Construction Work – Should You Change Jobs During These Tough Times?

Its estimated that in countries like the UK and Australia that 80 of all people work either directly or indirectly in the Independent Subcontractor Agreement industry. In the USA its much lower, but its still presents a significant portion of the workforce. Whether you own a construction company or whether you are a construction worker chances are that you are feeling the pinch of these tough times. Virtually no new homes have been built for months now and what used to be so many people’s livelihood is now virtually wiped out.
The question on everyone’s mind is when will the construction industry return to normal? Although experts predicted a return months ago, they now have a very different theory. The economic situation we are in is a very serious problem that affects the construction industry more than anything else.
If you are waiting for things to return to “normal” then you might wait some time still. There is very little relief ahead in the near future. So, what can you do as a construction worker? What can you do with your construction business?
Well, you need to be very creative when you do want to survive in these times. Many companies started moving their operations to developing countries where there is a lot of opportunity still. Many African countries, the Middle East and even India have massive building projects in what’s been described as a boom time for them.
The simple fact is that if you want to survive in this industry you will need to broaden your horizons. There is still a lot of opportunity – its just not on your doorstep any more. Be creative. See this as an opportunity. Those who do get through this will come out much stronger on the other side. If you are not up for it, you might want to look outside construction because for the immediate future at least it still looks quite bleak. Be optimistic though and don’t let this setback let you lose hope.
Historically the Subcontracting Work industry has gone through countless dips but it always recovered. It has always been and will always be one of the most in-demand industries simple because in the developing world there is always room to build. With US and UK construction companies now firmly established in the Middle East, the job market has once again opened up yet another door. It may not be convenient but there is work and in most cases the financial reward makes it worth it.…

Tips to Minimize Contractor Change Orders When Remodeling

Performance Tip #1 – Contractor Delays
When a trade gets behind in his work, it not only impacts the schedule but it also impacts all the trades that follow his work.
If the trades that follow are then required to accelerate their work to maintain your schedule, they can incur overtime costs that they will seek to recover through a change order for a cause not of their making.
Contractors or trades who fall behind in their scope (and not due to you as the owner or to project impacts outside their control) should have the understanding upfront that they will be required to take necessary action to meet and maintain your job progress, without additional compensation. Any costs associated with accelerating work, if required to meet schedule, then becomes an issue handled between the contractor and his trades.
Performance Tip #2 – Material Delivery Commitments
Change orders in construction often occur when the contractor fails to timely secure orders for materials. The contractor, as a best practice, needs to timely secure delivery commitments, place orders for materials, equipment and services required in connection with the Work to avoid delays and maintain the scheduled timeline.
Often contractors will wait to order materials until just before the time they are due for scheduled installation. Many times they will find out that particular item is no longer in stock or unavailable, resulting in a potential schedule impact. This happens frequently when a contractor does not have the storage capacity for items ordered early and does not want to pay for storage.
There are also many instances where a specified product or material becomes discontinued and that can be a schedule impact if a new alternate product needs to be selected and approved. Selecting a new product and/or taking a late delivery impacts the schedule, the overall work flow and can result in change order requests.
Discuss with the contractor, in advance, any items on your project which he may see as a potential delay so alternatives can be discussed or substitutions selected.
Performance Tip #3 – Drawing Dimensions vs. Field Measurements
Change orders in construction generally occur when dimensions provided on contract drawings have not been field verified.
Drawing dimensions rarely correlate to actual field conditions which is why measurements should always be field verified. The contractor and his trades need to be responsible for taking necessary field measurements before fabricating materials to ensure the work will fit and function properly with other work.
It is not uncommon to have actual field dimensions off by not only inches but feet which can impact the integration of any work that follows. Improper measurements or failure to field measure can result in potentially costly rework and schedule impacts.
Avoid change orders for this condition by making it their responsibility to field measure in your contract language.
Performance Tip #4 – No Substitutions Allowed
If your contract drawings call for specified product, model, color, serial number, manufacturer, or series, then the contractor is contractually obligated …

Change and Technology In Real Estate and Construction

This summary highlights a number of the principal underlying trends and initiatives which are currently shaping the long-term characteristics of the US construction industry. The hypothesis is that such can only be realized through the simultaneous combination of business process change and the complementary implementation of new IT support systems.
The most encouraging aspect of such initiatives is that, for the most part, they are being undertaken on an integrated and cohesive basis and address the same set of underlying criteria.Those taking part and driving such change include leading commercial, consultancy, trade and professional organizations and universities. The funding for such activities is being made available via a variety of sources including US Government research programs, direct commercial sponsorship and the subscription to more generic studies and initiatives by joint industry-academic bodies.
Technology As A Major Change Enabler
(a) The Potential
As demonstrated by the varied (but nevertheless interrelated) objectives identified by studies, there are now several major areas of strategic industry focus currently gathering pace and high level commercial, professional and governmental support within the US.
A common underlying factor in nearly all cases however is the importance and value of information and the implementation of new communication networks such as intranets to support client and project team information management, access, flow and exchange between both remote office based staff and the construction site itself. In addition there is also the increasing potential for the introduction of other leading edge technologies such as PC based video conferencing and electronic whiteboards for group working, 24 hour access to live site based ‘birds eye’ video, 3D virtual reality modelling and augmented reality applications all of which have on-line project oriented capability.
Furthermore, there are emerging portable technologies such as bar coding and the use of portable digital assistants for site based staff use with support for sending and receiving data such as work- in-progress valuations and materials delivery recording. The real added value however is in approaching all such systems strategically and ensuring their interoperability and integration in operation across a common project communication network.
Construction organizations are proving themselves to be increasingly ready, willing and able to invest in proven administrative based, proprietary office systems developed by the major IT hardware and software vendors and which admirably cater for everyday operational tasks such as accounting, sales and marketing presentations. Where it is more difficult for such organizations however, is in relation to more strategic and industry specific applications and especially those which require a fundamental review of predominant and traditional methods and processes and the acquisition of new technical skills at both managerial, consultant and site-level.
The US is particularly well supported by high level university based construction research which have close relationships with the industry and where a good number of leading edge initiatives are being investigated and modeled for commercial application.
In addition, because of the scale of funding and the publicity that tends to be generated as a result, knowledge dissemination of such projects is guaranteed useful …