Handle Your Next “Oh Shit…” Moment On The Jobsite

You know the feeling: Your crew is working hard, interruptions are minimal, and the project’s tracking well – it’s a good day. Then you get an urgent email or phone call about a screw-up, or you make the discovery yourself. It’s bad. Even worse? This one’s on you.

You’ve got an “Oh shit” moment you need to put in reverse, and fast.

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As they say, “Shit happens” –  especially on construction projects (doesn’t matter how big or small).  But when it’s your mistake, simply chalking it up to bad timing or a fluke accident won’t cut it. (Think for a second about what runs through your head when someone tries this one on you.)

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Simple Instagram Tips for Marketing Construction Companies

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Instagram for construction contractors? Isn’t that the platform my teenager uses for what the kids call ‘selfies’?

Nope, not anymore. Instagram is quickly gaining on more widely known social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and many small businesses are starting to realize the platform’s potential for marketing their companies. If you’re a contractor not using this free resource to market your business, then here are some simple tips for getting started.

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a photo/video sharing platform, and similar to Facebook you can post a photo or video and include a caption. Followers can like and comment on the photo/video if they want, and commenters can tag other Instagram users in the comments.

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Contractors: Are You Risking Enough?

“Just taking risks for risk’s sake, that doesn’t do it for me. I’m willing to take risks that I think are worth it, and I’ve worked so hard to make sure that I survive.” – Chris Hadfield, Astronaut

Construction Dive recently forecast that contractors will be more cautious about project selection this year. Ok, on the surface that makes good sense.

Most contractors that survived the recession have got some battle scars to show for it. They can relate to the quote above. Now when they think about how many projects to take on, how large/complex, and how many hands they’ll need, they’re proceeding with more caution than before.

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“Zero Punch List” Possible? Does It Even Matter?

If you tackle it right, there’s no good reason punch list should eat up the final 20% of your project. But is it ever realistic to shoot for a “zero punch list” project? Or is that like believing that there actually is a dark side of the moon?

Let’s dig into that – so you can do great things like make your clients happy and get paid faster.

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First up, if you don’t believe a “zero punch list” job is possible, why is it still worth shooting for?

It goes against the grain, but it’s a great strategy for aligning your project team to collectively work toward higher quality each day. (The alternative being to let poorly-executed work sit until you’re at the tail end of your project.)

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Talk That’s Not Cheap: Construction Project Communication

Tell me you haven’t heard some version of this before:

There’s been some miscommunication (Read: someone f’d up), and it’s causing some delays.”

Or:

“The project got off to a slow start.”

You know when you hear that — because you do hear it— that someone is losing money, and it’s probably not helping their reputation either. Communication breakdowns happen to even the best construction crews.

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It’s often after money losing jobs like this that construction companies entertain the idea of getting project management software — they’re looking to solve a problem. But usually this process leads to a treating of specific symptoms while ignoring the disease.

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How to ‘Miscommunicate’ Better on Construction Projects

The title of this post is not a typo, in case you were wondering.

No, I was having a conversation the other day with a guy after work. We were talking about communication on construction projects. Pretty broad topic. But he works in the field 50-60 hours a week in New York City. I wanted to know what his gripes were. I wanted to know what it was like being an army of one in a sense, while also very much relying on the rest of his project team—boots on the ground and every floor—to execute a really friggin’ hard construction job. He cracked a smile, and I figured a good story was coming — the kind of story everyone from the foreman plumber to the project engineer has told someone at one point or another. It turned out to be pretty simple:

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Where are the Construction Project Managers?

The construction industry is facing a labor shortage, and project managers (PMs) are among the top three hardest to find of skilled workers. Four out of five organizations report that they are struggling to find qualified PMs, and more than 20% of PMs are approaching retirement age and will need replacing. How did this shortage come about and catch so many companies seemingly off-guard?

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Construction project managers are in short supply as a result of a rebounding economy, an aging workforce, and a dwindling supply of new talent. Other possible reasons for the shortage include shortsighted hiring practices, lack of planning for the future, and cuts in budgets that result in fewer trainees. While there may be plenty of junior talent available, mid-level and senior talent are hard to find. These are the workers who have experience and knowledge in the field—things that cannot be taught.

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Why Some Companies Stopped Doing Daily Reports

Before the dawn of the Digital Age, the construction daily report made sense.

Stakeholders needed to know what was happening on the job, when, and they couldn’t know that until the end of the day. They needed to wait until the end of the day for their superintendents to take their notepad on the long walk (or drive) back to the trailer to type up all the notes they’d taken by hand throughout the day, jog their memory for things they might have missed, and wrestle it all into a template with presentable formatting. A tedious and painful ritual for the superintendent, and an equally painful ritual for the folks who were a full day behind on their ability to spot the trends in those reports that would impact the schedule and ultimately, the budget. But that was then.

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Construction Project Portfolios – Is Yours Up to Snuff?

It’s no secret the construction industry is highly competitive, and so it might seem safe to assume that all companies have a website to showcase their work. That would be a false assumption, especially regarding smaller companies that have operated for years without one.

If they’ve done well for themselves up until now, what’s the problem?

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Security and predictability are illusions in this industry. Today, in order to remain competitive, a presence on the Internet is a must. No longer can even companies with solid reputations rely on word of mouth or print promotion.

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How Would We Build Stonehenge Today?

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Was Stonehenge a celestial observatory, a place of healing, or a holy site? Was it created by magic, an army of men, or aliens (and if so, can we get those aliens back, please)? The monument in southern England, which attracts almost a million visitors a year, continues to confound experts as to how and why it was built.

While the science is not completely settled, there are some reliable theories that explain how massive stones were transported, some as far as 240 miles away, and erected without modern day engineering advances or construction expertise.

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