Construction Business Miscommunication

construction communication

There is a big market for articles, studies, and how-tos about communication in the construction business. The reason is obvious: miscommunication is extremely costly to our industry. Fifty-two percent of construction business rework is caused by miscommunication. In 2018, that cost our industry $31.3 billion.

We’ve all felt the pain of miscommunication in the field and know that it’s led to rework, lost productivity, and coordination stress.Core

Statistics: Construction Business Issues in Communication

More than 30% of construction business professionals say the breakdown is not the failure to communicate but a failure to respond to communications.

What you need to know:

  • 22% – Emails read-rate
  • 82% – Text messages read within five minutes
  • 98% – SMS messages read-rate

Sending texts and SMS messages increases the likelihood your communication will be read. But what can you do to minimize the lack of response?

Ask for feedback, says Procore, and follow-up when your messages and other forms of communication are ignored. You may want to consider adding a “Please respond by…” to all texts and emails.

Onsite Meeting Information Processing Problems

As a contractor, watch for signs your workers are actually processing the information during onsite meetings. Lack of eye connection is the biggest giveaway. They “connect” with you at the beginning and the end of the meeting but disengage during the information-sharing portion. Project communication problems leading to reworks can be reduced if you know what to look for.

Here are six reasons why workers aren’t paying attention during onsite meetings:

  1. There is a personal problem.
  2. They are confused but don’t want to ask questions.
  3. They are preoccupied with pressure to quickly complete a task.
  4. They aren’t comfortable speaking about jobsite issues in front of others.
  5. They can’t hear over the jobsite background noise and are embarrassed to admit it.
  6. You don’t give them a chance to ask questions.

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Construction Monitor makes building permit data available to everyone. We can customize it to work for you and your construction business. Our customized weekly information targets your market development interests.

Call 800.925.6085 or contact Construction Monitor today.

Women in Construction Add Value to Our Industry

women in construction

It’s an old phrase but it really puts the HIS in history: “The good old boy network” or “club” enabled White men to keep financial development opportunities within their network. Any woman or person of color that wanted to join the club quickly discovered membership was exclusive, not inclusive.

Let’s make a better historical legacy for all of us.

Mentoring Builds Future of Women in Construction

With the competition for talent becoming increasingly demanding, women in construction can be the solution to our industry’s skillset-shortage.

These women are making history today by providing mentoring and networking opportunities for women in construction:

  • Antonya Williams is executive vice president at McCarthy Building Companies. She has mentored women in construction throughout her career and has served on the leadership committee for the McCarthy Partnership for Women (MPFW) as well as New Pathways for Youth, a mentorship program in Phoenix, AZ.
  • Cindy Frank became a carpenter in 1979 when women in construction were an anomaly. Frank is organizing Sisters in the Brotherhood, a division within the carpenters’ Local 945 in Missouri of which she serves as president.
  • Ellen Ward is a human resource manager at Joeris General Contractors. She is co-chairing the Building Capacity program/African American Community Fund and working on the HEB Supplier Diversity Construction Council.
  • Kathryn Hart co-founded the Building Women in Construction student organization at Virginia Tech University. She is a superintendent at Trinity Group Construction.
  • Kim Roy mentors women at HITT Contracting of Virginia, where she created a training and development program that includes development in business etiquette, emotional intelligence, ethics, and financial planning.
  • Lizan Gilbert mentors women engineering students at University of Texas. She’s a founding member of Women In Tunneling, a segment of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration. She currently works as a preconstruction executive for Guy F. Atkinson.
  • Pam Hummel has served women in construction as a mentor and leader for over 15 years. She assisted in founding CFMA (Construction Financial Management Association) Diversity & Inclusion Task Force of Orange County, CA. Pam is an executive vice president of Briq.
  • Sonya Walton is the economic inclusion vice president of Messer Construction Co., OH. Over the years, she’s taken the company’s Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise program spend to $278 million by 2020.

Expand Programs: Include Skilled Women in Construction

It was 2016 when Construction Monitor noted the reduction of women in construction apprenticeship positions. We’ve seen a lot of improvement but the barriers that existed then are still in place today.

The change begins with you. Expand your current programs to include women in construction.

Is your marketing development hitting a wall? You can put technology to work for you. Building business leads begins with building permit information. Contact Construction Monitor for more information.

Construction Business: Bidding Badly

construction bidding

You can bid badly and win construction business that is bad for business. The construction business can be more a science than a crapshoot if you use technology tools.

Here are some tips for bidding badly:

  • Be ignorant about your equipment – Don’t keep records of maintenance; if you’ve got construction business machinery that’s due to fail, you’ll forget to pad the bid with rental equipment costs. Forget fuel and transporting your equipment to the project site expenses.
  • Bid fast – Put your bid together quickly without double-checking for mistakes.
  • Don’t pay attention to data – There are construction business software programs that factor-in employee turnover, injuries, and days off work but don’t bother with those numbers. Assume there will be no overtime.
  • Don’t seek clarifications before bidding – Making assumptions usually leads to disaster but you don’t want to look dumb. There’s likely a cut-off date for questions but don’t pay attention to it.
  • Don’t visit the project site – You’ll be unaware of conditions that affect the project, like accessibility and location.
  • Forget risks – Every project has risks, but don’t analyze the probability and potential for profit loss.
  • Make math errors – You’ve made math mistakes in the past but don’t ask someone to double-check the numbers this time. Avoid using software that does the math for you.
  • Make subcontractor assumptions – Assume your subcontractors can work for a certain price and are able to deliver what you want on-time and under-budget.
  • Miscalculate – Under- or over-estimate construction costs and the quantity of materials you need. Using square feet when you should have used square yards can definitely skew profits.
  • Never request competitive subcontractor bids – You’ve been working with your buddy’s construction business for 10 years.
  • Skip the pre-bid meeting – You’ll miss the opportunity to fully understand the job requirements. Someone else may ask questions and get the answers you needed before you won the bid.
  • Underestimate materials – Even though the material costs and supplies change almost weekly, lock yourself into costs that may be out-of-date.

Profitable bidding begins with you (And, yes, you need the right software program). Construction Monitor has the software data you need to grow your construction business.

Use it. Contact or email us to learn more.

Commercial Spending, Infrastructure Boosts Engineering and Construction Industry

construction industry

In 2020, while many businesses floundered, Dollar General’s sales increased by 16.3%, and operating profits grew to $3.6 billion. Dollar General announced it will add 1,050 stores in 2021, with plans to double the size of its current 17,000 stores. The two designs feature 8,500 and 9,500 square feet. In 2021, about 700 stores featuring the larger design will sell produce and meat. Self-checkout stations will also be included.

Dunkin’ Donuts opened its thousandth “Next Generation” restaurant in March 2021. The store’s design meets DD Green Achievement status for energy savings by using sustainable materials. Efficiency elements include LED lighting, low-flow faucets, and energy-efficient equipment.

And Shoe Carnival plans massive renovations for 2021.

“An uptick in public and commercial spending” could make 2021 a profitable year for the construction industry, says Deloitte. Retail expansions and development will feature prominently, but another factor influencing construction industry developments is digital investment.

Construction Industry To See $3-4 Trillion Infrastructure Proposal

President Biden was scheduled to release details of a huge infrastructure proposal on March 31, 2021. The proposal should include “significant investments to repair roads, bridges and railways, as well as other key elements of an aging and, in some places, dilapidated US core infrastructure system,” said CNN.

Digital Data and Your Construction Industry Business

Our software statistics were some companies’ first experience with the construction digital transformation process. David Mineer

National construction industry news impacts every one of us. Just as some companies are growing, expanding space and operations, some engineering and construction firms are thriving in their local markets. We believe those companies invest in digital information to develop marketing leads and better-manage projects.

We learned from 2008. We learned from 2020. If you aren’t sure how Construction Monitor’s presorted building permits and construction industry data can benefit your company, please ask us. That’s how you learn.

5 Habits of Effective Construction Business Teams

construction business teams

Do you know someone that attributes failure to “bad luck?” Have you also noticed those types of people rarely have “good luck?” Effective construction business teams don’t depend on luck. They plan for success and it usually happens.

Here’s how:

1. Automate To Save Time

You hear so much about “communication” being the most effective management tool. But project managers spend 80% of their time communicating.

The problem is DIY (do-it-yourself) face-to-face communications vs. automated communications. DIY communications involve meetings to discuss one topic, but every team member has a project-related issue or question that is important. So you deal with seven critical but off-topic issues. This extends your 30-minute meeting to two hours.

Software automation also saves time trying to track people down for signatures and approvals.

2. Create Accountability

“No excuses” should be the construction business team’s mantra. Ultimately, the project manager is accountable for the project. But every project team should identify a go-to for:

  • Cash flow/profits
  • Change order management
  • Customer care
  • Project costs vs. budget
  • Project status
  • Subcontractors

3. Employ Proactive Project Management

If you’re unsure you’re a proactive construction business project manager, ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I usually surprised by change orders and RFIs?
  • Are most days’ goals usually trashed by 10:00 a.m.?
  • Are my projects usually over-budget? Late?
  • Do I hit contingency funds early and often?
  • Do I spend most of my time putting out fires?
  • Do my project reports feature last month’s data?

“Yes” answers indicate you’re functioning in reactive, not proactive, mode.

4. Follow the DMAIC Approach

Seek continuous improvement on every project:

  • Define
  • Measure
  • Analyze
  • Improve
  • Control

5. Use Technology

Real-time project status is not an option. It’s a necessity. Cost-management software will track and control risks as soon as they are known. When you share this construction business information, project stakeholders can make faster, better-informed decisions.

Top general contractors deliver world-class facilities by hiring superior talent and improving productivity which in turn enhance construction productivity and competitive advantage.IndustryDive*

Building Better Construction Businesses Since 1989

Construction Monitor was one of the first technology-driven companies in the construction business. We take building permit information and customized it for project managers and construction company marketing developers.

Learn how to use data analytics for historic perspectives and business-building. We can customize your information, your way.

Contact us today.

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

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.