Posts in Construction News
The State of Construction Hiring

construction-hiringAre you having trouble finding qualified workers for your construction business? If so, you are not alone, according to our friends at Sage Software. They recently compiled some statistics about the state of hiring in construction. They found that 76% of construction firms report having a hard time finding qualified craft workers. 62% are finding it difficult to fill key professional positions.

Looking at the projected growth for the construction industry, it looks like these hiring issues may be with us for a while. According to Sage:

  • More than 4 out of 5 firms expect the construction market to grow through 2016.
  • 44% plan to grow outside of current geographic area.
  • The construction industry will need 7.2 million workers by 2022.

That growth, along with the construction industry's aging work force is certain to present challenges to our industry. The ability to hire, train, and retain top talent may be the key ingredient to giving your firm a strategic edge in the future.

For more information about the growth and hiring in the construction industry, check out the infographic from Sage Software below (click the image for an expanded view):

State-of-Construction_Hiring

Latest Numbers Show Momentum in Housing Market

housing-starts-aprilThe Wall Street Journal recently reported that home building in U.S. in April was at the highest level since before the recession officially began. According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. housing starts rose 20.2% from a month earlier, bringing the seasonally adjusted annual rate in April to 1.135 million. That marks the highest reading since November 2007, and the biggest percentage increase since February 1991. New applications for building permits, increased 10.1%.

As everyone in our industry knows, home-construction figures are often revised. While the past several months have seen mixed reports related to housing data, the WSJ article reports that several economists believe the housing market is rebounding after a dismal first quarter.

For more information and analysis on the U.S. housing market, check out the Wall Street Journal article and their U.S. Housing Market Tracker.

image credit - WSJ  U.S. Housing Market Tracker

2015 Sage Construction Technology Survey

Our friends at Sage software recently surveyed over 600 construction professionals from small and midsized firms to understand their view of the economy, their top business issues, and their use of technology. Here are some highlights from the survey:

  • Over half of the survey respondents are optimistic that the economy will have a positive impact on their business in 2015.
  • The top three business concerns reported are:
    • Getting new customers (39%)
    • Cost of materials (38%)
    • Labor shortage (26%)
  • The top three actions construction and real estate companies plan to take to address these challenges are:
    • Hire more employees (39%)
    • Cut expenses (33%)
    • Invest more in new technology (23%)
  • The top areas where survey respondents plan to invest their IT dollars are mobile and estimating/bidding technology.

This infographic from Sage provides more information about the results of the survey (click to enlarge) :

2015-sage-technology-survey-infographic

The full report from Sage is expected to be published in April, you can sign up to receive the report here.

Chermak Construction Wins Best Design Award

chermak-logo-300x111Congratulations to our client Chermak Construction on receiving the Best of Houzz 2015 Design Award. The Best of Houzz award is given in two categories: Design and Customer Satisfaction. Chermak's work was the most popular among the more than 25 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers.”

Based in Edmonds, WA, Chermak specializes in all phases of residential home remodeling, including additions, kitchen, bath and whole house remodels. They also offer design, and home repair services.

You can learn more about Chermak Construction and view some of their featured projects by visiting their website or by checking out their profile on Houzz.

2015 Build Washington Awards

2015BWAlogoThe Associated General Contractors of Washington will hold their Build Washington Awards on May 14, 2015 at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. The Build Washington Awards recognizes the industry's best in professional excellence as well as the community commitment of AGC member firms.

The application deadline to submit projects and personnel for award consideration is March 6, 2015 at 5:00 pm.  Award categories include:

  • Construction Excellence
  • Project Manager of the Year
  • Excellence In Subcontractor Performance
  • Safety Excellence
  • Safety Professional of the Year
  • Superintendent of the Year
  • Technology Excellence
  • AGC-MOSS ADAMS Service to the Community

To submit your nominations and learn more about this event, visit the Build Washington Awards page of the AGC of Washington's website.

National Safety Excellence Award

Associated Builders and Contractors logoIs your construction business seriously committed to jobsite safety? If so, you should consider applying for the National Safety Excellence Award (NSEA). Applications are due at the end of the month - you can download one here.

The ABC National Safety Excellence Awards recognize companies with safety performance and programs judged to be exemplary by the ABC National Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) Committee.

Awards are based on data submitted via STEP applications, essay questions and video interviews with company Presidents/CEOs/Principals about their corporate safety culture. Award categories are based on a company's total work-hours per calendar year and placement within the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

You can learn more about the awards, application process, and past winners on the ABC website

CBSNW Named a Sage Million Dollar Club Achiever

sage-million-dollar-club  

 

Thanks to all of our clients who helped us achieve this award from Sage Software.  We love what we do and look forward to serving our new and existing clients in the construction industry for years to come.

Here is a copy of the press release from Sage.

Contractor Business Solutions Northwest Named a Sage Million Dollar Club achiever for 2013-2014

 

Monroe, WA – September 1, 2014 – Contractor Business Solutions Northwest (CBSNW), a Sage North America business partner specializing in the sales, installation, and support of Sage 100 Contractor and Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, has been named a Sage North America Million Dollar Club achiever for surpassing a million dollars in revenues during the 2013-2014 business year. Sage recognizes CBSNW and all Million Dollar Club achievers for the substantial contributions made to the overall success of Sage, its business partners and the mutual customers they serve.

Million Dollar Club recognition is earned by Sage business partners representing a host of segment-leading brands, including Sage 100 ERP, Sage 300 ERP, Sage ERP X3, Sage construction and real estate products, Sage CRM, Sage HRMS (human resource management system), Sage Fixed Assets and others. CBSNW is one of 44 Million Dollar Club achievers and a top-selling Sage business partner in North America.

“We are proud of our Sage business partner community for their role in effectively providing our customers with quality products and services,” said Donald Deshaies, VP of Channel Strategy and Management for Sage. “Congratulations to CBSNW in recognition as a Sage Million Dollar Club achiever for 2013-2014!”

“I am incredibly proud of my team for achieving this accomplishment,” said Jon Newsom, partner at CBSNW. “Our customers in the construction industry have faced challenging economic conditions recently, and I am pleased that we have been able to work and achieve success together. I want to thank all of our customers and consultants for helping us achieve the Sage Million Dollar Club.”

About Contractor Business Solutions Northwest

Over the last two decades, Contractor Business Solutions Northwest (CBSNW) has helped contractors become more efficient and successful by providing complete solutions for their business needs.

Headquartered in Seattle, CBSNW serves contractors in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada. Visit www.cbsnw.com or call 800-209-6927.

 

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Construction Jobless Rate Improves in July

BLS-logoEmployment trends in the construction industry continued to improve in July of 2014. According to the Department of Labor, the jobless rate for the construction industry declined from last June’s 8.2% to 7.5% for July - well below the 9.1% reported for July 2013.

They also reported 22,000 new jobs for the industry.

Here is a summary of how different segments of the construction industry performed:

  • Specialty trade contractors added 13,900
  • Residential buildings added 6,100 jobs
  • Heavy-civil engineering construction picked up 2,500.
  • Non-residential building lost 400 jobs (the only negative reporting segment in July)
  • Architectural and engineering services gained 8,800 jobs.

Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors of America chief economist, said in a statement,

"While prospects for private construction remain largely favorable, inadequate public investment still threatens to keep too many workers idle."

For more details, you can download a copy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Press Release here

Sage 2014 Construction IT Survey

Sage software recently surveyed over 800 construction professionals from small and midsized firms to understand their expectations, concerns, and plans regarding emerging information technology (IT) solutions. Here are some of the things

they learned from the survey:

  • 35% of the firms surveyed did not have an employee dedicated to IT
  • Construction firms are investing in new technology to help streamline their processes and improve communications
  • 49% of construction firms do not have a mobile security policy
  • Over 80% of construction professionals surveyed view mobile technology as an important IT Solution

More information about the results from the Sage 2014 Construction Survey can be found in their infographic below:

2014_construction_IT-survey

Host Sage 100 and Sage 300 in the cloud

CBSNW recently partnered with Trapp Online to help construction businesses host their Sage 100 and Sage 300 applications in the cloud. More information can be found in the press release below.  

Contractore Business Solutions NW Signs Trapp Online as Preferred Hosting Provider

Custom Sage 100 and Sage 300 hosting now available to Northwest contractors

Scottsdale, AZ. – April 7, 2013 – Scottsdale based Trapp Online, www.trapponline.com, a provider of industry-specific cloud hosting solutions, is proud to announce that Contractor Business Solutions NW (CBSNW) www.cbsnw.com, a Sage North America business partner, has signed Trapp Online as their Preferred Provider for Application Hosting Services.

The agreement brings together CBSNW’s construction and real estate software solutions and Trapp Online’s custom application hosting platform for Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, Sage 100 Contractor and related applications. CBSNW’s customers in the Northwestern United States can now more readily enjoy the benefits of application hosting, through Trapp Online.

“Contractor Business Solutions NW is a Sage Business Partner recognized for their success in the construction industry,” said Reed Clarke, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Trapp Online. ”We are proud to partner with them to bring hosting to their customers in the Northwest.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Trapp Online will provide hosting services at discounted rates and CBSNW will jointly market Trapp Online’s hosting services to prospects and existing customers.

“Hosting is a great way for construction companies to take advantage of the cloud,” stated Jon Newsom, Partner, CBSNW. “Trapp Online's long track record with Sage construction software makes their Sage-friendly hosting platform a solid cloud solution for our clients.”

By partnering with Trapp Online, CBSNW gains a cloud solution optimized for Sage application integration, generating new sales opportunities. Companies hosted by Trapp Online enjoy less IT maintenance, enhanced data security and secure remote access anywhere they have an internet connection—at the job site, at home, or the office. Reduced capital expense, budget predictability and improved productivity make hosting an attractive option for CBSNW’s clients.

 

About Contractor Business Solutions NW, LLC

Over the last two decades, Contractor Business Solutions Northwest (CBSNW) has helped contractors become more efficient and successful by providing complete solutions for their business needs. Headquartered in Seattle, CBSNW serves contractors in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada. Visit www.cbsnw.com or call 800-209-6927.

About Trapp Online

Trapp Online, a division of TrappCorp, provides online hosting solutions for application service providers and small to medium-sized (SMB) companies around the world. The company’s custom, dedicated IT and application hosting solutions give industry-specific software companies and software integrators an easy-to-implement, secure cloud solution for their customers and create a better overall cloud experience for business. Trapp Online’s US-based, support team is available 24/7 via live chat, e-mail, or phone. Visit community.trapponline.com for Trapp Online Updates or call 877-942-2568.

About TrappCorp The TrappCorp companies, Trapp Online, Trapp Connect, and Trapp Tech combine the very best cloud, Internet, IT managed services, and IT consulting to provide a true all-in-one IT solution for businesses who seek to cut IT costs and leverage technology to grow revenues. TrappCorp services are designed to appeal to the growing number of medium-sized businesses looking to outsource more IT infrastructure and application management services to help reduce total cost of ownership and free up internal resources, as well as those companies seeking the skills and support to quickly complete complex IT projects.

MEDIA CONTACT:

DJ Jones Vice President of Marketing TrappCorp 443-9145 ext. 2007 djones@trapponline.com

Construction Employment Up From a Year Ago

construction employmentAccording to a recent press release from the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America, construction employment increased in 34 states from a year ago. Mississippi and California saw the largest construction employment gains while Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia experienced the biggest declines.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, jobs employment was up for most states except for Idaho and Montana. Here is a state by state breakdown of the states we serve.

State # Jobs Incr/Descr % Incr / Descr
Alaska 700 3.9%
Hawaii 1,500 4.9%
Idaho –100   -0.3%
Montana -500 -2.3%
Oregon 4.600 6.8%
Washington 300 0.2%

 

If you don’t see your state or if you would like to see employment numbers for a all states, you can view the state employment data by rank and by state on the AGC Website.

Create a Planning Rhythm for Your Construction Company

ekgDo you have a strategic plan for your construction business? Some business owners in the construction industry resist the strategic planning process because they see it as a time-consuming project that returns little value. Most of us have heard stories of business owners spending a lot of time (and a lot of money) creating a business plan only to have it collect dust on a shelf. Others believe they only need a strategic business plan if they are going to borrow money from the bank.

If you view a business plan solely as a document, as another item on your to-do list that needs to be checked off because someone told you it was important, chances are you won't gain much value from the process. Plans are built upon assumptions and those factors underlying those assumptions are bound to change in a dynamic industry like construction.

Contruction companies that establish a regular strategic planning process, on the other hand, are better equipped to identify changes in their environment, understand how they affect their plan assumptions, and take advantage of new opportunities when they arise.

Part of establishing a planning process is meeting with your team on a regular basis to review the plan, set goals, recognize achievements, discuss opportunities and threats, etc. Depending on the size of your company you may have different types of meetings (attended by different levels of staff). For example,  If your construction business has between 1 and 25 employees, your strategic plan may cover what you want to accomplish over the next 3 to 5 years. But in order to stay on track and adjust to new opportunities, you may set up a pattern of meetings that looks like this:

  • Annual Planning Meeting:  Working on your plan for two consecutive days.
  • Quarterly Planning: One day.
  • Monthly Meeting: Half a day.
  • Weekly Meeting: Anywhere from 30-90 minutes, depending on your team size.

That is just one example of how you can establish a planning rythym - you'll need to find a rythm that fits your company. And don't worry about getting it exactly right the first time, you can always adjust.

When you conduct these meetings on a regular basis, you will begin to establish a rythym in your business. This rythym helps keep everyone on the same page and working together. They know what the plan is, why you may not be addressing an issue now (you've already planned to tackle it next month), and how their daily activities fit into the plan for the company.

Maintaining your rhythm is important. One thing you can do to maintain your planning rythym is to make the first item on your agenda the setting of the next meeting. Sharing meeting results with team members who didn't attend a particular meeting also helps keep everyone involved.

If you haven't adopted a strategic planning process, I highly recommend doing so. By doing so you will be creating a vision that enables every individual to see how their role fits into the big picture.

Construction Spending Up Thanks To Spike in Public Outlays

featuredReportsConstruction spending reached a four-year high in October, thanks to a rare spike in public outlays. That’s according to a press release issued by the Association of General Contractors (AGC) of America which states an unusual surge in public construction in October pushed total construction spending to its highest level since May 2009 -  despite a dip in both private residential and nonresidential activity.

Other statistics from the press release that construction owners will be interested in include:

  • Construction put in place in October totaled $908 billion, 0.8 percent higher than in September.
  • Public construction spending jumped 3.9 percent for the month but trailed the 2012 year-to-date total by 2.8 percent.
  • Private residential spending slid 0.6 percent for the month but still climbed 17 percent year-to-date.
  • New single-family construction decreased 0.6 percent in October but soared 30 percent in the first 10 months of 2013 compared with 2012.
  • Private nonresidential spending edged down 0.5 percent for the month and up 0.8 percent year-to-date

According to Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist, construction will likely display varied patterns in the next several months - multifamily construction will keep burgeoning but single-family homebuilding may stall. Private nonresidential spending should benefit from more power, energy and manufacturing work. Public construction remains threatened.

Read the full press release, which contains further analysis by Simonson, here.