How to Streamline Construction Processes

construction processes

Six years ago we blogged about construction issues related to miscommunication. Three years later, our industry lost $31.3 billion to rework caused by miscommunication. Thanks to technology, we have continued to perfect construction processes, but project managers still spend about 4 hours/week on miscommunications, including poorly documented data.

Clearly, communications rank high among the construction processes upon which we should focus. But technology continues to provide ways for us to reduce errors and rework.

Construction Processes, Management: An Automated Alternative

How do you gain insight into a process that’s frequently long, complex, and expensive? How do you measure progress, enforce QA/QC, share insights, promote collaboration, and create a single source of truth?Construction Dive

Project progress reports are another form of communication. In addition to being informative, they reassure stakeholders and inspire confidence in backers. Using 360-degree visuals as a management tool provides insight into the realities of each construction project.

Benefits include:

  • Minimizing project costs
  • Reducing project site risks
  • Winning more work (see: “making more money”)

Using 3D visuals isn’t new technology. But incorporating them into a management software platform is “new and improved” among construction processes. This can save days – not just hours – in construction design alone.

As-built documentation can:

Enhance progress management – “In the old days, if you spotted an issue, you went to the engineer with an RFI. It might take a couple of days to get an answer back.” Days are reduced to hours.

  • Improve productivity and work quality – Stakeholders can view digital models and as-built at the same time.
  • Improve safety protocols – One project dog/camera (aka “Spot”) roams the project site making 360° videos. This provides transparency, increases onsite safety, and offers investors another avenue of risk management.
  • Minimize project costs – Yes, it’s an investment. But it’s an investment that pays off.
  • Slant project bids in your favor (win more work/make more money) – Delivers better scope of work and adds trust as a bidding factor, making your company more competitive.

Save Time, Make Money With Customized Data

Technologies like BIM (business information modeling), VDC (virtual design and construction), and the software platforms that deliver them appear to have measurable ROI (return on investment). In fact, if you’ve invested in construction industry-specific software that didn’t deliver what you hoped, we’d be interested in your feedback.

Meanwhile, we believe the best software for business-building is ours. Request a free edition.

Contact Construction Monitor to learn how our data analytics can streamline your marketing program.

The Fight to Veto Construction Industry Federally Mandated PLAs

PLAs are construction industry project labor agreements. They are usually created for a specific project and are enforceable for the life of that particular project contract. They guarantee the use of union labor, and unions are supportive of PLAs.

…To prohibit financial investment by a United States person in foreign industrial defense corporations with substantial contracts with, ties to, or support from, the Chinese military and affiliated entities, and for other purposes.HR1093/Stop Funding the PLA Act

While AGC supports the Fair and Open Competition Act, it is not expected to legislatively advance given the political dynamics in Congress.agc.org

PLA benefits include:

  • Ensuring project completion on-time/within-budget
  • Making large projects easier to manage
  • Providing contractors with reliable/uninterrupted supply of qualified workers
  • Reducing labor strife; prohibiting strikes/lockouts
  • Uniform wages, benefits, overtime pay, hours, working conditions, etc. for major construction projects

Increasing apprehension about government-mandated PLAs on federal projects for agencies like the Veteran Affairs and Army Corps of Engineers, as well as federally funded construction projects has led to action to stop PLA funding.

In February 2021, The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) announced support for the Fair and Open Competition Act sponsored by Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Reps. Ted Budd (D-N.C.), and John Moolenaar (R-Mich.).

ABC says PLAs encourage a “rigged bidding process” that forces contractors to:

  • Follow “inefficient” union work rules
  • Obtain apprentices exclusively from union apprenticeship programs
  • Pay into union benefit/multi-employer pension plans that nonunion employees are unlikely to ever access
  • Require existing workforce to accept union representation, pay union dues and/or join a union as a condition of employment on a PLA jobsite
  • Use union-hiring halls instead of utilizing their existing workforce

Construction firms can continue to voluntarily enter into a PLA. But the ABC is committed to fight mandated PLAs on federally funded jobs.

Build America Local says it reduces competition and increases project costs. The organization says ensuring fair and open competition on taxpayer-funded construction projects leads to saving money and more opportunities for small- and minority-owned businesses.

Construction Industry Information: Your Most Valuable Resource

Construction Monitor and many other construction-industry organizations want to provide relevant information to its supporters, customers, and any company for which construction is an interest.

We want you to be able to make informed choices, so we provide blogs and other news sources.

When it comes to customized building permit data, Construction Monitor has no competition. We continue to be the main source of lead-generation information used by construction businesses like yours.

Contact Construction Monitor to learn more.

Aging-Out Re-Emphasizes Need for More Construction Workers

construction workers

We emphasize technology and investing in it for better project management. But we need humans to build homes and commercial properties. Construction workers’ median age is 41, based on 2019 survey data. That’s a contributing factor to the current construction workers shortage.

Construction Workers Declined During Office-Jobs Push

For many years, it was a cultural thing in our country to steer our kids toward the college path. Despite the earnings potential of working in the trades (to say nothing of the burdensome student loans), young people were encouraged to avoid construction work. The career track leading to construction was almost completely devalued.

The fairly recent cultural concept that manual labor is not a good job is an important contributor to what will soon be an aging-out-of-the-workforce situation. Construction workers must be physically healthy to do the work, and the statistics support the claim that we need to recruit younger workers.

In addition to 41 being the median age of construction workers:

  • First-line supervisors’ median age is 46.
  • Midwestern construction workers average under 38 years of age.
  • Supervisor helpers had the youngest median age; 30.
  • U.S. East Coast construction workers tend to be the oldest.

The AGC (Associated General Contractors of America) is spearheading recruiting drives and also asking President Biden to discontinue unemployment pandemic supplements for construction workers. While half our states agreed the unemployment program is disincentivizing U.S. workers, several states restored the unemployment benefits.

Construction Is Essential

AGC’s “Construction is Essential” program focuses on attracting, training, and retaining construction workers. They are seeking federal funding for career and technical education programs as well as partnering with community colleges and technical schools.

The push to recruit is timely because we need our 40-something workers to share skills and information with new-hires. “You need to fill [those positions] while some of the folks are still there so that they can help transfer what they know to the next generation of workers,” said Brian Turmail, AGC’s vice president of public affairs & strategic initiatives at the Associated General Contractors of America.

You Can Be Your Community’s Construction Authority

You can coordinate recruiting and public speaking events to share the need for construction workers now. You can also write your own blogs and newspaper articles. Information-sharing is a way to building your company’s brand and also finding employees during a workforce shortage.

Call 800-925-6085 (international 001-435-586-1205) for more information. We also offer Live Chat.

Drone Technology and the Construction Industry

construction drone technology

In May 2015, Construction Monitor asked, “Do drones have a place in construction?” This year, drone technology will soar in the construction industry.

Today, a drone in Detroit, Michigan, can be piloted in Orlando, Florida. “Skypersonic invented the first worldwide, real-time remote piloting system,” says Skypersonic founder Giuseppe Santangelo. Another technology company, Red Cat Holdings, acquired Skypersonic in May 2021. Red Cat’s mission is to acquire and advance drone technology for the construction industry, first-responder organizations, and energy development companies.

The announcement put renewed focus on ways the construction and other industries can capitalize on drone technology.

Drone Data and How It’s Used

A 2020 survey revealed 90% of respondents expect to invest in drone technology. “Builders are looking to drones to provide thermal and façade inspections,” said ConstructConnect® last month.

Drone technology was set to become a construction industry staple, but the pandemic may have sped up its usage.

LiDAR (Light detection and ranging) is a remote sensing technology
used for measuring the exact distance of an object on the earth’s
surface. A scanner, laser, and a GPS receiver are the three
primary components of a LiDAR instrument, in combination
with photodetectors and optics for data collection.

LiDAR data collection is vital for today’s advanced project management, according to John McKenna, CEO of sees.ai. Just last year, construction project stakeholders used drones for “validation flights” perhaps monthly. Now they will be used weekly; daily, thanks to LiDAR and remote piloting technologies.

Use Technology for Business Development

Already, drone technology is improving the way we work. Drones:

  • Cut costs
  • Enhance safety
  • Improve efficiency
  • Increase accuracy

And drone technology is affordable for small business owners.

Construction Monitor technology is affordable for small businesses, too. Like drones, our data is only good if you use it. We customize the information for your business development needs; when what you need changes, we’ll provide different datasorts that can lead to growth for your company.

Learn more. Contact Construction Monitor today.

Construction Industry Workforce Management Software

Construction Industry Workforce Management Software

Saving time, reducing do-overs; the bottom line is, construction industry companies are interested in project management software for that exact reason: the bottom line. If you don’t have workforce management software, you will. It’s what you’ll use to better manage resources, time, and generate profits.

Four Benefits of Workforce Management Platforms

LaborChart* says if you have 100 employees, odds are your project needs 50 or 150 workers. You make it work because general contractors know how to “run lean.” The reality is, that’s our preference.

“Bloated contractors don’t thrive or sometimes even survive,” says LaborChart. “When equipment and people are sitting idle, costs can add up quickly.” That strategy keeps you in business, but it also stops you from growing your business because you’re in constant reactive mode.

Workforce management software offers:

  1. Enhanced forecasting – This app provides information about labor, equipment, and money so you can evaluate opportunity risks.
  2. Optimized scheduling – Personnel can be selected based on skillsets, certifications, and project variables. Assignment requests can be sent while you’re elsewhere.
  3. Reduced downtime – Put employees where they need to be when they need to be there, rather than sitting idle, waiting for others to finish so they can begin.
  4. View overworked/underworked workers at-a-glance – Overworked teams make more mistakes. Underworked employees will eventually move on.

Benefits of Construction Monitor Software

Construction Monitor doesn’t sell software. But you can use the data our software generates to make strategic business decisions. This statement actually encapsulates the process: We digitize; you analyze.

We understand workforce management is possibly the biggest challenge you face today. Providing you with information pertinent to the construction industry is something we’re passionate about. Providing current business leads and historical trends so you can make marketing decisions and increase profits is what we know about.

You don’t have time to do what we do. Let’s partner to deliver fast, actionable information that maximizes your time.

Call 800.925.6085 (International/435.586.1205) or contact us.

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*Construction Monitor does not recommend nor endorse any brand of construction business software (except our own).

Advantages of Automated Construction Payment

Automated Construction Payment

There aren’t many of us that use checkbooks these days, let alone “carry” them. Automating the workplace, including every construction payment, doesn’t mean you lose control.

Management company McKinsey says the principles of workplace automation are:

  • Activities – Forty-five percent of the activities employees carry out could be automated.
  • Creativity/emotion-focusing – Automation can free employees to do what we as humans do best: interpret customers’ and clients’ emotional needs to improve business. Creativity will prosper in an automated workplace.
  • High-level analytics – CEOs, etc. could save more than 20% of their time with automated analytics for reports and numbers-crunching.
  • Occupations – Automation will redefine jobs and business processes.

Take Control With Automated Payments

General contractors may have 20 or more projects. Each project can have 10 or more subcontractors. Automating payments gives your accounting team a more efficient way to process large volumes of payments.

Here are the advantages of an automated construction payment process:

  1. Accessible from multiple devices – Cellphones, laptops, tablets, back-office computers, your automated payment information is available 24/7 from home, office, or at the jobsite.
  2. Better audit trails – Your team can access, track, and report on any accounts payable requirement.
  3. Enhances working relationships – Your subcontractors will appreciate construction payment automation. It gives you heightened credibility and a reputation for dependable, fast payments.
  4. Helps subcontractors – The software can generate reminders to subcontractors to submit bills, insurance renewals, and allows them to “see” their payment status.
  5. Lowers miscommunications/mistakes – The software should be integrated with your accounting system for a smoother, faster, error-free process.
  6. Reduces the paper trail – Documentation (payment applications, lien waivers, routing, approvals), it’s all online and easily accessible.
  7. Saves time – It can eliminate boring, slow, low-value tasks. Nervous or money-stressed employees/subcontractors won’t need to “…pick up the check at your office” because it can be deposited within minutes.
  8. Simplifies lien waivers – You can standardize/simplify lien waivers’:
    1. Requesting
    2. Collecting
    3. Approving
    4. Tracking

Automated payments can enhance internal workflows and processes.

Construction Monitor can create customized, automated reports based on your business development needs. Take control of your future; contact us today.

Construction Technology for Risk Management

construction technology

You know employee safety is a priority. You assume safety programs and practices are going to be an expense one way or the other; time or money. And you’re okay with that. But did you ever think construction technology for safety might give you a competitive advantage?

Another current business priority is attracting and retaining employees. A construction company with a safety-first culture will represent the kind of environment skilled workers will choose.

Identifying Most Relevant Construction Technologies

Mike Perozek is a safety technology* professional. He says businesses in the construction industry have common goals. Most of our goals include:

  • Acquiring remote jobsite monitoring
  • Creating a safety culture
  • Developing easy-to-access safety performance indicators for stakeholders
  • Improving OSHA compliance
  • Improving safety awareness
  • Saving time on jobsite inspections

Technology additions and upgrades are going to require a budget, training, and management support. “The most successful technology initiatives put the business goals and people at the center; not the technology,” says Perozek.

How the Software Can Help

Managing site safety has always been challenging. Here is some construction technology you may be able to use this year:

  • Fatigue – Some apps can analyze a worker’s posture and bearing to determine if the employee is overly fatigued.
  • Hard hats can include carbon monoxide sensors.
  • Inspection recording – Gives the project team (and inspectors) fast, easy access to project information. The software can monitor and ensure your teams are adhering to safety guidelines.
  • Lone worker apps are designed to protect employees and pinpoint locations in an emergency.
  • Mobile-friendly software should make it easier to access information anytime, from anywhere.
  • Shared collection data – This software gathers data, analyzes it, and shares information that can protect workers.
  • Wearables – PPEs can be fitted with computers, GPS, sensors.

The Best Construction Business Software

Be sure to refer to 9 Questions to Ask When Seeking Construction Software. It can help you evaluate software programs and (hopefully) get the most value at the best price.

Construction Monitor’s software is the best for construction business development. Just ask us.
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*Construction Monitor does not recommend nor endorse any brand of construction business software (except our own).

Construction Professionals’ Refusal To Get Vaccinations Raises Alarms

COVID-19 vaccinations in Construction Industry

Being classified as “essential workers” along with medical personnel assured construction professionals what we do is valued. We are valued. But even though we were among the first to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, the percentage of construction workers getting the vaccination remains low.

Promoting Vaccinations Among Construction Professionals

Construction companies that want their workers to be vaccinated have their work cut out for them. Construction Dive

Not only do contractors and project managers face challenges in promoting COVID-19 vaccinations, but author Robyn Griggs Lawrence says their skepticism is “raising alarm bells for public health officials.” Researchers are trying to understand what’s behind construction workers’ reluctance to get the vaccination. They say until we can understand and address construction professionals’ concerns, we cannot effectively promote vaccination.

Reasons Why

Basically, U.S. construction workers say they don’t trust the vaccine and they don’t trust our government. Some of them believe the misinformation they read online. Many believe the rush to get the vaccine out of the lab and into our arms means the developers may have cut corners, making the vaccine unsafe.

Construction professionals are usually young and healthy, and the majority believe the vaccine is unnecessary. One-third of the unvaccinated population believe they have to pay for the shots, which are free to everyone. 

Then there’s the political side of the pro- and anti-vaccinators. The blue states had higher vaccination rates than the red states. Poll results indicate 91% of Democrats and 51% of Republicans were willing to get the vaccination. 

Cultural, Political Objections Prove Difficult to Overcome

The mindset challenges to the COVID-19 vaccination are cultural and political. That’s a difficult mix to overcome. With the exception of religious or medical reasons, not getting the vaccination is proving to be problematic.

Already, the Delta variant is spreading faster among unvaccinated populations. This can lead to another labor shortage for construction companies if we can’t persuade our employees to get vaccinated.

Contact Construction Monitor for information about overcoming business development slumps. We have a marketing strategy that provides business-building leads.

Construction Safety Programs Can Lower Insurance Expenses

Construction Safety Programs

Risk management is the process of identifying, evaluating, and controlling threats. These risks can be dangers to your company, personnel, or financial well-being. They can be natural disasters, for which you can assign probability ratios.

Security threats and on-the-job accidents are risks you can minimize or even eliminate with strategic management. Construction safety is a risk you can manage. And it might even reduce your insurance costs.

Construction Safety Prioritization and Better Workers’ Comp Costs

Construction is usually considered a high-risk liability for insurance companies. When accidents and injuries occur, it can take years to settle because of the numerous, complex contracts between contractors, which usually include liability assumptions language.

RBN Insurance professionals Blair Koorsen and Jeff Greenhalgh say one way for contractors to offset rising insurance costs is to secure more favorable workers’ compensation premiums. Proactive management and workplace risk reductions are key.

Documented Safety Programs

This gives you an advantage in recruiting new hires, especially in a competitive market. But it can actually enhance safety protocols and awareness. It can protect workers. When employees feel valued, you’ll see greater productivity. Implementing documented safety programs can reduce injuries by 15%-35%.

Steps To Lower Insurance Costs

Read OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards pertaining to your company, your workforce, and your state. Safety programs should be customized to fit your company’s size and culture. Share your safety program information with your insurance carrier(s) and OSHA. Your safety program should include:

  • Education/training
    • Employee inclusion
    • Hazard identification/assessment
    • Hazard prevention
    • How to report concerns
    • Procedures for injury reporting
  • Leadership investment
  • Program evaluation/ongoing improvement

“Documented safety programs can help insurance carriers view your organization more favorably,” say Koorsen and Greenhalgh. “Most importantly, make sure to partner with an insurance and risk management professional who understands your business and its unique risks…and will advocate on your behalf.”

Construction Monitor: Your Business Development Resource

We’re in the business of providing customized analytics that can make money for your business. But we can’t help you if you don’t communicate your needs. Do that today. Contact Construction Monitor.