Tag Archives: construction

Why do airport runways cost so much to build

To construct an apartment or a townhouse, it requires good amount of investment on the part of the construction company. They also need to be well prepared when it comes to the investment part and can’t just enter in a project without considering the ups and downs and other monetary challenges that the company may experience in the short or in the long run. A lot of heads need to come together to decide the viability of the project and the amount of money that might come as an expenditure on the project. Once they all come to a common consensus they give their nod for the commencement of the project. Well constructing a township is not as expensive as constructing an airport. When you are in the process of building a new airport you got to think of lot many factors that does not play any role while constructing a condominium or for that matter a one unit family.

Constructing airport is a different ballgame altogether. There you got to understand many things and keep into mind every small stuff as you also will be dealing with the safety and security of the passengers. So you just can’t afford to go wrong at any point in time either with the design or with the construction. Moving our focus from the airport to the runway, it is believed that the runways cost more than building an entire airport. The reason is simple. The runways are the major load takers. On a daily basis there are countless of planes that takes off and lands on the runway. Now the weights of the plane are not less than 100,000 pounds and some are even heavier than that. So one can imagine what the runway has to go through on a daily basis. Million pounds of weight taking off and landing over it only suggests the quality of the runway and the kind of material one has to put to construct a runway.

Other than that, it also has to take the wrath of the monsoon and other extreme weathers and still has to continue to perform. You can’t have a runway with potholes. The plane will just not be able to fly and therefore the maintenance is also crucial. You need to put in a lot of concrete materials and can’t think of saving any money in terms of exercising low cost raw materials during the making of the runway. You have to use the best materials and the best does not come at a cheap rate. You also need to be ready to pay the right price for it which eventually makes the entire process of constructing airport runways an expensive affair.

It is not only about expensive raw materials that one puts in to construct a runway. It also involves people who have the required experience to build such a massive project. These guys will undoubtedly demand higher package which also impacts the cost of the construction.

Construction and productivity

Productivity is given a lot of importance and weight in any form of an industry. At the end of the day, it is production that matters the most to everybody. Nevertheless, the importance of quality can’t be brushed aside as it also plays an important role in the making or breaking of any company. We can be in any form of an industry, as long as we are not productive, we do not justify our package. A person who is good in quality but poor in productivity may not stay for long in the company. He may know his work and is also good in it but he is then expected to deliver. If he fails to deliver then his knowledge pertaining to the work will be of no use to the company. There are some sectors which makes profit predominantly on high productivity. This means that if the company fails to generate high productivity, it will eventually fail to generate profits and soon will be the day when it will have to wind up its business.

The construction industry is one such business where productivity and profit goes hand in hand. One can’t draw much distinction between the two. Productivity in this case does not limit itself to making more and more of tall rises and apartments to sell. It also means the day in and day out work. Tall rises and apartments are the end products and is perhaps the result of your daily productivity. So it is the daily productivity that matters the most. There are few things which a construction business owner should always keep in mind to enhance the daily productivity of the business.

Keep the enthusiasm high and maintain it:-

When you keep doing the same thing day after day, you tend to lose the enthusiasm from your work. Your work become quite monotonous and you feel like leaving it and start something new or learn something new. A business owner should be aware of this and should engage its workers with different kinds of work in order to keep the level of enthusiasm high and running. Other than that, there should be refreshment rooms for the employees so that they can go and do some activities that will enhance them as an individual and will make them a better person. They can read books on various subject and definitely books on construction so that they can keep themselves abreast as far as the construction world is concerned. By doing so, the employees will feel refreshed and will work more which will lead to higher productivity.

Monetary incentive is a big encouragement:-

We all work for money and employees in a construction company will work for more hours only if they are compensated with high monetary value. There are many companies who does not provide much recreational activities for its employees but give handsome incentives and bonuses. The employees stick to the company for years as they continue to get good money in terms of incentives and bonuses.

Liening construction job sites

Imagine you get a contract to work on a site. You invest good deal of money into the work. All your labors have worked hard, day and night to make sure that the work is completed in time and then once the work is completed, you get to know that the company who has given you the work can no longer afford to pay you. That will come as a lightning bolt out of a clear sky. You may wonder how all of a sudden he does not have any money to pay you and what you have now to protect your interest. To be frank, you got nothing to protect your interest. You have to pay your workers for their labor and you get nothing out of this entire deal. On the contrary, you just end up spending all you have.

Well, this is not how things work in the construction industry. When you take up a work, you make sure that you get the payment regularly. However, before that, you have your lien on the property so that in case the project owner is unable to pay you, he can’t use the property and you can sell it off to any financial institution or do whatever to claim your money back.

Now take the same example other way round. Let’s say that you have taken the contract and you sub contract it to a third party. For some unfortunate reasons, you are unable to pay the sub contractor his dues. This will result him in placing a lien on the said property. Therefore, it is believed that placing a lien on the property is perhaps the only method by which you can secure your payments.

Placing a lien can have serious implications once it is placed on any given property. The first major implication will be banks or any financial institution will lend money to refinance the property. Banks want them to be having first lien if they are giving any loan on an existing property. So if there is already a lien on the property, you cease any scope of getting loans from bank. Not only this, you credit rating also takes a beating. This has a huge impact on your borrowings.

It has also been witnessed that some contractors fraudulently place liens on a property even though they have received all the payments. This is a serious issue and is also dealt stringently by the forces. However, you have to go through lot of hassles till the time it is not proven that the money is paid to the contractor. Work at other jobsites is also stopped as contractors fear that they will not get paid for their work. It is crucial that you scan the contractors well by checking their work history and then give work.

Liens on property can have damaging impact even if it is fraudulently put on you. Therefore, always ensure that you pay your contractors well in time so that they do not impose a lien on the given property.

Loyalty of employees is important in the construction industry

It is perhaps the human resource that defines the future of any company and as far as the overall industry is concerned, human resources play a significant role in shaping it up. It is the talent that every man and woman possesses that defines the destiny of the company and simultaneously of the industry. There are people who change jobs to get a hike in their package. The other company who hires them finds their credentials suiting the needs of the company and therefore they pick them by giving a higher package. But it is certainly not a wise thing to lose your efficient men to others. They are leaving your company for a reason and it is important to understand that reason do every possible thing to retain them. Now you can’t force them to quit but you can certainly offer them something that they can’t refuse. It simply does not make any sense to lose your employees who have been in the company for the last many years.

The importance of employees is largely felt in the construction sector. Competent employees are paid real well and if one gets a chance to work for a big construction house then he can definitely expect a better package. In this entire situation, there is someone who is at a loss and it is the construction company who is losing an employee. They call it attrition. There are some construction companies whose attrition rate is really high. This means that the company is either not doing well which is why people look for other prospects or they do not take good care of the employee.

Every construction company should value their employees. The loyalty of the employees really matter and if you do not give them their worth then they will search for it at some other place. You have to understand that if an employee is there with the company for many years then he has also set some expectation and it is the duty of the employer to fulfill those expectations. Don’t take their loyalty for granted. Do not ever think that they are with you because they do not have anywhere else to go. If you think this then it will only hurt you in the long run.

Treat your employees with dignity. Try to at least offer your smile and if someone wishes you reply to him. By this you are respecting them and treating them with dignity. Make them feel that they are important to the company. They should be excited to come to work every day. The day the excitement ends, they will start looking for other options.

When you have an employee who have been with you for the many years and has now offered his resignation, you should probably sit with him and try to know the reasons why he wants to quit. If he wants to start his own business, you should probably wish him all the best but if he is intending to switch to some other construction house then you should try to know what you can do to retain his loyalty. You never know he may stay with you if you offer him something wonderful.

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Employment option for a programmer in the construction industry

A computer programmer has a lot to do when it comes to programming software for different companies across various sectors. They are people who are in huge demand and have to cater to people of different industries keeping into consideration their varying wants. So you have a team of software programmer who has designed new software for a retail store and now they are been approached by someone who belongs to the pharmaceutical industry and who wants them to work on his specific requirements. So the same team will now focus on a different industry and will try to build software that especially suits their needs. This shows that a software developer can work across industries and is not constraint to one particular genre of business. Similarly, their services can also be used in the construction business. As a matter of fact, there are construction companies that are ready to pay software developers good sum of money but in return they want something that is nothing less exceptional.

Not all construction company can afford to hire software developer to design unique software for their company. Some companies may even find it difficult to buy expensive software. But they all have to use one and therefore there are different levels of software developers and programmers in the market. Not all are expensive. There are some newbie who have ideas but do not have relevant experience for which they are not hired by the giants. However, they can prove to be very useful for small construction companies. The small companies can check the software they have developed and if they feel that it suits their requirements they can go for it. These new guys may not charge a bomb from the companies and are also ready to provide support if in case the program stops working.

This suggests that there is ample of opportunity for software programmers in the construction industry. You will not find the employment getting dried up. Businesses will always flow in some way or the other. Most of the time it comes in the form of upgrading the existing software. You can’t keep on working with the same version for many years. Everything has an expiration date and so does software. So it is imperative for a construction company to keep the software that they are using updated. This can be done with the help of the programmers who have designed the program in the first place or some other programmer who knows about the software and how to upgrade it.

The programmers who are associated to the construction industry should first understand the various needs that a construction company can have. This will give them an idea of the possibilities that they should work on and offer the best to the industry. Many of the time, it has been observed that after doing a in-depth study of the subject, the programmers approach the construction company and place a solution to them. If the company likes the idea they will buy the design and give the contract to service them for a couple of years. It has been therefore termed to be a rewarding business.

Small contractors can quickly get small projects

We usually have a belief that it is only the big construction companies that can make most of the monies in the construction industry. However, this belief of ours is no longer true and even small time contractors are able to make good money by taking small projects. Unlike big construction houses, who find it difficult to get projects, small contractors do not experience this issue so severely and always tend to get few projects at quick intervals. Projects such as constructing a small road or clearing up the garden are works that are not so difficult to get. However, these days many people tend to do the work on their own; but at times, they need help of professionals and this is when the contractors come handy.

The prerequisites that a small contractor should always keep in mind are mentioned below.

Should have good sales and marketing segment:-

In order to keep your business moving, it is very important that people should know about you and your business. If you want to keep your business limited within your city limits, you then have to ensure that the sales and marketing team of your company approaches people who may need your service. Since you are a small contractor, not everybody may know about you and this is why you need a strong sales and marketing team that will pervade the word to people and also check if there is anybody who is looking for a service that you are offering.

Goodwill of your company is the key for expansion:-

If you have made a good reputation in the construction market, be rest assured that you will keep getting work. Other than having a strong marketing team, goodwill of your company plays a key role in determining how soon you will be able to expand your business. Like every other businessman, you would want to expand your business and in order to do this, the goodwill can be very crucial. It is therefore essential that you maintain the quality of your work and try to satisfy your clients. Your clients will want you to give them excellent work by charging less. It depends upon your skill on how you negotiate with them and get the money that you deserve.

Have the right set of heavy equipment:-

A business moves on certain plans. You need to ensure that you incorporate the right set of heavy equipment in your business plans. Not having the machinery you need to get the work done will only lead to complications and that will cost you dearly. So before you start the job, do a survey of the field and check what you may need to complete the work. Also see how many days it may take to get the work done. You should not commit something and later on find yourself incapable of fulfilling it. According to the survey, you can arrange the equipment you may need for completing the job. Just in case, you don’t have heavy equipment with you, you can try to get it on rent so that it doesn’t cost you a lot.

Construction and drones, how they work together on a jobsite

Modern technology is the need of the day. The industry and our businesses will not flourish if we do not accept technology as a part of our daily lives and the incorporation of it in our businesses will take it to the next level. The growth of the business is to a larger extent dependent on how open we are in adopting technology in our lives and simultaneously in our business. For people who are owners of big construction companies, they might find it extremely difficult to go to every jobsite that is running parallel in different places of the state. It is virtually impossible for him to make a trip to each of its jobsite if they are located in different cities and states. So what can he/she do to get an updated report?

Well, he/she has 2 options. They can either rely on the reports that are sent to them by their men/women or can put in a camera to check in the status of the work in a timely manner. Now again it is not possible to put cameras all over the site and the cameras will all be stationed at one place. They will not be moving which will not portray the correct picture. This means that installing cameras at different locations on the jobsite will not do any good to them as long as they have something that can move throughout the location and can give live updates to him. Here comes the importance of drones. These flying machines can be used to get live pictures of the work happening on the jobsite. The camera of the drones will be always rolling allowing the business owner to see all the progress that is happening on the site and then compare it with the report he/she has received. It is just that the drones are used to provide ground report which can be then compared with the report he/she has on his table.

Allows you have better control on the project while you are holidaying/vacation:-

It is a fact known to every person in the construction industry that owners of big construction houses do not get to spend quality time with their family. It is always business for them and at the end of the day they are so tired that they have nothing left for the family. Now suppose that you have a long planned holiday/vacation and this time you have decided to finally take your family for a vacation. However, you also have an important project going on whose progress you can’t miss to check. You can make use of drones to catch live pictures and correspond with your employees on the ground. In this way you can spend time with your family holidaying in Hawaii and also keep a close watch on the progress of the project.

Using drones can prevent delays in the project:-

By getting regular live pictures, you will be able to identify mistakes happening on the jobsite. You can jump in straight and point it out to the respective supervisor and ask him to correct that rectified. Had this skipped your attention, it could have taken the project on a ride and have caused delays in its completion.

DRONES IN CONSTRUCTION SITES


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Placing a lien on the property is one of the best ways to claim your dues

There may have been few instances where you are not paid for the work done on a project. You have been given some or the other reasons by the construction company that you found to be absolutely vague and got the hint that you will not be paid for your work. Situations like these are nothing but a nightmare for small contractors. Firstly, the small contractors do not have sufficient money to pay the workers and if at all they manage to secure the money from any of their sources, they experience a hard time to meet the other operational expenses of their business. On top of that if they see the construction company to be defaulting on them, they can’t imagine anything worse than that. In such a situation, the only thing that they can do is place a lien on the property that will disallow the company to get any loans or any sort of finance on the property.

You can’t place a lien on any property just because you want to. For that, you have to approach the court and put forth your matter to them. Take help of a competent attorney who will guide you with the legal proceedings and also will fight the case for you. Once the court acknowledges and sees that you owe money on the property that will allow you to place a lien on the place. Now once you get the lien, you also get the legal right to sell the property and claim the due amount.

Now the kind of evidences that you can submit to the court is the invoices of the materials that were bought for the construction of the building in the property. Additionally, you can also show the bills that were incurred for the wages you paid to the workers. These evidences will certainly make your case strong and you can hope that the court will rule in your favor. However, there is a timeframe for placing liens. You need to place the lien within a stipulated period of time or else the court will not entertain your plea.

Once you get the ruling in your favor, you have to inform your debtors about it and send a copy of the notice to them. This will give a strong message to your debtors that you are just not letting them go and placing a lien can bring trouble to them. They might then intend to pay you in full and once you are paid in full, you should drop the lien by informing the court that you have received the money in full.

Though placing a lien can work as a tool in recovering your dues, this should not be misused by you in any manner. In case, you approach to the court stating that you have not received the money whereas you have been already paid, it can backfire hard on you. The court may direct the authorities to put you behind the bars. Hence any such intention should be strictly avoided.

Construction or Mechanics Lien Package (Corp)


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Running a Tech-Focused Jobsite

By Lonnie Fritz Heavy Construction Industry Consultant Caterpillar Inc.  (Guest Post)

Most contractors agree that project success is largely determined by four factors:  time, cost, quality and safety. But there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach. The same is true of technology, in that each company’s journey is unique. In this article, Caterpillar will help you take a quick look at key areas where technology can make a difference.

 

Get Rid of the Paper Trail, Design a Digital One

Running from the jobsite to your office or trailer to update, print and distribute information eats up time, one of your most critical resources as a project manager. Here at Caterpillar, we say stop chasing the paper trail and instead adopt cloud computing. The cloud platform simply means that users with an internet connection and approved access can get “live” information from anywhere. Do you check your email on your smartphone? You’re already using the cloud. Listed below are eight quick ways the cloud can save you time, money and headaches:

 

  • Rapid decision making as personnel can connect with each other from almost any location.
  • Faster response time to RFIs (Requests for Information), change orders and purchase orders.
  • Snap and send photos of jobsite activity.
  • Check manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Confirm calculations.
  • Instantly look up specifications and special provisions.
  • Quickly check contracts.
  • Track weather.

 

Get Your Crew on the Same Page, Even with Different Devices

 Smart devices like phones and tablets let employees access and share information with the tap of a finger. 72 percent of construction contractors use smart phones, while 50 percent use tablets. One contractor found that superintendents using a voice-to-text application could save at least 30 minutes a day in preparing reports. There are a wide number of apps that can be useful for your team in the field; here are some of the most widely used:

 

  • Permit apps (for sending and receiving permits).
  • Resource tracking apps (tag assets and monitor their location).
  • Inventory apps (monitoring items that are depleted & restocked).
  • Fleet tracking apps (monitor vehicle routes & fuel).
  • Inspection apps (help speed up walk arounds).
  • Safety apps (notification system to alert foremen of problems).
  • Resource tracking apps (for documenting and submitting employee hours, progress quantities and other day-to-day activities and metrics).

Reduce Risky Business on the Worksite

 New technologies (like Cat® DETECT, a Cat Connect Technology) have become available to safeguard worksites and better manage risk. One in ten construction workers is injured on worksites every year. One of the most common accidents on a construction worksite is being struck or trapped by equipment or vehicles. Blind spots and backing up accidents account for 25–50 percent of the total. Here are some of the technologies we recommend that can help prevent such accidents from occurring:

 

Object Detection technologies

Complete object detection systems include back-up cameras and pulsed-radar object detection. Cameras give operators a view of what is typically their biggest blind spot, and radar identifies objects and people hidden from the operator’s view and sounds an alarm.

 

Fatigue Detection technologies

Fatigue detection is one of the most recent advancements. A camera installed in the cab monitors pupil size, blinking, and how long eyes stay shut. If the system senses the operator is falling asleep, an alarm sounds and the seat vibrates

 

“Smart” wearables

Safety gear with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), sensors and bio-monitors have all hit the market within the last several years. The most common are RFID systems that alert workers and equipment operators when they are both moving through a work zone. Wearable devices are now reading heart rates and body temperature to fend off potential medical incidents.

 Stay on Track with Telematics

 Most people can use basic telematics information — machine operating hours, location, fuel consumption — to produce measurable improvements in operating costs. 80 percent of new equipment has telematics built-in, so all that’s required is activation. However, only 17 percent of contractors are using telematics within their projects. Telematics provide multiple cost saving benefits:

 

  • Location features help keep equipment and people safe by alerting operators and sounding proximity warnings.
  • Telematics can help optimize utilization—because equipment doesn’t get rented when it’s not needed or isn’t parked and forgotten.
  • Most OEMs provide apps that allow you to access information via smartphone or tablet, so you can check on equipment condition, fuel burn, idle time or service hours.
  • Condition monitoring alerts help control maintenance and repair costs by reducing downtime.

 

Machine Control & Automation Adds to Your Bottom Line

 The introduction of control technologies for grading, compacting and measuring payload has given construction companies more ways to increase production and enhance operator performance. Productivity and cost saving advantages come primarily from:

 

  • Improved accuracy of machineguided buckets and blades.
  • Increased accuracy of automated “assist” features that make the operator faster and more consistent.
  • Reduced man hours because fewer workers are needed to check progress/complete jobs.
  • Elimination of rework, tasks are completed right the first time.
  • Fewest passes achieve proposed grade efficiently.
  • Optimal number of passes reach compaction target(s) without over or under compacting.
  • Reduced cycle times and machine wear due to payload technologies eliminating over and under loading of hauling units.
  • Increased safe operation because operators are more aware of activities and individuals around them.
  • Data-driven estimating and planning that accelerates payback periods on technology investments.

 

Caterpillar is constantly developing and refining advanced technologies to help you make your equipment more productive and efficient. The faster you recognize technology as an essential part of your operation, the faster you will begin to see a difference on your worksites and your bottom-line.

By Lonnie Fritz 

(Guest Post)

Heavy Construction Industry Consultant

Caterpillar Inc. 

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Construction in the Housing Market

There has always been a huge demand for houses all across the United States. However, it has been seen that the construction company is finding itself short of workers and this is why the end users have to wait for longer than they were told. The construction workers are of the opinion that the housing market is to a larger extent quite unpredictable and a major blow can come at any given point in time. This will lead to job loss and they have to look for other means to continue their livelihood.

They no longer want to be a part of the construction industry that is pertaining to the housing market. Well, the construction workers should understand that ups and downs are part of any industry and one should not just return because it is uncertain. On the contrary, they can make full use of the opportunity where they can demand more money for their work. As the construction company is already running late in giving possession of the house, they will not mind a slight increase in the wages to the workers.

If we go as per the statistics, we will find out that the job opportunities of a construction worker in the housing market is the highest since 2007 and they should waste no time in grabbing this opportunity. The work of a construction worker can’t be supplemented by any other person and therefore the need of the workers can really give them a good jump in their wages. As per the Home Builders Institute that prepares construction workers and train those in constructing houses believe that the shortage of labor is getting worse as there is a huge increase in their demand.

The repercussion of this has been felt on the US economy as well as it is struggling hard to get through with the problem of scarcity of construction workers in the housing segment. The most cases the industry runs through a sluggish state due to scarcity of demand but in this case it is almost the opposite. It becomes quite important to win back the confidence of the construction workers because once that is done and workers start flocking in, they will build homes and the construction companies will start meeting their deadlines. The shortage of workers has been mostly felt in hot residential zones where people have money but they do not have houses as the construction companies are unable to give possession at the stated timeframe. The construction companies in such location are seeking for extension in deadlines so that they can arrange workers by paying those more and can get the work done.

Other than this, construction companies also want to make the most during this troubled times. They are not paying heed to small housing segments and are more focused on expensive markets. So the starter homes are going through a rough phase. However, it also seems to be a good opportunity for new construction companies to make their presence felt. They do not have to look to get big projects and can work on building homes. All they need to do is manage the construction workers well and can make it big in this segment of the industry.

 

The Economics of Housing Markets


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