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There are numerous divisions of construction that many people refer to as as a construction sector. These construction sectors are serve to break up different types of buildings.

There are five major construction sectors which include Industrial, Commercial, Institutional and Residential and Civil. Below you will find a brief explanation of each:


Industrial Construction Sector

The industrial sector is primarily made up of you guessed it industrial construction. This can include manufacturing plants, power generation, refineries, oil and gas plants, and the list goes on. The sector in many instances has some of the largest and most remote work. Many large industrial plants are located in very rural areas well outside the bounds of major urban centres.

Some of the main challenges of this work are scope and size, location and overall complexity, planning a construction project is key to success.

Commercial Construction Sector

The commercial construction industry is all about the areas of office, retail and entertainment. This sector is often the beating heart of large cities. Commercial construction can include buildings from doctors offices to movie theatres to office buildings to malls. Some of the most unique and interesting architecture can be found in this division.

Retail is always a fast changing division and as such renovation construction work can be a regular source of income for many Firms.

Residential Construction Sector

If commercial construction is the heartbeat of cities residential construction is often measured as a heart beat of a nations economy. If people are buying houses it means the economy is doing well.

Residential construction often includes buildings such as homes, condos, old age homes and other home type buildings. These buildings can range in size from several thousand to hundreds of millions on residential condo buildings.

Civil Construction

Civil construction is one of the larger divisions and is actually broken down into multiple sub categories. Civil construction includes things like roadways, damns, railroads, bridges and anything that can be defined as infrastructure.

Civil projects range significantly in size and scope. From a culvert replacement into a driveway to a damn powering a small city. Because many of these projects have complex technical requirements firms tend to specialize in them and avoid the work above. Because of that the quality in construction tends to be higher and more stringent.

What form of work is your construction company in? Let us know below in the comments.

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Learning how to prepare a construction plan can take years and multiple projects before you are exposed to enough information. With that said building a construction plan is simple if you use these easy to follow steps.

What Is A Construction Plan?

A construction plan is a detailed document, both written and visual which outlines how you will complete a project or portion of one. The document is typically composed of the following:

When Should I Develop The Plan and Who Should Be Involved?

A construction plan should at the bare minimum be developed at the start of a construction project, however, it should not be a static document and should be updated and developed further as things change on a construction project.

The intent of a construction plan at the start of a construction project or during the estimating phase is to assist the team in understanding the companies approach to building the project. An estimator may need a project plan in order to determine the number of feet of fence or plywood required.

For that reason a construction plan should be developed by the entire project team including the superintendent, project manager, estimator and any other staff involved. Different people bring unique outlooks to problems and potential solutions.

How To Prepare A Construction Plan Step One – Familiarize Yourself With The Project

You can’t build a plan without first understanding the scope of the project. Start by familiarizing yourself with the construction plans and specifications. Depending upon the phase of the project you may not have a full set of drawings available. Here’s a few things you should include in your review:

  • Project Renderings
  • Existing Site Photos
  • Overall Project Timelines
  • Weather Patterns
  • Other projects ongoing in the areas
  • Drawings
  • Specifications
  • Existing Services
  • Google Maps
  • Contracts

Understanding each of the above pieces of information will help you as you move forward. While reviewing these pieces of information make sure to keep notes.

Step Two – Prepare The Construction Plan Document

The actual preparation of the document can take time and alot of effort to prepare so breaking it up into manageable pieces is advised. There are a number of topics that need to be covered.

You’ll need a few different things to prepare the entire document including a word processing software such as word or google docs, pdf editing software such as Bluebeam and or CAD.

Once you’ve got the software you’ll want to start by opening up a document and listing out all of the topics you’re going to cover. Don’t worry, if you don’t want to do this we’ve prepared a construction plan template for you here.

Some subjects for you to cover in your construction plan inlude:

  1. Project or Work Summary
  2. Milestone / High Level Schedule
  3. Sequence of Work / High Level Description of Site Logistics
  4. Site Summary
    1. Construction Site Safety
    2. Temporary Protection
    3. Interaction with Public Realm
  5. Deliveries and Material Handling
    1. Delivery Management
    2. Vertical Access Plan
    3. Lifting and Hoisting
    4. Garbage Disposal
  6. Temporary Services
    1. Electrical
    2. Heating
    3. Water
    4. Washrooms
    5. Gas (if applicable)
  7. Quality

Below is a high level description of content that should be included in each one of the sections noted above in your construction plan.

Project or Work Summary

This section should include a high level description of the construction project. Include a project rendering or picture.

Milestone or High Level Schedule

This section should include a high level walkthrough of the construction project schedule.

Sequence Of Work

Outline the sequence of work for the project. For example Foundations > Superstructure > Roof > Building Envelope > Finishes.

Be specific about the activities in each area and work required.

Address any phasing requirements for the project in this section.

Site Summary

This section is intended for you to dig deeper into describing and outlining the site. Address it in the three sections.

Site Safety: Walk through how the project will be set up, location of safety board and other facilities. Include a drawing of your site safety plan.

Temporary Protection: your construction site will require temporary fencing, include notes about what’s being provided and where.

Public Realm: describe how your project will interact with the public realm and steps taken to seperate work from them. Include drawings of temporary seperations, public and non public areas.

Deliveries and Material Handling

This section is intended to help you understand how your project will handle materials both incoming and outgoing:

Delivery Management – how will you manage deliveries on the project. Where are your receiving and loading areas, gates, etc. Provide a construction drawing.

Vertical Access Plan – if your building is tall you need to plan on gettting material up and down the building. Provide schedules and drawings indicating what is operational and when.

Lifting and Hoisting – if you have a crane outline where and what it is as well as capacity. Map out cranes on a drawing. We suggest putting together a full crane lifting plan.

Garbage Disposal: construction waste is always a problem on construction sites and planning for how you’re going to remove it is important. Show bin locations and who will be responsible for it.

Temporary Services and Facilities

Not having your temporary services in place on a construction site can grind a job to a halt. In this section you’ll write about how you’re going to support the job with the following systems:

Step Three – Review With Your Construction Project Team

Once you’ve compiled all of the above information into a document it’s time to revisit it with your team. Review each chapter and note comments from each individual.

At this point in time you should also consider bringing in any third party resources you have to review your construction plan. People such as structural engineers, mechanical and electrical engineers, elevator professionals and subtrades can all provide valuable input.

Congratulations You’ve Just Completed Your Construction Plan

Take a moment to celebrate and know that your project is in better hands than when you started. You’ll want to make sure that the document is readily available for people to reference through the project.

What was your construction plan creation experience like?

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During my time in construction I have worked on a number of jobs that have asbestos containing material (ACM). The safe removal and treatment of this material often involves alot of extra work. In this article I will cover basics of identification, removal and shed some light on different disposal methods.

Asbestos Identification

Asbestos has been around for a very long time. Truth be told, aside from the health drawbacks, it’s pretty amazing stuff. Asbestos is a light, strong and fire retardant material which make it ideal for building components. Unfortunately, all of those benefits come with a catch, it’s main drawback is that it’s a carcinogen or cause of cancer.

Asbestos was used in buildings and all sorts of every day materials up until the 60s and 70s. The material has since been banned in most country’s but many of the structures we now work in (and renovate) contain old materials. Below is a list of just SOME of the materials that can be asbestos containing:

  • Ceiling tiles
  • Drywall compound
  • Brick Mortar
  • Roofing membrane
  • Insulation
  • Fireproofing

If you have a building that was built or renovated prior to the 2000’s there is a good chance that there may be some form of asbestos lingering in your building. Below is a helpful video which identifies the harm of asbestos.

What does asbestos look like? - YouTube

Asbestos Processes and Procedures

Your first step if you think you may have an ACM in your building (or even if you don’t suspect it) is to hire a consultant. The consultant will do a survey of your property and identify anything that is containing, by both destructive and non-destructive testing.

Once you have an understanding of what is within your building, it’s important to treat it properly. If the asbestos is not disturbed it does not pose a problem. For example, if you have a wall that is asbestos containing and it is never touched, there is relatively little risk with the material. The issue comes when it is altered or moved in someway, causing the asbestos particles to be airborne.

In order to remove the contaminated material properly it is time to call another professional. There are plenty of demolition companies that specialize in hazardous material removal. These companies and their workers and trained and certified on these contaminants in order to safely remove them.

There are many requirements for the safe removal of asbestos, and these will change based on your region and local requirements, however in general removal includes the following:

  • Construction of a barrier or enclosure to limit the exposure of materials to surrounding areas this barrier includes poly, rip proof poly and negative air units to create a negative pressure within the enclosure reducing the amount of airbourne materials that make it out of the space.
  • Application of water or material to reduce the amount of dust created by removal.
  • Proper PPE by workers (including a HEPA mask, bodysuit, gloves etc).
  • Construction of a showered area to allow workers to wet down after working within the enclosure.
  • Containment of removed material in two layers of rip proof bags properly labeled to illustrate contaminated materials.

Disposal of Asbestos

If you have hired a company to properly remove the asbestos containing material they will be responsible for the proper disposal. There are a few ways in which asbestos is disposed of which I have outlined for your below:

  • Landfill – the most common method is that the material is disposed of in a landfill. The landfill that we reference though isn’t the one you drop your dryer off with your dad in your car. There are specialized landfills that deal with toxic and hazardous materials. These landfills require special paper work and applications to be submitted before even sending the material away. The material is typically either buried or stored in containers.
  • Incineration – one of the newer techniques on the market is destruction by incineration. Because the properties of asbestos make it a natural fire retardant the material does not burn easily. As such – asbestos needs to be exposed to extreme temperatures in order to ensure the fibres are burned and not just displaced. This can be done using a plasma.
  • Chemical Bath – another newer approach is to utilize a chemical bath using an acid or base material to essentially eat away the fibres. The ACM is drenched in large containers and any sediment is than sent to a landfill or recycled.
Asbestos – Beware

Asbestos in all situations should be treated properly. The negative health affects related to exposure include lung cancer and death. Often times these effects don’t appear until many years after. Always be sure to consult professionals every time you need to deal with building materials in order to ensure it is properly identified and dealt with.

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Construction Management is a form of contract within the construction industry that is used throughout the world. Unlike lump sum contracts, construction management allow the general contractor to take on a universal role to help manage the overall project.

How Is Construction Management Different?

Construction management was first introduced formally to the construction market in the 1900s as an alternative to traditional lump sum projects. To start let’s define the traditional approach to a project:

  • Contractor receives a set of documents prepared by a group of consultants
  • The documents referred to as the “contract documents” are for the most part complete. The contractor submits a bid for the project based on the drawings and specifications.
  • Any scope that changes outside of the “contract documents” the contractor submits a quotation for a change order

Under a construction management things change slightly. Some of the risk for the overall scope of the project is placed back on the contractor. Below is a breakdown on how a construction management contract works:

  • In some cases the contractor or construction manager is brought in early to assist with the design.
  • The contractor develops a detailed estimate which in some cases includes tendered numbers as well as contingencies or allowances to complete the project. These contingencies are intended to help supplement the documents.
  • As the project progresses contingencies are drawn down from in order to complete the project.
  • Owner initiated changes are priced in addition to the contract.

As you can see above the construction manager has more incentive to ensure the estimate is complete and depending on the type of contract shares some of the overall project risk.

Types of Construction Management Contracts

There are a few different types of construction management contracts that exist. In each region these may be tweaked or named differently:

Construction Management At Risk

The construction management at risk contract type is more onerous on the contractor. The contractor essentially takes on the risk for the financial health of the project. Depending on the inclusions the contractor takes on some responsibility for managing them within their budget. Typical inclusions can include things such as site conditions and design coordination.

Construction Management – Cost Plus

While these types of contracts don’t come around often a cost plus type contract involves the construction manager assisting the owner with the construction project. Unlike the above at risk option, in this situation the construction manager does not take any of the risk. Any over runs on budget line items are the responsibility of the owner.

What Are Some Key Tips For Getting Into Construction Management

The world of construction management can be intimidating if you haven’t done it before but overall it creates a more cooperative project environment. Everyone is more encouraged to work together and much of the confrontational aspect of construction management is removed.

Get Involved In The Project Early

This is a key tip – construction managers are only as good as their role and what they are allowed to do. A big part of that is having input on the design development and being able to catch problem details early.

Develop A Construction Schedule Early On

Developing a construction schedule early on will help your owner and the remainder of the project team. A construction schedule will give your team dates to work towards for each of their milestones including design and permitting.

Leave Room In The Budget For Unknowns

Submitting your construction budget at the lowest possible number is never wise. Things will typically come up in construction that you couldn’t have foreseen to make sure to leave room for that type of thing. If your owner is sensitive about that type of thing, try and do it without them knowing or be upfront about it and honest with not accepting risk for unknown conditions.

Don’t Do It Unless You’re Experienced

One of the biggest mistakes we see with construction management contracts is inexperienced construction managers getting involved with them without realizing what they’ve signed on to. If the project type or concept is unfamiliar to you, consider getting some experience under your belt on traditional contract types to develop a better understanding of the risk.

Wrapping Up Construction Management

What contract type is the project that you’re currently running? Is it construction management? Let us know below in the comments and if you can share our content to your social media!

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We’ve all been there, stuck on that job that everyone has left, construction project closeout is not fun, but it’s a necessary evil of every project. Depending on what type of project you are on, project closeout will look different, but depending overall there should be three main areas you need to be focusing on:

  • Turnover and Permit Closeout
  • Quality and Issue Closeout
  • Financial Closeout
  • Warranty Period

Focusing on these areas won’t necessarily guarantee a successful closeout but will put you on the right track.

Construction Turnover and Permit Closeout

Construction Turnover, Occupancy, Substantial Performance (incase you’re not sure what each of these are we’ve added them to the glossary). Project turnover and can be a confusing process but there are a few main procedures to follow.

[bctt tweet=”During the construction project you should be in regular contact with your building inspector. #construction #turnover #movein” username=”cnstrctrdotcom”]

Project occupancy means that people can begin using the building. In order to get occupancy you need a number of documents from your consultants and various agencies but ultimately it’s the building inspector who grants occupancy. Some of the documents they will be looking for include:

  • Letters from each of the consultants confirming that the project is built to drawings and specs
  • Letters from fire alarm vendor
  • Letters from Electrical Safety Association in your area
  • Documentation on flame spread rating and firestopping / fireproofing material
  • Signoff from third party inspectors
  • Sign off from elevator inspectors

There are many different documents which can affect occupancy – your best bet is to discuss these with your building inspector well in advance of the date of turnover.

The Day of Construction Turnover

On the day of turnover, ensure that all of your consultant walkthroughs have been completed, that your life safety systems are commissioned and all of your fire seperations are completed. Exits need to be in conformance with the building code.

Construction turnover should never be a surprise, regular walks with your building inspector in advance of the date should set the expectation in addvance for what the building will look like come the big day.

Post Construction Occupancy

Once you have occupancy, there will likely be a list of items the building inspector wanted complete or that were deficient. Getting these items completed so the building inspector can close your permit. Getting these items completed in a timely manner can help to avoid complications with operation of the building in the future.

To help manage these issues create a master list of all of your deficiencies, highlight these as a critical item and assign them to yourself.

Quality and Issue Management (Construction Deficiencies)

Alot of owners have high quality expectations and as part of your business model you need to deliver. If the contract documents and your budget don’t reflect the quality that you think your owner will be expecting you need to level with them up front and discuss with them the requirements to deliver that level of quality.

As you near the end of the project it’s time to start implementing your deficiency process. Start this process several months in advance of the turnover date.

We’ve already written a really great article on quality and how to manage the deficiency process in construction so check it out here.

The most important part about issue closeout is that you don’t let things linger. The longer issues sit outstanding the harder they can be to resolve.

Financial Construction Closeout

There’s a part in every project manager’s project where they start to get nervous about over running the budget. Alot of times that nervousness comes in the last few months of the project when they start reconciling all of the trade values.

[bctt tweet=”Having an effective construction financial closeout plan can help to eliminate risk, reduce the amount of time a project lingers and increase profit on a project. #construction #finance #architecture #projects ” username=”cnstrctrdotcom”]

Typically on projects I like to start this process a few months before turnover. There are a few good practices to start with:

  • Send an email all trades requesting any outstanding quotations by a certain date. If they fail to submit them by that date indicate that they will not be accepted. This way you put the trades on notice to ensure all quotations are submitted.
  • Request quote logs from each of the trades – this way you can be sure that the ones you have match their list and there are no surprises down the road on a quote you may have overlooked in your inbox.
  • Review your change notice log for completeness. Ensure all quotations are submitted to the owner well in advance of the project completion date.
Substantial Performance on Construction Projects

There’s a requirement in most contract types to apply for subtantial performance. Essentially substantial performance is a mathematical calculation that if granted begins the 45 day holdback period. Check with your local construction association or architectural assosication for the guidelines in your area.

  • The submission typically involves identifying a few items:
  • Amount billed to date
  • Value of work outstanding
  • Value of deferred work (work that was delayed by the owner and agreed not to be included in the initial turnover date)
  • Value of deficiencies

Assuming the amount of outstanding and deficient work falls within a value as dictated by the calculation you’ll be granted substantial performance on your construction project. Once granted it’s your responsibility to send it to your local construction association for publication. This will notify subcontractors on your project and begin the lein period.

A lein can be applied at any point on your project, however after the 45 day hold back period expires the project can no longer have one applied to it that would otherwise affect occupancy of the project.

The Construction Warranty Period

You’ve turned over the building and achieved substantial performance but the job isn’t over yet. Many contracts have a warranty period. One year is typical for the industry but your contract may stipulate longer periods. During this period you and your subcontracts are responsible for fixing defects that arise in the workmanship for the project.

It should be made clear to your owner that the warranties don’t cover damage or improper use of equipement. In order to protect yourself we recommend issuing a letter to your owner and architect outlining the procedures for warranty claims and what is covered.

During this time it’s important to keep a log of warranty issues. This was if the same issue reoccurs you can identify it more easily and keep track of problem trades.

People’s time can be valuable and sometime this task get’s assigned to people on new projects. If you are the owner of your business it may be worth hiring someone dedicated to resolving warranty issues on other projects.

Construction Closeout Done Better

Construction closeout will be the last experience your owner has of you, and doing it poorly can mean a loss in return business.

Spend the time to do construction closeout right, be diligent and follow up regularly on outstanding items. Doing these things will help to turnover and deliver a strong finished product.

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If there is one thing an owner instinctively get’s their back up about it’s change requests in construction. The concept behind a change request is simple – the owner, consultants or project requirements involve doing something different than the contract documents. In today’s article we’re going to walk through some common best practices for change pricing on construction projects.

Ask For A Construction Change Document

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to blindside someone. Noone likes to be surprised and people like it even less when that surprise comes with a bill.

If you know there is goinfg to be a change on the project ask for a Change Notice, Site Instruction or even an email asking the owner or consultant for your to price the change. This will take away the “surprise” and will ensure everyone is aware of the coming quote.

Preparing The Change Quotation

There are a number of steps related to preparing the change quotation – these can be broken down as folllows:

  • Distribute change documentation to subcontractors
  • Obtain quotations from subcontractors and suppliers
  • Compile above noted quotations in a spreadsheet
  • Compile a cover letter
  • Review
  • Submit to owner
  • Follow Up
Subcontractor Quotations for Changes

One of your first steps once receivingf a change is to send it to your subcontractors and suppliers for pricing. If the change is well defined in a change notice you’ll be able to distribute the document directly to them. If the change isn’t as well documented you’ll need to describe what you’re looking for exactly.

When distributing your change – make sure to give a deadline for quoting. Your contract may stipulate a turn around time but the industry standard is five working days from date of issue.

 

Compiling Your Construction Change Quotations

As you start to receive quotations it’s important to file them and track which ones you have. It can be very easy to get overwhelmed in all of the construction communication. Make life easier – you receive a quote file it and check off in a spreadsheet that it’s been received.

Once you have all the quotes it’s time to compile them all. In order to do so you need a construction change management software or a spreadsheet. If you’re a small business just starting out considering grabbing our change spreadsheet from the files section.

Your spreadsheet should include trade name, value, description of the work, and any overhead and profit you think will be necessary to cover off your costs and fee.

Depending upon your type of contract you’ll want to provide more or less information. On lump sum contracts you typically provide high your breakdown and subtrade quotes if necessary. On construction management contracts a more detailed breakdown will be required.

Writing the Construction Change Cover Letter

One of the best best practices we recommend is to write a cover letter along with your change. The reason for the cover letter is simple – it may not be your direct day to day contact signing off on the change. If an executive who is involved at 10,000 feet is signing off on your change this is your opportunity to explain the cost in a way that you want explained.

Try to keep the cover letter short – include all of the basic facts and information including title, cost, change document reference (CN, SI etc), and a brief description of the work included along with the reason why.

Submit Your Request for Change For Approval

Compile all of the documents in a single PDF (make reading it easy for people). Include your cover letter, summary of quotations, quotations and consultant change document.

Once everything has been compiled email the document to your approver and provide a deadline. Make sure the email is clear and concise and doesn’t repeat what’s in the letter. Include a reference number for the owner to track with (ie change request 1) this way your emails don’t get lost.

Follow Up On Your Change Request

Once the change has been submitted make sure to follow up regularly. This can take the form of a simple email, or a more formal change log distributed each week to make sure everyone knows which ball is in which court.

Be patient, however, know how changes affect the schedule on your project. If a change will start affecting the project let the owner and architect know in advance so there is no confusion when the time comes and they can work towards the timeline in getting you approval.

Lastly and the best advice we can give is to be fair and transparent in your changes. Contracting has a stigma that everyone is in it to rip you off. By being open and fair your owner will trust you more and allow you to get your changes approved more quickly with less hassle.

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The construction industry is constantly changing and the top construction blogs help to bring you new developments and updates. In many cases, these websites take team of people to run, develop and bring new content.

It’s only fitting to provide some recognition to the hard work that goes into creating the content we all love to read.

This year we’ve broken our top construction blogs into three main categories:

  • Construction Marketing and Business Management Blogs
  • Construction Industry News Blogs
  • Construction Techniques and Technology Blogs
  • Construction Company Blogs
Top Construction Marketing and Business Management Blogs

Construction marketing and mangement is at the core of every construction business. These two components determine how your building is run and how much business your company gets. Learning new techniques and styles can help to improve your construction company.

So who are the top construction marketing and business management blogs?

Construction Marketing Ideas

Our industry is great at building things and getting our hands dirty but when it comes to advertising and marketing often times we come up well short. Construction Marketing regularly writes articles on things like putting proposals together and how to get new clients.

Construction Executive

Construction executive is prepared in part by actual construction executives and provides some great insight into the forefront of the industry and new emerging management practices. If you want to stay on top of leadership make sure to check these guys out.

Construction Business Owner

Construction business owner focuses on how you can manage your business better and strategies and techniques to implement. Building a construction business can be a challenging endeavour so getting assistance about emerging practices can be helpful.

Top Construction Industry News Blogs

The websites in our next category keep us all up to date on the goings on and happenings within the construction industry. Given how fast projects and companies change this can sometimes be a challenging task.

So who are the top construction industry news blogs, below are are choices:

Construction Dive

This list wouldn’t be completed without adding Construction Dive. Regularly updated on current events in the construction industry this blog is followed by many and considered one of the best resources.

Construction Junkie

Construction junkie doesn’t focus on one subject in particular. The love is spread across the industry, they have a lot of good articles on current events, projects and major issues facing the construction industry.

ENR

ENR is one of the largest publications for the engineering and construction industries. It focuses on bringing the latest construction news throughout the planet to your finger tips and is one of our top construction blogs.

Top Construction Technique and Technology Blogs

Construction technology and techniques are changing at a rapid pace in our current climate. Developing faster than projects or companies, these blogs keep us up to date on the changes and help to provide professional insight into both.

So what are the top construction technique and technology blogs?

Conappguru

This blog focuses on construction technology which if you’re anything like us you can’t get enough of! They feature a regular podcast which reviews software, equipment and other new tech coming into and out of our industry.

Constructech

Want even more technology in your life? Constructech is another technology blog and one we read regularly. Staying on top of changing trends is important and constructech can help you do so.

Lean Construction Blog

Lean construction is one of the buzz words in our industry right now (we’ve even done an article on it). Lean Construction blog focuses on the methods and practices that are at the leading edge of lean construction practices.

Let’s Fix Construction

Construction is full of mis-information, Let’s Fix Construction brings together professionals from around the industry to help fix it. This blog focuses on calling out processes that are incorrect and walking through correct ones. Learn construction the right way.

Top Construction Company Blogs

Many of the large companies within the industry are starting to develop blogs to help support the industry. In other industries sharing information is a common thing, in past years the construction industry has been hesitant to do this.

The below are the companies that are leading the way with the top construction company blogs:

Geniebelt

Is actually a task and project management software for construction sites but they also run a really great blog. They regularly post up top date articles on different subjects in the construction industry ranging from the labour shortage to starting your own construction company.

Plangrid

Plangrid is an online construction management platform and one of the best parts about their website is their informative blog. The articles range from news to advice and best practices to emerging technologies.

That’s it for our wrap up on the top construction blogs. If you’d like to submit yours for consideration hit us up in the comments below or email us at webmail@cnstrctr.com.

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A construction meeting can be an important part of a project. Important decisions can be made or problems can be solved in meetings so running them correctly is important. Today we’re going to share five tips with you on how to ensure your next construction meeting is successful.

Show Up Prepared To Your Construction Meeting

The number one rule to any meeting (regardless of whether it is in construction) is to show up prepared. Before you attend your meeting you should be educated in the subject and have all of the background information. Be educated when you enter so that you can be valuable to the team.

Ensure The Correct People Are At The Construction Meeting

Ever been in a meeting that has too many people? What about a meeting that doesn’t have enough and noone seems to know what’s happening at it? We’ve all been there. It’s very important that when organizing a construction meeting and taking part in one that the correct people are present. Too many and it can waste everyone’s time. Too few and you may not have the correct resources to answer all of the questions.

Understanding the correct number of people for any given subject or meeting will take time to learn.

Start With An Agenda

Prior to commencing the first construction meeting it’s important to develop an agenda in order to keep people on track. Depending upon the subject and nature of the meeting it can something as simple as some hand written notes or subjects.

If your meeting is more formal it may be worthwhile to type up a full agenda that you share with those attending prior to the meeting starting.

The benefit to this approach is that it allows the people attending the meeting to educate themselves in advance.

Keep Accurate Meeting Minutes

Keeping an accurate record of a construction meeting through meeting minutes is important. Being able to reference what happened at the meeting, and, understanding who was responsible for what action items will dictate how the project moves forward.

Meeting minutes aren’t intended to point the finger at someone, but rather, to create accountability and create a historical record of the meeting.

If the meeting is a recurring meeting, a review of the minutes should be performed first followed by new business.

Keep Items High Level Unless The Meeting Is Intended For Detail

To avoid wasting everyone’s time, keep the items for discussion high level. Unless the meeting is specifically to address a certain issue, the items should be kept to a summary, and if additional detail is required a follow up meeting or phone call can be arranged.

Construction meetings are a necessary part of every project, they do not necessarily have to be a waste of time. By following our golden rules above, your next meeting will run smoothly and be more effective.

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Modular construction, it’s one of the hot words in construction right now and rightfully so. For the last hundred years we’ve been building the same. Put up a crane, pour a foundation and stick build the remainder of the building. Modular construction is a way of re-thinking how we typically build.

What Is Modular Construction?

Modular construction or off-site construction involves removing some of the on-site production and instead, fabricating components of a building in a factory. Once the component is complete off site it is than shipped to the job site where it is installed in place.

Some of the benefits to constructing using a modular construction technique involve:

  • Increased productivity (material is always stored nearby and you’re working in a controlled environment)
  • Reduced costs due to the repetitiveness
  • Improved quality as the inspection and process can be monitored much more closely
What Are Some Examples of Modular Construction?

While there are many examples of this building practice in use throughout the world some of the most extreme examples are the most interesting. When you consider that entire buildings are being constructed in China off-site you start to understand just how revolutionary this building practice is.

You likely don’t have the facility to build an entire building using this practice so what are some examples of things we can all fabricate off site? For that we recommend reviewing your drawings and specifications for repetitive components.

Some easy examples are temporary construction type items:

  • Temporary Hoarding
  • Ramps and Stairs
  • Temporary electrical panels

Beyond those you can consider actually pre-fabricating permanent building components, some examples are:

  • Doors and Hardware (mounting hardware on doors and painting them before they arrive on site)
  • Bathrooms – if you’re building a high rise consider fabricating them entirely off site
  • Facade components – building wall panels which include the stud, window and any cladding completely off site, and securing them in place on site
  • Stairs and Ramps – fabricate entirely off site and drop in place

These are just a few examples, essentially anything that is repeated enough to make it the gained efficiency of doing the work off site is worth it.

What Are Some Of The Downsides of Modular Construction?

You’re probably thinking that you’ve read this type of article before. Upselling the benefits of this new construction methodology. The truth is modular construction isn’t the greatest in all circumstances. There are a number of instances where it makes more sense to build on site:

Existing Buildings – existing buildings provide unique challenges. The main two that hamper off site construction include access and tolerances. Fabricating off site requires that you maintain tight tolerances on site, an existing building can vary alot and may pose a challenge to fabricating off site.

Non-Repetitive or Unique Work – if the number of times something is repeated is less than ten it may be faster and easier to construct them using typical construction methods.

Maintaining the Work Flow – one of the main challenges with off-site construction is that you need to employ a separate crew at a different facility to make it work. Keeping that crew busy the five days a week can be a challenge if your work log isn’t substantial.

What Do I Need To Get Started in Modular Construction?

One of the most important things you need to know about getting into modular construction is that it takes up alot of space. Companies such as Ford or Tesla make more money by refining each step of their fabrication process. Making each step a second quicker can mean greater returns on each vehicle. Modular construction is no different, and creating the assembly line to allow those types of changes requires space, lots of it. To start you will likely need a small factory space to start setting up your assembly line.

Once you have your assembly space you’ll need a few other critical components, these include tools and machinery and people. These are the main tools you will need in your arsenal to make your modular construction yard a reality.

Wrapping Up

Modular construction is not an easy construction technique to get into, however, if done right it can help to boost your construction business and give you an edge of the competition. Are you using modular construction techniques in your business? Let us know in the comments below.

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Construction is a cut-throat industry, and making your construction business more profitable can be a challenge. Making more money isn’t rocket science, by following our five tips you’ll be increasing your profits in no time!

Evaluate Your Competition and Charge Competitive Rates

Understanding your competition is key to making your construction business more profitable. You may have set up your business and though what you were charging is fair. There may be a disconnect between your knowledge of your industry and what the industry charges.

You should not feel bad for making more money, and increasing your rates to match an industry standard is not a crime. Don’t miss out on valuable lost profit because you think what you’re charging is too much.

Enhance Your Services To Help Making Your Construction Business More Profitable

Sure you do drywall installation really well, but do you offer drywall taping as well? Maybe you do plumbing installation but do you do retrofitting and maintenance? Look at your existing services and see how you can supplement them using skills you already have.

By adding additional services you can reach new customers who may not have heard of you before. This can help you with future work. For example, if someone hires you to do plumbing maintenance, the next time they are building their house or doing a renovation you may be top of the list to call.

Change Orders Are Opportunities

One of most common stereo types of the construction industry is that change orders are a key part of making a construction business more profitable. People aren’t wrong, but in order to make your business more profitable you don’t need to be a criminal on changes.

Changes are a natural part of any project and can seriously disrupt your business. It’s only fair that changes are priced differently than the competitive price you gave on the main project. To avoid conflict with owners, agree on rates and what you’re allowed to charge up front with an owner. That being said, consider adding items such as markup (fee), insurance, office and computer allowances, and of course project management and staff costs.

Reduce Your Project Costs By Shortening Your Schedules

If you self perform work you’ll know that the faster the project get’s completed, the faster you can move onto the next one. What that also means is that you use the money earned in a more efficient manner (you’ve spent less time on a project).

Essentially what the above means is you’re making more money for every hour you spent on a project. If you’re looking for ways to improve your schedule and increase productivity make sure to check out our article.

Create Trust and People Will Pay You More

By doing a good job on your project or task people will begin to trust you. In our business, repeat customers are a regular thing. Often times with repeat customers you don’t need to tender or submit a competitive bid. Most instances you can name your price which will allow you to get paid more.

For obvious reasons you don’t want to take advantage of others kindness, however this does help you to make a few extra dollars on a project. This is also a really great way to get more construction business!

What do you do that to help in making your construction business more profitable? Share it with the community below in the comments or on social media. If you’ve enjoyed this article make sure to download our free construction e-book for more great advice!

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