Jim Kollaer's blog

McKinsey Analytics, part of the McKinsey Global Institute, has released a study and accompanying charts about the potential for automation in a broad array of jobs in the US. Included in the study are construction jobs ranging from construction laborers to elevator engineers and technicians. The chart is developed in a way that you are able to switch on or off the individual categories of jobs that you are interested in. It might even give you insights into some of the services and subs that you use.

Additionally, there are charts illustrating gender equality in various countries and their relation to gender equality and attitudes in the workforce. The third chart illustrates ways that gender equality can drive economic growth around the world.    Read more » about How Much of Your Job Can be Automated?

Happy New Year
to all of our readers!
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Nadine Post, editor at large at ENR, recently wrote an interesting opinion piece asking where the revolution in the construction industry is and then goes on to explain that all the technology changes that are taking place including BIM, modularity and the like are making projects much more complex to design and build.

Her point is that you can push and pull all you want, but it still takes time to build a project and that building projects are not manufacturing production lines.

She makes some very good points, and it is a thought-provoking read.    Read more » about The Construction Revolution

The Bureau of Labor Standards (BLS) has released its projections for job growth for the period from 2014-2024, and construction job growth leads the goods producing sector with an increase of almost 800,000 jobs. That is good news for the industry, but one statement in the release is revealing. “Construction is projected to add 790,400 jobs by 2024. Even with these additional jobs, employment in the construction major sector is not projected to return to the 2006 peak.”

The numbers show a picture of continued growth in the service sectors, especially in healthcare (25% of the total job growth or 3.8 million jobs) that reflects the aging population. Manufacturing is projected to be the big loser with the 2024 numbers reflecting a loss of 814,00 jobs, likely to increased productivity at home or continued globalization of the manufacturing workforce.

You can read the press release and delve into the charts here.    Read more » about Construction Jobs Projected to Grow Through 2024

Many folks watched on cable news as the massacre in San Bernardino unfolded this week. The first responders told us what they found and how, even with extensive “active shooter” training, they were not prepared for the carnage they found when they entered the conference facility. They were already in sensory overload, and not knowing whether the shooters were still in the facility, made their job even more uncertain. This was a true tragedy.

The “new normal?” as one pundit tagged it. Maybe, but there was a subtler shift that many of us have predicted would happen in the near future. Something that will fast become a reality in the design and construction business, especially in areas where there are “soft targets,” like unsecured conference centers and multi-tenant office buildings.    Read more » about San Bernardino Shooting Just Changed the Commercial Building Industry

We are thankful for
all of our readers!
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I ran into my college classmate, colleague and friend Jim Furr, Managing Principal Emeritus in the Houston office of Gensler, this week, and he reminded me of the Rain’s Rules of Marketing. I thought that I would share them with you.

Jack Rains, attorney, former Secretary of State in Texas and earlier in his career, the President of 3D International, had three rules for successfully marketing the AEC services of the firm to clients around the globe. He drilled these into everyone on his team daily. Rains' Rules of Marketing are very simple.

Rule No. 1 – See the people.

Rule No. 2 – See the people.

Rule No. 3 – See the people.    Read more » about Rains' Rules of Marketing AEC Services

How many times have you heard or used the phrases, “We are too high” or “We can’t get low,” as an excuse for losing a bid or a presentation? I have heard it (and used it a time or two) over my career and it has been a long career. I recently heard it again in a focus group that I was leading and got flashbacks that I thought I might share with you.

First, I would make the case that you do not want to be the low bidder on any project in the design-bid-build process. My favorite saying from one of my clients is that, “The low bidder is most likely the one who screwed up and overlooked something in their bid process that will cost them and their clients dearly when construction gets underway.” Then there is one from a mentor of mine who said, ”The high bid is either a 'courtesy bid' or someone who thinks we are idiots.” This was usually followed by, “Throw out the high and the low bids and then do a spread sheet for me to evaluate.”

Five decades later, the same conversation is still held daily across the AEC industry whether the project is residential, institutional, commercial or industrial and whether you are owner, architect, general contractor, sub or tenant.   Read more » about “We Can’t Get Low!”

Komatsu, the Japanese builder, has produced autonomous vehicles for major mining and construction sites around the globe. Now, they are combining their autonomous vehicles with drones to become more productive and accurate in their site work. They use the drones to survey the site in less than a day where manual methods took as long as two weeks. Not only are the new technologies more productive, they are more accurate and able to eliminate the 20-30% errors found in the manual survey work that many of us grew up with.

The 6-minute video below from Cnet explains how Komatsu has taken the next step by using the drones in concert with their heavy equipment to produce more accurate and more productive site work on their client’s construction projects.    Read more » about Get Smart Construction [VIDEO]

Construction Dive writer Emily Pfeiffer recently reported on 10 trends that are impacting construction today, and we thought that you would relate to them. They include: increasing labor shortages; increasing use of BIM and other technology on jobsites; homebuilder mergers in the wake of the Standard Pacific/Ryland Group deal; tightening home inventory; tiny houses becoming more than a fad; heightened attention on jobsite safety and penalties; the emergence of 3D printing and offsite or pre-fab construction; growth of the green building market; government crackdowns on corruption in construction; and millennials possibly moving into the first time buyer market.

Those are all great points to consider in your business plans. We have covered several of them in the past as well, but I would like to add a couple of trends that you might also consider as you make your plans for the next few years in your business.    Read more » about Ten Trends Impacting the Construction Industry, Plus Two


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