Construction industry how technology is helping to attract and retain talent

Technology has transformed the American construction sector . This sector amounts to $1 trillion worth of the United States’ economy. The integration of technology has changed the way companies have worked to attract, recruit, and retain talent .

Recruits in the construction industry have, normally, come from blue collar jobs. The workforce involved in “menial” jobs often abandoned their current jobs, as they felt the construction industry would offer a better opportunity. However, these workers were rarely willing to alter their mindset and were slow in learning things. Construction is an industry vastly different from any other field and it took years before these workers could actually contribute. Additionally, there are few people who could take up senior level positions.

Integration of various technologies within the construction community required companies to bring in professionals from diverse fields, who together devised innovative work processes and conducted clinical execution of the plans. Technology has also enabled companies to use social media and job websites , stretching their recruitment pool in unprecedented manner.

The construction industry was grappling with a serious skill shortage at all levels. Labor shortage was a common subject in various industry seminars. The industry has been able to deal with it and credit goes to technology integration. Technology helped companies find experienced professionals and project managers, thus increasing their potential of growth and enhancing their ability for project execution.

In the intense war for talent, companies were compelled to have an introspective look at their recruiting and retention practices. Here are some of the ideals and practices that were reviewed:

More autonomy to employees

The construction industry had been very controlling and inflexible. Every decision came top-down and managers tended to micro manage. This approach, however, didn’t fit with the new scenario. Millennial workers were proving to be a difficult group to attract. Realizing this, companies minimized micromanagement, offered new employees more autonomy and became open to innovative ways of completing tasks.

Right gender ratio

The industry also worked to get gender ratio right. Construction was a predominantly male industry and there were few females employed. Companies responded to studies showing how gender diversity increased innovation and added modernistic outlook to the firm. They formed diversity steering committees, performed cultural surveys of the staff, and took steps to increase diversity throughout all levels of the firm.

Cross-training of staff

Companies realized the importance of imparting leadership training to chosen staff. They cross-trained people and showed them parts of  the industry they had no prior knowledge of. This provided them a pool of  potential leaders they source from later on.

The advent of technology does not mean all companies have been equally quick in adapting to it. Some have been reluctant in embracing new technologies, while some have been struggling with financial inability, preventing them from adding tech to operations. Failure in inducting technology only made them slip behind and lose business.

Companies that have been quick in integrating technology and have altered their work processes to be in line with tech times, have been able to edge ahead of their competitors.

How tariffs are driving up construction material prices

Construction costs are steadily rising since the beginning of this year and experts attribute it to the new tariffs. As data reveals, the cost of construction material, including a broad range of building materials, surged in April at the quickest year to year rate since 2011.

Tariffs that are still in the pipeline, may increases prices even higher, making the financial restrictions of construction projects tighter. Construction companies are not able to pass on these higher, additional  costs to the customer and they will  more than likely end up finding their finances squeezed by higher rates of material.

Gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the American economy, in the first quarter of 2018, was a modest 2%. However, as per the forecasts calculated by names like Goldman Sachs, CNBC, and the Atlanta Fed, Q2’s GDP growth may even cross 4%. This buoyancy can be partially attributed to a pickup in manufacturing activity.

Experts have raised a caution flag on this dynamism in economy. Lack of any substantial growth in economy also led to an assurance about the absence of inflation. However, the growth means that the inflation is going to experience a wind shift.

The construction industry is a bit apprehensive of the negative effects of this surge in costing, due to inflation. A Tariff set on Canadian softwood lumber and re-set tariffs on Canadian, Mexican and European Union steel and aluminum have already affected the costs, and construction companies are sure not happy with it. They are particularly concerned about rise in the cost with the Big Five – copper, steel, lumber, cement, and gasoline.

Here are the year-over-year increases in the index values for these commodities – copper, +7.8%; steel, +15.3%; lumber, +15.4%; cement, +2.1%, and gasoline, +37.9%.

Increase in gasoline’s prices is the outcome of elation in the global price of oil. Fervor in the cost of lumber is demand-driven. Millions of residential and commercial units across America are breaking ground and this has pushed up the cost of lumber.

As for steel, though it is in huge supply worldwide,  the price in the US has been on the rise. Cement has been on a slow and steady incline.

As the data shows, construction materials are showing a spike in price, which is only to be exacerbated by tariffs. Smaller builders, who are not that cash-rich and ready, are sure to face troubled time if prices continue to increase. This situation has the potential to undermine advantages of tax and regulatory reforms.

To deal with the situation, construction companies have started to hike the prices, yet they are not able to recover their costs. This may have two unwanted consequences – either these companies will have to settle on reduced profit margins, or they’ll have to cut back on their projects.

Constructors will have to find ways to use their limited revenues, thoughtfully, to tide over the rising cost factor, and yet invest in personnel and equipment. However, as they say, where there is a will, there is a  way.

How square takeoff helps the construction takeoff process

Before submitting a bid, professional estimators need to complete take-offs. This is the act of determining the costs involved in procuring the material and hiring labor for a particular job. A proper construction takeoff process ensures an accurate estimation of all of the costs, enabling you to file a bid that will most likely get the you the project.

Square Takeoff is cloud-based software that facilitates the automation of the construction blueprint takeoff process. This tool enables estimators to upload a blueprint or focus on a desired area using Google Maps. With Square Takeoff, you have the tools to scale the area and apply mathematical functions to determine an accurate estimate.

Once you log in,  you will find several navigational sections such as Bid Management, Estimating, and more.

Bid Management

On the display area, you will find any bid showing up on  any respective date. When you select a any on of the bids, Takeoff button appears on the screen.

‘Company’ and ‘User’ drop-downs at the top of the screen serve as quick navigational filters. You can click ‘Company’ drop-down to focus on company-specific bids. For instance, if you want to view only bids related to company ABC, select ABC on the Company drop-down.

‘User’ drop-down comes handy if you have multiple estimators within your company.  This function helps you filter bids depending on the estimators who calculated them.

You can view the data in List form and can also view the projects shared by other people.

The Takeoff

Once you select a bid, the System highlights, in light green  format, the ‘Start Takeoff’ button. Click on the button to upload your blueprint that appears on the takeoff screen. The screen navigation involves three icons – Area, Linear, and Count. Depending on the kind of measurement you want to activate, you can click on any of these. For example, if you want to find the perimeter of the entire floor, go for the Linear tool. Count door is useful if you want to determine the number of doors in the property.

You need to scale the page (implying imperial or metric measurements) before using any of these buttons. Choosing a manual scale is also an option. The system facilitates creation of straight lines, enabling you to perform position takeoffs.

Google Maps Integration

The ability of Google Maps Integration takes the takeoff efficiency to another level. The system allows you enter any address and execute a takeoff right. This tool is particularly useful if you are working with asphalt/concrete.

Upon entering an address, a satellite image of the location appears. You can move the map and focus on the area you really want to work on. The image is already scaled by the satellites. You can even export the image, making it drop on Pages panel.

Estimating

The tool is segregated into four sub-sections – Templates, Template User Groups, Parts Catalog, and Global Part Properties – which provide you with the ability to customize the software to be in line with your exact requirements.

The ideal approach is to begin by creating a Template User Groups for each trade you estimate. For instance, you may organize sub-contractors in grouping templates as builder and general contractor. Global Part Properties enables you make custom part and property groups such as cost per hour. You can associate various functions with part and property groups.

The system allows you to export a document in HTML or Excel.

A cutting edge software solution, Square Takeoff makes your construction takeoff and estimation ultra-efficient; a string of advantages that include multiple measurements and calculations, quick project startup, visual audit trail, affordability, scalability, and more. Users are well supported by a team of folks who will provide you answers to all the questions you may have.

6 Questions to ask when selecting a construction takeoff and estimating software

Zeroing in on the right construction estimating software that fits in your specific needs, is a serious task to do. The fact that your choice may have a profound impact on the bottom-line of your company makes you extra conscious and careful.

Here are six simple questions to ask that will make your job of selection a bit easier: 

  1. How efficiently does the software work when working on a takeoff or an estimate?
    • The software you choose must essentially be able to perform takeoffs in an instant and alter single item costs to present accurate estimates. Look for the ability to merge multiple bids into a single estimate. The program should be able to upload blueprints that can be edited.
  2. Can you use the product along with a project management software?
    • When working on projects, you need to be able to keep track of costs. Subscribing to a project management software, such as BuilderTrend, allows you to keep your expenses as close as possible to the original estimate. Using project management and estimation software will enable you to keep track of the material and labor that was estimated. If any aspect of the project jumps ahead of the original estimate, you will be alerted.  
  3. Is the software accessible on different devices?
    • Any software you are using, should work efficiently on various platforms. Whether your staff is using a desktop, a laptop, or a mobile device, they should be able to access the software they require.  
  4. Does the software act as a repository of sorts?
    • Cutting edge software enables everyone associated with the project to find current changes in real time. They are able to know immediately about the modifications made to a construction plan. The software allows team members to place notes on pages. For instance, if someone feels the door swing will interfere with the opening, they can flag it.  
  5. Is the software easy-to-use yet powerful enough to get the job done?
    • Estimation software should have a clean, visually appealing interface that is easy to use. When it comes to moving around the software, you should be able to do that with minimal assistance. Everything should be self-explanatory. Core tasks such as importing blueprint images, creating scales, and creating cost sheets should be simple to execute. 
  6. Is help readily available?
    • Anyone not accustomed to construction software may find it hard to operate. Just make sure help, such as tutorials, are available. Support via phone or live chat will be quite helpful. If they offer remote seminars or in-person training classes, that is even better. 
If you find an estimating software solution that answers these 6 simple questions, then you may have found the solution that your business needs.

Unique skills and traits of a great construction estimators

Construction estimators play a pivotal role in the success of your company, don’t they? Drawing from their skills and experience, they can provide accurate project costs in the minimal amount of time possible, thus optimizing the chances of you being awarded the project. An efficient cost estimator at the “helm” improves the chances of your success.

Qualities Construction Estimators Should Essentially Possess

Let’s have a look at characteristics of competent construction estimators:

  • “Inside- out” knowledge of digital takeoff and estimating
  • A Grasp on construction materials and methods
  • A systematic and organized approach towards work
  • Grasp of architectural and engineering drawings
  • A Knowledge of creating accurate estimates
  • Insight into various task processes of their own company regarding execution of construction projects
  • Good judgment ability
  • Ethics to ensure that the estimating serves the business efficiently
  • Fair treatment of subcontractors
  • An ability to structure an estimate in a way that assists with cost optimization
  • Knowledge of using and utilizing different construction methods and materials
  • Proficiency in evaluating bids from subcontractors
  • Research skills

Construction estimators need to continuously improve upon their techniques and processes to achieve better results. They need to be able, and capable, to do deep research into various aspects of construction estimation such as the success rate of the construction bids submitted, the number and background of a contractor providing estimates for given projects, bid details of the lowest bidder, and more.

Since the computer has almost replaced all manual work, construction estimators need to have the drive and dedication to hone their software skills and find better ways to improve the presentation of estimates.

Construction estimators’ are expected to take key calls when preparing bid documents and this is where their experience and judgment counts. They should know which construction materials to use for various clients. They should know how to frame the document so that it has the absolute maximum chance of winning a bid.

What To Look Out For: 

Here’re potential pitfalls estimators will do well to avoid:

  • Failure to take into account relevant project documents
  • Skipping job site visits.
  • Not double checking the final results

No matter how sophisticated the construction estimating software is, the accuracy of the estimate depends to a large extent, on the expertise and experience of the construction estimator. Software is like a car. Cars can get you where you need to go…. unless you drive it carelessly.

Arbitrary cost adjustments are another major mistake of construction estimators. Adjustments happen, but they must be driven by sound business decisions.

A construction estimator is a key position within your company and you need to select and hire  someone with experience and preferably formal training. Choose a professional or a team of professionals that have experience in construction. Recruit people well-versed in construction materials, costs, and various relevant procedures.

The 6 phases of the construction project life cycle

Almost all construction processes involve six phases. You need to plan for all these phases well in advance and analyze various ways to use your resources with utmost efficiency. Do prep work to set up things before you press the ‘Go’ button. Even the smallest of issues may slow you down, so you need to do all the due diligence; ponder over all the aspects of the construction. Be prepared to deal with the unexpected.

Here’re six phases of a construction project:

Feasibility Study

Before embarking on a project, you need to establish its viability. This is done by identify the various aspects regarding the construction project and preparing the project documentation such as the business case and project execution plan. It’s important to consider all feasible alternatives and pick a line that meets the economic, financial and environmental criteria.  The feasibility study may include issues such as

  • Site appraisals including geotechnical studies, the availability of services, uses of adjoining land an assessment of any contamination, easements and restrictive covenants, and other such issues.
  • Environmental impact assessment
  • Legal/statutory approvals
  • Planning permission
  • Budget analysis
  • Procurement options

Design Phase

Once the decision to proceed with a project has been made, you need to come up with a ration design that integrates functional and performance requirements. You need to take into account construction goals and equipment and working methods. A detailed design must entail all  the projects whether it is for capital, maintenance or if it is remedial. It should lay down a complete set of specifications regarding the project.

The Bid

The bid is your chance to demonstrate what you can bring to a project. You should submit a bid that illustrates and highlights your expertise and resources. A sophisticated cloud-based takeoff software like Square Takeoff can be immensely helpful in determining a cost and bid management.

Pre-construction

A necessary evil, a pre-construction meeting will help make a project successful. Sit with the client to review all the documentation together and arrive on a start date for the project. Apart from the core areas, you may need/want to discuss peripheral topics like the parking for the construction crews, job signs, permit box locations, location of the debris/material staging area/portable toilet, and more.

Construction

This phase begins when you or any of your subcontractors take control of the construction site. It’s a good idea to split the work into smaller “packages”, rather than complicating the project by incorporating too many components at a single go. Clarity regarding schedules, roles and quality expectations will help keep the project on track.

Moreover, it will help to work out with the clients how they can provide some kind of guidance on the site. Even the best of contractors require some kind of active support on the job site and it is the difference between mediocre and excellent work.

Project Closeout

A successful closeout is key for getting final payments. Often, projects running perfectly go wrong at the end, tuning a perfect project into a nightmare. As statistics suggest, 77% of projects have some sort of schedule overrun.

You cannot hope to have a simple wrap up of things in construction projects. At the end of the project, problems tend to pop up, out of nowhere. By that time, you’re likely to be short on resources making it hard for the correction of errors. Devise a solid plan for handing the project ownership to client.

Cloud based takeoff software can be a game changer

As a framing subcontractor, you’re responsible for erecting the skeleton of the  structure; creating its core support and shape.

To keep your framing business moving, you need to make and keep your takeoff and bidding process faster and more accurate.

Sophisticated software such as Square Takeoff, enables framing contractors to upload digital blueprints and complete online takeoff three times faster than doing it manually therefore saving a substantial amount of time and money.

When it comes to framing projects, the square foot is the preferred unit of bidding. The bid may go up/down, depending on the complexity of the project (vaulted ceilings, cut up roofs, steep roofs). Any structure that drifts away from standard rectangles will carry more costs.

Your bid for a framing contract may depend on the type of job. Generally, framing subcontractors work for a general contractor on specific projects. Their services may be limited to labor, with the general contractor/owner-builder arranging for the materials separately. A contract may include just basic framing, while another may include installation of doors, windows, roof shingles and house wrap.

The way framers quote when bidding also changes depending on the company and types of cases. Some subcontractors quote for each square foot under a roof, while others may charge only for the actual living spaces. Subcontractors may have different rates for living spaces compared to something like a garage or maybe a covered porch.

As for the labor costs, it may be $2-$12 or a more a square foot, or $3,500-$36,000 for a 1,600- to 3,000-square-foot home. Of course, the quote is proportional to the project location and what is included in the contract. Across the US, an average house framing labor rate is about $6-$8 a square foot, or $10,000-$25,000 for 1,600-3,000 square feet.  Some contractors may opt for steel framing, while others may prefer wood framing. Cost of framing materials is generally more than labor. Materials may cost $3-$12 or more a square foot, depending on the current price of lumber (or steel) as well as the size and design of the structure.

Square Takeoff is cloud-based software that enables you calculate all this framing in half the time. Rather than printing on a blueprint on paper from the initial to start to every time there is a change , you can simply upload it and go forth bidding. There are enough tools available thru Square that enable you to do the bidding with clinical efficiency and within the least amount of time possible. The figures are  accurate, bringing in better profits.

This online software may just be the difference between big success and an average performance.

Plumbing construction in square takeoff

As a plumbing subcontractor, you are constantly on the lookout for ways to bring down your response time and while securing accurate takeoffs.

Square Takeoff is a cloud-based software that enables you to upload digital blueprints and complete an online takeoff considerably faster.

Square Takeoff offers full technical support and training and can help save on resources.

Here’s how Square Takeoff helps you:

Custom Assemblies

Square’s Takeoff Assemblies will allow you to complete a takeoff measurement and estimate your material and labor costs in one step. The software enables you to combine multiple items pre-built into an assembly. Moreover, you can easily create assemblies on the fly during takeoff which aids in keeping count of every bolt and screw.

Professional Proposal

The software will create an accurate bid that is organized and professional.

Takeoff

You can use the takeoff, regardless of the construction trade you are in, to do the heavy lifting. Begin the takeoff straight from your digital blueprint! The software takes out the requirement of creating a printout of the blueprint every time you want  and need to do a takeoff.

Bid Analysis

Built-in reporting enables you review and modify the contract, keeping it in line with your specific requirements. You can analyze productive and non-productive labor,  job expense, view profit, and compare overhead categories totals. The software has an array of reporting tools that you can use to construct your bid efficiently.

Integration of Google Maps

Square Takeoff facilitates the integration of Google Maps, removing the need to upload blueprints. When Google Map is displayed on the screen, you may either zoom in or simply enter an address. You can now locate the area and use the export button to save it.

Quick Navigational Filters

Filters used on the calendar drop-downs, enables you to focus on relevant bids. For instance, if you are working on a range of bids in tandem, but you want to just see bid ABC at any given time, you just need to select the specific company on the drop-down and make all irrelevant bids disappear.

Similarly, the user drop-down menu comes in handy if you have several estimators on your staff. All you have to do is select a user name on the drop-down and view all the bids related to that particular estimator.

Flexibility

The software allows you to view data in list form, see the projects shared by others, feed in data regarding bid management and/or make other necessary changes. From a single screen you are able to manage data and bidding at the same time.

Summing Up

State-of-the-art software like Square Takeoff, makes takeoff for plumbing subcontractors really simple. It not only helps you save valuable time but can also boost your success rate.

Plumbing Construction Cloud Takeoff Software

Industry leading referral program

Did you know that by simply sharing Square Takeoff with your friends and fellow colleagues, you could earn a 20% commission when they subscribe?

Here at Square Takeoff we understand that nobody can share the value of our product better than our customers can. We understand the importance of the referrals our customers send us and because of that, we would like to provide you with a thank you for sharing our product.

For every client that is referred to us and decides to subscribe to our program we will pay a 20% commission on that lead for every month they are subscribed to our service for up to one full year from the date of the referral.

Here are just a few benefits you receive as a Referral Partner:

  • 20% commission on all software sales generated from your leads.
  • We provide you with a custom referral code and portal that allows you to track your leads and commissions.
  • We will handle all sales and support
  • Monthly payout
  • Free banner ads, e-mail templates, hyperlinks, etc.

How it works in 3 easy steps:

Simply visit https://squaretakeoff.com/referral-program/ and fill out the online form.

1: After completing the Referral Partner Application, one of our program associates will contact you to setup a Partner On-boarding meeting and help you get started on your road to your first commission check.

2: From there it is as easy as handing out marketing material, sending emails or just simply talking with your friends or colleagues about the benefits of using Square Takeoff. Then have them sign up using your referral link.

3: You then earn 20% of the total value of their subscription for up to 1 year as long as they are subscribed to Square Takeoff.

So why not team up with Square Takeoff and make some extra cash today?

Never took Square Takeoff for a spin? Then today is the day. Visit https://squaretakeoff.com/signup/ to start you free 14-day trial.

Checklisting your way to accuracy

How a Checklist Can Help You Achieve Accuracy in Estimate

Accurate and timely bids are closely linked to your company’s top and bottom lines, so you simply cannot leave it unchecked. Developing an extensive checklist and setting up a process for check listing will help you maintain foolproof accuracy.

Who should check the estimate

The person who has worked on the estimate shouldn’t ideally be the one checking it, as this person would tend to oversee the possible issues and mistakes. Have a secondary team member review the work. However, if there is no one else available, they should take at least half an hour break after finishing the estimate. This gap will help you clear your head and examine the estimate with fresh mind.

Preparing the checklist

Any checklist should essentially include some items. You need to ensure that the estimate…

  • covers the scope of work
  • includes the drawing scale on each page
  • presents the complete and latest set of drawings and addendum’s

Making a list of possible errors

In coordination with various team members within of your company,  create an extensive list of possible errors. Don’t just think about the possible mistakes done by seasoned estimators. Consider the possible mistakes of new trainee estimators. This list will serve as your checklist.

You can make the tasks scheduled on your list very specific. For instance, you can mention if the height of the wall has been correctly applied to the application for calculating wall area.

Setting up a process

It will help to develop two documents, instead of one, when it comes to creating and refining the checklist. One of these documents will be brief as it will just list the actual tasks. The other document will elaborate on the individual tasks on the checklist. These twin sheets will be particularly helpful when training new estimators. They’ll be able to further understand the specific nuances of estimating.

Revisiting of checklist

No checklist is final. Keep revisiting the checklist to ensure it meets the changing circumstances of the industry, specific project requirements, and the needs of your company.

Summing Up

Preparing a checklist boosts your efficiency and accuracy in estimating and project bidding. That bit of extra time that you spend utilizing a estimating checklist, will help you make many more accurate bids. Accurate bids leads to landing more projects.

Easier floor and roof rafter estimates

In construction, some of the most difficult estimates can be the calculation of floor joists and roof rafters. For many construction professionals this takes them the longest when trying to quote the framing material for a job and can result in some of the largest errors or miscalculations. Thanks to technology like Square Takeoff, this process is 10x easier and faster. With the release of tools such as the joist and rafter tool, doing a full takeoff and estimate of even the most complex floors or roofs, is a snap. Never again do you have to second-guess your estimate. With every use of the tool, a layout is produced showing you the proper length and location of the material. With this layout a framer will be able to make sure every piece of lumber is used correctly, therefore helping to eliminate waste and installation errors.

Since the release of these estimating tools, so many of our current clients are seeing a positive increase in speed and a massive decrease in estimate errors since first using the software. If you estimate these products and are looking for a quicker and easier way to do your next floor or roof rafter estimate, then sign-up for a free trial today and one of our reps will be happy to show you how the joist and rafter tool can positively impact your next estimate.

Roof Rafter Layout Example:

6 ways to make your construction estimates more accurate

When a client asks for an estimate, just dropping in some numbers that barely connect to reality  and then just rounding out a project is completely unrealistic and has potential for a serious disaster.

Here’re six time-tested ways to determine the right estimate:

1: Understand how various tasks in a project are interdependent

Each task in the process of estimating is connected in some way to the other; nothing “stands alone.” For instance, the installation of doors is inextricably linked to creation of walls.  So, if the estimated numbers for the install of the house’s doors are off, then the estimated numbers for wall creation will follow suit and be off.

2: Gather input from various teams

An estimator should know how various teams in the company work. While you may not be an expert in their task, you need to have a basic understanding of their work process, including where they start and how they prepare for an upcoming  project. Maybe research common challenges they face and the factors that contribute to a finalized project.

When you begin estimating the project, discuss with all respective teams about their prospective role in project and get their input. This will help you immensely in arriving at an accurate estimate.

3: Study historical data

Having a database that houses and stores the projects that the company has worked on and completed is a good idea for estimating. The system would store all the numbers used and submitted on a project .  Being able to delve into a database like this provides contractors and their companies an opportunity to review mistakes . Where were we short? Where were we over?  This could also provide a baseline (starting point) on any new similar project.

4: Ask the right questions

Every project is different.  The complete understanding of a project will help you forecast the time and resources required to complete it.

Have a solid set of questions to ask and the replies might require further questioning. If needed, send in a list of secondary questions to get more details.  

5: Develop an standardized estimating process

An efficient estimating process enables you to stay within your proposed budget. A structured, repeatable process enables you attain equal results faster. Administrative processes often take up more time than one usually plans for. A better process will help you streamline it and move ahead in a faster manner.

6: Provide for cost contingency

You cannot predict everything prior to kicking off a project. It’s a smart move to include a cost contingency to provide a cover for unexpected uncertainties. There is no hard and fast rule regarding the amount you should add or subject. You may add a certain percentage, or use a complicated model that factors in risk levels.

Summing Up

Using the 6 points listed above, will make the estimating process as accurate as possible and will provide a “flow” to each and every project.  Proper bids eans prober jobs. More jobs is more money.

Construction flooring software

As a flooring subcontractor, it is important for you to submit your bids faster, while ensuring your labor and material quantities are accurate. You need to calculate precisely how many square feet of hardwood, carpet or tile you need for the project. Speed and accuracy are the keys to your success. 

Cloud-based software such as Square Takeoff can turn the whole scenario in your favor. The software allows you to upload digital blueprints and complete an online takeoff™ and estimate at a much faster rate compared to manually do it by hand. Let’s look at some of those benefits and features. 

Custom Flooring Templates 

The software allows you to customize the tools to fit your business model. You can create customized templates for each trade you estimate. Each template can contain job specific assemblies that assist in the calculation of labor, equipment and project material. If you can estimate it by hand, you can definitely do it with Square Takeoff.

Working with Digital Blueprints Has Never Been So Easy

You can upload digital blueprints and begin working right away. The software works with many different formats such as PDF, JPEG, PNG and so much more. Being able to work directly with your digital files, helps eliminate any need of printing the plans, which will save you money on your projects. You can zoom and pan the image, electronically measure total lengths and identify areas, and do counts of needed items. Depending on your preference, you may choose unit of measurement (imperial/metric). Navigation is easy and you can get up and going in just minutes. Once again saving you valuable time and money.

Cross-Platform and Mobile Friendly

An Internet-enabled device is all you need to access the online platform. It does not really matter whether it is a desktop, laptop, tablet, or a smartphone. Open your browser, log in and begin working. It is so simple! 

Summing It Up 

Square Takeoff brings in an array of attributes that make it tailor-made for a flooring subcontractor. Features like custom formulas, trade specific templates, easy-to-use tools, bid management, and more make it a welcome solution for you.

If you have not taken Square Takeoff for a spin, then today is the day to sign-up for a full-unrestricted 14-day trial. Don’t forget to schedule your free demo to see how Square Takeoff can impact your business today.

Carpet and Hardwood Flooring Construction Cloud Takeoff Software

How framing contractors can take advantage of cloud based takeoff and estimating software

As a framing subcontractor, it is important for you to submit your bids faster, while ensuring your labor and material quantities are accurate. You need to calculate precisely how many square feet of subfloor, total count of studs and plates and/or labor you need for the project. Speed and accuracy are the keys to your success.

Cloud-based software such as Square Takeoff can turn the whole scenario in your favor. The software allows you to upload digital blueprints and complete an online takeoff™ and estimate at a much faster rate compared to manually do it by hand. Let’s look at some of those benefits and features.

Custom Framing Templates and Tools

The software allows you to customize the tools to fit your business model. You can create customized templates for each trade you estimate. Each template can contain job specific assemblies that assist in the calculation of labor, equipment and project material. Tools like the Joist and Rafter Tool, allow you to layout and calculate the number of floor joists or roof rafters you need to frame out your project. Making what could be a complex action by hand, faster and easier. Just remember that if you can estimate it by hand, you can definitely do it with Square Takeoff.

Working with Digital Blueprints Has Never Been So Easy

You can upload digital blueprints and begin working right away. The software works with many different formats such as PDF, JPEG, PNG and so much more. Being able to work directly with your digital files, helps eliminate any need of printing the plans, which will save you money on your projects. You can zoom and pan the image, electronically measure total lengths and identify areas, and do counts of needed items. Navigation is easy and you can get up and going in just minutes. Once again saving you valuable time and money.

Cross-Platform and Mobile Friendly

An Internet-enabled device is all you need to access the online platform. It does not really matter whether it is a desktop, laptop, tablet, or a smartphone. Open your browser, log in and begin working. It is so simple!

Summing It Up

Square Takeoff brings in an array of attributes that make it tailor-made for a framing subcontractor. Features like custom formulas, trade specific templates, easy-to-use tools, bid management, and more make it a welcome solution for you.

If you have not taken Square Takeoff for a spin, then today is the day to sign-up for a full-unrestricted 14-day trial. Don’t forget to schedule your free demo to see how Square Takeoff can impact your business today.

Framing Construction Cloud Takeoff Software

Speed versus accuracy in the world of estimating

Everyday construction estimators around the globe face a common dilemma, can they achieve a high level of accuracy while trying to hit a tight deadline?

In the world of estimating deadlines often approach rather quickly. Couple that with the everyday delays, such as waiting on that final set of approved blue prints, construction estimators can feel quite rushed. Whatever the obstacles maybe, an estimator is required to complete their estimate on time and to make sure they have all the required info that was asked for in the specifications guide.  With that being said, let us take a step back and look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of the methods of today’s estimators.

As estimators we have many tools available to us to help assist in our day to day jobs; anything from an architect’s scale to today’s leading technology.  No matter what we choose, we need to have a full understanding of how to use those tools.  Estimating, as we all know, has been part of the construction industry since the first buildings were ever built. For thousands of years estimating was done by what we call in the industry as “estimating by hand.”  This method involves hand calculating everything; from the construction materials, to measurements, and even equipment and labor needed for the project.  This has been a tried and true process for a long time, but thanks to technology, this process continues to improve.  Though a by- hand estimate is accurate, human error in the different aspects of the process, can cause a miss calculation at any point.  Just a simple mistake on the amount of material or even forgetting to measure a section, can result in the loss of the project.  In the past, some estimators may have provided a 10 plus day lead-time on their estimate, just trying to ensure they have enough time to make sure everything is correct!  Thanks to advancements in technology, the tools of the construction industry are changing and over the last few years, those “safety” lead-times have been, at a minimum, cut in half.  Even though an estimator may be very detailed with their by hand process to maintain accuracy, technology takes it many steps further by ensuring their measurements are always accounted for and that their calculations are always right.

So let us look at the question again, can we have speed while doing a construction estimate but also maintain the required accuracy?  In today’s market, technology provides us with an edge, by allowing us to find the perfect balance between the two, ensuring that every estimate is right and never late.

Construction in the cloud

It is amazing how much information is transacted during a typical day on a construction site. Whether it is info being passed from site to home office, from site to site, site to owner, it is an enormous amount of data interchange. Blue pint updates. Invoices. Sub-contractor delays. Time changes to material deliveries. Payroll. And then multiply that by the number of active construction projects.
All this information has to be stored and transmitted somehow and somewhere. Flash drives? Personal servers and backup services?

What about the Cloud?

The cloud is software and services that run on the Internet and not on a local computer. It’s not running up in the blue sky just beneath anything mystical, it has a home here on earth with a network of servers stored in multiple locations each having different functions. This network finds what you need and delivers it or stores it.

Remember how quickly something changes on the job site? The property owner called in with a last minute change to a floor plan. A bunk of lumber is now going to deliver Friday instead of Monday. Not sure which elevation was the final pick for the customer? The Cloud provides simple access and flexibility to a fast information exchange getting the whole team on the same page. Answers get found quickly; no need for a secondary set of files. It can provide collaboration between well, pretty much anything. Invoicing and payroll have be documented for each job site and then it has to be sent to home office. The Cloud removes the re-keying of things. HR can access that data right off the cloud. No need to submit those types documents every Friday afternoon.

So why not dig in and look at what solutions are out there that could help your business improve collaboration on your next project. From cloud based bid management and estimating solutions like Square Takeoff that helps ensure everyone from the office to the field knows what was estimated and what documents they need to view for the project, there are solutions for every task you need.

What about the Cloud?

The cloud is software and services that run on the Internet and not on a local computer. It’s not running up in the blue sky just beneath anything mystical, it has a home here on earth with a network of servers stored in multiple locations each having different functions. This network finds what you need and delivers it or stores it.

Remember how quickly something changes on the job site? The property owner called in with a last minute change to a floor plan. A bunk of lumber is now going to deliver Friday instead of Monday. Not sure which elevation was the final pick for the customer? The Cloud provides simple access and flexibility to a fast information exchange getting the whole team on the same page. Answers get found quickly; no need for a secondary set of files. It can provide collaboration between well, pretty much anything. Invoicing and payroll have be documented for each job site and then it has to be sent to home office. The Cloud removes the re-keying of things. HR can access that data right off the cloud. No need to submit those types documents every Friday afternoon.

So why not dig in and look at what solutions are out there that could help your business improve collaboration on your next project. From cloud based bid management and estimating solutions like Square Takeoff that helps ensure everyone from the office to the field knows what was estimated and what documents they need to view for the project, there are solutions for every task you need.

Freestanding ER coming to waterford lakes florida in 2019

Great News for the Waterford Lakes Florida Area with the announcement of the ground breaking of a new freestanding emergency room.

On Sept. 13 there was a ceremony held by the nonprofit health care provider to announce the $15.6 million AdventHealth Waterford Lakes ER.

The ER will have 24 patient rooms, including two pediatric-friendly rooms; imaging technology such as CT, X-ray and ultrasound; as well as a laboratory. Orlando-based HuntonBrady Architects PA is the project architect and West Point, Ga.-based Batson-Cook Co. is the general contractor.

Location of the Waterford Lakes Freestanding ER.

The new facility is part of a growing trend in the area to build more freestanding emergency centers. The state had only 26 freestanding ERs in 2016 and that number has grown to 41, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. The total count will rise to 50-plus with the Central Florida projects in the works and may go even higher, since they fulfill a strategy for hospital systems to grow revenue by bringing emergency care closer to outlying, typically affluent suburbs, where people are more likely to be able to afford health care.

The approximately 19,000-square-foot facility is expected to open second-quarter 2019 and have 300 temporary construction jobs and 100 permanent medical jobs at full buildout.

Proposed Rendering of the ER Construction Project

Construction in the cloud

It is amazing how much information is transacted during a typical day on a construction site. Whether it is info being passed from site to home office, from site to site, site to owner, it is an enormous amount of data interchange. Blue pint updates. Invoices. Sub-contractor delays. Time changes to material deliveries. Payroll. And then multiply that by the number of active construction projects.
All this information has to be stored and transmitted somehow and somewhere. Flash drives? Personal servers and backup services?

What about the Cloud?

The cloud is software and services that run on the Internet and not on a local computer. It’s not running up in the blue sky just beneath anything mystical, it has a home here on earth with a network of servers stored in multiple locations each having different functions. This network finds what you need and delivers it or stores it.

Remember how quickly something changes on the job site? The property owner called in with a last minute change to a floor plan. A bunk of lumber is now going to deliver Friday instead of Monday. Not sure which elevation was the final pick for the customer? The Cloud provides simple access and flexibility to a fast information exchange getting the whole team on the same page. Answers get found quickly; no need for a secondary set of files. It can provide collaboration between well, pretty much anything. Invoicing and payroll have be documented for each job site and then it has to be sent to home office. The Cloud removes the re-keying of things. HR can access that data right off the cloud. No need to submit those types documents every Friday afternoon.

So why not dig in and look at what solutions are out there that could help your business improve collaboration on your next project. From cloud based bid management and estimating solutions like Square Takeoff that helps ensure everyone from the office to the field knows what was estimated and what documents they need to view for the project, there are solutions for every task you need.

Few benefits of using drones in construction

As of 2018 in the United States, commercial drone use has increased across many industries. In the last two years, some one million new pilots have registered with the Federal Aviation Administration, and by 2020, experts expect seven million or more drones flying the skies.

In recent reports, it was found that construction is in the top three uses for commercial drone-based services, behind aerial photography, surveying and mapping, and geographic information systems (GIS). The number of construction companies using drones will continue to increase; as new technology emerges that offers further business, value and competitive advantage over the competition.

Jobsite applications

Here are a few other use cases for drones on the construction site and for ongoing inspections:

Time lapse: Use drones to take weekly images of the structure and stitch them together into a time-lapse video.

Forward looking infrared (FLIR): Drones equipped with FLIR sensors can be used to detect energy loss or consumption or insulation defects as part of installing and inspecting HVAC.

Thermal imaging: Drones with thermal sensors can accomplish a lot on a construction site — detecting thermal hotspots, delamination, spalling and moisture intrusion are all possibilities.

Roof Estimating: With being able to capture aerial images of a roof, construction companies have found this to be extremely useful when using those images within an estimating software such as Square Takeoff. The ability to assess damage or simply to provide an accurate construction estimate of roof material for an established home provides a competitive advantage over others.

Project Marketing: With a drone, companies can achieve and capture the aerial perspective, and get results that would otherwise be impractical or impossible. This creates a competitive advantage when it comes to promoting a firm’s projects and services.

Drones only provide a value when they are in the air, so once a company makes the initial investment, it is worth it to explore as many options and drone applications as possible to maximize that investment.

Does technology help close the performance gap

The skilled labor shortage is a well-documented epidemic. As baby boomers continue to reach retirement age and the younger generations enter the workforce in stronger numbers, companies must take steps to understand how best to recruit and retain these workers — and technology can help with that.

The proliferation of construction technology not only will increase productivity, but also will positively affect the labor market when it is used effectively as a recruitment tool.

Adopting technologies to increase productivity can go hand-in-hand with helping to alleviate the effects of the labor shortage. Some construction management and general construction firm, use technology to streamline their processes by starting with tools, like cloud solutions, early in the process. That process helps team members maintain transparency in their communications throughout the project.

Technology’s ability to help close the performance gap by building smarter. Extracting data through venues like LiDAR, photogrammetry, online takeoff™ software and data sensing and visualization can help with quality control, safety tracking, site analysis, labor and material estimating and more.

Machines also are starting to do what was once uniquely human work, freeing up available people to work on other tasks. Recently Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania company recently developed a robot that can tie rebar on their many bridges, thereby cutting labor hours in half and reducing worker safety risk. Another company recently started testing an autonomous track loader that can excavate holes for building foundations 24 hours per day.

Technology, when properly implemented, can provide massive positive advancements in today’s construction industry as we can see. However, it is just a matter of how a company decides to use it.