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The Fieldlens Blog

3 Skills All Great Construction Managers Need

As you know, construction managers can make or break any project. And right now they’re laying the groundwork for the future of the industry to satisfy the growing demand for green building, support the development of new technology, and answer the call to renew domestic and global infrastructure. 

But what separates the great from the good (and bad)? Here are three leadership skills that every top construction manager has in their toolbox:

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Planning and Goal Setting

Detailed planning and goal setting are required for projects to have a chance to come in on-time, on-budget, and safely. Whether following a phased master plan or weekly schedules and agendas, managers create and rely on these tools to track progress and hold their teams, as well as themselves, accountable. With countless moving parts and various stakeholders invested in construction projects, great managers make planning and goal setting a priority so satisfying client expectations is realistic and achievable.

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3 Construction Trends to Watch for in 2016

2016 is poised to be a beautiful year for the construction industry. So kick back, relax, and get a glimpse of the top trends that await you in the New Year:

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U.S. construction expected to grow 6% to $712 billion

“The expansion for the construction industry has been underway for several years now, with varying contributions from each of the major sectors. For 2016, the economic environment should support further growth for the overall level of construction starts.” – Robert Murray, chief economist, Dodge Data & Analytics

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The Top Habits Contractors Should Kick in 2016

The greatest accomplishment is not in ever falling, but in rising again after you fall. – Vincent T. Lombardi

It’s that time of the year when contractors wrap things up and put all the wins and losses behind them. You look forward to the New Year and put down a plan, usually with some goals to help make your business more prosperous. Putting down goals is essential, no doubt, but what might be missing from the plan is just as essential to helping you achieve those goals: bad habits, and how to kick them.

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Change Order Tracking for People Who Hate Wasting Time

There is one constant in life and in construction, and that is change. Design, materials, hands. Yet how we document that change can mean the difference between getting work done, and creating extra work. And you hate that. So do I.

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The American Institute of Architects (AIA) says this about change orders: “…most effective when backed by systematic documentation, the contractor should provide all back up to the architect and the owner.” O.K., except, here’s the way most companies deal with change orders:

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Unlocking Value From Stakeholder Relationships

If you’re a general contractor, you’re almost never alone. You’re constantly crossing paths with clients, architects, engineers, suppliers, and subcontractors. Ask yourself honestly: How much time have you put into building on these relationships?

If you answered “not much,” you’re missing out on some big opportunities to help your business win.

twenty20_contractor-relationship-buildingBuilding relationships takes extra time and effort, and it makes sense that you’d pour it all into the job. But face it: You’re not Stephen King, writing books in a room in Maine. To be successful in the construction industry, you need people, plain and simple. And so many relationship-building opportunities are ignored every day. Here’s how to pay attention to them, and what you’ll get in return:

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Construction Managers: How to Own Daily Productivity

Does this situation sound familiar?  You’re in a status meeting, struggling to pay attention, but the person talking isn’t engaging anybody or sharing any information you care about. The meeting ends, and instead of feeling like you have a better handle on things, you feel like you’ve all but wasted 30 minutes. As a construction manager, you have to ask yourself, “Is this how my team feels after one of my meetings”?

Too often managers call too many meetings to report on what’s happening and don’t involve the attendees, ask for input, have meaningful discussions, or adjourn with an action plan. – George Hedley, HardhatBizSchool.com

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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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Wohlsen Construction Company Announces 3-Year Partnership with FieldLens as their Mobile Field Management Platform of Choice

New York, NY — October 28, 2015 – After years of researching and testing various mobile field management platforms developed for the construction industry, Wohlsen Construction Company today announced a 3-year partnership with FieldLens, a New York City based developer of the construction industry’s leading mobile communication app. Wohlsen Construction is a leading merit-shop firm, providing construction management, general contracting and design/build services to clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic States, especially in the senior living, education, healthcare and commercial markets.

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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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