Tag Archives: Construction Software

How to Avoid Risks in Home Renovation Projects

Automated Trackers - SAM - Construction Management and Scheduling Software

Home renovations are one of the biggest revenue-earners for builders in the US. However, if we look at it from the perspective of a client, few undertakings are as expensive or as stressful. In short, a positive cash-earner can easily turn into your biggest nightmare.Home renovations are construction projects that are governed by complicated contracts and complex relationships.

As a contractor and builder, you are responsible for coordinating the work of dozens of subcontractors, suppliers, and laborers. At times, the services of architects, engineers, interior designers and other consultants will also have to be coordinated seamlessly. For a home renovation project to turn into a success, so many things have to go right. And it also goes without saying that all types of risk need to be managed and limited. So today, we’re listing down some tips on how you can mitigate the risks involved in home renovation projects.

1. Understand the Types of Risks Involved

The first and most common type of risk that you have to watch out for is Financial Risk. This type of risk involves going over-budget or being pressed to do so much with a very limited budget. Take note that budget overruns are often brought about by poor planning, improper coordination, and inaccurate pricing.  So what’s the end result when you fail in budget planning? For one thing, you will have endless arguments with the client, you may have to cut corners, or worse, you will have to shell out money from your own pocket just to deliver what has been promised.

In addition to budget risks, there are also risks when it comes to time and scheduling. This involves over-promising and under-delivering. Home renovations often have a limited time frame. In fact, it’s often rushed! Scheduling problems are brought about by poor coordination. The thing with scheduling problems is that it literally costs money. This might delay payments from the client and at the same time, steal valuable time that you may have otherwise spent on other, more lucrative, work. Remember, as the contractor and builder, cost control and proper scheduling should be part of your core skills.

2. Assemble a Killer Construction Team

You can assess the prowess and experience of a leader by analyzing the type of team that he or she assembles. When doing home renovation projects, it’s essential to create the right mix of experience, size and value. Every project has its unique requirements and specific obstacles (budget, design, existing architecture, client preferences etc.) so you really have to allot some serious thought process into creating the best team for each job. Assess whether or not you have the necessary manpower and equipment for each task. If not, figure out to whom you should outsource what you lack.

Automated Trackers - SAM - Construction Management and Scheduling Software

3. Define Your Build Strategy

The construction industry is highly fragmented and as a builder, you have to seamlessly integrate both the product sellers and the service providers. You also have to clearly set a timeline for every single task that will be done for a renovation. From consultation meetings to purchase dates, follow-ups to specific build milestones, all of these have to be laid out even before the project officially begins. Don’t forget to take into consideration, the specific characteristics and living arrangements of your client. (Will you have the entire place all to yourselves or does the renovation involve just isolating a certain part of the house?)

4. Be Professional in Monitoring the Construction Process

This is where you really have to dive into the details. Are the workers up to par with your standards? Is excellent craftsmanship being implemented? Are you compliant with all permits and regulations? Is the budget on track? Are all parties involved being updated with the status of the build? Maybe it’s time to go digital and use a construction scheduling software such as SAM – The Superintendent’s Automated Manager? Paper calendars and lists can only go so far. If you’re handling several builds at a time, you need to amp it up with the right technology. Click here to know more about SAM and how it helps builders in managing several projects at a single time.

Remember that as your business grows, your projects will get more and more complicated. But there lies the excitement of being a builder. So whether it’s a home renovation or a build from scratch project, you need to be on your toes and work your very best. After all, you’re building not just houses, but actual homes. 

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!

The Importance of Innovation for Your Construction Business


Innovation is Vital to Business

What is innovation? To innovate means to change something in a positive way, it’s to revolutionize, to transform, to create a breakthrough. In business application, this could be done through developing a product, revolutionizing a service, or even changing the way you do your work.

Why should you innovate or change when everything is doing “okay”? Okay should not be your benchmark. We all know how competitive the construction market is. Everyone is eyeing the same customers and everybody wants to close that deal. If you don’t do your best to stand out from the crowd, you might as well just sit back and pray for apples to fall on your lap.

Growth, Expansion, Success

Once you’ve found a way to apply innovation in your business, it will allow you to create a unique selling proposition to your customers. You can show them how much more you can offer them compared to your competition. When done well, innovation will give you a bigger piece of the sales pie and possibly even market dominance.

Lead the Way

So where does it start? The drive to innovate must come from the top. It’s the CEOs and Presidents that have to spearhead the push for innovation. Their influence will then trickle down to the very people who work in the back offices and even up into the worksites.

Great innovation inevitably requires a lot of internal “selling” of the idea in order to build political support among top management and staff.

If the owner is adamant about implementing a specific change, it will reflect even to the most casual employee.

How Can You Innovate?

Analyze the current situation and find areas for improvement. It all starts with some creativity and imagination. Find problems that haven’t been solved yet. Are there questions that have never been answered? What conventional way of thinking do you believe is not true at all? How can you challenge the norm in such a way that you will cause improvement?

For example: Business depends highly on technology. At the same time, technology also enables new business opportunities. It opens windows to new ways of operational efficiency, sales opportunities, or even progress analysis. Maybe you can utilize tools that your competition isn’t using. Maybe you can attack each project in a way that hasn’t been done before.

What about work collaboration… There are a lot of useful tools for innovative collaboration. All you need to do is explore them and test it out to see how your build process can be improved. Find ways to shorten the build time or maybe handle more projects at once.

You should also look into software that’s specifically-tailored for your type of business. These types of tools have been designed with your specific operations in mind. Construction scheduling software is a good example of this, especially knowing how big a role organization plays in project coordination.

Innovation is no lucky accident. It has to come from a dedicated push and a disciplined process which will stem out to all parts of your construction business. If you do it correctly, it could spell market dominance and thousands of dollars in increased revenue.

So today ask yourself, how can my construction company push for innovation?



How to Realign Yourself in Order to Get Things Done

How big a procrastinator are you? Are you doing it right now? Is there too much on your plate lately? Are you finding it difficult to juggle the millions of tasks in your to-do list?

In this post, we’re going to talk about how to realign yourself (and your mind) in order to get things done. This week, to help you sort through your mental mess of never-ending tasks, we’re giving you a few simple questions that you need to ask yourself.

Who am I going to be today? 

Start every day with a simple meditation. This only needs a minute or two. Decide on who you want to become for the day. Do you want to be a driven drill sergeant, a compassionate counselor, an inspiring free-thinker, or an enterprising innovator? Whatever you decide will serve as your anchor for the day’s activities. This will influence your priorities and decision-making.

When the pressures of work deadlines are too much, a little bit of mental and emotional conditioning can go a a long way.

What am I committed to? 

Sometimes, the most effective way to get things done is to focus on the bigger picture. What is the outcome that you want to achieve? However, oftentimes we find ourselves saying, “Oh, I don’t have time for that.” The truth is, what you’re actually saying is that you are not committed to it. If there’s a will there’s a way right? We will always find time for the things that we are committed to.

A simple way to find out what you’re committed to is to look at the things that you spend the most time on. For example, how many hours a day do you spend on social media? If your answer is about 3 hours or more, then stop and reassess. Is it absolutely essential for you to be allocating 3 hours of your day for that?

What are the things that need to be done? 

It’s a simple enough question but it helps a lot in sorting out your head. As a tip, remember that you should always put the bigger picture within view. All of the smaller tasks should bring you toward the bigger goal. If all of the little things are bringing you down, try focusing on a big, rewarding goal that will inspire you to push forward.

What are the tools that I have at my disposal? 

Stop for aminute to think about your resources. Do you have an awesome team of hardworking people? Do you have valuable connections? Do you have the latest tech tools to speed up efficiency? Do you have the support of loving friends and/or family? Most of the time, our minds get so clogged up by things we need to do, that we tend to completely forget about the helpful things that we already have at our disposal. Find out what your weapons are and use them wisely. Maximize what’s already within reach. Remembering your strengths will not only motivate you, it will also help you to come up with brilliant solutions to your problems.

Speaking of tools that you can use to get things done, have you checked out SAM yet? It’s the Superintendent’s Automated Manager. Click this link to learn more about how it can help you to juggle up to 10 construction projects at once.

7 Surprising Facts About Working in Teams

No man is an island! At one point or another, we’ve all been part of a working team. But today, we’re sharing some team-related facts that may surprise you. Jot these down because we all know that excellent and highly-efficient teams are essential to any builder’s business.

1. The ideal team size is somewhere between 5 and 9

According to studies, the most ideal team size is between 5 to 9 people. Some people assume that any problem can be fixed by adding more people to a team, but the truth is, larger team sizes actually adds more challenges to the project.

2. Too much “good chemistry” actually makes teams less effective

When the members of a team are too comfortable or familiar with each other, the entire team tends to fall into predictable ruts. Having a good working relationship is not bad. But having a team with members that are too similar to each other, or have similar ways of thinking is not good either. For best results, promote diversity in culture and ways of thinking.

3. The most effective teams don’t have “leaders”

A team works best when its members listen and talk in equal measure. If one of the members takes control and starts to dominate the discussion, resentment arises in the other members. Nobody likes a dictator.

4. Managers are still important though!

However, since diverse teams tend to get more creative, they do need a manager whose full-time job is to facilitate discussions and help the entire team to work together in harmony.

5. Small teams will outperform solo geniuses

It’s the same concept with basketball. A team with 5 members who are all in top-notch shape and performance will likely outperform another team who relies on just one superstar player. Brilliant people work best when working with others, especially when they are all equally brilliant.

6. Creative abrasion is a good thing

Teams thrive best when there is a bit of creative abrasion. By this we mean, healthy conflict. It’s a good sign when there are a lot of great ideas flying around. You just have to ensure that these conflicts don’t get personal and that each side gets to point out their reasons and rationale.

7. Mixed-age teams are better than that with a homogenized age range

Despite the stereotype that youthful energy trumps all practical business experience, having a mixed-age team is actually more ideal. This way, you will get people with various work experiences, skill sets, and ways of thinking. It’s a great way to start that delightful creative abrasion.

Remember, on top of all these, there should always be good communication among your team members. Regardless of team size, age, or skill set, without good communication and proper work delegation, the team will crumble in the blink of any eye.

Want to ensure that your team communicates well regardless of location and inspire of a hundred deadlines? Check out SAM and VIC today.