Posted by Tyson at 30 July 2014

Category: Building

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Senate’s “fix” lasts just five months, aiming to force action in December on long-term transportation bill.
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Posted by Tyson at 30 July 2014

Category: Building News

Tags: ,

Tongue and Groove

A few months ago, I was at a lunch with a prospective customer, discussing a new project. Partway through our meal, I said, “Jim, you know if this is going to be a well-built project, we need to be a fit for you, and you for us.” To say he was taken aback is an understatement. I could see his expression change as he processed what was just said. He turned to his associate, saying he’d never been approached like that before.

I truly meant what I said. As contractors, or any kind of service providers really, there are two things that differentiate us from the pack. Price is the obvious one, but quality of service is equally important.

In order to achieve high quality service, the relationship needs to be right. That’s why, in my efforts at the company, I try to build relationships first, sizing up the opportunity, then making sure it’s a fit both ways. This means that you might turn down business sometimes. It also means you produce higher quality work, and enjoy more repeat business with your customers.

Back to my friend and our lunch. Because of that sentence and our approach, he felt comfortable with me and the company. We came in with a competitive bid. All other things were equal, and we start the job next week.

Planting Acorns

Posted by Tyson at 29 July 2014

Category: Architecture News

Tags: , , , , ,

amazon Rufus 20 campus seattle 300x171 Could the Tech Industry Save Office Construction?Across the country, office construction has seen a recent boom, thanks to technology companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook. These multi-billion dollar firms are expanding rapidly, and looking for more space for offices and data storage.

A recent article, titled Demand from Tech Sector Helps to Reboot Office Market, from Engineering News Record (ENR.com), took an in-depth look into the recent “reboot” of office construction, highlighting cities like Seattle, San Francisco, and even Des Moines, where Facebook recently began construction on a massive data center.

The article mentions that of the 75 metro areas that McGraw Hill Construction tracks, office construction is up by 100 percent in 19 of them. Tech isn’t the only industry driving the numbers, but many of the big tech players are opening offices in smaller cities as well as the main tech hubs.

Major tech companies are also setting a trend for new, innovative buildings. For instance, when completed, Amazon’s new Rufus 2.0 office complex in Seattle will include three, 38-story office towers, fronted by three interconnected glass and steel spheres with retail, office, and green public spaces inside. These spheres are made of conjoined Catalan-sphere modules, creating three large domes that will span an entire city block.

The Rufus 2.0 project incorporates modular construction. Like other modular buildings, the parts of each sphere were prefabricated and then connected on the site to create an eye-catching, permanent structure.

Tech companies want their buildings to stand out. After all, there’s so much innovation going on inside, it stands to reason innovation should be apparent on the outside.

Modular design can be very innovative. In fact, if a company can dream it, nearly any design can be carried out using modular construction. Modular buildings range from complexes made from recycled shipping containers, to purpose-built modules designed to withstand the inhospitable climate of the Antarctic.

As the trend toward more innovative construction continues, we expect to see modular office construction leading the way in state-of-the-art building design.

The post Could the Tech Industry Save Office Construction? appeared first on ModSpace Blog – Construction News, Updates & Insights.


ModSpace Blog – Construction News, Updates & Insights

Posted by Tyson at 29 July 2014

Category: Construction News

Tags: , , , , ,

While it is typically patrons of a casino that are in need of a little luck, this time it is Revel Casino that needs to either double down or take what is left of their onceIMG_0535-300x289enormous pile of chips and cash out. Basically, Revel Casino has 16 with the dealer showing a face card and after their second bankruptcy in less than 18 months, they need to take a hit.

If you haven’t been to Revel, I would suggest that you check it out. Not only because it is a fantastic building and one of the most spectacular casinos in the World, but also because there is a chance that they could be closing their doors in August if they don’t find someone willing to buy the ailing monstrosity of excess.  And if it sounds like I’m giving a little bit of a sales pitch for Revel, well, I am.  I moved to the east coast from the thin air and low humidity of Colorado to work in project management for a subcontractor on the Revel Casino.  It was a tough move, and tough project, and I was able to squeeze as much out of the job as I could until the project was stopped in 2009 and I was kindly given directions to the nearest exit.  But nevertheless, there is a special place in my heart for the Revel Casino.  I want it to survive, and I  it should, and I think it will.  Not only because I want it too, but also because the building is awesome and it is a product of some of the most talented architects, engineers, and contractors we have in this country.

At first I thought that this threat to close was a just that, a threat, with the intention of getting the State of New Jersey or the City to toss in more money to keep the building open. However, Revel also gave notice to all of their employees that they could be shutting their doors. While Casino owners are not always the friendliest folk, they are far from stupid and running the risk of losing lots of employees wouldn’t make much business sense if they didn’t think there was a legitimate reason. But then again, they also have a $ 2.4 billion building that’s worth about one tenth of the cost to build it.

blog-31-224x300Of course, what the building is worth is largely determined by what someone is willing to pay for it.  According to last month’s bankruptcy filing in Camden, NJ, their second in less than 18 months, the casino is bleeding $ 2 million a week, or $ 285,714 per day.  Nevertheless, Atlantic City mayor, Don Guardian, recently announced that Revel is in talks with six different potential buyers.  The approximate sale price is around $ 200 million, but it is yet to be determined if that price will in fact yield a sale and some have valued the building at around $ 50 million.

Two other casinos in Atlantic City are also slated to close and I’m not sure if this is good news or bad news for Revel.  It could provide the opportunity to gain more share ofIMG_05311-764x1024 the market, but it could also just mean that the competition from Philadelphia area casinos along with other factors are slowly melting Atlantic city away.  

With all this jabber about potential closings and things, I decided to take a trip to Revel a couple of weeks ago for a “last supper” of sorts.  I had not been to Revel since it opened so I was eager to find out what exactly all of our hard work had produced.  I was not disappointed.  Every room has a view of the ocean through an enormous glass wall and the finishes are all top notch.  There has been criticism about the design of the building and how there is a long walk from the parking area to the hotel lobby and casino floor.  Yes, it’s a long walk, but I didn’t find this to be very much of a problem and I think the $ 150 million in design changes and renovations that are required is a bit over stated.  Basically, the casino has everything including a pretty awesome pool and lots of Jose Garces restaurants.

Long story short, Revel needs to stay open, and, again, I think it will.

Of course, this post will be up for less than a month before the potential shut down of Revel Casino, so at that point, I guess I’ll either be a testament to the power of optimism or a testament to blog content being worth less than a plot of land in Atlantic City.  But either way, if you kind of want to check out the Revel Casino, going sooner rather than later may be a descent bet.

Constructonomics

Posted by Tyson at 28 July 2014

Category: Construction

Tags: ,

Generational differences in the workforce have never gotten as much play as they do today. Seventy years ago the things that were important to dad at work became important to junior when his time came to get a job. In fact, many kids followed parents into the factories, the legal firms and the family businesses of the time, in an unquestioning […]


Construction Informer Blog

Posted by Tyson at 28 July 2014

Category: Architects

Tags: , , , ,

lead generation services for construction marketingI recently investigated the project lead generation programs of two service providers for a large manufacturer in the northern Midwest. The company wants to provide leads to its sales force so that its product can be specified in commercial construction projects at an earlier stage. The goal is to get in at the planning, not bid stage to take the competitor out of the equation.

The Big Dog Lead Generators: McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge and Reed Construction Data

I thought I would share what I learned about McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge (Dodge) and Reed Construction Data (RCD), the two largest lead generators in this area. Most of this information is readily available from their websites or by talking with sales representatives, but I also interviewed a couple of people who had used both systems. It’s hard to assess these services because access to the databases is highly restricted – and rightly so.

During my research, I found that surprisingly, there was an incredible lack of real information about these providers. With most products or services, you can go online and find someone has done a comparative review and other users have posted comments to flesh out the information. The only real source of information about these services are from Dodge (Construction.com/dodge) and RCD (reedconstructiondata.com) themselves. For any person doing an analysis, those are hardly reliable sources of information. I have heard, however, of individual companies that have done extensive testing of both services. One company completed a 200-page analysis for its internal use. The manufacturer I represented may choose to take that next step.

First, a disclaimer. I worked at Reed Business Information, which owns RCD, as editorial director for the residential construction media. During a few months of my tenure, my group reported up to RCD. I sat in on meetings with RCD, but I can honestly state that no information I learned from those meetings – if I could even remember it – is included in this report.

How they work

The most difficult aspect of generating my report was identifying true points of differentiation. For the most part, Dodge and RCD operate in the same manner and provide the same services, although they compete quite viciously. (More on this later. See the subhead, “Tough Competitors.)

Both providers pull much of their data from public sources. By law, public projects and many private projects must be advertised. With that information, the services can identify architects, building owners, municipalities, engineering firms, planners and other groups that are planning or putting out to bid commercial projects. The quality of the data is entirely dependent on the relationship with those people preparing the work. Both Dodge and RCD offer incentives to their providers to make it worth their effort to report the data, such as giving them free access to the database. Dodge has a long-term relationship with Associated General Contractors (AGC), which enables their reporting. RCD has a new partnership with American Institute of Architects (AIA) and leverages the work its subsidiary, RSMeans, does in gathering cost information.

The companies gather this information by employing phone banks of researchers who call their sources to get updates on projects, secure plans, and identify new projects coming down the pipeline. All that data, combined with plans, goes into a massive database, which is organized by project. The database is highly searchable and deep with information. Here are some of the kinds of data that is included in these projects.

  • Planning stage, such as proposed, architect selection, schematics, bid stage, etc.
  • Category, such  as commercial,  industrial, etc.   Both of those will have  subcategories.  For commercial it may include medical offices, retail, parking garages, etc.
  • Type of work, such as new construction or addition
  • Contract type
  • Location
  • Company information for planners, general contractors,               major trades, etc.
  • Materials specified including company names and models if appropriate
  • Value of the project and often value of major subcontracts

Both companies provide an online interface that gives users access to the databases so they can query for their particular needs. And both companies provide written reports based on selection criteria that are delivered to your company. Pricing is the major motivation for restricting selections, since few companies can afford the cost of full access — or have the need for all the leads.

Generally, leads can be coordinated in one of three ways.

  1. Both Dodge and RCD will link the leads they provide with a proprietary customer relationship management (CRM) software for an individual company
  2. Deliver the leads to a lead manager
  3. Distribute leads directly to sales people

In addition, both Dodge and RCD are leveraging the strength of these services to build other businesses, such as consulting, costing data, economic data, and more. For our purposes, we are looking only at lead generation services for building product manufacturers.

Vital statistics

 

McGraw-Hill Dodge Reports Reed Construction Data
Year Founded 1903 1975
Markets Served US and Canada US and Canada
Headquarters New York Norcross, Ga.
Online Interface McGraw-Hill Construction Network Reed Connect
Print reports Dodge Reports Reed Bulletin

 

Differentiation and pricing

It should be clear by this point that the differentiation between Dodge and RCD is obscure at best, especially to outsiders. In conversation with sales representatives for both companies and users, I asked this very specific question.

Both companies provide deep information on a great breadth of projects. My user sources tell me that the differentiation often comes within particular material areas. One service may be better for interior decorative products while the other have a stronger electrical product information base. The type of differences may vary from the types of products to the company names included, which would be essential if you are searching for competitors.

McGraw Hill dodge reports reed Construction data Year Founded 1903 1975 Markets Served US and Canada US and Canada Headquarters New York Norcross, Ga. online interface McGraw-Hill Construction Network Reed Connect Print reports Dodge Reports Reed Bulletin

RCD claims to have a stronger group of reporters on private projects. Their claimed strength is built on the back of RSMeans, which is a company that gathers unit costs for building product materials all around the world and has significant interaction with architects who specify those products. RCD uses that information and those relationships to update their information on the harder-to-identify private construction projects.

Both companies quietly admit that their civil and public databases are nearly redundant. The reason is simple. Because, by law those projects must be advertised, finding them is quite simple. In addition, the companies are close on their pricing, which is loosely based on a cost per lead. The best example for pricing that I could find was that RCD’s fully-loaded database would run a company about $ 60,000 per year. (I’m sure that could go higher if the company were to download more leads, but the governing factor may be not how many leads you can capture, but how many you can handle.)

RCD recently debuted a new interactive program called SmartSpecs (www.smartprojectnews.com), which aims to make the interface for a company more focused and deliver leads quicker and more easily. The same company with this lead program could see a fee of approximately $ 12,000 per year. Entry fee for the service comes in at $ 110 per month.

Dodge does the same kind of thing through their hands-on customer service, which they claim as a huge differentiator. By using what they call TargetLeads to pinpoint references and carefully selected keywords, they can bring the costs of lead generation down considerably. As a rule, of course, the cost per lead remains constant. The savings comes in the number of leads and their quality.

Dodge also prices reports on a 10 and 20-pack basis. For $ 59 per month, you can get 10 reports covering 2 geographic regions that provides the main details of a project. (Here’s a link to a sample report.) The 20-pack version costs $ 79 per month.

RCD has similar kinds of reports at similar costs. These should not be compared to having access to the database, which you can query. That is a much more robust approach that gives greater control and deeper information to the user.

Tough Competitors

RCD and Dodge have been fighting head to head since 1975, when RCD was founded. (The company was originally called Construction Market Data, but Reed Business Information purchased it in May 2000 and changed the name.) Recently, the battle on the commerce field moved to the court system.

In October 2009, RCD filed suit in federal court, accusing Dodge of 11 counts of misconduct, which includes corporate espionage. The basis for the suit is the claim that Dodge used subterfuge and false companies to steal RCD’s trade secrets.

In October 2010, RCD put out a press release stating Dodge admitted in court that it paid others to access the RCD database, which is supposed to be available only to customers. The company also claims Dodge shared what it learned with its sales staff.

Dodge responded by denying it has unlawfully accessed RCD’s trade secrets or shared them. They counterclaim that RCD itself hired a consultant to access the Dodge database.

This is pretty good spectator sport, and the stakes are high. In October, a judge dismissed three of the counts, but 8 remain. At this writing, the suit has not gone to trial, and the outcome is still up in the air.

Final Word on the Big Dogs

For manufacturers looking to increase their leads in this tough economy, Dodge and RCD provide great services. Selecting between them is difficult.  From the outside, their services are more similar than dissimilar and border on being commodities. When you differentiate yourself on the quality of your reports and the level of your service, which is easily duplicated by a well- funded competitor, you find yourself battling for inches rather than acreage.

On the inside, the user experience will be different for each company. Those firms that have signed on to one service, without testing the other, are doing themselves a disservice. The other might be better suited to your needs, but you won’t know until you try it. And that’s the problem. Would you really want to switch lead generating services (or add a duplicate service) at a time when you’re desperately trying to control costs?

The company I’m working with will now step in and do individual trials with each service to see which the best is suited for them.

This Article is a Part of the larger Lead Generation Best Practices for Construction whitepaper. To receive this whitepaper, please link here.

The Construction Marketing Association would again like to thank Paul Deffenbaugh, Editorial Director at Modern Trade Communications for providing this article in support of Lead Generation Best Practices for Construction.  Please contact us to learn more about how you can improve your construction marketing.


Construction Marketing Blog

Posted by Tyson at 26 July 2014

Category: Building

Tags: , , , ,

New Spent Fuel Pool instrumentation systems—that meet post-Fukushima standards—installed in US nuclear facilities.
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Posted by Tyson at 26 July 2014

Category: Building News

Tags: ,

Tongue and Groove

A few months ago, I was at a lunch with a prospective customer, discussing a new project. Partway through our meal,
I said, “Jim, you know if this is going to be a well-built project, we need to be a fit for you, and you for us.” To say he was taken aback is an understatement. I could see his expression change as he processed what was just said. He turned to his associate, saying he’d never been approached like that before.

I truly meant what I said. As contractors, or any kind of service providers really, there are two things that differentiate us from the pack. Price is the obvious one, but quality of service is equally important.

In order to achieve high quality service, the relationship needs to be right. That’s why, in my efforts at the company, I try to build relationships first, sizing up the opportunity, then making sure it’s a fit both ways. This means that you might turn down business sometimes. It also means you produce higher quality work, and enjoy more repeat business with your customers.

Back to my friend and our lunch. Because of that sentence and our approach, he felt comfortable with me and the company. We came in with a competitive bid. All other things were equal, and we start the job next week.

Planting Acorns

Posted by Tyson at 25 July 2014

Category: Architecture News

Tags: , , , , ,

BombardierAerospace Aerial 05 300x162 Important Tips for Site Selection and Preconstruction PreparationAny building project, whether traditional or modular construction, takes a certain amount of planning and preparation before construction can get underway. Here’s a quick rundown as to what you can expect before you’re ready to break ground.

Site Selection

Location is your most important consideration. Manufacturing facilities should be within close proximity to shipping routes, be them interstates, rail or waterways. Retail stores, on the other hand, are best placed along busy commuter roads near residential zones. Consider who and what are coming and going from your building when selecting your final location.

Once you’ve determined a general location, choosing a specific site is next. It must be accessible and have enough room for your building, parking area, loading or shipping bay and any other required space. Although modular construction require comparatively less site disruption as other building projects, it’s still important for there to be enough space to bring in all elements of the building.

Preconstruction Preparation

Most traditional and modular construction projects follow a similar path once the site is selected. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Needs Assessment: This outlines all the objectives of a particular project, including the type of building, needed space, utilities, etc.
  • Site Survey: The survey ensures the selected site is appropriate for the project, and makes sure the building can be constructed according to all local codes and ordinances.
  • Building Design: Rough elevations, the needs assessment and the site survey are incorporated into the final building design.

Once all plans are approved and permits are in hand, you’re ready to ready to begin construction.

For more about the building process that follows, see our infographic on Modular vs. Traditional Construction.

The post Important Tips for Site Selection and Preconstruction Preparation appeared first on ModSpace Blog – Construction News, Updates & Insights.


ModSpace Blog – Construction News, Updates & Insights

Posted by Tyson at 25 July 2014

Category: Building

Tags: , , , , , ,

New fund aims to help finance projects in water, wastewater-treatment, electricity generation and transmission sectors.
Top Stories from ENR.com

Top tips for working in construction

The construction business is one of the most pulsating and challenging business ventures. It demands lot of investments in terms of your energy, capital and time that is the main reason why it is very essential that you are passionately interested in this business venture.

With each passing day this arena is facing lot many changes in the techniques, equipments and style of working. You can do yourself a huge favour by seeking the right qualifications in order to have in-depth knowledge about the different dimensions of the construction business. No doubt, the reality picture tends to be different but it is always worthwhile to be well versed with the theoretical aspects in order to focus on the challenges of the actual world of work.

It will also help you in becoming more receptive of the changes and better options. You will be able to embrace the novelty easily if you remain open to its challenging nature. For that you always need to be on your toes and make sure you are well aware of the changing trend. With this attitude you will never lag in the race of being a proverbial in the construction business and lead your company towards excellence and proficiency.

Make sure you have the right tools. It's a poor craftsman who blames his tools, but it's understandable if you can't get the job done because you haven't got the equipment you need. As an example, portable hyundai generators can provide you with power when out in the field

Hence, you should seek this business option only when you think and firmly believe that it is your area of expertise. This will help you in creating better perspective and clear the expectation zone! It is important to be interested and really like the construction work in order to reap better rewards!

Once, you have set your mind in your business endeavours you need to take the first step of launching the construction business. You can also affirm your intensions and visions by joining the trade union. This step can facilitate your functioning as a proficient business venture. Moreover, the formalities, legal procedures, financial liabilities can be sorted by seeking the right guidance and information.

Most importantly, the construction arena is sure to make you more aware and concerned about the safety needs of your workers and employees. Hence, you will be giving lot of importance to safety meetings. These meeting can be taken as the right opportunity to seek awareness about the location and enforcing required rules and regulations. This is why you should never avoid or delay the safety meetings and its significance in your business. The insightful observation when blended with experience can help you get prepared for emergencies also. This also pave the way for better adjustments when require.

It is clear that this business can be crude and demanding in many respects, yet it also creates a very profitable and satisfying venture. In order to get the maximum of your business set up you need to have proper vision and clear expectations. Your attitude and working style is going to determine your success and the heights of your profits. Therefore, it is time that you open yourself to the creative and profitable ideas to ensure that your construction business is a roaring success from now on!