Who’s Your Worst Enemy in the Construction Industry?

Construction Industry

The construction industry is customer-service oriented. We need happy clients and customers to beget more clients and customers. If your only business plan is to make a disgusting amount of money, then customer care is at the top of your hierarchical outline.

Management consultant Gregg M. Schoppman says frequently customers have unrealistic project expectations. They are their own worst enemies. But in the construction industry itself, especially project management, your worst enemy might be…you.

3 Ways To Wreck Construction Industry Projects and Customer Relationships

No project manager ever tries to make mistakes that cause a construction industry project to crash and burn. And not one PM took a class in creating customer ill will.

Here are sure-fire ways to sink your ship and jeopardize future business:

  1. Overpromise – During negotiations, do your best to be a bobblehead. Answer all questions with “Absolutely,” “Of course,” and “No problem!” Then be sure to underdeliver. Your customer will spread the word you’re not to be trusted.
  2. Blame others – Let the customer/owner know she/he hired a bunch of losers. Not you or your team, of course, but other contractors. They’re the reason the project is over-budget and behind schedule.
  3. Focus on problems – Often, how you present information is more important than the information itself. Schoppman says:
Instead of saying:Say:
“It rained for a week, so we’re behind schedule.”“We had a bit of bad weather, so here are 2 recovery schedules we can review.”
“The item you specified can’t be delivered for another 10 weeks.”“Supply chains are stressed, so here are 3 items that might be more available than what we wanted.”
“Your vendor damaged my >wall/ceiling/roof<. Pay me.”Before your vendor comes onsite, let’s have a meeting to set safety expectations.”
“The >city/county/state< won’t give me a permit; what do you want to do? And I’ll need more money to pay idle crews.”“We checked before we bid and it appeared the permits are backed up. But we did receive the go-ahead to begin >demolition/excavation<.”

Construction projects have enough challenges without creating more. Be solutions-oriented, and you’ll avoid or minimize the need for damage control.

Our subscribers include the top solutions-oriented construction industry leaders. What do they know you don’t? Find out; contact Construction Monitor.

Leveraging Construction Lifecycle Data

Construction Lifecycle Data

Organizing and retaining projects’ construction lifecycle data has become increasingly complex. Autodesk says construction projects now involve more people, but that doesn’t necessarily mean more people on the payroll. It could mean more people in the loop.

By the time a typical construction project is complete,
up to 30 percent of data has been lost…
Autodesk

Different people use different software to capture project analytics. Architects have creative software. Engineers incorporate health and safety into design. And the project itself has yet another software application.

That’s where we’re losing it – literally. Construction lifecycle data is misplaced during handoffs. This is a major problem because retaining all information from the design/build phases is critical. The right software captures the entire project, start to finish, and makes handovers seamless and efficient.

What’s Included in Construction Lifecycle?

We need everyone involved in the project to be able to view the same data in real-time. Too many types of software used during handoffs mean we may be compromising information:

  • 2D drawings
  • 3D engineering data
  • Asset/equipment information
  • Daily logs
  • Financial data
  • Meeting minutes
  • Project documentation, reports, schedules
  • Requests for Information (RFIs)
  • Submittals

…and more.

Connectivity within our construction software applications is key. Construction projects using older software systems require the GC to organize the data and documentation. This is not only time-consuming, but it also puts the GC between the data and its original owner. “Connected construction” means data owners owner can access all information at every stage:

  1. Design
  2. Plan
  3. Build
  4. Operate

 …without requesting permission from the GC.

For a competitive edge, you need a reputation for time and money efficiency. You’d like to be known as the kind of project manager that is on top of everything. Construction project GCs/managers leveraging construction lifecycle data can put an end to lost-data transfers and runaround hassles.

If you haven’t checked into lifecycle construction software platforms, it’s an investment that can make your life easier.

Leveraging Construction Monitor Data

The lead-generating information we deliver is being used by your competitors. Find out how you too can leverage building permit analytics to build business. Speak with one of our marketing pros to learn more.

Contact Construction Monitor.

CFS for Construction Projects

construction projects

Cold-formed steel (aka light-gauge steel) is the term we use for products shaped by roll-forming steel at room temperature. It’s been used on construction projects since the 1850s but lacked approved information about the material’s use as well as any uniform design standards or code requirements.

Since its standardization in 1946, it’s been used for:

  • Bridges
  • Car bodies
  • Draining facilities
  • Equipment manufacturing
  • Firearms
  • Grain bins
  • Highway products
  • Railway cars
  • Storage racks
  • Transmission towers/poles

Within construction projects, it’s used for numerous applications:

  • Beams
  • Built-up sections
  • Columns
  • Floor decking
  • Joists
  • Studs

“CFS as a construction material has many advantages,” says BuildSteel. “For example, CFS doesn’t shrink or split, won’t absorb moisture, and resists warping, termites, and fire.”

CFS Advantages

It’s an exciting time to be in the construction industry. We’re evolving with technology and developing sustainable, new materials and use processes. We’re also managing challenging regulations and limitations.

CFS products are equal to or surpass traditional materials:

  • Environmentally friendlier – CFS products are made of 25% recycled materials. Material waste is less than 1%, and it’s 100% recyclable.
  • Reduces onsite labor – Pre-engineered steel framing makes assembly fast and accurate.
  • Retains steel properties – Does not absorb moisture, shrink, split, or warp, and repels fire and pest infestations.
  • ROI – CFI is cost-competitive and ideal for mass production.
  • Speed – Pre-assembled frames/fabrications reduce turnaround time.
  • Strength/ductility – Good for high-wind and earthquake regions.
  • Versatility – Ideal for all building types; multi-story housing/hotels, stand-alone pre-fabricated units, etc.

Cold-formed steel (literally) provides the framework for solid, sustainable construction projects. Just as pre-fabrication saves time and money for increased profitability, Construction Monitor data can generate profits, too. We take building permit numbers and compress them into usable, actionable information for lead generation and business development. Ask us how.

Contact Construction Monitor.

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%

Contact Construction Monitor

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.