Building Relationships in the Construction Industry

In the construction industry, as in any other area of business or life, the quality of the relationships you develop will have a significant influence on the quality of your business. The Boise construction industry, along with the construction field in other areas of the country, thrives on well-developed relationships among professionals and their customers. Here are some ways you can more effectively build relationships in the construction industry.

  • boise constructionCommunicate effectively: The quality of the relationship will depend on the quality of the communication involved. When dealing with another professional, make sure you and your representatives communicate frequently and accurately. Establish standards and processes and keep in touch to make sure they are being followed. Make sure your partners know what is required and what you expect from them. Be available when your partners try to contact you and get back to them promptly with the answers they need. Similarly, stay connected with your customers and ensure they get frequent, accurate, and reliable updates on project progress and milestones.
  • Use your networks: Use your networks to establish new relationships and maintain existing ones. Networking events, local business organizations, and industry meetings can help you maintain contact with customers and partners you already have and give you the chance to develop new contacts. Ask your network for referrals and be prepared to return the favor when anyone in your network needs a boost.
  • Recognize common areas: When working with new or existing contacts, listen carefully to what they need and look for areas of common interest. These interests can include similar business goals, complementary interests in civic matters, or even some similarities in personal interests. When you have identified common professional interests, propose collaborations or partnerships that allow both of you to pursue those goals with your combined resources, in anticipation of a result that will be mutually satisfactory.

Construction Monitor helps firms of all sizes develop business leads and solid relationships among building firms, contractors, suppliers, and customers. Contact us today for more information on Boise construction and on developing leads in other geographical areas and communities around the country.

Sustainable Building Materials: Keeping Your Jobsite Eco-Friendly

With sustainable construction maintaining its popularity as a viable building approach, more builders and their customers are turning to environmentally friendly construction materials as substitutes for less eco-friendly options. You can use the following list to identify some of the sustainable building materials available to you.

sustainable building materialsInsulation

Fiberboard and spun fiberglass have long been a popular choice for insulation used in residential and commercial construction. Fiberglass blanket insulation is commonly used between joists and beams in walls, floors, and ceilings. More sustainable options include:

  • Wood fiber insulation: Wood fiber insulation provides a high level of heat resistance. It originates from a highly renewable and sustainable source and is not toxic.
  • Cellulose insulation: Cellulose insulation is often made from recycled newspaper or other paper products. As a wood-based material, cellulose is also renewable and safe to use.

Structural Materials

Bricks, concrete, and metal are three very common structural materials used in construction projects. Obtaining and manufacturing these materials can be harmful to the environment while consuming resources that can’t be easily renewed. Alternatives include:

  • Straw bales: Straw bales are thick, heavy blocks of material made from naturally growing straw. These bales can last for many decades if properly maintained. Since straw comes from a natural plant material, it is fully biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
  • Timber: Traditional timber is still a good option for framing a house or other structure. Timber is natural and renewable and provides high versatility for construction applications.

Flooring

Concrete, tile, and wood laminate have been frequent choices for flooring in the past. Sustainable alternatives include:

  • Bamboo: Bamboo flooring comes from a fast-growing grass that can easily be adapted for use as a construction material.
  • Hardwood: Hardwood floors suggest luxury, but they are actually highly sustainable. Hardwood is very tough and versatile while offering natural beauty.

Wondering what’s going to be influencing the construction industry over the next few months? Count on Construction Monitor for insight into the trends that will have an impact on your business. Contact us today for more information on sustainable building materials and the role sustainability will play in tomorrow’s construction industry.

3 of the Best Apps for Your Jobsite

By saving time and reducing error, mobile technology lets construction professionals boost profits while keeping their clients happier. Getting the greatest benefit out of a mobile device requires choosing the right construction apps, and there are a few that stand out above the rest.

construction appsConstruction Manager

Some half-million construction professionals use this app to keep their entire team informed in an accurate and timely manner. The Job Estimator function allows contractors to calculate cost estimates directly on site. The cost of materials, equipment use, and labor is all taken into account.

Using the Daily Report and Maintenance Log functions, workers can easily file all project-related information from the field. The result is a consistent, detailed record of the project’s daily progress that makes it easy to spot any developing problems and prevent delays. The speed and simplicity of record-keeping means less risk of lost paperwork and forgotten details.

PlanGrid

PlanGrid is a project collaboration app that lets everyone on the team share and contribute to the project from any location. Boasting an exceptionally fast blueprint viewer, the app lets team members get down to business instead of hassling with slow-rendering plans.

Markups and notes instantly sync, so users can always access the current set of plans. They’ll receive instant notification when a change is made, allowing them to review and share their input immediately. The app organizes project photos by automatically tagging and archiving them, so all team members can quickly find the photos they need.

Synchroteam

One of the greatest benefits of construction apps is their ability to keep track of everyone working on the project no matter where they are. Using Synchroteam, managers can schedule and dispatch workers with a simple drag-and-drop, and can track current jobs at a glance. Work orders are easy to review for information such as location and equipment required. The app sends notifications for new and rescheduled jobs, reducing the risk of jobs being left undone.

To learn more about how construction apps make contractors’ lives easier, contact us at Construction Monitor.

3 Trends Impacting the Construction Industry in 2016

In the latter part of 2015, construction industry professionals should take some time to look forward at the trends in the construction industry that are likely to affect them in 2016. Being ready for new developments can help builders, company owners, and contractors prepare for opportunities that might arise with little advance warning. Here is a brief outline of three of those trends that could make 2016 a productive year.

  1. Sustainability: Environmental consciousness and trends in the construction industry“green” construction remain a major consideration for many builders and their customers. This trend shows little sign of declining in 2016. Many construction clients are urging (or requiring) builders and contractors to use recycled materials or proven sustainable materials that can be easily renewed. Interest is growing in sustainability factors such as zero-energy homes that produce all the energy used within the home. Energy conservation is also becoming more popular, and in response high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, LED lighting and other efficient lighting equipment, and low-flow plumbing fixtures and water conservation processes will be installed more frequently.
  2. Micro-apartments: The trend of “small living” in micro-apartments, and to a further extent, in tiny homes, is expected to expand in 2016. These very small living spaces provide all the basic amenities but in a dramatically reduced space, sometimes just a few hundred square feet. Micro-apartments offer residents a less expensive dwelling option in high-demand areas, such as downtowns and popular urban sites. Tiny houses, in contrast, provide small individual homes that can easily be moved to places where the residents can live with few restrictions.
  3. New technologies: Technology will continue to advance and, as it does so, it will have an effect on the construction industry. Efficiency will be improved through better communication via smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers. Important data, such as drawings, materials lists, and contracts, will be immediately available through construction management software.

Trend-watchers can count on Construction Monitor to provide the latest and most accurate information on construction industry developments. Contact us today for more information on trends in the construction industry that are likely to have a widespread impact in 2016.

The Paperless Revolution: 3 Reasons to Use Construction Management Software

When computers first began to be widely used as business tools, one of the predicted benefits was that electronic communication would result in the “paperless office.” This prediction hasn’t yet come true, but computers have certainly made it easier to function in some areas without paper. For construction companies, construction management software offers several vital functions and conveniences without the need for physical documents.

  • construction management softwareBetter, more precise management: Electronic project management and record keeping with construction management software makes it significantly easier to deal with large amounts of information. All of the important documents connected to a single project can be managed electronically, giving managers instant access to needed information. Technical and architectural drawings, schematics, plans, materials lists, financial data—all can be made available electronically. Information from separate projects can be accessed or merged with relative ease, allowing important comparisons of factors such as costs, labor, material needs, and outcomes. Electronic access offers a significant improvement over sifting through files, drawings, and reams of paper records for the same data.
  • Increased mobility: Construction management software allows owners, managers, and supervisors the ability to take important information into the field without the inconvenience of hauling around paper records. By using smartphones, laptops, or tablet computers, project management information and data can be accessed immediately on the construction site. This allows decisions to be made quickly and efficiently on the spot, without the need to travel back to an office to consult paper documents.
  • Reduced risk: Any construction project comes with risk, but construction management software allows risk managers and other supervisory personnel the ability to assess and handle risk in a way that can’t be matched with paper records. Instant access to important documents and data, along with specialized risk management software, can give managers the ability to foresee and monitor risk either on site or from the office.

Construction Monitor serves professionals in the construction industry with accurate, up-to-date news, information, and insights. Contact us today for more information on construction management software and how you can use it to make your operation more efficient, more productive, and more profitable.

Warranty Problems for Contractors: 3 Things to Watch

Reputable construction companies strive to provide the best customer service possible, and one of the ways this is accomplished is through home warranties. Warranties typically cover defects in construction and workmanship on construction projects and give customers specific legal rights in terms of how the project turns out. Some states may even require contractors to provide warranties on the structures they build. Here are three potential warranty problems for contractors:

  1. warranty problems for contractorsYou have to decide who covers the warranty: In some cases, a construction company may decide to cover the warranty itself. In others, the company may determine that it is a better idea to purchase a warranty from an independent company or insurer. The decision can involve factors such as your available resources, confidence in your services, the terms and conditions of the original construction contract, and the scope of the warranty. Consult with your financial or legal professional for advice on how to proceed with warranty offers; and ensure that any and all agreements are in writing and are agreed to, with signatures, by your company and the customer.
  2. Warranty repairs and corrections can be costly: Repairing, renovating, or revising a construction project can be costly for you. Even if some of the repairs are financially covered through insurance, bonds, or conditions of the warranty, you can lose money if you have to divert labor and materials to fixing the warranty issue.
  3. Warranty issues can become legal troubles: Warranties should be very specific in what they cover, but the unfortunate fact is that even this does not make you immune from legal action. Dissatisfied or spiteful customers could still make legal trouble for you over a warranty, especially if you refuse to cover something that was not in the warranty but which they think you should fix.

Construction Monitor helps owners and managers in the construction industry stay informed on the latest developments that will affect their business operations and their profits. Contact us today for more information on warranty problems for contractors and on how contractors can prevent potential warranty problems while still providing outstanding customer service.

Staying Relevant in the Digital Age: Challenges Impacting Contractors

Modern technology gives today’s contractors opportunities to streamline their workflows, trim costs, and grow their client lists. While keeping pace with technology in the construction industry isn’t always easy, it’s a must for contractors who want to survive in the current marketplace.

technology in the construction industryWeighing the Costs and Benefits

With so many details and participants involved in every construction project, flawless organization is critical for meeting today’s client expectations. Oversights and miscommunication cause costly errors and delays that make a firm seem less competent than the competition.

Construction management software lets contractors bring order to even the most complex projects, helping them deliver a better product faster. Due to the upfront and ongoing costs involved, however, some firms may be reluctant to make the switch from a paper-based management system.

Those who do often find the benefits outweigh the costs. Important documents are stored securely, so they won’t go missing or be destroyed by accident. Employees have immediate access to the information they need. Both these factors prevent unnecessary delays. Management software also improves cost control by providing contractors with up-to-the-minute information that can be used to head off cost overruns.

Managing the Learning Curve

Advanced communication technology has increased the speed at which we do business. Clients, subcontractors, and other business partners have come to expect fast responses and the option for remote collaboration. One way construction firms can meet these demands is by equipping managers with tablet computers and other mobile devices.

Taking advantage of this kind of technology in the construction industry means investing both money and time in training, as well as ensuring employees actually use the devices and software available. While that may cause some initial delays and confusion, the payoff is a leaner, more cost-effective process.

With cloud-based BIM software, everyone involved in the project can easily contribute and share without the need for drawn-out email conversations and in-person meetings.
Mobile devices and apps let managers instantly file information from on-site inspections, improving safety and code compliance.

To stay up to date on technology in the construction industry, contact us at Construction Monitor.

 

5 Onboarding Tips for Construction Firms

Your firm goes through a lot to find reliable, skilled employees, so the onboarding process isn’t the time to drop the ball. A few simple, proven onboarding tips for construction firms will help you smoothly integrate your new hires.

Share Your Vision

construction worker
Source: iStock.com/lisafx

When your employees understand your firm’s founding vision, they’ll not only remember the rules and safety regulations better, but also be equipped to make good choices even when no clear guidelines are available. Ideally, the company owner should sit down with new hires to explain what’s unique about the firm’s approach to construction, the traits of a good employee, and the kind of experience clients should have interacting with them.

Take Time With the Employee Manual

In addition to giving new hires a copy of the employee manual to peruse at home, an administrative worker should go over the manual with them. A new employee is likely to be overwhelmed by all the new information and have more than a few questions. Someone taking the time to review the manual in detail and check the employee’s understanding ensures no critical information escapes notice.

Pair Them Up

For the first week, or at minimum the first day, pair each new employee with an experienced employee and let them work together. Have the new employee first observe their partner completing a task, then the partner observes the new employee doing the same thing. After this, the two should hold a feedback session.

Check in Weekly

Schedule new employees to meet once a week with their managers to review the previous week’s work. The discussion should cover what went well and what didn’t, as well as specific plans for making improvements.

Establish a Probationary Period

A 90-day probationary period gives both you and the new hire time to see whether or not you’re truly a good fit for each other. If you aren’t, take time to look into what may have gone wrong during the hiring process and how you can avoid making the same mistake again.

To get more experience-based onboarding tips for construction firms, contact Construction Monitor today.

How Your Firm can Declare its Core Values

Part of differentiating your construction firm from the dozens of others in your area is determining the values your company holds above all others, known as your core values. Knowing how to define core values of a construction company will help you attract your ideal clients and guide your firm toward achieving major goals.

construction site
Source: iStock.com/Antonio_Diaz

A company’s core values are five to seven principles that underlie and influence every decision made in the company. Everyone, from the CEO to the receptionist, will refer to these values daily as they go about their jobs. They affect your hiring practices, employee policies, and interactions with clients, as well as your marketing and how you cultivate construction leads in Cedar City.

These aren’t merely basic standards, such as “honesty,” but rather the beliefs your company adheres to that not all construction companies prioritize. Some options include:

Safety – Commitment to the most effective safety practices and a zero-injury culture.
Community – Dedication to contributing to a happier, more prosperous local community.
Balance – A view toward policies that help your employees enjoy a healthy work-life balance.
Diversity – Investment in building a team that includes people from all walks of life.
Innovation – Willingness to take the risks necessary to find better solutions.
Quality – A focus on the highest quality materials and construction practices.

One way to define your core values is to gather a group of people you feel intuitively grasp the company’s character, ask them to list five to seven of what they feel are the company’s values, and allow one person to combine these.

Next, invite ideas from your employees via email and, again, combine them to come up with five to seven specific values. Finally, present your results to your employees and ask for feedback on how well the core values chosen represent how the company actually does business.

Make sure the principles you chose are ones you can truly commit to and that will push your firm toward the goals outlined in your mission statement.

Want more tips on how to define core values of a construction company? Contact Construction Monitor today!

How can Construction Industry Leaders Encourage Sustainable Development?

The construction industry is known as a significant consumer of energy and materials. Not only are many construction processes themselves energy-intensive, the structures that that get built can themselves use more energy than necessary. Over the years, positive attitudes toward energy efficiency and conservation have continued to expand and evolve.

construction site
Source: iStock.com/shironosov

In today’s construction industry, sustainable development, energy conservation, and energy efficiency are taking on a much more substantial role. Here are some of the benefits of implementing sustainable development in the construction industry that can accrue for your company and for your client.

  • Saving money: One of the most important benefits from building with an eye toward sustainable development is saving money. Sometimes you may be able to use recycled or repurposed materials on the project, which usually means a lower cost for supplies. The savings can also be passed along to your client. In the long run, an energy-efficient structure costs much less to heat and cool, and will save the owners and occupants substantial money on energy expenses every month. Even if the initial investment in sustainable materials and high-efficiency equipment is higher, the savings from these investments should still allow the owner to recover the costs within a few years.
  • Reducing carbon footprint: Builders and owners who are concerned with the environment are becoming more interested in applying sustainable development and energy efficiency concepts to their commercial and residential structures. This is a valid concern; using sustainable building materials, constructing buildings to use less energy, and taking similar steps will substantially decrease greenhouse gases, carbon emissions, and other pollutants.
  • Improving reputation: Construction industry professionals who support sustainable development can legitimately use that support as a selling point to clients who are themselves concerned about environmental issues. You’ll be seen as a positive participant in improving your environment and community.

Construction Monitor helps give builders, managers, contractors, and other industry professionals the edge when it comes to issues of sustainable development. Contact us today for more information on implementing sustainable development in the construction industry and how doing so will pay off for you in multiple ways.