Most Popular Articles in DCD

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How to Build Smart Teams in Construction

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We all know the adage “two heads are better than one.” If that’s true, then why do we see teams of really smart people making really dumb decisions? Why do we sit through painful meetings where no one speaks up, raises difficult issues, or solves any real problems? The process begins to feel like a merry-go-round – we believe we’re making progress as the horse rises up but are then frustrated when we realize we just go around in circles and never get ahead. Read More »

Tags: More, Construction Management

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Contractors embrace technological lifesavers during recession, and cling to them after

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It’s no secret that the construction industry went through some tough times at the end of the last decade and the beginning of this one. With the real estate bust, new construction slowed to a trickle and, during the downturn, contractors were forced to slash their workforces to the tune of 30%. Projects became much more competitive, and keeping a close eye on the bottom line more critical than ever. Read More »

Tags: More, Construction Management

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Indemnity Clauses: Contractors Beware!

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You’ll see the words “defend, indemnify and hold harmless” in many construction contracts. That’s an indemnity clause – and it can be toxic for contractors.One common form of indemnity gives an owner or a designer the right to recover from a contractor for every loss on the job, even losses caused 100% by the owner or a designer. Is it fair to make a contractor cover losses like that? Read More »

Tags: Legal , More, Construction Management

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Is Your Bookkeeper Ripping You Off?

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Contractors by nature are tough, resilient and have a tremendous amount of grit and determination to succeed. The good ones are not prone to react in a hasty or rash manner at the first sign of trouble. This is just one of the many qualities I sincerely admire about these hardworking men and women.These embezzlers come in every race, creed, color, gender, and age. There is no definitive profile and, unfortunately, no absolute way to know which contractor bookkeeper is an embezzler -- until they have been caught and convicted. If you do not perform extensive background checks, you may never know that you have a crook working for you until it’s too late. Read More »

Tags: More, Construction Management

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Cyber and Technology Risk Insurance for the Construction Sector

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The recent, well-publicized retail store data breach controversies have spawned a number of lawsuits and insurance claims. Not surprisingly, insurers have responded with attempts to fight claims for coverage for such losses. Insurance underwriters are carefully monitoring decisions being handed down by courts in these lawsuits. All of this activity has led to a new emphasis on cyber and technology risk and assessments, as well as on insurance program strategies. Read More »

Tags: More, Construction Management

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Boosting the Bottom Line - Financial Wizardry for Construction Professionals

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Profit always begins with project budgets, more importantly, accurate project budgets. The key to effective budgeting is to create budgets that reflect all financial aspects of your projects and to understand that budgets are fluid -- they exist as estimates, initial budgets, and committed budgets, and include a reflection of labor, change orders, general conditions, and overhead. A budget isn’t an item––it’s a process––and must be thought of and managed as a process. Read More »

Tags: Costs, More, Construction Management

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Technology is Transforming the Construction Office and the Job Site

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The use of electronic plans is now widely accepted in the construction industry. These documents and images are easily loaded into software—therefore dramatically reducing plan printing and storage costs. The plans reside on a server or a computer hard drive for years without any fading or deterioration in quality. Best of all, they eliminate the need to store bulky blueprints and file boxes in your warehouse. Read More »

Tags: Costs, Estimating Construction, More, Construction Management

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Airport Improvement Team Removes the Paper and Saves Millions

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Transportation projects, particularly airports, are about as complex as it gets. Getting facilities operational as quickly as possible, coupled with the need to provide up-to-date project documents to the right teams at the right time, often means the traditional paper-intensive and time-consuming method of printing drawings is not an option. Many project teams are turning to digital document management solutions to more efficiently manage document sets in the field, enabling massive project teams to communicate in real time and ensure that all parties are referencing one up-to-date, centralized digital master set. Read More »

Tags: Costs, More, Construction Management

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Tracking Your Project Pursuit Costs

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Responding to requests for construction bids accounts for a large expenditure of marketing dollars, and yet many firms don’t know the impact of those activities on their bottom line. As today’s marketing departments are tasked with doing more with less, understanding the true value of a pursuit can provide guidance about where to spend precious dollars and resources that can reap real results for your firm. Read More »

Tags: Costs, More, Construction Management

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Use Mobile Apps to Keep Track of Your Labor

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Ask any business that employs an outdoor, roaming or remote workforce and they will tell you that labor management is their biggest, and least controllable, expense. Yet many of these companies still use paper time cards or other imprecise methods to keep track of their workers’ daily hours. These costly menaces suck the profits out of thousands of companies every year. From missing time cards and inaccurate hours to the time drain of driving out to multiple job sites to collect the timesheets—everyone agrees that it’s one big costly, time-consuming hassle. Read More »

Tags: Costs, Estimating Construction, More, Construction Management

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What Can Go Wrong with Leasehold Improvements?

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What Can Go Wrong With Leasehold Improvements humorously describes blow-by-blow an actual leasehold improvement job gone bad. It also lists the "Points of Law" describing the actual legal problems with the contract, the permit, and the contractor in this case. This in an excerpt from the book "Construction Nightmares" that covers problems with just about every area of construction. Learn them here and you may not have to repeat them on the job. Read More »

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Prepare Proactive Communication for a Crises on Public Projects

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The public sector—whether at the federal, state, or municipal level—provides great sources of revenue for businesses in the A/E/C sector. However, as many companies have learned the hard way, public projects offer a unique set of complexities, especially when a crisis arises. These projects often require delicate relationship management, because companies must not only answer to their clients, but when public funds are involved, they end up answering to the general tax-paying population as well. Read More »

Tags: Marketing, More, Construction Management

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Creating Value in your Engineering and Construction Business

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Value creation is a rational goal of any business owner. Eventually when the time comes for the business owner to sell, the potential buyer’s assessment of the value created may not coincide with the seller’s. Some of the differences between the seller’s and buyer’s opinion of value can be explained by human nature; however, in the engineering and construction industry, many of the differences can often be found in how the business owner went about creating value in his business. Read More »

Tags: More, Construction Management

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Proactive Communication Adds Value in Public Projects

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The public sector—whether at the federal, state, or municipal level—provides great sources of revenue for businesses in the A/E/C sector. However, as many companies have learned the hard way, public projects offer a unique set of complexities, especially when a crisis arises. These projects often require delicate relationship management, because companies must not only answer to their clients, but when public funds are involved, they end up answering to the general tax-paying population as well. Read More »

Tags: More, Construction Management

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Keeping Track of Your Labor

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Ask any business that employs an outdoor, roaming or remote workforce and they will tell you that labor management is their biggest, and least controllable, expense. Yet many of these companies still use paper time cards or other imprecise methods to keep track of their workers’ daily hours. These costly menaces suck the profits out of thousands of companies every year. From missing time cards and inaccurate hours to the time drain of driving out to multiple job sites to collect the timesheets—everyone agrees that it’s one big costly, time-consuming hassle. Read More »

Tags: More, Construction Management

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Revenue Forcasting

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We’ve all been there: gauging future revenues based on gut instinct instead of true metrics. We look to our proposal volume to help forecast where our companies will be in six months, but we know this simply cannot provide an adequate picture of the future. Successful revenue forecasting looks at multiple aspects of our impending work volume in order to develop a truly accurate picture of the future – one in which we can have some confidence and on which we can base our decisions. Read More »

Tags: More, Construction Management

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An All-in-One Construction Software Solution

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“Great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people,” said Steve Jobs of Apple Computers. This is especially true in the construction industry, where projects often require a team of individuals working collaboratively for the project’s best success. Execution usually involves the general contractor (and his whole team), the customer, the architects and engineers, the subcontractors, materials suppliers, and so on. If all the stakeholders involved are not on the same page, the project can wander – possibly missing deadlines and budget goals. Read More »

Tags: More, Construction Management

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Why GPS Tracking Systems for Construction Jobs Should Include Fleet Management Software

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GPS (Global Positioning System) vehicle tracking devices that include fleet management software offer a full package of automated electronic tools to help with equipment and personnel management – helping contractors who deploy project resources to navigate a complex network of manpower and machine allocation. Vehicle trackers combined with telematics and intelligent software makes contemporary GPS tracking and fleet management software one of the most valuable business technologies of the 21st century. Read More »

Tags: More, Construction Management

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How to Leverage Your Data

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The major benefit of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution is its ability to unify all aspects of a construction company under one single, integrated database that captures daily activities from jobsites, offices, and external resources. Then it makes this data available to all participants who need it, when they need it, and where and how they need it - instantly. Read More »

Tags: More, Construction Management

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Today’s Construction Accounting System: Mobile, Cloud, Modules — Which Parts Do You Really Need?

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In 2012, the Washington Redskins drafted a tall, athletic, strong-armed quarterback named Robert Griffin III. Instead of forcing “RG3,” as he was called, to fit the traditional mold of a National Football League offense, the Redskins coaching staff molded their offense to his skills. The result was the unorthodox -- but highly effective -- “pistol” offense. If you want the details you can Google the X’s and O’s, but here’s the bottom line: By designing their offense around their star’s skills, Washington made a smart decision.You can make a similarly smart choice when choosing your construction accounting software. You should find a system that fits your business — not fit your business to the features of a particular software system. Read More »

Tags: More, Construction Management

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Keeping Projects on Track with Construction Software

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Throughout each stage of a construction project, benchmarks and forecasts must be closely monitored, using budgeting tools, to ensure that costs are on target. The latest and greatest schedule must also be regularly compared to the baseline schedule, since it will change hundreds or thousands of times throughout the course of a project. Mobile devices can greatly help ease the workload, especially mobile-punch list, mobile log, and a mobile schedule. Read More »

Tags: More, Construction Management

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Early Planning Can Yield Long-Term Costs Savings

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Prudent project owners are increasingly looking for innovative ways to incorporate as much information about on their developments as early in the process as possible. One reason is that more and more owners today view structures of all sorts in terms of long-term performance — especially structures in, projects which themselves create goods and earn revenue. These types of projects are naturally subjected to long-term economic analysis. For example, A a power plant or water treatment facility, for example, is intended to perform in a very obvious sense way over a period of decades. It is easy to see imagine with on such a project that, over time, maintenance and operations over time costs will rapidly dwarf the initial costs of land acquisition, design and construction. But now, even a project such as an office building is increasingly, and wisely, seen in terms of continuing performance cost. Energy usage and maintenance costs significantly impact budgets long after the initial cost of the structure is paid for. Read More »

Tags: Costs, Legal , More, Construction Management

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2014 Trends for Architects and Engineers

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There is a growing disparity of success among design firms. While some have attained new levels of revenue and profitability, others seem content just to “hang in there.” In this design market overview, we will examine the chain of trends that is holding back many firms, and explore how these trends continue to lead to slow recovery for architects and engineers Read More »

Tags: More, Construction Management

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Early Planning Can Yield Long-Term Costs Savings

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Prudent project owners are increasingly looking for innovative ways to incorporate as much information about on their developments as early in the process as possible. One reason is that more and more owners today view structures of all sorts in terms of long-term performance. — weight-bearing, wind-shear and seismic performance have been central components of developments for many decades. Similarly — especially structures in, projects which themselves create goods and earn revenue. Read More »

Tags: More, Construction Management

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2014 Trends for General Contractors

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After five years of unprecedented challenges in the general contracting business, many firms are once again on the upswing. The market in certain geographies is booming, and nationwide it is growing at a healthy rate. Vertical construction is up 5% overall and expected to grow at similar rates over the next few years. Read More »

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50 Years Ago Today

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50-years ago today January-February, 2014 when the power of the atom held us in awe. This same nuclear plant has been recently decommissioned due to leaky pipes. Read about this and the other new products and ideas that were making news 50 years ago. Read More »

Tags: More, 50 Years Ago Today

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Construction Safety - 13 Steps to a Program

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There are many reasons for establishing an effective safety management program, but the most important is the prevention of injuries and illnesses. Pure and simple, this is by far the overriding reason for effective safety management. The physical pain, mental stress, and eventual financial hardship that injured, ill, or disabled employees and their families experience are reason enough. Additional reasons for managing safety are to avoid direct and indirect costs incurred by work-related injuries, illnesses, and property damages. Read More »

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Fall Protection on Roofing Jobs

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HAMILTON, N.J. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a roofing company for 12 serious safety violations found at a Hamilton, New Jersey work site. OSHA issued $33,600 in proposed penalties following an April inspection, which was initiated in response to a referral from the police department regarding a worker who had fallen from the roof to the third floor during a roof collapse. Read More »

Tags: More, Construction Management

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7 Ways to Prepare for Construction Surprises

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Was there ever a construction project that went exactly as planned? More often than not, you’re going to encounter the unexpected – like a mistake in the plans or some site condition that requires extra work. These surprises are rarely good ones. Anything can go wrong on a job. And the result is nearly always the same – extra time and higher cost. No contractor is immune from surprises. But it’s easy to limit the damage from a surprise. Read More »

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Video Verified Security for Job Sites Cuts Costs & Prevents Loss

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On a rainy Seattle night, a shadowy figure walked up a rough stairwell on a large fenced job site in the city’s South Lake Union neighborhood. The crew had gone home and there were no security guards in sight. Three Seattle police officers had already surrounded the job site perimeter after a priority dispatch from a local alarm monitoring company, where the security system installed at the site alerted operators to a crime in progress. Read More »

Tags: More, Construction Management

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The Changing World of Contractors and Construction Managers

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Fifty years ago, most construction projects were run by a conventional general contractor. The lowest responsible bidder got the job. Much of the work was done by crews on the payroll of the general contractor. The remainder was done by contractor specialists (subcontractors) working under agreements with the general contractor. Invoices drifted up the chain of contractors to the owner, and money flowed down the same chain from the owner or lender to subcontractors and suppliers. The prime contractor ran the show, handling invoices, claims, disputes, payments, change orders and requests. Read More »

Tags: Legal , More, Construction Management

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The Value of Construction-Based Accounting

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The Value of Construction-Based Accounting Construction projects are complex webs of moving parts: equipment and material, labor and management, contracts and time schedules. Everything has to be counted, coordinated, managed and tracked so that nothing slips through the cracks and all deadlines are met. And contractors, designers, subcontractors and workers must keep the lines of communication open to ensure successful completion of any construction project Read More »

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The Go/NoGo Decision

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In dealing with remodeling of public buildings, it’s not smart or even possible for a contracting company to chase every opportunity that comes along for bid. The actual selection process of choosing which projects to go for consists of making a choice from all the opportunities, and deciding which will justify a commitment of company resources. Read More »

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