Texas New Swimming Pool Construction Review – November 2018

New pool construction data as listed with HBW for the month of November 2018.

Last month, there were more than 400 new swimming pool permits added to the HBW database for Texas.  Out of the four major metro areas reviewed (Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio), Dallas held the highest total number of new permits (200+ permits), while Austin held the highest average value of construction (average value: $72,583).

Here is a closer look at the latest construction permit data and leading pool builders by area for Texas during the month of November:

Dallas

As previously mentioned, Dallas had the highest total number of pool starts last month, having 201 new permits with a total construction value in excess of $9.1M.  The average value of new swimming pools in the area was $45,489, and the highest concentration of new pool construction could be found in the counties of Tarrant (53 permits), Collin (48 permits) and Dallas (44 permits)

Out of the approximately 90 active builders in the area last month, the following ranked as the top five for total new permits:

1 – Riverbend Pools
2 – Puryear Custom Pools
3 – Premier Pools
4 – Robertson Pools
5 – Gold Medal Pools

 

Houston

Houston ranked second highest for total new swimming pool permits last month, having 122 pool starts with a total construction value of approximately $7.4M.  The average value of construction was nearly $61k, and the majority of starts took place in Harris County (85 permits).

Out of the more than 60 active builders in the Houston area last month, the following ranked as the top five for total new permits on file with HBW:

1 – Platinum Pools
2 – Premier Pools
3 – Anthony & Sylvan Pools
4 – C3 Building Solutions
5 – Monarch Pools

 

Austin

Last month, there were nearly 70 swimming pool starts with a total construction value of approximately $5M in the Austin area, and nearly all new permits originated from Travis County (45 permits).  Due to a couple of higher value projects in the area ranging in value from $425k to $500k, the average value of new pool construction was highest in Austin out of the four major metro areas reviewed (average value: $72,583).

Out of the nearly 45 active pool builders in the area, the following ranked in the top five for total new permits on file:

1 – Anthony & Sylvan Pools
2 – Cody Pools
3 – Texas Pools & Patios
4 – Fun N Sun Pools of Austin
5 – Denali Pools

 

San Antonio

New pool construction was limited in the San Antonio area last month as there were just about 30 pool starts with a total construction value of $1.5M added to the HBW database.  The average value of new swimming pool construction was $51.5k, and nearly all new permits originated from Bexar County (20 permits).

Out of the 15 pool builders on file and active in the San Antonio area last month, the following ranked as the top five for total new permits:

1 – Cody Pools
2 – Keith Zars Pools
3 – Pool Concepts by Pete Ordaz
4 – Anthony & Sylvan Pools
5 – Alamo Pool Builders

To gain more information on the pool builders and permits for the construction activity above, check out HBW for your copy of the latest construction data reports. To gain access to the HBW database and receive custom and detailed reports on the latest residential and commercial building activity in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma, please contact HBW for details.

7 End-of-the-Year Checklist Items for Your Business

A look at a few areas for your business to review in closing 2018 and preparing for 2019

As we enter the final weeks of 2018, it’s easy to get swept into the hustle and bustle of the holidays and overlook the importance of year-end activities.  In addition to closing the books, running year-end financial reports and reviewing contracts and team performance, there are important steps necessary to properly prepare your business for the new year.  Here are a few key end-of-the-year actions to take in order to ensure a fresh and secure start to 2019.

  1. Sales – Find time to review last year’s sales plan (and even the year prior) to create accurate sales goals for the coming year. Additionally, assess how effective your sales process has been over the year, and make adjustments as necessary. Determine and develop ways to prequalify prospects, offer upgrades to existing clients and resell to former clients where engagement is needed.  Confirm and secure any services and valuable sources you have for lead generation (such as HBWeekly) to ensure that you will continue to receive fresh contacts to add to your CRM system.
  2. Marketing – Just as with sales, you should have already started to assess the effectiveness of your marketing strategy and efforts from this year. What was most effective, and which campaigns received the strongest response?  Make sure to incorporate the lessons learned into a new and improved marketing strategy for next year.
  3. Set Goals – Review last year’s revenue goals and use them to establish realistic new goals. While reviewing them every quarter should be standard practice to see how you are tracking toward them, the end of the year provides a long-range perspective that enables you to see if last year’s goals were attainable and what adjustments need to be made to facilitate growth.
  4. Employees – Along with showing appreciation for your employees through bonuses, holiday gifts and celebrations, you should expect to execute performance reviews now through January; it provides a perfect opportunity to reflect and reward successes as well as recognize opportunities for development. The results will define your training and hiring needs in the coming year.
  5. Audit Your Website – Just like any other part of your business, your website requires review and maintenance. Review your content, links and overall appearance to ensure that information is up-to-date and that the design and links are current and active.  Sometimes an action as simple as updating images or a header can make a difference.  And when it comes to SEO, run a few tests to see how visible your website is on search engines and determine what you can change to boost your listing.
  6. Update Your Vendors – Just as you should be taking inventory of your products, now is good time to review your vendors. In addition to verifying and confirming the information you have on file for current vendors and suppliers, review the rates you are paying and run comparisons to see if other vendors are offering better or more competitive pricing for the same services/products.  After all, your “Cost of Goods Sold” is one major contributing factor to the financial health of your business, and you have the ability to negotiate with current vendors or develop relationships and agreements with new ones.
  7. Back up EVERYTHING – Even though you most likely have a daily or weekly back-up system in place, you should still run a separate year-end backup. Beyond your accounting systems and reports, you should back up all files, computers, phones and calendars to a separate back up drive and potentially a cloud system.  Whatever method you choose, make sure it is secure and that you have a minimum of two separate locations for the backed up files.

As 2018 comes to a close, you can make the most of you and your team’s hard work through a few simple efforts; by reviewing sales and marketing strengths/weaknesses and assessing goals and team performance, you can apply the lessons of last year to make the coming year truly successful.

For more information on construction business and marketing tips, stay connected with the HBW Blog.  To get ahead of construction activity and gain access to the latest permitting data in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Oklahoma, contact HBW for more information on construction data reports and industry leads.

Construction Industry Conventions and Expos 2019

An overview of various industry conventions and expos coming up in 2019

The end of the year brings a time for performance reviews of the current year and plans for next year.  While you are probably working on budgets, marketing strategies and high-level goals, be sure to include detailed planning for construction industry events that can benefit your team and business.

In addition to seeing the latest and greatest the industry has to offer, conventions and expos provide unique and concentrated opportunities to network, expand your industry knowledge and catch up on continuing education credits.  If you are a manufacturer or supplier, it is the ideal time to showcase your latest products, connect with customers and meet newcomers to the industry that could benefit from your offerings.

Picking up and filling the gaps from where we last posted about “Construction Expos – Planning for 2019”, the following is a list of expos and event to consider as your plan ahead for the coming year:

Event: KBIS – Kitchen/Bath Industry Show and Conference
Date(s): February 19-21, 2019
Location: Las Vegas Convention Center (Las Vegas, Nevada)

In conjunction with the NKBA – National Kitchen and Bath Association, KBIS is an inspiring and interactive industry event that showcases the latest industry-related products, trends and technologies. For 50 years, KBIS has represented the kitchen and bath industry. The event will host 600+ leading brands in the kitchen and bath industry, including over 100 new companies.

Event: ABC Convention
Date(s): March 24-28, 2019
Location: Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center (Long Beach, California)

The Associated Builders and Contractors relaunched its convention this year and will be continuing the movement with an extensive list of speakers, education sessions, networking opportunities and opening and closing night celebrations.

Event: Construction Financial Management Association Annual Conference & Exhibition
Date(s): June 1-5, 2019
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Founded in 1981, CFMA is the only organization dedicated to providing construction financial professionals with career development and networking opportunities. As of now, registration is not yet open, but the website offers a “save the date” and contact for more information, as well as an Exhibitor Prospectus for 2019.

Event: ENR FutureTech
Date(s): June 3-5, 2019
Location: Hyatt Regency (San Francisco, California)

ENR FutureTech is for business and IT leaders in architecture, engineering and construction to explore new and emerging technologies that can enhance construction productivity, profits and safety.  There are still opportunities for speakers, exhibitors and sponsors. The call for speaker applications is open through January 25, 2019.

Event: AIA Conference on Architecture – 2019

Date(s): June 6-8, 2019
Location: Las Vegas Convention Center (Las Vegas, Nevada)

From 800+ exhibitors showcasing new high-tech materials and products to renowned keynote speakers and continuing education through seminars, tours and workshops, there is much to see, do and learn at this event.

Event: GreenBuild International Conference and Expo
Date(s): November 20-22, 2019
Location: Georgia World Congress Center (Atlanta, Georgia)

GreenBuild is the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building.  The event is geared toward professionals in architecture, construction, engineering, planning, and interior design who depend on thoughtful and ethical solutions which promote wellness and resiliency in construction and urban development. It is made up of a community of professionals, advocates and practitioners, students and teachers, designers and builders, and everything in between; it is created around the pursuit of forward thinking, new technology, and new ideas for the way people all over the world experience buildings.

For more information on construction business and marketing tips, stay connected with the HBW Blog.  To get ahead of construction activity and gain access to the latest permitting data in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Oklahoma, contact HBW for more information on construction data reports and industry leads.

10 Holiday Marketing Must-Haves

While it would be ideal for you to already be in the midst of your holiday marketing campaigns, some small business owners find it challenging to make it a priority.  After all, you have your own business to manage, holidays and vacation schedules to juggle and everything (and everyone) to keep on track during the holiday frenzy.  For those of you who are looking to expand your marketing efforts this holiday season, it’s not too late.  Whether you had your campaign planned since last year or are just looking to give a little holiday boost to your marketing efforts, here are a few simple tips that serve both the ultimate planner and last-minute marketer this season:

  1. Create a Gift Giving Guide – Don’t worry, this one is not as extensive as it may seem.  Simply package a few of your top products or services and offer gift suggestions to your customers.  Start in December and send reminders and gift ideas each week.  Make sure if you give any holiday “special offers” that you define any necessary time limits or expiration dates.
  2. Gift Certificates – In the construction industry, most services are custom and unique to a client, property and location.  For this reason, offer gift certificates for renovations/remodels, maintenance services or small upgrades that could serve as credit with your company.
  3. Get a Holiday Makeover – Many of your products and services are already holiday-ready, but a little dash of creativity can give it the holiday twist it needs.  Perhaps you want to use the “12 Days of Christmas” or “Santa’s Top Gift List” to engage your customers.  You can promote it on social media and reward random followers with the prize of the day or special offer.
  4. Help Last-Minute Shoppers – During the final week leading up to Christmas, promote services and packages that can meet the needs of last-minute gift-givers.  Make it even better by providing an easy to download/print gift certificate or gift package description.
  5. Holiday Greetings – Get in early on your holiday greetings.  With the many options for custom online card design/mail services, you can easily have holiday greetings sent to your customers (via mail) within the next week.  The earlier you get them out, the better chance you will have for getting noticed.
  6. Create a Video – Along with holiday greetings, you can spread holiday cheer and wishes from your team by creating a fun video on YouTube.  A themed video that highlights a popular holiday song or plays upon a holiday story can be engaging and show the more personal side of your business.  Just remember to keep it professional.
  7. Turn up the Lights – Depending on your office space and location, you may or may not have the space for this one but consider creating an impressive holiday lights display.  If you have a storefront, decorate the window in a way that showcases your offerings, as well as displays a holiday scene that provides unique photo opportunities.
  8. Provide Holiday Prep Tutorials – Most of your clients (and prospects) will be preparing their homes for the holidays.  Give them the gift of guidance by offering a video, checklist or guide for getting their homes ready for guests, parties and holiday festivities.
  9. Give Gifts – This may seem like a no-brainer, but giving gifts to your current or longtime customers is a great way to show them your appreciation.  Gift baskets, tickets to events or a gift certificate to a nice restaurant are usually unexpected but very welcome ways to wish them a happy holiday.
  10. Ring in the New Year – As a construction professional, you offer a unique way to provide a fresh start for a home owner.  The new year brings opportunity to connect with customers and provide them with ideas for giving their home or office a fresh new look.  From landscaping services to interior design and build, investing in their home is a gift that will give back for many more holidays to come.

For information on construction business and marketing tips, stay connected with the HBW Blog.  To get ahead of construction activity and gain access to the latest permitting data in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Oklahoma, contact HBW for more information on construction data reports and industry leads.

Giving Back During the Holidays

A look at ways your business can give back to the community this holiday season

Thanksgiving just passed, and as with every year, the holiday gave us a moment to reflect and share our gratitude.  And while the celebration and feast have ended, the giving part of the holiday has just begun.  Thanksgiving serves as the official start of the holiday season, providing the ideal time to have your business give back to your community or favorite cause.

So, with just over a month before the year ends, how can your business begin to give back?  First, remember that your community project doesn’t need to happen today.  Rather, use this time to set goals, organize your team and make connections with organizations that you would like to have benefit from your efforts.  Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Habitat for Humanity – For construction professionals, this is the most obvious and clear fit for what your business has to offer. Whether you choose to offer supplies, laborers or an office team of volunteers, the organization has a myriad of opportunities to participate in their home and life building efforts.  Visit their website to find volunteer, homeownership and ReStore donation and shopping opportunities in your local area.
  2. Toys for Tots – This organization has been around since 1947, serving as a very visible and easy way to spread holiday cheer. Whether you choose to partner up with a company already running a campaign, become a corporate sponsor or run your own campaign, it is a simple way for your team to participate in a “feel good” holiday effort.  While it may be a bit late to become a designated drop-off location, you can easily run a toy collection in your office and deliver it to one of their locations; simply locate a nearby drop-off site on their website.
  3. Food Drive – Thanksgiving isn’t the only time when local food banks and pantries are looking for non-perishable items. Nearly all soup kitchens and food pantries operate throughout the year, and a little donation goes a long way when it comes to motivating your team.  You can encourage everyone to bring in canned goods or any other items that your chosen charity needs; you may even want to hold a contest where the top three contributors (those who bring in the most cans) receive an additional vacation day or something similar.  Be sure to check with the charity to ensure you are collecting specific items and supplies that they need; most will have a list they can send to you or that is already listed on their website.
  4. Day of Service – Along with food donations, many food banks are looking for volunteers to help serve meals and/or sort food. Second Harvest Food Bank and other larger organizations have calendars readily available on their website with sign up forms to get started.  You can also coordinate with them to register your company and employees for a specific project or date of service.  In addition to food banks, you can benefit other causes or local charities by offering your team for a dedicated volunteer effort.  From beach cleanups to community improvement projects, it is just a matter of choosing which project and cause best suit your company and objectives.

Creating and joining efforts to benefit those in need not only make the season more rewarding, but it will bring your team together for a positive experience, building team morale and relationships.  Depending on your ability and availability, you may want to consider setting a new company tradition, making the season of “giving” the season of “giving back”.

For information on construction business and marketing tips, stay connected with the HBW Blog.  To get ahead of construction activity and gain access to the latest permitting data in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Oklahoma, contact HBW for more information on construction data reports and industry leads.

Florida Swimming Pool Construction Report – October 2018

An HBW report on the latest swimming pool permits in Florida for the month of October

Last month, there were close to 2,100 new swimming pool permits added to the HBW database for the Sunshine State.  Out of the five major regions reviewed (Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Southwest, Southeast), the southwestern region ranked number one for total swimming pool starts (667 permits), while Tampa led for the highest average value of new construction (average construction value: $48,801).

Here is a closer look at new swimming pool construction for the month and by region:

Southwest

Last month, the southwest region held the highest concentration of new swimming pool construction permits out of the five major regions reviewed.  There were 667 swimming pool starts with a total construction value in excess of $29.3M in the area.

Out of the 120 active builders on file for the month, the following ranked as the top three in the southwestern region for total new permits:

#1 Aragon Pools & Spas
#2 Pinnacle USA
#3 Aquadoc

 

Southeast

Ranked second-highest for new swimming pool construction activity, Southeast Florida had nearly 530 pool starts with a total construction value of $20.5M last month.  Out of the five major regions reviewed, the southeast held the lowest average value of new pool construction (average value: $38,843).

Out of the 160 active builders in the southeast last month, the following ranked as the top three for total swimming pool starts:

#1 A & G Concrete Pools
#2 Louden Bonded Pools
#3 Crystal Pools

 

Orlando

In Orlando, there were 330 swimming pool starts with a total construction value in excess of $13.5M last month.

Out of the 70+ active builders on file for the month, the following ranked as the top three for total new permits added to the HBW database:

#1 Bobs Pool Service Inc
#2 Martin Pools Inc
#3 All Seasons

 

Tampa

In line with Orlando, the Tampa area had 329 new swimming pool permits with a total value exceeding $16M last month.

Out of the 105 active builders on file for the month, the following ranked as the top three for total new pool permits:

#1 Challenger Pools
#2 Gulfstream Pools & Spas
#3 Olympus Pools

 

Jacksonville

In Jacksonville, there were approximately 240 new swimming pool permits with a total construction value of nearly $10.8M on file last month.

Out of the approximately 75 active builders on file and in the area last month, the following ranked as the top three for total new pool construction permits:

#1 Pools by John Clarkson
#2 All Seasons Pools
#3 Surfside Pools & Spas

 

To gain more information on the builders, homeowners and permits for the construction activity above, check out HBW for your copy of the latest construction data reports. To gain access to the HBW database and receive custom and detailed reports on the latest residential and commercial building activity in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma, please contact HBW for details.

Florida Top Home Builders Report – October 2018

An HBW report on new residential construction permitting activity and the leading builders by region during the month of October 2018

During the month of October, Lennar Homes and D.R. Horton were jockeying for position throughout the Sunshine State as both landed as the #1 and #2 top builders for total permits across all major regions (Southwest, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, Southeast).  From the five major regions reviewed, there were more than 6,420 new residential construction permits with a total value of approximately $1.8 billion added to the HBW database.  The greatest number of housing starts took place in the southwestern portion of the state (1,527 permits), while the lightest amount of new construction activity could be found in the southeastern region (926 permits).

Here is a closer look at the new permitting activity and the leading home builders by area:

Southwest Florida

As previously mentioned, the southwest region had the highest concentration of housing starts last month.  Nearly 1,530 new residential construction permits with a total value nearing $387M were added to the HBW database for the one-month period.

Out of the 280 active home builders on file for the one-month period, the following ranked as the top five for total new residential construction permits on file:

Company # of Permits Average Construction Value
Lennar Homes 213  $    246,941.00
D.R. Horton 211  $    216,661.00
Pulte Homes 147  $    230,280.00
Neal Communities of SW FL 95  $    204,340.00
Mattamy Homes 49  $    240,453.00

 

Jacksonville

The Jacksonville area ranked second highest for total new permits, having more than 1,340 housing starts with a total value of nearly $323M added to the database.

Out of the more than 160 active home builders in the area last month, the following ranked as the top five for total new permits on file:

Company # of Permits Average Construction Value
D.R. Horton 228  $    168,629.00
Lennar Homes 171  $    254,307.00
Dream Finders Home 92  $    256,858.00
Mattamy Homes 65  $    278,381.00
American Classic Homes 65  $      82,738.00

 

Orlando

When looking at volume of housing starts last month, Orlando was similar to Jacksonville as there were 1,338 permits added to the database; that being stated, the average value of construction ran significantly higher in the Orlando area, leading to a total construction value of ~$411M.

Out of the 185+ active home builders in the area last month, the following ranked as the top five for total new residential construction permits on file:

Company # of Permits Average Construction Value
D.R. Horton 181  $    273,156.00
Lennar Homes 178  $    260,166.00
Park Square Homes 76  $    216,538.00
M/I Homes 60  $    337,444.00
Pulte Homes 58  $    339,106.00

 

Tampa

Last month, there were nearly 1,290 housing starts with a total construction value of more than $378M in the Tampa area.

Out of the 185 active home builders on file for the month, the following ranked as the top five for total new residential construction permits:

Company # of Permits Average Construction Value
Lennar Homes 229  $    343,964.00
D.R. Horton 156  $    244,052.00
Pulte Homes 71  $    297,988.00
The Villages of Lake Sumter 65  $    257,421.00
M/I Homes 48  $    365,058.00

 

Southeast Florida

The southeastern region of Florida held the lightest volume of housing starts last month, having nearly 930 new permits with a total value of approximately $271M added to the HBW database.

Out of the 215 active home builders in the area last month, the following ranked in the top five for total new permits on file:

Company # of Permits Average Construction Value
Lennar Homes 130  $    161,182.00
D.R. Horton 59  $    235,499.00
GL Building Corp 45  $    549,708.00
Pulte Homes 38  $    359,134.00
Standard Pacific Homes 33  $    474,974.00

 

To gain more information on the builders, homeowners and permits for the construction activity above, check out HBW for your copy of the latest construction data reports. To gain access to the HBW database and receive custom and detailed reports on the latest residential and commercial building activity in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma, please contact HBW for details.

Texas Swimming Pool Construction Report – October 2018

An HBW report based on the latest new swimming pool permits in Texas during the month of October 2018.

Texas New Swimming Pool Permits – October 2018

Last month, there were more than 1,315 swimming pool starts with a total construction value of nearly $68M in Texas.  Out of the four major metro areas reviewed (Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio), San Antonio rose to the top having the greatest total number of new swimming pool permits on file (475 permits) for the one-month period.  While the average value of new pool construction was steady and consistent across the board with Dallas, Houston and San Antonio averaging $45k-$54k, Austin had several higher value projects that bumped the area’s average value for new pool construction to an uncharacteristically high average of nearly $70k.  Here is a breakdown of the new swimming pool construction permits that were added to the HBW database for Texas last month:

San Antonio

As previously mentioned, San Antonio ranked #1 for total swimming pool starts last month.  With 475 new permits and a total construction value of approximately $21.8M, the average value of new pool construction was $45,868.  Out of the close to 100 active builders in San Antonio and surrounding areas last month, the following ranked as the top three for total new pool permits on file:

#1 Aragon Pools & Spas
#2 Pinnacle USA
#3 Aquadoc

 

Dallas

The Dallas metro area ranked second highest for total pool starts.  With 453 new pool permits and a total construction value in excess of $22M, the average value of new pool construction in the area was just over $49k.  Out of the nearly 160 active pool builders on file for the one-month period, the following ranked as the top three for total new permits:

#1 Riverbend Pools
#2 Gold Medal Pools
#3 Puryear Custom Pools

 

Houston

In Houston, there were 232 swimming pool starts with a total construction value of approximately $12.7M.  With an average value of $54,654, the Houston area ranked second highest for average value of construction for the one-month period.  Out of nearly 120 active builders in the Houston area last month, the following ranked as the top three for total new permits on file:

#1 Anthony & Sylvan Pools
#2 Cypress Custom Pools
#3 Premier Pools

 

Austin

While Austin held the fewest new pool permits for the month of October (156 permits – total value: $10.9M+), due to several higher value pool starts in the area, it ranked #1 for highest average value of construction (average value: $69,953).  Out of the approximately 70 active pool builders in the area for the month, the following ranked as the top three for total new pool permits:

#1 Cody Pools
#2 Anthony & Sylvan Pools
#3 Texas Pools & Patios

 

To gain more information on the pool builders and permits for the construction activity above, check out HBW for your copy of the latest construction data reports. To gain access to the HBW database and receive custom and detailed reports on the latest residential and commercial building activity in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma, please contact HBW for details.

OSHA Update: New Final Rule on Crane Operator Certification Requirements

On Friday, October 9, 2018, OSHA announced a newly issued final rule on Crane Operator Certification Requirements.  In brief, OSHA’s standard for cranes and derricks in construction have been updated to clarify each employer’s duty to ensure the competency of crane operators through training, certification or licensing and evaluation.  As published on their website, the final rule makes the following changes:

  1. The provision that required different levels of certification based on the rated lifting capacity of equipment will be altered. While testing organizations are not required to issue certifications distinguished by rated capacities, they are permitted to do so, and it is up to employers as to whether they accept them or continue to rely on the certifications based on crane type alone.  This final rule removes the requirement that crane operator certifications include the crane’s rated lifting capacity, as OSHA determined that the capacity requirement for certification is not necessary to protect workers, and there is concern that a shortage of certified operators will disrupt the construction industry severely.
  2. Minimum Competency Requirements – The rule established a minimum requirement for deeming an operator as competent. While certification ensures an objective baseline of general knowledge of crane operation, it does not ensure that operators know how to operate a particular crane for a particular task. For this reason, OSHA is executing a requirement that employers assess the ability of their operators to run the cranes they will be using for the tasks to which they are assigned.

As with every new rule, there are a number of areas and details of which you should be aware.  Under the final rule, “critical lift” is permitted if the operator is certified and under the direction of a trainer.  When it comes to evaluations, the employer must ensure that each operator is qualified through demonstration of “skills and knowledge, as well as the ability to recognize and avert risk, necessary to operate the equipment safely…”  This evaluation must be done by a person who has the knowledge, training, and experience necessary to assess operators.  For those employees who are already employed by the company (prior to the effective date of the final rule), the employer is allowed to rely on its previous assessments and does not need to perform a new evaluation of the operator’s knowledge and skills.

Once an operator has passed an evaluation on one piece of equipment, the employer may allow that operator to operate different equipment without conducting another evaluation if the employer can demonstrate that operating that equipment would not require substantially different skills, knowledge or ability to recognize and avert risk. Evaluations must be documented and include the operator’s name, the evaluator’s name and signature, the date of the evaluation, and the make, model, and configuration of equipment used in the evaluation. The documentation of the evaluation must be available on the job site for as long as the operator is employed; electronic versions are accepted.

So, how does one ensure that their operator is meeting the requirements?  According to OSHA, an operator can meet certification requirements by obtaining certification from an accredited, third-party crane certification organization as described in paragraph (d) of the final rule. An employer can also comply with OSHA’s standard by developing an employer audited program and use this program to certify operators it employs. Additionally, operators can meet OSHA’s certification requirements by obtaining a state or local crane operator license that meets OSHA’s requirements.

While the final rule makes changes on requirements, it does not change who is covered by the cranes standard.  To learn more about the scope of the cranes standard, see 29 CFR 1926.1400.  The final rule will become effective on December 10, 2018, with the exception of the amendments to 29 CFR 1926.1427(a) and (f) (Evaluation and Documentation requirements), which will become effective February 7, 2019.  For more information, the details and full final rule can be found here: “Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Operator Qualification”.

For more information on construction business and marketing tips, stay connected with the HBW Blog.  To get ahead of construction activity and gain access to the latest permitting data in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Oklahoma, contact HBW for more information on construction data reports and industry leads.

Top Home Builders in Texas – October 2018

An HBW report on total permits and top home builders during the month of October 2018.

Last month, the Lone Star State experienced a month-over-month increase of 20% in new residential construction permits.  The combined total housing starts across the four major metro areas reviewed (Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio) led to 6,900 new residential construction permits with a total value close to $1.7 billion being added to the HBW database.  The region with the greatest number of housing starts for the one-month period was Houston (2,720 permits), and the area with the highest total value of construction was Dallas (total construction value: ~$778M).

When looking at leading builders by area, month after month D.R. Horton rises to the top for housing starts.  Last month, the mega builder ranked #1 in three metro areas (Houston, Dallas, Austin) out of four reviewed.  In San Antonio, Lennar Homes led for total permits, as well as ranked #2 in Houston and Dallas.  Here is a closer look at the top builders leading new residential construction last month by area:

Houston

With a 25% month-over-month increase in new residential construction, Houston ranked #1 for total housing starts, surpassing Dallas with approximately 2,720 new permits and a total construction value of $553.5M.

Out of the more than 350 active builders in the area last month, the “Top Builders” for total permits are as follows:

#1 D.R. Horton
#2 Lennar Homes
#3 K Hovnanian Homes
#4 Perry Homes
#5 KB Homes

 

Dallas

Dallas was not far behind Houston as it ranked second highest for housing starts.  Having experienced a 10% month-over-month increase in housing starts, there were just over 2,680 new residential construction permits with a total value close to $778M added to the HBW database for the area last month.

Out of the approximately 295 active builders in the area last month, the “Top Builders” for total permits are as follows:

#1 D.R. Horton
#2 Lennar Homes
#3 LGI Homes
#4 First Texas Homes
#5 Highland Homes

 

Austin

In Austin, there were 1,000 housing starts with a total value in excess of $250M last month, reflecting a 25% month-over-month increase.

Out of the approximately 120 active builders in the area last month, the “Top Builders” for total permits are as follows:

#1 D.R. Horton
#2 KB Homes
#3 Pulte Homes
#4 Taylor Morrison Homes
#5 Meritage Homes

 

San Antonio

Last month, there were approximately 490 housing starts on file with a total construction value close to $97M.  While San Antonio ranked lowest for total permits, new construction activity is ahead of the previous month (September) by a sizeable 16%.

Out of the more than 100 active builders in the area last month, the “Top Builders” for total permits are as follows:

#1 Lennar Homes
#2 Meritage Homes
#3 KB Homes
#4 Pulte Homes
#5 Bella Vista Cmi Ltd

 

To gain more information on the builders, homeowners and permits for the construction activity above, check out HBW for your copy of the latest construction data reports. To gain access to the HBW database and receive custom and detailed reports on the latest residential and commercial building activity in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma, please contact HBW for details.