Category Archives: Construction

Are two-way radios still use on a construction job site?

With the world constantly moving towards technological advancements, there is a huge tendency of users to switch over to the use of smartphones in comparison to any other old and traditional methods of communication. However, the question is, whether the smartphones are always the best choices or not, remains.

At a construction site, where there is a continuous need to communicate with each other, it becomes absolutely impossible to complete any task if the communication is hampered or hindered. Hence, proper communication methods or medium should be used to ensure constant communication between all the workers.

About Smartphone and Two-Way Radios:

Traditionally, the tool that has been loved and vastly used by most of the workers at almost every construction site is the two-way radio. It is a handy tool, something that looks like a walkie-talkie and helps the workers to stay connected at all times and with everyone in the loop. But, its usage is limited only up to communication.

As the technology is ever growing and advancing in its features and facilities, even the heavy construction equipment and machines can now be synced with smartphones and operated well. Many other machines, contacts, alarms, notifications and apps can help you to make your construction work easier with a smartphone that is the reason why many of the construction site workers as well as the leaders, managers and executives are switching towards using the smartphones as their mode of communication.

Which One is the Better?

Now that you have known about the two most popular modes of communication at a construction site, it is now a question, which one is better. There are a few factors that need to be taken into consideration then.

  • Ease of use:

 

One of the most important factors that need to be taken into consideration is the ease of use and that is great in case of the two way radios. With just a single push, you can communicate with one or more workers at the construction site at a time. The smartphones do not give the facility of communicating with every person at the construction site a single go.

  • In case of emergency:

 

There can be emergency situations when the cell towers or networks of the smartphone operators stop working or responding. The two way radios work even in such emergency situations.

  • Affordability:

 

Yet another important factor that needs to be kept in mind is the factor of affordability. Since you will be purchasing them for all the workers at a construction site or for you on-site construction workers, you need to buy something that is cost-effective. The two way radios are way cheaper than the smartphones.

Hence, it can well be said that the two way radios have a great acceptability at the construction job site and its popularity is not going to lessen any time soon. With the world famous companies such as Motorola making great two way radios for the construction job sites, you can be satisfied that the performance of these radios will be unparalleled.

Lime is a natural stabilizer: It prepares the soil for construction works

Soil stabilizers convert apparently less bearing ground into highly suitable one for starting construction work like pavements, road beds, basement of canals, water reservoir, etc. Soil stabilizationis the method of strengthening the ground through pulverization and moisture conditioning. This job is efficiently done with different forms of lime and then compaction and trimming as necessary. This process improves the basic characteristics of soil that makes it suitable for a construction project. Lime is used in different percentage depending on the soil condition to adjust the parameters like moisture, density, plasticity, permeability, strength, etc.

Benefits of soil stabilization

Soil stabilization with lime before starting any construction work has the following benefits:

  • Apparently wet soil that is not suitable for construction work can be made suitable within one or two days.
  • Treatment with lime ensures production of long-lasting stable jobs comparable with graded aggregates.
  • The soil becomes hard wearing with greater toughness and strength that make it extremely suitable for a construction process.
  • It enables recycling ofinsitu materials and existing soil that ultimately provides financial benefits to the contractor or owner of the land. It takes less time to prepare the soil as also saves expenses in labor, transportation, and import of aggregates.
  • Soil stabilization with lime also reduces PI (Plasticity Index) of the existing soil significantly.
  • The ground gains strength significantly that is found to be more than 15% as per CBR test.
  • This process of soil stabilization is environmental-friendly too. The process requires very small quantities of other additives making less transportation of materials, less disturbance in busy areas, and lesser use of factory made binders.

 

Lime efficiently stabilizes weak soil

Use of lime as a stabilizer for road beds has been in practice over the century. Modern research works have proved behind doubt that lime can also be used for stabilizing the soil in the large construction sites. Lime is especially useful when expansive clay is present is a construction site. Expansive clays destabilize the base work and change the orientation of the concrete slabs with time. Whereas the soil treated with lime can solve the issue permanently. Lime actually performs a chemical stabilization process where the added lime compound reacts with the clay present in a ground in the following ways:

  • When lime is mixed with the soil, the clay particles come together forming stiffer silt, and reducing plasticity of the soil.
  • After the compaction job, life further reacts with the soil particles binding them firmly and increasing their strength.

Quicklime for soil stabilization in construction works

Many types of lime compounds are available, but quick lime or calcium oxide is mainly used for this work. Quicklime reacts with soil water forming calcium hydroxide which again reacts with some existing minerals like silica and alumina initiating an ionic exchange reaction forming a cement-like product naturally. In this reaction, called pozzolanic reaction, cannot retain water particles anymore and with the passage of time, it hardens like cement. Thus, quicklime provides the required stability to the soil.

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Vision and determination are facets important to achieve success in the construction domain

If you think that having all the heavy equipment in the world can help you achieve success in the construction domain, then you perhaps need to rethink because there is something more important than a machine that is required to sustain in the construction domain and to defeat your competitors from taking away your business. You need to have a vision in your career and the determination to pursue it. If you fail to have either of them, then you and your business might come into big trouble someday or the other.

We often consider that having a sound financial backing is the most important thing after having the right set of heavy equipment but that is not the case. A person who does not know where he wants to take his business is walking in the dark and he may soon begin to face hurdles in his life and may also experience severe financial crunches which may even lead to the closure of the business. There are numerous examples where entrepreneurs who lacked focus were not able to sustain and were forced to shut their shops. Therefore, being focus should be our first priority. We often get help from institutions if we lack sound financial backing but no one can help a person who lacks vision in his career. A person with no goal can lead his business to dangerous paths and will eventually result in the demise of the business. Construction sector in particular is one of the most difficult sectors for people who lack vision.

Stay focused and always have a strategy in mind:-

Remaining focused to your job does not imply that you do not stop thinking about work but it means that you know where your business is heading. You keep a close watch on the ground realities and make sure that things go as per the plan chalked out by you. In case, if there is any deviation then that needs to be brought under control by chalking out a separate strategy that works more on the ground to keep things in your control. A business without a proper strategy is like sailing in a wrecked ship which has all the possibilities of getting drowned.

Know your project well before drawing a plan:-

You may have more than one project in hand and the requirements of both the projects may be different. You need to make sure that you know which project of yours require what. For this you need to do a thorough study of your projects and then draw a road map that takes to the completion of it.

Be determined of your success:-

Life in the construction domain is not a bed of roses and you do not get things that easily. You will come upon lot of hindrances from various corners that you may not even expect. In this situation, it is just your determination that will help you taste success. If you are determined in achieving something then there is no stopping you.

Be careful while dealing with contractors that you have not worked with

Trust is an important factor in any form of business. You got to trust the person before you start working with him and if you are not able to generate the trust and comfort then it makes no point in working along with them. At some point or the other you will get stressed up and you will have to do away with the other guy. When you are entering into a partnership with a person you do not know much about, you got to be very cautious. Ideally, it is recommended that you do not get into any partnership with an unknown person but in case if you have to then you are needed to remain ultra-careful and monitor his business activities. You should not trust the person by not knowing him in complete or else it might lead you to serious issues.

There is a popular saying in the construction world. “Do not trust an unknown person. He carries with him the potential to back-bite you”. This is very much a possibility in an industry where there is cut throat competition all over the place and people are ready to negotiate with their ethics without giving a second thought. Since the construction business has been considered such a rewarding business many people are turning into it to make it their career. They will often consider toppling anybody that they see as a potential competitor and therefore if you think of getting into partnership with one such person you will regret it for the rest of your life.

Contractors in specific can cause you more harm than others. They are the ones who do most of the work in a project for you and are paid as per the contract. Now if you get engaged with a contractor that you do not know much about and he does not intend to do his work properly and is associated with you to make some easy money by doing shabby work, it can lead you to serious problems. It is therefore important to know the credentials of a contractor before you give him the contract.

You need to know if he has worked previously in any such project and try to get his conduct from that company. Such information can be availed with ease. Construction companies do mind giving out conduct report about a specific contractor as they understand that the contractor is not bound to work with just one construction company. They can work with multiple companies at the same time. So if the contractor is worth getting some work, you will be informed about it or else they will give you a negative report.

If you have been working with a contractor for a long time and you know his quality of work is splendid that generates a certain degree of trust in you and you can focus on other stuffs by submitting the entire assignment to him but this can’t be done in case of an unknown contractor with whom you have been working for the first or perhaps the second time.

Renting a motor grader has now become simpler

Construction of roads has now become a healthy business and many small contractors are lining up to get a piece of the cake. They want the road construction projects to be given to them so that they can make good money once the work is done. The overall cost of the project is understandably much lower than the actual contract price which is why contractors find it to be a comfortable one to get into. Now in the road construction project, motor grader plays quite an instrumental role. The primary function of the motor grader is to grade a piece of land and level it so that while you go to construct the road, there is no unevenness found on the surface. This process is normally done before placing asphalt on the surface of the road. In a nutshell, without the application of a motor grader, you will not be able to construct good wide roads.

Though these graders are not so expensive to buy but still contractors prefer to take them on rent. The reason is these machines are not used through the road construction process. It is only used wherever some sort of grading work is required. Alternatively, if someone owns a motor grader, he may not use it always. The need of a grader is quite specific and once the need is fulfilled the machine is left idle for most of the time. Therefore it makes absolutely no sense to buy a machine that has a lot of importance while building roads but has a very specific purpose attached to it and can’t be used for multipurpose work. The best option is to take it on rent for few months and once the work is done and you no longer need the machine, you can give it back to its owner.

This limited need of the machine gives rise to another form of business and that is renting of motor grader. There are some companies who buy graders in bulk and then they let it out to the ones who need them for road building. These companies work in close nexus with contractors who are primarily engaged in road construction work so that if ever anybody requires a grader, they can make it available for them. The rental amounts they charge from these contractors are a bit lesser than the rentals charged normally.

Now for individuals who have bought a grader and do not need it for some time can rent it on websites or can simply approach these companies who in turn will route the machine to someone who needs it. They may charge a certain amount of fee for their services. An individual can first try it out on a website and check if he gets some response and in case if things do not work out for him there, then he has these guys who can get it done for him. Overall, a grader is such a machine that has pretty decent demand in the construction arena and will never find it idle if someone wants to rent it out.

Treat your employees fairly

We do not like our boss to be prejudice towards a certain employee for some specific reason. This can irk one and all and can spread an emotion of discontent all across the company. Eventually, the employees will not feel the place worthy to work and they will start looking for some place else. This means that you end up losing your valuable employees and can also see it as talent drain. These employees can get better pay by joining a company that is related to the same line of business and can hope things to be better out there. In the end it is you who will be at loss just because you have been unfair in treating your employees. What you could have done is you could have been fair to all your employees and treated them equally.

People appreciate when they see their bosses pick the best talent and reward them. But if you pick the person and reward him who is simply not worthy to be rewarded, it is then the rift will be created. This can have a lasting impact on the prospect of your company.

Select the best men/women for expansion projects:-

If you have expansion plans and have already allocated few projects through which you will expand your business, the first thing you need to do is select the best men who has the ability to take the expansion process ahead. Here you need to check the guys who have been phenomenal in terms of performance, hardworking, have taken less leaves and are highly productive. When you give such people an opportunity they will leave no stone unturned to ensure that they get the results you have expected to get from them. Give opportunities to the deserving and the loyalists. They will stick to your company and will work hard to take the organization to the next level. You can only grow in the construction business if you have the knack to pick the best men to do the job for you.

Do not make anybody your favorite:-

It is a big “NO” to have a favorite in the construction world. You may like someone’s work which can even lead you to make him your close associate. You can always give an ear to his advices but you should never believe him blindly or walk as per his direction. That is never going to be healthy for your business. You should have a group of men/women who will be your advisors and listen to everybody before you take a decision.

 Make people feel they are special:-

When an individual feel that the company no longer sees his importance in the company, he/she starts getting demoralized. For you, he/she may be a wonderful employee but you have never let him know about it. This will lead him to start his search for a new job where he can get some sort of importance from his boss. If a person has stayed in the organization for a long time, it certainly means that he/she see his/her future in that company. The efforts of such employees should be acknowledged and appreciated and they should be thanked for their hard work.

Work with your team rather than putting pressure for non-performance

We have often encountered a situation wherein we are reprimanded for the non-performance of the entire team. Especially if you are the person who is in charge of the team and if your team is not able to perform as per the expectation of the company, you get to hear the nasty stuff from your boss. Well, we do not like to fall in such a situation but things always do not work as we want it to. Now let’s take this situation as an instance. You have a boss who is not at all grumpy and always loves to stay in a pleasant mood. He gets to know that your team is not doing well and therefore summons you. To your surprise you see him not yelling at you but trying to know what could be the possible reason for the team’s non-performance. He tries to set up an environment where you feel like discussing things with him and finally coming to a conclusion on how to deal with things.

Well this is how things should be when you are the owner of a mighty construction company. In order to get things done, you should keep your mind calm and try to see things from an angle that others do not. You will get to know the cause of the problem only when you sit for a discussion with the person who heads the department. When you see all the departments doing well other than one, it suggests that there is inevitable some problem associated with that team and you got to get to the bottom of the issue. Unless you unearth the problem, you may find things not going well in that department and soon you may see issues pervading to other departments as well.

Understand their grievances before you react:-

We normally have the tendency of over-reacting before we know what has led to a problem. The moment we see things have not worked as we want them to, the first thing we do is over-react on the situation and then once we calm down, we hear the problem. Well, what we should be doing is the opposite. Listening is an art and when you are running a big construction company, you should be master this art first. Listen to the problem first before you react to it. Understand the position of your fellow workers and try to make things simple for them. Do not exert pressure to get any work done from them. That will be a temporary solution but issues will brew up soon and then it may be out of your control.

Change in plan of action may work:-

One of the most suitable methods to deal with the issue of nonperformance is to change the action plan. Do things a bit differently and it may work for you. Not everything happens the way you want them to but changing your way to get the work done might help.

Highway Construction Safety

Safety on a construction site is perhaps the most neglected part and stress should be put on the company to ensure that they follow the safety parameters at all times. When we talk about safety on construction site, we restrict ourselves to the safety of the employees and workers who work on the jobsite. But when we talk about safety on highway construction, it should not restrict us to the safety of the employees but should extend it to the safety of the people around the site. When you are working on the highway, you have vehicles moving on the road and it becomes the responsibility of the construction company to ensure that the vehicles passing by move safely and do not become a victim of an accident. The fact however suggests something else. It has been noted that a number of accidents and casualties that happen on the highways are because of not following the highways safety parameters. Though efforts are been made to reduce such incidents but the figures are alarming.

Need to have adequate signals:-

Most of the accidents that happen on the highway are due to inadequate availability of signals. The workers are busy doing their work and there is no one to give signals to the vehicles. For instance, when the construction work is happening on the end of a curve, it is crucial that the workers put some sort of impediments to slow down the vehicles or else they might not even see the construction happening because of the steep curve. For a second, they fall in the blind spot from where they can’t even anticipate anything happening on the other side of the curve. So when the vehicles are at full speed and they do not see any signals, they are bound to dash and that may cause severe casualty. In situation like this, the construction company should ensure that the workers deploy men who constantly provide signals to the vehicles alerting them of the work happening on the other side of the curve.

Workers manning the flow of vehicles:-

While the construction on the highway is in its full swing, the workers should man the flow of vehicles. They can close one part of the highway temporarily and ask drivers to use diversions. You only need few men who can control the traffic and show the diversion route. You can also put big blocks of impediments to block the way and use arrow signs to give appropriate signals to the drivers. There should be proper arrangement in place to control the movement on vehicles while the construction on the highway is in full swing. One must ensure that in no terms the vehicles should be passing close to the construction area.

Workers should be vigilant to oncoming traffic:-

It is crucial for the workers to remain vigilant at all times to oncoming traffic. They should make sure that none of the vehicles should pass close to them. During moments of high traffic, proper arrangement should be made to make sure that the vehicles move from a distance from the workers causing no accidents and eventually no casualties.

A lien on the construction can lead to serious problems

You take up a big project, complete the work on time but forget to pay your contractors their dues. This can lead you to some serious problems in the future. If you do not pay your contractor for their work, they have every right to place a lien on the construction project and you will then find it difficult to get a completion certificate. More to this, banks will not entertain you when it comes to refinancing or for that matter any sort of financial assistance. Banks do not get into projects that have issues. They want projects whose title are clear and have no issues whatsoever. It can cause several other issues to the constructor when it comes to selling the apartments in a condominium which he has constructed for residential purpose. If the title on the property is not clear, he will find it absolutely difficult to sell it to the public.

The construction company has to ensure that he clears the dues of the contractors should also ensure that the contractors are also paying to the sub-contractors because if they are not paid then they can also adopt the same methodology and create issues for the company. The sub-contractor can also place a lien on the project and can put a halt to the sale proceeds. It has been seen that liens are ideally placed as a last resort when contractors do not see any other option to get their money they go for placing liens. Once a lien is placed on any construction project, it gets recorded in the credit rating of the company. This means that credit rating of the company gets hampered which eventually affects the overall goodwill of the company. Construction companies do not want to play with their goodwill and therefore they do not want to take any potential risk by not paying their creditors or contractors.

Further to this, a dip in their credit rating can also cause problems to them when it comes to getting loans from banks. Construction companies with poor credit rating do not easily get loans and if at all they manage to get it from any financial institution then the interest rates will be really high. This in turn will have a negative impact on their business. They will never want such things to happen and therefore should try everything to avoid getting a lien on their project.

There have been several instances where construction companies have paid the contractors but they in turn have failed to pay other concerned parties to the project. This can be a big pain for the project owner because here he may not know all the parties who are associated with the contract and then all of a sudden you get to know that someone has placed a lien as they are not being paid. However, you check your records and see that you have paid all the parties involved in the transaction on time. You can file a complaint and state that you are clear in paying everybody and can disclose the records in front of the concerned authority. But this is unquestionably a big pain and in order to avoid this, you should pick contractors of good reputation.

How to effectively market your construction business

For a business to grow, it is important that people know about it and only when they know about the brand they will buy the product or use the services of the brand. In a nutshell any company who wants to grow its business needs to first create a brand for itself so that people are aware of its product and services and then sell it to them. Reaching to the end user and keeping them in loop of your existence is also knows as marketing and every company has to form a strategy to market their brand. Now some company takes an aggressive approach and some go soft while marketing their product. It is believed that companies that market their products aggressively are the one who have hunger in their belly. They want to grow quickly and the ones who are slow on marketing their products are perhaps happy with how things are moving. They might take an aggressive approach later as they may feel the opportunity is not right for that time and will wait till they see things moving their way.

A business where day in and day out there are new competitors joining in and each of them are struggling hard to make their name in the market it makes the overall environment to be more challenging. The construction industry in one such industry where you will come across many companies who have just started their business and are marketing their company quite aggressively. People with experience in this form of a business know how the industry works and what they got to do to make their business a success.

Be in the news:-

For people to know about you and your company, you got to be in the news for the right reason. You have to come up with excellent ideas and should also be able to present that to whosoever is interested to know about it. People in the construction business circle should know about you. For this, you need a website where you can put up your business plans and talk more often on how you can accomplish your targets. Your website should reflect the personality you possess. People going through your website should know that you dream big and also have the courage to fulfill it. This is one way to market your company. You may show your aggressiveness here which will go to a lot of people. You can also release circulars every week where you’ll talk about the industry as a whole and how your business is reacting to the current situation.

Be active on social media:-

We have a craze of social media these days. For every small things that we do, we try to put that out on social media. We do this to get some attention and as far as the construction business is concerned, it makes sense to be ultra active on social media. It is perhaps one of the many platforms that will take your identity to a lot of people by paying a nominal fee.