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

What’s Trending in Landscape Architecture

landscapingModern homeowners continue to demonstrate a growing interest in making the best possible use of all available space, which is reflected by current landscape architecture trends. Information from a survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), cited on the website ProRemodeler, gives an accurate view of where homeowners currently stand on both practical and decorative elements of landscape architecture.

The ASLA survey indicated that many homeowners are interested in landscape architecture features that are sustainable and good for the local environment. These include:

  • Low-maintenance landscaping: Landscaping that requires less maintenance decreases resource usage. Water, electricity and fuel for maintenance equipment can be more easily conserved.
  • Reduced lawn area: Smaller lawns require less care, which contributes to sustainability.
  • Solar-powered lights: Solar-powered lights offer excellent sources of illumination without the need to use electricity. These lights can absorb enough solar energy during the day to allow them to work reliably at night.
  • Compost bins: Composting bins are popular sustainability choices for households that want to put their waste to a practical use.

Concern over water resources and water availability drives a tendency to install landscape features that provide ways to conserve and manage rainwater and wastewater.

  • Rainwater/graywater harvesting: Water conservation and sustainability gets a tremendous boost with landscape architecture features that allow the collection and use of rainwater and graywater.
  • Permeable paving: Permeable paving allows rainwater to more easily penetrate the paving material and enter the ground below. This reduces irrigation demand by allowing more water to enter the ground. It also helps control stormwater runoff by allowing rain to penetrate the paving instead of flowing off it.
  • Drought-tolerant plants: Native and adapted drought-tolerant plants offer landscaping that requires less water. This means that demands on existing water supplies will be lower and that architectural plants can survive with less watering during droughts or periods of low rainfall.

Construction Monitor serves the construction industry with the latest data on trends and developments, including housing starts. Contact us today for more information on landscape architecture trends and how you can incorporate them into your company’s offerings.

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.

Best Practices for Contractor Websites

While word of mouth might be the biggest part of your current construction marketing plan, it shouldn’t be the only one. Your website has the potential to be a major source of construction leads, but only if you give it the power to do so.

construction marketingDesign That Draws Clients

Make a good first impression with a website design that’s up-to-date and consistent in appearance, and that loads quickly. A site with no cohesive color scheme, or one that’s cluttered or full of bland stock photos detracts from your professional image.

If your site is like most, some 35 percent of your visitors are viewing on mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets. Make sure your site is optimized for mobile so these visitors stick around.

From the design, text and images on your site, it should be immediately apparent who you are, what you do and who your target clients are. To pull in construction leads, the design should lead visitors on a clear path to a specific action, such as filling in a contact form.

Get familiar with the major factors affecting your ranking in Google so clients can find you more easily. This includes keyword placement, update frequency, image optimization, and outbound links to authority sites.

Content That Connects

In addition to providing information about your company, your website should act as a useful resource for your target market. Offering educational content encourages your clients to view you as knowledgeable, helpful and trustworthy.

Instead of hiding behind a corporate facade, let your visitors get to know the human side of your company. Include an in-depth “About” page, pictures of the company owners and employees, and photos of the office and equipment. Letting people see the real you builds trust and helps your visitors remember you — both critical factors in construction marketing online.

To further build trust, include testimonials from former clients and links to reviews of your company on other websites, such as the Better Business Bureau.

For more tips on effective construction marketing, contact Construction Monitor today.

Say Goodbye to Curtains and Blinds: The Latest in Window Trends

Windows are a critical architectural component of homes and commercial buildings, providing a source of natural lighting and offering the ability to take a look at the outdoor environment. Curtains and blinds have typically been used as both decorative elements and as ways to control the amount of light coming through the windows. However, a new technology is one of the current window trends that makes it possible that curtains and blinds will become obsolete.

window trendsAdjustable Glass

Researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have created a type of “tunable” glass that can be adjusted from clear to frosted to completely opaque. Since users can control the transparency of the glass itself, standard curtains and window blinds are not necessary to determining how much light gets through the glass.

The window developed by the team at Harvard can change its level of transparency in less than a second, controlled by a switch, noted technology reporter Chloe Olewitz, writing on the website Digital Trends. Unlike previous tunable windows, this one uses an electrical process rather than an electrochemical reaction.

How the Process Works

In the Harvard window, a sheet of glass or plastic is sandwiched between layers of elastomers on each side. Nanowires in the elastomers normally maintain an even distance between themselves, which allows the window to remain transparent. When an electrical current is applied to the wires, Olewitz reported, they move toward each other, scattering the light coming through the window. This process creates the different levels of opacity in the window.

Removing the electrical charge allows the nanowires to return to their original position, restoring the transparency of the glass.

The Harvard researchers believe that the electrical process will result in less expensive and more widely available applications of tunable windows, Olewitz stated. This could make tunable glass a more common component in smart homes and other technologically advanced structures.

Construction Monitor helps designers, builders, decorators and other professionals stay informed about the latest trends and developments in the construction industry. Contact us today for more information on window trends that have the potential to replace standard curtains and blinds.

NYC Construction Apprenticeship is Bursting with Diversity

The construction apprenticeship programs in New York City are richly diverse, providing consistent opportunities for women and minorities to enter the relatively well-paid construction trades. This is the word from Gary LaBarbera, the president of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, writing in a June 10, 2016 letter to the editor in Crain’s New York Business.

apprenticeshipLaBarbera’s letter comes in response to a May 29, 2016 Crain’s opinion-editorial piece from Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams, whose observations prompted an assertion that minorities were not well represented in Brooklyn unions and other labor organizations.

Minorities in Construction

Among the 8,000 union apprentices who work in New York City, 65 percent of them are minorities, LaBarbera reported. With more than 5,200 apprentices consistently working in the city, the interests of women and minorities are well represented, according to LaBarbera.

The current state of opportunity for women and minorities in the New York construction is a significant improvement over conditions in the past. A December, 1993 study by the New York City Commission on Human Rights (Building Barriers: Discrimination in New York’s Construction Trades) concluded that women and minorities were severely underrepresented in the skilled construction trades, with minorities making up 19 percent and women only 1 percent of employees.

The report further noted that in apprenticeship programs, some 28 percent of apprentices were minorities and 3.4 percent were women.

Rising Minority Apprenticeship

The current statistics reported by LaBarbera indicate a significant improvement in numbers for apprenticeships.

Other programs, such as the Edward J. Mallow Initiative for Construction Skills, offer training and apprenticeship opportunities to minorities and women. The organization reports that 87 percent of the referrals it places in apprenticeship programs are African American, Hispanic, and Asian. About 83 percent of those referrals placed in apprenticeships remain in the construction industry and advance through the ranks to attain better positions and improved skills.

Construction Monitor publishes the most up-to-date information on housing starts, construction best practices, and important industry trends. Contact us today for more information on diversity in apprenticeship programs in New York and in other major metropolitan areas around the country.

Onboarding Tips for Construction Firms

Bringing a new employee into your company can often be a confusing, even intimidating process for the new hire. Even more importantly to you, employee retention can be strongly influenced by the new person’s experiences in the first few days of employment with your company. Here are some onboarding tips for construction firms that will help make a new hire’s initial experiences pleasant and efficient, creating a positive impression of your company and making the job transition easier.

  • onboarding tips for construction firmsTake care of the basics quickly and efficiently: All new hires have to go through the basics, such as filling out HR paperwork, going over company policies and procedures, and learning the layout of the building. Put processes in place that make these sometimes-boring basics as quick and efficient as possible. For example, create orientation packages that include essential paperwork, employee handbooks, and other information ahead of time so that no one has to spend time looking for needed material while the new hire waits.
  • Welcome your new employee: Make sure your new employee is introduced to the team he’ll be working with as well as representatives of important departments such as HR, payroll and training. Use your social media account to extend a broader welcome to new hires.
  • Give new employees what they need to succeed: Start employees off right by giving them what they need to be successful in your company. Discuss your brand and company culture and make sure your new hire understands what’s expected of them. Identify your new employees’ strengths and skills and areas that may need improvement. Start training as early as possible and assign your best trainers to work with new employees. Issue equipment or other gear quickly and without hassle. Assign new employees a mentor or a “work buddy” they can go to for advice, insight, and answers to questions.

Construction Monitor offers an array of information services to construction firms, including data on recent housing starts and suggestions for best practices to use every day. Contact us today for more information on employee retention and for additional onboarding tips for construction firms.

Is This New Metal Roofing Design a Game Changer?

Metal roofing has a lot to offer in terms of versatility, durability and energy efficiency, but currently popular installation methods all have certain drawbacks. The new Eclipse Roof System was designed to let you enjoy the benefits of metal roofs without the drawbacks.

metal roofingAn Alternative to Standard Roofing Systems

Most metal roofs are either standing seam systems or through-fastened systems, with standing seam systems being by far the most common. In a standing seam system, there are no roof penetrations and the panel fasteners are concealed by raised steams, which helps minimize risk of leaks. On the downside, they’re more complex and more expensive to install than through-fastened systems.

In through-fastened systems, the panel fasteners penetrate the roof panels themselves. The usual choice of fastener is a nail or screw fit with a rubber grommet. These are easy to install, but as you might expect, the penetrations raise the risk of leaks.

The Eclipse Roof System from Lester Building Systems combines the advantages of both standing seam and through-fastened metal roofing in one low-cost, easy-to-install system. You’ll enjoy the simplicity of a through-fastened roof as well as the leak-free joints and streamlined appearance of a standing seam roof.

Improved Strength and Appearance, Reduced Costs

The Eclipse Roof System uses 36-inch wide, 26-gauge panels that are through-fastened with a unique, patented system of ribs and battens. The roof batten snaps over the ribs, keeping out the rain and concealing the fasteners. The result is a roof that’s both stronger and more weatherproof than a standing seam roof. You’ll also find the clean lines of the roof lend it a more polished, modern look.

The average standing seam roof panel stands at 12 to 19 inches wide, so the wider Eclipse panels speed up your installation work. The panels can be installed over open purlins, meaning you can forego the roofdeck. These advantages cut your installation and materials costs, leaving more room for your company to profit.

For more information on recent advancements in metal roofing, or new construction leads, contact Construction Monitor today.

The Growth of Modular Construction in Residential Housing

Increased automation, improved ecological sustainability, and a broader range of customization options have all contributed to the recent growth of modular construction. As more homeowners warm up to the benefits of this building method, your construction firm stands to benefit, too.

growth of modular constructionModular Building Has Come a Long Way

In modular construction, a complete building or an addition is constructed in a factory setting and delivered as one unit to the construction site. Off-site building methods like this have been used since the early 1900s, but the results were limited to uninspired cookie-cutter designs.

Thanks to recent innovations, today’s modular homes and additions are nearly as customizable as site-built homes. Your clients have countless options for floorplans, architectural features, and interior design. Additions can be made to blend seamlessly with the existing home both outside and in. Options for eco-friendly features have expanded, too, and include motion-sensing faucets, on-demand water heaters, and bamboo flooring.

Precisely because there are so many options, the process of building a modular home or addition starts off the same as for a site-built home. Construction firms offering modular building retain on-staff architects and interior designers to help clients realize their dreams.

Advantages for Your Firm and Your Clients

The advantages of building indoors is another factor in the growth of modular construction. With a site-built construction project, you’re under pressure to “dry in” the building shell while the weather is favorable. Because module construction isn’t subject to the whims of the weather, the drywall can be installed before the sheathing. This approach makes the whole building more airtight and energy-efficient.

Modular projects take 30 to 50 percent less time than on-site projects. The plumbing, tile and lighting fixtures are already there, so the module can be set in place the day it arrives. That means clients installing an addition won’t have to leave their home for as long as they would with traditional construction. You’ll complete more projects in less time and provide greater convenience to your clients.

For more information on the growth of modular construction, contact Construction Monitor today.

The Latest in International Green Building Trends

Thanks in part to both consumer and governmental influence, green building trends are increasingly relevant to today’s construction professionals. Understanding how these trends vary around the world will help you better plan for your company’s future at home and abroad.

green building trendsDriving Factors for Green Growth

In many developed economies, including the US, UK, Germany and Poland, the green building market has already reached a certain level of maturity, but continues to see moderate expansion. Developing economies, including Mexico, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and China have seen a much sharper increase in the percentage of construction projects that will meet green standards.

For most construction firms around the world, the top trigger for undertaking a green building project is client demand. The percentage of firms citing this trigger rose from 35 percent in 2012 to 40 percent in 2015. Increasingly strict environmental regulations are also encouraging investment in green projects.

In both cases, technological advancements support these green building trends. Both Germany and the UK plan to make BIM the standard for the design and management of construction projects, while Brazil and Saudi Arabia are moving in that direction.

Where the Jobs Are

Commercial construction, which includes office buildings, retail stores and hotels, is the top sector for green building worldwide. Some 46 percent of construction contractors expect to work on a green commercial project in the next three years. These projects are likely to be particularly popular in Germany, Poland, China and India. The UK and Australia, on the other hand, expect to see little in the way of new green commercial construction.

Institutional construction, such as schools and other government buildings, is the second strongest sector worldwide. In the US, however, it’s the sector where the highest percentage percentage of green construction projects are expected. 46 percent of US construction firms expect to take on a green institutional project in the next three years.

Retrofitting of existing buildings ranks as the third sector over all, but comes in first in the UK, South Africa and Singapore.

For more information on green building trends, contact Construction Monitor today.