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Three Tech Tools to Boost Construction Productivity and Lower Operating Costs

Published on January 23, 2015 by in Uncategorized

By James White 

Running a construction company or being a construction manager comes with a lot of challenges, and it isn’t always easy to keep operations efficient. Fortunately, there are several online tools that can streamline daily activities and keep projects running smoothly. Let’s take a look at these tools that will help increase your productivity and reduce operating costs.

1) BuildingBlok

BuildingBlok helps you coordinate with different teams on one convenient interface. You can collaborate with team members via desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone so everyone remains on the same page throughout all phases of a project.

Document management is made easy through a global file manager where you can upload and save blueprints, contracts and other construction documents. You can also archive documents that aren’t being used at the moment, but may be important later on.

The budget feature keeps tabs on your financial documents so you always know the details of your financial situation, including real time financial reports so you know how much a job is costing at any given time. By maintaining control over your budget, you can identify inefficiencies and take measures to avoid overspending.

This platform also streamlines bidding and makes it easy to manage all of your construction-related contacts. Contractors have the ability to create their own profiles and state their areas of expertise. You can then communicate in real time to hasten the flow of information and quickly upload all bidding documents.

2) Fleet Management Solutions

In the past, construction company owners and managers had limited control over managing equipment. However, nowadays there are several apps that make it easy to manage your entire fleet

Security can be an issue, especially in certain locations. Machine System Security from Caterpillar can be utilized to prevent theft. In many cases, this will pay for itself when your company saves thousands of dollars by protecting high price equipment.

Product Link™ can help you determine some areas where your fleet can improve in terms of efficiency.

There is also the Vital Information Management System (VIMS) Supervisor, which takes information from a database and gives you production and maintenance reports on your fleet. You can often spot maintenance issues in advance and make repairs before they become a serious problem and cost an exorbitant amount of money.

3) The Cloud

When it comes to the construction industry, the cloud can be used for everything from document tracking to data storage to monitoring project status.

According to GetApp, “remote access to applications and information allows staff from construction companies to work collaboratively without being tied to a specific physical location. With cloud-based construction software, contractors can access their information from any device, portable computers, smartphones or tablets. The only thing you need is an Internet access.”

This allows you to collaborate with contractors, subcontractors and architects while you’re in the office, out in the field or even at home. You and your team members can maintain clear communication and minor glitches can be immediately addressed.

Implementing the right tech products into your construction company can be highly advantageous. Besides making the lives of you and your team members easier, you should see quicker project completion and more earnings.

James White is an experienced home improvement blogger who works in construction.

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 Best Software for Resource Allocation

Published on January 22, 2015 by in Uncategorized

By Jenna Puckett

One of the best ways to ensure construction projects are delivered on time, on budget, and within scope is by using a project management (PM) tool. However, not all systems are created equal. If you’ve ever tried to compare project management software, you’ve probably discovered that it’s just about as daunting as managing multimillion dollar projects: Where do you start? How do you know what’s most important?

If balancing a portfolio of projects and optimizing each one is your goal, then PM software with strong resource allocation capabilities is a great place to start. Using software that gives you a picture of projects as a whole, rather than standalone tasks, will help you avoid resources shortages during construction projects.

Why You Need Resource Allocation

Resources extend beyond just financial allocations, and include any factor used to produce goods or services, such as: people, facilities, machinery, tools and equipment, materials, and even technology.

A comprehensive PM system focused on resource efficiency enables you to quickly identify issues or conflicts that might occur. By providing up-to-date information about resource availability, you can see if one project has over allocated resources that can be redistributed to another project— as it happens.

Access to real time status and performance information across projects can help you optimize resources and productivity by comparing metrics such as work-in-progress to average time to completion. Additionally, most PM systems include a visual interface, so you can easily see what resources are committed where with just one glance. The interface may include such visual tools as Gantt charts, Kanban boards, waterfall task management, or similar planning aids.

Top Choices for Resource Allocation

Keeping these benefits in mind, let’s take a look at some PM tools with the best resource allocation.

Viewpoint: Created specifically for the construction industry. With strong reporting tools, it’s no surprise they were included on Construction Executive’s 2014 Hot Products list.

Clarizen: A scalable solution for any sized business. Though not industry specific, the project portfolio management features and ability to assign work to individuals based on their skillsets and availability make Clarizen a strong candidate for the construction industry.

10,000ft: An extremely intuitive system that provides “big picture PM” with advanced reporting and analytics capabilities in just a few clicks.

Corecon: Provides detailed codes and reporting specific to construction resources and was named as Technology’s Hottest Product by Constructech Magazine for both Residential and Commercial categories.

Dexter + Chaney: A recipient of the Construction Executive 2013 Hot Product Award and vendor that offers a large selection of pre-built reports and integration with Microsoft Excel.

Additional notable tools: EADOC, Buildtools, and Comidor.

Managing multiple projects at the same time is not an easy task. But when your ventures are multimillion dollar construction projects, the task is even more complex. If you’re looking to successfully balance your company resources, project management tools with resource allocation are a must.

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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Why Construction Companies Need an Official Registered Agent

Published on January 19, 2015 by in Uncategorized

By Jennifer Friedman

Construction business owners often face time and resource constraints. In a highly regulated industry with many documents and forms to file, in addition to tax and compliance deadlines, a registered agent can ease the burden of annual obligations on a business. It allows business owners to focus on securing job contracts and carrying out projects, freeing them from concerns that an important document or filing has been overlooked.

Stay On Track and In Good Standing

Signaling construction industry growth in much of the country, the Associated General Contractors of America reported that construction firms in 38 states and the District of Columbia have added jobs in the past year, but with that growth comes additional compliance responsibilities. A professional registered agent is a key resource to help prepare your business by handling important notices and filings from the state, such as annual report forms and also accepts notices related to lawsuits, ranging from contract disputes to wage garnishments. It helps your business maintain good standing which is key because it protects it from fines, potential license suspension and losing essential bids. Maintaining compliance as your company takes on more responsibility is critical.

When you initially form your business, you must name a registered agent in your formation state. In some cases, the business owner may opt to serve as the registered agent. This can create problems because the registered agent must be available during business hours every week of the year. In addition, it can pose real problems for a contractor who is often out of the office on job sites. Having a professional registered agent means that important papers are received and delivered to you promptly.

Prepare Your Expanding Business

Did you know that a registered agent is required when you expand into other states? Businesses are required to have a registered agent that is a resident, with a physical address, in the state of incorporation. This means that an owner can seldom serve as a registered agent in the new state and is why enlisting a professional registered agent is a viable solution.  Plus, a professional registered agent can help track the compliance deadlines in the new state and make sure your compliance paperwork is handled properly.

As your construction business grows, it’s important that you have processes in place to manage any legal disputes. When you have an official registered agent, the agent receives all lawsuits or summons directed to your business and will alert you of necessary actions you must take. Furthermore, construction companies often have to attain a multitude of industry-specific business licenses and renew them to stay in compliance. Without a registered agent, it can be easy to forget license renewal deadlines and enable competitors to report your business for suspension and penalties.

A professional registered agent is an asset to your business and helps manage your ongoing compliance work, giving you the peace of mind to focus on your core business: construction.

Jennifer Friedman is the CMO of the small business segment of CTa Wolters Kluwer Company, which provides legal compliance solutions to the small-business community. In this role, she 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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The Pros and Cons of Hiring Full-time Employees

Published on January 15, 2015 by in Uncategorized

By Susanna Blake

The seasonal nature of the construction industry means that many employers rely on contract workers, most of whom become established career contractors. However, for construction company owners, having a trusted crew of full-time employees has its advantages. As you plan to build a good reputation and long-term relationships with your customer, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons of having a full time or temporary staff.

Pros of Hiring Full-time Employees

Full-time employees are often more invested in cultivating relationships with the company and the customers they serve. Established employees carry a sense of pride in their work as part of a team and are willing to go above and beyond to follow through on assignments and achieve greater customer satisfaction. In addition, employees depend on their employers economically, so they are more likely to try to build their own personal reputations within the company as skilled, professional, reliable, loyal, and able to rise to challenges to meet customer needs and to be rewarded for doing so. Another advantage of having proven full-time employees is that employers can take time off knowing their team is managing the work effectively and on schedule.

For employers, having a team of reliable company employees also means a greater sense of continuity in the quality of work. When the amount of work increases, an employer with a dedicated team is not forced to scramble to recruit and train new workers. Additionally, with contract workers, owners may be met with varying degrees of skill sets and work ethics.

Cons of Hiring Full-time Employees

Hiring full-time employees can add additional levels of complexity, cos, and risk to employers. In accordance with numerous federal labor and employment laws, employers can be subject to minimum wage, overtime and federal leave requirements for their employees, among many other state and city compliance laws and regulations. To compete with other contractors vying for workers, employers may often have to offer such employee perks as bonuses and paid vacation. Along with typically offering a benefits package, the company also undertakes the responsibility maintaining compliance and appropriate paperwork related to all of the benefits.

Another difference and potential downside for employers is the requirement to maintain a steady, predictable cash flow to ensure employees are paid in full on a regular, ongoing basis. As with all employers, construction business owners are responsible for maintaining employment and payroll records and withholding and remitting employees’ taxes, social security and Medicaid. Employers of full-time workers are also obligated to provide adequate training and professional licensing required for every employee.

When Hiring Regular Full-Time Employees Makes Most Sense

If you have year-round work and an established clientele with ongoing needs and expectations associated with your services, having a well-trained crew of regular employees will help you deliver consistent, quality work and high customer satisfaction.

When Hiring Contract Workers Makes Most Sense

If you are short on time and need to staff a job quickly to meet the needs of a client, being able to turn to a reliable contract worker can help your business meet the needs of the workload quickly.

With these considerations in mind, construction owners should ultimately hire workers that will help them achieve long-term results that best serve the business and the work that they do for their clients.

Susanna Blake, PHR, is a senior human capital consultant at TriNet.

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


 

 
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Healthy, Sustainable Buildings Shouldn’t Cost the Earth

Published on January 13, 2015 by in Uncategorized

By Nevin Sood

Having recently come across from the UK, it’s not difficult to see the difference that taxation and legislation on energy performance and carbon emissions has made, not only in the interests of companies to reduce their carbon footprint, but also the people involved in the conversations and innovations around healthier buildings and work environments.  The argument to reduce a building’s carbon footprint is much easier made in the UK because of this, and although it is a controversial move for many, it seems to be driving the economy in the right direction. Am I suggesting that there be taxation imposed everywhere? I believe it could be a useful driving force, however, recognizing this is a tough battle in the United States, we must look for other ways to prove return on investment (ROI) for those involved with real estate that also resonates with CFO’s.

When assessing the long term costs of design, construction methods and materials specification, it is widely accepted that whole life cycle costing can demonstrate very clearly that cost and value are not the same. Many investors, owners and occupants, in both the public and private sectors, are prepared to consider a higher initial capital commitment today if an accurate whole life appraisal can show that this will create commercial advantages tomorrow.

This is why clients need to be able to assess with greater clarity than ever before – a huge challenge which demands a new level of collaborative scenario modelling to calculate a far wider range of sensitivities well beyond the parameters of the past – the life cycle cost of a building, from building inception, through occupancy and well beyond.

Predicting future costs where carbon emissions are concerned has never been an easy task at the best of times, but recent energy variables and volatility have underlined how dramatically this cost can vary beyond the expected trends. The speed with which energy costs change – along with other utilities such as water – could play a major part in determining the commercial viability of new energy-saving technologies whose mainstream application has previously been purely academic.

Then, beyond the energy savings, we can begin to look at the most effective spaces which people can operate in and be most productive. A better designed, adaptable and more engaging space has the ability to create more productive employees while attracting and retaining the right employees.  While this may just seem like common sense to many, there is now a whole movement towards further proving this enabling those working for greener spaces to convince CFO’s of the ROI in the long term.

When we consider the average building is 50 years old, it is easy to understand why looking at a buildings ROI can play a significant role in justifying the upfront costs when retrofitting or building new structures – they will be around a substantial length of time and changes now will ultimately pay off, well beyond the initial investment.

As a result, a growing number of progressive companies and organization’s are applying whole life cost modelling to high performing property development, while also investing in research to establish the difference the space makes for employees – showing that these solutions are no longer the stuff of green dreams, but realistic possibilities which are commercially advantageous far sooner than previously expected.

Nevin Sood is a director at Turner & Townsend.

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

 

 

 
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2015: A Great Year for Construction Contractors

Published on January 9, 2015 by in Uncategorized

By Eric Halsey

This year is looking to be a great one for the construction industry. Following solid 5 percent growth in 2014, that number is set to nearly double to 9 percent in 2015. But coupled with this growth are new laws around the country updating bond amounts and forcing the industry to adapt.

Whether you’re facing a new state law affecting your bond or are just entering the industry, understanding construction contractor bonds is a vital part of making the best of 2015. Missed deadlines or improper understanding of the latest legal requirements could mean lost business.

Here’s a summary of what the industry can look forward to in 2015, as well as information about the bond you’ll need to hit the ground running.

The Shape of 2015 for Construction Contractors
According to an Association of Builders and Contractors report, the highest growth should be in office (15.7 percent), lodging (17.2 percent), power (22.9 percent), and manufacturing (12.9 percent). Of course, it’s not all rosy, as more anemic growth is expected in education (-0.3 percent) and healthcare (-2.1 percent). Some predictors also forecast drops in electric utility work in light of the recent completion of many such projects.

Still, on the whole, the data is very encouraging with more evenly distributed growth expected. All of these trends are being accelerated by post-recession economic improvements, which are allowing many businesses to start projects they’ve put off for years. This means construction contractors need to begin training new staff and purchasing new equipment to be ready for new contracts. But even if you have everything you need for the job, remember your construction contractor bond amount may have increased due to the new laws.

The Role of Construction Contractor Bonds
As construction takes a bigger role in U.S. economic growth, surety bonds are taking a bigger role in construction. While contractors are generally required to be bonded (although regulations vary by state), laws are changing and outdated minimums are being updated, as we saw in Alaska. This often catches construction contractors off guard and leads to conflict between contractors and regulators. But there are real advantages to rising bond rates.

With minimum bonding amounts on the rise, quality of service is set to rise, as well. By ensuring that customers, from individuals to governments, are guaranteed compensation in case anything goes wrong, everyone involved in the process feels more secure. This increases reputation and efficiency.

Looking Beyond 2015
The reality is that U.S. infrastructure is in terrible shape, receiving a D+ rating from the American Society of Civil Engineers’ latest report card. While this is bad news for many, for construction contractors it means America’s infrastructure is going to require huge investment. Hopefully this can forestall any future slowdowns and keep the industry growing for years to come. All of this combined should have construction contractors looking forward to 2015!

Eric Halsey is a historian by training and disposition who’s been interested in US small businesses since working at the House Committee on Small Business in 2006. Coming from a family with a history of working on industry policy, he has a particular interest in the Surety Bonding industry with a focus on construction contracting and loves sharing his knowledge for JW Surety Bonds.

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

 
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Five Cloud-Based Solutions Every Construction Project Manager Should Know About

Published on December 30, 2014 by in Uncategorized

 By Jenna Puckett

Construction project management isn’t rocket science. But coordinating the numerous stakeholders, contractors, clients, and corresponding documents involved in large construction projects often makes the process much more complicated than need be.

Projects can become chaotic without project management tools and features to help streamline construction operations. However, finding the right solution for your business can be an overwhelming process, especially as technology rapidly changes to keep up with the construction industry’s unique demands.

As projects get more complex and the construction industry moves toward building information modeling, project management systems that use cloud-based computing are becoming vital. Cloud-based solutions foster collaboration, transparency, and efficiency throughout the construction process.

Additional benefits include:

  • Accessibility: One of the biggest limitations for companies using traditional software is that information can only be accessed on the computer where it has been installed. Software as a Service (SaaS) provides freedom and mobility. Users can access the software easily and collaborate from any location using a mobile device.
  • Simplicity: Cloud software requires no hardware or infrastructure and minimal IT help. There is no software to install on your computer and new versions are always compatible.
  • Scalability: The pay as you go model of SaaS provides options and flexibility. Changing your subscription plan to accommodate additional users or storage needs is fast and immediate.

If you’re looking to improve your construction management processes, the following list details the best cloud-based PM solutions available.

ProcoreProcore has over 450 client companies managing more than a thousand construction projects with their software. With over 180,000 registered users, Procore recently earned a spot on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 list. Procore was designed from the beginning as a web-based application by professionals with firsthand construction industry experience.

AconexAconex is a global cloud solution used by more than 500,000 people across 70 countries, as well as several Fortune 500 construction and engineering companies. Aconex is the most widely used SaaS collaboration platform in the world for construction, infrastructure, energy and resources projects.

EADOCEADOC was founded by Eric Lawin 2006 after his experience working for a large contractor on commercial and industrial projects. He combined his knowledge of the construction industry with his experience in the software industry to prototype and build a fast, secure, and easy to use web based collaborative construction management app.

JonasJonas Software is a leading provider of North American construction and service contractor solutions. Their project management solution integrates with payroll, inventory, and accounting to provide a robust system suited for enterprise projects.

ViewpointViewpoint Construction Software has been a global provider of construction-specific solutions for over 35 years. Their enterprise ready solution was recently named included among Construction Executive’s 2014 Hot Products list.

Additional solutions to consider: BuilderTREND, Co-construct, Corecon, Dexter + Chaney, Projectmates

Software as a Service can help streamline business processes, foster collaboration, and eliminate software maintenance and incompatibility issues. Cloud-based solutions like the ones detailed above provide the necessary tools to keep your construction projects from becoming chaotic – and best of all, they receive continuous updates from the vendor, making sure you’ve always got the latest features.

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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Safety in the Construction Industry Is Still Evolving

Published on December 26, 2014 by in Uncategorized

By Ryan Schlehuber 

Visit any construction site and you can envision any of the dangerous that could potentially happen. Last year, one in every five construction workers were killed, a rate of 20 percent in all private industry fatalities. It’s no wonder OSHA is stringent on regulations and has continued to tweak new and old regulations each year. OSHA’s influence has had effect on building blueprints, management of staff and even proper clothing measures for construction workers.

The Fatal Four

Almost 60 percent of construction fatalities can be attributed to what is known as the “Fatal Four,” a term for the top four events that caused a death on a construction site, which are — in order of most fatalities — falls, struck by object, electrocutions and caught-in or between objects. Since OSHA was established in the 1970s, safety regulations in the construction industry have multiplied exponentially, mostly due to the Fatal Four factor.

As many as 468 lives of American construction workers could be saved if OSHA could find a way to eliminate the Fatal Four entirely. As high as a number as that is, things are improved dramatically since the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in 1970. Fatalities have dropped dramatically, from 14,000 in 1970 to 3,929 in 2013. It is now common practice for construction teams to include discussion of the Fatal Four factors at daily safety meetings and job site inspections, especially considering that 85 percent of all citations and 90 percent of all fines from 2002 to 2012 related to the Fatal Four, costing construction businesses not only lives but revenue, as well, according the the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Regulations from Head to Toe

Supervision of safety practices within a job site has been around since the 1800s, when, in 1833, the first inspectors were appointed to hold up safety regulations within factories. In 1956, an act was passed to create better health protection and safeguards within the agricultural industry while three years later a similar act was passed to inspect and regulate nuclear installations. After OSHA was created in 1971, major safety regulation began sprouting up every couple to few years, including the creation of the Health and Safety Commission in 1974.

What started out as general regulations have evolved into detailed and descriptive measurements of safety, right down to the toes of workers. Regulations of work wear are covered from head to toe. From hard helmets to footwear, a construction worker has a more strict dress code. Footwear, for example, has to comply with the American National Standard’s Institute’s standard, with steel-toed or safety toe boots being the norm. Nowadays, however, construction workers have a choice of all kinds of work boots that meet standards, and boots today are lighter, made with composite or aluminum toe-ends yet are as durable as the old-fashioned steel-toe boots are.

What Still Needs to be Done

Many experts and examiners in the construction field will argue that compliance to today’s safety regulations are still spotty, citing training and monitoring workers as two examples of needed improvement, reports the Wall Street Journal. There are also complaints of certain regulations slowing daily work — such as harnessing, which can be time-consuming and expensive to provide—and becoming quite cumbersome to workers to remember all of them. Worker breaks are being debated in some areas of the U.S. In Dallas, on the city council level, a debate has been brewing over whether construction workers should be legally entitled to breaks from work or whether the issue will lead to over-regulation, which is something many in the construction business are concerned about.

Ryan Schlehuber, a features editor for a daily newspaper, strives to avoid being one thing in his life: one-dimensional. Never one to settle, “Scoop,” as he’s known to his friends and followers, always looks to learn or try something new or hone a new skill and always looks forward to meeting new people. He has more than 13 years of writing experience, having started his journalistic career in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and now enjoys working and living in the West Michigan area. Follow him at The Daily News (Greenville, Mich.).

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

 

 
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Five Ways To Improve Communication Among Construction Staff

Published on December 22, 2014 by in Uncategorized

By Cheryl Bikowski

A lack of communication on construction sites can lead to costly delays and much worse. The wrong materials could be installed or a significant element overlooked. Find ways to improve communications and establish guidelines for preventing miscommunication. Here are five ways to get your construction staff on the right track.

Use meetings properly

Most construction groups hold weekly or even daily safety meetings. Covering the required safety topics is important, but this time should also be used to cover any other important issues on the agenda.

To keep meetings orderly, one individual should be in charge of the discussion. Each group supervisor can create a list of their current problems, including parts shortages or change orders. The designated employee can go over the areas and keep conversations from wandering to eliminate wasted time. Simply arranging for all workers to meet for five or 10 minutes before or after a shift will provide the time needed for keeping everyone updated.

Post notices

Gang boxes and break areas are good locations for posting notices. Use a system of having employees initial notices after reading them. This will allow you to know which workers may have missed the information and you can reach out to them directly. Notices can provide information on everything from change orders to scheduled meetings.

Be approachable

This can be a critical issue on construction sites. As a general manager or supervisor, your time is often spent chasing down problems. Staying in one location for any length of time is difficult. Paying attention to every small problem is even more difficult.

Unfortunately, if workers feel they cannot communicate with you, things will get out of control quickly. If your situation does not allow for individual contact, make sure that supervisors are available to all workers on crews. Employees must be able to go to a supervisor when problems develop, and the small problems are often the ones that quickly become major work interruptions.

Follow a chain of command

Because communication errors can be so costly, you need to make sure that you establish a strong chain of command. Again, you may not always be available, which leaves crew supervisors in the position of making critical decisions. The responsibility level of each supervisor depends of the exact nature of your business, but all workers must know where to go to get the answers they require. Your supervisors can then contact you or handle problems and advise you of the solutions later.

Use technology for all workers

Communication will be greatly improved when issues are relayed immediately. Cellphones are not always the answer on construction sites, especially for heavy equipment operators.

Tablets or laptop computers can be used to store current blueprints and can be updated quickly through wireless technology. These can be easily mounted in heavy equipment to provide operators with the latest data they need to get their work done the right way. By adding GPS tracking, supervisors will always know where operators are, reducing the time spent locating operators and equipment.

Making technology work for you will reduce communication delays and mistakes. Each supervisor has the ability to use their own device to keep in touch with crew members. Changes to blueprints can be made without finding each outstanding hard copy and replacing it. While this may not eliminate all errors, it will make your daily operations easier while providing more control over individual stages.

Cheryl Bikowski (left) is the Marketing Communications Supervisor at Gamber-Johnson. Gamber-Johnson is the leading provider of computer and tablet mounts for forklifts and other heavy equipment vehicles in the construction industry.

 

 

 

 

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

 
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2015 Outlook: Construction Small Business Owners Optimistic

Published on December 18, 2014 by in Uncategorized

By Hunter Hoffmann

Six years after the 2008 financial crisis, the construction, architectural and engineering businesses are looking up. According to the recently released 6th annual Hiscox Small Business Insurance DNA of an Entrepreneur report, optimism among building and construction small business owners (SBOs) is higher going into 2015 than it was last year. More than half (51 percent) of building and construction SBOs are optimistic about the year ahead for their businesses, compared to only 43 percent in last year’s study.

But, there are still some concerns. Here’s what small business owners within the construction, architectural and engineering market sectors are most worried about for the year ahead:

  • Stress continues to build in the construction industry: Although optimism has risen, stress among construction small business owners has been constant over the past two years. According to the report, 40 percent of U.S.-based construction small business owners are suffering from increased stress due to the economic climate.
  • Fearful of delivering cost increases, and clients who don’t pay: One of the biggest fears for small construction businesses in the United States is passing cost increases on to their customers, as 51 percent of participants reported. Although they are fearful of passing on costs, an equal number see not being paid by clients as a major risk to their business that they don’t have insurance for — down slightly from 58 percent reported last year.
  • Government bureaucracy is a major barrier: Construction is one of the most regulated industries, so it may not come as a surprise that 77 percent of industry respondents believe government bureaucracy is a major barrier to setting up their own business. Construction small business owners spend more than two hours, or 123 minutes, per week dealing with government rules and regulations.

Although there are still some areas of concern, the construction industry is seeing a positive uptick and increased activity thanks to the economic environment. Architectural and engineering small business owners should be optimistic as they turn the corner into the new year.

Hunter Hoffmann is head of US communications at Hiscox Small Business Insurance and is responsible for media relations, social media, internal communications and executive messaging. Hunter lives in New York City with his wife and two sons – Walker and Otis. In his spare time, he moonlights as chief marketing officer and deliveryman for Junior’s Fresh, a fresh baby and toddler food delivery service and pre-school meal provider in New York City founded by his wife, Michelle.

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

 
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