Tag Archives: Construction Management Software

According to Building Professionals, Indoor Mobile Systems Increase Property Value

Did you know that there are roughly about 2 billion smartphone users in the world today? It just proves to show how much this technology has infiltrated our daily lives. The problem is that going indoors often affects our mobile signal. The result? Slower bandwidth. Slower internet. Stressed individuals.

It is therefore critical that residents, visitors and workers have access to strong and reliable network coverage even when they are indoors or inside buildings. Despite this high demand for seamless mobile usage and cellular coverage, only an estimated two percent of commercial buildings have dedicated technology to ensure strong and reliable mobile coverage and capacity indoors. Are you a part of this 2%?

Automated Trackers, SAM, Construction Scheduling Software, Builder Project Management

An Untapped Business Opportunity?

There is a high consumer need and it could be an untapped business opportunity.

CommScope recently had a survey of construction professionals including architects, building managers, facilities managers, and real estate managers. When it comes to the benefits of connectivity, the surveyed professionals asserted that indoor wireless coverage could increase a property’s value by 28% on average. This means that a $2.5M office structure could be worth $700,000 more with a dedicated indoor cellular system.

The respondents also stated that other benefits include a 77% increase in workforce productivity, a 39% increase in visitors, and an employee consensus that indoor wireless connectivity is considered an office “essential”.

Dr. Ispran Kandasamy, Global Leader, Building Solutions, CommScope, believes building professionals should take greater responsibility.

“People are obsessed with their mobile phones and see indoor wireless coverage as important as having access to water and electricity,” said Kandasamy. “The time has come for building professionals to step forward and take ownership for connecting their tenants to mobile networks.”

The question now for home builders is this, how are you addressing this pressing need? Are your employees comfortable with the wireless mobile network signal in your offices? Are they performing at their best possible state?

And more importantly, how will you be able to incorporate this knowledge in your next home projects? Should you find a way to ensure flawless connectivity, how can you earn more from this premium benefit?

Be Mobile and Collaborate Wherever You Are

Speaking of the importance of mobility, is your construction team still bounded by geography and office walls? Wouldn’t it be great to collaborate with your entire team no matter where you are? Well, you can do so with SAM- The Superintendent’s Automated Manager. SAM is the project management tool of choice by today’s top builders. With SAM, you can update your task lists and sync your build schedules in just a few clicks. Builders have long been using SAM to coordinate tasks and juggle up to 10 projects at once.

Click here for more information about this automated construction project scheduler. 

Productivity Tips: Get a Grip on That Elusive Focus

We live in a world of a thousand distractions. There are so many events happening in a single day. Hundreds of things are constantly competing for our attention. Most of us are driven crazy by the most mundane notifications on our phone. Add to these, the hundreds of tasks that you have to do for your construction projects, and you’ve got one stressed-out individual.

So today, we’re going to lessen your stress by giving you some tips on how to grab hold of that elusive focus. Let’s break down a few simple hacks on how you can concentrate on the things that matter, WHEN it matters the most.

Automated Trackers, SAM, Construction Scheduling Software, Builder Project Management

1. Understand Your Unique Personal Work Style

When are you the most productive? For some people, they work best when in a crowded coffeeshop, surrounded by loud chatter. Others concentrate better when in an environment that’s sompletely quiet. At what time of day are you able to work best? Do you work best early in the morning, or are you a night owl? Do you need a hot cup of coffee beside you, or do you work better with an empty stomach? What lighting conditions work best for you?

We all have our own little rituals when it comes to getting things done. So it’s important to be mindful of these little details in order to recreate the best working environment for yourself. Remember that the mind can be programmed too. If you provide it with the correct stimulus, it will follow suit.

2. Do, Delegate, Defer, Dump

It’s hard to stay focused when you’re dealing with too much stuff. So one of the first things that you need to do is identify whether a task or issue is important (or unimportant), urgent (can be delayed). Group your tasks and if they fall under the category of important and urgent, prioritize them on your to-do list. If they are important but not so urgent, you can schedule them at a later time. If they are not too critical but needs to be done asap, delegate it to another team member. But if it’s neither important nor urgent, you better scrap it altogether. Differentiating the level of importance and urgency of each task will aid you in prioritization and focus.

3. Manage Your Reactions

A sudden buzzing on your phone can trigger an immediate response from us. But it may just be a friend sending you a funny cat meme. A new email notification may prompt us to read it asap, but it could be just a promotion from your local grocery. A colleague may be calling, but it could just be Hank, asking you out for drinks after work. There will be hundreds, even thousands of stimuli all wanting our immediate attention, the key is to manage how you react to each one. If you can, try to remove unimportant distractions so that you won’t be forced to react to them (Hello, social media!). But even work-related issues can be properly managed. Instead of panicking about a quick REACTION, take your time to craft the best RESPONSE. We humans are emotional creatures so our reactions are often fueled by instinct. In order to retain focus, we should let our conscious mind take control.

Automated Trackers, SAM, Construction Scheduling Software, Builder Project Management

4. Learn to Say NO

As mentioned earlier, you have to lessen the stuff on your plate. Say NO to social media for certain hours in a day. Say NO to meetings in the mornings if that’s your most productive time of day. Say NO to little tasks that can easily be done by your subordinates. Say NO to that little voice in your head that keeps on saying that you need to do everything yourself. By lessening your load, you can actually focus, and do more of the things that really matter.

5. Reward Yourself for Focus

We’ve mentioned a while ago that the brain can be programmed. And one of the most tried and tested ways to program our minds is through reward systems. Therefore, after a super productive hour of legit work, reward yourself with something- be it a short walk, a delicious cup of coffee, or a literal pat on the back. Train yourself to feel good after accomplishing something. This way, you will be more inspired to focus and work because your brain knows that it will feel so good afterwards.

Of course, you also need the right tools to help you focus on the most important tasks of your business. To aid you in this, there’s SAM- the Superintendent’s Automated Manager. This unique construction scheduling software was designed to help builders handle several projects simultaneously. Click here to find out more about how it can help you speed up construction build times.

Contractor Must-Know: How to Handle Conflict During Construction

No matter how small or how big a project is, it is always prone to challenges. Oftentimes, major conflicts like claim disputes, arbitration, and litigation may even come up. These types of problems are not just time-consuming, they can be very costly too. The National Research Council estimates that $4B to $11B is spent annually in resolving these cases in the U.S. market.

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And as a contractor, you often have to play the role of an unbiased outside party. You have to do whatever it takes to avoid these costly nightmares. To aid you in this, check out the following practices often upheld by Project Neutrals or Individual Dispute Review Boards.

1. Develop Trusting Relationships

You have to develop trust between all stakeholders of the project. If you’re building a home for a family, you have to consider each member’s needs, while also putting into account any homeowner, neighborhood, city, municipal, or state guidelines. In the case of people, when trust levels are high, there is less tendency for involved parties to be defensive. Conflict resolution is much easier if everyone is on the same page.

2. Be an Active Participant in the Project

In order to establish your role in a project, and to build trusting relationships among stakeholders, you shouldn’t just be a passive observant. Be an active participant! Make your significance clear. Make your presence felt. Assure them that you have their best interests in mind and that you have the capacity to make it happen. Let them see you do your stuff.

3. Communicate Clearly

Nothing spells a sure disaster more than unclear communication. We all know that construction projects can amass a lot of paperwork, documentation, permits, and so on. We have to ensure that the message of each document is crystal clear and cannot be interpreted vaguely. Not just in paperwork, you have to ensure that all modes of communication are clear. Be it text, email, calls, or in-person communication— it’s a must to deliver your instructions as clearly as possible.

4. Treat Everyone Fairly

Don’t just prioritize your client. You also have to be fair to your employees, contractors, drivers, business partners, suppliers, and so on. To avoid (and resolve) conflict, you have to make them feel that you are being fair to everyone who’s involved in the project.

5. Be a Resource Person

As the project manager or construction manager, you should be the nucleus or nerve center of knowledge. All parties concerned should be able to come to you and ask questions. Of course, it’s your job to have information ready at a moment’s notice. For this you have to maintain a stable timeline, have good reporting skills, and a firm grasp of the project’s status.

Construction can be a real pain in the behind, IF you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s why it’s important to study best practices, learn from mistakes, and use whatever tools and resources you have at your disposal.

Automated Trackers believes in you! Happy building!

Home-Buyers Don’t Want Fast, They Want Instant

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Once upon a time, our definition of “fast” meant overnight FedEx deliveries. People were even willing to pay premium for that kind of service. But the thing is, customers no longer want “fast”.

In a word where Google offers answers to just about any question within the span of a few blinks, where you can easily download an app if the need arises, where high-speed networks are the norm… your business has to keep up!

The web and the latest advancements in technology have conditioned us into thinking that we can get what we want, whenever we want, wherever we may be (as long as there’s good signal).

On-Demand Builder

So of course, clients expect you to be an on-demand homebuilder, an on-demand project manager. They demand responsiveness. After all, building a home is probably one of their biggest investments ever. An immensely critical decision. Something that is circling their minds 24×7.

Communication

So how will you address it? Email takes forever. Voicemail takes too long. People are even developing aversion to phone calls. These days, people would much rather text, chat, Viber, Whatsapp, Snapchat, and so on. Digital conversations. Conversations that immediately go back and forth.

This becomes very tricky for builders because we all know that our clients don’t necessarily understand the meaning of  “business hours”. Out-of-office communication for us has long been the norm. Today, they just want it done much, much quicker.

Sharing Files

File-sharing apps and websites have become prevalent in recent years. Clients want quick access to files. And in addition, these files have to be within reach on different devices. If you’re talking about revisions or changes in the design, they want to be able to see it whether they’re on their phone, tablet, laptop or desktop.

Schedule Updates

When a client ask you about the progress of their home, you have to be able to answer confidently almost instantly (more so if you are face to face). Taking too long will hurt your credibility. Giving vague answers will plant doubts in your client’s mind. As a responsible homebuilder, you should incorporate effective project management tools in your business, so that answers are readily available to you in just a few clicks. Since your customers demand information fast, you have to prepare accodingly.

One of best tools for this is SAM - The Superintendent’s Automated Manager. SAM will veer you away from messy and complicated paper schedules, ensuring that everything is digitized, editable and quickly within reach. It will help you to keep key personnel updated on project milestones, as well as with schedule changes. You can input tasks, deliveries and meetings in SAM, and even get project reports at the push of a button.

Keep up and Stay Ahead

Technology is ever-changing and customers are getting more demanding. If you don’t evolve with them, your company will get left behind. So today put yourself in the shoes of your clients and imagine how they crave and ask for information. And always remember that these days, just “fast” is no longer acceptable.

3 Simple Steps to Improving Your Financials

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In the past couple of years, we’ve seen that the number of new businesses have risen, but at the same time, failure rates are also on the rise. In fact, almost half of all startup businesses fail within the first 4 years of operation.

One of the most common reasons as to why startups are failing is because they can’t really make out the meaning of the numbers in their financial statements. Inability to understand your financial statements means that you don’t know your targets, you can’t see your milestones, and you’re probably not aware of holes in your business. Eventually, this will lead to more bad decisions which then lead to closing up shop.

Of course, our goal is better construction management. So in this post, we are outlining 3 basic steps on how you can improve your company’s profitability.

1. Make Sure You are Charging Enough

In highly competitive markets, it’s very tempting to lower your rates in order to attract more clients and close more deals. But you have to remember that the long-term sustainability of your company depends on profitability. Therefore when creating (or revising) your pricing model for your various services, you first have to determine who your target demographic is. What is their income capcity? How much are they willing (and able) to spend for a new home or renovation?

Investigate what your competitors are charging so you’ll have an idea of the current market prices. Don’t be too quick to lower your rates just to grab more customers though. You may outnumber your client’s projects, but with unrealistic prices, your profits may still be in the red. Consider all of the costs and investments that go into your construction business. Factor in all labor costs. What is your ideal profit margin?

Don’t be afraid to stand up for what your services are worth. Lowering prices might compromise the quality service that you should be offering.

2. Always Have a Positive Cash Flow

As builders, we know that cash-flow is a major issue during slow months. Since most of us get paid based on progress billing, not having enough cash-on-hand can spell big trouble when it’s time to pay your employees, contractors, suppliers, and utilities. Businesses that don’t have enough cash flow usually resort to borrowing, but make sure that all of your current and future debt are well-planned. Study your income and revenue for both your peak and lean seasons. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that it will always be Christmas. In any business, there will be peaks and valleys so you need to prepare your financials for any possible scenario.

3. Monitor Your Expenses

An educated forecast of your income will definitely come in handy, but at the same time, it’s also a must to map out your expenses. Stay up-to-date on your bookkeeping in order to have a clear view of your cost structure. Know your recurring expenses and prepare for variable expenses. Do you have any inventory or long-term investments? These should be taken into account as well.

Remember, getting a good view of your company’s spending habits (and schedule) can give you a lot of information about your big-ticket expenses. In addition, it will give you insight on areas that can be cut-off or limited. Knowledge and planning are the keys to better construction management.

While having an accountant for your construction business is a definite must, it is also your responsibility to know the basics of finance. The better your grasp for numbers, the higher your chances for profitability.