How to Improve Construction Efficiency

A construction project becomes a nightmare when it goes off schedule and over budget. Schedule delays and cost overruns affect the bottom line of the project owner. So, how do you improve constriction efficiency? Here are easy ways to enhance efficiency during construction.  

Improve Project Planning 

Most efficiency errors in construction occur because of poor planning. Failure to do your homework properly leads to many issues down the road. Therefore, take your time to determine the type and amount of materials required to complete a construction project. Also, factor in labor and permit costs before you start the project. Devote an adequate amount of time to figure out the number of people, processes, equipment, information, and materials that your project will need. This will enable you to avoid cost increases and delays. 

Use Construction Management Software 

You can find many construction tools that can help you improve construction efficiency online. Using construction management software will enable you to stay organized. This software eliminates the paperwork clutter while enabling you to focus on the actual construction. 

Ideal construction management software handles bid management, invoicing and billing, document management, contractors, incident reporting, timesheet, leads, and job scheduling. And, you can find many mobile apps online that you can download and use to complete many tasks at any place, any time. What’s more, you can store information about your construction process in the cloud. This enables you to access it with ease. 

Use Building Information Modeling 

BIM is an important innovation in the construction industry. It entails the creation of digital representations of a building before it is built. These representations make visualizing a building before any money is spent on it easier. BIM provides a representation or information that you need to decide whether a construction project is worth committing to.

Maintain Communication 

Communication is very important to any construction project. For instance, construction workers are the ears and eyes in the field. They know something that could be going wrong. Keeping in touch with them will enable you to take the right action and prevent problems during construction.

What’s more, communication will keep everybody updated on the progress of a construction project. It will also keep everybody posted on their roles. This will prevent duplication of duties and issues that may necessitate rework. 

These are just some of the ways to improve construction efficiency. Remember that every construction project is unique. Therefore, try what works best for your project. 

Why You Should Hire a Local Construction Company

When you decide to enlist services of a construction company, ensure that you hire the best company. A local construction company is the best to work with. Here are some of the major reasons to ensure that your construction project is handled by a local company. 

Better Communication 

Great communication is important in every construction project. When you choose a local company, communicating your needs becomes easy. That’s because you know the best communication means and you can even visit the offices of the company if or when necessary. When working with a company or contractor that is not within your area, communicating or reaching them will be more challenging. 

A Local Construction Company has Local Knowledge 

Experts of a local company have local knowledge and this will help in different ways. For instance, the experts are knowledgeable of the local codes. They are also familiar with the local climate. This will enable you to choose the right building materials and the best time for your construction project. 

Cost Savings 

When you choose a local contractor, you enjoy more cost savings. That’s because you will hire a contractor with the resources required to handle your project from the start to finish. A local construction company has established relationships with local suppliers. They probably have contracts with different industry players. This means they will ensure that your construction project is completed at a lower cost. The cost savings they enjoy will also be passed to you. 

Generally, hiring a local construction company is the best idea. In addition to taking pride in its work, working with a local company enables you to enjoy more benefits. Communicating with your contractor becomes easier. What’s more, the company brings the knowledge required to ensure efficient and safe completion of your construction project. 

Major Benefits of Green Construction

Green construction is the practice of building responsibly, reducing waste and preserving the environment. The number of people that are constructing green buildings is increasing by the day. This can be attributed to the increased awareness of the effects of climate change. 

In fact, green construction is becoming the industry standard. That’s because people are realizing that humans are running out of important resources. 

Green Building Explained 

Green building is an attempt to construct buildings with little disturbance or impact on the natural environment. The main purpose of green construction is to build eco-friendly buildings that help with ecosystem conservation by being resource and energy efficient. These buildings are also constructed using sustainable materials. The goal of green building is to promote a safe and healthier atmosphere for humans and the environment. 

Environmental Benefits of Green Construction 

Green construction has numerous environmental benefits. It reduces pollution and trash as well as energy usage. Green building is also beneficial because it minimizes footprint on the ecosystem. What’s more, green construction minimizes wastage of resources like water while protecting plants, humans, and animals via the improvement of air and water quality. 

Social Benefits of Green Building 

Since green construction improves life quality, it has the potential to influence the society positively. Essentially, people live in an environment with sustainable offices and homes. They live and work in green buildings. These give them better sleep, brain function, and overall health. People that work and live in green buildings tend to be healthier, happier and they are more productive. 

Economic Benefits of Green Construction 

Building green can cost more upfront due to the high cost of sustainable construction materials. However, these expenses pay off over time. Green buildings have designs, features and fixtures that make them more energy efficient. They are also water efficient. That means the utility bills that you pay at the end of the month are relatively low. 

Generally, green construction is slowly becoming the industry standard. Talk to your contractor about green building to know how they will help you reap these benefits. 

Advantages of Using Construction Cost Estimating Software

The popularity of construction cost estimating software has been growing over the years.
I recall, Gary, of Gary Pools blogging about this topic on how he uses this on some of his other company projects and how it’s helped him grow to be one of the top San Antonio Pool Builders till this day. This software has impacted how professionals do business positively. It has enabled them to achieve goals and provide streamlined approaches to their clients. Essentially, construction estimating software provides value at different levels. Here are some of the advantages of using this software or working with a contractor that uses it. 

Accuracy 

Keeping track of the expenditures of subcontractors, equipment costs, labor costs, and material costs is very important in the contemporary world of fluctuating economy and competitive market. Estimating software acts as a tool that contractors use to track such information. It enables them to establish the closes cost of a job. It makes providing more accurate costs of projects easier. 

Effective Project Management 

Cost estimating software makes managing construction projects easier. Using this software, a construction team can align operations in a more efficient manner. Purchases and procurements are more cost-effective when this software is used. Correspondence becomes more cohesive and clearer. Above all, items tracking become more efficient and seamless. 

Consistency 

When a construction cost estimating software is used, a contractor creates estimates that use the same procedures with all projects. This creates consistency across projects since the same formulas, procedures, and estimation tools are used all the time. Thus, the resulting data is reliable and consistent. What’s more, the software provides options for maintaining a database of prices and costs. This can be updated when necessary and it can be used with future projects. As such, costly overruns are avoided. 

Using this data, a contractor can easily analyze projects and come up with feasible construction schedules while implementing streamlined systems and implementing the best practices. 

In addition to these advantages, construction cost estimating software enhances efficiency, convenience, and professionalism. It’s also easy to integrate with other solutions of a construction company. So, if you are looking for a contractor, choose one that uses sophisticated construction cost estimating software. 

Things to Know About Construction Bids and Estimates

When planning your new construction or home remodeling project, you want to know the amount you will spend on it. In addition to knowing the amount you are likely to spend on the project, you also want to know the form in which your contract will be. Will it be a fixed price or time and materials?

A fixed price is also called a bid. Time and materials is also called an estimate or cost plus. When you know or understand the subtleties of the contract form, you can make a more informed decision.

Fixed Price

A fixed price or bid guarantees you that you will have a specific amount of work accomplished for an agreed amount of money. For instance, you can agree that a contractor will remove or replace three roofing layers of 1,000 square feet with CertainTeed composition roofing inclusive of starter flashing, underlayment and ridge vents for $5,000 including tax.

With a fixed price proposal, the costs should not exceed the amount agreed unless more work is added, changed or subtracted.

Some people prefer fixed prices or bids because the amount specified for the project should not be extended. Thus, changes orders are prevented.

Estimates or Time and Materials

Estimate of cost comes not as a bid but an estimate. The estimate details the line items and the tasks of a project. In addition to the tasks, an estimate provides general costs details or general conditions. These include cleanup, supervision, portable restroom, and materials handling. It also shows tax and markup and costs like liability insurance in some cases. What is included in the line items depends on the company and its approach to estimates.

A major advantage of estimates is the fact that you can compare them. For instance, you can take three estimates to compare and see the amount each contractor thinks your project will cost.

With this knowledge, it’s easy to decide whether to go for a construction bid or estimate.

How the Big Data Is Used In the Construction Industry

Just like in the other industries, in the construction industry big data is the large amounts of the information that keeps being acquired. This data comes from computers, people, sensors and other agents or devices that generate data. Naturally, that’s what makes the data big.

Big data exists in all records and plans of what has been built ever. It also keeps increasing due to additional input from different cranes, on-site workers, material suppliers, earth movers, and buildings themselves. The construction industry uses the big data in different ways including the following.

Design

The big data includes modeling and design itself. It also includes environmental data, social media discussions, and stakeholder input. This data is used to determine what to construct and where to construct. Using big data, it’s possible to determine the right place to build a facility. Big data analysis enables players in the construction industry to determine construction risks and patterns of new projects.

Build

Contractors analyze big data from traffic, weather, business and community activity to determine the right phasing for construction activities. Input of sensors from the machines that are used in construction sites show idle and active time. This information is processed to come up with conclusions on the best way to lease or buy equipment as well as use fuel-efficient equipment. This reduces ecological impact and costs.

Operate

Sensors provide big data that is used in the construction of buildings and bridges. This data makes monitoring construction at different levels easy. Energy conservation in buildings like office blocks and malls is tracked to come up with structures that conform to the best design goals. Information about traffic stress and flexing levels in bridges is also recorded and used in detecting unusual events.

Basically, the construction industry uses the big data in different ways. This data plays a crucial role of improving quality of the modern structures.

Why Bids by Contractors can Be Higher than Expected

After planning and saving for months, you could be ready for a project that will give you the living space you’ve always desired. You just need to find and hire a professional contractor to have the job done expertly. However, when you ask for bids from contractors, you may realize that their figures are ridiculously high. That means you have to start all over again or call off your project completely. But how or why did things turn out this way?

You Did Not Stress Test Your Budget against the Scope of Your Work

When bids by contractors are higher than expected, it means that you and the architects operated in the dark when budgeting for the project. Some architects do not have a sense of the costs of projects even after being in the industry for years. That’s because construction projects vary. Variables for comparing renovation projects vary among architect contracts, rules, and needs of clients. To avoid this scenario, take time to understand the scope of the work to be done.

Poor or Lack of Early Consultation with Contractors

Architects have the necessary expertise to build or transform buildings according to the wishes of clients. They know the best products and methods to help you achieve your goals. However, architects should work with contractors to know the amount the projects of their clients will cost. If an architect work alone, they will eventually come up with a project that may be way beyond what a property owner can afford.

Increasing Work Scope with Development of the Design

Naturally, you will be excited about your construction project. This excitement can make you add new items and upgrades without realizing their effect on your budget. Before you know it, little details will have accumulated dramatically. This means the contractors you approach will bid more than you may expect.

In addition to these factors, miscommunication can also prompt contractors to bid higher than expected. Therefore, communicate with contractors clearly and early to get bids that are within your range.

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How to Avoid Construction Disasters and Cowboy Builders

Cowboy builders have been around for a long time. These are individuals without qualifications and licensing yet they consider themselves builders. Working with such builders puts you at the risk of construction disasters. In addition to following unsafe construction practices, cowboy builders expose you to the risk of financial losses. But, how do you avoid them? Here are tips to help you.

Hire a Professional Contractor

Before you hire a contractor or a person that purports to be a contractor, ask them to provide prove of their professionalism. An accredited or certified contractor is the best to work with. That’s because this is an expert with knowledge of the best construction practices. They follow professional guidelines and adhere to the highest professional and industry standards.

Get References

Even after finding an accredited contractor, ask for their references. This will enable you to know the true character of the contractor. Take time to have a look at the properties that the contractor has worked on. If the owner of the building that a contractor has worked on can’t recommend them, think twice before you hire them. Only a client that has worked with a contractor will provide an honest review regarding their work.

Hire an Insured Contractor

Cowboy contractors change their names when declared bankrupt. This gives them a brand new name that makes them look like debt-free practices when this is not the case. To ensure your protection, work with an insured contractor only. Ensure that you have a developer insolvency insurance in place for your project.

Choose a Safe Payment Plan

To protect yourself, make sure that you have the right payment plan. Avoid paying a contractor too much upfront. Good contractors have funds to cater for upfront expenses of your project. They prefer getting paid after completing the work.

To avoid cowboy builders and the construction disasters associated with them, follow these tips. Always do your homework before you hire a contractor.