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.

Leadership Development Will Drive Our Construction Industry

construction industry

Technology has transformed the construction industry. But one thing that won’t change is the need for people-to-people communications and negotiations. “There will always be components of the building process which require excellent use of collaboration, conflict management, and critical thinking skills,” says human resources consultant Debbie Burkett.

The Construction Industry: We Have a Leadership Gap

Research has confirmed critical-thinking abilities and effective communication competencies (soft skills) cause workers at every level to outperform other employees. Think about that. If the construction industry selected its workforce from those with above-average soft skills, the impact on productivity and profits could be huge.

  • We will see a construction industry growth of 8.55 million by 2026.
  • 41% of the construction industry workforce will retire by 2031.
  • 55% of CEOs consider developing the next generation of leaders their biggest challenge
  • …But only 11% of HR divisions report having a strong base of employees that can fill leadership roles.

Those are the numbers but now what?

How do you put this information to work for your company? A billion-dollar corporation can afford to hire consultants and establish in-house leadership development programs. But what about you?

What you can do today:

You hear and see two words repeatedly as you study ways to improve your business: “Software” and “communication.” You can teach self-awareness. You can encourage integrity. Those are 2 critical skills leaders need. But communication is the skill we need to most nurture among our employees.

Even when you utilize the best project management software and everyone on your team is proficient, onsite conflicts and office-vs.-field communications can be a problem. No matter what size your organization, you can develop leadership skills specific to our construction industry. Communications and leadership development programs impact everything, including project safety, productivity, employee morale/turnover, and much, much more.

Employee development initiatives designed to improve competencies and change behavior without addressing and cultivating soft skills is like trying to use a hoist without a cable. It just doesn’t work that way. -Debbie Burkett, MHR, SHRM-SCP, PHR

Construction Monitor can’t exactly provide HR solutions, but we can provide marketing development tools. You can benefit from our leads-to-projects information. The increased profits can be funneled to leadership development.

Click to Chat or contact the marketing professionals at Construction Monitor to learn more.

Construction Industry Safety Means Following OSHA Guideline

construction industry safety

It’s that simple: Every time you look the other way when you spot a safety violation you’re putting your co-worker, the project, and the company at risk. Following an investigation into the deaths of two men, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) fined Atlantic Coast Utilities LLC/Advanced Utilities Inc., (predecessor company Shannon Construction Company, successor company Sterling Excavation LLC) and company owner Laurence Molony $1.35 million.

Construction industry journalist and Construction Dive associate editor Matthew Thibault attempted to learn more. He tried to contact the company and its owner but was told he called “a wrong number.”

The two employees, 27-year-old Jordy Alexander Castaneda Romera and 33-year-old Juan Carlos Figueroa Gutierrez were struck by a dump truck that pushed them into a 9-foot-deep trench…OSHA cited the contractor for 28 willful, repeat, serious, and other-than-serious violations, according to a Department of Labor press release. -Construction Dive

Owner Laurence Maloney had been previously investigated six times and received 14 citations prior to incident. OSHA told WBUR News of Boston Maloney “knowingly” disregarded safety guidelines. He also dodged fines by shutting down his businesses and re-opening under a new name.

The citations included:

  • Failure to conduct onsite hazards inspections
  • No employee training
  • No safety training to avoid work-related hazards,

In an August 18, 2021 Associated Press statement, Atlantic Coast Utilities LLC said:

The company will assess the actions taken by OSHA
…and will determine its next steps, including contesting any assertion of company error or negligence.
…This was a tragic accident and any attempt to portray it otherwise is both inaccurate and imprudent.

“Two hardworking people lost their lives because Atlantic Coast Utilities put its own profits over workers’ safety and health,” said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. Maloney’s prior fines totaled $81,242. He has paid $7,700. Atlantic Coast Utilities LLC is also under investigation for possible violation of the federal wage law.

Construction Industry Information

Construction Monitor promotes construction industry safety by sharing information. We consult viable resources of current construction industry trends/news and use our blog to share what we learn with you.

Our main goal as a company is to give you actionable information. Construction Monitor’s construction industry data analytics lead to…leads. You can develop a marketing strategy that includes direct mail and database-driven direct contact with potential clients.

Like any other news source, our weekly business permit editions tell you what, where, when, and how much. Contact us or send a message to learn why you need Construction Monitor data.

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.

The Fight to Veto Construction Industry Federally Mandated PLAs

PLAs are construction industry project labor agreements. They are usually created for a specific project and are enforceable for the life of that particular project contract. They guarantee the use of union labor, and unions are supportive of PLAs.

…To prohibit financial investment by a United States person in foreign industrial defense corporations with substantial contracts with, ties to, or support from, the Chinese military and affiliated entities, and for other purposes.HR1093/Stop Funding the PLA Act

While AGC supports the Fair and Open Competition Act, it is not expected to legislatively advance given the political dynamics in Congress.agc.org

PLA benefits include:

  • Ensuring project completion on-time/within-budget
  • Making large projects easier to manage
  • Providing contractors with reliable/uninterrupted supply of qualified workers
  • Reducing labor strife; prohibiting strikes/lockouts
  • Uniform wages, benefits, overtime pay, hours, working conditions, etc. for major construction projects

Increasing apprehension about government-mandated PLAs on federal projects for agencies like the Veteran Affairs and Army Corps of Engineers, as well as federally funded construction projects has led to action to stop PLA funding.

In February 2021, The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) announced support for the Fair and Open Competition Act sponsored by Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Reps. Ted Budd (D-N.C.), and John Moolenaar (R-Mich.).

ABC says PLAs encourage a “rigged bidding process” that forces contractors to:

  • Follow “inefficient” union work rules
  • Obtain apprentices exclusively from union apprenticeship programs
  • Pay into union benefit/multi-employer pension plans that nonunion employees are unlikely to ever access
  • Require existing workforce to accept union representation, pay union dues and/or join a union as a condition of employment on a PLA jobsite
  • Use union-hiring halls instead of utilizing their existing workforce

Construction firms can continue to voluntarily enter into a PLA. But the ABC is committed to fight mandated PLAs on federally funded jobs.

Build America Local says it reduces competition and increases project costs. The organization says ensuring fair and open competition on taxpayer-funded construction projects leads to saving money and more opportunities for small- and minority-owned businesses.

Construction Industry Information: Your Most Valuable Resource

Construction Monitor and many other construction-industry organizations want to provide relevant information to its supporters, customers, and any company for which construction is an interest.

We want you to be able to make informed choices, so we provide blogs and other news sources.

When it comes to customized building permit data, Construction Monitor has no competition. We continue to be the main source of lead-generation information used by construction businesses like yours.

Contact Construction Monitor to learn more.

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 Industry Workforce Management Software

Construction Industry Workforce Management Software

Saving time, reducing do-overs; the bottom line is, construction industry companies are interested in project management software for that exact reason: the bottom line. If you don’t have workforce management software, you will. It’s what you’ll use to better manage resources, time, and generate profits.

Four Benefits of Workforce Management Platforms

LaborChart* says if you have 100 employees, odds are your project needs 50 or 150 workers. You make it work because general contractors know how to “run lean.” The reality is, that’s our preference.

“Bloated contractors don’t thrive or sometimes even survive,” says LaborChart. “When equipment and people are sitting idle, costs can add up quickly.” That strategy keeps you in business, but it also stops you from growing your business because you’re in constant reactive mode.

Workforce management software offers:

  1. Enhanced forecasting – This app provides information about labor, equipment, and money so you can evaluate opportunity risks.
  2. Optimized scheduling – Personnel can be selected based on skillsets, certifications, and project variables. Assignment requests can be sent while you’re elsewhere.
  3. Reduced downtime – Put employees where they need to be when they need to be there, rather than sitting idle, waiting for others to finish so they can begin.
  4. View overworked/underworked workers at-a-glance – Overworked teams make more mistakes. Underworked employees will eventually move on.

Benefits of Construction Monitor Software

Construction Monitor doesn’t sell software. But you can use the data our software generates to make strategic business decisions. This statement actually encapsulates the process: We digitize; you analyze.

We understand workforce management is possibly the biggest challenge you face today. Providing you with information pertinent to the construction industry is something we’re passionate about. Providing current business leads and historical trends so you can make marketing decisions and increase profits is what we know about.

You don’t have time to do what we do. Let’s partner to deliver fast, actionable information that maximizes your time.

Call 800.925.6085 (International/435.586.1205) or contact us.

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

Advantages of Automated Construction Payment

Automated Construction Payment

There aren’t many of us that use checkbooks these days, let alone “carry” them. Automating the workplace, including every construction payment, doesn’t mean you lose control.

Management company McKinsey says the principles of workplace automation are:

  • Activities – Forty-five percent of the activities employees carry out could be automated.
  • Creativity/emotion-focusing – Automation can free employees to do what we as humans do best: interpret customers’ and clients’ emotional needs to improve business. Creativity will prosper in an automated workplace.
  • High-level analytics – CEOs, etc. could save more than 20% of their time with automated analytics for reports and numbers-crunching.
  • Occupations – Automation will redefine jobs and business processes.

Take Control With Automated Payments

General contractors may have 20 or more projects. Each project can have 10 or more subcontractors. Automating payments gives your accounting team a more efficient way to process large volumes of payments.

Here are the advantages of an automated construction payment process:

  1. Accessible from multiple devices – Cellphones, laptops, tablets, back-office computers, your automated payment information is available 24/7 from home, office, or at the jobsite.
  2. Better audit trails – Your team can access, track, and report on any accounts payable requirement.
  3. Enhances working relationships – Your subcontractors will appreciate construction payment automation. It gives you heightened credibility and a reputation for dependable, fast payments.
  4. Helps subcontractors – The software can generate reminders to subcontractors to submit bills, insurance renewals, and allows them to “see” their payment status.
  5. Lowers miscommunications/mistakes – The software should be integrated with your accounting system for a smoother, faster, error-free process.
  6. Reduces the paper trail – Documentation (payment applications, lien waivers, routing, approvals), it’s all online and easily accessible.
  7. Saves time – It can eliminate boring, slow, low-value tasks. Nervous or money-stressed employees/subcontractors won’t need to “…pick up the check at your office” because it can be deposited within minutes.
  8. Simplifies lien waivers – You can standardize/simplify lien waivers’:
    1. Requesting
    2. Collecting
    3. Approving
    4. Tracking

Automated payments can enhance internal workflows and processes.

Construction Monitor can create customized, automated reports based on your business development needs. Take control of your future; contact us today.

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.