Commercial Spending, Infrastructure Boosts Engineering and Construction Industry

construction industry

In 2020, while many businesses floundered, Dollar General’s sales increased by 16.3%, and operating profits grew to $3.6 billion. Dollar General announced it will add 1,050 stores in 2021, with plans to double the size of its current 17,000 stores. The two designs feature 8,500 and 9,500 square feet. In 2021, about 700 stores featuring the larger design will sell produce and meat. Self-checkout stations will also be included.

Dunkin’ Donuts opened its thousandth “Next Generation” restaurant in March 2021. The store’s design meets DD Green Achievement status for energy savings by using sustainable materials. Efficiency elements include LED lighting, low-flow faucets, and energy-efficient equipment.

And Shoe Carnival plans massive renovations for 2021.

“An uptick in public and commercial spending” could make 2021 a profitable year for the construction industry, says Deloitte. Retail expansions and development will feature prominently, but another factor influencing construction industry developments is digital investment.

Construction Industry To See $3-4 Trillion Infrastructure Proposal

President Biden was scheduled to release details of a huge infrastructure proposal on March 31, 2021. The proposal should include “significant investments to repair roads, bridges and railways, as well as other key elements of an aging and, in some places, dilapidated US core infrastructure system,” said CNN.

Digital Data and Your Construction Industry Business

Our software statistics were some companies’ first experience with the construction digital transformation process. David Mineer

National construction industry news impacts every one of us. Just as some companies are growing, expanding space and operations, some engineering and construction firms are thriving in their local markets. We believe those companies invest in digital information to develop marketing leads and better-manage projects.

We learned from 2008. We learned from 2020. If you aren’t sure how Construction Monitor’s presorted building permits and construction industry data can benefit your company, please ask us. That’s how you learn.

5 Habits of Effective Construction Business Teams

construction business teams

Do you know someone that attributes failure to “bad luck?” Have you also noticed those types of people rarely have “good luck?” Effective construction business teams don’t depend on luck. They plan for success and it usually happens.

Here’s how:

1. Automate To Save Time

You hear so much about “communication” being the most effective management tool. But project managers spend 80% of their time communicating.

The problem is DIY (do-it-yourself) face-to-face communications vs. automated communications. DIY communications involve meetings to discuss one topic, but every team member has a project-related issue or question that is important. So you deal with seven critical but off-topic issues. This extends your 30-minute meeting to two hours.

Software automation also saves time trying to track people down for signatures and approvals.

2. Create Accountability

“No excuses” should be the construction business team’s mantra. Ultimately, the project manager is accountable for the project. But every project team should identify a go-to for:

  • Cash flow/profits
  • Change order management
  • Customer care
  • Project costs vs. budget
  • Project status
  • Subcontractors

3. Employ Proactive Project Management

If you’re unsure you’re a proactive construction business project manager, ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I usually surprised by change orders and RFIs?
  • Are most days’ goals usually trashed by 10:00 a.m.?
  • Are my projects usually over-budget? Late?
  • Do I hit contingency funds early and often?
  • Do I spend most of my time putting out fires?
  • Do my project reports feature last month’s data?

“Yes” answers indicate you’re functioning in reactive, not proactive, mode.

4. Follow the DMAIC Approach

Seek continuous improvement on every project:

  • Define
  • Measure
  • Analyze
  • Improve
  • Control

5. Use Technology

Real-time project status is not an option. It’s a necessity. Cost-management software will track and control risks as soon as they are known. When you share this construction business information, project stakeholders can make faster, better-informed decisions.

Top general contractors deliver world-class facilities by hiring superior talent and improving productivity which in turn enhance construction productivity and competitive advantage.IndustryDive*

Building Better Construction Businesses Since 1989

Construction Monitor was one of the first technology-driven companies in the construction business. We take building permit information and customized it for project managers and construction company marketing developers.

Learn how to use data analytics for historic perspectives and business-building. We can customize your information, your way.

Contact us today.

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*Construction Monitor does not recommend nor endorse any technology company products (except ours). References are for informational use only.

How Would PRO Act Impact Construction Business?

construction industry

Passage of the PRO Act would represent the biggest change in labor law in decades. –National Law Review

On March 9, 2021, the United States House of Representatives passed the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. They also passed it in 2019, but it never made it out of the Senate. The bill currently has 45 backers. It needs 60.

The impact on construction business operations could be profound because PRO passage may reclassify some independent contractors as employees.

Construction Business Operations Depend on Independent Contractors

Independent contractors step in when short-term talent is needed. Employers don’t pay benefits, workers’ compensation, or withhold taxes. It’s an uncomplicated business arrangement that is beneficial to employers. We use the IRS guidelines to define construction business independent contractors and their work. If passed, the PRO Act would make employment guidelines much more stringent. It would also expand unionization rights.

Workers will be considered employees unless:

  • The service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer.
  • The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed.
  • The worker is free from control and direction in connection with the performance of the service, both under the contract for the performance of service and in fact.

Most of the time, an independent contractor’s work is performed within “the usual course of business.” This could be the most significant change and there will be harsh penalties ($50,000-$100,000) for violations, including miscommunicating to the worker what their role is (employee vs. independent contractor). Those fines could be devastating to a small construction business.

The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) have said the independent contractor provision will increase costs for construction business employers by $12.1 billion annually. The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) says, “The PRO Act is anti-worker, anti-privacy, and anti-recovery.”

Data for Construction Business Building

Construction Monitor is the source for U.S. building statistics. Call 800.925.6085 (International/435.586.1205) or contact us to learn more about ways to use building permit data to build your business.

4 Vaccine Incentives for Hesitant Construction Business Workers

construction business workers

Despite being considered at higher risk for COVID-19, workers least likely to get COVID vaccinations are employed in:

  1. Food/beverage (53%)
  2. Transportation (50%)
  3. Retail (48%)
  4. Construction business (47%)

Project and other managers “might have their work cut out for them” if they plan to require or simply encourage vaccination among construction business employees says Construction Dive.

Construction Business Owners Hesitant Too

This is truly a damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t situation. The majority of construction workers want to be protected and are willing to vaccinate. The other percentage may be wary or even angry about vaccination or mask-wearing. Construction business owners are facing legal liabilities from both sectors.

Employers can mandate that their employees get the vaccine. Such a rule would require them to navigate federal laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and other federal, state, and local regulations.

4 Incentive Ideas

You are advised to consult with an attorney before implementing any of these incentive ideas for construction business employees:

  1. Paid sick leave day-after vaccination(s) if needed – This one is tricky; something similar may need to be offered to employees unwilling or unable to get the vaccination(s).
  2. Paid time off – Encourage vaccination during work hours and offer pay for the number of hours required to get vaccination(s).
  3. Provide education – Make information about the benefits of vaccination readily available to employees. Consider an onsite class led by a medical professional, complete with a questions-and-answers session.
  4. Vaccine clinic onsite – Invite a team of medical professionals to set-up a vaccination clinic at the project worksite.

Valuable Information for Your Construction Business

The possibilities for Construction Monitor building permit data are exciting. You can develop business leads but maybe, more importantly, you gain valuable information from your customized datasorts. And it’s the kind of information that can drive construction business decisions.

Informed decisions are best, and Construction Monitor has the information you need. Call 800-925-6085 or contact us today.

U.S. Construction Industry Winners (and Losers)

construction industry

We’ve officially put 2020 behind us, but the damage control is still very real for many of us in the construction industry. Some people said the deadly virus only affected those who were aging, frail, or in poor health. That’s not true. All of us were/are at-risk for COVID and all of us have been affected by it.

The same people are saying the pandemic only affected construction industry companies that were aging, frail, or in poor health. That isn’t necessarily true either.

How the Construction Industry Fared: Pandemic 2020

March 2020 marked the unofficial beginning of the pandemic, and in the 10 months that followed, Texas lost 35,600 construction industry jobs, with Houston losing the majority: 24,500 jobs. New York came in second place followed by Florida and New Jersey.

Seasonally adjusted, construction industry employment for the year dropped in 34 states. Vermont had the largest percentage of jobs lost since the pandemic; twenty-three percent (3,400 jobs).

“AGC (Associated General Contractors of America)…said demand for construction will continue to suffer until the coronavirus is under control,” says Joe Bosquin, construction industry reporter. The AGC “urged federal officials to enact measures to help stem additional job losses in the sector. These new measures should include new federal investments in infrastructure, backfilling depleted state and local construction budgets, and moving quickly to forgive Paycheck Protection Program loans issued last year.”

However, 15 states and D.C. saw jobs increased since the onset of the pandemic: Virginia was the big winner with 10,800 jobs added. Utah and Alabama followed. Alabama also had the highest percentage (6.4%) of jobs gained for the entire year.

States With Highest 2020 Percentages Employment Losses

  1. Vermont
  2. New Jersey
  3. Delaware
  4. North Dakota
  5. Iowa
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Louisiana
  8. New York
  9. Nevada
  10. New Mexico
  11. Ohio

States With Highest 2020 Percentages Employment Increases

  1. Alabama
  2. Utah
  3. South Dakota
  4. Virginia
  5. Maine
  6. South Carolina
  7. Idaho
  8. Wyoming
  9. Kentucky
  10. Missouri

Timing Is Everything

Within the last 12 months, 2,097,370 building permits were entered throughout the United States. Your business-building professionals at Construction Monitor say timing is everything in a competitive construction industry. (And the construction industry has always been competitive.)

The construction companies that will be winners in 2021 will take advantage of the information we offer. If you want the tools that build success, contact Construction Monitor today.

Construction Technology: Ways We Can Work Together

construction technology

We talk about construction industry-related businesses as if there are non-construction industry-related businesses. The fact is construction impacts every business, every person. Probably the greatest benefit we’ve realized from construction technology is the ability to connect.

Construction is the foundation of nearly every other industry.Autodesk

The Value of Connecting Using Construction Technology

Construction projects today are more complex. Failure to recognize that our processes need to be managed differently can put your company at the bottom of the food chain. No one will need your services because you can’t deliver what others can.

Possibly the most important key to becoming a leader in construction projects – from bidding through delivery – is developing an effective communication chain using construction technology.

Yes, you’re going to need software.*

Traditionally, every project is separated into sectors and each sector does its own thing. This has been the only way to work we knew, and it led to miscommunication, duplicated efforts, wasted time and materials, and do-overs.

“Predictability” is programmed into construction technology software. Based on proven probabilities, you can now make more informed decisions; that’s critical. But making those decisions while connecting in real-time with key players is even more important.

Construction technology drives:

  • Collaboration
  • Ongoing insights into project performance
  • Real-time data available to every sector and every team

And more. You’ll also realize:

Better Bidding

Your relationships with construction professionals that have mentored you are valuable. Bidding software supplements those relationships and builds new relationships.

You’ll be able to bid quickly and with greater accuracy than ever before. Autodesk says its software can even “de-risk partner selection.” You may find partnering with friends isn’t as profitable as making new friends.

Software Technology for Project Development

Building permit information is free, but the information you need is unique. Building permit data is like the top of a huge funnel. You have to sort the information several times to get what you can use.

The Construction Monitor team has tried manually sorting the information from broad-and-generic to what you need. It takes a lot of time and effort. Do you really want to do it yourself? Our software works faster and delivers proven results.

Tell us what you want, what you need. We’ll partner with you to find profitable leads. Contact Construction Monitor today.

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*Construction Monitor does not endorse nor recommend any software brand or company (except ours). The information we share is for educational use only.

Insurance for Small Construction Business Contractors

small construction business contractors

Large, global construction firms have attorneys on retainer, but they also have the best insurance coverage possible. If you’re a small contractor or subcontractor company, one liability lawsuit can throw your construction business under the bus.

6 Things You Should Know About Construction Business Insurance

You don’t want to pay more for insurance than you have to. What you want is to be able to insurance-shop and gain a knowledgeable perspective. Even if your best friend is an insurance professional, “shop around,” says biBERK chief operating officer Rakesh Gupta.

1. Bundle

You can save more money if you can bundle insurance policies. This is also more convenient because you have a one-stop-shop for your construction business insurance.

2. Check Subcontractors’ Insurance

File proof of subcontractor insurance before they start the job.

3. Commercial Auto Insurance

Your cousin needs a job, but she’s had several fender-benders. Your construction business pays more for bad drivers. Good drivers make good employees for many reasons, not the least of which is you’ll pay lower auto insurance.

4. Pay Higher Deductibles

The higher your deductibles, the lower your premiums. But always have your deductible amount set aside for that rainy day when a claim is filed. Gupta says choosing a higher deductible and “hoping for the best” can have serious financial consequences for your construction business.

5. Promote Safety

X-MOD is used to calculate your insurance rates. Make safety a priority in the workplace. Promote injury-free days. Actively setting and promoting safety standards can give you a better X-MOD (experience modification) ratio.

6. Workers’ Comp

How this insurance is priced is based on classification codes. The classification codes tell insurance companies the risk level for that worker. You don’t need office workers in the same classification as an onsite employee. However, that frequently occurs, and when it does, a construction business pays more for insurance than necessary.

Use Available Information To Better-Manage Your Business

Finally, make a point to review your insurance coverage annually. You’ve bought more equipment, hired more, laid off more. Construction business changes are a fact of life. You may need to reduce or increase your coverage, but you won’t know if you don’t look.

Many things have happened within the construction business industry that were beyond your control. But you can control your insurance costs if you’re involved. It’s worth your time.

You also have complete control of business development and marketing plans. Construction Monitor data analyses are worth your time, too. Contact us for more information.

4 Reasons Why Our Construction Industry Is Changing

Construction Industry

The construction industry changes within the last 10 years have been profound. Here’s why:

1. Client Expectations

It’s no longer enough to have a portfolio that displays what you did for someone else. (But don’t throw it out or delete that website page – its value has not diminished in the least.)

Technology demands you be able to show clients what you can do for them. Clients expect their construction projects to be customized, specific, and they expect energy-efficient solutions and improved safety-and-health options.

2. Less Resistance To Change

The construction industry is historically slow to embrace change but that in itself has been our biggest revolution. And the new, tech-driven jobs are attracting valuable talent, eager to create and build.

3. Startups Are Thriving

The new kids on the block are finding construction industry market opportunities fast. They’re also quick to locate funding.

4. Technology Innovations

The possibilities are limitless! Additive printing, augmented and virtual reality, drones, robotics, and additive printing; construction industry professionals say hardware and software investments are well worth it.

Continuing To Trend: Key Influencers

Technological and digital trends that will continue to evolve and dominate our industry include:

  • BIM – Building information modeling is 5-D technology that has been a game-changer for the construction industry. It will continue to be a foundation for project decision-making.
  • Building materials – Introduction of new building materials (like self-healing concrete) will lower materials costs as well as improve quality and safety.
  • Digital workflows – Workflow solutions deliver better design management, materials tracking, scheduling, crew management, and more.
  • High-definition surveying – GPS, new photo technologies; 3-D laser scanning will continue to improve turnaround times and accuracy.
  • Productivity management – In addition to workflow software solutions, NFC (near-field-communication) devices and sensors improve construction industry productivity.

Construction Monitor Technology Builds Business

Building permit information is a key influencer in developing business leads. With one report, you can learn more about commercial, residential, and solar construction projects in your area than from any other source.

Request a sample edition. If you have questions, contact us today.

2021 Construction Projects Reflect Optimism

Construction Projects

This may be the year data center construction projects make headlines, but what about companies that were hard-hit by last year’s pandemic? Some companies’ construction projects crashed and burned. Others stalled out but eventually continued as-planned with a new completion time.

Without a doubt, some nonresidential building sectors have been hit harder than others by the COVID-19 pandemic.Joe Bousquin

Down, Not Out

No industry was hit as hard as office spaces or hospitality and lodging; it may take years for a full recovery. But here are some construction projects that continued through 2020 despite being hard-hit:

  • citizenM – Dutch hotel chain opened two sites last year and is currently working in Boston and Washington, D.C.
  • CoverMyMeds – This $240 million healthcare office development pushed construction through the pandemic and is scheduled to open in spring 2021. Touchless systems, air scrubbers, and air quality sensors are some of the features.
  • IHG Hotels & Resorts – A Miami site was announced in November 2020; currently, 20 properties are in development.

2021 International Projects To Watch

The construction industry will strive to put economic uncertainties behind us while we make optimistic projections for the future. There’s a lot going on in the U.S. that bears watching, but here are some high-profile international projects:

  • Al-Zour mega-refinery – Texas company Fluor teams with Daewoo Engineering and Hyundai Heavy Industries on this $16 billion refinery in Kuwait. It’s predicted to be one of the largest refineries in the world.
  • Hong Kong International Airport – UK’s Balfour Beatty is constructing a $1.6 billion airport expansion.
  • P180 office building – Skanska of Sweden is working on this $94 million Warsaw, Poland, project, scheduled for 2022 completion.
  • Victoria Cross Tower – Lendlease has several North American construction projects in-the-works but this $1.2 billion development is “home” in Sydney, Australia.

Building Business Since 1989

We’ve helped companies develop marketing strategies that have led to construction projects and winning bids. Let our data professionals at Construction Monitor partner with you to make this year one of your best. Contact Construction Monitor or email us to get started.

Women in Construction: Getting Out of The Office

women in construction

The total employment of women in construction is very low, 10.3% in 2020. And most of those jobs are front-office, not front-lines.

Of all the women employed in construction, 45% of them are in office or administrative roles. An average jobsite has one woman on-the-job for every 100 men. But 44% of the 100 top construction companies’ executives are women; that’s a good percentage.

Help Wanted: Women in Construction

Here’s to strong women.
May we know them. May we be them.

May we raise them. -Michelle Obama

Obstacles women face on the jobsite include:

  • Discrimination
  • Exclusion
  • Fewer management role models (other women) available
  • Fewer opportunities for advancement
  • Gender pay gaps
  • Greater risk for injury from poor-fitting safety equipment

The construction boom we’re anticipating will hit hard in 2022 with about two million new jobs predicted. We’ll face a shortage of skills like never before.

Smart companies will begin the push-to-hire now, if at all economically possible. And studies show that more diversity – women in construction – improves a company’s profitability by 25%.

Recruiting women is possible if you emphasize training programs and support mentorship. You might consider designing a construction boot camp for girls this summer.

Some of the organizations for women in construction include:

And many states have their own organizations for women in construction. Check the web to learn more.

Women in Construction Week March 7-13, 2021

Now Through Feb. 12, 2021, you can nominate yourself or a co-worker for Construction Dive’s recognition of top female leaders in construction. Categories include:

  • Industry veteran – More than 25 years in the construction industry
  • Mentor
  • Other
  • Rising star – Under the age of 30
  • Tradeswoman leader
  • Up-and-coming leader – Over the age of 30

Change Begins With You

Construction Monitor follows industry change so we can better support your company. You can study employment trends with Construction Monitor building permits’ analytics. Or you can develop sales leads and become the change we’re following.

Contact us today.