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Follow the 100 Percent Rule to Cut Your Costs

The current state of the economy and very high fuel prices has many contractors looking for additional cost savings in what are already very small profit margins. It’s difficult to land new projects these days and when you do get one, the last thing you want is to lose money on the job. One technique that may help you operate more efficiently and save on labor and fuel costs is to ask your crews to practice the 100 percent rule.
Make Sure Everything is 100 Percent Ready and 100 Percent Complete
The 100 percent rule works for home builders, commercial general contractors, sub-contractors, and just about any trade that performs work in the construction industry. The technique is very simple, but it may take some time to fully implement it into your daily operations. Depending on the type of company you have, all three parts of the rule may not apply, but in general:
• Job site 100 Percent Ready – don’t send your crews to a job site unless it’s 100 percent ready for their phase of work and all materials needed to do their job are present on site. If you’re a trim carpenter, don’t What Is An Apprentice In Construction send your crews to a house when the crown molding is backordered or the sheetrock is still being finished in the basement. Making trips back to a job site to take care of loose ends incurs additional labor and fuel costs
• Job 100 Percent Complete – If your crews need to stay on a project an hour past quitting time to complete the job, it can save sending crews back in the morning and allow you to move to the next job. When a crew completes their phase of work, have them walk the home or building to ensure it is 100 percent complete. A quick walk through can ensure they haven’t missed anything that might result in a call from the How To Renovate A House Yourself manager and a return trip to the site
• 100 Percent Complete before Occupancy – don’t allow occupancy of the home or building you’re constructing until it’s 100 percent complete. This can be difficult if you’re being pressured by your customer, but once they move in you’re stuck with working around their schedule. Simple tasks can take twice as long and several trips when you have to schedule an appointment to complete your job.
As with everything in the construction industry, there are exceptions to just about every rule and the 100 percent rule may not be appropriate in some situations. However, trying to stick with the rule should help you reduce labor and fuel costs and may even improve the morale of your crews.…

Construction Unemployment Declines to 16.5 Percent, But it May Not Be As Good As it Looks

A recent ENR article reported that the Sub Contract Work Definition industry unemployment rate declined in August to 16.5% which is the lowest in eight months. This was a relatively large improvement over the 18.2% rate for July; however, this is still over twice the 8.2% rate from last year. The funny thing about these numbers is that they were not seasonally adjusted and we all know that the employment rate in construction is more seasonal than ticket sales at the Six Flags water park.
Ok, maybe not that seasonal, but there is certainly significant seasonality in overall construction unemployment and for ENR to disregard this is a bit on the amateur side. Heck, they might as well be writing a below table shows construction unemployment for the last thirteen months and seasonality is certainly evident.
Construction Unemployment Rate, past 13 Months
2009
Month / Rate in %
August 16.5
July 18.2
June 17.4
May 19.2
April 18.7
March 21.1
February World Landscape Architecture Awards 21.4
January 18.2
2008
December 15.3
November 12.7
October 10.8
September 9.9
August 8.2
Note: Rates are not seasonally adjusted.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics
Another little confusing report was that the construction industry lost 65,000 jobs in August which was better than the 72,000 lost in July but certainly far from an increase in overall construction employment. Now, I’m not a genius, but I do find it a bit hard to believe how you can lose jobs in an industry and yet the unemployment rate decreases. This is hard for my idle mind to understand. It seems like the only way for that to happen is if the total number of people in the construction industry, either employed or not, decreases. Which I suppose is possible (and maybe even probable) if folks decide to bail on construction entirely to become massage therapists or something, but I certainly think it should be made clear somewhere in the article.
There is also some speculation from not only myself, that ENR may try to sugarcoat the employment data in an effort to avoid panic from sponsors and advertisers of the magazine. Plus, since they are a very popular industry magazine, they probably prefer to go light on the doom and gloom. I would.
Oh well, we’ll see what happens, I suppose. But the reality of this situation is probably not as bright as some may lead you believe.…