Higher-Priced Materials Impacting Construction Industry

construction industry

The price of lumber for new-home construction is going “through the roof,” so to speak. But construction industry contractors that were thinking metal-insulated panels on that roof might be cheaper are thinking twice. Prices of lumber and steel saw as much as a 25% increase in February 2021.

Within the construction industry, single-family housing starts are up as are demands for residential renovations. They are seemingly pandemic-driven by stay-at-homeowners that would have used disposable income for travel and group activities. Low-interest rates are another factor, so contractors are being encouraged to pay more – and charge more – for construction.

Pandemic Continues To Affect Steel and Lumber Mills

U.S. mills rode out the pandemic with layoffs and short-shifts. Social distancing requirements called for creative ways to keep workers working. Meanwhile, they let their inventory drop because this time last year, supply exceeded demand.

The steel supply shortage may be short-lived and Boyd Metals believes the pricing will level out. Production was scaled down in 2020 and it will take some time to “fill the pipeline” to meet the increasing demand. But it will happen.

In January 2021, the construction industry began demanding more lumber and it wasn’t available. “The problem is particularly acute in the remodeling business because the pandemic has caused so many people to want to add additional space, especially outside. Contractors and design firms are caught in the middle,” says CNBC.

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Contractors Develop Solutions

Materials that cost more than plywood last year are now looking cost-effective. Without compromising quality or durability, construction industry contractors always find workarounds for challenges. “Be sure to deal with reputable and knowledgeable suppliers,” says Valve Magazine, especially as you seek alternatives to metals.

Exploring new business opportunities and aligning yourself with construction industry leaders is another way to develop solutions. Construction Monitor can help. Our presorted data can ensure you’re the go-to for your area’s construction opportunities.

Learn how to use building permit information to make money. Contact Construction Monitor today or email support@constructionmonitor.com.

Construction Industry Trends and Tools

construction  industry trends

Construction-specific tools are taking over,” says construction content writer Anastasios Koutsogiannis. And he’s talking about data analytics, digital solutions, and software. Construction industry trends for better project management will be taking us cloud-high this year.

One Project, One Data Source

Project managers say they spend 40% of their time in meetings, on phone calls, or writing after-the-fact reports. A single data source consolidates everything and reduces your miscommunication margin of error substantially.

If you think in spreadsheet-speak, think of a centralized data source as one spreadsheet with lots of tabs. Centralized project communications – all the project information from every source – will save time and money like never before.

Integrated planning will gather all the sources of data – your team’s different project management software outputs – and pull them into one, manageable place. It’s not easy at first, but it’s absolutely key to better project management.

Safety, Quality Focus

The new administration asked OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) “to determine whether to establish an emergency temporary standard to keep workers safe from COVID-19.” President Biden is also requesting OSHA to target and penalize worksites that do not adhere to safety protocols in 2021.

In 2020, the Labor Department/OSHA issued $3,930,381 in coronavirus violations; failure to comply:

Look for ways to link the quality of work and safety directly to phase one project planning. It minimizes waste, delays, and improves overall quality.

We’ve Got Information You Need on a Need-To-Know-Basis

You can make informed decisions when you get the right information. Construction Monitor is the nation’s leading source for construction industry trends.

Our information can drive your marketing this year and beyond:

Call 800.925.6085 (International/435.586.1205) or contact us today to learn more about using business permit data to increase business opportunities.

Construction Industry Trends in U.S. Cities

construction industry trends

Finding new ways to maximize profits will be one of the construction industry trends you should explore this year. And maybe partnering with other companies can be the key to better business.

Here are five top metro areas for 2021 construction:

1. Austin – The Heart of Texas

Construction projects in Austin were affected by the pandemic. Some jobs simply ended or were put on hold indefinitely. Still, construction industry trends are bringing more contractors to Austin. Residential construction is driving most company business. One of the most notable large projects is the $338 million University of Texas Moody Center Arena.

2. Chicago Has Global Reach

Data centers are among the construction industry trends impacting Chicago in many ways. “With so many businesses turning to online work, there’s more than just the demand for data driving construction,” says Andy Stapleton of Mortenson Company. Chicago is becoming a distribution hub for online purchases, and the number of higher-education facilities near Chicago provides plenty of employee pools.

3. Down in Miami, Construction Is Up

The Magic City has a higher quality of life, reasonably low property taxes, no state income tax, and the best weather in the country. Peter Tuffo of Suffolk Construction says construction industry trends in Miami are brisk, thanks to year-round work. Some in-the-works projects include:

  • Condominiums
  • K-12
  • Luxury living accommodations
  • Market-rate rentals
  • Tourism-related cruise terminals

4. Seattle Remains Positioned for Growth

Construction spending is down, but hopes are high in Seattle. The need for office space pre-pandemic has not resumed, and one project, the Washington State Convention Center, currently suffers a financing shortfall. “Renewal comes in all shapes and sizes,” says Eric Olsen, Clark Construction.

5. Shuffle Off to Buffalo

“Buffalo has everything a great city needs,” says Richard Cavallaro, Gilbane Building Co. These include an airport, public transportation, reasonable cost of living, and cultural opportunities. Several companies are looking to invest in affordable housing new builds for this New York state community.

Using Data To Analyze Construction Industry Trends

Building permit data isn’t exactly new information, but ways to use it continue to evolve. What kind of data would help your business this year? Let us know. Contact Construction Monitor today.

Construction Industry Trends: Health, Safety, Money, and More

Construction Industry Trends

Last year was interesting, to put it mildly. But 2021 is shaping up to be a different kind of interesting. Here are some construction industry trends that will very likely affect your business this year.

5 Post-Pandemic Construction Industry Trends That Will Impact Your Business

  1. Air handling – Is Covid-19 an airborne virus? It doesn’t matter; almost every project will involve designing/installing better air management solutions. You’ll be required to learn more about dedicated outdoor and on-demand air systems, says construction legal professional Jeffrey Kozek.
  2. Going green – If, in your blogs and marketing materials, you can say you’re “LEED-certified,” you’ve got a leg up on your competition. Green construction focuses on environmental and human health, a trend that will be even more significant this year.
  3. Money matters – Supply chain delays, materials shortages and pricing, and other pandemic-related financial issues, will lead to more payment disputes this year. Contractors and owners will be doing damage control because of bankruptcies and interrupted projects from last year.
  4. More modular – Offsite assembly reduces workforce exposure and increases safety. Expect prefabricated construction processes to increase and continue to improve quality control.
  5. Pandemic protection – On-the-job distancing, staggering shifts, and PPE (personal protection equipment) will continue to impact your budget and timeline. Kozek says ignoring these safety precautions could lead to fines, shutdowns, or lawsuits.

Challenges Don’t Have To Be Complicated

One of our construction industry trends that is (and should be) history was our tendency to conclude business expectations with a handshake. Back when the pandemic was new, Construction Monitor advised its clients to make a more concerted effort to “get it in writing” to avoid complications. That’s our “legal” advice for 2021 and beyond.

Construction Monitor takes the complexity out of construction data for thousands of construction industry companies like yours. The basic information is easy: building permit applications. Making that information work for you to generate more business and make knowledgeable decisions is complicated. But that’s what we do.

Contact us to learn how building permit information can reveal construction industry trends in your state, county, city, or town.

The 3 Ps of Construction Digital Transformation

Construction Digital Transformation

Construction Monitor sorts building permit data into actionable information for your area and your business development requirements. We are proud to have been a part of digital technology for the construction industry and industry-related businesses for so many years. Our software statistics were some companies’ first experience with the construction digital transformation process.

How Do We Go About Achieving Construction Digital Transformation?

Some people still don’t understand what construction digital transformation means or what it can accomplish. Digital technology is any electronic tool, system, device, or resource that generates, stores, or processes data.

These three p’s can help you understand and develop a construction digital transformation plan for your business:

1. People

Our industry depends on people working together. This is why transparency – information-sharing with everyone involved – is integral to construction digital transformation success. Before investing in any technology, consider who must adapt to it and use it, and then get their feedback before the purchase:

  • 52% say field staff needs are a top priority but only
  • 28% request feedback, so
  • 36% report the technology didn’t fit with current processes/procedures

2. Process

Our processes are what lead to productivity issues. Implementing construction digital transformation has resulted in 14-15% productivity improvements and 4-6% cost reductions. Process change enablers include:

  • Capability enhancements
  • Contract reviews
  • Data tools
  • Legal liabilities and responsibilities defined/updated
  • Redefined responsibilities
  • Updated processes/mandates

3. Progress

Technology is progress. Every technological process you embrace moves your company forward. Technology progress requires fixing problems, not investing in the IT flavor of the month without understanding its capabilities. “Full-scale digital transformation requires integrated, cohesive systems,” says CTO Sameer Merchant. The bottom line is, analyze what will provide your team with the best advancements.

Construction Monitor: Powerful, Local Construction Statistics

Every week, we enter thousands of construction project leads into our database. You can learn more about commercial, residential, and solar construction projects in your area when you get your sample edition today.

Construction Industry Recovery for 2021

Construction Industry Recovery

When will it end? As we rounded the corner into 4Q 2020, COVID-19 reared its ugly head and roared with a vengeance. The devastation to families and businesses, including the construction industry, continues.

Pandemic and Construction Industry Trends

Many construction industry firms have provided support for area hospitals and organizations during this time. If your company is in a position to help your community, thank you. But more of us are suffering. “Most sites that are open have faced disrupted supply chains and operational restrictions,” says McKinsey. “A fast return to business as usual seems unlikely.”

Depending on economic and public health policies, we could be doing well next year. Or it could be 2023 before we are back on track.

Short-term construction industry trends are:

  • Increased digitization – Working remotely has forced construction industry organizations to invest in shared software solutions. More information shared by more people is a good thing. Monitoring employee health and safety using apps is going to be necessary for quite some time.
  • Materials reorganization – Building inventory to rebalance supply chain disruptions is necessary.

Long-term construction industry trends include:

  • Increased digitization – Skilled labor shortages can be better managed with increased productivity. Invest in software apps for:
    • 4D simulation
    • Advanced schedule optimization
    • Real-time progress tracking
    • Workflow management
  • Offsite construction – Building/assemblage offsite is faster and safer because environments are more controlled.
  • Sustainability – Healthier living will be a key motivator behind government programs/incentives for the construction industry.

Building Permit Data for Better Business

Construction Monitor provides vital information for construction industry companies, but many others use building permit data as well:

  • Investors – Opportunities for financial growth are all over the place right now. That means you have options for investment in many geographic areas and industries. Building permit data gives you the information you need to make choices.
  • Marketing, software companies – The construction industry is experiencing change like never before. There’s potential for you to help them succeed with your products and services.
  • Startups – Protecting your investment in tough economic times is a priority. Stay abreast of state and local infrastructure and housing developments before your competitors.

Contact Construction Monitor today. We’d like to give you a powerful tool for business success in 2021.

Construction Trends to Drive Infrastructure Development

Construction Trends

Annually, the U.S. spends around $450 billion on infrastructure, only 2.3% of U.S GDP, far below the 5% of European countries’ GDPs. The U.S. needs over $2 trillion of infrastructure investment by 2030 just to keep pace with the country’s economic activity.
Kate Gasparro

COVID-19 has dominated our attention for an entire year. It gave us previously unheard-of challenges in the construction industry. It forced us to work differently; maybe forever.

The pandemic may have also drawn attention away from some critical problems our country was facing, including this one: The U.S. is falling behind developed countries in infrastructure spending.

Technology Key to U.S. Lagging Infrastructure Construction Trends

If infrastructure investment could increase, its positive impact on our economy and the construction industry would make for a much happier new year. Infrastructure industries include:

  • Architecture
  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Real estate

Gasparro says investment in technologies could increase infrastructure project profits by 10%. Here’s what we need more of for 2021:

  • Climate-change and pandemic impacts on construction trends – Be prepared to develop:
    • Car-free zones
    • Dedicated bike paths
    • Larger public spaces
    • Renewable energy sources
    • Wider sidewalks
  • Construction technology – Construction trends are technology-driven with:
    • 3D printing/blueprints
    • 4D/5D simulation project plans
    • Building information modeling (BIM)
    • Drone surveying
    • Materials tracking software
    • …and much, much more
  • Organizational technology – Construction trends toward energy conservation, economic growth, and societal safety are being incorporated into construction industry best practices. Jobsite management will use software to see where workers and materials are, real-time, and avoid potential health exposures or materials logjams.
  • Supply chain solutions – It’s time to rebuild inventory and secure materials. Examine supplier sources to find alternatives to critical material shortages.

Staying in business isn’t easy when it’s a jungle out there. But you can cut through the tangle of obstacles and setbacks with the right strategy. Construction Monitor has been in business since 1989. We haven’t seen it all, but we’ve seen a lot of construction trends come and go.

Ask us how we can give you the data tools you need to get beyond survival and into profits. Contact Construction Monitor today.

What Is Sustainable Construction?

Sustainable Construction

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

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

Prioritizing Sustainable Construction

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

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

Real-World Sustainable Construction

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

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

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

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

Building Your Business

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

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

Contact Construction Monitor to learn more.

Understanding Construction Trends in Your Market

Your market is unique as your company. One small company has a baritone. Their work is great; their prices are solid. But some residential renovation businesses say they hire this firm because the guy sings as he works.

The key to success is capitalizing on your uniqueness. Once you understand (and appreciate) who you are, it’s time to understand the construction trends in your market.

FYI: Local Construction Trends Analytics

Successful companies – the ones you want to be when you grow up – are examining construction trends every day. Here are characteristics of home building companies that use construction data:

  • Every employee analyzes information, every day – Construction trends data isn’t something reserved for the family geek. If you can think, you can contribute to company growth.
  • Share and share alike – You may not be in a particular construction segment, but if you run across construction trends in a datasort that will benefit another company, share the information. They’ll return the favor. Networking with as many construction-industry companies is a formula for success.
  • Throw deep, run wide – Data-driven companies acquire more than local construction trends. They use varied information sources to grow their businesses. The more construction trend patterns you can process, the better.

The Best Analytics for Real-Time Leads in Your Market

Where the game used to be won or lost based on instinct and speed, it’s now all about crunching the right numbers.Jonathan Smoke, Metrostudy

Your data analytics should refer to what’s happening in your world, not another company’s in another area. One way to tap into what’s relevant information for where you are is our mapping tool:

  • Automatically count permit activity in a shown area
  • Customize what is shown by search criteria:
    • Contractor
    • Project type
    • Valuation
  • Display which contractors have the most activity in any given area
  • Identify all potential opportunities near you
  • Make digital notes on each project
  • Show all permit activity in the areas you choose

Contact the data analytics professionals at Construction Monitor. We’ll share ways to identify construction trends where you work…or want to work.

Essential vs. Non-Essential Construction During COVID-19

Construction during COVID-19

Retail stores and other commercial businesses have adjusted to the COVID-19 pandemic as possible. Social distancing governs how we live, work, shop, and play. We’re living in a strange time now.

There’s been much discussion about essential and non-essential services in the United States. How we do business in the construction industry is greatly altered.

“Essential” construction industry projects are prioritized and may resume quickly. “Non-essential” construction projects may be on hold another month. Or longer.

Essential Construction

San Francisco has defined essential vs. non-essential construction for in-the-works projects. There are 8 categories of essential construction projects that may continue working if they follow social distancing requirements:

  1. Affordable housing/income restricted residential units’ development
  2. Construction necessary to safeguard existing construction sites
  3. Construction/repairs for Essential Businesses’ properties
  4. Critical, non-commercial services projects involving homeless, economically disadvantaged, special-needs, and/or elderly
  5. Healthcare projects directly related to COVID-19 response
  6. Projects directly involved with maintenance, operation, or repair of Essential Infrastructure.
  7. Public works projects
  8. Shelters/temporary housing (not including hotels/motels)

The Gray Areas

Companies must follow state-and-local-government-specific construction guidelines. In most areas, non-essential projects are on hold. “New parts of a non-essential infrastructure project” may not be started. However, if your project falls under the non-essential category, there are situations in which you might be able to complete work.

For example:

  • Completion is permissible if the work needed to shut down the project is equal to/more than completing the project.
  • If a housing project has a defined percentage of affordable housing, construction may continue.
  • New housing starts must meet a “critical need.”
  • Residential renovations may continue if the continuance is necessary for safety/functionality.
  • Residential work on vacant properties may proceed if the work will make the property habitable. Construction can be completed to guarantee usable:
    • Bathrooms
    • Ceiling/walls paint (for sanitation to prevent mold/vermin infestations)
    • Electricity
    • HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning)
    • Kitchens
    • Plumbing
  • Roof installation can continue for weather protection.
  • You’ve got 3 walls built. You can build the fourth wall so the structure “stands secure.”

Site-Specific Health and Safety

By now you have developed your company’s site-specific health and safety plan, based on COVID-19 Construction Field Safety Guidelines. Record-keeping is critical: You will need to be able to track employee movements and note potential exposure events.

Be prepared. Soonyou’ll need to work harder…and smarter.

Construction Monitor’s success depends on your success. And the success stories for 2020 will be the construction industry-related businesses that used construction data to gain insight and develop marketing strategies. Call 800-925-6085 or contact Construction Monitor to learn more.