Preparing Workers for Winter Cold

Being in the South, we usually focus on the heat when it comes to protecting workers from the elements.  That being said, just because we aren’t facing arctic conditions doesn’t mean that workers aren’t at risk during the winter months.  OSHA provides a plethora of information on cold stress and other winter weather related hazards that can be useful for any construction company.  Here are a few basic guidelines to get you started on preparing you and your crews for the safety measures that should be taken in the winter months ahead:

Cold Stress – According to OSHA, cold stress is easily prevented, but often the risk goes unnoticed.  Especially in warmer climates, cold stress is not usually factored into the equation when assessing job site safety.  The truth is that near freezing temperatures are enough to be a contributing factor for cold stress. Cold stress occurs by driving down the skin temperature, and eventually the internal body temperature. Once the body is at a level where it can no longer warm itself, serious cold-related illnesses and injuries can occur and lead to permanent tissue damage or worse. Types of cold stress include: trench foot, frostbite, and hypothermia. It is important for employers to properly train and monitor crews for cold stress.

  • Prevention: Prevention is possible through training. Crews should know how to recognize environmental and workplace conditions that can cause cold stress, as well as the symptoms of cold stress and how to treat workers.  Additionally, make sure crews understand proper clothing for cold, wet and windy conditions and that uniforms meet the climate requirements.
  • Monitoring and Planning: Employers should monitor weather conditions and the wind chill temperature so that they can gauge workers’ exposure risk better and plan how to safely perform under daily conditions. It is also important to monitor workers’ physical condition during tasks, schedule short breaks in warm areas, provide warm beverages and schedule projects at the warmest part of the day.

 

In addition to protecting workers from cold stress, there are other precautions employers can take to increase safety on the job site during winter months:

  • Providing workers with the proper tools and equipment to do their jobs
  • Develop plans that identify potential hazards and the safety measures that will be used to protect workers.
  • Inform clients of inclement weather or severe temperature drops and schedule longer stretches of outdoor work for warmer months.
  • Rotate and consider using relief workers or splitting shifts to cover long or demanding jobs during extreme cold.
  • Establish a reliable means of communicating with workers, especially in remote areas and have regular check-in/reporting times throughout the day.
  • Stay informed – NOAA provides multiple ways to stay informed about winter storms. If notified of a winter storm watch, advisory or warning, follow instructions from your local authorities: NOAA Weather Radio

 

Regardless of the season or weather it may bring, job safety should be number one priority on the job site.  By having a plan and ensuring that your crews are following safety precautions, you can rest assured knowing that your crews are properly trained to have a safe and productive winter season.

For more guidelines and tips from OSHA on Winter safety and precautions, visit OSHA’s Winter Weather page. 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.

Atlanta Residential Construction Quarterly Review – 3rd Quarter

Image courtesy of: CarruthPhoto.com

Residential construction in the Metro Atlanta area has experienced a 10% year-over-year increase through the third quarter, which points to a continued growth pattern that has been consistent for more than four years.  The counties that reflect the highest total number of housing starts through Q3-2017 include Gwinnett (2,935 permits), Fulton (1,958 permits) and Forsyth (1,939 permits).

ATL Top Counties for total permits Q3 – 2016 vs. 2017

In addition to the counties experiencing the greatest concentration of new residential building activity, there were areas that had significant spikes and growth in comparison to last year.  For example, while Clarke County does not have the greatest total number of starts through the third quarter of this year, it is well ahead of last year’s figures having a massive 72% year-over-year increase in new residential construction.  Newton County also reflects tremendous growth over the years and is 64% ahead of last year’s residential construction totals with more than 400 housing starts on file through Q3.  Areas like Fayette County have held steady and consistent over the last few years, but in 2017 it is experiencing significant growth, a 42% year-over-year increase through Q3 to be exact.

When looking at the higher value home construction ranging $500k and above, the third quarter of this year is the best one yet for the Metro Atlanta area; so far, there have been more than 525 housing starts with values above $500k this year, and 200 of those starts took place during Q3.  Fulton County continues to lead for total higher value housing starts, having more than 220 new homes with values in excess of $500k through the third quarter.  Other counties that have 50 or more higher value permits on file with HBW through Q3 include Dekalb and Cobb.

Information utilized for the graphs and above listed figures for metro Atlanta residential construction was directly derived from HBW 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.

Save the Date – Industry Expo Calendar

Earlier this week, we explored options for reusing marketing and promotional materials.  Along with repurposing promotional items for customer appreciation, they can certainly be of value at future conventions and expos.  Here are a few upcoming industry trade shows that you may want to add to your calendar:

  1. MetalCon

Dates: October 18-20, 2017 (Las Vegas, NV)

More information: http://www.metalcon.com

  1. Remodeling Show (and DeckExpo)

Dates: October 25-27, 2017 (Nashville, TN)

More information: www.remodelingdeck.com

  1. Greenbuild International Conference & Expo

Dates: November 8-10, 2017 (Boston, MA)

More information: www.greenbuildexpo.com

  1. JLC LIVE Residential Construction Show

Dates:   November 30-December 1, 2017 (Portland, OR) & March 22-24, 2018 (Providence, RI)

More information: www.jlclive.com

  1. BuildExpo

Dates: December 6-7, 2017 (Fort Lauderdale, FL) & January 24-25, 2018 (Austin, TX)

More information: http://buildexpousa.com/

  1. NAHB International Builders Show (IBS)

Dates: January 9-11, 2018 (Orlando, FL)

More information: http://www.buildersshow.com/

  1. World of Concrete

Dates: January 22-26, 2018 (Las Vegas, NV)

More information: www.worldofconcrete.com

  1. International Roofing Expo (IRE)

Dates: February 6-8, 2018 (New Orleans, LA)

More information: www.theroofingexpo.com

  1. East Coast Builders Conference

Dates: June 14-15, 2018 (Nashville, TN)

More information: http://ecbcshow.com/

  1. AIA Conference on Architecture

Dates: June 21-23, 2018 (New York, NY)

More information: http://conferenceonarchitecture.com/

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.

5 Ways to Use Promotional Items, Again

Don’t let extra giveaways and promotional items sit in storage; use them to re-engage customers and invite new ones.

Freebies – They are great for expos and conventions, but what about all of the leftovers?  Giveaways are a great way to promote your business at large industry events, but they can often get tossed to the back of the storage closet once the expo doors are closed.  Whether they are pens, pads, keychains or flashlights, they have your logo which makes them valuable in other marketing efforts.  Here are five easy ways to repurpose and make use of extra promotional items:

  1. Other Expos – While this one may seem obvious, many companies forget about last year’s promotional materials. A good way to ensure promotional items can be reused for several events and for a longer duration is to make sure they are consistent with your brand and are not designed around a specific event or product.
  2. Customer Appreciation – A little “thank you” can go a long way. Think about reengaging some of your valued customers with a thank you note and promotional item.  The end of the year is the perfect time to thank them for their business and contributing to the success of your company.
  3. Holidays – Consider going outside of the traditional company holiday cards or calendars this year. By repackaging some of your best promotional items for the holidays, you can give your customers a reason to think about you well beyond the holiday season.
  4. Proposals – While this one may not be the best fit for commercial clients, think about giving your residential project proposals a little something extra to standout from competitors. Adding a promotional product can be an effective way to make your proposal memorable and worth the time for review.
  5. New Services – If you are launching a new service, location or website, you may want to add a promotional item with your announcement. A little gift package will most likely get more attention than a postcard in a client’s or prospect’s mailbox.  This is equally as effective for direct mail marketing campaigns and will give your HBW leads another reason to contact you.

Promotional items that carry your company name can help generate buzz long after your exhibitor’s pass expires.  By taking stock of promotional item you have now, you can plan to make an impact in your expos, mailers and announcements later.

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.

Florida Swimming Pool Construction Report – August 2017

During the month of August, there were more than 1,850 new swimming pools with a total value in excess of $78 million started in Florida.

 

Florida Pool Permits by Area – August 2017

Southwest

New swimming pool construction was booming in the southwestern portion of Florida last month; With more than 525 swimming pool starts and a total value in excess of $22.4M, new pool construction was 23% of ahead of our last pool construction report for the area in June.  The bulk of new construction could be found in the counties of Lee (196 permits) and Collier (119 permits), and out of the more than 125 active builders in the area, the following ranked top three for total new permits for the one-month period: Aragon Pools & Spas, Pinnacle USA and Waterscapes Pools and Spas.  The average value of new pool construction for the one-month period was $42,676.

Orlando

Last month, Orlando ranked second highest for total new swimming pool construction permits on file with HBW.  Having 490 pools starts with a total value greater than $19.5M, Orlando experienced just about a 47% increase in construction activity since our last report in June.  The highest concentration of swimming pool starts took place in Brevard (182 permits) and Orange (139 permits) Counties.  There were approximately 100 active swimming pool builders in the area last month, and the three companies that had the most new permits on file were as follows:  Intercoastal Pool and Spa Builders, All Seasons and Holland Pools.  The average value of construction in Orlando was lowest in comparison to the other areas reviewed coming in at just under $40k.

Southeast

Southeast Florida ranked third for total permits last month as there were just under 350 pool starts with a value in excess of $14.2M.  The counties of Palm Beach and Miami-Dade held the highest concentration of new pool construction with 139 and 104 permits respectively.  Out of the 135 active builders on file for the month, the top three for total new permits are as follows: Sunsational Pools and Spas, A&G Concrete Pools and Treasure Pools and Service, Inc.  The average value of pool construction in the area for the one-month period landed at just over $41k.

Tampa

New pool construction in Tampa has remained steady as there were nearly 320 pool starts with a total value of approximately $14.5M last month.  The counties with the highest concentration of new pool construction included Hillsborough (106 permits) and Pasco (61 permits).  Out of the more than 100 active builders in the area, the following ranked top three for total permits: Tampa Bay Pools, Olympus Pools and Gulfstream Pools and Spas.  While there wasn’t a wide range in average value of swimming pool construction across the state, Tampa had the highest average value at $45,405.

 Jacksonville

There were 175 new swimming pool permits and more than $7.7M in total construction value added to the HBW database for Jacksonville last month.  The counties of St. Johns and Duval experienced the greatest amount of new construction activity with 69 and 56 swimming pool starts respectively.  Out of the 65 active builders in the area during the month of August, Blue Haven Pools, Pools by John Clarkson and Island Pools took the top three spots for total new permits.  The average construction value for pools in the area was just over $44k.

FL Average Value of Pool Construction – August 2017

Information utilized for the graphs and above listed figures for swimming pool construction in Florida was directly derived from HBW 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.

Planning for Fall Home Maintenance

Fall is here, bringing new opportunities to engage customers and offer Fall home maintenance services.

When many people think of the Fall season, cooler weather and images of Fall leaves and trees easily come to mind.  What many people easily overlook is the Fall home maintenance and prevention services that can prepare them for winter and add longevity to their current structure

For this reason, now is the perfect time for sending a friendly reminder, and maybe even a promotion, to customers regarding fall home maintenance.  One of the ways to put fall maintenance needs on their radar is to provide them with an easy checklist that they can review on their own or contact your business to have a seasonal assessment.  From energy efficiency and insulation to prepare for colder months ahead to safety checks and landscape preparation, there are a variety of services that you may be able to provide customers or refer them to a partner company.

When reaching out to your customers, it is best to offer some free resources and information (such as a seasonal checklist) that they can use to prepare their property on their own.  Whether through a mass mailer or email marketing campaign, helping your customers prepare their property will reengage them and properly position them for the season ahead.  Checklist items may include the following:

  1. Landscape + Outdoors
    1. Assess the health of trees on the property; make sure they are properly trimmed and pruned to avoid the dangers of falling limbs in winter storms.
    2. Rake Leaves – While falling leaves are an expected and beautiful part of this time of year, leaving too many on the lawn throughout the season can inhibit spring growth.
    3. Clear Gutters – After the leaves have fallen, make sure to clean gutters and downspout as leaves can obstruct water flow during rainstorms and cause water to pool; it can be damaging to roofs and siding.
  2. Building Structure
    1. Walk the Property – Examine the exterior of the home. Any damage to the roof, siding or foundation should be reviewed by a professional and ideally repaired before the winter season begins taking a toll.
    2. Add Weather Stripping – From frames of windows to doors, weather stripping can help regulate indoor temperature and increase energy efficiency.
    3. Seal Gaps – In addition to the gaps in windows and doors, review the building for any holes or gaps that may serve as entryways for small critters. Sealing such gaps will decrease the likelihood of having mice or similar visitors in your home.
    4. Chimney and Heating Systems – It has been a while since you have used your chimney. For this reason, now is a good time to set a maintenance appointment for having the chimney, furnace and boiler cleaned and in working order.
  3. Safety Check
    1. Test Detectors – Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors don’t check themselves; make sure they are in working order and replace batteries if needed.
    2. Fire Extinguisher – While you don’t need to “test” an extinguisher, you should make it a habit to check the expiration date and replace if necessary.
    3. Lighting – Make sure all outdoor lights are functioning, and if on a timer, make sure to adjust it for the shorter daylight hours; replace bulbs if needed.
    4. Outdoor Stairs and Walkways – In addition to making sure that all stairways and walkways are cleared from debris, the fall season is a great time to check for any loose pavers, steps or railings. If you live in a colder climate, the winter months will make walkways slippery, and railings and steps will need to be clear and in good shape.

By providing your customers with some easy tips and guidance for seasonal home preparation, you do more than simply serve as a resource… You and your business can become a trusted partner is home safety and maintenance for years to come.

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.

Florida Residential Construction Review – August 2017

Out of the 5,400 Florida housing starts in August, Orlando was a leading area for new construction.

Over 5,400 housing starts with a total value in excess of $1.5B were added to the HBW database for Florida last month.  While construction activity was not ahead of July’s figures, August had a healthy level of new permits across the state with Orlando leading for total starts (1,408 permits).  While DR Horton and Lennar Homes continued to flex their megabuilder muscle in four out of five regions, Pulte Homes held strong in the southwest region having 150 housing starts in that area for the one-month period.

Here is a closer look at the breakdown by region:

ORLANDO

Central Florida’s “City Beautiful” was up one spot since July to rank #1 in August for total housing starts.  Out of the more than 1,400 starts and approximately $444 million in total construction value, DR Horton was the leading builder having more than 200 new permits in the area for the one-month period; the home builder was most active in Osceola and Brevard counties as 62% of all their new building activity took place there.  The average value of residential construction was on the higher end in Orlando at more than $315k, and the highest concentration of housing starts could be found in Orange (494 permits) and Brevard (270 permits) counties.

TAMPA

The gulf coast Tampa area was second highest for new construction last month.  More than half of the 1,340+ housing starts and approximately $350M in total construction took place in Polk (401 permits) and Hillsborough (385 permits) counties.  Out of the 190 active builders in the area, Lennar Homes took the lead for total housing starts having more than 200 new permits on file with HBW for the month; nearly all of Lennar Home’s new residential construction took place in Pasco and Hillsborough counties.  The average value of new home construction in Tampa runs fairly close to the average for the state at nearly $261k.

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

The southwest region ranked third highest for total housing starts last month.  Just about half of the 1,121 housing starts and nearly $279M in total construction took place in the counties of Lee (343 permits) and Collier (233 permits) counties.  The average value of new home construction in the area was nearly $249k.  Out of the 225 active home builders on file in August, Pulte Homes ranked #1 with 150 housing starts.

JACKSONVILLE

Out of Jacksonville’s 900+ housing starts and $223M in total value last month, DR Horton was a leading home builder having more than 186 new permits on file; the majority of DR Horton’s new construction took place in St. Johns and Duval counties, two counties that are currently experiencing the highest levels of new home construction in the Jacksonville area.  To be more exact, more than 70% of new residential construction activity was concentrated in the counties of St. Johns (381 permits) and Duval (266 permits) last month.  Jacksonville continues to carry a lower average value of construction in comparison to the four other areas reviewed, having an average value just over $245k for the one-month period.

SOUTHEAST FLORIDA

There were nearly 650 housing starts in the southeast region of Florida last month, and more than half of all new residential construction took place in the higher value counties of Miami-Dade (194 permits) and Palm Beach (179 permits).  Out of the 180 active builders on file for the month, Lennar Homes came out on top with 127 new residential construction permits; just about 50% of Lennar’s new home construction in the southeastern region took place in Miami-Dade County during the month of August.

Information utilized for the graphs and above listed figures for Florida residential construction was directly derived from HBW 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 Report: New Residential Construction – August 2017

Texas Total New Resid. Permits – August 2017

Last week, we reviewed the latest on new swimming pool construction in Texas based on HBW’s construction permit reports.  This week, we have used the same reports for finding out where new residential construction is taking off in Texas.  Out of the more than 6,000 new residential construction permits and $1.5B in total value for the month of August, Dallas held the highest total new permits and the highest average value of construction for the month.

Here is a closer look at new residential construction across the four major metro areas (Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio) of Texas during the month of August:

Dallas

Total Permits: 2,426

Average Value of Construction: $294k

Top County: Collin (1,016 permits)

Total # of Active Builders: 242

Top Builders for Total Permits:

1. DR Horton
2. Pulte Homes
3. Megatel Homes

 

Houston

Total Permits: 2,322

Average Value of Construction: $205k

Top County: Harris (1,255 permits)

Total # of Active Builders: 277

Top Builders for Total Permits:

1. Lennar Homes
2. DR Horton
3. Perry Homes

 

Austin

Total Permits: 757

Average Value of Construction: $256k

Top County: Travis (531 permits)

Total # of Active Builders: 115

Top Builders for Total Permits:

1. KB Homes
2. Meritage Homes
3. DR Horton

 

San Antonio

Total Permits: 556

Average Value of Construction: $231k

Top County: Bexar (259 permits)

Total # of Active Builders: 132

Top Builders for Total Permits:

1. Continental Homes
2. KB Homes
3. LGI Homes

 

Information utilized for Texas residential construction reports was directly derived from HBW 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.

HBW Report: Texas New Swimming Pool Construction – August 2017

 

While it’s not often that we look at pool construction in Texas, every month hundreds of new swimming pool construction permits are added to the HBW database, giving us plenty to review and share with our subscribers.  In August, there were more than 600 new pool permits totaling more than $30.5M in construction value added to HBW’s database, and more new leads are being generated every day.

Here is a look at new pool construction activity in the four major metro areas of Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio last month:

Dallas

Out of the four major metro areas reviewed, Dallas had the highest concentration of new pool construction last month.  More than 30% of all new pool construction took place in Collin County, and out of the 135 active builders in the area, Gold Medal Pools ranked #1 for total pool starts during the one-month period.

Total Permits: 340

Average Construction Value: $50,234

# of Active Builders: 135

Top County: Collin County (106 permits)

Top Builder (for total permits): Gold Medal Pools

Houston

While much of Houston is working through recovery and rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, there is also new pool construction taking place with some Houston-area homeowners.  In August, there were nearly 150 pool starts with an average value of approximately $51,500.  Just about 60% of all new pool construction took place in Harris County where there were 84 starts during the one-month period.

Total Permits: 145

Average Construction Value: $51,497

# of Active Builders: 80

Top County: Harris County (84 permits)

Top Builder (for total permits): Platinum Pools

Austin

Austin ranked third for total pool starts having 65 new permits on file for August.  The average value of construction was highest out of the four areas coming in at $56,005.  The majority of all new construction took place in Travis County (56 permits).

Total Permits: 65

Average Construction Value: $56,005

# of Active Builders: 45

Top County: Travis County (56 permits)

Top Builder (for total permits): Aquatech, Inc.

San Antonio

San Antonio held both the lowest amount of new pool construction activity and the lowest average value of construction, having 52 permits and an average value of approximately $43,500 on file last month.  Nearly all of the new pool permits originated from Bexar County (44 permits).

Total Permits: 52

Average Construction Value: $43,502

# of Active Builders: 22

Top County: Bexar County (44 permits)

Top Builder (for total permits): Keith Zars Pools

Information utilized for Texas swimming pool construction reports was directly derived from HBW 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.

Tips for Recruiting Top Talent

In an industry that is in desperate need for growth in its labor pool, it is critical to make the most of recruiting efforts.

It’s not a secret – The construction industry suffers from a shortage in skilled laborers.  And while there are a myriad of ways to develop and train certain technicians and laborers, attracting and retaining top talent can pose difficult challenges.  In addition to the limited number of qualified candidates available, your business may also face challenges in retaining the few that you may bring on board.  From construction managers and estimators to laborers and equipment technicians, here are a few easy tips for recruiting construction professionals:

  1. Use Industry Networks – Whether you work through your local construction association or get involved with an industry publication, you can get your career opportunities noticed through industry-related groups. While casting a wide net with larger mainstream job bulletins will bring in a greater amount of job seekers, using industry-specific networks can be helpful in filtering candidates who have a true interest in construction.
  2. Use Social Networks – Social media has become an effective way to recruit and spread the word about opportunities with your business. In addition to posting jobs on your website and sharing them within your own network, groups and recruiting tools on LinkedIn can be helpful for inviting job seekers and engaging candidates who have experience that directly fits your current needs.
  3. Use Your Team – While hiring within is a great way to motivate your team and potentially increase performance, don’t overlook your team’s networks. Share job opportunities with your employees so they can share it with their contacts.  Most likely one of your own top team members has someone in mind for a new position or has a previous co-worker that would be interested in working with them again.  Offer a referral reward for anyone who is hired and retained.
  4. Get Competitive – To attract top talent, you will need to offer a competitive package. Your next manager may not be actively seeking a new position, but if you put together a competitive compensation package, they may be willing to entertain new opportunities.
  5. Use Your Time Wisely – Recruiting takes resources, and resources take financial investment. For this reason, you must use your recruiting time (and money) wisely.  Don’t waste time interviewing as many candidates as possible.  Instead, use your filters and plan for preliminary interviews on a limited schedule.  Have a timeline for the new hire, from posting the ad to final interviews and decisions.  By having a clear schedule, you and your team can focus on recruiting efforts that are cost-effective and lead to the results you need.

While there are many ways to go about recruiting, using industry networks, the power of social media and following a detailed schedule will get you closer to finding the right candidate at the right time.

For more industry news and construction business 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.