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

Why Aren’t Millennials Choosing New Construction?

While you might be tempted to assume millennials‘ financial difficulties are what’s keeping them out of the housing market, you’d be missing half the story if you did. Personal preferences are also among the reasons some millennials may not choose to buy a new construction.

new constructionHow Millennials‘ Housing Preferences Differ

Burdensome student debt and poor job prospects have forced many millennials to delay home buying. When they are ready to buy, however, they’re faced with a lack of starter homes that fit their budgets.

Unlike previous generations, who typically started families in their early- to mid-twenties, millennials are holding off until their late twenties. In addition, more young people are opting to avoid marriage altogether. For many, this is a personal choice, not merely a consequence of financial insecurity. These singles have little incentive to move out of their tiny rented apartments and into family homes of their own.

Location preference is also a factor. Many millennials favor urban areas, preferring easy access to amenities and short commutes over the spacious homes and big backyards of the suburbs. When you consider the regulatory costs and other expenses of urban building, you can see why most builders construct a few large buildings rather than many small starter homes.

Your Options as a Construction Professional

Ultimately, the biggest roadblock keeping millennials out of the housing market may be the lack of affordable homes in the sizes and locations they prefer. Even those who are ready to buy may not find a new construction that meets their needs. Recently, only around 20 percent of newly built homes were entry-level properties, down from 30 percent before 2008.

The demand doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll profit by building these homes, though. In fact, current trends suggest you’re better off not doing so. Older millennials are now starting to make the traditional move to the suburbs, just at a later age than previous generations. In addition, rising rent prices in urban areas are likely to make suburban home ownership increasingly appealing.

For more information on the new construction home market, contact the construction leads experts at Construction Monitor today.

Get the Job: 3 Techniques for Bidding on a Construction Project Successfully

bidding on a construction projectGiven the resources invested in bidding on a construction project, your skill at choosing projects to pursue is a major factor in your success. A few simple techniques can help you identify and win the projects that will profit you most.

Watch Your Labor Investment

Bidding on a construction project is always a commitment of time and money, but it’s important to be alert for signs that a proposal process isn’t worth the effort. Watch out for highly labor-intensive proposals that require your technical staff to work out complex details specific to the project, such as LEED scorecards. If your marketing department can’t handle a proposal alone, you may be putting in too much effort.

Keep in mind the work you’ve put into the details doesn’t always go toward the finished project. Even if the client accepts your proposal, they may require changes.

When deciding whether or not to pursue a project like this, consider the potential opportunity costs. Tying up too many of your resources in one complex proposal can leave you unable to go after more profitable projects.

Consider PPP Projects Carefully

Public-private-partnerships, also known as PPP or P3, may appear lucrative, but the cost to pursue them is often excessive. Much of the cost comes from the need to hire an outside adviser who can conduct your due diligence in terms of legal issues. P3 projects are also rife with political intricacies that can complicate contract negotiations and cause delays. In addition, developing P3 estimates requires more documentation, such as the Operation and Maintenance Scope of Work documents.

Stay Flexible

The results of your go-no-go process shouldn’t be carved in stone. Stay open to new information about the client and the project, and update your go-no-go process documentation accordingly. You may find the client is difficult to work with, or that you’re bidding against an exceptionally strong competitor. That said, after you’ve finalized your go-no-go decision, it’s rarely beneficial to make major changes to your proposal.

For more tips on bidding on a construction project, contact us at Construction Monitor.

 

Implementing a Cost Management Plan in Your Next Build

cost management plan for construction projectsWith so many moving parts involved in every construction project, you’re almost guaranteed to see scope creep and cost overruns if you don’t maintain strict control. An effective cost management plan for construction projects helps you stay on budget and on schedule.

What a CM Can Do for You

A Configuration Management (CM) system gives you a way to accurately anticipate, approve, execute, and track all changes to your project. All relevant paper and electronic documents are added to the CM system to ensure no information is lost. More advanced CM software automatically analyzes data and alerts you to developing problems. Potential benefits include:

  • Reduced administrative costs
  • Less repetitive data-analysis work for your managers
  • Faster responses to Requests for Information (RFIs)
  • Faster processing of Change Orders

Best Practices for Implementing Your Next CM

A cost management plan for construction projects works best when it’s fully prepared before the project begins. Establishing baselines for scope, cost, and schedules from the beginning makes it easier to spot and prevent scope creep.

Define a schedule for the release of status reports to managers. These reports should detail the project’s present state and any changes that have occurred. Develop a change management plan that establishes a set of procedures for the consideration and approval of changes. Include a way to audit the success of each project and document any valuable information gleaned that can be put toward improving future projects.

Look for a CM software that offers Sentiment Analysis (SA). SA technology mines documents for specific words and determines if they’re used in a good, bad or neutral manner. It picks up on words that require attention, such as “delay,” and notifies managers in real time.

Data and text visualization capabilities also add value to your CM software. These analytical tools process live performance data streams to create charts, text clouds, timelines, and other visuals that let you review the status of your project at a glance.

To learn more about choosing a cost management plan for construction projects, contact us at Construction Monitor.

The Evolution of Cement Use in Construction

cement use in constructionCement is such a ubiquitous building material that we tend to take its current form for granted. Yet cement use in construction has a history dating back thousands of years, and in that time the material has undergone numerous changes and improvements. Today, cement continues to evolve for the better.

The Origins of Modern Cement

Cement was produced in many ancient societies using locally available natural materials. Egyptians used gypsum, while the Greeks and Romans blended limestone with sand to make their cement. The Romans eventually discovered they could change the properties of their cement by adding other materials. One of these materials was volcanic ash known as pozzolana. The addition of this ash created a cement that could set under water, making it useful for building harbors. In fact, concrete made from this cement resists salt water better than today’s concrete.

The most common cement used today, Portland cement, came from a different source. Portland cement evolved from the cements used in Britain in the mid-19th century.

The Future of Cement Use in Construction

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have discovered a way to make Portland-cement concrete both more durable and more eco-friendly.

The conventional cement formula uses between 1.2 to 2.2 parts of calcium for every 1 part of silica, but 1.7 parts of calcium is the standard. MIT researchers found that decreasing the calcium content to 1.5 doubles the resulting concrete’s resistance to cracks.

Better yet, switching to a cement formula that uses 1.5 parts calcium could reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that come from cement production by up to 60 percent. That’s no small improvement, considering the cement industry alone is responsible for some 5 to 10 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide production.

A more durable cement also means less concrete will be needed to repair and replace damaged structures, further reducing cement production’s environmental impact. Although this new formula performs well in the laboratory, it remains to be tested in real-world applications.

To stay on top of recent developments in cement use in construction, contact us at Construction Monitor.

Extended-Stay Hotel Chain Beginning Construction in a Few Alaska Markets

My Place Hotels, a popular extended-stay hotel chain based in Aberdeen, South Dakota, is making inroads into the Alaskan market with three new locations in Ketchikan, Anchorage, and Fairbanks. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2015, with expected completion dates by fall or winter 2015.

My Place Hotels
Source: Facebook.com/MyPlaceHotels

The Alaska construction is expected to begin on a lot on Ketchikan’s Tongass Avenue, across from the city’s post office and next to an Alaskan and Proud grocery store. When finished, the Ketchikan My Place Hotel will feature 64 rooms and is expected to employ at least 10 people.

Two other My Place Hotels are already in operation in Washington state.

The My Place Hotels franchise was cofounded by Ron Rivett, the cofounder of the well-known Super 8 Motel chain, and his grandson, Ryan Rivett, who serves as president and chief operations officer of My Place.

My Place Hotels operates on an economy model that provides comfortable, inexpensive extended-stay lodging for customers. Each room features a kitchenette, for example, but larger amenities such as swimming pools, exercise rooms or complementary breakfasts are excluded.

The hotels offer guests a laundry facility and Internet access. Pets are also allowed.

Planners and executives believe that the Ketchikan market will fully support the hotel. At base, the hotel will serve many of the tourists in the area. The nearby hospital is expected to bring in guests who are staying in the area because of a family member in the hospital.

Guests with connections to the industrial shipping industry are also expected to make use of the My Place Hotel. Vigor Alaska, a heavy industrial shipyard, is within walking distance of the hotel’s proposed site.

Construction Monitor offers up-to-date reporting on developments and trends in the construction industry, including housing starts, building permit issuances and new construction. Contact us today for more information on Alaska construction.

Protect Roofers From Deadly Falls With These Safety Precautions

Construction is widely recognized as a dangerous business. The tools, materials and conditions that construction professionals operate with and in can cause serious injuries and even death. Some simple precautions and adherence to safety regulations can reduce or eliminate much of the risk found in construction categories. Among these is roofing, a task that exposes workers to potential harm from falls. Here are some ways to protect roofers from deadly falls.

roofer
Source: iStock.com/sculpies
  • Identify risks before work starts  – Safety managers and related professionals should carefully assess the site and requirements before any roofing work begins. Remember that conditions on a roof can change quickly, whether from wind, rain, shifting materials or other factors. Take these into consideration as you plan for roof safety.
  • Use appropriate fall prevention equipment – Fall safety requires the use of fall prevention equipment appropriate to the setting. Safety devices could include fall-arrest systems, guardrails, ladders and other equipment. Make sure all components of these systems are working properly and are in compliance with OSHA regulations or other requirements.
  • Assess structural strength of roof surface – Make sure you know how strong the roof is and whether or not it will be able to safely hold the weight of one or more roofers, their equipment and roofing supplies. Take steps to make the roof stronger, if needed. Pay particular attention to safety around skylights or other openings in the roof.
  • Wear personal protective gear – In addition to fall prevention devices, roofers should wear appropriate clothing and gear. This can include sturdy work shoes with treads that provide good footing, knee pads or elbow pads to protect joints, and durable clothing to protect against cuts, scratches or other minor injuries.
  • Create clear work areas –Place equipment and supplies in areas where they won’t be an obstacle to roofers as they work. Make sure material is staged to prevent the possibility of tripping and falling over tools or supplies.

Construction Monitor reports on new developments and conditions in the construction industry. Contact us today for more information on safety for roofing professionals and for procedures to prevent roofing falls.

5 Factors That Affect the Insulation Market

Insulation remains an important element of construction projects in the United States and abroad. Insulation improves energy efficiency, boosts indoor comfort, allows HVAC systems to work better, and decreases energy costs in both commercial and residential applications. The market has grown by about 3 percent each year between 2000 and 2010, according to Insulation Outlook. Globally, the 2012 insulation market totaled more than $84 billion.

building insulation
Source: iStock.com/simazoran

The insulation market is affected by five important factors:

  1. Codes and regulations – Building codes in the United States and abroad have placed restrictions on the types of material that can be used in building applications. This has extended into the insulation market to affect the type of material that’s appropriate or allowed in certain situations.
  2. Urbanization and increased population – Increases in population drive the need for more residential structures, which in turn drives the need for more insulation. This is especially true in situations where urban populations are growing. A little more than half of the global population is living in urban areas.
  3. New building construction – More and more construction of new buildings, whether commercial, industrial or residential, demands more and more insulation for those structures.
  4. Cost of energy – Energy costs continue to be a major influence on the global and domestic economies. Since the use of insulation in construction projects tends to reduce the costs of energy for commercial or residential clients, insulation is likely to continue as an effective solution to keeping energy costs under control.
  5. Sustainability – Sustainability and its associated areas in energy use will continue to influence the use of insulation and the type of insulation used. While insulation itself may not be a sustainable material, the significant energy savings it promises allows it to contribute to energy conservation and sustainability in different contexts.

Construction Monitor provides regular reports and detailed analysis of news and developments in the construction industry. Contact us today for more information on the global insulation market and what these factors could mean for your company over the next few years.

U.S. Hotel Construction at 6-Year High

According to Lodging Econometrics, a Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based strategic intelligence and consulting company serving the hospitality and lodging industry, the total number of hotel construction projects in 2014 reached a six-year high. A total of 3,645 projects, comprising more than 460,000 rooms, were identified by Lodging Econometrics. The data indicates five consecutive quarters of double-digit year-over-year growth.

construction on roof
Source: iStock.com/sculpies

The Lodging Econometrics data included all known hotel projects in the construction pipeline, including those in the early planning stages, those expected to begin within the next 12 months, and those currently under construction.

Total hotel projects under construction were 1,086 in the fourth quarter of 2014, with a total of 136,442 rooms. In contrast, the number for the fourth quarter of 2013 were 793 under construction for a total of 101,735 rooms.

More than 1,200 hotel projects were in the early planning stages as of the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to 1,071 in the fourth quarter of 2013. These projects represent hotels that are expected to be completed and in operation within three to five year.

Projects expected to begin within 12 months were listed at 1,351 in the fourth quarter of 2014 and 1,156 during the same period in 2013.

Though current construction trends in the hotel industry are showing encouraging signs of significant growth, the industry still hasn’t bounced back to levels seen in 2007. In that year, the total number of projects in the construction pipeline was 5,438, totaling 718,387 rooms.

Construction Monitor regularly reports on trends and developments in the U.S. construction industry, including housing starts, building permit issuances and important construction events. Contact us today for more information on the latest trends in hotel construction throughout the United States.

Boise Construction Project Focuses on Infill Development

LocalConstruct, a Boise construction company, is focusing its latest efforts on creating an infill project for one of the city’s main neighborhoods. This is the seven-story apartment building on the west side of 5th Street in the Central Addition neighborhood of Boise. The building is expected to contain 150 apartment units, ground-floor commercial and retail space, and a two-story covered parking facility.

construction
Source: iStock.com/DragonImages

“Infill” refers to projects and developments that “fill in” gaps of undeveloped or underdeveloped spaces in existing neighborhoods and urban areas. Infill can involve designing and constructing entirely new buildings, or it can also be accomplished through the renovation and retrofitting of existing structures.

A major goal of infill projects is to create a greater density of residential and commercial space in a particular area. For city managers, this is often seen as a way to encourage more development while at the same time relieving stress on roads and other infrastructure. When a neighborhood has a substantial amount of residential and commercial options in a smaller space, both visitors and residents are more likely to walk rather than use their cars.

The Boise project reveals some of the difficulties posed by infill development. For example, LocalConstruct’s proposed building site isn’t empty, nor is it undeveloped greenfield land. The lot contains three empty historic houses that have long had the attention of local historic preservationists. Efforts to raise interest in saving those buildings and other historic structures in Central Addition are ongoing.

As of early 2015, Boise’s preservationist community had not protested LocalConstruct’s plans for the apartment and commercial building. However, dealing with the issue of historic preservation is likely to become necessary as the project moves forward.

Construction Monitor helps construction professionals plan and execute their projects using the latest and most accurate data on housing starts, building permits and industry trends. Contact us today for more information on Boise construction and on industry developments in areas related to infill and urban center expansion.