Tag Archives: America

Why Construction Fails to Keep Up with Other Industries

We’ve seen industries jump leaps and bounds in terms of profit, scale and growth. However, the construction industry seems to be on a slower progress compared to others. Why is that? Why are we lagging behind? Let’s dive in. Apart from labor shortages, increasing regulations and problems in lot availability, there is one issue that leaves the entire construction industry behind the dust of other fast-growing industries. That issue is productivity. 

In an interview with Fortune magazine, Brendan Bechtel, President and COO of global construction giant Bechtel, said that “stagnant productivity levels in construction” are one of the things that haunt him at night. According to a recent World Economic Forum study, productivity gains in the construction industry have been “meager” when compared with the advancements of other industries in the last 50 years. The study further states that the lack of significant productivity advancements is costing the industry billions of dollars each year.

The study said that reducing construction costs by even just 1% through productivity improvements would save the construction industry approximately $100 billion each year. That’s a serious amount of cash! However, the study also pointed out that another challenge in productivity is the “fractured” aspects of construction. It said that these fractured and segmented operational processes would in fact, negate whatever benefits would be brought about by new technological advancements.

The Lack of Collaboration and Cooperative Efforts

Experts say that one of the key reasons on why productivity in construction is declining, is the inherently combative nature of construction today. The functions and goals of architects, engineers and contractors often clash, and most of the time, they are separate entities that don’t work with each other right at the get-go. For example, your house will be designed by your chosen architect, checked by a different engineer, built by a separate company- which often has people that they just contracted as well. All of these individuals have to claw their way into getting heard, and for their ideas not to get junked. Instead of a smooth relationship, what you have are adversaries that try to out-win each other. It’s a highly individualistic environment. It’s a system that is not at all designed for effectiveness nor efficiency. Collaboration is forced when it should be the norm.

Intimidated by Technology

Another hurdle to work efficiency is the aversion of construction veterans to technology. A lot of seasoned professionals (Construction Managers, Site Inspectors, Supervisors, etc.) are not proficient in using desktops, laptops, mobile tablets, and smartphones. These are the people with the most impact to project efficiency. The ones who are directly out in the field.
It’s a known fact that a lot of the advancements in productivity these days are brought about by new technology, whether it be for communication, collaboration, or documentation. But unfortunately, what we have is an industry that is slow to change, slow to trust, and slow to adapt. And if your critical personnel are not up to date, and hesitant to changing how things get done, you can expect that growth and speed will indeed be stunted.


Get Comfortable, Get Mobile

The time for easing your way into technology has passed. What the industry needs is to radically integrate tech into your everyday processes. Have a serious talk with your key people and educate them about how construction programs, mobile apps, and even social media can make their jobs easier. Let them see how it would lessen their headaches and speed up their build-times. We can’t stay dinosaurs in the information age. In order for construction to keep up, we have to shake things up.

Start today! Click here to learn about how SAM- the Superintendent’s Automated Manager can make mobile collaboration and task management much easier. There’s nothing to lose, and plenty to gain!

BUILDER NEWS: Homebuilders Oppose New Labor Law Ruling

The vast majority of homebuilders rely on subcontractors. While larger public homebuilders do have specialty workers on their staff, a significant amount of the work still goes out to subcontractors. This is why builders from all across the nation are balking at a new labor law wherein the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in some cases, will now deem subcontractors as “joint employees”of homebuilders.

This means that builders may now be held responsible for for issues regarding millions of subcontractors. This includes plumbers, roofers, electricians and so on.

Tom Woods, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said in a press release, “The homebuilding industry, which is primarily made up of small businesses who rely greatly on the work of subcontractors would overwhelmingly be harmed by the new standard.”

He added, “It will cripple small businesses across the country, including the homebuilding industry as it is in its fragile recovery.”

The NLRB however explains that the revised standard is designed “to better effectuate the purposes of the [Joint Employment] Act in the current economic landscape,”. The  NLRB board further explains that the previous joint employer standard has failed to keep pace with changes in the workplace and economic circumstances.

The NLRB’s ruling was based on a case in another industry (Sanitation), so it remains to be seen exactly how it would apply to the builders.

“It obviously depends on the facts of each case, but in the construction industry in particular, these kinds of relationships have been in place for decades, and so even before the test tightened in the 1980s not every contracting relationship in the building industry was considered a joint employer,” said Wilma Liebman, a former chairman of the NLRB.

Builders are on high alert as to how this ruling will affect future construction related cases. Subcontractual relationships are an integral part of the industry and compliance will be an entirely complicated issue.

READ MORE ABOUT THE CASE IN DISCUSSION: NLRB Ruling Redefining ‘Employer’ Could Have Big Impact If It Stands

Builder Tips: The Truth About Project Management

Effective project management doesn’t have one basic template. Each project involves a hundred little adjustments from your usual approach. Today, we’re debunking some of the most common project management myths and shedding light on the best ways on how to go about your business.

Fact: It’s not all about processes

A lot of newbie project managers mistakenly compare project management to a computer that’s all about processes and algorithms. Based on experience, we know that this isn’t true.

In fact, project management is mostly about people. It’s about people management, client servicing, and conflict resolution. So yes, while methodology is very important to any initiative, it’s just part of the responsibilities.

Team work and soft skills are a must too.

Fact: Remote collaboration can be productive
Work mobility is absolutely essential to good project management. The advancements in technology today make remote collaboration completely possible. Did you know that in a recent survey, 37% of businesses report that their remote workers are more engaged than the ones in the office?

Also, 75% of bosses report that remote employees are much happier than those who don’t have that option. And here’s a whopper, remotely working actually increases performance by 13%!

Fact: Project management is NEVER just about paperwork.

Executing and organizing a project is more than just securing permits, creating timetables and making checklists. The fact of the matter is, project managers spend 90% of their work time communicating. 

Did you know that you can cut down as much as 10% of working hours by reducing paperwork, moving your projects to the cloud, and using project management software?

FACT: Frequent meetings are not that essential

Make the most of your time. Did you know that 47% of workers consider meetings one of the biggest time-wasters in the workplace? People arriving late, waiting for everyone to settle down, unnecessary chitchat here and there, all of these add up to hours of time that could have been spent being productive. If an actual face-to -face meeting is a must, keep it short and sweet.

Project management is one of the trickiest jobs out there, but it can also be the most fulfilling. Nothing beats the feeling of finishing a project that’s been executed to perfection. When you see your clients’ smiles, everything will be worth it!

Click here to know more about how Project Management has gone paperless.

5 Reasons Why Planning & Scheduling are Important

The Two Go Hand in Hand

A smart business owner knows that planning and scheduling are crucial to success. In fact, these two activities form the basis for almost all processes and activities in the company. That’s why it’s important for you to take the time to learn why exactly these two are important to any builder who wants to level up.

Planning and scheduling go hand in hand. They need each other in order to achieve maximum results. Planning may involve creating a business plan, setting goals for the year, or listing down tasks that need to be done. When you plan, you map out your next course of action.

But of course, step two involves setting a timeline. It’s not enough to identify what needs to be done. It’s equally important to figure out when these things need to be accomplished. This is where scheduling comes in. When we talk about scheduling, we’re dealing with specific dates and specific timeframes.

So for planning and scheduling, it’s all about laying out the what’s, the how’s, the why’s, and the when’s.

Now let’s look at the benefits:

1. Goals Become More Achievable

It’s easy to say that you want your revenue to double. But we all know that it’s far easier said than done. However, if you’re prepared with a solid plan and a realistic schedule, your goals will suddenly be more tangible. Now you can see the exact baby steps needed to get to your destination.

2. It Keeps Your Costs Down

Planning and scheduling allow you to stick within a budget. This is especially true for builders who deal with different types of personnel- some of whom are on a contractual, weekly, or even daily wage. Without a careful plan and timeline, you will definitely go over-budget.

3. They Prepare You for Unexpected Problems

A good plan should also identify the possible risks and challenges. When you’re properly organized, it’s easier to predict the problems that may pop up during a project. Thus, it’s much easier to craft contingencies.

4. Everyone is on the Same Page

With a carefully crafted plan and schedule, you can get every member of your team on the same page. Expectations are clear and roles are clearly defined. Each team and team member knows when their part begins and ends. Target dates of completion for each segment is disseminated to everyone. Basically, everybody knows their part. This means less stress for you!

5. Progress is Easier to Track

Once you’ve determined your goals and tasks, together with its corresponding schedule, it’s easier to determine where your company currently stands. Progress tracking is possible since you now have benchmarks to compare with.

Planning and Scheduling Made Easy

We know that planning for each project, let alone planning for the entire company can be a very daunting task. And let’s face it, scheduling and getting everyone synchronized can be a pain. That’s why we’re making it easier for you with SAM- The Superintendent’s Automated Manager.

Try it today for free, or maybe watch our online tutorial first. Either way, there’s plenty to gain, and nothing to lose!