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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There is no better feeling than that of independence. Having the knowledge is having the power to be independent. IECCon is truly the place to get and keep that feeling. So come get connected and make some new lifelong friends at our biggest event of the year!
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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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Arc flash continues to receive attention in our industry with both codes and standards requirements complemented by a decent assembly of technologies that help to reduce the amount of energy available in the electrical distribution system. When employing incident energy technologies, we must understand what is and is not provided with regard to incident energy reduction, ensuring those who must perform energized work understand the abilities of these technologies. Let’s explore a few of these technologies to better understand what is and is not provided for the worker.
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As an electrical contractor, technological advances have led to additional opportunities and challenges. We have all seen how they can affect an increase in productivity in the field and in the office, and I’m sure we all can relate to some of the headaches associated with these same changes.
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IEC’s Instructor Conference – on hiatus for nearly 10 years – experienced a resurrection last month. More than 90 instructors were in attendance representing 21 chapters for the two-day conference, which was held July 21–22 at the Eaton Experience Center in Houston, TX. The entire event was sponsored by American Technical Publishers (ATP) and Eaton Corporation.
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As a subdivision of the services industry, electricity is powering our society, but could do so more efficiently with EDMS software (electronic document management systems).
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