Construction Management: Are We Ready for the New Normal?

Construction Management

Construction management follows the same basic processes as any project management endeavor. Even experienced project managers can make bad decisions, but one thing successful construction management teams have in common is the ability to respond quickly to challenges.

Construction Management Strategies for the New Normal

This year has certainly thrown us a few curveballs. But we’ve been quick to recover from what could have been a devastating economic disaster for the construction industry.

Here are three strategies construction management professionals are using to salvage this year and set the stage for growth in 2021:

1. Become Data-Driven

Projects never finish late or go over budget;
we’re just bad at predicting how much they should cost and
how long they should take…
– The State of AI-Based Construction Finance

AI (artificial intelligence) and automated processes will make decision-making more accurate. You hear the term “knowledge-based decisions” too often, but automation software is driving construction management estimates:

  • Bidding
  • Cashflow
  • Completion cost
  • Forecasting
  • Pricing
  • Time-to-complete

2. Cut Costs

Easy to say; difficult to do. Look for ways to cut hard costs or at the very least, avoid “sticker shock” by properly budgeting:

  • Equipment – Is purchasing used or renting an option?
  • Labor
  • Landscaping
  • Materials
  • Utilities

3. Smaller Crews, Unconventional Shifts

Conventional shiftwork and all-hands-on-deck is not the way we work for now. Use smaller work teams and incorporate unconventional, rotational shifts into the project site.

Data-Driven Strategic Planning for Construction Leads

Successful construction managers are always looking ahead to the next job. You don’t have to be a marketing maven to know that data is driving our industry.

Construction Monitor provides customized, pre-sorted data that will make “knowledge-based” decisions even more powerful. More accurate. And during times of uncertainty, companies that stay strong and thrive are the ones that use the right information tools.

There’s more than one way to manage the new normal and there’s more than one way to contact Construction Monitor. Email, call, or click to connect with us today.

7 Causes of Construction Rework

Construction Rework

Construction rework is frustrating, eats time and money, and can cut into future profits. Investors aren’t likely to back a project in which the contractors and subcontractors are known for do-overs.

7 Factors Leading to Construction Rework

A scholarly study of construction rework evaluated the causes and their impact on construction projects. This powerful paper found more than 50 factors that lead to construction rework. The breakdown had seven categories of issues that can cause construction rework:

1. Client-Related

  • Funding inadequate
  • Inadequate briefing
  • Lack of construction knowledge
  • People-changes leading to construction changes

2. Construction Processes

  • Difficult schedules
  • Inadequate pre-project planning
  • Inadequate supervision
  • Lack of audit/control
  • Lack of standardization
  • Late designer input
  • Non-compliance with specs
  • Poor documentation
  • Resistance to improvement/“ego” conflicts
  • Unclear work specs

3. Construction-Related

  • Competitive pressure
  • Financially weak
  • Fraud attempts
  • Low contract value
  • Misread drawing/specs
  • Poor quality control
  • Technically unqualified

4. Design-Related

  • Poor procurement processes
  • Design errors/omissions
  • Incomplete documentation/information
  • Lack of professionalism

5. External

  • Acts of God
  • Economy
  • Environmental
  • Governmental (regulations, taxes, interest rates)
  • Inadequate local education
  • Infrastructure/transportation
  • Political conflicts/issues
  • Social environment
  • Technological
  • Weather

6. Human Resources

  • Excessive overtime
  • Few employee incentives
  • Lack of skills/training
  • Mismanagement
  • Personnel issues
  • Poor communication
  • Unclear line of authority
  • Weak decision-making

7. Materials and Equipment

  • Emergencies
  • Irregular deliveries
  • Materials not in-place when needed
  • Poor quality
  • Pre-fabrication mistakes

IT for Accuracy

Information technology (IT) is driving every facet of our industry. It’s never too late to take advantage of the amazing software programs and other technology available to our industry. You can make better decisions – and more accurate bids – when you analyze cost and labor data.

Construction Monitor is your information technology resource for marketing development. We have the basic building permits data available to everyone.

What we do with building permit data makes the difference. We offer time-saving, customized information that targets your market and your demographics. We do the data sorts you can do yourself. But we do them faster and more thoroughly.

Learn more about ways to gain a competitive edge. Call 800.925.6085* or contact the data pros at Construction Monitor today.

*International contractors interested in U.S. development, please call 1.435.586.1205.

3 Qualities of Successful Construction Project Managers

Some construction project managers have reputations for success. They get the jobs done, on-time, within budget, and seem to have unlimited resources. Contractors want to work for them and with them.

You should always seek to align yourself with successful construction project managers. Even better, strive to be one.

Construction Project Managers: What They Manage

Good money management is key to any successful construction project. But the qualities successful construction project managers share are what leads them to better money management – better overall management in every phase.

1. Communication

You may be tired of constant advice to communicate better, more often, etc. One survey cited miscommunication and inaccurate or inaccessible information cost the U.S. construction industry more than $31 billion in 2018.

Poor communication is the deal-breaker. It’s the main cause of construction mistakes and rework expenses. Successful construction project managers ensure a timely flow of information is consistently funneled to key project people.

Documentation is the most effective communication tool available. Daily reports, possible problems, changes – everything should be put in writing. When a construction project manager is slow to respond to emails and phone calls, delays, and process breakdowns begin to impact the project.

2. Progress and Problems

Successful construction project managers don’t dodge the hardballs. They monitor potential problems, and when a project gets derailed, they respond quickly. Some of the tools construction project managers use are daily progress reports and weekly budget analyses.

Construction project managers are also detectives. Why are we behind schedule? What are the causes of low productivity? They delve into problems quickly so damage control can be immediate and effective.

3. Strategic Planning

The devil’s in the details. Successful construction managers know a complex construction project requires detailed planning. The best way to plan a project is to assume everyone knows nothing, then provide the plans – and the processes – for every phase. This means defining goals, establishing project milestones, and developing timelines for deliverables.

Strategic planning includes:

  • Communication roadmaps
  • Equipment – what is needed, where, and when
  • Labor coordination
  • Materials management
  • Response to crisis/issues
  • Risk assessment
  • Safety processes

Better Construction Industry Business Development Today

Construction industry alliances can make for more successful business-building than strategizing to “beat” the competition. Construction Monitor gives you the data needed to do both. Our statistics show which companies are making the biggest difference in your area of the country. It can also show which competitors to watch.

You have many good information resources available. Every week, we offer the most up-to-date information available for construction industry business development. Contact us today to better manage business development.

Construction Projects: Reducing Rework

construction rework

Nobody likes do-overs, but we all make mistakes. What sets the best companies apart from the wannabes is how we respond to our mistakes.

If you’re going into overtime and running over-budget too often or your margin for errors is too high, do something about it. Reducing construction rework increases profits.

8 Causes of Construction Rework

Design changes are the leading cause of construction rework, so technology is impacting construction rework in a big way. We can design and then construct virtually. We can return to the drawing board before the foundation is laid, saving time, materials, labor…and of course, money.

Eight additional causes of construction rework include:

  1. Deadlines – Unrealistic timeframes leading to rushed, lesser-quality work
  2. Materials – Quality of materials not what was expected; don’t meet specifications
  3. Misunderstanding – Unclear client expectations
  4. Paper-chasing – Missing documents, incorrect processes, and general inability to find the information needed in a timely manner
  5. Procurement – Supply chain problems, ordering the wrong materials
  6. Quality control – No standards/processes to follow
  7. Supervision – Inexperienced or ineffective management; lack of leadership, no teamwork guidance
  8. Untrained workers – Underqualified jobsite/administrative personnel or workers that don’t take pride in workmanship

Communication is Critical

Today, most construction project failures “are the result of insufficient communication,” says a project management software developer. Now more than ever, construction management teams must develop a clear plan that includes how and when communications will occur.

Make No Mistake: Using Technology for Business Development is Essential

Lost time and money are minimal problems when you consider the amount of frustration construction project participants experience. Everyone – management, contractors, employees, investors – everyone suffers the dissatisfaction that comes from construction rework. Especially mistakes that could have been avoided.

Discounting technology and data utilization is the biggest mistake you can make. Construction Monitor can give you information for job leads and more. You’ll learn about profitable alliance opportunities and historical trends that reoccur. Our building permit datasorts will give you actionable insight.

You can’t go wrong when developing and managing available technology resources. Contact Construction Monitor for proven-to-work information, available when you need it: today.

What Is Sustainable Construction?

Sustainable Construction

We talk a lot about “sustainability,” but do you know what it means? Today, it’s a combination of the two main definitions of the word.

Sustainability means to last; endure. It also means to exist for as long as possible without depleting natural resources and build in a way that maintains an ecological balance.

Prioritizing Sustainable Construction

Sustainability isn’t simply a nice goal. It’s a process, and one we need for future generations. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) drafted 3 guidelines for building designs and sustainable construction:

  1. Establishing “sustainable” building/product practices should include:
    • Open for all stakeholders
    • Based upon scientific facts 
    • Transparent
    • Up-to-date
  2. Energy efficiency and environmental performance should:
    • Focus on how individual components interact within the building system
    • Identify options to improve energy efficiency
    • Seek ways to reduce overall environmental effects
  3. Environmental considerations and energy efficiency should be balanced with:
    • Performance
    • Price
    • Product availability
    • Product safety

Real-World Sustainable Construction

We know when push comes to shove, the stakeholders in a construction project make the decisions about materials and methodologies. Fortunately for our planet, sustainable construction is more than admirable; it’s affordable.

With today’s technology, materials can be lightweight and cost less while promoting sustainability. Using recycled plastics and laminated timbers can cut our carbon footprint.

We can improve our methodologies, too. Other sustainable construction methods include:

  • Conserving energy
  • Constructing “green” buildings
  • Managing construction sites to improve the environment
    • No smoking
    • Onsite water filtration
    • Recycling bins
  • More precise materials measurements to reduce shortages (and leftovers)
  • Using less to reduce waste

Building Your Business

The future is now. Sustainable construction is a business direction you must take.

Successful construction industry companies embrace green building and technology. Construction Monitor has “big data” for your business, and it’s customized for where you are or where you want to be. For example, if you’re considering expanding sustainable construction options, we’ve got data for using solar as an alternative energy.

Contact Construction Monitor to learn more.

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.

Infrastructure Heavy Construction

Infrastructure Heavy Construction

Infrastructure construction is under the “heavy construction services” umbrella. Infrastructure projects develop and repair or maintain services (often serving the public), facilities, and large systems.

Eight Types of Infrastructure Construction Services

Sometimes governments and private-sector companies collaborate on a large infrastructure project. Despite second-quarter losses, U.S. infrastructure construction services are expected to show growth for 2020.

Types of North American infrastructure projects you may be working include:

  1. Aviation – In 2019, the DoT (Department of Transportation) awarded $840 million in infrastructure grants to U.S. airports. Much of the projects focus on bringing older airports up-to-date, as well as renovating run-down runways.
  2. Bridges – Almost every day, we and millions of others access highway bridges. It’s no small concern that more than 54,000 bridges in the U.S. show structural damage and deterioration. The federal report said it may take more than 80 years to repair them.
  3. Communications – This sector of infrastructure construction services is all about technology. Connecting our country using WiFi, cable, cloud, and satellite technologies generate new jobs every year.
  4. Power/Energy – Our electrical infrastructure is one of the largest in the world. (We have over 160,000 miles of power lines.) Wind and solar energy are among the leading energy alternatives in the U.S., so infrastructure construction services are much-in-demand to develop and maintain these sustainable structures.
  5. Railroad – Bridges, track layout, and tunnels are infrastructure construction projects that safeguard rail transportation in our country.
  6. Roads – In 2017, there were 4.18 million miles of road in the U.S. Infrastructure construction for roads designs, repairs, and maintains mass transit systems. Principal materials used are:
    1. Aggregates
    2. Asphalt
    3. Cement
    4. Concrete
    5. Steel
  7. Water – Construction infrastructure projects include creating and maintaining EPA-approved drinking water facilities as well as waste/pollution treatment and recycling sites.
  8. Waste – These construction services create facilities and tanks to store, treat, and improve the environment by eliminating hazardous materials.

Marketing Made Easier – and Better

Not all of us in construction services can be billion-dollar infrastructure stakeholders. But you can run your business like a Fortune 500 company when you utilize Construction Monitor building permit data analytics to drive your marketing.

Contact us. We’ve got the tools your marketing strategy can use.

Heavy Industrial Construction

industrial construction

Two of the main construction services sectors within our industry are non-residential and residential. Within the non-residential sector are three subsectors:

  1. Engineering
  2. Heavy industrial and infrastructure
  3. Institutional and commercial

Heavy Industrial Construction Services: Building ‘Something Amazing’

Working in heavy construction services, “You’ll help to build huge industrial facilities like power plants, refineries, nuclear plants, mines and oil sands installations…” says Careers in Construction. Some of the biggest trucks in the world are on heavy construction job sites. One piece of construction equipment can cost millions of dollars.

Trends: Modularization and Real-Time Data

Construction and input costs for key building materials
(such as steel) are rising, largely driven by limited
supplies and tariff uncertainties.
Deloitte.com

The heavy construction industry has historically low profit margins. The 2020 global pandemic and resulting economic fallout put an even greater strain on U.S. heavy construction profitability. Between that and a shortage of trained employees, heavy construction services industry stakeholders need to better-manage the areas that impact profit margins and end-game profitability.

Module assembly yards providing fabrication and building elements pre-assembly can rapidly transfer construction components to job sites. Modularization can save on onsite labor costs, improve quality control, and shorten project timelines. The end result is the possibility of better safety (avoiding reworks) and costs savings.

Digital technology and real-time information will make the profit difference. Eliminating manual data entry and utilizing identifying trends can save money and time.

“Having state-of-the-art…tools and technologies is becoming a competitive advantage,” says Deloitte. Rather than seek damage control solutions to cost overruns and construction delays, real-time insights can lead to better-informed decision-making.

Real-Time Data for Real-Time Insights

Building permit data is fundamental to understanding construction services trends in your market. We provide customized, weekly reports that can provide insights on where in your world opportunities for business growth exist.

We have an active support team available to answer your questions. Call 800-925-6085, email, or contact Construction Monitor today. Let’s discuss construction data options that will benefit your construction industry business development in the U.S.

Institutional and Commercial Construction Services

construction services

Institutional and commercial construction services require heavy-duty, specialized equipment. Unlike infrastructural and industrial jobs, commercial construction stakeholders are usually interested in profit.

Commercial Construction Services: More Than Construction

Institutional and commercial construction services encompass everything from the building to maintenance, upgrading, and renovating large structures. Contractors and builders are usually employed by private companies. With the unprecedented economic swings of 2020, construction predictors are best-guesses. But from 2014-2019, commercial renovation as a construction services industry rose 8.9%.

Five Ways Institutional, Commercial Construction Use Big Data

Do you know how the term “big data” came about? The concept is based on such voluminous information – data – that you can’t begin to comprehend it, let alone use it properly. It’s that big.

The advantages of using big data don’t occur naturally. You must first set clear business goals. Then you need to understand the power of data analytics. Finally – and most important – you need to learn how to put construction statistics to work.

Here are five examples of institutional and commercial construction services’ ways to use big data:

  1. Organization – Data can give you GPS coordinates, vehicular traffic information affecting the job site, and supplies/machinery routing to lower fuel costs and increase operational efficiency.
  2. Prefabrication – Large modules can be designed onsite and prefabricated elsewhere.
  3. Risk management – Commercial and industrial construction companies may have fewer-per-year projects than most construction services. This makes project pricing, staying within budget and on-time even more important. Big data can compare the subcontractors’ and suppliers’ dependability.
  4. Simulation – Many mistakes can be avoided. Frank Lloyd Wright said you can use an eraser on the drafting table or a sledgehammer onsite. Big data can reduce mistakes by comparing site conditions and limitations.
  5. Tracking – Losing a hammer is no big deal. Losing a bulldozer is a problem. “No other industry spreads its assets out geographically like the construction industry,” says project management analyst Rachel Burger.

Statistics for Targeted Marketing Data

Our customized building statistics can give you targeted, area-specific data that cookie-cutter construction software programs can’t. Contact Construction Monitor to learn more.

Engineering Construction: Things to Know

You’d be surprised by how many people think “construction engineering” and “engineering construction” are one and the same type of construction service. Quite simply, they aren’t. 

Construction engineering is:

…the management and delivery of construction projects…used for residential, commercial or industrial applications. Civil engineers who are educated in the field of construction management are classified as Construction Engineers.

Engineering construction is:

…the sector of the construction industry…concerned with the design and delivery of industrial, civil, and structural engineering projects.

Types of engineering construction can include:

  • Geotechnical
  • Infrastructural
    • Bridges
    • Buildings
    • Dams
    • Mines/natural resource facilities
    • Roads
    • Railways
    • Waste treatment plants
    • Wharves
  • Environmentally compliant facilities
  • Pharmaceutical production plants
  • Power/heat generation plants (conventional, renewable and nuclear)
  • Structures for the onshore and offshore oil and gas industries
  • Waterworks/water resources

Engineering construction may include soliciting bids, pricing equipment, implementing the usage of sustainable materials and setting safety standards.

Engineering Construction Management

“Engineering construction has a substantial proportion of megaprojects (projects with a delivered value of greater than $0.5 billion),” says UK Civil Engineer Naomi Brooks. 

Civil engineers are concerned with delivering quality projects on-time, within budget, and generating ROI (return on investment).

“Stakeholder relationships in engineering construction are different from those exhibited in other construction arenas.” continues Brooks. In some ways, stakeholder interactions are easier to map in engineering construction. “Large-scale engineering construction projects often demand complex governance for financing (such as multiple joint ventures).”

Engineering construction management involves itself more with

  • Budget/business operations
  • Global/national regulatory requirements
  • Project management/supervisors
  • Quality control
  • Timelines/project phases

The duties of engineers on engineering construction projects include:

  • Communicating with project leadership and stakeholders
  • Creation and design of construction plans/blueprints
  • Drafting supporting documents
  • Managing construction projects
  • Overseeing legal documents
  • Supervising engineering construction processes

Construction Monitor for Every Level of Business Operations

The possibilities for analyzing building permit data are limitless. For example, we’ve helped ambitious dry-cleaning chains looking to expand services. Engineering is a highly specialized and upper-industry segment. Engineering professionals also use the kind of big data our presorted weekly and monthly information provides.

Call 800-925-6085 or contact us today.