Best Practices

How Improved Project Management Leads to Real Cost Savings

Article written by Alan Littman for Construction Executive

While the construction industry is slowly adopting technology in its daily operations, many firms are still supported by disparate, non-integrated systems that often require the use of manual forms or spreadsheets to capture and document work performed.

This leads to, among other things, serious deficiencies in the ability to communicate necessary information in a timely manner, users having to access multiple systems to perform and document their work and no opportunity to manage work efficiently “in the moment,” which can have significant consequences—especially in the area of safety.

If that isn’t bad enough, it also dramatically impacts profitability in the form of inaccurate costs estimates that lead to major cost overruns and can introduce significant risk into operations.

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How to Simplify Construction Data Collection from the Field

Article written by Andy Holtmann on the Viewpoint blog

It’s a special thing when you can see just how your construction organization is driving success — especially when you have a deep understanding into the activities that happen out in the field. However, pulling that data together in ways that are meaningful and timely has been a consistent challenge in the construction industry. Reliance on manual processes and/or different disconnected software programs has meant that oftentimes data from the field is incomplete, inaccurate or just too outdated to properly assess and take action from by the time it actually gets reviewed.

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The Role of Construction Software Technology in Mitigating Risk

Article written by Natalie RItchie on the Viewpoint blog

If you do a little digging, you may notice that many industries utilize development and maintenance processes that are often repetitive and standardised across the scope of their operations. This may work for them. However, within the construction sector there are multiple aspects which require different approaches, meaning a one-size fits all approach is not appropriate. Each project requires a distinctive output, may be run by various departments, and may be undertaken under a unique set of circumstances. It is akin to a large machine with multiple moving parts and it is because of these multiple parts and unique approaches that there can be a tendency for miscommunication, teamwork issues, and conflicts.

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Construction Cybercrime Is On the Rise

Article written by Tom Sawyer and Jeff Rubenstone and appears on enr.com

Cybercriminals find the construction world a rich phishing ground with fat prey and soft targets

At the end of April, just as St. Ambrose Roman Catholic Church in Brunswick, Ohio, neared the close of a five-month-long, $5.5-million renovation, Father Bob Stec, the parish pastor, was surprised to hear that the contractor, Marous Brothers Construction, Willoughby, Ohio, had not received a $1.7- million payment.

“We were paying our bills. At some point somebody was able to get into our email system and in the course of that, changed the routing numbers for the wire transfers,” the pastor told local reporters. The $1.7 million disappeared.

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May 6-10 is Construction Safety Week, a national, industry-wide effort to promote safety best practices and raise awareness of the importance of an uncompromising commitment to safety in the construction industry.

WASHINGTON, May 6—Associated Builders and Contractors released its 2019 Safety Performance Report today, an annual assessment that furthers the construction industry’s understanding of how to achieve world-class safety through its STEP Safety Management System. Published in conjunction with Construction Safety Week, the report documents the dramatic impact of using proactive safety practices to reduce recordable incidents by up to 85%, making the best-performing companies 680% safer than the industry average.

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Redefining Construction Document Management

Article written by Andy Holtmann for the Viewpoint blog

Modern Technologies are Letting Contractors Manage Documents; Markup and Share Construction Drawings in Real Time

The one constant on any construction project is change. The end result of a completed building, roadway or other structure is almost never exactly how it was drawn up in the beginning. Once building begins, plans, specs and drawings are tweaked as efficiencies are noted, errors are corrected or work gets completed throughout the process.

That’s why effectively managing these changes is crucial to contractors’ success. When different team members are using different sets of drawings, mistakes or execution errors are likely to occur, and when these do happen the entire project could be delayed while the issues are sorted out or, worse yet, costly rework has to be done.

These mistakes and delays can have a significant impact on your bottom line as a contractor — and leave your clients unimpressed with your teams’ abilities to manage projects.

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Don’t Ignore Auto Insurance, Excess Liability and Cybersecurity Risks

Article written by Mary Grandy and Trish Drew on ConstructionExec.com

Now that businesses are settled into the new year, it’s a good time to consider some of the top insurance and risk management challenges that contractors and other construction organizations should expect in 2019.

Auto Premiums Continue Upward Trajectory

Chances are good that businesses already have felt the impact of rising auto insurance premiums. Insurance carriers have been facing an increase in both frequency and severity of auto losses during the past several years, making commercial auto one of the worst performing property casualty insurance lines. As a result, underwriters have continued to increase rates and premiums to offset tighter margins, as well as reevaluate and often restrict their underwriting appetites. 

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3 Cash Flow Forecasting Tips for Your Next Big Construction Project

Article written by Natalie Ritchie on the Viewpoint blog

Managing cash flow for a large construction project is tricky — not just because you don’t get paid immediately, but also because you’re dealing with progress claim preparation, submission deadlines, varying substantiation requirements and variation and claim negotiations — all of which distract you from actually doing the work and finally getting payment.

Adding to the complexity are project durations (which can go from days to years), the broad scope of work, the logistical sequencing of tasks and any conditions tacked onto the contract.

Considering these complexities, it’s easy to understand why, throughout the life of a project, a variety of things can change — directly impacting the original cash flow forecast.

But when underlying project revenue and cost forecasts are inaccurate, even the largest company can tap out its cash reserves, resulting in a failure to meet payroll payments, supplier payments, subcontractor commitments and service payment obligations.

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Top 10 Strategic CIO Priorities Of 2019

Article written by Rob Preston and appears on Forbes.com

CIOs head into 2019 amid a relatively strong, though volatile, global economy. This volatility will only further unsettle their often-precarious position of having to take on new digital projects and innovate at an accelerating pace while also having to lock down costs. It all makes for a “schizophrenic” state of affairs, notes one CIO.

As in past years, CIOs have to make hard choices. Principal among them: how to shift the investment balance from legacy systems to new, mostly cloud-based applications, capabilities, and technologies (artificial intelligence, blockchain, data analytics) while improving security, reliability, and scalability. Oy.

In this, our seventh annual list of the 10 most important challenges CIOs face and opportunities they must grab in the year ahead, we shine a spotlight on several new priorities, but we also update certain ones from past years. As we noted in past years, real change doesn’t happen in discrete annual steps.

Your priorities may vary—based on the size of your organization, your industry, and/or your management’s appetite for change and ability to invest. But consider these 10 a starting point.

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Incentives for Contractors to Train and Modernize

Article written by Andy Holtman for the Viewpoint blog

Recently, we looked at some of the tax incentives that construction companies can take advantage of related to the types of work they do, including the R&D Tax Credit and the 179D Deduction. But as contractors continue to transform their operations through technology and train new generations of workers, they might not be aware that there are a number of tax incentives and credits to help offset these costs as well.

A Renewed Focus on Training and Education

The federal government already offers a number of individual incentive programs for educational credits or deductions through the Internal Revenue Service, including the American Opportunity Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit and the Tuition and Fees Deduction. And a handful of states have their own incentive programs designed to help offset the costs of training and education, including learning new construction processes, software and other technologies (more below).

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