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Benefits of Upfits for Construction Professionals

Published on March 26, 2015 by in Uncategorized

By Todd Goldmeyer

You’re a hardworking construction professional with a busy schedule and a truck chocked full of expensive equipment. Your time is valuable, but you know the importance of streamlining your day so that you can be as efficient as possible. Fortunately, there are now a wide variety of effective and industry-specific vehicle upfit packages available that can help you increase your productivity.

Benefits of Upfits

There are several ways an upfit package can benefit you and your business:

  • Organization – Have you ever been in this situation? You’re working hard and realize you need a specific tool to complete a job. You race to your vehicle and find yourself confronted with that unorganized pile of tools. To find the tool you need, you have to wade through the mess. You do ultimately find what you need, but think about how much time you just wasted! With a specialized upfit package, you can eliminate time wasted due to lack of organization. Upfits can include drawers, shelving and toolboxes that will keep your equipment exactly where you want it.
  • Increased safety – Not only does storing your tools loose disrupt efficient organization, it can also be dangerous. When you’re driving through heavy city traffic, quick stops are frequent, and having unsecured, heavy equipment can cause unnecessary injury to both your tools and you. An upfit can help to keep your tools securely stored in the back of your work vehicle. You can ensure additional safety by investing in upfit partitions, which keep the storage space and cab of your van safely separated.
  • Increased savings – Your tools are some of your most valuable investments. In the construction industry, the equipment you use to get the job done costs a lot of money and it needs to be properly protected to avoid damage. Upfit packages not only keep your tools safe, they also help eliminate the loss of money due to being slowed down by disorganization.

Upfit Products

What goes into an upfit is up to you! Some of the most common products that are featured in upfits for construction professionals include:

  • Ladder racks – Ladder racks keep those bulky ladders safe and secure on the roof of your vehicle during transportation. Various types of ladder racks are available including basic utility racks, lockable racks and drop-down ladder racks.
  • Partitions – Like mentioned above, partitions form a barrier between the cab area of a vehicle and the cargo area to prevent injury from airborne equipment. Partitions also help to improve climate control in the cab and also provide a great space for organizational accessories.
  • Shelving and drawers – Van shelving allows construction professionals to store their expensive equipment off the floor and in designated spaces throughout the vehicle. Van storage helps to keep the vehicle clean and organized, which improves efficiency.

Todd Goldmeyer is the marketing manager at Adrian Steel Company. To learn more about how an upfit for your work truck or van can increase organization for your construction business, contact Adrian Steel.

Have an idea for a guest blog for Construction Today? Contact alan.dorich@phoenixmediacorp.com or jim.harris@phoenixmediacorp.com.


 
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Credit Reports: Because You Can’t Un-build a Building

Published on March 23, 2015 by in Uncategorized

By Matthew Debbage

In the construction industry, it’s important to know who you’re working with up front.  From developers to construction management firms to subcontractors, evaluating the financial stability of potential business partners will protect your investment and resources down the road. Because, let’s face it — if you don’t get paid, you can’t un-build a building.

At construction management firms, executives use credit reports to determine whether a client will pay its bills on time, or at all. Purchasing and estimating departments use credit reports to prequalify subcontractors. The contents of a credit report can indicate whether the sub will stay in business throughout the duration of the job and can perform as expected.

The lifecycle of a construction project depends upon regular, reliable payments every 30 days, as well as final payment upon completion. Regular pay enhances the chances a subcontractor can maintain the required manpower on the project and purchase the necessary material to complete the job.  Subcontractors may ask to see the construction management firm’s contract with the owner before signing on to verify payment stipulations and also may use credit reports to determine if the firm regularly pays its subs on time and in full.

Here’s what a credit report will tell you about who you’re doing business with:

Days Beyond Terms – A look at how quickly the company pays its bills after the due date, and whether or not there has been any change to its payment history.

Credit Score – Understand the chance that a potential business partner will fall behind in paying you.

Officer Details & Group Structure – Who’s running the business, who they’re connected to, and if they’re connected to other companies. Can help you determine if the people behind the business that you are investigating are who they say they are.

Inquiry Records – Who else is searching for the company? If you find a large number of inquiries during a brief timeframe, it could be a sign that the company is in financial trouble or needs to over-extend credit in order to stay afloat.

Trade Payment Data – Company’s full trade line information, bank and lease agreements to see how much money they owe to other businesses.

Judgments & Legal Data – Will reveal if there have been any legal judgments, UCC filings, tax liens or bankruptcies against the business.

Not being fully aware of the firm you are dealing with could result in substantial financial repercussions down the road.  There are now subscription-based credit monitoring services that can eliminate the high costs of purchasing individual reports. Paying a set fee per month is far more cost effective if, for example, a CM firm is looking up credit reports for 10 different subs in one month.

While there is more to vetting a potential business partner than a credit report, it’s a financial tool that should be a part of every construction manager’s toolbox. Let’s all learn a lesson from Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green and be sure that our future business partners “Are who we thought they were!”

Matthew Debbage is the president of Creditsafe’s U.S. operations, overseeing the company’s expansion into the U.S. market. Creditsafe is the world’s most-used supplier of online company credit reports. Nearly 5,000 companies in the U.S. use its credit reports, ranging from small businesses to large, global concerns like Staples, Ryder and Nestle. Debbage, with more than 15 years of experience in market entry strategies, has successfully led the research, planning and launch of a number of operations in markets around the world, making companies more efficient and profitable.

Have an idea for a guest blog for Construction Today? Contact alan.dorich@phoenixmediacorp.com or jim.harris@phoenixmediacorp.com.


 
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Three Ways Project Management Software Enables Successful Construction Operations

Published on March 19, 2015 by in Uncategorized

By Jenna Puckett

Construction projects are notorious for finishing over budget, past schedule and outside of the agreed scope. Let’s look at a few ways project management software can help overcome common hurdles that stand in the way of successful, on-time projects.

Improved Job Costing

All construction projects have one thing in common: they each begin with an estimate. Calculating a labor and materials estimate is complex, but the hard work doesn’t end there. That estimate turns into a budget, and throughout a project, all costs must be continually measured, recorded, and compared to the original budget.

Job cost management is a critical component that ensures projects remain within budget. Good project management software will provide real-time material and labor data so you can easily identify and monitor job costs as they occur. Being able to track and react to problems immediately— rather than in hindsight— will keep your project from drifting into the red.

Once a project is completed, you can use the data to estimate the cost of similar projects in the future. Accurate projections and increased budget visibility are win-wins for construction operations.

Streamlined Document Management

Proposals, blueprints, permits, change orders, and more – the paper mountain that a construction project can create sometimes rivals the actual structures being built. From RFIs to receipts, using multiple databases — or no database at all —  to store documents is problematic. Lack of electronic document management creates duplicate data entry, omitted information, and risk of misplacing critical papers.

A single project management platform that stores all construction documents and paperwork enables easy information sharing and retrieval. Paper files can be scanned and uploaded as well, which helps keep important information for each job-site in one place. For example, if you keep your data in a cloud-based storage system, your colleagues can retrieve files in an instant and collaborate in real-time.

Transparent Timelines

Scheduling is the backbone of a successful project. It’s essential to have a project management system that can be tailored to your workflow and accommodate all the teams and suppliers involved. After your project is mapped out, a good system will allow you to save the schedule as a template, adjust it based on results, and reuse it for future projects.

Two visual tools that help you plan and assess your project schedule are Gantt charts and Kanban boards. Gantt charts use a familiar timeline view to map major tasks and milestones, as well as indicate which tasks are interconnected or dependent. This chronological depiction offers a high level view of tasks, so you can monitor each initiative’s progress and pinpoint bottlenecks. For a more granular view, use Kanban boards to delegate responsibilities linked to major goals and milestones. Construction managers can use these tools to monitor resources and deadlines, as well as stay informed of progress and anticipate any necessary schedule adjustments.

Project management software helps automate tasks and creates a central location for up to date project information. This increases transparency, efficiency, and ultimately, project success. If your company is struggling to meet project goals and requirements, then it’s time to embrace technology that meets your business needs.

Jenna Puckett is a junior technology analyst at TechnologyAdvice. She covers topics related to gamification, employee performance and other emerging tech trends. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

 

Have an idea for a guest blog for Construction Today? Contact alan.dorich@phoenixmediacorp.com or jim.harris@phoenixmediacorp.com.

 
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Rent Equipment to Grow Your Business

Published on March 17, 2015 by in Uncategorized

By Robert Preville

Renting equipment is a routine practice in construction. As a matter of fact, it’s so routine it adds an estimated $25 billion per year to the economy. Typically, it’s the needs of the job that dictate the equipment requirement – at least that’s the approach most contractors take. Some contractors even choose to pass on certain project opportunities because they don’t think they’re properly equipped.

What if contractors started thinking differently, proactively and creatively? What if instead of waiting for a need to arise before considering equipment rental as an option, contractors started thinking of how renting different types of equipment could create new demand and new customers for their businesses?

Equipment rental can be so much more than a reactive requirement to fulfilling a specific need. Because you can rent virtually any piece of equipment that exists, you essentially have every piece of equipment you could ever need, for any job, already in your equipment inventory. Plus, the part of your inexhaustible inventory that is considered “rental” offers other advantages:

  • Rentals don’t require the large capital investment that buying and maintaining equipment does.
  • Renting enables access to equipment without putting a strain on cash flow.
  • Rentals don’t depreciate (at least not from the renter’s perspective).
  • Renting provides the flexibility to choose different models, sizes and capacities based on individual job specifications.
  • Renting eliminates outdated equipment and offers access to the latest models outfitted with the newest technologies.
  • Rental costs can frequently be passed on to end clients and even marked up for additional profit.

So, knowing that your inventory theoretically includes ALL equipment, ask yourself these proactive questions:

  • Have we turned down bids and jobs because we didn’t think we had the right equipment?
  • How could we expand our services, our customer base and the projects we take on simply by renting some equipment that we don’t currently own?
  • Have we ever looked through a catalog of equipment categories to generate creative ideas about how we could leverage certain equipment that we’ve never really considered before?
  • What are some lucrative project areas that we’ve never engaged in before that we could test out now by renting some equipment?

Obviously, renting is not always a better alternative than buying. However, I am certain that many construction companies and contractors underestimate and underutilize the power of equipment rental. I challenge readers to get creative and think of at least one way to expand your current construction services by renting a not-so-obvious piece of equipment.About the author

Robert Preville is a serial entrepreneur and active angel investor via IMAF Cape Fear in Wilmington, N.C. Robert is the co-owner of the Greater Wilmington Business Journal and the co-founder and CEO of KWIPPED, an online B2B equipment rental marketplace. Prior to KWIPPED, Robert founded and sold GlobalTestSupply.com, a world-class provider of test and measurement equipment that ranked #800 on the INC 5000 fastest growing companies list. Prior to that, he was the founding employee and Vice President of Sales for MFG.com, the leading online manufacturing marketplace and a portfolio company of Jeff Bezos’s Bezos Expeditions.

Have an idea for a guest blog for Construction Today? Contact alan.dorich@phoenixmediacorp.com or jim.harris@phoenixmediacorp.com.


 
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Stop Mold In Its Tracks When Renovating

Published on March 13, 2015 by in Uncategorized

By Robert Weitz

Before demolishing a wall, ceiling, or structure, a savvy contractor will order asbestos and lead testing to make sure that demolition won’t spread those toxins into the air. But what happens if you break through the surface and you uncover what looks like widespread mold?  What should you do?

The answer is simple: STOP! Even if you’ve set up some type of protective barrier, such as a plastic containment area or even a temporary wall structure, you can’t keep mold spores from spreading. A disturbed area of mold less than one square inch can generate millions of mold spores into the air. If you continue demolition, you potentially endanger the health of your employees and your client, and risk contaminating the entire structure. Airborne mold spores can cause individuals to cough, sneeze, or worse, and mold spores will exacerbate or can even lead to asthma or other serious respiratory conditions. Continuing demolition work when mold is suspected is a risk no contractor should take.

What to Do

At the first sign of what could be mold, stop demolition and call in a certified mold inspector to investigate. The inspector can identity the type of mold growing, tell you if the mold is toxic or allergen, measure the amount of mold in the air and recommend how a remediation company can eliminate the mold problem. (Note: hire two separate companies to perform the inspection and remediate the mold. There’s a clear conflict of interest when one company does both.)

Most likely, the mold inspector will recommend establishing proper containment and negative air pressure to reduce the chance that mold spores will migrate to unaffected areas of the worksite. The inspector also typically will recommend using biocides and antimicrobials to treat and seal any staining to help ensure everyone’s safety. Once the remediation firm removes the mold and cleans the area, ask your environmental testing firm to return for a final inspection and sampling.

It typically takes fewer than seven to between 10 to 14 days to complete the initial inspection, remediation and final inspection. Although the process may cause a slight delay in your project, the extra effort to use professionals protects you and all parties involved in the construction process. It’s never worthwhile to take shortcuts when health and safety are at stake.

Robert Weitz is a certified microbial investigator and principal at RTK Environmental Group, a leading environmental testing and consulting firm serving the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. For more than 25 years, Mr. Weitz has helped residential and commercial property owners address serious environmental hazards such as mold, lead, asbestos, water, soil, radon, and indoor air quality. 

Have an idea for a guest blog for Construction Today? Contact alan.dorich@phoenixmediacorp.com or jim.harris@phoenixmediacorp.com.


 
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Maintain Your Strategic Relationship Infrastructure

Published on March 12, 2015 by in Uncategorized

By David Nour

In the July/August 2014 issue of Construction Today, Alan Dorich wrote, “If there is any area in U.S. construction where there is room for improvement, it’s our infrastructure.” He was talking about roads and bridges, but there is a deeper message here: There may be room for improvement in your strategic relationship infrastructure. That infrastructure is precisely what you need to stay relevant to your best clients, suppliers, and employees.

Aging roads and bridges need to be maintained. Likewise, your strategic relationships need regular maintenance. On-ramps allow new strategic relationships to form. Are you making time to get to know new people? Your current contacts won’t stay current if you don’t communicate regularly. Are you building bridges by offering relevant information or connections? This will lead to pivotal contacts, people well-situated to make introductions that help you achieve you goals. Your past contacts include people for  whom you are simply no longer relevant. Can you be of mutual benefit today? If not, it’s time to build an off-ramp and let them go—politely, of course.

To maintain a relevant competitive advantage, prioritize maintaining the “rural roads” at the far edges of your strategic relationship network. These are your infrastructure for sensing inflection points occurring far from your home market. The North American construction industry needs to be aware of innovations and market trends around the world. How does your organization gather intelligence?

Relationships are the single most important off-balance sheet any company owns. It is up to you to make time to maintain your relationship capital. Are you creating a culture and expectation within your organization that others will maintain your relationship infrastructure as well? Consider holding a discussion in your next senior leaders meeting about relationship development. It’s not hard for anyone who’s read financial statements to grasp the fundamental economic insight that you cannot invest or leverage capital until you have accumulated it through deposits.

Hopefully the U.S. Congress and the Obama administration will find the will to improve the U.S. transportation infrastructure, leading to new contracts for the construction industry. In the meantime, will you find the will to stay relevant to your clients, suppliers, and employees, by improving your strategic relationship infrastructure?

Takeaways

1. To maintain relevance, build “roads and bridges” that connect you with mutually beneficial relationships.

2. Leverage the relationships at the edge of your network for sensing trends outside your home market.

3. Create a culture in your organization in which relationships are recognized as a strategic asset.

David Nour is an enterprise growth strategist and the thought leader on Relationship Economics® —the quantifiable value of business relationships. He is the author of several books including the best selling Relationship Economics— Revised (Wiley), ConnectAbility (McGraw-Hill), The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Raising Capital (Praeger) and Return on Impact—Leadership Strategies for the age of Connected Relationships (ASAE). Learn more at www.NourGroup.com. David may be reached at dnour@nourgroup.com.

Have an idea for a guest blog for Construction Today? Contact alan.dorich@phoenixmediacorp.com or jim.harris@phoenixmediacorp.com.

 

 

 

 

 
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The First Sale is to Yourself

Published on March 9, 2015 by in Uncategorized

By David Nour

“The No. 1 reason why contractors do not get jobs is because they neglect to follow up and ask for the order,” wrote Rich Fineman in “Selling Your Company”. Why do so many in the construction industry miss that crucial step? I believe it is because so many people lack confidence in themselves. Before you can convince anyone else that you can improve their condition, you have to believe it yourself.

Fundamentally, the first sale is to yourself. To close more construction bids, we need to shift from selling (which most of us hate, which is why we so often neglect to follow up and ask for the order) to helping our prospects buy.

It’s much easier to feel confident asking for the sale if you believe that you can be a trusted advisor to the potential buyer. That means you must prioritize selflessness over self-interest. Help your potential buyer consider all options and choose the one that offers the most promise, even if it isn’t yours.

To do that, you need to understand the customer’s journey. The purchase process begins with needs recognition, triggered by a stimulus. In the construction trades that might be anything from a town’s tired retail district to a developer’s plans for a new office complex. A buyer seeks out information, evaluates alternatives, makes a purchase decision and then experiences either satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

As a trusted advisor with specialized industry expertise, you are ideally positioned to help the buyer on this journey.

It’s not hard to make a follow-up call when you believe that your primary job is to improve your customer’s condition, without regard for whether your firm gets the thumbs-up or not. In my executive coaching, within the construction industry as well as in other fields, I’m seeing too many issues with low self-worth, and its hobbling otherwise effective, intelligent people.

Do you genuinely believe that you can improve your prospective customers’ condition? then you’ve made that first sale—to yourself. Now you’re ready to take a trusted advisor stance and make follow-up calls, confident in your capabilities but ready to sacrifice any one sale in order to win a bigger asset—a mutually beneficial relationship you can nurture into future opportunities.

Takeaways

1. To close more construction bids, paradoxically, you must your potential buyer consider all options and choose the best fit, even if it isn’t yours.

2. Offering your insights as a trusted advisor with specialized industry expertise, who understands their customer journey.

3. The real goal of follow-up is a mutually beneficial relationship leading to future opportunities, not one sale.

David Nour is an enterprise growth strategist and the thought leader on Relationship Economics® —the quantifiable value of business relationships. He is the author of several books including the best selling Relationship Economics— Revised (Wiley), ConnectAbility (McGraw-Hill), The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Raising Capital (Praeger) and Return on Impact—Leadership Strategies for the age of Connected Relationships (ASAE). Learn more at www.NourGroup.com.

Have an idea for a guest blog for Construction Today? Contact alan.dorich@phoenixmediacorp.com or jim.harris@phoenixmediacorp.com.

 

 

 
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Annual Report Basics for Construction Business Owners

Published on March 4, 2015 by in Uncategorized

By Jennifer Friedman

Annual report season is here and deadlines are just around the corner. For corporations formed in Delaware, annual reports needed to be filed by March 1, and many other states have filing deadlines in April-June.  Are you prepared to file your annual report? Most states require incorporated businesses and limited liability companies (LLCs) to file an annual report. It is imperative to file correctly and on time in order to maintain good standing and avoid fees or more severe repercussions.

Annual Report Requirements

The key elements of an annual report are:

  • The business entity’s legal name;
  • The principal office address;
  • The registered agent’s name and address; and
  • The names and business addresses of the officers, directors and managers

Tips For Filing Annual Reports

  • Track the filing deadlines for all of your active corporations / LLCs.
  • Deadlines vary depending on which state you are filing with so it is imperative to track the dates and renewal periods.
  • Prepare the annual reports.
  • Since the specifics vary from state to state, it is important to pay attention to required information for each of the reports.
  • File the completed documents with the state.

Each state has its own annual report guidelines so you must check the specifics with the state you in which you incorporated your company. If you own a construction business that operates in several states, you will have to file a separate report in the formation state and each state where the company has qualified to do business as a foreign company.

If you are overwhelmed with the thought of running your company and handling detail-sensitive documents such as an annual report, consider a professional registered agent who may be able to assist you in preparing your annual report the right way.

Consequences of Not Submitting a Proper Annual Report

To facilitate on-time filing, states take disciplinary action on the companies that do not file correctly or by the deadline. Businesses that file after the deadline must pay a late fee, in addition to the original annual report fee. Failure to file an annual report altogether can result in the Secretary of State dissolving your company or a revocation of the business entity in the state records. If this were to transpire, your company would have to cease all construction work, losing out on bids and business. And, you may become personal liable for business debts and judgments incurred during this time. While it is usually possible to be reinstated, this is not a certainty and can occur only after you submit your annual report would your business be reinstated.

Annual reports may seem like a hassle but they serve the important purpose of keeping your company on record with the necessary government agencies. By filing early and well ahead of the deadline, you are setting your construction business up for a prosperous year with less worry and more opportunities.

Jennifer Friedman is the CMO of the small business segment of CT, a Wolters Kluwer Company, which provides legal compliance solutions to small businesses. In this role, Jennifer directs all activities related to digital marketing and advertising to help build the brand through innovation, partnerships, and enhancing the customer experience.

Have an idea for a guest blog for Construction Today? Contact alan.dorich@phoenixmediacorp.com or jim.harris@phoenixmediacorp.com.


 
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SEO Scaffolding Helps Build your Brand

Published on March 2, 2015 by in Uncategorized

By Alexander Ruggie

Marketing is critical in any business, but especially so in the construction trade where it’s still possible to be a blue collar entrepreneur competing against the likes of massive McMansion builders and cookie-cutter tract housing projects. Construction professionals in smaller to mid-sized companies, or even one-man operations using effective SEO marketing strategies can still compete with the bigger players or even dominate niche markets that aren’t cost effective for larger companies to target.

For those just starting out in the trade, there is the usual hurdle of battling all others in the area for the same jobs, but reaching that audience is easier than ever. The days of placing a photo ad in the yellow pages and naming your company “AAA Contracting” to get prime placement in the front of the alphabetically oriented construction section are long gone, and while that may scare some more traditional operations, it should be seen as a boon to those with any computer skills at all. Even two-finger typists can still create and execute an effective social media campaign, Outbrain or Taboola ad that places them right in front of their potential customers.

Individuals or companies who desire to reach their audience with more resonance and authority would do well to hire an SEO marketing firm to reach out to their demographic for them. This allows the same differentiation of labor that a foreman would use on a job site to get the most out of his crew. In the same vein that you wouldn’t have a roofer take on plumbing jobs, the office administrative assistant shouldn’t be tapped for the company’s marketing efforts. To accomplish the greatest number of priorities in the shortest amount of time with the least expense, it is crucial to hire these services out to the professionals trained to do them.

Search engine optimization (SEO) sounds like a heady term, but in reality it is just a descriptor for the act of adjusting a websites parameters, structure and content to better place it in the market. Successful SEO campaigns can elevate an individual or company’s website from obscurity in the past-page-one netherworld of Google to prime placement right next to other major players in the business.

Localizing SEO strategies can also do wonders for smaller construction outfits by increasing their presence in smaller communities. This may seem like a backwards strategy to some, but in reality being the top search result in many various low population areas may yield more jobs than being a sidelined player in bigger communities where a company may not even get the opportunity to bid on a project due to lack of exposure.

Many more traditional companies may view simply having a website in general as the extent of their needs in the online world, but as consumers go deeper and deeper into the digital realm for all of their needs it is becoming equally imperative for businesses to work in concert with this approach. Additionally, many websites built before the onset of the smart phone revolution may be doing more harm than good when consumers search for those services with their phones. If sites aren’t optimized for mobile devices they end up lagging in loading times and many other problems that instantly turn consumers off.

Making it easy for a potential customer to access the information about your company is absolutely critical to compete in the mobile marketplace. All indicators point to a steady increase in searches done with smart phones and when a potential customer reaches a company site that isn’t optimized for their device it almost becomes self-inflicted negative advertising for that company with consumers who have come to expect information instantaneously, and it may even taint your image with this audience en masse. A construction business, like all others, requires marketing to be successful, and while it may be initially challenging to position a company online, the cost of not doing so is far greater.

Alexander Ruggie is the public relations director for 911 Restoration, a home restoration company that specializes in disaster recovery and water damage solutions.

Have an idea for a guest blog for Construction Today? Contact alan.dorich@phoenixmediacorp.com or jim.harris@phoenixmediacorp.com.


 
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Going Green? Don’t Forget the Roof!

Published on February 27, 2015 by in Uncategorized

By Art Valentz

These days, green construction is rapidly becoming the new normal. By 2012, an estimated 48 percent of US commercial projects had already incorporated green building practices. That percentage continues to rise as existing projects prove the financial, environmental, and social advantages of going green.

Why Roofs Matter in Green Construction

Roof design is critical to optimizing building performance. Not only does the roof cover the entire building footprint, but direct radiation to space results in approximately 15 percent more heat loss through the roof than through other parts of the building envelope. Roofing can also affect water quality and conservation, albedo effect and heat island mitigation, and urban aesthetics.

There are many sustainable roofing options on the market today, each with their pros and cons. Here are a few:

  • Living roofs – Literally green, living roofs utilize live plants as roofing material. Proponents of living roofs cite many benefits, including energy savings, creating a wildlife habitat, improved water and air quality, noise and fire protection and even reduction of EMF radiation. However, they can be quite expensive to install and must be properly engineered for structural rooftop pipe and equipment stability and water management.
  • Cool roofs- A “cool” roof is any roof that has high solar reflectance. Cool roofing materials range from light-colored metal roofs to coatings sprayed onto a new or existing roof. Cool roofs can reduce roof temperatures by up to 60°F on hot summer days compared to conventional roofing materials. This can significantly reduce cooling costs and even reduce the urban “heat island” effect in the building’s proximity. Many cool roofing options are quite affordable. Most are compatible with standard rooftop support systems, and, like living roofs, they can help a project earn LEED points for solar reflectance. Cool roofing technologies provide the greatest payback in hot, sunny climates in the south and southeast part of the country.
  • Solar roofing- While solar panels are still the most popular solar option, advances in thin film solar technology are making integrated solar roofing a viable option for certain applications. Solar-integrated shingles and other thin roofing materials offer built-in electricity generation without the bulky appearance of panels. These systems can be pricey, however, and require full sun for optimal payback. Shade from phone wires and rooftop protrusions such as HVAC equipment can seriously impair performance, so be sure to analyze the site thoroughly before investing.
  • Metal roofs- Metal roofs last for decades and can easily be recycled when their work is done. They are also ideal for integration with rainwater collection and solar panels, and can be manufactured as cool roofs, too. However, the upfront cost can be high, and they can be noisy during rainfall. Keep in mind, too, that metal has a high coefficient of expansion. Care must be taken to allow for this during installation of the roof and rooftop equipment.

In addition to their environmental and financial benefits, these roofing systems can help buildings meet standards for LEED and other popular green building certifications, as well as meet tightened federal energy efficiency standards for new construction. No matter what your next project, be sure to find a green roofing material to fit the bill!

Art Valentz is the founder and CEO of PHP Systems/Design. With over 24 years of experience in rooftop support systems, he is well known for his industry leading research, design, testing, and engineering practices. When he is not on the rooftop, Art enjoys supporting the Wounded Warriors Project and fishing with his family.

Have an idea for a guest blog for Construction Today? Contact alan.dorich@phoenixmediacorp.com or jim.harris@phoenixmediacorp.com.

 
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