The Realities of Construction Business

construction business

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

AR and VR in Construction Business Projects

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

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

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

Real-World Uses: AR and VR

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

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

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

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

Construction Business Misconceptions

construction business

“They” say that those of us in the construction business are slow to accept change. We’re slow to develop and implement new business practices. We believe what “they” say is a misconception about our industry.

The pandemic has forced our country to reassess the architectural design and construction of hospitals, schools, offices, and any commercial business where employees and customers interact face-to-face. Another misconception concerns prefabrication.

Prefab, Modular Transforms Construction Business

Offsite prefabrication and modular construction are going to transform our industry. But many of us are nervous about risks and have misconceptions about the effectiveness of offsite prefabrication.

Here are two common misconceptions:

1. Cookie-Cutters Can’t Be Customized

“…Prefab and modular interior construction are the exact opposite of cookie-cutter,” says Construction Dive. You don’t order a room or house from a catalog. One project executive said it’s a highly customizable solution. Everything – materials, colors, and more – are customized. And the finished product is often more durable and sustainable than traditional materials.

2. Prefab and Modular Expensive; Look ‘Cheap’

The misconception that prefabricated housing is unattractive, poor quality, and looks cheap is debunked. Now, the misconception is it’s so expensive it isn’t an affordable option for most.

When you do the math and factor-in time savings, less labor, fewer do-overs, and the versatility of prefab and modular construction, the savings are visible and viable:

  • Complexities requiring different materials, electrical components, or mechanical elements are easier, not more difficult
  • Less need for onsite labor
  • Modular elements can be introduced at any phase during the project
  • Prefab can save more than 20% on construction costs
  • Timelines can be reduced by 20%-50%

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By the time you access the building permit data to find one piece of information, sort it into location- and market-specific analysis, pull it into a readable format, well, by that time, you could have received that one piece of information and much, much more from our technology pros.

You have better things to do. This is all we do, and we’re good at it. Contact Construction Monitor with questions.

Construction Business Project Delays and Responsibility

construction business projects

If you’ve bid on and won a project, it’s assumed you understand the risks, including delayed delivery of materials and equipment. As the pandemic proved, you can’t always factor delay risks into a bid. But you can’t bid without some guarantee that you can deliver the project on time and within budget. Contract-wise, you’ve assumed responsibility.

The Devil’s in the (Contract Details) For Construction Business Projects

A 2020 report on worldwide Construction Claims states the global average value of a construction delay dispute to be a staggering US$30.7 million… The report also indicates that the average dispute took 15 months to reconcile.Plan Academy

Types of delays affecting your contract:

  • Concurrent delays – Two or more parties involved
  • Critical delays – Impact project delivery date
  • Excusable delays – Outside of the contractor’s control
    • Compensable excusable delays – Caused by the owner or the owner’s team. The contractor may receive more time and financial compensation.
    • Noncompensible excusable delays – Beyond anyone’s control (Force majeure)
  • Non-critical delays – Little to no impact
  • Non-excusable delays – Occurred as a result of something the contractor should have been able to control

Most contracts state the contractor has an amount of time to report a delay. This time should be used to mitigate the delay; seek alternative materials or suppliers. Construction business contractors are legally required to try to mitigate every delay.

Quinn Murphy, an attorney with Sandberg Phoenix in St. Louis, said anyone claiming delays due to the pandemic, “….particularly those who entered into a contract after it became widespread in March 2020, will have to prove that the delay was directly related to the pandemic.”

If you signed a contract for the construction business after the pandemic was firmly in place, you may have a hard time claiming delays due to COVID-19. “They’re going to have a really hard time alleging the pandemic is an excuse,” Murphy concluded.

Need-to-Know Information

Never sign a contract for a large project without legal support. But you can’t bid on and win contracts if you don’t know your demographics. Contact Construction Monitor with questions about business leads for your company.

FYI: Public Construction Projects

construction projects

Construction projects are either public or private. Most of us work on private construction projects, but with the potential for mega-opportunities in the public sector, you may be considering bidding on one or more.

Ownership Matters

Within the public sector, projects are either federal or state. “State” projects can be commissioned by any state-funded entity and/or:

  • City
  • County
  • Government board
  • Municipality
  • Public school board

State construction is basically any government-funded construction project that isn’t federally funded, says Scott Wolfe, Jr. But it’s not actually about where the money comes from. Federal monies are integrated into state monies anyway.

It’s important to know who “owns” public construction projects. On private jobs, if you aren’t paid you can file a mechanics lien. On public projects, the general contractor posts a payment bond for security. If payment isn’t forthcoming, you make a bond claim to recover the money.

Different Sector, Different Rules

The labor laws will be different and depend on the project type. The subcontracting rules will be different. What you don’t know about public construction projects can hurt your profit margin.

  • Applications – Apply asap. Qualifications must be researched to apply and more qualifications must be reviewed by the state and/or federal entities.
  • Bonding – Some contractors might confuse a surety bond with insurance since brokers usually provide both. But the surety bond application process is more rigorous and requires “a level of financial and operational detail” from contractors, says CEO Andy Thome.
  • Compliance – There are many more levels of compliance rules that are standard with government contracts.
  • Control – Private sector construction projects have completion goals, and as long as you’re in compliance with agreement terms, the owner isn’t concerned with details. That’s not true with public construction projects. Contractors are often surprised to discover the government is very serious about how the work was performed.
  • Language – Government contracts use different terminology and legalese. Some of the clauses are incorporated by reference-only, says Construction Dive. “It really takes an expert to review them properly.”
  • Public Bids – Public contract bids are public. Everything – your information, pricing – is out there. If you lowball your bid and discover you’ve made a mistake, you own it. Experienced public-work contractors understand workarounds using government change order requests, but a newcomer may not be familiar with the process.

Construction Monitor is a lead-generation website for construction projects, not a “bidding” website. Still, we’ve been included among the top construction bidding websites by virtue of information-sharing. We want our information to benefit companies like yours.

Contact us to learn more.

2021 Construction Projects Reflect Optimism

Construction Projects

This may be the year data center construction projects make headlines, but what about companies that were hard-hit by last year’s pandemic? Some companies’ construction projects crashed and burned. Others stalled out but eventually continued as-planned with a new completion time.

Without a doubt, some nonresidential building sectors have been hit harder than others by the COVID-19 pandemic.Joe Bousquin

Down, Not Out

No industry was hit as hard as office spaces or hospitality and lodging; it may take years for a full recovery. But here are some construction projects that continued through 2020 despite being hard-hit:

  • citizenM – Dutch hotel chain opened two sites last year and is currently working in Boston and Washington, D.C.
  • CoverMyMeds – This $240 million healthcare office development pushed construction through the pandemic and is scheduled to open in spring 2021. Touchless systems, air scrubbers, and air quality sensors are some of the features.
  • IHG Hotels & Resorts – A Miami site was announced in November 2020; currently, 20 properties are in development.

2021 International Projects To Watch

The construction industry will strive to put economic uncertainties behind us while we make optimistic projections for the future. There’s a lot going on in the U.S. that bears watching, but here are some high-profile international projects:

  • Al-Zour mega-refinery – Texas company Fluor teams with Daewoo Engineering and Hyundai Heavy Industries on this $16 billion refinery in Kuwait. It’s predicted to be one of the largest refineries in the world.
  • Hong Kong International Airport – UK’s Balfour Beatty is constructing a $1.6 billion airport expansion.
  • P180 office building – Skanska of Sweden is working on this $94 million Warsaw, Poland, project, scheduled for 2022 completion.
  • Victoria Cross Tower – Lendlease has several North American construction projects in-the-works but this $1.2 billion development is “home” in Sydney, Australia.

Building Business Since 1989

We’ve helped companies develop marketing strategies that have led to construction projects and winning bids. Let our data professionals at Construction Monitor partner with you to make this year one of your best. Contact Construction Monitor or email us to get started.

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.

Finishing Others’ Construction Projects: Yes, It’s Tricky

construction projects

This would make for a great Halloween blog: It’s no treat to finish other companies’ construction projects. And being politically correct when dealing with another construction professional’s mistakes is tricky.

You may be finishing up for a competitor, but you’re also dealing with the work of a company that may be a future partner or source of more work. And if it happened to them, it might happen to you someday.

You literally don’t want to burn any bridges here.

Taking On Construction Projects Halfway Through

What happens when you’re asked to take on construction projects halfway through? The first question to ask is, “Why?”

Relationship conflicts, disagreements, job conditions, financial issues, personal emergencies, or unforeseen circumstances can lead to a general contractor or subcontractor leaving a project midstream. If you’re the replacement, it’s important to know why they left.

Look Before You Leap

It’s a bit of an ego-trip. Everyone wants to be “The Wolfe,” the prestigious problem-solver in Pulp Fiction. Don’t let the initial excitement of landing a new project cloud your judgment. If you do, you could wind up with the same issues as your predecessor. 

  • If the first contractor was overwhelmed, that’s something you can manage.
  • If money was an issue, it might not have been the general contractor’s lack of money. It could be a delinquent client.

You also need to know exactly how much money is available for the scope of work you inherited. “You may get in and think you have $1 million of work to do, and the bank may think you have $100,000 of work to do,” said Michael Rune II, Carlton Fields P.A.

Are There Do-Overs?

Your contract should specify the work that remains as-is, work to be completed, and itemize any crossover work. If you’ll be responsible for the quality of any scope of work, make sure it’s your work. You don’t want to assume 100% liability for 10 percent of the contract price, Rune continued.

If you’re taking on another company’s construction projects, the bottom line is how much you’re willing to risk to turn a profit. Only you can decide.

Other Construction Projects Impact Your Business

Construction industry businesses know what’s important to business development. You should be regularly evaluating your competition, seeking alignment with other companies’ construction projects, finding mentors, or nurturing startups.

Construction Monitor has been providing data analytics for construction business development since 1989. Let us give you information for a better 2021.

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.

Exoskeletons Address 4 Construction Industry Pain Points

Construction Industry Pain Points

One in every 10 construction workers is injured annually…construction sees non-fatal injury rates that are 71% higher than any other industry. How Powered Exoskeletons Can Alleviate…

Labor shortages and injuries have hit our industry hard in 2020. While many companies are just getting powered-up using software solutions that save time and money, others are looking at hardware possibilities.

In the animal kingdom, an exoskeleton is a type of shell that protects an animal’s body. Snails and shrimp are good examples of species with exoskeletons. In the construction industry, exoskeletons are wearable technology. They may become – in reality – lifesavers for construction companies.

4 Construction Industry Challenges

Ten years ago, the concept was material for science fiction. But the exoskeleton market for the construction industry is expected to exceed $11.5 billion 10 years from now.

Mechanical and electrical exoskeletons support:

  • Arm/shoulder
  • Back
  • Hands/gloves
  • Standing/crouching
  • Whole-body

Here are four main areas exoskeletons can bolster the construction industry:

1. Enhance Productivity

Worker fatigue equals lost production and the more exhausted we are, the more injury-prone we become. Manufacturing and agriculture have increased productivity 10-15 times since the 1950s. The construction industry productivity numbers are the same as 80 years ago. Exoskeletons streamline the process and lessen transport delays. They also reduce downtime spent waiting for last-minute deliveries.

2. Provide Labor Shortage Solutions

Labor-saving exoskeletons can help one worker do the heavy lifting of a team. This optimizes social distancing but increases employment opportunities. Physical strength will play a less important role. Older, experienced employees can work longer. Smaller/underweight workers are no longer at a physical disadvantage.

3. Reduce Injury Risks

When cranes/hoists are too big, lifting heavy objects and materials in tight spaces requires people-power. Exoskeletons won’t give construction industry workers “superpowers,” but they can reduce fatigue, increase productivity, and lower injury risks.

4. Save Money

The numbers are impressive: An exoskeleton can increase per-worker productivity 4-8 times. And with injuries averaging $32,000 per incident, construction industry profit margins are often – to put it bluntly – a crapshoot.

What You Need To Know

All you need to know is everything. And it can be overwhelming. Construction Monitor’s support team ensures your data analytics are current and pertinent. Let us provide the lead-generation data that gives you an information edge in the construction industry. Contact Construction Monitor today.

Construction Projects: Reducing Rework

construction rework

Nobody likes do-overs, but we all make mistakes. What sets the best companies apart from the wannabes is how we respond to our mistakes.

If you’re going into overtime and running over-budget too often or your margin for errors is too high, do something about it. Reducing construction rework increases profits.

8 Causes of Construction Rework

Design changes are the leading cause of construction rework, so technology is impacting construction rework in a big way. We can design and then construct virtually. We can return to the drawing board before the foundation is laid, saving time, materials, labor…and of course, money.

Eight additional causes of construction rework include:

  1. Deadlines – Unrealistic timeframes leading to rushed, lesser-quality work
  2. Materials – Quality of materials not what was expected; don’t meet specifications
  3. Misunderstanding – Unclear client expectations
  4. Paper-chasing – Missing documents, incorrect processes, and general inability to find the information needed in a timely manner
  5. Procurement – Supply chain problems, ordering the wrong materials
  6. Quality control – No standards/processes to follow
  7. Supervision – Inexperienced or ineffective management; lack of leadership, no teamwork guidance
  8. Untrained workers – Underqualified jobsite/administrative personnel or workers that don’t take pride in workmanship

Communication is Critical

Today, most construction project failures “are the result of insufficient communication,” says a project management software developer. Now more than ever, construction management teams must develop a clear plan that includes how and when communications will occur.

Make No Mistake: Using Technology for Business Development is Essential

Lost time and money are minimal problems when you consider the amount of frustration construction project participants experience. Everyone – management, contractors, employees, investors – everyone suffers the dissatisfaction that comes from construction rework. Especially mistakes that could have been avoided.

Discounting technology and data utilization is the biggest mistake you can make. Construction Monitor can give you information for job leads and more. You’ll learn about profitable alliance opportunities and historical trends that reoccur. Our building permit datasorts will give you actionable insight.

You can’t go wrong when developing and managing available technology resources. Contact Construction Monitor for proven-to-work information, available when you need it: today.