The Realities of Construction Business

construction business

We’re common-sense people in a down-to-earth industry. Nothing is more “real” than working with your hands. But instead of using hands-on building tools, we need to embrace hands-on building device technology. The realities of your construction business are going to be driven by AR and VR.

AR and VR in Construction Business Projects

AR is augmented reality and VR is virtual reality. These terms are used with other types of realities, and here are the differences:

  • AR – Augmented reality uses the camera on your smartphone to add digital elements to a live view.
  • MR – Mixed reality combines AR and VR.
  • VR – Virtual reality takes you out of the physical world and into a simulated environment where you can ride a dragon or swim with sharks.
  • XR – Extended reality covers all the technologies that provide information, real-world or virtual.

These technologies will never take the place of solid architectural designs and quality workmanship. But their value-added can make a huge difference in how we operate.

Real-World Uses: AR and VR

Here are 3 examples of using AR and VR to transform difficult-to-imagine construction business designs and visions.

  1. Communication – Construction business poor communication is cited too often as the cause of project failures. “But miscommunication can launch a project into a tailspin,” says Unity Technologies. With about $177.5 billion spent every year fixing construction mistakes, any opportunity for improvement is welcome.
    A meeting can use AR and VR to take everyone to the site. Everyone can see and understand how what you’re explaining will be realized in real life. Project team members can collaborate to solve potential problems they see rather than imagine. One meeting attendee said, “Watching team members tweak the design and take notes on it in real-time was incredible.”
  2. Designs – When a design company hit a “wall” trying to explain how its skyscraper could enhance – not ruin – a skyline view, the company used AR. They created a prototype using 3D modeling and geolocating. They took the client on virtual walks to show how the building would look when completed.
  3. Training – Finding talent is challenging enough. Training and retaining workers is a whole different ballgame. AR and VR can give onboarding workers real-jobsite experiences in a safe, controlled environment. They can learn about construction business hazards and how to manage risk.

We share technology every week with construction businesses throughout the U.S. and globally. Call 800.925.6085 (International/435.586.1205) or contact Construction Monitor. Our goal is to increase your business. What’s your goal?

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*Construction Monitor does not endorse nor recommend any software brand (except ours) for construction technology applications.

Construction Firms’ Concrete Contractors Go Digital

concrete contractors

A survey revealed 89% of construction firms and specialty trades use building information modeling (BIM). Concrete contractors have many incentives to adopt digital layouts:

  • Improves accuracy
  • Increases layout versatility
    • Easier placement of nonlinear shapes
  • Saves time
    • Easier multistream home office coordination
    • Simplified workflow

But the biggest incentive is ROI (return on investment). Construction firms say the “payback” is swift:

  • “Only need 1 person-layout.”
  • “Paid for itself in 2 jobs.”
  • “Paid for itself in 2 months.”
  • “Saves time on every project.”

Concrete Construction Firms Say “Goodbye Batter Boards, Plumb Bobs, Tapes, and Strings”

If the project is large, walking back-and-forth with strings is tedious and time-consuming. “And the further you stretch the strings, the less accurate your measurement becomes,” says one concrete professional. Using traditional layouts, your margin of error includes:

  • Calculating correct angles/degrees
  • Complex layouts – angles/arcs/curves
  • Difficult onsite weather conditions that move the tapes/strings
  • Keeping the tapes/strings steady
  • Verifying distances more than once

If your concrete construction firm hasn’t made the move to digital, you may soon find yourself unable to compete. One foundation specialist said with BIM software, “I’ve done as many as 4 layouts before noon, starting at 8:30 a.m…I couldn’t do that the old way.”

Teams’ Transition to Digital Easy

Our crews had no trouble adapting. I was pleased with how
quickly they picked it up.
Josh Hollingshead, Sobcun Concrete

Shortly after digital conversion, concrete crews are able to use:

  • Field-controller tablet computers
  • Optical instruments that more precisely measure horizontal/vertical angles and distance
  • Pole-mounted reflecting prisms
  • Software that provides a streamlined, intuitive approach to measurements and workflow
    • “Within minutes, we were ready to lay out the foundation.”

You have plenty of software options. But nothing is set in stone (or concrete). Read. Ask questions. Learn what’s available and how much money it can save – or make – your company.

Construction Monitor has developed software that takes huge amounts of information and sorts it into easy-to-use, actionable information for your company, your locale. If you don’t use it, you lose it – business opportunities, that is.

Contact Construction Monitor marketing professionals today.

Construction Business Onsite Connectivity: What You Need

Construction Business Onsite Connectivity

By now you know that miscommunication – or complete lack of communication – is expensive in the construction business. Time truly is money in our industry, and if you’re spending too much time feeling disconnected from here-and-now on project jobsites, you’re not alone.

Real-Time Construction Business Tools

Real-time connectivity connects the reality of work-in-progress to the office. Yes, we’re talking about software. Again. But the difference between on-time and within-budget vs. rework and delays can be staggering sums of money. If software can make a difference (and it can), it’s worth a shot.

Jobsite connectivity software should include:

  • 3D building models
    • Optimize machine operation
    • Tracking productivity
    • Delivering as-built documentation
  • Data preparation for construction takeoff
  • Design changeability
  • Estimating earthwork/material quantities for bids
  • Remote jobsite monitoring/real-time progress-to-plan
  • Tracking – work completed/remaining

4 Benefits of Real-Time Connectivity

In addition to saving time, saving money, and losing that frustrating feeling that you’re spinning your wheels, connecting your solutions can include:

  1. Better construction business efficiency
  2. Enhanced jobsite visibility for managers, supervisors, and stakeholders
  3. On-time project delivery/fewer delays
  4. Real-time, onsite productivity information, field-to-office

Outcomes Should Justify Their Trust and Your Power

Technology connects us…unites us…amplifies our power. -Vivienne Harr

Your clients have entrusted you with their projects. Your construction business has the power to maximize profit potentials with the right software technology. Software for a “connected jobsite” should seamlessly integrate workflows while giving you the confidence you’re studying up-to-date information and visualizing real-time designs and models.

If a construction business software investment can maximize productivity and minimize your concerns, it’s worth it. Construction Monitor endorses all software that has the power to improve construction business quality and increase profits. Our company knows the presorted and customized data analytics we provide can win bids and generate leads for your construction business.

Ask us how.

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*Construction Monitor does not recommend nor endorse any brand of construction business software (except our own).

The Construction Industry and Life Sciences Projects

When your 7th grader says she is studying “life sciences,” you might be puzzled by that term. It’s what we called “biology” in school. Life sciences is the study of living organisms:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Botany
  • Microbiology
  • Physiology
  • Zoology

…and more. It’s a sector of the medical research and development industry that is taking off like a rocket. Or as reporter Sebastian Obando puts it, “the life sciences gold rush.”

Construction Industry Projects for Science Studies Have Special Code Considerations

A life science construction project isn’t as cut-and-dried as an office or retail complex. There are building codes to follow defining how many chemicals are allowed in a laboratory structure. For research scientists, the more the better, so one of your jobs is to maximize the number of chemicals allowed.

Current building codes allow for more chemicals on ground and bottom floors. You can request design strategies that allow for more chemicals on upper floors.

The Devil’s in the Details

A commercial property’s ultimate use in the life sciences sector is critical. You need to know how much, what kind of, and where equipment will be located. Retrofitting and repurposing those empty office buildings to serve as life sciences space is the construction industry challenge. But it has its rewards: Demand is high and so are profits.

Typically, buildings that offer a 20-to-25-foot column-free span from the perimeter work well to provide lab bench areas with lab support and offices towards the interior core…generally steel will offer the most flexibility in a retrofit.Joseph Whalen, Suffolk New York 

Life science buildings require stronger weight-bearing infrastructures, specific floor-to-ceiling heights, and more to be converted from an office or retail space to a laboratory. With 2021 past the halfway mark, an anticipated $90 billion is anticipated to be invested in the life sciences sector.

You Can Watch It Happen or Make It Happen

Building permit information can be sorted into marketing leads for your company. Analyzing the data you receive from Construction Monitor is great. But taking action to increase profits is what we intended for you. It’s not rocket science (or life science) but if you aren’t sure how this works, just ask us. Contact Construction Monitor today.

What Makes a Strong Construction Project Manager?

construction project manager

A construction project manager needs skills and qualities that justify and reinforce his or her leadership position. If you’ve ever worked with or for a bad construction project manager, you know exactly which problems arose from poor leadership and usually, poor communication.

Qualities a Construction Project Manager Should Have

In my opinion, all leaders have one thing in common—they do, as opposed to just talk. Leadership is about action, not position. Eric Sheninger, ICLE

Qualities are born, not made. Your qualities as a person were formed genetically and during your childhood. They were influenced by family and friends as you developed.

Some of the qualities you need as a project manager include:

  • Adaptability
  • Compassion
  • Enthusiasm
  • Honor
  • Low panic threshold
  • Problem-solving tendencies
  • Trustworthiness

There are many more good qualities project managers need that make them successful leaders.

Skills Can Be Cultivated

You can develop good communication skills. Some authorities list good communication as a quality, but it’s a skill you can learn.

Skills and experience as well as qualities are core competencies. “If a project manager can run a $15 million project and make money, they must be doing those things correctly,” says Construction Business Owner.

In addition to superior communication skills, construction project managers’ skills include:

  • Ability to deal with uncertainty – Alert the media if a construction project ever has a cookie-cutter script to follow. Project managers balance the frustration of ambiguity with here’s-what-we-know and work it.
  • Proactive planning skills – Effective construction project managers plan for worst-case scenarios and strive to attain best-case results. And they always have a Plan B.

Construction Monitor Data Analytics for Business Development

If your goal is to become a great construction project manager, market analysis is another skill you’ll need to develop. You should know what’s happening with the construction industry globally. More importantly, you should know your construction industry dynamics at home; where you live.

Construction Monitor data analytics can make that happen. Every week, we offer the most up-to-date information available for your state, county, community. Contact us today to learn how local information can become a project management tool.

How to Streamline Construction Processes

construction processes

Six years ago we blogged about construction issues related to miscommunication. Three years later, our industry lost $31.3 billion to rework caused by miscommunication. Thanks to technology, we have continued to perfect construction processes, but project managers still spend about 4 hours/week on miscommunications, including poorly documented data.

Clearly, communications rank high among the construction processes upon which we should focus. But technology continues to provide ways for us to reduce errors and rework.

Construction Processes, Management: An Automated Alternative

How do you gain insight into a process that’s frequently long, complex, and expensive? How do you measure progress, enforce QA/QC, share insights, promote collaboration, and create a single source of truth?Construction Dive

Project progress reports are another form of communication. In addition to being informative, they reassure stakeholders and inspire confidence in backers. Using 360-degree visuals as a management tool provides insight into the realities of each construction project.

Benefits include:

  • Minimizing project costs
  • Reducing project site risks
  • Winning more work (see: “making more money”)

Using 3D visuals isn’t new technology. But incorporating them into a management software platform is “new and improved” among construction processes. This can save days – not just hours – in construction design alone.

As-built documentation can:

Enhance progress management – “In the old days, if you spotted an issue, you went to the engineer with an RFI. It might take a couple of days to get an answer back.” Days are reduced to hours.

  • Improve productivity and work quality – Stakeholders can view digital models and as-built at the same time.
  • Improve safety protocols – One project dog/camera (aka “Spot”) roams the project site making 360° videos. This provides transparency, increases onsite safety, and offers investors another avenue of risk management.
  • Minimize project costs – Yes, it’s an investment. But it’s an investment that pays off.
  • Slant project bids in your favor (win more work/make more money) – Delivers better scope of work and adds trust as a bidding factor, making your company more competitive.

Save Time, Make Money With Customized Data

Technologies like BIM (business information modeling), VDC (virtual design and construction), and the software platforms that deliver them appear to have measurable ROI (return on investment). In fact, if you’ve invested in construction industry-specific software that didn’t deliver what you hoped, we’d be interested in your feedback.

Meanwhile, we believe the best software for business-building is ours. Request a free edition.

Contact Construction Monitor to learn how our data analytics can streamline your marketing program.

Aging-Out Re-Emphasizes Need for More Construction Workers

construction workers

We emphasize technology and investing in it for better project management. But we need humans to build homes and commercial properties. Construction workers’ median age is 41, based on 2019 survey data. That’s a contributing factor to the current construction workers shortage.

Construction Workers Declined During Office-Jobs Push

For many years, it was a cultural thing in our country to steer our kids toward the college path. Despite the earnings potential of working in the trades (to say nothing of the burdensome student loans), young people were encouraged to avoid construction work. The career track leading to construction was almost completely devalued.

The fairly recent cultural concept that manual labor is not a good job is an important contributor to what will soon be an aging-out-of-the-workforce situation. Construction workers must be physically healthy to do the work, and the statistics support the claim that we need to recruit younger workers.

In addition to 41 being the median age of construction workers:

  • First-line supervisors’ median age is 46.
  • Midwestern construction workers average under 38 years of age.
  • Supervisor helpers had the youngest median age; 30.
  • U.S. East Coast construction workers tend to be the oldest.

The AGC (Associated General Contractors of America) is spearheading recruiting drives and also asking President Biden to discontinue unemployment pandemic supplements for construction workers. While half our states agreed the unemployment program is disincentivizing U.S. workers, several states restored the unemployment benefits.

Construction Is Essential

AGC’s “Construction is Essential” program focuses on attracting, training, and retaining construction workers. They are seeking federal funding for career and technical education programs as well as partnering with community colleges and technical schools.

The push to recruit is timely because we need our 40-something workers to share skills and information with new-hires. “You need to fill [those positions] while some of the folks are still there so that they can help transfer what they know to the next generation of workers,” said Brian Turmail, AGC’s vice president of public affairs & strategic initiatives at the Associated General Contractors of America.

You Can Be Your Community’s Construction Authority

You can coordinate recruiting and public speaking events to share the need for construction workers now. You can also write your own blogs and newspaper articles. Information-sharing is a way to building your company’s brand and also finding employees during a workforce shortage.

Call 800-925-6085 (international 001-435-586-1205) for more information. We also offer Live Chat.

Construction Professionals’ Refusal To Get Vaccinations Raises Alarms

COVID-19 vaccinations in Construction Industry

Being classified as “essential workers” along with medical personnel assured construction professionals what we do is valued. We are valued. But even though we were among the first to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, the percentage of construction workers getting the vaccination remains low.

Promoting Vaccinations Among Construction Professionals

Construction companies that want their workers to be vaccinated have their work cut out for them. Construction Dive

Not only do contractors and project managers face challenges in promoting COVID-19 vaccinations, but author Robyn Griggs Lawrence says their skepticism is “raising alarm bells for public health officials.” Researchers are trying to understand what’s behind construction workers’ reluctance to get the vaccination. They say until we can understand and address construction professionals’ concerns, we cannot effectively promote vaccination.

Reasons Why

Basically, U.S. construction workers say they don’t trust the vaccine and they don’t trust our government. Some of them believe the misinformation they read online. Many believe the rush to get the vaccine out of the lab and into our arms means the developers may have cut corners, making the vaccine unsafe.

Construction professionals are usually young and healthy, and the majority believe the vaccine is unnecessary. One-third of the unvaccinated population believe they have to pay for the shots, which are free to everyone. 

Then there’s the political side of the pro- and anti-vaccinators. The blue states had higher vaccination rates than the red states. Poll results indicate 91% of Democrats and 51% of Republicans were willing to get the vaccination. 

Cultural, Political Objections Prove Difficult to Overcome

The mindset challenges to the COVID-19 vaccination are cultural and political. That’s a difficult mix to overcome. With the exception of religious or medical reasons, not getting the vaccination is proving to be problematic.

Already, the Delta variant is spreading faster among unvaccinated populations. This can lead to another labor shortage for construction companies if we can’t persuade our employees to get vaccinated.

Contact Construction Monitor for information about overcoming business development slumps. We have a marketing strategy that provides business-building leads.

Using BIM, VDC to Improve Construction Bidding and Planning

BIM = Business information modeling
VDC = Virtual design and construction

Construction Bidding and Planning

Seven years ago, we in the construction industry pondered the pros and cons of BIM software. BIM was new-to-us at that point but the concept – and the term – was introduced in 1992. Today there’s no doubt there are many advantages to business information modeling and the software that drives it.

VDC followed in 2001 by the CIFE (Center for Integrated Facility Engineering at Stanford University of California). The institution strives to lead the world in academic research for architectural engineering virtual design and construction.

A Competitive Edge in Construction Bidding

“Construction has one of the most costly and time-consuming bidding processes of any industry, owing to the high complexity of projects,” said marketing pro Tyler Riddell. With BIM and VDC, bidders can include a visual, integrated model that includes product and material information.

Your bids will leave no doubt as to the level of organizational efficiency and collaborative abilities of your teams. Your accuracy in estimating costs will also improve, and that usually means greater profits.

Minimize Poor Construction Planning

BIM uses data and 3D modeling to strengthen design concepts for one or more construction project segments. We use it to portray how finished physical objects will appear.

VDC complements BIM. This application incorporates the BIM models into a start-to-finish project presentation. This application “gives each team member access to updated, real-time project information,” says the design software company ALLPLAN, “while optimizing engineering and construction.”

Trying to envision a finished project was difficult for many stakeholders, no matter how accurate the 1- or 2-D drawings and architectural presentations are. VDC can be used to reveal every phase of a construction project.

The software data factors-in:

  • Constructability
  • Costs
  • Staging
  • Turnaround times

BIM and VDC can reduce the issues associated with poor construction planning:

  • Everyone on the project team is able to “see” the end result and each person can speak to the design concepts confidently.
  • It proves the project is doable as-planned.
  • Labor costs can be reduced because you save time taking the design to a deliverable plus it helps you determine what and when labor is needed.
  • Material costs can be reduced because you’ve pre-planned and identified types and layouts. You’ll know when/what to order, staging required, and shipping times.

Ignoring the business management and development tools you have available can be more costly than you realize. Construction Monitor data can help you increase business. Get more information today.

Tips To Minimize Construction Business Hurricane Losses

construction business

If you’re not a boat captain or crew, you probably don’t pay attention to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) announcements until May. That’s when NOAA issues its hurricane season prediction for the year.

Apparently, the 2021 storm season will not be as cruel as 2020. But it will be very active. Again. The prediction is a 60% chance of an above-normal hurricane season.

Following a catastrophic hurricane, there’s a construction business surge from demands for damage repairs. There’s also inflated materials and labor costs.

Construction Business Damage Control: Be Prepared

If you have projects in U.S. coastal regions, now’s the time to review insurance policies. Some policies do not cover earthquake, flood, or hurricane damage.

Then, check with your contractors and subcontractors to confirm their insurance coverage. Next, review your open contracts to review the wording about weather-related delays.

Technology has made hurricane tracking much more accurate. When the first storm warning is issued, you’ll have a good idea of how much time you have to initiate hurricane protocols (the ones you developed before a weather-related disaster).

Here are some tasks to protect your jobsite against the threat of hurricane damage:

  • Assign a “storm leader” to coordinate crew assignments.
  • Document the project’s condition and work status by making a video/photographic record of the job site and surrounding properties.
  • Focus on reducing the storm’s impact; close structural openings, minimize flood risks from groundwater/rainfall, etc.
  • Protect materials and equipment that cannot be moved with netting, banding, anchoring screws, or other materials.

Returning to Work Safely Post-Storm 

Review OSHA’s Hurricane eMatrix guide for post-storm actions. The information will provide employee safety recommendations for returning to work.

  1. Inspect the jobsite.
  2. Determine the damage.
  3. Videotape/photograph the scene.
  4. Notify insurance and owner(s) before making repairs or initiating cleanup.
  5. Communicate who is responsible for repairs and cleanup.
  6. Check the structural integrity of buildings, formwork, scaffolding, etc. and secure/reinforce if needed. 
  7. Remove standing water.
  8. Before re-powering, check all electrical connections, junction boxes, and grounding. Pay attention to extension cords’ condition/placement.
  9. Document all storm-related damage, delays, and losses. Request subcontractors do the same.

Construction Business is Our Business

The marketing professionals at Construction Monitor want to share construction business-related information. But our business is encouraging you to develop your business. No company is too small to have a marketing plan.

Ask us about ways to develop business leads using building permit information. And stay safe this hurricane season.