News & Updates

Women Remain a Minority in the Construction Workforce

on . Posted in Construction industry trends

 

The number of women in the construction industry has remained low for decades, dipping below 3 percent, according to the National Women's Law Center. This is the same percentage as it was 30 years ago. This continuous trend can be attributed to forms of discrimination, discouraging women from joining and staying in the construction workforce. Women face sexual harassment, negative assumptions about their abilities and lower wages than men. The report highlights way the industry can address this problem.

There are various ways the industry can disrupt this trend. The report recommended the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs enhance the affirmative action standards for women in the field and increase its monitoring of contractors. Additionally, project managers can take a proactive role by enforcing a written sexual harassment policy, raising awareness of construction jobs for women as well as construction networking events. Management can also focus on recruitment by attending career fairs, informing women of jobs in construction.  

Women will continue to face numerous roadblocks unless the federal government, construction industry officials and other decision makers come together to mitigate this issue. By joining in solidarity, women have a better chance of attaining jobs and staying in the workforce long-term. 

US Green Construction is Growing

on . Posted in Construction industry trends

 

Green construction is blossoming across the country. By 2016, environmentally friendly buildings could make up half of U.S. construction and be worth approximately $248 billion, according to McGraw-Hill, an analytics firm. This growth is transforming the construction landscape.

Many project owners are focusing on creating sustainable buildings that earn the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, which was developed by USGBC. LEED encourages contractors to identify and utilize the most environmentally friendly methods, materials and processes, For Construction Pros reported. Given this trend, many construction workers are reusing and recycling materials and reducing waste on job sites. Since project teams are using materials sourced from suppliers, they are stimulating the local economy and saving on environmental costs of transportation.

Many construction project teams and developers are enjoying tax break and grants. Additionally, they are starting to consider how a building affects a resident's quality of life, as well as the structure's longevity, USA Today reported. The construction industry is becoming more aware of this trend and taking steps to develop action plans.

However, green buildings may also cost the construction industry thousands of dollars. For example, LEEDuser explained to register and certify a project, contractors have to pay a fee to the Green Building Certification Institute. Each square foot costs between 3 and 5 cents. Many project managers hire a consultant, which can be costly, to gather information and submit the documentation, adhering to the compliance process. Additional costs include researching into LEED requirements and commissioning the project. Expenses vary depending on the size of the building. 

What Does Social Media Have to Do with Your Construction Company?

on . Posted in Construction industry trends

 

Many construction companies are embracing social media platforms to foster relationships, improve visibility, generate leads, enhance search engine results and increase web traffic, according to Construction Digital. Construction Executive added businesses have the opportunity to share design ideas with prospects, case studies with customers and research numbers with industry and government officials.

Online Channels Support a Construction Company's Growth 
Social media is playing a major role in construction companies' growth. In fact, some of the top construction companies that are experiencing three-year growth of more than 3,000 percent utilize social media.The top five companies include Edge Homes, Innovative Construction, Dream Finders Homes, C-DM Network and Patriot Contractors.

Edge Homes places links and icons to its Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google Plus pages on its website. Innovative Construction has about 5,000 likes and updates the pages multiple times throughout the day. C-DM Network has an online presence with LinkedIn and Patriot Contractors provides user-friendly buttons for website visitors to check out their social media profiles. 

Social Media Outlets Serve Different Purposes
Each social media platform provides companies with distinct benefits, so contractors should use all channels for the best results. Twitter allows construction firms the option to send short messages under 140 characters to followers, while LinkedIn supports B2B sales and is an ideal platform for networking and lending advice.

"The friendships I've made with both industry and non-industry folks alike have been very worthwhile." Bridget Mahovlic, Therm-All, Inc. told E&T Plastics, a plastic distributors and component manufacturer. "Also, the networking opportunities I've gained through our social media efforts have proven invaluable."

YouTube offers a company the opportunity to share videos with employees, consumers and industry influencers regarding updates and new services. Facebook is the happy medium of all channels, as it provides stakeholders with updates, photos and thought leadership content. 

Here are five social media tips for your construction company to achieve its goals: 

  1. Take It One Step at a Time and Develop a Strategy
    Don't jump into the social media landscape right away. Dip your feet in slowly by creating a social media strategy. Determine the target audience, objectives, channels and ways to measure the effectiveness of the campaign. 
  2. Listen Carefully on How to Move up the Social Media Ladder
    After solidifying the first step, gradually enter the pool by observing and taking a backseat before posting. Watch how influencers in the construction field operate and interact. Get an idea of how other companies use the site and follow suit or avoid their mishaps. 
  3. Build Online Relationships with Stakeholders
    Determine the details, such as how often to post on channels. Prospective and existing customers need reminders of a company's characteristics and services. Stay consistent by posting frequently and spending about 20 minutes a day utilizing the social media platforms. By doing so, construction firms will start to foster stronger relationships with prospects. 
  4. Take a Leap by Adopting New Strategies
    Aside from using main outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, produce content as well. Blogging is great way to build your construction network, stand out in the construction marketplace and increase brand awareness. However, content marketing should complement social media marketing, not replace it. 
  5. Adhere to Best Practices
    Construction Executive recommended social media specialists take on the "40-40-20" rule, meaning 40 percent of communication is sharing news articles or updated statistics, another 40 percent is interacting with others and 20 percent is promotional, including links to your website or landing pages. Just like attending a cocktail party, you don't want to talk about yourself all the time. Interacting with others and sharing credible advice is what attendees enjoy. 

3 Tips for Increasing Productivity On-Site

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Workers on a construction project are unproductive for about half of their time onsite, according to Michael Rollage, CPA, CVA, ABV. This can cause delays and affects the contractor's bottom line. Increasing productivity comes with many benefits. Workers complete projects quicker, which saves costs and increases profitability.  

An unproductive work environment can often be attributed to ineffective management. Whether there isn't enough material on-site or an adequate amount of employees working on a project, it often comes down to poor planning. While some factors are out of contractors' control, such as unfavorable weather conditions, project managers can either prevent or address unproductive work situations by employing a few strategies:

  1. Give Employees Incentives for Motivation
    The Houston Chronicle recommended motivating workers to complete a job early by rewarding them with bonuses. Workers who are compensated well, with high wages and generous benefits, are more likely to stay engaged and fully committed to their projects.
  2. Training Prepares Workers for On-Site Situations
    Supervisors should receive thorough training on how to manage a team and create an efficient workspace. Instead of looking at a project on a day-to-day basis, it's best to develop a timeline and work process to see the full picture of the workflow and deadlines. Trainings may cover why productivity is vital for all parties involved. The workshop could touch on how an effective workforce leads to fewer distractions and increases profits. Additionally, instructors should emphasize that productive employees are also safer and produce quality work. 
  3. Utilize New Planning Technologies
    Contractors can rely on software to help them identify, quantify and eliminate factors that are contributing to an unproductive workforce. Intergraph, an American software development company, recommended contractors use technology tools that allow users to visualize available material and submit requests. All of these measures will increase productivity onsite. 

 

Why Construction Spending is Increasing in April

on . Posted in Construction industry trends

Construction spending can help lead economies out of recessions. However, the U.S. construction industry is still trying to get back to pre-recession levels. Fortunately, this past month, spending increased, which could spur the economy. 

In April, construction spending climbed 0.2 percent from $951.5 billion to $953.5 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Construction spending is at its highest rate since March 2009, and is 8.6 percent more than a year ago. Daily Finance reported April's numbers marked the third consecutive monthly increase. Strong gains in hiring are also impacting this positive trend. Analysts projected the growth will climb 3.8 percent between April and June, as the temperature rises.

 

Equipment World stated an increase in government projects are contributing to this positive trend. In fact, the government contributed $267 billion to the industry. There was a 1 percent increase in nonresidential projects, while commercial building spending increased 14.7 percent, rising to $2 billion. The government is also supporting construction of sewage, waste disposal and transportation. In addition to government projects, USA Today reported homebuilding gained momentum in New York and Chicago

These promising numbers may play a major role in revitalizing the economy, as the construction industry boosts production.