Construction Business Misconceptions

construction business

“They” say that those of us in the construction business are slow to accept change. We’re slow to develop and implement new business practices. We believe what “they” say is a misconception about our industry.

The pandemic has forced our country to reassess the architectural design and construction of hospitals, schools, offices, and any commercial business where employees and customers interact face-to-face. Another misconception concerns prefabrication.

Prefab, Modular Transforms Construction Business

Offsite prefabrication and modular construction are going to transform our industry. But many of us are nervous about risks and have misconceptions about the effectiveness of offsite prefabrication.

Here are two common misconceptions:

1. Cookie-Cutters Can’t Be Customized

“…Prefab and modular interior construction are the exact opposite of cookie-cutter,” says Construction Dive. You don’t order a room or house from a catalog. One project executive said it’s a highly customizable solution. Everything – materials, colors, and more – are customized. And the finished product is often more durable and sustainable than traditional materials.

2. Prefab and Modular Expensive; Look ‘Cheap’

The misconception that prefabricated housing is unattractive, poor quality, and looks cheap is debunked. Now, the misconception is it’s so expensive it isn’t an affordable option for most.

When you do the math and factor-in time savings, less labor, fewer do-overs, and the versatility of prefab and modular construction, the savings are visible and viable:

  • Complexities requiring different materials, electrical components, or mechanical elements are easier, not more difficult
  • Less need for onsite labor
  • Modular elements can be introduced at any phase during the project
  • Prefab can save more than 20% on construction costs
  • Timelines can be reduced by 20%-50%

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By the time you access the building permit data to find one piece of information, sort it into location- and market-specific analysis, pull it into a readable format, well, by that time, you could have received that one piece of information and much, much more from our technology pros.

You have better things to do. This is all we do, and we’re good at it. Contact Construction Monitor with questions.

Construction Business Project Delays and Responsibility

construction business projects

If you’ve bid on and won a project, it’s assumed you understand the risks, including delayed delivery of materials and equipment. As the pandemic proved, you can’t always factor delay risks into a bid. But you can’t bid without some guarantee that you can deliver the project on time and within budget. Contract-wise, you’ve assumed responsibility.

The Devil’s in the (Contract Details) For Construction Business Projects

A 2020 report on worldwide Construction Claims states the global average value of a construction delay dispute to be a staggering US$30.7 million… The report also indicates that the average dispute took 15 months to reconcile.Plan Academy

Types of delays affecting your contract:

  • Concurrent delays – Two or more parties involved
  • Critical delays – Impact project delivery date
  • Excusable delays – Outside of the contractor’s control
    • Compensable excusable delays – Caused by the owner or the owner’s team. The contractor may receive more time and financial compensation.
    • Noncompensible excusable delays – Beyond anyone’s control (Force majeure)
  • Non-critical delays – Little to no impact
  • Non-excusable delays – Occurred as a result of something the contractor should have been able to control

Most contracts state the contractor has an amount of time to report a delay. This time should be used to mitigate the delay; seek alternative materials or suppliers. Construction business contractors are legally required to try to mitigate every delay.

Quinn Murphy, an attorney with Sandberg Phoenix in St. Louis, said anyone claiming delays due to the pandemic, “….particularly those who entered into a contract after it became widespread in March 2020, will have to prove that the delay was directly related to the pandemic.”

If you signed a contract for the construction business after the pandemic was firmly in place, you may have a hard time claiming delays due to COVID-19. “They’re going to have a really hard time alleging the pandemic is an excuse,” Murphy concluded.

Need-to-Know Information

Never sign a contract for a large project without legal support. But you can’t bid on and win contracts if you don’t know your demographics. Contact Construction Monitor with questions about business leads for your company.

Multistate Construction Industry Companies and COVID

multistate construction industry

The Great Lakes State’s increases in coronavirus cases put even greater pressure on construction industry companies. Calculating exposure risks, vaccine policies – the logistics continue to be difficult. Multistate construction companies are facing “a moving target,” says construction industry writer Katie Clarey. Coronavirus liability laws are inconsistent and vary across state borders.

Construction Industry Businesses Must Manage Liabilities

What are construction industry employers liable for in a pandemic? Even Congress isn’t quite sure.

That’s fine for your business in your state. But what happens when you have multistate projects? “It’s a potential nightmare…in terms of exposure,” Karl Lindegren of Fisher Phillips law firm said.

The solution is to appoint someone – preferably a legal professional – to follow new legislation and liability laws at state and federal levels. This person should also keep track of changing guidelines for project site safety.

If for no other reason, this shows you performed “due diligence” to keep workers safe. It doesn’t matter what the liability laws are; none of them will protect you if you disregard employee safety.

Protect Employees, Protect Yourself

One of the ways to show diligence is to utilize vaccine incentives for hesitant construction workers. Many multistate construction industry company owners also utilize Construction Monitor for local, state, and national business permits information.

You can choose from:

Construction Monitor provides key project data to help suppliers, subcontractors, building professionals, and general contractors to better target and reach new customers. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business.

Project Starter Software for Your Construction Business

construction business

You’ve received a Notice to Proceed. That means your project bid was accepted. Now what? Pype, Inc.* is a software-as-a-service provider and says Autodesk® is your construction business foundation for starting a new project.

5 Steps To Kickoff Construction Business Projects

You are excited and maybe a little bit nervous. Well, your client feels the same. Your first response to the Notice to Proceed can set the tone for your working relationship, start to finish. The client wants reassurance you were the right choice. And you want to quickly earn your client’s trust.

The eBook Strong Foundations outlines five steps you can follow for smoother project flow:

1. The Preconstruction Meeting

Schedule your preconstruction meeting for 1-2 days after receipt of the Notice to Proceed. This is your first step in managing expectations and defining project goals. If possible, give everyone a copy of the agenda. Then introduce everybody and mention key players that are absent.

2. Submittal Schedule

The submittals are your information documents for architects and design professionals. “Every piece of equipment, material types…details such as the exact color of paint need to be reviewed and approved via submittals,” says Autodesk.com.

3. Submittal Log

The submittal log is even more detailed than the submittal schedule and is an ongoing reference throughout the project lifecycle. It includes inspections and tests, QA/QC requirements, and more. Example columns are:

  • Notified subcontractor
  • Subcontractor response
  • Approved by GC
  • Submitted to design team
  • Returned:
    • Approved
    • Rejected
    • Revised

4. Submittal Review

Traditional spreadsheet submittals were breeding grounds for human error. Automation has made this process easier and more accurate. As soon as you develop submittals, move them on to the design team. Prioritize according to timelines or urgency.

5. Risk Mitigation

Best practices can prevent mistakes and minimize reworks. But risk mitigation software uses “cutting-edge algorithms” to scan specs and submittal requirements quickly. Based on industry best practices, the software can reveal missing pieces and unmet requirements.

Software That Creates Construction Business

Construction Monitor endorses all software applications that improve construction business quality and increase profits. Our company was one of the first to share software data based on building permits. We knew then – and we know now – the data analytics we generate can win bids and generate leads for your construction business.

Ask us how; we’re still excited about what our business can do for your construction business.
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*Construction Monitor does not recommend nor endorse any Brand of construction business software (except our own).

Stand Down To Prevent Falls: Construction Safety 2021

construction safety

May 3-7, 2021, was the 8th annual National Safety Stand-Down To Prevent Falls in Construction. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) promotes this week to encourage construction safety 24/7 all year, every year.

Falls are the greatest challenge to construction safety. Injuries dramatically impact workers’ lives. But families and businesses also suffer when there’s a fall-related accident.

Employers are responsible for providing safe workplaces. We also have a responsibility to provide safety education to employees at every project site. OSHA’s function is to set safety standards and guidelines for workplace safety.

What You Can Do To Promote Construction Safety

In addition to reducing fall hazards and providing safety information, another valuable measure to increase construction safety is to encourage workers to report any fall or other safety risks they see. A Safety Stand-Down is an opportunity and not an obligation because most of us feel responsible for employee safety.

Who Participates In a Safety Stand-Down?

Project managers can take advantage of this opportunity to discuss project-specific hazards and risks. It’s also a good time to document rescue plans.

Construction safety programs or “toolbox talks” can be sponsored or supported by:

  • Construction companies of every size
  • Employee interest organizations
  • General industry employers
  • Government entities
  • Highway construction companies
  • Industry institutes
  • Safety equipment manufacturers
  • Sub-/independent contractors
  • Trade associations
  • Unions

Go to the Stop-Falls Events site to learn where and when programs are available in your region or contact your regional manager. If your company has developed a fall-prevention program, needs additional information, or has suggestions, you can email oshastanddown@dol.gov or access social media sites with #StandDown4Safety.

Construction Monitor genuinely cares about on-the-job safety. If you have safety-related information we should share with construction employers or other industry-related businesses, please email Construction Monitor and we’ll promptly reply.

Building Permit Data Management

You can process large amounts of permit data through Construction Monitor’s API or automated weekly data dumps via secure FTP. To learn more, call 800-925-6085 (international 435-586-1205) or contact us.

Construction Industry and American Jobs Plan

construction industry

Certified public accountant Erin Roberts says President Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal (American Jobs Plan) won’t penalize most construction industry contractors. In fact, the cash infusion will benefit many. Because the majority of construction firms are “pass-through” (S corporations, sole proprietorships, partnerships) companies, they’re not subject to corporate taxes.

How Taxes May Impact Construction Industry Firms

Bipartisan support for the infrastructure initiative isn’t looking good (as of April 19, 2021). Republicans have issues with the proposal’s investments in electric cars and additional funding for disabled and eldercare. The GOP is examining another infrastructure plan that would cost about one-third of the current $2-trillion-plus proposal.

However, Biden referenced increasing taxes on individuals earning more than $400,000/year and that could impact pass-through construction industry companies. There has been no specific commitment to raising taxes on $400,000+ earners and it may become a negotiation point.

The Value-Added Trumps Higher Taxes

Biden’s American Jobs Plan may increase annual public spending on roads and bridges by 30%, according to Roberts. Even when spread-out over the years, it’s a significant amount of new spending for the construction industry.

The two U.S. political parties are about one-trillion dollars apart. Plus, the definition of the word “infrastructure” is up for debate. One Republican senator said only 30% of the plan “is actually infrastructure.”

Making Infrastructure History

Construction Monitor is a business that makes building permit information available to suppliers, subcontractors, and building industry professionals…This lead-generation service is available in all 50 US states, making Construction Monitor the nation’s largest provider of real-time building permit data.Wikipedia

The general attitude about the infrastructure plan is, “It’s about time.” However it plays out, it will make history.

Have you ever “googled” yourself? Don’t be embarrassed. Most of us have at some time. We googled ourselves and Construction Monitor is cited for insightful construction industry information:

  • 2011-2017 – Reported Californians were building more swimming pools than ever before despite the drought.
  • Post-2009 – Revealed insight on how homeowners were responding to depressed home values and lending restrictions
  • Pre-2020 – Solar power and green building trends reported

…This was relevant, actionable information that benefited companies like yours. Our construction industry analytics are only noteworthy when you use them to grow your business. In addition to creating a marketing strategy by studying what’s relevant today, you can apply historical data (because everything that goes around, comes around).

What’s the condition of your company infrastructure?

Contact Construction Monitor for a data plan that can drive your business further, faster.

FYI: Public Construction Projects

construction projects

Construction projects are either public or private. Most of us work on private construction projects, but with the potential for mega-opportunities in the public sector, you may be considering bidding on one or more.

Ownership Matters

Within the public sector, projects are either federal or state. “State” projects can be commissioned by any state-funded entity and/or:

  • City
  • County
  • Government board
  • Municipality
  • Public school board

State construction is basically any government-funded construction project that isn’t federally funded, says Scott Wolfe, Jr. But it’s not actually about where the money comes from. Federal monies are integrated into state monies anyway.

It’s important to know who “owns” public construction projects. On private jobs, if you aren’t paid you can file a mechanics lien. On public projects, the general contractor posts a payment bond for security. If payment isn’t forthcoming, you make a bond claim to recover the money.

Different Sector, Different Rules

The labor laws will be different and depend on the project type. The subcontracting rules will be different. What you don’t know about public construction projects can hurt your profit margin.

  • Applications – Apply asap. Qualifications must be researched to apply and more qualifications must be reviewed by the state and/or federal entities.
  • Bonding – Some contractors might confuse a surety bond with insurance since brokers usually provide both. But the surety bond application process is more rigorous and requires “a level of financial and operational detail” from contractors, says CEO Andy Thome.
  • Compliance – There are many more levels of compliance rules that are standard with government contracts.
  • Control – Private sector construction projects have completion goals, and as long as you’re in compliance with agreement terms, the owner isn’t concerned with details. That’s not true with public construction projects. Contractors are often surprised to discover the government is very serious about how the work was performed.
  • Language – Government contracts use different terminology and legalese. Some of the clauses are incorporated by reference-only, says Construction Dive. “It really takes an expert to review them properly.”
  • Public Bids – Public contract bids are public. Everything – your information, pricing – is out there. If you lowball your bid and discover you’ve made a mistake, you own it. Experienced public-work contractors understand workarounds using government change order requests, but a newcomer may not be familiar with the process.

Construction Monitor is a lead-generation website for construction projects, not a “bidding” website. Still, we’ve been included among the top construction bidding websites by virtue of information-sharing. We want our information to benefit companies like yours.

Contact us to learn more.

Women in Construction Making a Positive Difference

women in construction

There are 9.9 million men working in the construction industry. There are 1.1 million women in construction. In addition to the disparity of employment, there’s also a difference in the roles men and women in construction have.

Most men in construction have jobs in:

  • Construction labor
  • Extraction
  • Finance
  • Maintenance
  • Transportation

Women in construction are usually in administrative or office positions.

8 Women in Construction

The irony of the old jingle, “You’ve come a long way, baby” isn’t wasted on most women. Nobody should put “baby” in a corner or even in a corner office if she’d be happier and productive on a construction site.

These women in construction are making a positive difference that can raise the bar high enough to break the glass ceiling for others:

  1. Angela Cotie is a project executive at Gilbane Building Company and chairman of the board for Houston’s Architecture, Construction & Engineering mentoring program. She is also a founding member of AGC of Houston’s Women in Construction.
  2. Kaitlin Frank is a superintendent at Dome Construction in San Francisco. She develops training content for construction field workers and co-founded eMOD, a safety construction app.
  3. Karen Alba is team lead for a University Health System project in San Antonio, Texas. She leads networking programs for minority-owned businesses and mentors women on the jobsite.
  4. Kathleen Culhane is president of Nontraditional Employment for Women, a pre-apprenticeship union construction program. She’s increased New York City’s women in union construction apprenticeships to 12%.
  5. Kerri Smith is vice president of Baker Concrete Construction. AGC recently awarded her team the Eagle and Young Professionals Awards for a Miami cruise line terminal project. All team members on the project were under 35 years old.
  6. Lori Dunn-Guion is a project engineer and currently president of Swinerton Foundation, a nonprofit workforce development organization. She also is one of the founders of the Tony Williamson Memorial Scholarship for Cypress Mandela Training Center. The scholarship awards $1,200 plus a three-month training paid internship to individuals pursuing careers in construction.
  7. Meirav Oren is the founder of Versatile Natures, an Israeli-based company that uses sensors to collect construction project site data and information. Versatile was the first construction technology firm to be named Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum.
  8. Wendy Ho mentors women in construction and she’s a key player on public-sector construction projects in New York City. She also manages public-sector construction projects for AKRF, an environmental engineering firm. Wendy currently leads a $1.45 billion project; the largest resiliency initiative in NYC’s history.

Getting women in construction out of the office should be a construction business’ goal. Diversity in leadership serves as an invaluable tool and it’s time for us to find ways to level the playing field.

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