How to Learn About Construction Trends in Your Area

Construction Trends

Learn to spot construction trends before your competition and you’ll gain access to pools of potential clients eager to get in on the next big trend. Construction data makes it easy to identify emerging trends by showing you exactly how your target market’s demands change over time.

Track Building Permit Data

An increase in building permits issued for a certain type of project is a clear sign demand for this project is trending upward. If you see bathroom remodels are starting to overtake kitchen remodels, that tells you not only what skills your would-be customers might be looking for in a general contractor, but also what kind of cabinets, countertops, and floor coverings will interest them. As a roofing contractor, you might notice the demand for roof replacements is down, but more homeowners are building additions, so you can adjust the focus of your marketing accordingly.

With access to in-depth building permit data, you’ll see not only what types of projects are gaining popularity but also which aspects of those projects are changing. Even if the popularity of kitchen remodeling is holding steady, you might discover the average value of those projects is rising. That could mean homeowners will be increasingly interested in luxury products.

Examine Data on Leading Construction Firms

Paying attention to what the most successful construction companies in your area are doing can lead you toward profitable trends. Data on these companies can tell you what types of residential and commercial projects they’re focusing on, how much these projects are worth on average, and where the work is happening.

Looking over the data on the biggest local company might show you they’re shifting their efforts toward commercial office spaces. If all three of the local top companies are making that move, you’re probably onto a trend. As a building materials supplier, you can get in on the trend by preparing to stock more material suited to office construction and targeting your marketing towards the needs of commercial builders.

For more on using construction data to spot profitable trends, contact us at Construction Monitor.

Using Construction Trends to Improve Marketing Strategy

Improve Marketing Strategy

Even if you think you know your target market inside and out, their needs and wants will change over time. By staying on top of those changes and adapting your marketing strategy accordingly, you’ll be better able to profit from market demands.

Construction Trends

Local building permit data is an invaluable information source on trending construction projects and what types of projects are waning in popularity. Knowing that apartments and other multifamily housing projects are more common in your area than other types of commercial construction is a powerful insight that can lead you toward profitable target markets, which are fundamental to any marketing strategy.

Building permit data also helps you refine your choices of target markets. If you specialize in remodels, it’s useful to know whether bathroom or kitchen remodels are more popular or whether a marketing campaign to promote your attic finishing services is worth the time and money it takes to run one. 

Trends in what property developers and homeowners want can guide your choice of a marketing mix and your messages. If you notice a growing interest in smart home technology, you might decide to publish more website content showing how your products fit into a modern, high-tech home.

Social Trends

Keeping up with trends outside the construction industry lets you better anticipate your buyers’ overall needs in a way that grabs their attention. If you sell light fixtures and discover a work-at-home trend, you might develop a line of lighting products well suited to home offices and promote it on remote worker information blogs.

Tendencies in building permit applications can reveal social trends, too. An increase in cabin construction could tell you people in your area are interested in getting back to nature or finding simple ways to relax. You can use that information to create marketing material that shows how your products help meet those lifestyle goals. If you sell windows and doors, you might create a campaign focused on large windows for those who want more natural lighting.

For more tips on using trends to inform your market strategy, contact Construction Monitor.

Build Your Construction Business Marketing on the Right Foundation

To be effective, your marketing needs clear direction rooted in a strong foundation. That foundation is your brand, the unique identity of your construction business. By defining your brand, you’ll gain a better understanding of your target market and what it takes to win their business.

Develop Your Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is the way your company is placed in the market and in your clients’ minds. It’s the differentiating factor that lets you stand out from the crowd. Start by defining which construction category you’re in, who you’re targeting, and what benefits you deliver and want to highlight.

Then take a look at how each of your main competitors have positioned their brands. Data on the top local construction companies can help by showing you whose brand position is really working for them. You’ll learn what to do and what to avoid.

Using that knowledge, look for what sets your company apart and develop a distinct value position that includes compelling logical and emotional benefits. If you sell building materials, are you the company that specializes in durable, low-maintenance materials for industrial facilities or the one that can always find the perfect materials to complement your area’s historical homes?

Define Your Brand Image

Your brand image is how your clients think of your company beyond knowing what products and services you offer. It’s built on the assumptions and associations they maker after interacting with your company. When you know the brand image you’re aiming for, you can focus your marketing efforts on creating associations that support that image.

Take the hip, free-spirited general contractors who specialize in home office additions for young professionals versus the prudent, tradition-oriented contractors who build home additions for growing families. Both offer essentially the same services, but their images are very different and their marketing will be, too.

Building permit data can help you spot trends and gaps in the market to craft a brand image that will appeal to a profitable customer base.

For more tips on perfecting your construction business marketing, contact Construction Monitor.

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.