The Business of Building Through COVID-19 & Beyond

The construction industry began 2020 strong and optimistic for the future. But thanks to COVID-19, builders faced tough restrictions the during prime spring and summer months. Now, the construction industry's future is left unclear as many states are reverting back to stay at home orders from their state officials. Construction has always been one of America’s biggest industries and officials are confident that with some updated safety measures, contractors will be able to adapt and continue operations to move the industry forward.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected construction companies in many different ways. In order for a company to thrive during these times, developing a strategy is necessary to gain an in-depth understanding of your partners’, customers', and employees' needs. While re-opening for business, these key people may feel wary and unsure about sharing space with others regardless of safety protocols. As of this writing COVID-19 has no vaccine or cure. Construction business owners must remain strong by finding reliable COVID-19 resources, prioritizing employee health, and re-opening worksites and offices with the “new normal” standards.

Having reliable information on hand is crucial when determining a strategy for your business’s reopening. Focus on getting your COVID-19 information from reputable and reliable resources. Start by visiting websites of construction industry organizations and leaders to check for specific industry guidelines. The best place to find accurate and updated COVID-19 information the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which has created specific pages dedicated to businesses that are looking to reopen. State government websites will also provide relevant information regarding business reopening during the outbreak.

The health and safety of employees is crucial to re-opening businesses. Some workers who are working remotely will need to continue their work-from-home arrangement if there is not enough workspace in the office. For construction site workers, be creative in ensuring that fewer people are on the worksite and social distancing is used. Introduce break time schedules to keep fewer workers in shared spaces like break rooms and cafeterias or stagger shifts to minimize the number of people on-site at any given time. It is important to communicate with employees to ensure everyone is working safely and limiting risks brought by COVID-19. Make sure to listen to clients' and employees’ concerns, answer questions, and incorporate their feedback into your overall strategy.

Guidelines from the CDC require at least six feet of space between employees whenever possible. Before reopening the construction site, you need to optimize the site layout prioritizing the entrances and exits, the flow of traffic, and gathering sites. Work to minimize the formation of long queues and the buildup of people.

Construction technology can make work more efficient and lessen the time needed to finish work. For example, the use of drones will allow inspection activities to continue even without being on the site. Accounting and other office tasks can be done from home using software. There are also several platforms for virtual meetings instead of the classic in-person meetings while still sharing plans, models, and data.

Reopening a construction business in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic won’t be easy. However, the limitations and challenges brought by the pandemic may be the catalyst needed for the industry to adopt new tools, guides, and procedures that are long overdue and move forward to a brighter, sturdier future.


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How to Get Leads as a Young Construction Business

If you wish to develop a construction company in today's market, you need to tackle more than simply offering solid service. Of course, being able to efficiently deal with construction is an important trait to have. But, if you are to make your business profitable in modern times, you need to know how to find customers. This is why we are going to take a closer look at how to get leads as a young construction business.

Get Leads as a Young Construction Business

Most people today look for construction companies online. When they need to renovate their home or build something new, they use search engines like Google or Bing to find companies that can help them out. Or, they ask around whether their neighbors have someone to recommend. It is important to keep both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and online reviews in mind, as these will be the key ways in which you will get leads as a young construction business.

SEO with different aspects of it.
You need to manage your SEO in order to get leads for your business.

Understand Your Company

Since you are running a new construction business, we are going to assume that you are not yet sure about what kind of service you want to offer. It is important to note here that most successful construction businesses have one pillar service and a couple of services connected to it. Some of the possible pillar services can be:

  • Kitchen renovation
  • Roof construction
  • Home construction
  • Garage construction

By focusing on a single service, you'll be able to better market your business and find the right audience. Companies that opt for the "best at everything" approach, usually fail since they spread themselves too thin. Ideally, you will find a construction service that is most needed in your area. By doing so, you will get leads naturally, as your neighbors will have a need for your services.

Set Up a Good Website

Once you have figured out what your pillar services are, you need to set up a good website. To do this properly, we advise you to first hire a web developer to help you out from the beginning. While you might find some seemingly cheap ways to set up a website, we strongly suggest that you stick with hiring an experienced professional. As you will soon learn, you will need to develop and modify your website as your business and your brand grows. The only way to tackle that properly is to have the freedom and the control that an experienced web developer provides.

A laptop with website notes on it.
You cannot have a safe, well-functioning website without relying on an experienced web developer.

Social Media

We cannot talk about your company having a decent online presence without mentioning social media. After setting up your website, you will need to create profiles on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can choose to let a social media management company handle your accounts, but this may not be the smartest way to handle them right off the bat. Our advice is to study social media marketing a bit and develop a voice of your own. There are a lot of construction companies that have their social media presence handled by a small number of social media managers. This often leads to them having the same online presence, which is something that you definitely want to avoid. Instead, try to use your first months to experiment and see what feels best. The sooner you find a way to communicate with your customers, the better.

Another thing we would also recommend is filming live videos while you work. A quick video where you explain what you do in a positive tone will do wonders for your marketing. Especially after you've done a couple of videos and figured out what to post.

Having Good Communication with Your Customers

As any digital marketing manager will tell you, having online traffic is not enough to have leads. Sure, some of that traffic is going to convert to actual business. But, if you want to get leads as a new construction business in a reliable manner, you need to develop good communication with your customers. After all, that is what your website, social media, and your live videos should be all about. The more you can address your customers' concerns and needs, the better reviews you are going to get. And the better reviews you have, the more leads you are going to find.

A woman working on her laptop and her phone
Having good communication skills is quite important for developing a construction company.

Working with Other Companies

Having a good online presence is necessary to get leads as a new construction business. However, there are other ways in which you can ensure that your future customers find you. One of them is working with other companies in order to cross-promote. To do so, you need to find reliable companies that are willing to recommend your business to their customers. These, of course, cannot be competing companies, but companies that are closely related to construction. So, for instance, you can contact moving companies like golansmoving.com and have them recommend you for home renovation after moving a family. Just ensure that the company you associate with is a reliable one. Gaining back customer trust after working with unreliable people can be quite hard.

Keeping a Good Impression

The final tip we have for you is to keep a good impression. Most construction companies find work through recommendations. After all, people are always going to trust their friends and family more than they are going to trust you. So, if you work hard, use the latest technology and present yourself in a polite manner, you are bound to find new leads in the most natural way possible.


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How to Pest-Proof Your Warehouse

Keeping pests away from your warehouse is always a good idea. Whether we are aware of it or not, rodents and other kinds of pests can cause us a lot of trouble. They can damage our items, spread diseases, and attract even more unwanted guests in our warehouses. That is why you need to think about ways to pest-proof your warehouse in advance, before anything bad happens. You know what they say – it is always better to be safe than sorry. Preparing your unit, and preventing pests from infecting it will take some of your time and energy; however, the end result will be worth your while. So, let’s learn more about the ways to pest-proof your warehouse.

Different types of pests require different plans of action, but the best thing you can do is keeping them out of your warehouse facility in the first place.

Keep your items clean and safe

You want your supplies and tools to stay in good condition - that is simply not possible if they get exposed to rodents or other species of pests. However, properly preparing your items for storage is something that will help you achieve this goal. Here is what you’ll have to do in order to ensure the safety of your items:

Plastic bags, airtight lids, and proper packing

The best thing you can do is to store your items in containers that won’t be easily penetrated by pests. However, this isn’t an option for most of us. Storing our belongings in such containers can turn out to be expensive and time-consuming. On the other hand, you can combine your packing supplies. Not every item needs to be packed and prepared for storing the same way. You can use plastic containers for items such as clothing or other fabrics. This way you will use your containers to their full potential.

Cleanliness

Even though this one seems obvious, most of the people who have encountered pest infestations forget about it. Cleaning your goods won’t be enough. Your facility needs to be clean as well. Also, keeping things clean is the easiest way to prevent an infestation arising in your warehouse or storage unit.

Segmentation

You should definitely keep your goods separated. This way, even if it comes to an infestation, not all your goods will be at risk. You will be able to save at least a part of them. Also, think about keeping the most important items sealed. This extra measure might seem a bit extreme, but it will pay off in the end.

Inspection

One of the best pest-proofing measures you can implement is frequent inspection. If pests penetrate your warehouse, it is always better to be aware of it early on before there is any real damage. Make regular, thorough inspections to spot any signs of rodents or any other type of pests.

Extermination plan

Just like we have mentioned above, being ready for any scenario is your best option. You should do everything that is in your power to prevent an infestation from happening, but if it occurs, you need a plan of action in place. The sooner you start dealing with the problem, the better. Here are some steps that you should take in order to exterminate pests:

  • Inspect your warehouse (interior and exterior)
  • Identify the pests you are dealing with
  • Analyze their activity and patterns
  • Treat the affected areas
  • Implement the methods that will stop pests from spreading to uninfected areas
  • Evaluate the treatment effectiveness and repeat if necessary

Also, handling pests in your warehouse can be a task you are not ready to take upon yourself. That is why you should consider contacting professionals to deal with this problem for you. It is always better to be safe than sorry and professional services are something that will take out the stress that comes with pests infestations.

Do not keep items that could attract pests

Food, perishables, different kinds of chemicals – all these things can and will attract pests. So, if you don’t absolutely have to, don’t leave them in your warehouse. And if you have to, make sure to store them properly. Plastic containers and airtight lids are your best options.

Keep your goods a couple of inches (or more) above the floor

This hack won’t help with all the pests, but making things harder to access for them is always a smart move.

Visit your utility often

Being up to date with everything that is happening in and around your warehouse is the best thing you can do. You need to be in the loop, and in charge. Something that will happen naturally if you visit your warehouse facility on a monthly, or even weekly basis. Here are some of the things you should be doing during your visits:

  • Make sure the facility is well maintained, clean and safe
  • Consider hiring pest control services monthly or quarterly
  • Check if access areas (doors and similar) are in good condition
  • Inspect the garbage plots for the presence of hidden debris and similar items that could attract pests

Author bio:

Maria Porter is a moving and storage professional interested in everything relocation and warehousing related. She currently works at golansmoving.com and has a lot of experience in the matter. Her main goal is reaching a wider audience and educating people about ways to make these matters easier on themselves.


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Engineers Invent Method to Speed Up Skyscraper Construction

Rainier Square Project (Photo Credit: Magnusson Klemencic Associates)

Time is money. That’s especially true when it comes to construction and building projects! One company says they know a way to shave off months of construction time when building high rise buildings.

Magnusson Klemenic Associates, in coordination with Purdue University, researched and designed a new core system for skyscrapers. They call it Speed Core, and it’s more efficient and economical than traditional reinforced concrete centers.

The engineering firm is using the system to build a new apartment and hotel complex in Seattle. They’ve built 40 of the 58 stories in the building, and they say they’ve already saved 8 months of construction time using Speed Core.

Their method utilizes steel plates connected by plates full of high-strength concrete.  The design took years to construct and researchers are still editing to make it more simple and strong.

Magnusson Klemenic says the new Seattle skyscraper will take 22 months in total to finish. It’s located in the city’s Rainer Square.

The firm has previously designed other skyscrapers in the city, including a 37-story residential building that at the time of completion, was the second tallest residential towner in the city.


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Proposed Florida Bill Would Require Heat-Illness Training

Under a new proposed bill, Florida’s construction and agriculture employers could be required to train outdoor employees on how to avoid heat-related illnesses. This heat-illness prevention bill would set a standard for outdoor workers to be given plenty of drinking water and access to shade with 10-minute rest breaks after 2 hours of outside work.

It accompanies another bill in the Florida Senate that would also require annual training to identify signs of heat exhaustion and a period to allow workers to gradually adopt to a hot environment.

OSHA does not currently have a standard for indoor or outdoor heat exposure safety practices, except within the scopes of their general hazards section. They do recommend employers provide water, rest, and shade for workers in hot environments.

Proponents have been pushing for tougher standards, arguing Florida is one of the hottest states in the country, and when paired with the humidity it makes work unsustainable.

According to Business Insurance, “The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission sent clear signals that OSHA should adopt a standard to address heat stress risks rather than relying on the general duty clause after vacating a citation issued after the death of a 61-year-old temporary employee from complications of heat stroke.”


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