Productivity has been the mantra of the industry for the last two decades – and it’s not stopping anytime soon. The U.S. Census Bureau reports positive gains for May 2017, total construction spending is up 6.1 percent from May 2016. The result is that companies are implementing new tactics to meet the high demand. Prefabrication, with its substantial time saving benefits, is becoming more prevalent as part of those new tactics. When utilizing prefabrication methods, it must be paired with knowledge and implementation of good ergonomics to recognize those time savings. Prefab gains can easily be offset with labor downtime and high injury/workers comp expenses.
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Perhaps more than any other specialty contractor, electrical contractors bear the brunt of the "problem project.” Long after most other trades have completed their work and scattered in the wind, electrical contractors remain on site until the owner’s last inspection. And when the project is a “problem project,” the owner or prime contractor tend to liberally share their losses and liquidated damages among those specialty contractors remaining on site at the end. So what is an electrical contractor to do when the project starts coming off the rails?
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Construction jobsites are often unpredictable and impacted by daily changes. In order to reduce the impact of the daily changes, an electrician needs to see the work ahead of them. This is the power of a comprehensive Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). A WBS is a method to identify the necessary tasks that are needed to complete a specific job. The identification of tasks needs to be done by an electrician who is physically doing and leading the work (General Foreman or Foreman). To create a WBS, you bring the whole project team together to discuss and break down the project into small, manageable tasks. By writing down the individual tasks you will start to identify unanswered questions and potential risks. Once complete, the WBS can serve multiple functions. You can use it to accurately monitor job progress, real-world completion levels, and overall productivity to reduce the job risks and predict and prevent upcoming obstacles.
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Amidst ever-shrinking profits, increasing labor shortages, and decreasing productivity in the construction industry, companies are trying to solve new problems with old strategies. Industry profitability for most specialty contractors, including electrical companies, has consistently experienced 5-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) net income declines of 6.1 percent. A labor gap in the United States of 1.6 million workers, an aging workforce where more than half of its workers are over 45 years old, and a lack of interest for entrance from younger generations (43% said they would not enter construction irrespective of compensation) has increased costs and left companies unable to satisfy building demand.
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I am tired of hearing contractors say they can’t find any good or trained help. When all they do is complain about their problems, they’ve decided to be negative and not develop positive solutions to their problems. I get calls and emails all the time from contractors asking how to find help. When people don’t apply, you can’t hire them. And when you don’t take out a help wanted ad, they won’t apply. And “yes,” it costs money and a proactive plan to recruit good people to work for your company!
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As an increasing number of owners and jurisdictions adopt or specify local, state, or international codes or standards in support of green building options, strategies to cost effectively conform become increasingly vital for your organization. From the standpoint of a building’s or facility’s total life-cycle cost and impact, sustainable, green, or living building design and construction can prove to be a viable option for lower total cost of ownership.
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What helps with the synergy of this experience is a family of lighting products. You should have all of your lighting products go together and complement one another. From the bollards to the post tops, and even bring that light synergy into the buildings and businesses. Brex Lighting is one of those companies that really takes this concept to heart. It’s tricky to find a bollard that complements a post top and then also looks good with the highbays.
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For decades, a strained energy grid and renewed attention on energy efficiency has been a major focus of the federal government, green building advocates, and building advocates, and building owners who are looking to reduce their energy costs while increasing property value. Driven by Department of Energy mandates, energy codes have evolved to make buildings more efficient and support a more sustainable future, but keeping up with changing building requirements can be daunting for electrical engineers and contractors who have to meet code and their customer's design and performance requirements.
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As we come into spring, it’s nice to see all that the season has to offer. It’s a time of ending the cold and darkness, and starting to enjoy the longer, warmer days as summer approaches. It might feel the same for our apprentices as they finish up their classes and are able to take a deep breath and concentrate on just working for a few months, without the added pressure of homework and exams. Tis the season for our apprentice graduations. I have started my visits to various chapters as the schedule allows. What an amazing and gratifying way to spend time with our future leaders of the industry. We have a lot to be thankful for and proud of. There is a huge amount of time and effort that goes into our apprenticeship program across the country.
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The beauty of every young newcomer to any kind of trade or work is that he or she will not be bringing a lot “baggage” with them on “what the right way of doing something” is. This, in itself, can violate the structure and stability of a company’s processes. On the other hand, there is a lot of learning and training to be done, and if the teaching and guidance is not done correctly it can reduce the productivity of the whole team. Costly delays can occur by one newcomer not knowing the processes or lacking the necessary skills to do the job.
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