What tool or piece of equipment has helped you solve the most problems?
The use of the construction laser for layout has helped us resolve many issues mainly with regard to working on commercial remodeling projects. Working with existing conditions has always been difficult, but with the use of the layout laser for both walls and ceilings, we have been able to more efficiently establish control lines.—John T. Kesler Jr., President, Texas Precision Constructors, Inc., Houston, Texas
When I have a problem I call my Dad and use his brain. With over 60 years of experience, he can solve most any construction problem.—David Atkin, President, David Atkin Construction Inc., Ventura, California
The Track Bender has solved a lot of our radius wall problems.
The Speed Square. It not only covers all the angles, it’s your friend. The Square also makes a great back-scratcher when not in use.—Tim Martin, President, ATM Construction Services, Houston, Texas
The PLS 5 for squaring a room in doing ACT ceilings.—Mike Parker, Executive Interiors, Attleboro, Massachusetts
The cordless drill.
How many people responded with "a baseball bat?” Looks much better.
Without a doubt, a self-leveling, rotating laser system. No more using dry lines, string levels, plumb bobs, etc. Productivity is dramatically improved, and you are assured of a perfectly level/ plumb project every time.—Patrick Harvey, President, Patrick G. Harvey & Sons Contractors, Inc., Mission Viejo, California
Without question, the diligence and ingenuity of our employees (read brains)—in the office and the field—have been the most valuable tools. But like any tools, they need to be cared for—trained, updated, kept sharp—so that they are available and able to resolve whatever problem arises.
Cordless screw gun.
The laser is the most problem-solving tool we own! It takes the place of one man! So you see, all the problems that come with finding the right employee are minimized. Plus, it doesn’t talk back!!—D. Tucker, Owner, Acoustics, Boise, Idaho
I would have to say the RoboVector 5 beam plumb laser. It and plumb lasers like it are the fastest and the best when it comes to interior and exterior framing and layout. A must-have tool for the trades.—Reggie Pugh, Superior Drywall, Rockford, Illinois
The computer and the Internet. Everything and just about anything from information to how to do things is available at almost light speed. And for those who have optic fiber, I guess it would be at Light speed.
An electric lift tail gate for our truck. Two of our most important issues are addressed: much safer to use the gate than have men use ramps or their backs to load heavy equipment, and labour savings—the driver can load and unload without finding additional men for help.—Keith Kennedy, President, Aries Contracting (Ottawa) Inc., Ontario, Canada
A pen with a checkbook.
My new cell phone, the Palm® Treo™ 650. I am able to estimate a residential home on an Excel program I wrote and e-mail the order to the supply house while still on the job site. This saves any mix-ups with called in orders, and expedites delivery times and dates. It also reminds me of appointments with the daily calendar. The Treo also synchs with my office computer. This allows me to make any changes with appointments, schedules or estimates and transfer it to my phone/Palm.—Sean P. Glynn, Paramount Construction Inc., Eagle Point, Oregon
Plaster pump. We have been able to stretch our manpower and continue the quantity and quality of our work.
As Clint Eastwood said [in the movie Pale Rider] as he picked up an axe handle, "... nothin’ like a good piece of hickory.”