Are You Looking Into Your Construction Workers Health?

As part of their daily job, construction workers are exposed to hazards that can cause anything from a minor cut or bruise to instant death. The following information briefly covers the importance of safety in construction work and what you can do to ensure your construction workers health.

Common Types of Construction Fatalities

construction workers health

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In an article on the Global Construction website, journalist Abigail Phillips reported that the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that 20 percent of the 4,000 worker fatalities in 2011 were construction related. Most construction injuries occurred because of :

  • Falls
  • Electrocution
  • Being hit by an object
  • Being trapped or inside objects.

Construction site procedures that improve safety in these areas can be among the most important components of a site safety program.

The Need for Health Insurance

Construction workers can usually rely on workers’ compensation if they are injured on the job, but health outcomes can be improved by making sure employees have access to an affordable health insurance program. This ensures access to immediate treatment and to health maintenance and prevention programs.

Applying Safety Policies

A group of well-planned and executed health and safety policies for your employees can be very effective at preventing injuries or related problems that can affect workers’ physical well-being and job performance. Another benefit of a comprehensive safety plan is that you will be able to obtain your employee health insurance rates at a lower rate.

Beneficial safety practices in this area include:

  • Devising a safety plan that is specific to the individual construction site and involves all employees, contractors, subcontractor, suppliers, and anyone else who may spend time on the site.
  • Identifying any specific safety hazards on the site before construction work begins.
  • Appointing safety personnel before construction begins and ensuring that each authorized safety person knows their responsibilities.

Construction Monitor helps construction professionals with accurate information on the latest industry trends and developments. Contact us today for more information on the importance of safety in construction work and for construction lead services in Cedar City.

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3 Techniques to Improve Your Construction Forecasting

No one can predict the future, but effective construction forecasting techniques can do a lot to keep your projects flowing smoothly. Today’s most advanced construction forecasting software lets you leverage several efficiency-boosting tactics.

1. Gather Real-Time Data

construction forecasting

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Because material and labor costs can change rapidly, it’s almost impossible to develop accurate predictions with out-of-date information. If you haven’t upgraded your construction forecasting software in three or four years, chances are that software is running on inaccurate data. That may not have been so bad while things were slow a few years back, but with the industry picking up speed, now’s the time to invest in software that provides you with real-time data. You’ll get estimates you can trust and a clear picture of your profits.

2. Keep Your Systems Connected

System integration is also among the valuable construction forecasting techniques worth taking advantage of. If your firm is like most, you already have a system to manage accounting, another to manage human resources, as well as numerous others. While each system may work well on its own, the narrowly defined information each provides doesn’t give you the big picture.

To reduce the risk of oversights and missed opportunities, make sure your systems are integrated to share information and the people running each one can make sense of data they receive from other systems in your firm. Data you collect from construction lead services in Cedar City can also be pulled into your integrated system.

3. Automate the Process

Invoicing, tax payments, mandatory reporting, record keeping–the list of routine tasks you have to stay on top of can seem never-ending. If not handled efficiently, they can keep you bogged down in maintenance rather than focused on growth. Instead of wasting your and your employees’ time on these jobs, invest in construction forecasting software that lets you automate them. You’ll save time and reduce the risk of important jobs getting lost in the shuffle. That means less scrabbling to correct slip-ups, and greater protection from fines and other financial losses.

For more on construction forecasting techniques, contact us at Construction Monitor.

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How Social Media can Help Your Construction Lead Acquisition

Social media is ubiquitous these days, but it takes some planning to use it profitably. Using social media in the construction industry is no different. A full 90 percent of construction firms have found social media beneficial for construction lead acquisition, according to a survey conducted by the Construction Marketing Association. Fine-tuning your strategy will help your firm reach the ranks of the most successful social media users.

Get More from Social Media

construction lead acquisition

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Sharing information on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus+ can be invaluable for reaching and building relationships with people who may be interested in your services. While it’s tempting to fill every post you make with information about your business, before you post, think from your potential clients’ perspective. To attract and hold their attention, offer information that benefits them. That might be advice on construction project organization, tips on trimming costs or updates on changes in construction regulations.

Uploading photos to Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest, and other image-based sites is another way to do this. Striking images grab attention, convey information quickly, and are easily shared. With well-chosen photos, you can create an online portfolio that provides visible proof of your firm’s capabilities. In addition to images of your projects in progress and finished work, include photos that document solutions your company has found for unusual construction challenges.

Expand Your Contact Base

Using social media in the construction industry is a simple and effective way to connect with other professionals through sites such as Linkedin. Professional networking platforms let you build relationships with both smaller start-ups and industry leaders you otherwise wouldn’t have access to. You can pass business to each other, share tips, and keep each other up to date on current construction trends.

Your firm’s professional networking page should work as an online resume, highlighting its strongest skills and showcasing its most outstanding achievements. Invest a little time into making the presentation easy to read and visually appealing.

For more tips on using social media in the construction industry and other ways to grow your business, contact Construction Monitor today!

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5 Important Benefits of Modular Construction

Modular construction continues to increase in popularity for many construction professionals. It involves building important sections of a  structure off-site, usually in a factory-style setting, then assembling those pre-made “modules” on site to create a fully functional structure.

modular construction

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There are several benefits of modular construction for both client and contractor, including:

  1. Increased availability: Construction companies are increasingly turning to modular construction for some part of their projects. Some 35 percent of construction companies are incorporating prefabrication into building design, according to information from the management construction firm FMI, cited by reporter Adam Groff on the Construction Global website. FMI also noted 40 percent of firms are using prefabrication and expected to use it more in the future.
  2. Cost savings: Prefabrication can reduce the cost of a construction project by a significant amount. Since the prefabrication process is less wasteful, material costs are lower. Quicker build times mean reduced labor costs and fewer cost and schedule overruns.
  3. Better quality control: The factory-based process for building prefabricated segments of a structure provides for high levels of quality control. Since all construction is carefully planned and executed, there are no last-minute problems or conflicts that mean costly delays or revisions of building plans. Building materials and projects are protected from the elements, eliminating potential damage from rain, ice, or sunlight.
  4. Faster completion: A modular project can be completed much faster and with greater efficiency than a project pieced together on site. Instead of putting together hundreds or thousands of individual pieces, assembling a modular project requires connecting only a few large-scale components.
  5. Environmental friendliness: Modular construction can be better for the environment since the process requires less waste of material and less consumption of energy. Less fuel is needed for moving equipment and materials, which means there is less pollution produced on the construction site. Modular processes support recycling of materials for other projects.

Construction Monitor provides recent construction industry data that affects your business, including information on building permits and construction starts. Contact us today for more information on the benefits of modular construction and for construction lead services in Cedar City.

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Helpful Subcontractor Management Tips for Your Projects

The scope of many larger construction projects often means that you will need to hire subcontractors to get the job done. Even smaller projects can require a subcontractor if you need specialized skills that your current employees don’t possess.

subcontractor

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The following suggestions can help you determine how to manage subcontractors in construction to ensure the best outcome for you, the subcontractor, and the project.

  • Get a written contract: All of the terms of the agreement between you and the subcontractor should be recorded in a written contract signed by you and an authorized representative of the subcontractor. The document should clearly state all the roles and responsibilities of the subcontractor and what is expected that the subcontractor will do on the job. Include details on how the subcontractor should handle issues such as changes requested by the client dealing with unexpected problems. Other details can also be included, such as payment terms, information on penalties, and additional terms and conditions. Review the contract every year and make any needed changes or additions.
  • Make sure your subcontractor is qualified and protected: Check the insurance and bonding status of your contractor to ensure your partner is financially responsible. Look into licensing and certification status to make certain the subcontractor is qualified to do the work and is authorized to operate in your state or city.
  • Ensure your subcontractor follows your customer service standards: Make it clear that your subcontractor must adhere to your customer service standards when communicating with clients. If the subcontractor can’t handle a client’s issue, make sure there is a clearly identified contact within your company who can help.
  • Pay properly and promptly: Pay your subcontractor promptly and within the terms of the contract. Much like other small businesses, your subcontractor will be counting on timely cash flow to pay the employees and keep the company operating. Honor all terms regarding performance incentives or bonuses.

Construction Monitor is the industry’s trusted source for the most recent data on building permits, housing starts, and current trends. Contact us today for more information on how to manage subcontractors in construction projects.

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Hotel Construction Projects are Growing by Leaps and Bounds

Hotel industry experts indicate the demand for hotel space is growing beyond the current supply, fueling a significant rise of US hotel construction projects in several major American cities.

hotel construction

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In an article on the industry website Construction Global, writer John McMalcolm reported on the current status of hotel construction and where the largest increases in hotels can be found.

The rise of hotel construction projects comes in response to a substantial increase in the number of customers seeking hotel accommodations. This is leading many major players in the hotel industry to either expand their existing hotels or build entirely new buildings, McMalcolm noted.

More than 2,900 hotel construction projects were underway at the beginning of 2014, according to data from Smith Travel Research (STR), as cited by McMalcolm. These projects total nearly 358,000 rooms in cities and communities across the United States.

The 2014 numbers represent a 16.4 percent increase in hotel construction from the same time in 2013, McMalcolm reported. In 2015, industry experts expect growth levels to continue to rise until the number of available hotel rooms meets demand.

Cities in which the largest number of hotel projects are underway include:

  • New York, NY: The needs of business travelers and tourists in the Big Apple make New York a prime candidate for hotel construction increases. These two segments have increased hotel occupancy rates each year from 2010 to 2014, according to STR data.
  • Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh, as one of the east’s most appealing cities, is experiencing a hotel boom centered mostly in the downtown area. More than 55 hotels are currently underway throughout Pittsburgh.
  • Miami, FL: Business and travel interests make Miami a popular destination, which means the city needs plenty of hotel space.

McMalcolm also noted substantial increases in hotel construction in other cities, including Chicago, IL; San Francisco, CA; Dallas, TX; Austin, TX; and Oklahoma City, OK.

Construction Monitor keeps industry professionals informed of the latest trends and developments in commercial and residential construction. Contact us today for more information on the rise of US hotel construction projects and what this could mean for your company.

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The U.S. Construction Industry has Shown the Highest Growth since 2007

Recent construction industry statistics show that after years of stagnation, US construction industry growth rates are increasing to their highest level in nearly eight years.

Gilbane Building Company, a global construction and facilities management firm based in Providence, Rhode Island, reported the highly encouraging industry growth data in its spring, 2015 “Building for the Future” economic report. The report’s results were cited in an article by industry journalist Jeff Yoders on the Metal Miner website.

construction materials

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According to Yoders, the Gilbane report indicates that nonresidential construction projects begun over the last 12 months are expected to increase by at least 15 percent over 2014. This indicates the best annual growth rate in nonresidential construction since 2007, Yoders reported.

This 15 percent increase in construction growth will be maintained even if new nonresidential construction starts flattened out for the rest of 2015, according to Yoders. There is no indication, however, that construction spending is expected to go flat throughout the rest of 2015 or even beyond.

Yoders reported that new starts in nonresidential construction have been increasing, on average, 16 percent since the lowest post-recession point was reached in 2012.

Nonresidential starts between April 2014 and February 2015 also represent the best three-month and six-month averages since July 2008, according to Yoders.

The construction industry growth reported by Gilbane also means that demand for construction materials such as steel, copper, aluminum, and sheet metal will also increase in the coming months, Yoders noted.

The Gilbane report mirrors other industry sources that have seen upswings in growth for the construction industry in 2015 and beyond. For example, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) reported increases in construction employment in more than 250 U.S. metropolitan areas between 2013 and 2014, which is expected to continue into 2015, with about 80 percent of construction companies expecting increased hiring in 2015.

Construction Monitor offers construction professionals the latest news and information on developments in the construction industry. Contact us today for more information on US construction industry growth rates and that the current growth in construction starts and new projects can mean for your company.

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Learn About the Rise in Modular Construction Projects

As a construction technique, modular construction has long been considered a less-than-perfect option. However, the advantages of modular construction have recently become more obvious, leading the majority of contractors, engineers, and architects to rely on modular construction techniques and prefabrication to boost the efficiency and productivity of residential and commercial projects.

modular construction

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Here are some reasons behind the growth of modular construction:

  • Faster project completion: With modular techniques, different components of the project can be built at the same time. The foundation of a building can be built at the same time important components of the building itself are being put together. There is no longer any need to wait for one part of the structure to be finished before starting work on another part. Weather-related delays and similar problems are substantially reduced.
  • Reduced costs: A faster construction time and increased efficiency in putting together a building translates into reduced costs. Fewer specialized experts from the trades are needed since much of the building is built in a factory setting, reducing labor costs. Modular construction can reduce the overall costs of a project by 20 to 30 percent, according to writer Joe Green in an article on the Construction Global website.
  • Faster returns: Faster construction means that a building will show return on investment sooner. Owners can put the building to use sooner, which means that rent-paying tenants will be in place before they would be in a traditionally constructed building. Financing companies and banks will have less risk to worry about and will see quicker repayments of loans.
  • Less waste and pollution: Factory-based modular construction ensures that waste of materials will be reduced and quality control will be increased. Less time in the field means there will be less vehicle exhaust and less noise pollution at the construction site.

Construction Monitor provides the most recent information on trends and developments in the construction industry, including data on housing starts and building permits.

Contact us today for more information on the growth of modular construction and how modular construction techniques can improve project efficiency, productivity, timeliness, and profitability.

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Construction Professionals are Embracing New Technology

In every corner of life, technology is becoming more and more commonplace. As the devices we use every day become more sophisticated, they also become potentially more useful in the professional world. New technology in the construction industry has the potential to streamline jobs, make projects more efficient, and increase contractors’ profitability.

construction technology

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Here are some things to keep in mind when considering adopting new technology in the construction industry:

  • Construction technology makes management easier: Smartphones, tablet computers, and other portable technology can include applications that make management of a construction project much easier. Apps are available that can support bidding and estimating, that track hours and expenses, and that schedule work times for employees and equipment. This type of control over project management gives managers and supervisors access to important information at the touch of a button. With no more need for complex manual tracking, project management becomes more streamlined and efficient.
  • Some construction technology may require specialized skills: Some new technology in the construction industry is very complex and may require specialized skills, training, or knowledge to use it. BIM and 3D modeling software, for example, provides extremely useful information about a project, but also requires advanced knowledge of how to use the program, retrieve and interpret information, and make changes that support visualizing and planning a project.
  • New technology can be costly: The initial investment in new technology can sometimes be expensive. A construction firm must consider whether or not the investment in that technology is worth it. Spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on equipment and software will be a waste if there is no practical reason to adopt that technology. If you don’t have cooperation from your employees, investments in technology could also be futile. A tablet computer that never leaves the truck won’t be much good to a construction project.

Construction Monitor helps construction professionals stay current with technological advances and new trends in the industry. Contact us today for more information on new technology in the construction industry and how it can help you make your projects more efficient, more productive, and more profitable.

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Bio-Based Insulation Materials are a Foundation in the Construction Industry

Standard fiberglass and cellulose insulation have long been staples of the construction industry, but newer types of insulation materials for construction projects are becoming more popular because of their energy efficiency and sustainability.

bio-based insulation materials for construction

Try using bio-based insulation materials for construction purposes. Source: iStock.com/ ilkercelik

Bio-based insulation materials for construction are made from plant waste, such as the stalks, stems, and other portions of wheat plants. They use what might otherwise be considered waste material from these plants, making comprehensive use of available materials. This means that the effort and energy invested in growing and harvesting these plants for food purposes also contributes to their use as insulation.

Bio-based insulation can also be made of clay or other plant-based materials such as grasses, straw, or hemp. These types of insulators can be as much as 20 percent more effective than the types of insulation traditionally used in the construction industry.

Other aspects of using bio-based insulation materials could also dramatically reduce what the article described as the “total embodied energy” that it takes to acquire, process, and transport standard types of insulation material. These savings can be found throughout the entire lifecycle of the building and can be reduced by up to 50 percent. These energy savings can be accounted for in the reduction of energy and CO2 emissions that occur when manufacturing bio-based insulation.

Though bio-based insulation is currently a more costly option than traditional insulation, industry experts expect the costs to decrease as more builders, owners, and investors become aware of the long-term benefits and potential cost savings provided these products.

Energy-saving initiatives from local, state, and federal sources are also expected to affect the cost of bio-based insulation and help reduce costs in the future. Energy conservation programs could become a source of financial initiatives to switch to more energy-efficient and ecologically sustainable insulation.

When changes and technological advances occur in the construction industry, our team will keep you informed. Contact us at Construction Monitor today for more information on bio-based insulation materials for construction and how they  can be used to improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of your construction projects.

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