Using Building Permit Data in a Meaningful Way

using building permit

It’s no secret: Building permit information is available free to the public. Construction industry company marketers sometimes say, “Why should I pay for something I can get for free?”

A few months later, that same construction-industry marketer has utilized – you guessed it – none of that free building permit data.

“It’s too hard to find exactly what I want.”

“I thought I was reading about Alexandria, Virginia and discovered I was reading about Alexandria, Indiana.”

“I couldn’t figure out how to put it together.”

Here’s how you can use building permit data in a meaningful way.

Building Permit Data Must Be Customized

Your piece of the planet is not similar to Palm Springs (California or Florida). Building permit data for those areas has nothing to do with your state, county, city, or community. Construction business may be booming in your market while much of the country is in an economic slump.

Data Sorts are Necessary

Business permit data includes 3 categories (commercial, residential, solar) and at least 37 project types. If you need private schools and daycare facilities information, you don’t want to wade through swimming pool construction data.

Property Claims Companies Study Building Permits, Too

The best part about getting building permit information as a follow-up to a prior claim is that it isn’t just interesting information.
It’s usable insight.
Joe Emison

Insurance adjusters need to know if a claim (roofing, for example) comes from current damage or previous improper repair. If Fly-By-Night Roofing did sub-par work, the building permit data – or lack of it – is a viable resource.

You Get What You Pay For

Every week we pull and sort Big Data for tens of thousands of construction projects throughout the United States. We do this so you don’t have to. We provide you with information you can use to promote services and products specific to your company and demographics.

We believe your time is better spent acting on information rather than researching it. Request a free sample. Call or contact Construction Monitor today. We have affordable, time-savings options to strengthen your business.

Businesses That Benefit From Construction Data

construction data

Construction Monitor increases the efficiency for thousands of companies across dozens of vertical markets nationwide. Yes, we generate information. But, wait…there’s more.

The information is sorted for you into information-specific data analytics you need right now. The newer information targets locations you’re interested in developing. Historical construction data can shape your strategy for future business development.

If you think the benefits gained from construction data is limited to land developers, builders, architects, and construction contractors, you’d be half right. The building industry actually encompasses many types of businesses and organizations that reap benefits from construction data.

Here’s a success-story example:

A new home construction company needs…

1. Swimming pool architect and/or subcontractor for pool construction

To construct swimming pool, the needs are…

 2. Concrete and quarry stone
 3. Fence/patio materials

The swimming pool homeowner needs…

   4. Landscaper/lawn professionals

   5. Lawn and garden supplies

   6. Patio furniture

   7. Pool supplies/chemicals

…A guy that studies building permit reports and construction data has a small pool maintenance company. He studies local building permit reports. He has two vans and six employees.

He knows exactly how many new homes in a particular housing division in a cross-town suburban area are going to need pool maintenance. He develops his marketing plan accordingly.

Two years later, this small pool-maintenance business is a household name. It has a fleet of vans and can now offer employees healthcare and retirement options. The pool-maintenance business owner continues to regularly study building permit construction data.

How 3 ‘Non-Construction’ Businesses Use Local Construction Data for a Very-Real Competitive Edge

  1. A carpet cleaner studies business permit reports and solicits homes under renovation. She emphasizes her onsite carpet and furniture cleaning service to “give your furniture a look as new as your home!”
  2. An insurance professional reads current building permit construction data reports and sends a “Welcome Home!” gift to the new homeowners.
  3. An online business developer is looking for a location where there will be a large, youthful employee base. Homes built in 2004 have…teenagers. (Teens are often tech-savvy and work cheap.) Historical construction data quickly narrows the location search.

Construction Monitor Has Marketing Tools to Build Local Business

This year has been unusual, to say the least. Unusual times call for creativity. If you’d like to learn more about why Construction Monitor is the local marketing resource you need, call 800-925-6085 or contact us today.

Anatomy of a Building Permit Report

building permit report

Building permit reports are used by economists, marketing professionals, real estate specialists and practically every business in the construction industry. Organizations analyze building permit reports to make informed decisions.

You hear a lot about “informed decisions” these days. The phrase is a logical result of our unlimited search for information. Even gamblers don’t make decisions without analyzing data.

You may feel like the construction industry is gambling with its life right now, but you can make business plans and “informed decisions” using building permit reports.

Breaking Down Building Permit Reports

Economists and investors use building permit reports to evaluate financial stability. These reports are financing, employment, and economic indicators. They can be geographic-specific and because it’s a small world, building permit reports can reflect our global economy. Here’s how:

Types of Building Permits

There are 2 types of building permits: commercial and residential.

Projects that need commercial building permits can include:

1. Commercial new-site construction – Excavation/demolition, reinforcement, and new building construction.

2. Change of use – Permit required to convert a building for another purpose. Requires:

  • 2 sets of floor plans
  • Notice of Commencement
  • Owner affidavit
  • Site plans

3. Interior remodel – Remodeling permit is required plus:

  • 2 sets of building plans
  • Owner affidavit
  • Notice of Commencement

4. Roof covering – Re-roofing, repair, recovering an existing roof. Installation of a new roof requires:

  • 2 sets of site/building plans
  • Application for permit
  • Notice of Commencement
  • Owner’s affidavit
  • Product approval

Residential building permits are needed for most remodeling and/or construction projects.

What Building Permits ‘Tell’ Us

An increase in commercial building permit applications indicates a need for more commercial properties or housing subdivisions. A rise in residential building permits can indicate an older neighborhood is about to renovate/transition into a hot real estate market for investors and young professionals.

If you’re in a holding pattern, you’re not taking advantage of this unique time in our history. Start laying the groundwork for your company comeback in 2020. Construction Monitor is the U.S. building permits generation source. Ask us about ways to develop 3Q2020 marketing projects using comprehensive, up-to-date information customized for your industry.

Building Permit Data: Learning About Competitors

construction business competitors

Another company has outbid you and you’re wondering why. Let’s see…both businesses are located in the same state, county, and city. You’ve actually been in business longer and you know the ins and outs specific to the job you just lost.

The answer is available using building permit data analytics.

New and Improved

You aren’t a startup but your experience pales in comparison with several big kahuna companies. Have you heard the phrase, “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer?” Building permit data can tell you which competitors might be in over their heads.

When you see a fish bleeding in the water, it’s sometimes a good idea to be a savior, not a shark. Offering to help can benefit your fledgling company in the long run.

You Can Know What They Don’t

On the other hand, swimming with sharks can make you a better swimmer. Using building permit data for a competitive edge is just plain smart. Your first task is identifying the competition.

Historical Data

Look at last month, last year, last decade. Which companies are getting more wins and which ones seem to have dropped off? Building permit data sorts by market share to show you competitors’ historical trends. With a short time investment, you can learn more about competitors’ businesses than they know themselves.

What You Need to Know About Your Competition

No one is without competition. Here are the key elements you should examine when undertaking a competitive analysis:

  • Advantages/disadvantages of their employment benefits
  • Advertising tools
  • Affiliations, organizations
  • Annual report
  • Are they flagship-innovative or one step behind the real leaders?
  • Brand and values
  • Community support efforts
  • Customer reviews/loyalty
  • Number of and types of employees they have
  • Owner/stockholder personality/reputation
  • Prices
  • Products/services
  • Technology – website, internet rank, email marketing
  • Their distribution and delivery

Real-Time Leads, Detailed Statistics: Construction Monitor

For over 30 years, Construction Monitor has been the industry source for U.S. building permit data. Our information helps many businesses to target new customers and identify competitors.

Call 800-925-6085 (international callers 435-586-1205) or contact Construction Monitor to discuss how timely, local information can improve your company.

Using Building Permit Reports to Grow Your Contracting Business

building permit reports

The second quarter of 2020 will be difficult for most contracting businesses, but it’s temporary: Tough times won’t last. Tough companies will.

You can cultivate ways to grow your business while business is essentially on hold. Using building permit reports for construction data can generate a new-and-improved marketing strategy during difficult times.

3 Ways to Build Your Contracting Company: Preparing for Economic Upswing

Coach Bobby Knight seldom had a losing season. He would say it was simply “a building year.” That’s what 2020 is going to be for many of us. Use building permit reports to strengthen your business:

1. Direct Mail

An article from another construction industry challenging economic era said most contractors send mailings that are large and “unfocused.” Target one type of project – apartment renovations, for example. “You might only get 10 responses, but you have a better chance of keeping up with calls…and you can do a quality bid that way.”

2. Educate Yourself

If underbidding has been your strategy, it wouldn’t have worked much longer. Now’s the time to get beyond the low bid and bid more strategically. This is a good time to put construction data analytics to work. Review your demographics. Take a harder look at your competitors. Suggestion: The last economic crisis that had a devastating effect on our industry was 2007-2008. It’s time to review construction industry trends from that era. Use building permit reports from that timeframe through 2010 to be a bigger part of our economic recovery.

3. Revisit Previous Jobs

“It’s not my job,” you might say when looking at older building permit reports. Maybe it wasn’t your contract, but you can connect with developers and builders to see how things went. Ask how things are going now. What’s in the pipeline for summer? And as a gesture of goodwill, connect with previous clients. Reaching out to “old” clients can often generate leads.

Timely Info for Difficult Times

Don’t wait. Savvy construction contractors can get ahead of what’s going on in the construction industry. Construction Monitor is your source. Call 800-925-6085 or contact us today.

Dave is growing his contracting business
using building permit reports.

Be like Dave.

New Homes Being Built: 3 Things You Can Learn

new homes being built

Single-family starter-home buyers are intimidated by price tags even though financing options and rates are at lows that haven’t been seen in a very long time. Is there a solution to the high costs of new home investment? Yes. You can learn more about new homes being built using construction data.

Starter Homes May Be Big Business

“Smaller homes, smaller lots, smaller price tags,” says a Northwest Minnesota Housing Cooperative in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. If you are involved in the construction industry, this is a trend you’ll want to watch. And what do smaller home developments need?

  • Apartment-sized furniture
  • Durable, easy-cleaning flooring for families
  • Handicap bars for seniors
  • Push lawnmowers
  • Stackable washer/dryer combos

…and everything from neighborhood drycleaning to community healthcare facilities.

We will always need commercial or residential housing. If you sell or service almost any product, your business can benefit from construction industry knowledge. You have a lot to learn, and building permits reports can deliver what you need to know.

3 New Home Factors That Can Impact Your Business

Some of the construction industry forecasts released March 18, 2020 went out the window March 19, 2020. Okay, it wasn’t really that bad, but all bets are off while we wait out the most virulent pandemic in global history.

If you reviewed statistical information quarterly or even monthly, now is the time to switch to weekly analysis because that’s how fast U.S. markets are changing right now. Here are 3 factors that may tilt the economic scales for 2020 new home construction:

  1. “Made in the USA” products and materials are going to be more in-demand than ever before. Many consumers feel recent shortages were a result of imported goods. 
  2. New home builds vs. renovationsFebruary forecasts were dynamic, but closing businesses to reduce crowds has led to conservative investing. An economically challenged population may favor remodeling over new-home purchases.
  3. Slow housing starts data – Expect home sales to fall as much as 35% this spring. That’s a sign you need to cultivate alliances with builders and architects now.
    Consider mass mailings because snail-mail is getting more attention than ever before. Use construction data to target your market.

There’s no such thing as TMI (too much information). Construction Monitor has information about new homes being built that can shape your marketing strategy for success. Call 800-925-6085 or contact us today.

What Can I Learn from Building Permit Reports?

building permit reports

It’s difficult to think of any industry that isn’t impacted by housing starts and residential or commercial development. Business magazine Entrepreneur¹ says any organization that depends on a physical location needs to evaluate customer availability, accessibility, and proximity to other businesses/services. Building permit reports provide that information.

Location, Location, Location

Even internet-based companies target their audiences based on geographics. You can sell vacuum cleaners in dust storms if you target the right market. (Buy-online DIY swimming pool kits don’t sell well in Antarctica.)

Building permit reports give you information about which locales are developing, remodeling, or stagnant. You can drill down U.S. housing starts and building permits by region (East, Midwest, North, South), state, county, city, subdivision development… These analytics can lead to informed, up-to-date decision-making.

Do you want to grow your nail salon business? Look for up-and-coming commercial and residential development. Is it time to franchise your unique bakery? High-traffic communities might be the places to examine. Building permit reports are the foundation for business development.

Types of Building Permit Reports

January 2020 saw the strongest gain in building permits² since September 2012. This information offers insight into key economic indicators: jobs, income levels, and tax rates.  

Building permit reports give companies information to increase income and profits:

  • Develop sales leads
  • Discover potentials for partnering
  • Identify competitors
  • Plan marketing strategies/campaigns

Types of building permit reports you can use include:

  • Agricultural buildings/sheds
  • Arts/museums
  • Banks
  • Cabins (private)
  • Churches
  • Commercial
  • Entertainment venues
  • Footing/foundations (commercial, residential)
  • Garages/carports
  • Grading/dust (commercial/residential)
  • Hospitals/healthcare facilities
  • Industrial manufacturing sites
  • Mobile homes
  • Motels/hotels
  • Office complexes
  • Parks/recreation sites
  • Personal care (commercial)
  • Private/public schools
  • Professional buildings
  • Remodeling/additions (commercial/residential)
  • Reroofs (commercial/residential)
  • Residential (single-family, duplexes, apartments/condos)
  • RV parks
  • Solar/alternative energy provider sites (commercial/residential)
  • Storage buildings
  • Swimming pools/spas
  • Transportation-related structures
  • Utility provider sites
  • Vehicle (auto/truck) sites for sales/service
  • Warehouses
  • Wholesale facilities

Successful Businesses Use Building Permit Data

Spring 2020 will be filled with profitable opportunities. You can be the company others look to for ideas and inspiration. Information is your differential. 

Let Construction Monitor explain more about construction data and analytics customized for your business. Call 800-925-6085 or contact us today.

9 Things You Can Learn from Construction Spending

construction spending

Data – information – is available to everyone. Even if you feel confident you know your business, its goals, and your industry, it’s difficult to know which information sources can deliver usable facts and figures. Construction data, including building permits information, is pertinent to our companies as well as our industry. But there’s another source of information you should investigate: construction spending.

Construction Data; Construction Spending Statistics

“Construction spending” measures the amount of investment in new construction. U.S. public and private sector new-construction spending information is used for economic forecasts and financial decision-making. The Census Bureau studies the construction value-in-place (VIP) every month.

Construction spending estimates include costs of:

  • Architectural and engineering work
  • Contractors’ profits
  • Interest and taxes
  • Labor and materials
  • Overhead/miscellaneous

FYI: Construction Spending 2020-2026

Construction spending data has led to good construction forecasts for this year and beyond. However, doubts surrounding steel and other building material costs continue to be driven by tariff and supply uncertainties.

How You Can Use Construction Spending Information

If you think you’re a “small-time” company, then don’t bother evaluating U.S. construction data, including spending. And forget about following the global construction industry. That’s one way to guarantee your growth and profits remain small.

The only limitations you have are the business decisions you make. Here are two things you need to know:

  1. Timely, relevant construction industry information pertinent to where you work (your geography) is critical to your business.
  2. Global and national trends impact your local business.

Construction spending data can give you the information you need to:

  1. Assess monthly fixed costs (rent, salaries, utilities, etc.) vs. comparable businesses
  2. Improve your budget and money management, which:
    • Keeps costs in-line with projections
    • Leads to better decision-making for profit
    • Captures a more realistic idea of revenue potential
  3. Compare industry trends with local economic projections and building permit data
  4. Determine if your rates are competitive and reasonable
  5. Develop a concise business plan
  6. Evaluate direct cost expenses (project-related labor, materials, subcontractors)
  7. Evaluate industry trends
  8. Identify cash flow variances based on time of year and competition
  9. Reinforce planning/financial goals (and adjust when necessary)

Our Success Depends on Yours

Construction Monitor believes data-driven decisions are shaping the global market for every industry, including construction. Our mission is to provide construction analytics and information you need for success. Call 800-925-6085 (International callers 435-586-1205) or contact Construction Monitor to learn more.

4 Ways to Use Building Permits

Building Permits

Few can predict the future, but economists try. U.S. economists watch building permit application trends very carefully. They review monthly statistics. Based on the number and types of building permits applied for by homeowners, land developers, and businesses, economists can reveal “economic indicators.”

Let’s say you’re considering expanding your flooring business. There has been a marked increase in single-family home building permits in one region just outside your service area.

You’ll cultivate the contractors and builders winning the new construction bids. But it might be worth your time and money to add a satellite center in an area that will be frequented by the new homeowners.

That’s one way to use building permits data to grow your business. Here are four more:

1. Competitive Analysis

If your business is doing more than it can handle, work that success and expand. If your competitor is getting the work you need, figure out why. Use building permits information to determine the relationships your competitors have with customers, builders, architects, and plumbing contractors. Analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Develop your marketing strategy to build upon your strengths and take advantage of their weaknesses.

2. Demand Generation

When building permits reports indicate remodeling business permits are dwindling (and your business depends on renovations and conversions), take advantage of the downtime to create demand. This is the time to educate buyers about what your business can do for them.

Substitute your product or service word in place of the word “it.”

One customer said, “I didn’t know I needed it until you told me how great it was. Then I wanted it.”

That’s demand generation.

3. Demographic Data

Where are your industry’s products/services most utilized in your locale, state, and in the country? Those areas are great places to be but using building permits information can give you the information edge: Where are the demographic areas that will soon need your services?

4. Opportunities and Risks

You may understand how building permits can reveal opportunities. With targeted analysis, you will also be able to pinpoint marked economic downturn and potential risks.

Call 800-925-6085 (international callers 435-586-1205) or contact Construction Monitor to discuss how up-to-date information can benefit your organization.

Why Windows Require Building Permits

building permits for windows

Construction data included in building permits reveals that both window retrofits and new installations are more popular than ever. Homeowners who are getting these new windows, however, often have a question: Why is a building permit required in the first place for the usually simple process of installing new windows? 

County building departments actually do have valid reasons for ensuring that replacement windows are subject to the permit process. Here’s why certain specifics about window installations often appear in building permit data:

Safety

Not all windows are created equal nor installed in similar places in a residence. Many building codes require windows in certain locations to have tempered glass rather than standard glass (i.e., windows immediately next to a door, windows that extend all the way to the floor, and windows in or near a bathtub or shower). 

Tempered glass is more resilient than standard glass; plus, it shatters into small pieces rather than splintering into more hazardous sharp splinters. Thus, tempered is considered safer in these locations and must be stipulated in building permit data.

Egress

Egress means that windows installed in bedrooms need to be openable and large enough for an adult-sized person to climb out in the event of a fire or other emergency. 

However, some existing homes may have been built before the egress safety standard became common. In that case, upgrading windows in bedrooms of these homes may require also enlarging the opening and/or other changes to accommodate today’s standards. To verify compliance, this alteration must appear in the building permit.

Style Matters

It’s not just finicky neighbors who want all houses to blend into the neighborhood. In many locales, the building department does, too. To that end, building permit data may require details about the replacement window style to ensure it doesn’t clash with other houses. For example, installing cheap, bare aluminum window frames might be prohibited by the building code in a neighborhood with traditional homes that have more subtle, classic frame styles.

For more information about construction data included in building permits for windows (and why), contact Construction Monitor.