Data and The Construction Industry

data construction industry

A “data warehouse” isn’t a large building with garage doors and a loading dock. A data warehouse is a construction industry company’s accumulated information. The data can originate from many sources and is used to drive management decisions.

Construction Industry Sees Data Center Boom

The construction industry may have been slow to embrace technology and big data, but we’re making up for it. Today, it’s not surprising that construction industry companies have so much technology that they need filing cabinets (“data warehouses”) in clouds.

What no one saw coming was the increased need for data centers. Data centers are real, on-the-ground buildings. And the construction industry is seeing a lot of new-build projects, thanks to the need for more data centers.

Construction industry writer Zachary Phillips says U.S. states are heavily competing to land projects for internet companies needing physical space to accommodate computer systems. The companies have names like “Amazon,” “Facebook,” and “Google.”

“…Northern Virginia has become known as ‘Data Center Alley’ because of the tech-focused companies that have flocked to the area,” says Phillips. Amazon has established a major presence (they call it a “cloud cluster”) in Fairfax and Loudon counties of Virginia and plans more development.

Facebook is looking further north, toward the Chicago area to build an $800 million data center this year. This project should employ over 1,000 construction industry workers to complete the infrastructure requirements and new-build.

Google is checking out areas in California, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington for data center construction.

Construction Monitor: The Source for U.S. Construction Industry Data

Construction Monitor…makes building permit information available to suppliers, subcontractors, and building industry professionals in the construction industry. Construction Monitor provides records of residential, commercial, swimming pool, and solar building permits in a searchable database.Wikipedia

Construction Monitor lead-generation service is available in 89 U.S. markets, making it the nation’s largest provider of real-time building permit data. We have information that can give you “the leading edge” in the construction industry market. Let us explain how to use it.

Call 800-925-6085 or contact Construction Monitor today.

How AI Helps Our Construction Industry

construction industry AI

Artificial intelligence is enhancing construction industry infrastructure deliverables by providing valuable – and possibly life-saving – insights. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently learned more than 56,000 bridges in the United States are structurally deficient.

One technology firm is using AI to watchdog bridge issues before they can take hold. It provides “actionable intelligence” for construction industry personnel by providing instant alerts if there are irregularities.

Risk Mitigation for Your Construction Industry Organization

Optimizing work schedules is one of the most common ways construction industry managers utilize artificial intelligence. But risk mitigation is perhaps more valuable.

Using machine learning, organizations are able to spot and catch potential issues faster than humans. When it comes to scheduling, the use of advanced AI can help to prevent costly delays on sites or amongst suppliers, vendors, and others involved in the process.Forbes

One way jobsite supervisors use AI is for what-if scenarios. It can forecast potentials for problems and then devise strategies to manage them.

AI-enabled systems can provide jobsite security for equipment and employees. Facial recognition can spot unsafe behavior among workers and monitor tool theft.

Traditional analytics are entering a new realm of possibilities. Artificial intelligence will drive the next generation of construction industry management.

Can AI Help Our Dwindling Workforce?

The construction industry is facing a workforce shortage and talent crisis. AI can “identify potential leaders, predict attrition rates, or identify employees in danger of leaving,” says a recent McKinsey study. You can make data-driven decisions to drive better human resources management.

Data-Driven Decisions for Construction Industry Successes

Construction Monitor is the leading resource for construction industry leads. But if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Opportunities, that is.

Make this year the year you tighten your business operations and chase every opportunity. Forge new relationships. Mentor startups and seek guidance from larger, successful organizations.

Use Construction Monitor data for:

  • Current jobs
  • Future projects
  • Historical trends
  • Your competitors’ market shares

Don’t let another week pass without making data-driven decisions to increase profits. Contact Construction Monitor.

Construction Industry Employers and Coronavirus-Related Sick Leave

Coronavirus-Related Sick Leave

If you were a bit bitter about paid days off for an employee that refused to wear a mask, laughed at social distancing, and traveled during the pandemic (then caught COVID-19), you’re not alone.

Paid coronavirus-related sick leaves were required by the federal government. While other programs (state unemployment, federal PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) were managed by government entities, the pandemic-related sick leaves fell on employers’ shoulders.

How Construction Industry Employers Can Make a Coronavirus Comeback

Through December 30, 2020, construction industry employers paid:

  • Up to two weeks/80 hours paid sick leave at an employee’s regular pay if the employee must quarantine (under government order or medical advice) or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and actively seeking a diagnosis. Employees were entitled to a maximum of $511 per day and $5,110 over the two-week period.
  • Up to two weeks/80 hours – and later, an additional 10 weeks – paid family/medical sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular pay if the employee must take care of someone under a quarantine order or a child whose school/childcare closed because of the pandemic.

The way to recoup these losses is to keep accurate and detailed records. And hang on, because tax relief will be there. Leveraging workforce management tools (yes, that means software programs) makes record-keeping much easier.

Instead of operating in damage-control mode, switch to aggressively seeking more business. Creating new sales channels is one way to recover from 2020. Another way is to actively pursue all leads, says Dexcom:

With so much uncertainty and caution due to the virus, it may seem reasonable to abandon any leads you were working on prior to the pandemic. …continue to nurture them. Put even more energy into capturing these leads.

Business Development Leads for Your Construction Industry Business

Construction Monitor has leads for your company. Your demographics, your locale, your niche. Just ask. Call 800-925-6085 or contact us today and let’s put a business development plan in place for your construction industry business.

Busy But Broke

construction business

All of us have different goals, but the common denominator for every construction business is this: We want more (more money, more work, more time off – with pay, more leads, more bids, and more resume-building wins).

The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem
you had last year.
-John Foster Dulles

Busywork: Chipping Away Construction Business Profits

If you want more construction business, first get yourself in a position to manage it. Many companies say they are busier than ever. Being busy can be a trap for construction business management.

It “keeps key people overworked…without time to plan, prepare, think, manage…” says George Hedley.

Being busy sometimes means issues aren’t documented properly and communications aren’t shared with necessary team members and stakeholders. When you’re too busy, you’re forced to make decisions without the necessary information.

“Busy” doesn’t make more money. In fact, it can erode profits. It’s time to leave putting out fires to the fire professionals and to make more profit.

Here are some tips:

  1. Admit you need more help – Overworked employees (and you) make mistakes. Get some support and stop asking everyone to do more. What’s not getting done? You can better balance your construction business by shuffling assignments and adding personnel, not subtracting.
  2. End overtime – It’s a money drain and working 50+ hours/week reduces productivity and morale.
  3. Stop bidding every job in the pipeline – Bid better. Carefully analyze and bid on the right kind of projects for the right customers against worthy competitors.
  4. Make pre-project planning standard – Once you’ve won the bid, hold a pre-project meeting with the estimator, project manager, superintendent/foreman, etc. Review the bid, project requirements, and:
  • Contract
  • Estimates
  • Schedule
  • Scope
  • Subcontractors
  • Suppliers

Then allow time to prepare:

  • Construction work plan
  • Crew requirements
  • Equipment needed
  • Schedule
  • Working budget

Never sacrifice quality and professionalism because you’re “busy.” Review meetings can examine your construction business performance. They allow you to make changes sooner when changes can still make a profit margin difference.

Construction Monitor is the ultimate lead source for your construction business. Contact or email us to learn more about making more profit.

The Construction Industry and Coronavirus Vaccine

Construction Industry and Coronavirus Vaccine

It’s good to be king. But if you aren’t royalty, being an essential worker is right up there. We may never be able to adequately thank medical professionals for their sacrifices in 2020. Prioritizing them for 2021 COVID vaccinations is one way.

21 million healthcare workers and 3 million residents and staff of long-term care facilities receive the first limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccines during what’s known as Phase 1a of distribution. But essential workers were presented as potential recipients in the next tier, Phase 1b…CDC Plan

Construction industry essential workers are likely next in line. This can be a blessing for project managers or a bane for individuals that don’t want the vaccine. Either way, it will need careful consideration before implementation.

Can the Construction Industry Require Vaccination as a Condition of Employment?

In October 2020, the Associated General Contractors of America lobbied President Trump and now President-Elect Biden to implement a national plan for the construction industry distribution of coronavirus vaccine.

Construction industry contractors are already scrambling to enforce distancing and exposure tracking – and thanks to technology, this is possible. But can a construction industry project owner or contractor require coronavirus vaccination as a condition of employment?

Legally, probably not. The jury’s still out, so to speak.

Some attorneys recommend contractors be “aggressive” in encouraging vaccination by offering free jobsite inoculations during work-hours. Mandating medical personnel receive the coronavirus vaccine may be considered necessary and it makes sense. “You can’t operate a hospital with half your staff is infected,” said attorney Kevin Troutman.

You can’t build hospitals when half your construction workforce is infected, either.

Essential Business Information for Essential Workers

When Construction Monitor data professionals enter construction project leads into our database, the basic information – building permit applications – becomes usable, relevant analyses for your organization. It takes us several hours to refine and customize the information into what you need.

We do that for every subscriber. It saves you time and time is money. Most importantly, you can use that information to develop connections, leads, and make money. Contact us today.

What You Should Know About Construction Industry Falls

construction industry falls

Construction workers get high more often than most people. We work on skyscrapers, scaffolding, rooftops, and even a loading dock is considered working at-height. And too many of us take unnecessary risks.

The numbers are not good: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says fall fatalities are highest in the construction industry vs. all others. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) says the leading cause of private-sector worker deaths in the construction industry are falls.

Falls #1 Cause of Fatalities in the Construction Industry

The construction industry “fatal four” are*:

  • Falls – 338
  • Struck by object – 112
  • Electrocutions – 86
  • Caught/in-between** – 55

We can reduce those numbers this year. Here are some FYIs (for your information) to promote a better understanding of fall safety.

  • All roof workers need fall protection – Even if you’re 6′ from the edge, observe the OSHA options for protection:
    • Controlled access zones
    • Guardrails
    • Personal fall arrest systems
    • Positioning device systems
    • Safety monitoring systems
    • Safety nets
    • Warning line systems
  • Boom/scissor lifts require different PFPEs – Boom lift personal fall protection equipment is a body belt with a lanyard attached to the boom/basket. OSHA has no requirements for scissor lifts but some OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) may require PFPE. Consult the scissor-lift manual/verify OEM requirements to be sure.
  • PFPE alone won’t protect – Personal fall protection equipment involves more than wearing a harness and securing to an anchorage point. It should stop you from hitting the ground but doesn’t prevent falls. Guardrails protect against falls.
  • Training/leadership make the difference – Training is necessary but a safety program reinforced by leadership is even more valuable. Encourage employees to report unsafe conditions and assist in developing safety processes.

Diligence Saves Lives

Fall prevention tips are relevant. But your commitment to safety can make the real difference. Our goal is to provide relevant information to the construction industry. Every week, Construction Monitor sorts data into information that can grow your business. Contact Construction Monitor to learn more.

___
*2018
**Construction industry workers killed when caught-in/compressed by equipment/objects, and struck/caught/crushed in collapsing structure/equipment/material

Measuring Progress for Construction Projects

construction projects

Why is it important to track progress on construction projects? One very important reason is to prove to investors, stakeholders, and other important sources of support that you’re making progress. And you’ve got the numbers to prove it.

Another reason is to provide reinforcement to the troops. Your workers will see through false encouragement, but when you provide them with the metrics proving they’re doing a good job – and making progress – it’s the best motivator you have.

Tracking Methodologies for Construction Projects

Key metrics for construction projects are:

  • Compliance
  • Deliverables
  • Milestones
  • Spending

Too often, we emphasize the required tasks without analyzing the results. “…Teams are watching the wrong signs and metrics. Instead of leading indicators, which might warn of problems before they happen, these teams may focus on lagging indicators…flagging issues when it’s too late,” says process improvement professional Lori Benson.

Measuring Metrics for Construction Projects

Here are some types of metrics used for construction projects:

  • Cost ratio – This measurement is based on the dollars budgeted vs. labor hours. Example: The overall progress of the project was 42%. The contractor earned 42% of the overhead and fees.
  • Experience/opinion – This method is obviously subjective and not recommended; it can cause conflict between project managers, owners, contractors, or architects.
  • Incremental milestones – Aka the “steps” method for subtasks that need to be completed in a certain order. You calculate each step and the amount of time needed to complete each step. Each completion is an incremental milestone.
  • Start/finish – This is good for short-time tasks. Examples: load testing, flushing/cleaning, pipes. You measure the percentage of completion. Some teams use these length-of-time milestone metrics:
    • 0/100
    • 20/80
    • 50/50
  • Units completed – This is great for task-tracking, especially repetitive jobs. Example: We have 100 light fixtures. Each light fixture takes the same amount of installation time. Units to measure: 100.
  • Weighted/equivalent units – This requires more effort but gets the thumbs-up from many construction projects. Tasks’ measurements are calculated and divided into sub-tasks and their varying units of measurement.

We’re curious to know which progress measurements you use for construction projects.

Construction Monitor is interested in the most up-to-date methodologies for construction projects. Call 800-925-6085 or contact Construction Monitor for data that drives business development.

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: Equipment Uptime

Reducing do-overs and avoiding downtime is easier said than done, especially when a project has suffered work interruptions. Many 2020 projects continue operating with a reduced workforce and money has been tight. One of the inefficiencies that haunt construction projects is construction equipment failures.

Fallout From Construction Equipment Failures

Insurance companies say not recognizing the risks of construction equipment failures is problematic. (Remember, “Plan for the worst; hope for the best?”). Project managers should put mitigation equipment failure measures in place by creating actionable processes before the project begins.

Failure to mitigate equipment failure risks can lead to:

  • Equipment/machinery needing to be quickly replaced
  • Liability exposures/on-the-job accidents
  • Project delays/losses
  • Safety/environmental non-compliance due to defective machinery/equipment

Preventive, Predictive, and Reactive Maintenance

Obviously, preventive maintenance is key to maximizing equipment performance. Construction equipment is designed to work hard and long with proper care. Manufacturer-recommend maintenance and parts replacements are basic and preventive.

Predictive maintenance is data-driven: You use historical and performance statistics to best-guess when a piece of machinery or equipment is likely to fail. Then you put a plan in place for that event so your team can make an almost seamless transition and fast response.

Reactive maintenance is another way to keep a project on-time and within budget. Using a checklist, inspect each piece of equipment. If a problem is identified, reactive maintenance manages the problem sooner, rather than later. Corrective repairs take time, but they are easier, smoother, and usually more effective when you’re not under pressure.

Technology Facilitates Communication

Eighty-four percent of construction equipment repair time is spent coordinating and communicating with managers, repair specialists, manufacturers, and team members. The repair itself is much faster.

When you use technology to put a predictive plan in place for equipment failure, you’re going to save time. And you’ll have a better profit margin because of less downtime.

Construction Monitor also offers a technology tool that can lead to increased profit. The information you get from our customized datasorts is knowledgeable and actionable. You simply have to use it. Building permit information can lead to better business – more business.

Call 800-925-6085 or contact Construction Monitor to learn how.

What is Lean Construction?

lean construction

Working “lean” is a business principle for reducing waste and increasing profits. It can apply to any industry.

Lean construction has been slow to develop, according to the Lean Construction Institute (LCI). But construction technology developments are making this practice easier to implement and therefore more attractive to construction business owners and managers.

How Does Lean Construction Work?

Lean construction shares the same 5 business principles as lean manufacturing:

  1. Identify value
  2. Map the value stream
  3. Create better flow and fewer bottlenecks
  4. Establish a pull-planning system
  5. Seek perfection and continuously adjust principles 1-4.

The most basic residential renovation has thousands of documents and pieces of information. Today, it’s impossible to manage without technology.

Value stream mapping approaches the job from the customer’s point of view and explains the value possibilities and how you’re maximizing them. “Necessary materials, labor, and other supplies are identified before each stage of work,” says PlanGrid “…rather than during the fray or only after bottlenecks create delays.”

Lean construction principles reduce waste:

  • Defects/reworks due to lack of skilled/trained labor, outdated information, etc.
  • Excessive inventory ordered “just in case”
  • Extra materials processing (dimensional lumber cutting, assembly of trusses never used anyway)
  • Unnecessary transportation of unnecessary materials, workers, or equipment to a jobsite
  • Wasted time due to unnecessary distances between worksite locations and/or poor storage sites

Benefits of Lean Construction

The new generation of workers is invested in your company. They will appreciate lean construction business principles and take pride in working for your organization. They’ll delivery higher quality work. You’ll also realize higher quality work by virtue of early problem-solving to reduce rework.

Advanced pull-planning encourages effective risk management.

You sometimes know when a project is designed with a formula for failure. Walk away before you waste time, lose money, and lower morale. Remember, you’re seeking higher profit margins and greater ROI (return on investment). You’re using lean construction business principles.

Information You Need

Business permit data sorting is time-consuming. Construction Monitor does that for you. Call 800.925.6085 (International/435.586.1205) or contact us today to learn more about using business permit data to increase profits.