Saving Time and Money With Construction Software

construction software

Too many of us think construction software costs money (it does) but it doesn’t make money or even save money (untrue). Remember, time is money, whether it’s your time, project workers’ or your office staffs’. Everyone’s time is valuable and (almost) everyone’s time has a price.

Construction Software Can Reduce Miscommunications

The one seriously underrated area construction software can improve is communication. The majority of our mistakes and expensive, time-wasting errors leading to do-overs involve miscommunication in construction. (Miscommunication includes failure to respond; 78% of your emails to project teams aren’t read until it’s “too late.”)

SMS and texting radically improve read-and-respond times. And much of this could be resolved with construction software that sends real-time updates and alerts.

Admin Manual Entry: High Margin of Error

Many of us feared automation would cut jobs. We quickly learned that boring, repetitious manual entry and spreadsheet maintenance could be reduced and/or eliminated with construction software. And our administrative personnel would be free to concentrate on more profitable areas, like workflow management, marketing and program development.

However, operating several software systems for different areas of construction project management is yet another problem. It often calls for data entry duplication – again increasing the margin of error – and can divide office staff into software specialists in one area while being untrained in another, or worse: an entire team with varying levels of software competency.

Explore Software Solutions

You’ve heard of “seamless integration.” That means there are ways to retain the information your older software system(s) contain while upgrading to more efficient construction software solutions. We encourage you to explore the possibilities for your company to save time and money. Stay abreast of the ongoing evolution in construction management software.

Construction Monitor can’t claim to be the construction software expert. There are many great companies offering solid business management solutions that work for any size construction company. That’s why we share what we’ve learned about construction automation without favoring one company over another.

However, there is one company’s construction-industry software we feel is the best for saving money and making money. Just ask us. Call 800.925.6085 (International/435.586.1205) or contact Construction Monitor.

Current Events Impacting Industrial Development

industrial development

March 2022 marked two years since the WHO (World Health Organization) declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic. Emotional and economic recovery has been slow. Supply chain issues continue to impact commercial and residential construction costs and timeframes. Even though real estate investors see industrial development as favorable (the need for space is higher than space available), those in the trenches say the lack of parts and raw materials is negatively impacting construction projects.

The Philadelphia Inquirer says the Ukraine war will do more in our country than raise oil prices. “Nothing influences people’s thinking about future inflation than what they are currently paying at the pump,” said Chief Economist Mark Zandi. As inflation perceptions escalate, the Federal Reserve will likely respond by raising interest rates more aggressively than predicted.

Industrial Development Between a Rock and a Hard Place?

The lack of industrial development materials prolongs the problem of not-enough industrial real estate development. The costs of construction materials like steel and concrete have rocketed upward while competition to win Federal construction project bids is heating up like …well, rocket fuel.

Meanwhile, giants like Amazon, with seemingly unlimited purchasing power and resources for building their own storage spaces, are adding fuel to the fire by stockpiling.

March 2022 lead-time estimates:

  • Dock levelers – 35-42 weeks
  • Dock seals – 30-40 weeks
  • Electrical switch gears – 50-50 weeks
  • Main electrical panels – 26-35 weeks
  • Overhead doors – 20-22 weeks

Construction Costs, Materials Issues

We’ll see continued efforts to update ports and speed-up customs and import inspection times. But supply chain issues aren’t completely international. North American-produced lumber and steel costs may be higher through 4Q2022. Pop-up storage may alleviate equipment and materials space problems.

Changes in design and materials substitutions keep some industrial development projects alive but other projects are being delayed or canceled. Meanwhile, when it comes to construction materials and prices, prepare for a new normal.

Speaking of normal: Data management and using information sources are now the way our industry operates and thrives. Find out why we think building permit information is an information source that pays for itself.

Call 435-586-1205 or contact Construction Monitor.

Construction Industry Supply Chain Priorities: Amazon Focuses on Shipping

Construction Industry Supply

It’s sad when a company has to back off expansion plans because of an economic slump. Amazon, after acquiring enough acreage to form a small country, is now slowing down construction on planned fulfillment centers.

Before you say, “Aww…poor Jeff,” here’s the scoop. E-commerce customer purchasing is increasing so rapidly that Amazon has chosen to focus on another facet of its supply chain plan: fast, dependable product delivery.

Warehousing and storage solutions are significant to Amazon’s ability to provide superior customer service. Amazon increased fulfillment center developments by 30% in 2021. But fast delivery is the growth driver in e-commerce. Shipping speed must be commensurate with customer expectations. They already experience fast product research, selection, one-click purchasing, and checkout. Delivery and customer satisfaction are the last links in the supply chain.

You can’t make ice as fast as Amazon can deliver a couch. And it’s not overly dramatic to say that everyone is amazed at Amazon’s next-day delivery capability. More vehicles and drivers will minimize Amazon’s dependency on USPS and UPS shipping.

Meanwhile, prime competitors Walmart and Target are planning their own fulfillment centers and increasing automated supply chain logistics. They also want to enhance the quality and speed of delivery to customers.

Supply Chain KPIs for Construction Industry

Services and supplies account for 80% of a construction project’s expenses. That means almost every component in a project is driven by supply chain management.

Key performance indicators are one way we measure the success of construction projects. In addition to the basic KPIs, consider tracking:

  • Buyout process
  • Employees
    • # Reviews
    • # Training completions
    • Turnover #
  • Performance
    • % lost time
    • Amount of waste
    • Average revenue per day/hour
  • Quality Control
    • # Defects
    • # Reworks
    • # Site inspections
  • Safety
    • # Accidents per supplier
    • # Incidents
    • # Meetings
  • Subcontractors

Traditional KPIs for construction projects are usually determined by:

  • Competitors’ KPIs
  • Financial measurements
  • Historical numbers

Construction Monitor offers traditional building permit analyses for construction business-building. Our data analytics include:

Learn how our numbers can improve your business. Contact Construction Monitor.

Warehouse Operations Management for ‘Just-In-Case’ Building Materials

Building Materials

Materials prices have risen about 50% within the last year. This has led to even more competitive project bidding. The wins are going to contractors that can guarantee materials will be available when needed.

When the supply shortages became a crisis, some contractors resorted to hoarding, ghost orders, and pop-up warehouses. Warehouse operations are becoming as much a part of the construction industry as hammers and nails.

Ghost orders occur when contractors without projects request bids from several suppliers for materials. This can cause materials shortages for “real” construction projects. Brian Sudduth, president of Miller Construction Company, Florida, said suppliers are pushing back and “asking for project-specific information” to avoid ghost order pile-ups. Some suppliers in the roofing materials industry simply won’t quote a price until you actually place an order.

Lead times are basically a crapshoot. In February 2022, one building professional was surprised to discover bar joists delivery “has pushed into 2023.” What was weeks is now months. Lead-time estimates are:

  • Aluminum windows/curtain walls – 6-12 months
  • Metal decking – 8-10 months
  • Metal studs/cold-formed metal framing – 2-4 months
  • Precast concrete wall panels – 6-10 months
  • Roofing/roof insulation – 8-10 months
  • Steel bar joists – 8-10 months
  • Structural steel – 6-8 months

To compound the growing problems of finding materials and suppliers, contractors are having difficulty finding warehouse space. Many resort to building their own temporary storage on project jobsites.

Warehouse operations software provides a fulfillment strategy for construction companies and contractors. Ask your contractor management software provider if a warehouse platform can be integrated to save time and confusion through best-practice management:

  • Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure:
    • Accuracy
    • Cost per delivery/mileage
    • Damages
    • Delays
    • Deliveries
  •  Loop clients into project supply/materials order fulfillment, and storage/delivery turnaround time
  • Offer inventory/materials management
  • Set up processes for crowdsourced deliveries
    • Bar codes to identify items
    • Package/labeling into bins/parcels
    • Pick-up staging

Technology in construction business management isn’t a trend. It’s the fuel that empowers the future of construction. If you have questions about what our software deliverables can do for your business development, contact Construction Monitor.

Leveraging Construction Lifecycle Data

Construction Lifecycle Data

Organizing and retaining projects’ construction lifecycle data has become increasingly complex. Autodesk says construction projects now involve more people, but that doesn’t necessarily mean more people on the payroll. It could mean more people in the loop.

By the time a typical construction project is complete,
up to 30 percent of data has been lost…
Autodesk

Different people use different software to capture project analytics. Architects have creative software. Engineers incorporate health and safety into design. And the project itself has yet another software application.

That’s where we’re losing it – literally. Construction lifecycle data is misplaced during handoffs. This is a major problem because retaining all information from the design/build phases is critical. The right software captures the entire project, start to finish, and makes handovers seamless and efficient.

What’s Included in Construction Lifecycle?

We need everyone involved in the project to be able to view the same data in real-time. Too many types of software used during handoffs mean we may be compromising information:

  • 2D drawings
  • 3D engineering data
  • Asset/equipment information
  • Daily logs
  • Financial data
  • Meeting minutes
  • Project documentation, reports, schedules
  • Requests for Information (RFIs)
  • Submittals

…and more.

Connectivity within our construction software applications is key. Construction projects using older software systems require the GC to organize the data and documentation. This is not only time-consuming, but it also puts the GC between the data and its original owner. “Connected construction” means data owners owner can access all information at every stage:

  1. Design
  2. Plan
  3. Build
  4. Operate

 …without requesting permission from the GC.

For a competitive edge, you need a reputation for time and money efficiency. You’d like to be known as the kind of project manager that is on top of everything. Construction project GCs/managers leveraging construction lifecycle data can put an end to lost-data transfers and runaround hassles.

If you haven’t checked into lifecycle construction software platforms, it’s an investment that can make your life easier.

Leveraging Construction Monitor Data

The lead-generating information we deliver is being used by your competitors. Find out how you too can leverage building permit analytics to build business. Speak with one of our marketing pros to learn more.

Contact Construction Monitor.

How Construction Work Is Fun

construction work

In 2018, an Iowa City television network covered a story of a high school group’s student-built home. The story included teen perspectives on why students don’t consider construction work a viable career option. One of its high school graduate new hires said, “A lot of the kids are just not interested in building. More are interested in becoming a doctor.”

Earning while learning is a big incentive for many high school teens. But what about the kids from families that are eagerly providing them with tech toys and college incentives? Maybe the solution is to grab their interest at a younger age.

Dig World and Construction Work: Heavy Machinery Toys

Leave it to Texans to come up with Dig World, a 3+-acre construction education theme park in a Houston suburb. Founder Jacob Robinson got the idea from his child’s love of dump trucks and the heavy machinery used in construction work. His company, 1 Stone Solutions of Houston, provides construction cleaning and custodial services. His vision is to open 10 other Dig World sites throughout the U.S.

Some of the solo and adult-accompanied rideable rigs include:

  • Cat 303.5 Mini-Excavators – Dirt-digging at its best
  • Mini-Ex Knock Down – Skillfully knock down pins with a full-size Caterpillar 302 Mini-Excavator
  • Mini-Ex Pond Fishing – Retrieve objects using a full-size Caterpillar 306 Mini-Excavator
  • Skid Steers – Full-size Caterpillar 236D3 Skid Steer Loader around a “windy track”

Jacobs is an alumnus of A&M University. Its Department of Construction Science provided informational signage and materials for Dig World visitors. The park’s March 2022 opening went off as scheduled, but the Dig World team quickly realized they were under-equipped to handle the crowd capacity. They scheduled another opening.

“We were optimistic that the machines we had would prove to be enough, but the wait times were too long…we cannot be satisfied with that. We want to operate a park that is flawless in every way,” said Jacobs.

Guess what our marketing team’s idea of fun is? It’s sorting data analytics to make them specific to your company. Schedule a playdate! Contact Construction Monitor.

Construction Workers and The Great Resignation

construction workers

U.S. job openings in 2021 hit a record high, according to the Labor Department. But the workers who voluntarily quit their jobs last year (47.4 million) also hit record-breaking highs. Dissatisfaction among U.S. workers last year led to turmoil in the labor market.

The coronavirus caused 31% of workers to leave their jobs last year. But childcare issues impacted a lot of working families. Pew Research Center recently revealed the top 10 reasons why there was an exodus of workers in 2021:

  1. Pay too low
  2. No advancement opportunities
  3. Felt disrespected at work
  4. Childcare issues
  5. No scheduling flexibility/work hours
  6. Benefits not good
  7. Would rather relocate
  8. Too many hours
  9. Not enough hours
  10. Employer required a COVID vaccination

Within our industry, 207,000 construction workers quit their jobs in November 2021. That number represented approximately 2.7% of our workforce.

Associated Builders and Contractors said the number of construction workers predicted to leave the construction industry in 2022 will be about 1.2 million. The good news is, about 1.3 million workers are expected to leave other industries to become construction workers.

In February 2022, ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu said the workforce shortage is the most acute challenge facing the construction industry. “After accounting for inflation, construction spending has likely fallen over the past 12 months. As outlays from the infrastructure bill increase, construction spending will expand, exacerbating the chasm between supply and demand for labor.” ABC encourages contractors to use flexible, competency-based, and market-driven education methodologies to build a construction workforce that is safe, skilled, and productive. 

Construction Monitor Business-Building Data

Building a solid, competent team of construction workers for your business is a priority. But you also owe them your commitment to explore as many opportunities for work and profit as possible. That’s why you need Construction Monitor, the ultimate lead source. Our marketing team will presort the analytics you need for your company from hundreds – even thousands – of demographics.

For more information specific to your company, contact Construction Monitor.

When Your Construction Business Is Family Business

family construction business

She’s daddy’s little girl. And she always will be, even after she becomes a shrewd construction business strategist. After years of mentoring her, it’s time to ensure your legacy will continue to thrive.

Construction Business Succession Planning

Most of us don’t think about retirement while we’re young, but we should. And we know we should put legalities in place, not only for retirement but also for sudden illness or death. If you’ve been putting it off and you woke up this morning on the downhill side of 60, it’s time to take action, something you know a lot about because after all… You’re in the construction business.

Strategic corporate finance experts can guide you as you design a succession plan to protect your family and construction business. Here are 4 steps:

  1. Begin the succession-planning conversation – Oaklyn Consulting CEO Frank Williamson says many companies don’t survive the transition from first- to second-generation ownership, perhaps due in part to poor planning and unrealistic expectations. Selling the business upon your retirement or death is a viable option that shouldn’t be automatically rejected.
  2. Identify discord/seek resolution – Families are messy and emotional. Set the ground rules for family discord mediation and establish guidelines for professional behavior during work hours. Family-based emotional baggage needs to be checked at the door, every working day.
  3. Gift or sale? – Many factors, including your retirement income are to be considered. Once the transfer terms are settled, you will create a business ownership agreement that refines the process.
  4. Groom your successor(s) – It’s a process; handing your share of responsibilities over to family member(s). It’s also a great time to analyze your income streams and consider ways to increase profits.

Don’t Wait

Is your company a limited-liability corporation or a non-family member partnership? The time to start is now. “The earlier you begin the process, the more time you have to make well-thought-out decisions,” says Williamson. Professional guidance can minimize stress now and later.

Construction Monitor also offers professional guidance for you and/or your marketing team.

If you choose to DIY (do-it-yourself) marketing strategies, we encourage you to devote dedicated time to business-building. Don’t compromise that time. We won’t compromise our commitment to your business development.

For construction business data analytics, contact Construction Monitor.

Construction Industry Feb Starts: We Get By With a Little Help From Our (Manufacturing) Friends

The total construction industry starts increased nine percent in February 2022. The new construction of three “large manufacturing facilities” boosted nonresidential building starts up 32%. Without the large manufacturing projects, total construction would have declined six percent in February, according to Construction Business Owner magazine.

The manufacturing facilities are:

  • $10 billion – Intel chip fabrication plants/Chandler, AZ
  • $1.5 million – Steel mill/Osceola, LA
  • $550 million – Intel semiconductor facility renovation/Rio Rancho, NM

Manufacturing may continue to drive construction industry business, but other sectors are facing challenges.

Other construction industry statistics for February 2022 include:

  • Nonbuilding construction – <1%
    • Highway/bridges – >2%
    • Misc. – <26%
    • Public works – <23%
    • Utility/gas plant starts – >66%
  • Nonresidential – >32%
    • Commercial – <8%
    • Institutional – <22%
  • Residential – <3%
    • Multifamily – >2%
      • $400 million – Central condos/St. Petersberg, FL
      • $220 million – Journal Squared apartments/Jersey City, NJ
      • $147 million – Miami World Tower/Miami, FL
    • Single-family – <4%

February 2022 was negatively influenced by weather and the war against Ukraine. The continued material and labor issues and expenses may be causing some construction industry business owners to put the brakes on project startups. They may be pausing just long enough to examine areas in which costs can be cut for better balance.

Data Continues To Drive Construction Operations, Marketing

Our construction industry is embracing digital transformation. Ninety-five percent of construction project site workers say they’d utilize technology-driven tools that would make their jobs easier. Software implementations have added efficiency and accuracy that saves time and money, so it’s an all-around win-win for companies investing in technology.

Construction Monitor data is used by project managers and construction industry business owners for project statistics and marketing leads. Our information helps: It tells you what your competitors and potential partners are developing. You can study historical trends so you can make informed decisions about future investments. All you need to do is use it. We’ll help with that too. Call 800.925.6085 (International/435.586.1205) or contact Construction Monitor.

Construction Labor Shortage

construction worker shortage

The construction industry will need to attract nearly 650,000 additional workers on top of the normal pace of hiring in 2022…-Construction Business Owner

Home Depot plans to hire 100,000 sales associates by Spring 2022. If this seems optimistic, examine some of the incentives the mega-company plans to use:

  • 401(k) savings plan w/company match
  • Accelerated hiring – 24-hour or even same-day offers
  • Company stock discounts
  • Dependent care emergency backup options
  • Health and personal benefits
  • Paid family leave
  • Performance-based cash bonus program
  • Tuition reimbursement

If you’re thinking your personal small-business construction labor shortage strategy cannot even begin to match Home Depot’s, perhaps you’re right. But:

“In the wake of the pandemic, employers are thinking more holistically about their employees and their goals,” said economist AnnElizabeth Konkel. Personal and family life motivations have moved to the top of the list of desired employment incentives for Gen Zs and Millennials. Extending benefits to spouses and children is one way to do that.

Creativity and novelty are piquing the interest of a sluggish workforce. For more long-term strategies, some companies are changing the way they pay their workers.

The construction labor shortage may need more heavyweight solutions. “The construction industry desperately needs qualified, skilled craft professionals to build America,” said Michael Bellaman, ABC president and CEO. A set of steak knives is nice, but construction labor shortage incentives must include higher wages and career goals to encourage new hires to quickly learn critical, specialized skills.

Construction Monitor

Our blog shares what we’ve learned from other sources as well as ideas we hope will help your construction industry-related business. But our building permit data tools are what we sell, and they can be the best investment you’ll make this year. Construction Monitor isn’t “just” building permit information, although that’s a powerful tool. Learn more about architects, contractors, and owners/builders. Get the data you need to analyze projects and build business.

There are several ways to contact Construction Monitor. To learn more, try one today.