Using Construction Technology in the Age of COVID-19

Construction Technology

Without discounting the pain the 2020 pandemic has caused for so many, it’s pretty safe to say most of us are sick of coronavirus. Still, some good things are emerging from these hard times.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing us to find safer and smarter ways of building homes and offices,” said the World Economic Forum in August 2020.

  • Big data and AI (artificial intelligence) during architectural design and construction process are rapidly transforming construction technology.
  • Digital technology is driving prefab housing. This creates highly sustainable, high-quality housing faster.

9 Focal Points for Post-COVID Construction Technology

Global management authority McKinsey doesn’t mince words when it says the construction industry has performed unsatisfactorily for quite some time. We’ve ignored ecosystem development, even though it accounts for 13% of global GDP (gross domestic products). “Time and costs overruns are the norm,” says a recent report.

The pandemic has accelerated changes we’ve been slow to adopt. Post-COVID-19 construction technology will focus on:

  1. Digitalization
  2. Industrial approaches
  3. Lower costs
  4. New materials
  5. New profit sources
  6. Offsite manufacturing
  7. Skills scarcity
  8. Specialization
  9. Sustainability

Ways We’re Improving Construction Technology

Building Information Modeling (BIM) became more widely used during the pandemic lockdown. We worked on our projects virtually because we weren’t able to work on them in-person. This encouraged more communication and more collaboration.

We’re using AI designs for testing on virtual platforms. We can make smarter, more knowledgeable decisions about costs, requirements, and commitments. We can make those decisions early-on, which speeds up the entire construction process.

Offsite manufacturing is meeting the challenges of less labor onsite due to social distancing. Onsite construction – before COVID-19 – was at best an “uncontrolled environment.” Construction technology can support a safer work environment by analyzing activities and anticipating required worker movements. We can adjust workflows to separate people or create workgroups and shifts to reduce risks.

Construction Monitor: One of the Most Valued Construction Technology Sources in the United States

Every week we compile big data on thousands of U.S. residential, commercial, and solar construction projects nationwide. You can use our information to

  • Follow sales leads
  • Identify competitors, newcomers, and top contractors
  • Make better bids
  • Track construction statistics

Get a free sample edition for your area and contact Construction Monitor us to learn ways construction technology can increase your business.

9 Questions to Ask When Seeking Construction Software

construction software

We believe the best business development tool for construction industry companies is ours. We have the best data, pre-sorted, and customized for your business and your locale. But to stay alive in today’s techno-business environment, you need additional construction software.

2020 Construction Software Ratings

After it’s said and done, business is business, whether it’s a hot dog stand or a Big 6 corporation. The construction industry is unlike any other. Construction software for operational management should target our needs.

Out of 474 software reviews, many received 4.5 stars and should not be discounted. Here are 50 (of 83) ratings, according to reviews for this year’s 5-star construction software:

Neo Intelligence
CrewTracks
Slenke
K-Ops
Power Tools
Spitfire
Job Dox
Cordell Estimator Platinum
Site2Site
PCS
Construction Inspector
CM Fusion
Bizns Tool Subcontractor Software
Infinitrac
SnapSuite
WenPlan
Site Specs
BOCS
Fresh Projects
onsite.solutions
Fieldly
Mobilengine
Expo-Net
iZak
Riskcast
Realtraker
ONETEAM
Glaass
Samson
TruckIT
Breez Workforce
Copronet
ProPlanner
zbuilder
Breinz
SiteSupervisor
BuilderConsole
eBUILD ERP
Vitruvi
Ed Controls
Goldenseal
Consysa
SmartUse
TradeSoft
CommittedCost
BuildMetric
ClickHome
Hit-Office
Sergeant Schedule
TopBuilder

Nine Questions: Construction Software

Do several comparisons before choosing your construction software. First, define what you most need: project cost estimator, accounts receivable/payable, employee, or equipment tracking? Identify where you need to save time and money. If you are out of control in one or more areas of business operations, make a “where-we’re-losing-it” list.

You don’t have to be an IT (integrated technology) pro, but if you yourself don’t understand the questions, do your homework (or consult the nearest 14-year-old kid). Here are nine questions to ask software vendors:

  1. Can I contact some of your customers?
  2. Can you help us with training and technical support?
  3. Did you develop the solution in-house or did you piece it together from other sources?
  4. Does your software integrate with my old software?
  5. How often will I have to “upgrade?”
  6. Is your software open-source or unified?
  7. What’s the cost of ongoing service and technical support?
  8. Will my – and my clients’ – information be secure?
  9. Will the construction software quickly adapt to industry trends?

Construction Monitor offers BI (business intelligence) for any organization looking to grow. Contact us now with questions about our statistics for lead generation.
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*Construction Monitor does not recommend nor endorse any Brand of business management software.

Construction Lead Generation Tools

lead generation tools

Technology gave us instantaneous information delivery. We realized then building permit information could be used for quick, reliable construction lead generation. Today, we continue to develop targeted data that can be customized for every business.
David Mineer, CEO Construction Monitor

Construction Monitor has been the construction lead generation source since 1989. At that time, we recognized technology was going to change the construction industry and realized “data” would be the foundation for construction industry development.

But sharing information isn’t enough. We must make it usable in ways that benefit your company in your corner of the global market. That’s why we offer a toolbox of timely information for construction lead generation.

Finding Profit in Information: Construction Lead Generation

Our construction lead generation tools aren’t last resorts when your business is floundering. They should form your organization’s foundation for an ongoing, dynamic construction industry marketing strategy.

  1. Getting started – Take the tutorial to familiarize yourself with website capabilities. Our User Manual can be downloaded and/or printed for quick reference.
  2. View reports – Start with basic statistics. Learn about companies within 37 types (commercial, single-family, schools, etc.) in the state, county, jurisdiction, and timeframe you specify.
  3. At-a-glanceSummary reports often serve as a quarterly view of your area, featuring construction changes and new activity.
  4. Sales/revenue builderPowersearch can be customized to deliver a large amount of data in a short amount of time.
  5. New competition – Within your industry segment, startups offering bargain-basement pricing can pose a real threat. Find out about new companies and channel your marketing efforts accordingly.
  6. What’s where Permit mapping can give you a quick hit on permit application locations, contractors, valuations, and project types.
  7. Get ’em while they’re hot– You can see leads unfold in real-time with our construction lead generation tool.

Every Opportunity, Every Week

You need to be on top of changes and updates in your area’s construction business, so our Weekly Editions are what we recommend. They are available for viewing, printing, and can integrate with your software system for data management.

The opportunities are real. All you have to do is manage them using technology tools designed for construction lead generation.

Contact Construction Monitor for a free trial.

10 Million Permits!

On July 3rd, 1989, David Mineer Sr. collected a building permit from the Utah County building permit office, and Construction Monitor was born.  28 years later Construction Monitor has a data collection network spanning 1,899 jurisdictions throughout the United States and provides the most real time building permit information in the country.  Construction Monitor now has thousands of clients relying on that accurate and up-to-date weekly information to grow their revenue and help make crucial business decisions.  On May 9th, 2017, Construction Monitor entered the 10 millionth permit into its database.

The 10 millionth permit was collected from Richmond, Virginia.  It is a commercial remodel permit with a valuation of $1,095,000 that was issued on April 21st, 2017.  Subscribers to Construction Monitor; such as companies in the drywall, flooring, security, and solar industries, will be able to use that permit as a potential opportunity to generate bids and create more revenue.  Since 1989, Construction Monitor has created over 10 million of those types of opportunities for its clients.

Building permits are valuable as both sales leads and statistical information because they are required on every construction project from a small residential remodel up to a commercial high-rise.  With multiple ways to contact most individuals related to millions of construction projects, Construction Monitor clients have been able to identify and capture opportunities that they had only because they watched permits through Construction Monitor.

To learn more about Construction Monitor and how it has helped thousands of companies throughout the United States, visit us at ww.constructionmonitor.com

3 Must-Have Tools in Your Construction Lead Generation Arsenal

constructionEvery construction lead you bring in has the potential to add thousands to your bottom line, but getting those leads still takes an outlay of time, money and effort. Focusing on the most efficient lead generation tools helps ensure your investment pays off.

A High-Quality Portfolio

A carefully chosen selection of clear, well-composed photos of your best work will have more impact on a prospective client’s impression of you than any written description ever could. A quality portfolio shows exactly what your firm is capable of and provides visible proof of soft skills, such as flexibility and attention to detail.

Because relatively few construction firms bother to put together a portfolio like this, having one strengthens your image as an experienced, reliable professional. For photos that show off your work to its greatest advantage, consider hiring an architectural photographer.

Email Marketing Service

Taking the time to build relationships with your target audience is one of the most effective ways to ensure a steady flow of leads. By giving you a way to maintain regular contact with your prospects, an email newsletter helps you build stronger relationships with a wider audience and still spend less than you would using direct mail. A number of web-based services are available that make it easy to collect signups to your newsletter from your website and manage your mailings.

Content Management System

Every day, your potential clients are online searching for information related to the projects they’re planning. The more client-focused content you publish to your website, the greater the chances your site will show up in their searches. When it does, you’ll stand out as knowledgeable, willing to help, and an overall good choice to do business with. Including clear calls to action in your content further encourages your visitors to contact you.

A content management system (CMS) helps you easily publish and manage articles, photos, videos and other lead-generating content on your site even if you have minimal technical knowledge.

For more information on efficient construction lead generation, contact Construction Monitor today.

Using Social Media to Source New Construction Leads

Word of mouth has always been an important part of construction marketing, and the growth of social media gives you even more power to build buzz around your firm. To get a consistent flow of leads from your social media efforts, though, you need the right approach.

Provide Content Worth Sharing

Social media makes it easy for people in your target market to pass your name along in conversation. If you expect them to do that, though, you need to give them something worth talking about. That means the content you post to your social media accounts must be relevant to your potential clients’ interests, noteworthy, and well crafted.

When choosing what to publish, focus on what’s in it for the reader. Aim to add value. Post tips and advice, links to relevant articles, case studies, overviews of projects you’ve completed, updates on projects in progress, announcements of new services and partnerships, testimonials from happy clients, and special promotions.

Make Time to Mingle

To bring attention to your social media accounts, you’ll need to get out there and interact with your potential clients. Go in with the goal of truly connecting with others in your industry, rather than with a sales mentality. Think about why your potential clients are on social media in the first place and look for ways to help them reach their goals while also letting them know how your firm can help.

Join in the conversations you find and engage with influential members of your segment of the industry, as well as with associations and organizations. Leave insightful comments, answer questions with genuinely useful advice, and ask thought-provoking questions. This kind of construction marketing takes time, but can pay off with long-term, lead-generating relationships.

Consistency is key to building an engaged social media following, but you don’t have to log in every day to maintain your momentum. Web-based services are available to help you automate your posts by uploading them in batches to be posted at scheduled times.

For more practical construction marketing tips, contact Construction Monitor.

How to See an ROI from Your Telematic System Faster

construction technologyA telematic system gives you the data you need to manage your equipment in more cost-effective ways, but there’s a learning curve to using one. By investing some time in planning how you’ll use yours, you’ll start enjoying the full benefits of a telematic system as soon as possible.

Set Clear Goals

Raw data won’t help you much if don’t know how you’re going to use it. Start defining your goals for using your telematic system by listing eight to 10 improvements you could make using the data.

Then focus in on the top three opportunities you want to take advantage of right now. Any more than that and you risk spreading your efforts too thin or getting tied up in unnecessary complexity. Once you’ve achieved your goals with those opportunities, move on to the next.

Choose an Experienced, Responsive Provider

When you’re choosing a telematic system provider, take your time to investigate each company. Find out how long they’ve been in business, who their clients are, and how many telematic boxes they’re managing.

Talk with them enough to get a feel for their level of expertise. A provider should be able to explain the benefits of a telematic system in plain English and help you understand how to use the data to improve cost savings, safety and efficiency. If they can only throw jargon and statistics at you, it’s a sign they don’t truly understand what they’re talking about.

Put Someone in Charge

It’s all too easy to collect data without actually using it to make improvements. To make sure valuable information is put to use, assign one or two people to the job of implementing your telematic project.

Your field workers are ideally positioned to make use of the data, but first they need to get it in a format they can understand. The job of analyzing data, creating reports, and getting information to the right people in the field should be the primary responsibility of at least one person.

For more guidance on realizing the full benefits of a telematic system, contact us at Construction Monitor.

Most Requested Sustainable Features in New Homes

smart appliancesAs homebuyers become more aware of how eco-friendly features can save them money and protect the environment, demand for these features is rising steadily. Including commonly requested sustainable features in new homes is one way to attract attention from informed homebuyers.

Low-E Windows

Low-E (low emissivity) windows are treated with a coating that improves their ability to reflect radiant energy. The coating holds energy in on the same side of the window it came from. In summer, the windows reflect the sun’s heat back to the outdoors. In winter, they reflect warmth back into the room.

Windows are one of the biggest sources of unwanted heat gain and loss in a house. These energy-efficient windows can reduce energy loss by 30 to 50 percent, yet only cost around 12 percent more than standard windows.

Smart Appliances

Modern technology can do a lot to make a home more comfortable and convenient, and today’s homebuyers know it. In their search for new homes, they’ve come to expect smart, WiFi-enabled appliances that can adjust to the homeowner’s needs and be accessed remotely.

One of the most cost-effective options to install is a smart programmable thermostat that offers precision control over indoor temperatures.

Smart refrigerators that allow for remote monitoring and control are another good choice. Washers and dryers with smart technology that can adjust their cycles based on the homeowner’s remote input are also among the popular sustainable features in new homes.

Alternative Energy Options

As solar, geothermal and wind energy become more accessible, homebuyers are coming to expect options like these. One way to meet this demand is by installing photovoltaic solar panels on the roof. The cost of solar technology is dropping steadily, making it an increasingly practical option.

Geothermal heat pumps paired with radiant floor heating are also sought after for the exceptional comfort and efficiency this combination provides. Because underfloor heating is so much less costly to install in a new construction than to retrofit, homebuyers benefit if it’s already installed.

For more tips on including sustainable features in new homes, contact us at Construction Monitor.

The Latest in Home Security Trends

Home security continues to be a significant topic among residential construction professionals and their clients. The following information on home security trends in 2016 will help you understand the current status of home security systems so that you can better advise your clients on the products and manufacturers that can best meet their requirements.

home security trendsInformation Resource

The following information is derived from information presented on the website ASecureLife.com, an evaluation, review, and reporting site covering security systems. Their assessment of home security products is based on detailed research, expert interpretation, and direct contact with the manufacturers.

Best Companies and Products

  1. Frontpoint: Frontpoint achieved ASecureLife.com’s highest rating for 2016, marking the ninth year as the site’s top pick. Frontpoint was cited for its excellent customer service, low-pressure sales, and 30-day money-back guarantee. It also received high marks for the ease of installation of its systems. The system’s “crash and smash protection” prevents intruders from disabling the entire system by simply destroying the control panel.
  2. Protect America: Protect America was also commended for its customer service, lifetime warranty on equipment, and the ease of installation of its systems. The site also noted that Protect America offers locked-in rates for the lifetime of the system and requires no activation or installation fees.
  3. LiveWatch Security: The site’s number three choice, LiveWatch Security, offers benefits such as monthly monitoring by cellular system and good levels of customer service. Their systems are available on one-year contracts and there are no cancellation fees.

Equipment Features

All three companies offer equipment features that provide high levels of security. They include:

  • Door and window sensors
  • Motion sensors
  • Motion-sensing cameras
  • Indoor and outdoor cameras
  • Glass-break sensors
  • Moisture sensors
  • Freeze sensors
  • Panic buttons or pendants

All three companies also offer equipment that is compatible with smart home devices and technology, including geo-fencing and Z-wave technology.

Construction Monitor provides the most up-to-date information on industry developments that can help you acquire more construction leads and customers. Contact us today for more information on home security trends and how new advances in home security technology can benefit you and your clients.

Is 3D-Printed Construction Equipment What’s Next?

Of all the new technologies making their way into the construction industry, 3D printing appears to have the greatest potential for making profound changes in the way buildings and other structures are designed and built. Large-scale 3D printing equipment has already been shown to be effective at creating walls, bridges, modules, and even entire buildings. Now the next step for 3D printing in the construction industry appears to be using the technology to create vehicles and construction equipment.

3d printing in the construction industryFully-Functional Equipment

A fully functional excavator, created entirely through 3D printing with steel, is set to be displayed at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada in March, 2017.

The CONEXPO-CON/AGG trade show will also feature a demonstration of 3D printing technology during which a second excavator will be created on the showroom floor, noted reporter Scott J, Grunewald, writing on the website 3Dprint.com.

3D printing provides a quick, relatively inexpensive technique for designing and prototyping small-scale objects. The technology has been used successfully in medical and veterinary applications for creating prosthetic limbs or new hip and knee joints. However, this is the first time a working piece of large-scale construction equipment has been created using the process.

The Best Has Yet to Come

“There have been all sorts of wonderful predictions for 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, but for the construction industry the best has yet to come,” stated industry observer and commentator Korky Koroluk in a May 27, 2016 article in the Daily Commercial News.

The printing and demonstrating of the excavator is a joint effort featuring a collaboration between the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), National Fluid Power Association (NFPA), Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), noted a writer on the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 website.

Looking for the latest information on construction technology and innovations? Construction Monitor helps industry professionals stay on top of the latest developments in construction tools, equipment and techniques. Contact us today for more information on 3D printing in the construction industry and what it could mean to your company in both the short and long term.