Construction Business Employees and Wearables

construction wearables

A recent study on wearables and construction business safety reported, “The construction industry has long been regarded as one of the most dangerous industries worldwide. It employs approximately 7% of the global workforce but contributes to 30-40% of total fatalities.”

There are plenty of websites explaining how wearables can increase construction safety but it will be years before we can say it’s been proven. There’s no data – yet – to support predictions, including the forecast that owners/operators of construction companies are ready to buy into wearable technology. However, employees may balk.

Construction Business Hazards & Wearables: Big Brother?

Wearable technologies require high adherence and commitment from the user.
National Library of Medicine

The first concern of construction business employees is invasion of privacy. “Is Big Brother watching us?” They wanted to know if the wearables monitored standing still too long, recorded conversations, or videotaped construction activity.

Physical overexertion causes 35% of all work-related injuries. Strains, sprains, and muscle/tendon tears from improper lifting, posture, and movement are ergonomic injuries that wearables train employees to avoid.

One wearable technology can identify high-risk movements in real-time and trigger an alert. The user must then self-correct. It does not “secretly” monitor anything else.

What it does do is create a competition between the wearable and the user. It sets safety goals and then challenges its wearer to meet those goals. It uses real-time feedback and gamification to further engage users.

For project managers, the information is valuable: One user had higher risk movements than most. Upon investigation, the supervisor learned the individual had knee difficulties and the wearable triggered a warning when bending to retrieve items from the parts bin. A workstation redesign solved the problem and the removed potential for future injury.

Another valuable benefit is wearables give voice to employee concerns. A manager is alerted to a risk activity. Upon investigation, the employee – who would never have complained – explained how he had been cutting corners to get a job completed within a certain amount of time.

Users find that wearables influence the way they do things at home as well. They tackle home improvement tasks differently because they now know strategies to work safer.

Construction Monitor strives to be a valued source of safety information in addition to being the top source for construction business development in the United States. If you have marketing questions, let us know. We’ll have answers and possible solutions. Call 435-586-1205 or contact Construction Monitor.

4 Ways Maintenance Can Increase Construction Business Performance

Construction Business Performance

Many car owners have a hard time keeping up with changing the oil every 3,000 miles or before such-and-such date; whichever occurs first. (Once upon a time, vehicles cost much less than payloaders.) Routine maintenance prolongs the life of expensive construction business equipment. It reduces downtime. And yes, it’s difficult to remember to schedule, much less track machinery use and maintenance.

Construction Business Asset Tracking Reduces Downtime

Depending on the type of machine and type of failure, the average cost of a breakdown can vary. Regardless of the actual dollar value, it’s always a blow.

Construction companies often share or lease equipment to avoid repair and maintenance expenses. Heavy-duty machinery is quite a liability. Construction business equipment is also an asset that can increase your net worth and provide great tax shelters.

Asset tracking software platforms can be used to trigger alerts about construction equipment. It’s a proactive way to manage:

  1. Accidents – Breakdowns of certain types of equipment can pose accident risks. Maintenance software can prevent breakdowns and reduce accidents.
  2. Breakdowns/repairs – Preventive maintenance costs most construction companies between $4,000-$6,000/year. But that’s minimal when you figure a repair on a Manitowoc 10000 crane is about $36,000. If your software can prevent just one breakdown and repair, you’ve covered the cost of the software and maintenance.
  3. Unnecessary repurchases – You can’t find your tape measure, so you buy another one. You’ve got 3 tape measures “somewhere” in the house. Now consider construction equipment like ladders. You’ve got five ladders “somewhere,” but can’t find them so you buy another one for $600. Equipment tracking tells you what’s where.
  4. Unused machinery – Unused equipment at jobsites is an unnecessary expense if you rent. If you pay $6,500/month plus additional costs for delivery/service, taxes, and inspection renting a Komatsu PC238USLC-11 mini excavator that sits idle for months, you’ll see how getting a loan to buy and maintain your own saves money.

Like regular maintenance, technology tools are driving the construction industry and business owners to greater profits and improved safety. Construction Monitor is your technology tool that can also increase profits.

To learn more about our customized for-your-demographics data, call 800-925-6085 or contact Construction Monitor.
Construction Monitor blogs are for informational use only. We do not endorse any software platforms (except ours).

Saving Time and Money With Construction Software

construction software

Too many of us think construction software costs money (it does) but it doesn’t make money or even save money (untrue). Remember, time is money, whether it’s your time, project workers’ or your office staffs’. Everyone’s time is valuable and (almost) everyone’s time has a price.

Construction Software Can Reduce Miscommunications

The one seriously underrated area construction software can improve is communication. The majority of our mistakes and expensive, time-wasting errors leading to do-overs involve miscommunication in construction. (Miscommunication includes failure to respond; 78% of your emails to project teams aren’t read until it’s “too late.”)

SMS and texting radically improve read-and-respond times. And much of this could be resolved with construction software that sends real-time updates and alerts.

Admin Manual Entry: High Margin of Error

Many of us feared automation would cut jobs. We quickly learned that boring, repetitious manual entry and spreadsheet maintenance could be reduced and/or eliminated with construction software. And our administrative personnel would be free to concentrate on more profitable areas, like workflow management, marketing and program development.

However, operating several software systems for different areas of construction project management is yet another problem. It often calls for data entry duplication – again increasing the margin of error – and can divide office staff into software specialists in one area while being untrained in another, or worse: an entire team with varying levels of software competency.

Explore Software Solutions

You’ve heard of “seamless integration.” That means there are ways to retain the information your older software system(s) contain while upgrading to more efficient construction software solutions. We encourage you to explore the possibilities for your company to save time and money. Stay abreast of the ongoing evolution in construction management software.

Construction Monitor can’t claim to be the construction software expert. There are many great companies offering solid business management solutions that work for any size construction company. That’s why we share what we’ve learned about construction automation without favoring one company over another.

However, there is one company’s construction-industry software we feel is the best for saving money and making money. Just ask us. Call 800.925.6085 (International/435.586.1205) or contact Construction Monitor.

Current Events Impacting Industrial Development

industrial development

March 2022 marked two years since the WHO (World Health Organization) declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic. Emotional and economic recovery has been slow. Supply chain issues continue to impact commercial and residential construction costs and timeframes. Even though real estate investors see industrial development as favorable (the need for space is higher than space available), those in the trenches say the lack of parts and raw materials is negatively impacting construction projects.

The Philadelphia Inquirer says the Ukraine war will do more in our country than raise oil prices. “Nothing influences people’s thinking about future inflation than what they are currently paying at the pump,” said Chief Economist Mark Zandi. As inflation perceptions escalate, the Federal Reserve will likely respond by raising interest rates more aggressively than predicted.

Industrial Development Between a Rock and a Hard Place?

The lack of industrial development materials prolongs the problem of not-enough industrial real estate development. The costs of construction materials like steel and concrete have rocketed upward while competition to win Federal construction project bids is heating up like …well, rocket fuel.

Meanwhile, giants like Amazon, with seemingly unlimited purchasing power and resources for building their own storage spaces, are adding fuel to the fire by stockpiling.

March 2022 lead-time estimates:

  • Dock levelers – 35-42 weeks
  • Dock seals – 30-40 weeks
  • Electrical switch gears – 50-50 weeks
  • Main electrical panels – 26-35 weeks
  • Overhead doors – 20-22 weeks

Construction Costs, Materials Issues

We’ll see continued efforts to update ports and speed-up customs and import inspection times. But supply chain issues aren’t completely international. North American-produced lumber and steel costs may be higher through 4Q2022. Pop-up storage may alleviate equipment and materials space problems.

Changes in design and materials substitutions keep some industrial development projects alive but other projects are being delayed or canceled. Meanwhile, when it comes to construction materials and prices, prepare for a new normal.

Speaking of normal: Data management and using information sources are now the way our industry operates and thrives. Find out why we think building permit information is an information source that pays for itself.

Call 435-586-1205 or contact Construction Monitor.

Construction Industry Supply Chain Priorities: Amazon Focuses on Shipping

Construction Industry Supply

It’s sad when a company has to back off expansion plans because of an economic slump. Amazon, after acquiring enough acreage to form a small country, is now slowing down construction on planned fulfillment centers.

Before you say, “Aww…poor Jeff,” here’s the scoop. E-commerce customer purchasing is increasing so rapidly that Amazon has chosen to focus on another facet of its supply chain plan: fast, dependable product delivery.

Warehousing and storage solutions are significant to Amazon’s ability to provide superior customer service. Amazon increased fulfillment center developments by 30% in 2021. But fast delivery is the growth driver in e-commerce. Shipping speed must be commensurate with customer expectations. They already experience fast product research, selection, one-click purchasing, and checkout. Delivery and customer satisfaction are the last links in the supply chain.

You can’t make ice as fast as Amazon can deliver a couch. And it’s not overly dramatic to say that everyone is amazed at Amazon’s next-day delivery capability. More vehicles and drivers will minimize Amazon’s dependency on USPS and UPS shipping.

Meanwhile, prime competitors Walmart and Target are planning their own fulfillment centers and increasing automated supply chain logistics. They also want to enhance the quality and speed of delivery to customers.

Supply Chain KPIs for Construction Industry

Services and supplies account for 80% of a construction project’s expenses. That means almost every component in a project is driven by supply chain management.

Key performance indicators are one way we measure the success of construction projects. In addition to the basic KPIs, consider tracking:

  • Buyout process
  • Employees
    • # Reviews
    • # Training completions
    • Turnover #
  • Performance
    • % lost time
    • Amount of waste
    • Average revenue per day/hour
  • Quality Control
    • # Defects
    • # Reworks
    • # Site inspections
  • Safety
    • # Accidents per supplier
    • # Incidents
    • # Meetings
  • Subcontractors

Traditional KPIs for construction projects are usually determined by:

  • Competitors’ KPIs
  • Financial measurements
  • Historical numbers

Construction Monitor offers traditional building permit analyses for construction business-building. Our data analytics include:

Learn how our numbers can improve your business. Contact Construction Monitor.

Warehouse Operations Management for ‘Just-In-Case’ Building Materials

Building Materials

Materials prices have risen about 50% within the last year. This has led to even more competitive project bidding. The wins are going to contractors that can guarantee materials will be available when needed.

When the supply shortages became a crisis, some contractors resorted to hoarding, ghost orders, and pop-up warehouses. Warehouse operations are becoming as much a part of the construction industry as hammers and nails.

Ghost orders occur when contractors without projects request bids from several suppliers for materials. This can cause materials shortages for “real” construction projects. Brian Sudduth, president of Miller Construction Company, Florida, said suppliers are pushing back and “asking for project-specific information” to avoid ghost order pile-ups. Some suppliers in the roofing materials industry simply won’t quote a price until you actually place an order.

Lead times are basically a crapshoot. In February 2022, one building professional was surprised to discover bar joists delivery “has pushed into 2023.” What was weeks is now months. Lead-time estimates are:

  • Aluminum windows/curtain walls – 6-12 months
  • Metal decking – 8-10 months
  • Metal studs/cold-formed metal framing – 2-4 months
  • Precast concrete wall panels – 6-10 months
  • Roofing/roof insulation – 8-10 months
  • Steel bar joists – 8-10 months
  • Structural steel – 6-8 months

To compound the growing problems of finding materials and suppliers, contractors are having difficulty finding warehouse space. Many resort to building their own temporary storage on project jobsites.

Warehouse operations software provides a fulfillment strategy for construction companies and contractors. Ask your contractor management software provider if a warehouse platform can be integrated to save time and confusion through best-practice management:

  • Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure:
    • Accuracy
    • Cost per delivery/mileage
    • Damages
    • Delays
    • Deliveries
  •  Loop clients into project supply/materials order fulfillment, and storage/delivery turnaround time
  • Offer inventory/materials management
  • Set up processes for crowdsourced deliveries
    • Bar codes to identify items
    • Package/labeling into bins/parcels
    • Pick-up staging

Technology in construction business management isn’t a trend. It’s the fuel that empowers the future of construction. If you have questions about what our software deliverables can do for your business development, contact Construction Monitor.

Leveraging Construction Lifecycle Data

Construction Lifecycle Data

Organizing and retaining projects’ construction lifecycle data has become increasingly complex. Autodesk says construction projects now involve more people, but that doesn’t necessarily mean more people on the payroll. It could mean more people in the loop.

By the time a typical construction project is complete,
up to 30 percent of data has been lost…

Different people use different software to capture project analytics. Architects have creative software. Engineers incorporate health and safety into design. And the project itself has yet another software application.

That’s where we’re losing it – literally. Construction lifecycle data is misplaced during handoffs. This is a major problem because retaining all information from the design/build phases is critical. The right software captures the entire project, start to finish, and makes handovers seamless and efficient.

What’s Included in Construction Lifecycle?

We need everyone involved in the project to be able to view the same data in real-time. Too many types of software used during handoffs mean we may be compromising information:

  • 2D drawings
  • 3D engineering data
  • Asset/equipment information
  • Daily logs
  • Financial data
  • Meeting minutes
  • Project documentation, reports, schedules
  • Requests for Information (RFIs)
  • Submittals

…and more.

Connectivity within our construction software applications is key. Construction projects using older software systems require the GC to organize the data and documentation. This is not only time-consuming, but it also puts the GC between the data and its original owner. “Connected construction” means data owners owner can access all information at every stage:

  1. Design
  2. Plan
  3. Build
  4. Operate

 …without requesting permission from the GC.

For a competitive edge, you need a reputation for time and money efficiency. You’d like to be known as the kind of project manager that is on top of everything. Construction project GCs/managers leveraging construction lifecycle data can put an end to lost-data transfers and runaround hassles.

If you haven’t checked into lifecycle construction software platforms, it’s an investment that can make your life easier.

Leveraging Construction Monitor Data

The lead-generating information we deliver is being used by your competitors. Find out how you too can leverage building permit analytics to build business. Speak with one of our marketing pros to learn more.

Contact Construction Monitor.

How Construction Work Is Fun

construction work

In 2018, an Iowa City television network covered a story of a high school group’s student-built home. The story included teen perspectives on why students don’t consider construction work a viable career option. One of its high school graduate new hires said, “A lot of the kids are just not interested in building. More are interested in becoming a doctor.”

Earning while learning is a big incentive for many high school teens. But what about the kids from families that are eagerly providing them with tech toys and college incentives? Maybe the solution is to grab their interest at a younger age.

Dig World and Construction Work: Heavy Machinery Toys

Leave it to Texans to come up with Dig World, a 3+-acre construction education theme park in a Houston suburb. Founder Jacob Robinson got the idea from his child’s love of dump trucks and the heavy machinery used in construction work. His company, 1 Stone Solutions of Houston, provides construction cleaning and custodial services. His vision is to open 10 other Dig World sites throughout the U.S.

Some of the solo and adult-accompanied rideable rigs include:

  • Cat 303.5 Mini-Excavators – Dirt-digging at its best
  • Mini-Ex Knock Down – Skillfully knock down pins with a full-size Caterpillar 302 Mini-Excavator
  • Mini-Ex Pond Fishing – Retrieve objects using a full-size Caterpillar 306 Mini-Excavator
  • Skid Steers – Full-size Caterpillar 236D3 Skid Steer Loader around a “windy track”

Jacobs is an alumnus of A&M University. Its Department of Construction Science provided informational signage and materials for Dig World visitors. The park’s March 2022 opening went off as scheduled, but the Dig World team quickly realized they were under-equipped to handle the crowd capacity. They scheduled another opening.

“We were optimistic that the machines we had would prove to be enough, but the wait times were too long…we cannot be satisfied with that. We want to operate a park that is flawless in every way,” said Jacobs.

Guess what our marketing team’s idea of fun is? It’s sorting data analytics to make them specific to your company. Schedule a playdate! Contact Construction Monitor.