The Realities of Construction Business

construction business

We’re common-sense people in a down-to-earth industry. Nothing is more “real” than working with your hands. But instead of using hands-on building tools, we need to embrace hands-on building device technology. The realities of your construction business are going to be driven by AR and VR.

AR and VR in Construction Business Projects

AR is augmented reality and VR is virtual reality. These terms are used with other types of realities, and here are the differences:

  • AR – Augmented reality uses the camera on your smartphone to add digital elements to a live view.
  • MR – Mixed reality combines AR and VR.
  • VR – Virtual reality takes you out of the physical world and into a simulated environment where you can ride a dragon or swim with sharks.
  • XR – Extended reality covers all the technologies that provide information, real-world or virtual.

These technologies will never take the place of solid architectural designs and quality workmanship. But their value-added can make a huge difference in how we operate.

Real-World Uses: AR and VR

Here are 3 examples of using AR and VR to transform difficult-to-imagine construction business designs and visions.

  1. Communication – Construction business poor communication is cited too often as the cause of project failures. “But miscommunication can launch a project into a tailspin,” says Unity Technologies. With about $177.5 billion spent every year fixing construction mistakes, any opportunity for improvement is welcome.
    A meeting can use AR and VR to take everyone to the site. Everyone can see and understand how what you’re explaining will be realized in real life. Project team members can collaborate to solve potential problems they see rather than imagine. One meeting attendee said, “Watching team members tweak the design and take notes on it in real-time was incredible.”
  2. Designs – When a design company hit a “wall” trying to explain how its skyscraper could enhance – not ruin – a skyline view, the company used AR. They created a prototype using 3D modeling and geolocating. They took the client on virtual walks to show how the building would look when completed.
  3. Training – Finding talent is challenging enough. Training and retaining workers is a whole different ballgame. AR and VR can give onboarding workers real-jobsite experiences in a safe, controlled environment. They can learn about construction business hazards and how to manage risk.

We share technology every week with construction businesses throughout the U.S. and globally. Call 800.925.6085 (International/435.586.1205) or contact Construction Monitor. Our goal is to increase your business. What’s your goal?

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*Construction Monitor does not endorse nor recommend any software brand (except ours) for construction technology applications.

Construction Firms’ Concrete Contractors Go Digital

concrete contractors

A survey revealed 89% of construction firms and specialty trades use building information modeling (BIM). Concrete contractors have many incentives to adopt digital layouts:

  • Improves accuracy
  • Increases layout versatility
    • Easier placement of nonlinear shapes
  • Saves time
    • Easier multistream home office coordination
    • Simplified workflow

But the biggest incentive is ROI (return on investment). Construction firms say the “payback” is swift:

  • “Only need 1 person-layout.”
  • “Paid for itself in 2 jobs.”
  • “Paid for itself in 2 months.”
  • “Saves time on every project.”

Concrete Construction Firms Say “Goodbye Batter Boards, Plumb Bobs, Tapes, and Strings”

If the project is large, walking back-and-forth with strings is tedious and time-consuming. “And the further you stretch the strings, the less accurate your measurement becomes,” says one concrete professional. Using traditional layouts, your margin of error includes:

  • Calculating correct angles/degrees
  • Complex layouts – angles/arcs/curves
  • Difficult onsite weather conditions that move the tapes/strings
  • Keeping the tapes/strings steady
  • Verifying distances more than once

If your concrete construction firm hasn’t made the move to digital, you may soon find yourself unable to compete. One foundation specialist said with BIM software, “I’ve done as many as 4 layouts before noon, starting at 8:30 a.m…I couldn’t do that the old way.”

Teams’ Transition to Digital Easy

Our crews had no trouble adapting. I was pleased with how
quickly they picked it up.
Josh Hollingshead, Sobcun Concrete

Shortly after digital conversion, concrete crews are able to use:

  • Field-controller tablet computers
  • Optical instruments that more precisely measure horizontal/vertical angles and distance
  • Pole-mounted reflecting prisms
  • Software that provides a streamlined, intuitive approach to measurements and workflow
    • “Within minutes, we were ready to lay out the foundation.”

You have plenty of software options. But nothing is set in stone (or concrete). Read. Ask questions. Learn what’s available and how much money it can save – or make – your company.

Construction Monitor has developed software that takes huge amounts of information and sorts it into easy-to-use, actionable information for your company, your locale. If you don’t use it, you lose it – business opportunities, that is.

Contact Construction Monitor marketing professionals today.

How Construction Business Managers Compete for Workers

construction business managers

Competing for construction business is something we know about. Most of us have a plan for winning bids and lowballing our competitors without compromising quality or safety. Did you ever think you’d be competing for workers?

Labor Shortage Crisis for Construction Business Industry

We lost out on Gen X skilled trades
and we’re partly to blame. –
David Mineer

The construction business is not the only industry struggling with finding and retaining talent. The current worker shortage has been called a national economic emergency. But the monthly turnover rate in other industries is almost half that of the construction industry.

It’s been a bit of a problem for quite some time: Construction industry worker numbers have been dwindling. Skilled trades have had a bad reputation as a low-income, uneducated career choice. It took us too long to respond to that issue.

It’s Not All About the Money

Paying more is the easiest and the hardest way to entice and retain talent, according to a Los Angeles construction company founder. But you must not appear as desperate as you actually are. And it’s getting even harder to pay those higher salaries.

The reservation wage, the lowest average wage Americans without college degrees will accept for new jobs, has increased by 26%
over the past year, to $29.56…
Construction Dive

One million construction workers lost their jobs to the 2020 pandemic, but only 80% are returning. To keep up with demand, AGC (Associated General Contractors) says we need to hire 430,000 workers in 2021 and a million more over the next two years.

New-age employees are interested less in money and more in companies that offer worker-friendly, human-centric company cultures. They want goal-oriented environments that have:

  • Bonuses/reward system
  • Career advancement
  • Career training
  • Collaborative project management approaches
  • Company culture of honesty and integrity
  • Flexible schedules
  • Pride in construction as a career

Construction Monitor’s customized business permit data isn’t all about the money either. (But we believe sharing leads that lead to more money for you is great, too.) We can help you develop marketing promotions and lead generation.

The power of information is yours. Ask our marketing pros how it can work for you by contacting Construction Monitor.

Construction Workers and Mental Health

construction workers and mental health

If you’re working on a rooftop or skyscraper scaffold, you are tethered. If you’re on the ground, you wear a hardhat. What protection is available when you suffer from depression on the job? Construction workers are more likely to die by suicide than a jobsite fall.

Everybody knew, but nobody would talk about it.
Michelle Walker, on growing up in a construction industry-town

Construction Workers and Suicide

The industry with the highest suicide rate is Mining, Quarrying/Oil and Gas Extraction. Construction ranks second. Construction remains male-dominated despite our efforts to diversify hiring, so the suicide rates are:

  • Females 9.4/100,000 workers
  • Males 45.3/100,000 workers

It’s not that we don’t want to deal with mental health issues; it’s more of a lack of awareness among managers, supervisors, and construction workers themselves. Because most companies are safety-conscious and actively promote safety awareness, it helps to classify mental health as a safety risk.

“When you look at it from risk management, you can create the business case…it can benefit the business and everybody in the business by paying attention to it,” said Michelle Walker of SSC Underground, an Arizona boring and excavation company.

Her company holds a training session on how to facilitate mental health conversations. It includes how to recognize suicide warning signs; information that is valuable at work and home.

The construction industry is adapting its culture to appeal to a new generation of workers. New-age employees seek human-centric workplaces. They want to work in a “culture of caring.”

What Can YOU Do?

We need to prioritize mental health wellness. You don’t have to be a CEO to initiate a committee to develop mental health awareness in the construction industry.

Post mental health resources on the jobsite. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255. (Almost) everyone has a cellphone. If you can communicate by messaging, send the best mental health apps for 2021 to construction workers.

Other ways to promote mental health awareness and suicide prevention include:

  • Bracelets
  • Emails
  • Handouts
  • Hard hat stickers
  • Moments of silence to acknowledge construction workers that died by suicide
  • Quarterly toolbox talks
  • Speakers
  • Videos

Business permit data can be presorted for specific geographic areas, demographics, competitors, and more. We do the work; you put the information to work. Contact Construction Monitor today.

Up, Down, Boom, Bust, What’s Next With Lumber Prices?

construction lumber prices

When the price of lumber rose 300%, many of us wondered if that would be another new normal: pandemics and exorbitant lumber prices. It took Fortune eight charts to explain the skyrocketing lumber prices that recently fell to earth.

Lumber prices peaked at $1,515 per thousand board feet, then plummeted to $399 and rose to $630 in September 2021. You can see why there might be some confusion.

Riding the Wood Roller Coaster

By March 2021, monthly housing starts were at 1.7 million…all that building caused demand for framing lumber, OSB (oriented strand board), and plywood to soar. Lance Lambert, Realtor.com data journalist

Roller coaster enthusiasts say wooden roller coasters are a rough ride but always worth it. The lumber prices roller coaster ride has been equally rough.

Spring 2021 saw lowered interest rates and another housing market run. Available suburban houses were grabbed up by eager homebuyers that no longer had to commute to the city for work. The housing shortage led to an almost frenzied demand for new homes. And lumber.

With another pandemic looming, homeowners went on a home improvement spree. They began DIY (do-it-yourself) projects that required construction materials, like wood.

At the same time, and equally surprising, we were walloped with a severe worker shortage. Sawmills and lumberyards struggled to fill increased orders with a reduced workforce.

Managing Construction Projects: Be More Proactive

Something good may yet come from riding the wood roller coaster this year.

Granger Hassmann of Adolfson & Peterson Construction says uncertainties can force us to become more proactive. You can’t prepare for delays on the manufacturing side, so “considering different materials, systems, or manufacturers is crucial.”

It doesn’t matter what’s next with lumber prices if you’re proactively investigating materials options. Rather than waiting for anything, “You have to be more proactive,” said Hassman. A procurement cycle might have been 6-12 weeks. “Now it’s maybe a week. It’s just all about speed and management.”

If you’d like to be more proactive with business development, call 800-925-6085 or contact Construction Monitor. We customize data analytics to increase business – your business.