Is a Paperless Construction Industry Possible?

electronic documents paperless construction

“I bought a house in Texas, sold a condo in Denver and never once met buyers, sellers, or had to go to a bank to sign papers,” said a new homeowner. Electronic contracts and signatures have revolutionized the real instate industry.

The construction industry has been slow to adapt to digital contracts and e-signatures. That’s no surprise; we’ve been historically slow to adapt to any technology. E-signatures have been in use over 20 years and they’re just now “catching on” in construction.

Construction Industry E-Sigs

Here’s the bottom line: The benefits outweigh the risks. “General contractors and construction managers, both of whom have integral roles in contract administration and project management, appear to be leading the implementation of e-signature technologies,” says Construction Dive.

The two most important aspects are speed and security. Contract execution is faster and more efficient. Any technology that reduces the manual-entry margin of error is one that is worth considering sooner rather than later.

How Digital Documents Enhance Project Management

Collecting signatures during some phases of pre-construction and construction can take a long time.DocuSign®

When surveyed, contract managers said the most difficult aspect of the job is locating the latest version of a document. When you go completely digital, revisions and changes can be more easily located.

Change orders can now take effect in hours, not weeks. One of the security enhancements includes code generation by SMS or email. Only the signatory receives the code and can then access and sign the document. All documentation can be “filed” in an easy-to-access, single source.

And digital documents can be integrated into project management and accounting software:

  • Blueprints
  • Change requests
  • Contracts
  • Lien waiver
  • Proposals
  • Purchase orders
  • RFIs
  • Subcontracts
  • Submittals

Construction Monitor: Business Transformation Data

A digital document is a readable, paperless document (invoices, contracts, etc.). An electronic document is pure data, transferred from one computer to another. You need an EDI (electronic data interchange) to “digitize” an e-document (make it readable).

Construction Monitor professionals work with pure data. We format it into something you can use. You receive a PDF (easy-to-read) or CSV (spreadsheet integration) format. But if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it (business leads, that is).

Read our User Manual or call us with questions.

Construction Industry Partners with Technology to Overcome Challenges

construction industry technology

We’re facing a lot of challenges. But for our labor-driven construction industry, the shortage of talent is having the biggest impact. We need user-friendly technology solutions and we need them now.

Machine-Control Technology: The Construction Industry Partner

Excavation is one of the most complex aspects of project work for the construction industry. Becoming an excavation professional takes many years of experience. That makes it perfect for machine-control technology.

Leica Geosystems says 32% of construction industry contractors cite machine control for minimizing pandemic issues on project sites last year. Today, 47% of our contractors are using machine control technology.

Machine-Control Apps Increase Work Turnaround By 30%

Machine control is…the use of integrated on-machine sensors and/or geospatial technology including lasers and positioning satellites…This technology can be divided into two basic categories: guidance/indicate-only systems, and automatic systems.CASE News

Using semi-automatic technology, a machine-controlled excavator offers:

  • 30% faster work using a grading app
  • Bucket height auto-adjustment
  • Cross-cut surface protection
  • Easy engagement
  • Rotation-controlled cross-cut (combines the auto bucket and auto-tilt to match target surface regardless of bucket rotation)
  • Smart slope detection

Productivity goes up because it’s faster and less stressful,” says one user. “Because the operator doesn’t have to focus as much attention on keeping the bucket on the grade (there is) less fatigue at the end of the day.”

Cellphones, Tablets Work Smarter So You Don’t Work Harder

Construction industry contractors are also learning more about modeling solutions and drone technology to estimate and track project progress. AGTEK says its goal is to make data import and export to machines easier no matter what you’re working with. CAD files and other formats can be sent as a completed GPS model to a machine.

Powerful, Effective Information 

When you partner with technology, you can overcome many construction industry challenges. But software apps can only do so much.

It’s the same way with building permit information. We can customize the data for your U.S. region. We can provide construction competitors and startup statistics. We’ve got analyses for historical trends.

You’ve got to utilize that technology to develop your business. We can tell you how. For U.S. building permit data, call 800-925-6085 (international 435-586-1205) or contact Construction Monitor.

Sometimes Smaller Is Better

construction industry

For some of us, construction technology was the change we were born for. But the rest of us were dragged, kicking and screaming into software solutions and their subsequent upgrades. About the time we figure construction technology out, they change it again.

The FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) and its EDC-3 (Every Day Counts) initiative promotes construction technology. We need to facilitate “organizational buy-in” because there are fearful-of-change people at every level of our operations, from CEOs to benchwarmers.

InfoTech has managed construction technology software implementations for companies of every size. Their advice? “Think small.”

Efficient Project Management Begins with Small Steps

When introducing any type of construction technology to your team, avoid making grand assertions: “This is going to be huge! This will change everything!” When you present construction technology software as an improvement rather than a new way of doing something, you’ll generate greater acceptance and minimize concerns.

Other ways to introduce “new and improved” construction technology to your organization include:

  • Avoid large assembly-hall training sessions – Think small groups and small sessions. The effectiveness of your construction technology can get lost in a mass presentation where a percentage of attendees can wander away, mentally and physically.
  • Schedule a test drive – Rather than making a Big Announcement and declaring a date for Rollout (which can generate pressure on several levels), ask for volunteers to test a construction technology upgrade.
    This is beneficial because:
    • A “champion user” may surface, and that person can assume greater responsibilities for this construction technology.
    • It creates interest among other employees and excitement when it’s rolled out to everyone.
    • The test-drivers can become “trainers” for your new software.
    • You’ll discover problems in a small setting rather than risk a company-wide crisis.
    • You’ll get a preview of how your company groups will use the construction technology software. This prepares you for concerns and obstacles ahead of time.

Big Data Made Smaller

Construction Monitor takes an enormous amount of construction technology information and sorts it into small chunks. You don’t need to siphon through information for other regions or demographics. You tell us what you need to build your business and we’ll provide it; weekly, monthly, quarterly. Contact us for construction technology analyses made easy.

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.

Construction Monitor Weekly Editions

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.

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.

Construction Technology: Ways We Can Work Together

construction technology

We talk about construction industry-related businesses as if there are non-construction industry-related businesses. The fact is construction impacts every business, every person. Probably the greatest benefit we’ve realized from construction technology is the ability to connect.

Construction is the foundation of nearly every other industry.Autodesk

The Value of Connecting Using Construction Technology

Construction projects today are more complex. Failure to recognize that our processes need to be managed differently can put your company at the bottom of the food chain. No one will need your services because you can’t deliver what others can.

Possibly the most important key to becoming a leader in construction projects – from bidding through delivery – is developing an effective communication chain using construction technology.

Yes, you’re going to need software.*

Traditionally, every project is separated into sectors and each sector does its own thing. This has been the only way to work we knew, and it led to miscommunication, duplicated efforts, wasted time and materials, and do-overs.

“Predictability” is programmed into construction technology software. Based on proven probabilities, you can now make more informed decisions; that’s critical. But making those decisions while connecting in real-time with key players is even more important.

Construction technology drives:

  • Collaboration
  • Ongoing insights into project performance
  • Real-time data available to every sector and every team

And more. You’ll also realize:

Better Bidding

Your relationships with construction professionals that have mentored you are valuable. Bidding software supplements those relationships and builds new relationships.

You’ll be able to bid quickly and with greater accuracy than ever before. Autodesk says its software can even “de-risk partner selection.” You may find partnering with friends isn’t as profitable as making new friends.

Software Technology for Project Development

Building permit information is free, but the information you need is unique. Building permit data is like the top of a huge funnel. You have to sort the information several times to get what you can use.

The Construction Monitor team has tried manually sorting the information from broad-and-generic to what you need. It takes a lot of time and effort. Do you really want to do it yourself? Our software works faster and delivers proven results.

Tell us what you want, what you need. We’ll partner with you to find profitable leads. Contact Construction Monitor today.

___
*Construction Monitor does not endorse nor recommend any software brand or company (except ours). The information we share is for educational use only.

Laser Technology in the Construction Industry

laser technology in construction

“Laser” was an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.” The first laser was built in 1960, so it’s not exactly new technology. But 3D laser scanning is just now trending in the construction industry. And the market is expected to grow to $10 billion by 2024.

A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of
electromagnetic radiation.
Wikipedia

How Laser Scanning Is Used in the Construction Industry

Here are ways laser scanning can be used in a project lifecycle:

  1. Design – Laser scanning is used for BIM (building information modeling).
  2. Build – Onsite laser scanning can spot discrepancies and conflicts between electrical, plumbing, or HVAC systems. Its information can be shared remotely and used to:
    • Document errors
    • Hand-off work
    • Reduce change orders
  3. As-built – Laser scanning details can create permanent records for operations, retrofits, and later renovations.

Laser Benefits for the Construction Industry

Laser technology can reduce project costs, but the initial investment is prohibitive to most small-business contractors and sub-contractors. Training employees is another investment that should be added to the upfront expense.

If you can rent the equipment or service, that’s a great way to learn the benefits of its application. For those that can afford the investment, the advantages are real:

  • Creates more detailed workflows
  • Improves project coordination/collaboration/communications
  • Improves the quality of work
  • Increases accuracy/reduces errors
  • Information is real-time
  • Reduces manual labor
  • Saves money (as much as 50%)
  • Saves time

Construction Data Analytics for Your Business

Construction Monitor shares what we learn about the construction industry. We’ve been around long enough to be amazed at the rapid technological advances within our industry. Our team likes to believe we’re part of the change.

If your business is dependent on growth and works for or with construction industry organizations, our data is easily obtained. But time is money. You should take advantage of our technology to cut to the chase and target specific locales, companies, and trends.

Ask us how. Contact Construction Monitor today.

The 3 Ps of Construction Digital Transformation

Construction Digital Transformation

Construction Monitor sorts building permit data into actionable information for your area and your business development requirements. We are proud to have been a part of digital technology for the construction industry and industry-related businesses for so many years. Our software statistics were some companies’ first experience with the construction digital transformation process.

How Do We Go About Achieving Construction Digital Transformation?

Some people still don’t understand what construction digital transformation means or what it can accomplish. Digital technology is any electronic tool, system, device, or resource that generates, stores, or processes data.

These three p’s can help you understand and develop a construction digital transformation plan for your business:

1. People

Our industry depends on people working together. This is why transparency – information-sharing with everyone involved – is integral to construction digital transformation success. Before investing in any technology, consider who must adapt to it and use it, and then get their feedback before the purchase:

  • 52% say field staff needs are a top priority but only
  • 28% request feedback, so
  • 36% report the technology didn’t fit with current processes/procedures

2. Process

Our processes are what lead to productivity issues. Implementing construction digital transformation has resulted in 14-15% productivity improvements and 4-6% cost reductions. Process change enablers include:

  • Capability enhancements
  • Contract reviews
  • Data tools
  • Legal liabilities and responsibilities defined/updated
  • Redefined responsibilities
  • Updated processes/mandates

3. Progress

Technology is progress. Every technological process you embrace moves your company forward. Technology progress requires fixing problems, not investing in the IT flavor of the month without understanding its capabilities. “Full-scale digital transformation requires integrated, cohesive systems,” says CTO Sameer Merchant. The bottom line is, analyze what will provide your team with the best advancements.

Construction Monitor: Powerful, Local Construction Statistics

Every week, we enter thousands of construction project leads into our database. You can learn more about commercial, residential, and solar construction projects in your area when you get your sample edition today.

Cyberattack: The Other Virus

While we’re developing processes to protect workers from each other during a pandemic, we may be lowering our defenses against other viruses. Cyberattacks are becoming more cause for concern in the construction business, but we’re taking fewer steps to mitigate cybersecurity.

Construction Companies and Cyberattacks

“Hackers are increasingly going after construction companies,” said Zachary Phillips of Construction Dive. And construction companies are often underprepared for an attack. “The disconnect between the field and the office can create lapses that hackers can exploit, and there are more chances employees can make mistakes.”

How They Hack

Hackers will pose as subcontractors. They’ll message construction business A/R (accounts receivables) or accountants and claim to have a new routing number.

Another hack is to email an employee at 4:00 p.m. on a Friday, just as things are wrapping up for the weekend. The hacker will ask for vital information and hope the employee is too distracted to see the red flags.

5 Clues You’re Being Hacked

“Odd-sounding” wording and spelling mistakes are often clues to a potential hack. Other indicators your construction business may be the victim of a cyberattack can include:

  1. Action pop-ups – One of the more successful pop-ups says, “You’ve won! Click here to claim your prize!” A more deadly pop-up is “Your files have been encrypted. Send $1,000 by noon tomorrow or we’ll delete the key.” It’s called “ransomware.” Even if you send the money, you may not get the key.
  2. Crashes – Uploaded malware can cause crashes or slow-running equipment.
  3. Mass emails – Employees not known for sending mass emails about anything suddenly send one to the entire organization.
  4. Network performance – Your construction business router or network slows substantially. A hacker is downloading large amounts of information or connecting to your network.
  5. Unusual activity – You see activity at vacant workstations. Working employees may notice their cursors move or programs and files open “by themselves.”

Construction Business Intelligence for Our Industry

Your construction business has technology options to maximize efficiency, including cybersecurity software. Make one of your new year resolutions to explore cybersecurity options for your company. You may think you’re “not big enough” to be a target, but you’re wrong.

Construction Monitor uses business intelligence data to help your organization work smarter and more competitively. Contact us today.

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.