significant change and there will be harsh penalties ($50,000-$100,000) for violations, including miscommunicating to the worker what their role is (employee vs. independent contractor). Those fines could be devastating to a small construction business.

The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) have said the independent contractor provision will increase costs for construction business employers by $12.1 billion annually. The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) says, “The PRO Act is anti-worker, anti-privacy, and anti-recovery.”

Data for Construction Business Building

Construction Monitor is the source for U.S. building statistics. Call 800.925.6085 (International/435.586.1205) or contact us to learn more about ways to use building permit data to build your business.

Recycled Plastic Roofing: Solving A Problem and Saving Our Planet

recycled plastic roofing

The North Pacific Gyre is a massive oceanic wasteland of plastic pollution. It was discovered in 1997. Today, it covers an area the size of Africa.

The extent of plastic polluting the planet…
is far worse than anyone imagined.
Green Builder

Plastics have been much appreciated and their uses unlimited. Their powers of durability and abilities to withstand tough weather conditions make them the ideal material for many applications. But therein lies the problem: They don’t erode or dissolve over time. Plastics never leave.

Recycled plastic roofing is one of the best ideas of this century.

Demand for Recycled Plastic Roofing

The demand for recycled plastic roofing is anticipated to go, well, through the roof. It was expected to reach 35.6 million squares in 2021.

Demand will be driven by:

  • Consumer interest in the use of thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) membranes
  • Contractor preference for single-ply membranes vs. multi-ply built-up roof (BUR) systems
  • Rising use of environmentally friendly white/light-colored roofing materials
  • Widespread availability of easy-to-install self-adhesive membranes

The MRFF (Materials Recovery for the Future) is a nonprofit investigating the feasibility of recycling flexible plastic packaging. In February, Kraft Heinz announced the successful completion of a pilot project testing the application of roof boards made from recycled plastic materials.

The boards were 4´x 8´ and 94% of each board was made of post-consumer recycled plastic and fiber. If the plastic roofing performs as well as standard building materials, Kraft Heinz may standardize its use.

“This Kraft Heinz project is a powerful example of environmental stewardship,” said Susan Graff of MRFF. “Working with recyclers, they’ve provided a model for addressing expectations for full life-cycle management of plastic while using an efficient, low-cost package for consumer product protection.”

You Build Your Own Future

There are plenty of exciting possibilities for the future of construction materials. Recycled plastic roofing is one of them.

The future of your business depends on proactive or reactive options. You can lead the way with technology-driven decision-making or you can wait to see what the others are doing then try to get a piece of the pie.

Construction Monitor has data analytics you can use for business development. If you need to know more about how to use building permit statistics, please contact us today.

4 Vaccine Incentives for Hesitant Construction Business Workers

construction business workers

Despite being considered at higher risk for COVID-19, workers least likely to get COVID vaccinations are employed in:

  1. Food/beverage (53%)
  2. Transportation (50%)
  3. Retail (48%)
  4. Construction business (47%)

Project and other managers “might have their work cut out for them” if they plan to require or simply encourage vaccination among construction business employees says Construction Dive.

Construction Business Owners Hesitant Too

This is truly a damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t situation. The majority of construction workers want to be protected and are willing to vaccinate. The other percentage may be wary or even angry about vaccination or mask-wearing. Construction business owners are facing legal liabilities from both sectors.

Employers can mandate that their employees get the vaccine. Such a rule would require them to navigate federal laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and other federal, state, and local regulations.

4 Incentive Ideas

You are advised to consult with an attorney before implementing any of these incentive ideas for construction business employees:

  1. Paid sick leave day-after vaccination(s) if needed – This one is tricky; something similar may need to be offered to employees unwilling or unable to get the vaccination(s).
  2. Paid time off – Encourage vaccination during work hours and offer pay for the number of hours required to get vaccination(s).
  3. Provide education – Make information about the benefits of vaccination readily available to employees. Consider an onsite class led by a medical professional, complete with a questions-and-answers session.
  4. Vaccine clinic onsite – Invite a team of medical professionals to set-up a vaccination clinic at the project worksite.

Valuable Information for Your Construction Business

The possibilities for Construction Monitor building permit data are exciting. You can develop business leads but maybe, more importantly, you gain valuable information from your customized datasorts. And it’s the kind of information that can drive construction business decisions.

Informed decisions are best, and Construction Monitor has the information you need. Call 800-925-6085 or contact us today.

Higher-Priced Materials Impacting Construction Industry

construction industry

The price of lumber for new-home construction is going “through the roof,” so to speak. But construction industry contractors that were thinking metal-insulated panels on that roof might be cheaper are thinking twice. Prices of lumber and steel saw as much as a 25% increase in February 2021.

Within the construction industry, single-family housing starts are up as are demands for residential renovations. They are seemingly pandemic-driven by stay-at-homeowners that would have used disposable income for travel and group activities. Low-interest rates are another factor, so contractors are being encouraged to pay more – and charge more – for construction.

Pandemic Continues To Affect Steel and Lumber Mills

U.S. mills rode out the pandemic with layoffs and short-shifts. Social distancing requirements called for creative ways to keep workers working. Meanwhile, they let their inventory drop because this time last year, supply exceeded demand.

The steel supply shortage may be short-lived and Boyd Metals believes the pricing will level out. Production was scaled down in 2020 and it will take some time to “fill the pipeline” to meet the increasing demand. But it will happen.

In January 2021, the construction industry began demanding more lumber and it wasn’t available. “The problem is particularly acute in the remodeling business because the pandemic has caused so many people to want to add additional space, especially outside. Contractors and design firms are caught in the middle,” says CNBC.

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Contractors Develop Solutions

Materials that cost more than plywood last year are now looking cost-effective. Without compromising quality or durability, construction industry contractors always find workarounds for challenges. “Be sure to deal with reputable and knowledgeable suppliers,” says Valve Magazine, especially as you seek alternatives to metals.

Exploring new business opportunities and aligning yourself with construction industry leaders is another way to develop solutions. Construction Monitor can help. Our presorted data can ensure you’re the go-to for your area’s construction opportunities.

Learn how to use building permit information to make money. Contact Construction Monitor today or email support@constructionmonitor.com.

U.S. Construction Industry Winners (and Losers)

construction industry

We’ve officially put 2020 behind us, but the damage control is still very real for many of us in the construction industry. Some people said the deadly virus only affected those who were aging, frail, or in poor health. That’s not true. All of us were/are at-risk for COVID and all of us have been affected by it.

The same people are saying the pandemic only affected construction industry companies that were aging, frail, or in poor health. That isn’t necessarily true either.

How the Construction Industry Fared: Pandemic 2020

March 2020 marked the unofficial beginning of the pandemic, and in the 10 months that followed, Texas lost 35,600 construction industry jobs, with Houston losing the majority: 24,500 jobs. New York came in second place followed by Florida and New Jersey.

Seasonally adjusted, construction industry employment for the year dropped in 34 states. Vermont had the largest percentage of jobs lost since the pandemic; twenty-three percent (3,400 jobs).

“AGC (Associated General Contractors of America)…said demand for construction will continue to suffer until the coronavirus is under control,” says Joe Bosquin, construction industry reporter. The AGC “urged federal officials to enact measures to help stem additional job losses in the sector. These new measures should include new federal investments in infrastructure, backfilling depleted state and local construction budgets, and moving quickly to forgive Paycheck Protection Program loans issued last year.”

However, 15 states and D.C. saw jobs increased since the onset of the pandemic: Virginia was the big winner with 10,800 jobs added. Utah and Alabama followed. Alabama also had the highest percentage (6.4%) of jobs gained for the entire year.

States With Highest 2020 Percentages Employment Losses

  1. Vermont
  2. New Jersey
  3. Delaware
  4. North Dakota
  5. Iowa
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Louisiana
  8. New York
  9. Nevada
  10. New Mexico
  11. Ohio

States With Highest 2020 Percentages Employment Increases

  1. Alabama
  2. Utah
  3. South Dakota
  4. Virginia
  5. Maine
  6. South Carolina
  7. Idaho
  8. Wyoming
  9. Kentucky
  10. Missouri

Timing Is Everything

Within the last 12 months, 2,097,370 building permits were entered throughout the United States. Your business-building professionals at Construction Monitor say timing is everything in a competitive construction industry. (And the construction industry has always been competitive.)

The construction companies that will be winners in 2021 will take advantage of the information we offer. If you want the tools that build success, contact Construction Monitor today.

Construction Trends for Repurposing Malls

construction trends

In 1956, the first U.S. mall opened in Edina, Minnesota. There are entire generations that spent formative years in shopping malls. And construction trends for more malls kept many companies busy for many years.

Over 50% Of Department Stores in Malls Predicted to Close By 2021

U.S. Retail Vacancy Rate May Rise To 7-Year High After Record Store Closings

Macy’s closing 45 More Locations in 2021: What Will Malls Do?

Mall Construction Trends: Now What?

As of 2020, Macy’s was malls’ biggest tenant, and Macy’s has a 3-year plan to shut down 125 stores by 2023. Who’s going to replace Macy’s? It’s silly for mall operators to expect another retail chain to fill the void Macy’s will leave, says financial professional Maurie Backman.

There they sit. Plenty of parking, acres and acres of space. Before they become retail graveyards, what can we do? What can we develop?

Repurposing Ideas

The first and foremost repurposing idea is to develop medical spaces. Vaccination sites dominate, but pandemic mass inoculation may be a temporary event. Healthcare providers are considering mall spaces for primary care offices, specialty care centers, or oncology treatment facilities.

Other ideas include:

  • Churches – Some churches are saying “Hallelujah!” as they take ownership of mall sections. Plus they have room to grow.
  • Gamer sites – Epic Games bought a Cary, NC mall and intends to convert the property. Its entire campus will serve as global gamer headquarters for offices and community space.
  • Offices – If your company is paying rent for several office spaces, centralization can save money.
  • Warehouses – E-commerce/retail fulfillment is big business and even Walmart is seeking space solutions. Modular warehousing can be built inside or added-to a mall space.

Construction Monitor: The Tool for Trend-Setters

Reconfiguring mall spaces will be the construction trend to watch. Or you can be one of the drivers.

Construction Monitor is the nation’s leading source for construction trends. Use our building statistics to develop real-time leads. We’ll show you how.

Call 800.925.6085 (International/435.586.1205) or contact us to learn more about ways to use building permit data.

All-Inclusive: U.S. Construction Industry

construction industry

When you hire a minority employee, you’ve often hired someone with a greater ability to adapt. This is a person that has likely overcome adversity and may have better “survival skills” than most. That’s an advantage to any construction industry company.

One of the questions on the government’s Office of Personnel Management’s website reflects many construction industry companies’ unspoken thoughts: “Are there really any tangible benefits to diversity and inclusion? Isn’t this just corporate jargon?”

The advantages of diversity in the workplace are real:

  • Broader range of experiences added to decision-making and problem-solving
  • Greater employee retention
  • Higher employee morale
  • Improved company reputation and brand perception
  • Increased productivity and profitability

Construction Industry Companies Can Be Leaders in Diversity

Construction projects serve as a critical stabilizing force in many communities, especially during the pandemic… economic focus will turn to construction projects and their capacity to serve as a catalyst for economic growth. Construction Dive

You will be encountering more construction industry projects that have diversity requirements. Avoiding those potentials for profit because you don’t know how to track and manage reports proving diversity compliance is a formula for failure.

The right software can:

  • Eliminate security issues (subcontractors emailing personal worker information)
  • Lower liability (run data-checks to ensure project compliance)
  • Provide a single location for contractors/subs to submit workforce data
  • Provide real-time information
  • Reduce errors caused by manually inputting data into spreadsheets

When bidding on projects that include diversity hiring initiatives and requirements, being able to say you already have the process in place gives you a competitive edge. “This is an opportunity to demonstrate how your projects bring opportunity and positively shape communities for generations to come,” says software company SkillSmart*.

Technology for the Construction Industry Increases Your Profits

Any software that gives you better management and tracking capabilities is an investment; not an expense. The building permit data we have provided since 1989 was, for many construction industry companies, their first investment in acquiring information software technology provides.

Construction Monitor continues to utilize data analytics for better business development. And marketing development people – like you – continue to track construction leads using our information.

Call 800-925-6085 or contact us to learn more.

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*Construction Monitor does not recommend nor endorse any technology company products (except ours). References are for informational use only.

Construction Technology: Ways We Can Work Together

construction technology

We talk about construction industry-related businesses as if there are non-construction industry-related businesses. The fact is construction impacts every business, every person. Probably the greatest benefit we’ve realized from construction technology is the ability to connect.

Construction is the foundation of nearly every other industry.Autodesk

The Value of Connecting Using Construction Technology

Construction projects today are more complex. Failure to recognize that our processes need to be managed differently can put your company at the bottom of the food chain. No one will need your services because you can’t deliver what others can.

Possibly the most important key to becoming a leader in construction projects – from bidding through delivery – is developing an effective communication chain using construction technology.

Yes, you’re going to need software.*

Traditionally, every project is separated into sectors and each sector does its own thing. This has been the only way to work we knew, and it led to miscommunication, duplicated efforts, wasted time and materials, and do-overs.

“Predictability” is programmed into construction technology software. Based on proven probabilities, you can now make more informed decisions; that’s critical. But making those decisions while connecting in real-time with key players is even more important.

Construction technology drives:

  • Collaboration
  • Ongoing insights into project performance
  • Real-time data available to every sector and every team

And more. You’ll also realize:

Better Bidding

Your relationships with construction professionals that have mentored you are valuable. Bidding software supplements those relationships and builds new relationships.

You’ll be able to bid quickly and with greater accuracy than ever before. Autodesk says its software can even “de-risk partner selection.” You may find partnering with friends isn’t as profitable as making new friends.

Software Technology for Project Development

Building permit information is free, but the information you need is unique. Building permit data is like the top of a huge funnel. You have to sort the information several times to get what you can use.

The Construction Monitor team has tried manually sorting the information from broad-and-generic to what you need. It takes a lot of time and effort. Do you really want to do it yourself? Our software works faster and delivers proven results.

Tell us what you want, what you need. We’ll partner with you to find profitable leads. Contact Construction Monitor today.

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*Construction Monitor does not endorse nor recommend any software brand or company (except ours). The information we share is for educational use only.

Protecting Construction Industry Workers (And Your Business)

Construction Industry Workers

Okay, let’s be cynical for a moment: Statistically, construction workers are among those least likely to get coronavirus vaccinations. Many of our teams grumble about social distancing and other safety measures. And then, when an employee contracts COVID-19 on the job, it could follow with a lawsuit or an OSHA violation citation.

No whining. Just work it. Coronavirus variants indicate the pandemic may be around longer than we thought.

Construction Industry On-The-Job Safety Includes Reducing Coronavirus Exposure

There may not be many – because they’re not easy to prove – but personal injury lawsuits are one challenge construction industry owners will face this year. First, it’s difficult to prove you contracted COVID-19 at a jobsite. The incubation period is between 2-14 days. How can anyone claim it’s work-related?

They may claim jobsite-related exposure if a co-worker has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or if their job involves ongoing contact with the public.

Prevention is the best cure. If you’re OSHA-compliant, you should be protected from these lawsuits.

Limit Exposure; Protect Employees

“Contractors should aim to use the most effective control possible given the particulars of the job task or environment,” says attorney Stefan Borovina. These can include:

  • Enhanced ventilation
  • Posted hygiene instructions
  • PPE (protective personal equipment) and masks
  • Social distancing
  • Staggered shifts

Possible exposures should be disclosed without revealing the identity of any workers.

Document and Communicate Policies

No employee should be able to say he or she didn’t know about certain procedures or policies within your construction industry company. Not only should policies be included in employee onboarding, but they should also be posted at the jobsite.

Our Tools Keep Your Company Healthy

We recommend you refer to our construction industry safety checklist and appoint a health-and-safety supervisor for each project. If you want to develop more leads and structure better bids, we recommend you take advantage of our construction industry data analyses. The information is presorted for your business.

One of the great things about Construction Monitor is its ability to see what’s limited to our area… One of the ways it’s helped
our business is to find our target market…to find out

what the competition is doing.Rocky Ridge Rock, Inc.

Maybe it’s time for you to discover what’s great about a Construction Monitor subscription. Call 800-925-6085 (international 435-586-1205) or contact us for more information. Your information.