The construction industry in the United States is growing fast. According to data collected by DATAUSA, the industry has seen an average annual growth of 46.7% between 2014 and 2021. As the industry continues to evolve, all experienced construction managers have to keep refreshing their skills by learning all the new technologies being used in the industry to remain competitive. In addition, they need to understand the following to become more efficient.
Ever wondered how all the rights you enjoy at your place of work came to be? Well, most of them are due to workers joining trade unions to fight for their rights. Construction unions were initially popular in Europe, but later, in 1935, the Federal Labor Relation Act was passed, resulting in the emergence of collective bargaining rights for construction workers in the U.S. Today, construction unions include skilled tradespeople, for example, landscapers, electricians, plumbers, masons and roofers and many more.
All experienced construction managers need to understand that union jobs offer benefits to workers that go beyond the worksite. One notable benefit of a union is that it serves as an employment placement service for its members. In the construction industry, most workers become unemployed after completing a job. When a worker belongs to a union, a construction manager can contact the union, and any workers who are currently laid off can be placed in jobs.
Another notable benefit of union membership is a better chance of participating in union apprenticeship programs. According to a publication by a SkillPointe staff, joining an apprenticeship program is a competitive process. There are roughly 240,000 apprenticeship openings each year, and in 2021, for example, 18.6 million students were hoping to join these programs.
The construction industry in the United States has continued to grow, and there are no signs of it slowing down. According to IBISWorld, in 2022, there were 3,919,352 construction businesses, a 4.2% increase compared to the previous year. As the demand for construction continues to grow, more waste continues to be produced. All experienced construction managers need to be responsible for the environment by ensuring all waste and debris from the different projects they’re contracted for is properly managed.
The construction industry has a great impact on the environment. Therefore, instead of dumping metal waste, for example, in landfills, construction managers should look for local metal recyclers to ensure the waste is properly managed. In addition, they could adopt recycled building materials in their projects. This will not only limit waste but will also help to save money since recycled materials are typically cheaper.
Most people skeptical about using recycled building materials fear it compromises the quality of their construction. However, according to ETM, recycled materials can be just as durable as new materials. Therefore, being eco-friendly in your construction doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing the quality of your work.
Without transportation, the construction industry would not exist. Transport plays an important role by ensuring equipment and materials are transported from where they are to where they should be. All experienced construction managers should, therefore, have a logistics plan in place to ensure equipment and materials are safely transported from one site to another. The logistics plan should include buying or renting equipment, sourcing needed materials, and transportation. Construction managers should also ensure that all equipment and materials arrive quickly to avoid delays.
Typically, construction requires heavy equipment to perform different tasks efficiently. For example, if you must excavate the ground, you’ll need an excavator and bulldozer. You will also need construction loaders to help load the excavated soil and dirt onto dumper trucks. To have all the heavy machines at the job site, construction managers should hire a professional heavy hauler to help with the transportation.
4. Equipment Rentals
One of the most important decisions that all experienced construction managers have to make is whether to buy or rent equipment. All construction projects are different, and equipment used in a previous project may not necessarily be needed in the next. Therefore, an important factor to consider in your decision-making is how frequently you need each piece of equipment. If you foresee the need to use specific equipment most days, your best bet would be to purchase the equipment if your financial situation allows it.
If your construction company can’t afford to buy that equipment, you can rent. Studies show that most companies prefer renting construction equipment instead of buying. If, for example, you are contracted to build a swimming pool, you should consider backhoe rentals. One significant benefit of renting a backhoe is you get to avoid the initial buying price.
According to Lyroad, buying a backhoe ranges between $4,000 and $150,000, depending on the size. Because construction companies require various equipment, purchasing equipment can significantly affect a company’s budget. On the other hand, leasing equipment will help you save money to allocate to different departments within your company.
As the world continues to change, new technologies have emerged that help to create better and stronger buildings. Whether you own a commercial building or a residential one, it might be time to make a few changes to keep up with the latest trends. All experienced construction managers should be able to advise on whether to demolish or renovate an old building.
This should be carefully thought out, mainly due to the cost implication. According to Hometown Demolition Contractors, the average cost of demolishing a home is just under $9,000. The cost may vary depending on the size of the building and location, among other factors. Although the cost of demolishing a building is relatively high, sometimes it is the better option.
One instance when demolition would be suitable is when the foundation of a building is weak. Demolishing such a structure will give you a clean slate to set up a new construction instead of being confined to an existing unstable structure. Renovating a building with a weak foundation poses a grave danger not only to the occupants but to the surrounding communities as well.
Cranes are a piece of vital equipment in the construction industry. They help to lift heavy loads up and down and side to side. According to Paul Kendall, there are many different cranes in the market. However, one of the most popular types is the truck-mounted crane, which is preferred due to its versatility.
A small truck-mounted crane costs $50,000, while bigger ones cost $550,000 or more, depending on whether it’s new or used. This amount can be challenging to raise, especially for smaller companies. Therefore, all experienced construction managers from small companies use local crane rentals when sourcing cranes for their projects.
Another popular type of crane is the overhead crane. Overhead cranes are not only used in the construction industry but are also used in manufacturing, shipping, and warehouses. In case your company doesn’t have the budget to purchase an overhead crane, you can look through the local market for companies that offer overhead crane services.
Depending on a specific project, different construction materials are used. Choosing the right materials to use in your project may appear like an easy task. After all, all you need to do is order the materials, right? Well, the truth is that choosing the right materials involves much more than ordering them. It requires a construction manager to carefully think through the project to determine what materials are most suitable.
Some of the factors to consider when building include design. Although the construction manager will ultimately choose the materials, they must choose materials that align with the client’s preferred design. If, for example, the client prefers a rustic design, the manager could opt to use granite.
This versatile material can be used on the floors and walls of a building. Another key factor to consider is budget. There is a wide catalog of building materials in the market, all priced differently. All experienced construction managers should choose materials within the client’s budget.
The plumbing system is one of the most important systems in a building. It plays the vital role of ensuring there is a clean supply of water throughout a building and also ensures wastewater is disposed of properly. All experienced construction managers should work with a qualified plumber to help lay down pipes that bring in clean water and remove waste water from the building. Typically, the pipes should be installed after the bricks have been laid down but before plastering; this is done to ensure there are no cracks inside the building walls. However, if there are pipes to be installed outside the building, it should be done after plastering.
Another important factor to consider in plumbing is the plumbing fixtures and appliances installed throughout the building. Depending on a specific building, you may need to install sinks, faucets, toilets, shower heads, washing machines, bathtubs, and many other appliances. You may need to consult a designer to install fixtures that align with the desired design layout. All experienced construction managers must work with qualified contractors to ensure their projects are up to par.
Whether you are working on a residential or commercial building, all experienced construction managers know the importance of landscaping. First impressions matter. For a commercial building, your landscape influences the customers you attract. For residential buildings, your landscape says a lot about you as an individual. Therefore, as you strive to ensure the inside of a building is in great shape, remember to step outside and take care of the environment.
When deciding on the landscape layout, you can incorporate hardscaping and softscaping. Since softscaping typically involves the use of living organisms, it requires a lot more maintenance compared to hardscaping. Hardscaping involves using concrete, asphalt, bricks, glass, or stones to create a landscape. Therefore, if you are looking for an easy-to-maintain landscape, you should contact a local hardscaping company to get a contractor to help with the design.
In addition to reducing the maintenance required, hardscaping helps to boost the value of a property. It helps to create an external home extension, which creates more usable space. Therefore, if you intend on selling your home in the future, you should consider hardscaping to give you more bargaining power.
10. Risk Management
Although the construction industry offers a great business venture for many, it is one of the riskiest industries to work in. According to Dawn Killough, it is one of the industries with the highest business failures. It involves a plethora of technicalities and complications that threaten the success of a project. All experienced construction managers should possess the skills and knowledge to identify and mitigate potential risks that may arise during a project.
One example of a risk that can disrupt a project is delays. They can stem from different places, such as change orders, accidents, supply chain disruptions, and poor project management. Although some delays result from negligence, others, like adverse weather conditions, are beyond human control. Experienced construction managers should, therefore, have a contingency plan to ensure they are well-prepared when such unexpected situations happen.
Risk management in construction is not a solo project. It requires the contribution of everyone involved. There should be clear communication to ensure everyone is up to date with the project’s progress. Some information that should be communicated includes schedule, cost information, contracts, cash flows, and project files and logs.
If you have a passion for construction and are considering making a career out of it, go for it! As the industry expands, the demand for skilled and knowledgeable construction managers continues to rise. As a construction manager, you would typically work with different managers and contractors throughout the projects you will take on. Therefore, you have to be willing to work with others.
Remember, the only way to stay competitive in the ever-evolving construction industry is by staying informed on the latest trends, techniques, and technologies. You want to be the trusted professional who informs clients of the benefits and drawbacks of the different developments in the sector. Don’t let your customers catch you off-guard. That said, the construction industry is profitable, and anyone looking to venture into it can enjoy a satisfying and long-lasting career.