John Donne said, “No man is an island.” The same can be said for construction firms. Today’s general contractor requires a vast network of subcontractors and suppliers to deliver projects on time and within budget. But contracting with these vendors brings additional risk as GCs are ultimately accountable for all project operations, whether they’re performed by their own employees or vendors. This risk includes supply chain interruptions, safety violations, quality of work, project delays and licensing issues, just to name a few. Meanwhile, choosing the right vendor can ease some of the heavy lifting and accelerate projects at the same time. To help you in your search, here are 17 tips for choosing construction suppliers and subcontractors you can trust.
Can they do what you need them to do at the quality you require? Look at their previous work for examples.
How many years have they been in business? New businesses is not an eliminating factor, but long standing companies are more consistent.
The business may be new, but the owner/foreman may have been operating for 30 years or more. They’re running the job, so their experience is critical.
What are their TRIR, EMR, LTIR safety ratings? Have they had any regulatory notices of violations? Do they have an active safety program that includes documented training and a safety policies and procedures manual? Do any employees have OSHA 30 cards, or at least the foreman? Do they have procedure for reporting accidents? And do they have a list of employees that are competent in the tasks they will be performing?
Required Licenses and Insurance
Do they have a business license and all required insurance? Insurances may include general liability, workman’s comp, auto, errors and omissions, pollution and, for architects and engineers, professional liability insurance. Remember, the GC is responsible for these in the eyes of the government so unlicensed or uninsured vendors should be cut from your list.
You need to know they can fulfill orders quickly and keep projects moving.
Everyone has a friend who will offer a fantastic review. Dig deeper to find an actual customer who can give you a genuine assessment.
Vetting vendors is a lot like hiring employees. The company that is slow to respond and doesn’t take time to check their work is likely to act the same way on your job site.
Flexibility in Manpower
Can they ramp up or down as your needs change?
Prevailing Wage Jobs
Do they understand the requirements and have they done them before?
Some public projects require women-, minority- or veteran-owned businesses. While this is not required, it’s nice to have at least a few on your vendor roster.
Breadth of Skills
Can they handle different types of work? Hiring one supplier or subcontractor in place of many saves you time before and after every project.
Vendors of Vendors Screening and Requirements
While your immediate vendor may fill all your requirements, you also need to stipulate that their vendors do the same. Subcontractors of subcontractors are still your responsibility.
Do they use email and digital images for documentation? Can they receive plans and documents via email? Do they use video to report progress and issues? Tech savvy vendors can make your job easier, which is exactly they’re supposed to do.
Site Specific Requirements
This may include badging for government sites, union cards, drug and alcohol testing.
This should be your last consideration, but a consideration nonetheless. If pricing is beyond your budget, then nothing else matters. At the same time, you should never choose price over qualifications. Remember, you are the one at risk, even when the vendors is at fault.
Supply chain management qualifying services, such as Avetta or ISN, can help ease the burden of vetting vendors. They should confirm vendors have all required insurance, licenses, safety records and other documentation to help limit your risk while doing business. They annually recheck safety performance ratings and insurance to confirm they are satisfactory and up to date.
Yes, this list is long and requires a significant investment of time. But consider for a moment the cost of choosing a supplier or subcontractor that puts your project and construction company at risk. Isn’t it better to invest the time up front than pay fines in the end?
Falling objects, such as work materials and tools, present a serious safety concern whenever work is done overhead or in an elevated location. This hazard is commonly forgotten until a near miss or injury serves as a stark reminder.
The solution is simple: Be proactive and “Stop the Drop”. Simple passive and active safety measures can minimize the risk of falling objects and protect workers below. Several of these are listed below. But first, it’s important to understand how quickly seemingly harmless falling objects accelerate to deadly speeds.
Falling Object Statistics
A solid object dropped from 64 feet will hit the ground in 2 seconds at a speed of 43.8 miles per hour.
The same object dropped at 106 feet will hit the ground in 3 seconds at a speed of 65.8 miles per hour.
A 2-ounce pen dropped from 230 feet has the potential to penetrate a hardhat.
Tips for Preventing Falling Object Injuries
Use tool lanyards to prevent tools from falling.
Keep all material at least 3 feet from a leading edge, other than material specifically required for work in process.
Remove items from all loose or unsealed pockets, especially top shirt pockets, such as phones, pens, and tools.
Do not hang objects over guardrails.
Secure all objects when working on an elevated surface.
Ensure toe boards are in place and inspected frequently
Require hard hats and other required personal protective equipment (PPE) for every person in areas at risk for falling objects—no exceptions.
Rope off the area, if possible, where fall or drop hazards may exist.
Inspect all PPE prior to use to confirm it still meets manufacturers’ recommendations.
Communicate often. Work as a team to avoid complacency and remain vigilant of these procedures at all times.
Visit OSHA.gov for more information about general industry and construction-specific regulations regarding falling object injuries.
Learning to recognize hazards and establishing a low risk tolerance is the first and, perhaps, most important step toward instilling a climate of safety and reducing costs associated with poor safety performance.
What’s your Risk Tolerance? Does your team know how to recognize and correct hazards on the job site? Unsafe work behaviors are increased by inattention as a result of repetition and/or becoming complacent and overconfident with the job task. The result is an increase in unsafe behaviors that cause work-related injuries.
Hazard recognition requires daily practice. Teaching workers to evaluate every task or situation over the course of a project can have a tremendous impact on safety awareness and performance. Encourage workers to get used to asking and answering these questions:
Am I physically and mentally ready to perform this task?
Do I understand the task I have to complete?
Do I have correct knowledge and safety procedures/equipment to complete this task?
Do I have the right tools to complete the task?
What could go wrong if performed incorrectly?
How severe is that result?
Hazard recognition does NOT equal risk tolerance: One may recognize the hazard but disregard the risk.
Risk Tolerance can be simply defined as working with known unsafe behaviors, or, how much risk will I take before an injury or incident is certain.
A low risk tolerance ensures work is performed in a safe manner. Below are tips for recognizing hazardous behaviors and strategies for reducing risk:
Overestimating Capability / Experience
Hazard Recognition: I can lift 300 pounds in the gym, but that doesn’t mean I can do it here.
Low Risk Resolution: Acknowledge that despite your ability, the exposure/hazard/risk is still there. Pushing beyond physical limits only increases risk of injuries.
Familiarity with the Task / Complacency
Hazard Recognition: I have done it 500 times before, but I still need to pay attention and do it right.
Low Risk Resolution: Approach every task as though you’re doing it for the first time. Do you do it by the book or have you just been lucky?
No Consideration for Seriousness of the Outcome
Hazard Recognition: This could result in a major injury, or worse.
Low Risk Resolution: Always evaluate at the potential impact of high risk behaviors and find a safer way. Not all accidents involve only minor scraps or bruises.
Overconfidence in Protection
Hazard Recognition: I may be wearing my PPE, but that doesn’t mean I am indestructible.
Low Risk Resolution: Understand the limitations of protection (PPE) and think of it as the “Last Line of Defense” against injury, instead of a license to act recklessly.
Following Role Models Who Take Risks
Hazard Recognition: Just because they can do that, doesn’t mean I should.
Low Risk Resolution: Correct the high-risk behavior and lead by example.
As temperatures dip and the winter weather sets in, spending a few minutes to make sure your office trailer is ready for winter can help avoid service outages and project delays. Watch this short video to learn what you need to do to get your office trailer ready for winter.
While the industry is continuing to grow, construction companies have been facing issues with finding talent to fill positions and get their jobs done. We’ve researched and found what some companies are doing lately to overcome the labor shortage and get new talent.
Offer More Training
Lack of training may be one cause behind the lower interest by millennials in the construction industry. According to Construction & Demolition Recycling, “The formal training required in the construction trades is harder to come by today than it was before the housing bust.” They suggest that vocational programs, technical schools and colleges may not be as prevalent as they were in the past, therefore younger generations are not as knowledgeable when choosing this career path.
Proper training is crucial with new hires, whether they’ve had previous training or not. Training or onboarding programs will ensure your entire team is well informed about the industry and your company. Regular training is also encouraged, especially for safety purposes.
Invest in Your Employees
Attract younger generations to your company by offering career advancements. On average, graduates with a bachelor’s degree owe between $20,000 – $25,000 post college and are paying these loans off well into their 30s. Creating opportunities to educate your employees can help them to grow with your company and their career. Offering management positions and better pay can also entice them to stay with your company.
With Millennials entering the workforce and technology getting more and more advanced, it would benefit your company to make use of the many construction applications available. According to the Construction Productivity Blog, “Choosing the right construction software can make a big difference for foremen and superintendents by allowing them to get more done through increased efficiency and productivity”.
Construction apps can be used on your team’s mobile devices to reduce waiting time and update employees and project information from anywhere in the field or office. They can also help with language barriers so that coworkers that speak different languages can work on the same project with less confusion and error.
Give your employees the opportunities to succeed in this industry and keep up to date with emerging, helpful advancements. Also, things like allowing for flexible schedules can be helpful to your team and make your company a more desired place to work.
As the last quarter of 2018 draws near, the construction industry is already looking to the future hoping to determine what non-residential construction markets have the greatest growth potential in 2019. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) weighed in last month suggesting that the U.S. economy will see a modest 4 percent jump in construction spending, a slight decline versus the expected 4.5 percent this year.
Some segments are poised to grow faster than others. The top three construction sectors for growth in 2019 are:
3. Industrial – 4.9% (up from -0.1%)
2. Education – 5.2% (up from 4.0%)
1. Public Safety – 5.9% (down from 10.9%)
These segments at the bottom of the list stand to show little or no growth:
Maintaining your office trailer is similar to the regular maintenance you keep around your home or office. Though some issues must be serviced by a professional, there are several things you can do to preserve the condition of your building. Avoid some problems and back end charges by following our annual office trailer maintenance checklist.
When Kiewit Power Constructors Co. started work on the massive, 485-megawatt power plant in Birdsboro, PA, they called ModSpace for more than 30 mobile office trailers and HQ ground level offices to support the project. The 50-acre construction site will be the workplace for hundreds of project managers, engineers and tradesmen over the next two years.
“I’ve been tracking this project for three years,” said ModSpace Territory Sales Manager, Karl Wagenhoffer. “Kiewit knew that we have the operational experience and inventory to pull off this size project. They cited the ease of working with us as an important factor in choosing ModSpace as their temporary office provider.“
Modular offices are a fast, easy solution for adding quality buildings wherever they are needed. Whether for remote operations, temporary office space while permanent facilities are under construction or simply additional space through business expansions, there are several things to keep in mind when renting modular buildings, and large modular office complexes in particular. Take a look at some of our tips for leasing a large office complex.
Talk to Your Sales Representative
Once you have selected a trusted provider, contact a local representative to get started on your project. Explain your needs and begin floor plan discussions. If possible, take a trip to the provider’s facility to see what they have in stock before your project starts. Communicate a schedule with milestone dates and deliverables so your sales representative understands your requirements.
Research Local Requirements
Before having any buildings delivered, contact your local permitting office to obtain all necessary permits. Also, check to see if there are any safety requirements like fire alarms, fire sprinklers, etc. that you will need to have installed in your building.
Take Accurate Site Measurements
Assess your site before the building is delivered and choose a level area to place your building. Avoid low lying areas, such as ditches and sides of hills, or soft soil conditions because the building is likely to settle and problems may arise down the road. If tree removal is necessary, have this done before your building is delivered.
When determining the size of your mobile office complex, include extra space around your building. In many cases 6 feet on all sides is sufficient, however some places require as much as 20 feet. Make sure to check with your local permitting office before your building is placed.
Don’t place your modular building too close to other buildings on your site. Make sure the entrance to the site is large enough for a truck to deliver your buildings. Position the building so that the doors are facing the parking areas and entries to the other buildings.
Consider Additional Products and Services
Finally, when calculating site space and spending, don’t forget additional items to make your office fully functional and accessible. Steps, decks and ramps make it easy to access your office and may be required by ADA and local codes. Furniture can improve both comfort and productivity of your project team.
Determine what you need for utilities and whether you’ll be connecting to city power, water and sewer or need onsite generators, water storage and portable sanitation.
Discuss these needs with your sales rep so you are ready to hit the ground running from day one. ModSpace offers full, turnkey services. We can provide your buildings and all the related services with one call and one bill. Call your local sales representative today, 800-523-7918.
Whether you need to keep construction equipment secure on a jobsite or store seasonal items for your retail business, portable storage container rentals can be placed almost anywhere, and they can hold a lot more than you might think. Check out the infographic below to find out just how much you can fit into a portable storage container rental.