On the Level: Top Management
Construction Contractors Confidence Remains Elevated in April
Despite ongoing concerns about skilled worker shortages and volatile materials prices, construction executives remain bullish about the prospects for the nonresidential construction sector, according to Associ
Construction Input Prices Plummet in June
Construction input prices decreased 1.3 percent on both a monthly and yearly basis in June, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Producer Price Index
Construction Job Growth Steady in June
The construction industry added 21,000 net new jobs in June, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data released July 5 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On a year-over-year bas
Construction Jobs Increase by 21,000 in June and 224,000 During the Past Year
Construction employment increased by 21,000 jobs in June and by 224,000, or 3.2 percent, over the past 12 months, while the number of unemployed jobseekers with construction experience fell, according to an an
Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 19
“A house, not made with hands” 2 Corinthians 5:1
There are things in life that happen and turn out to be unforgettably memorable. This is one such episode. To tell it and tell it well, demonstrating the f
New Home Sales Decline in May
Sales of newly built, single-family homes fell 7.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 626,000 units in May, according to data released June 25 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Developme
Seeing Projects as Products
A new report from McKinsey & Company says that modular construction (or prefabrication) can deliver projects 50 percent faster, has the potential to cut costs by 20 percent, and will change the business models
The Recession Wiped Out Only the Amateurs
Tim Titsworth likes to build relationships with architects. On most jobs, the president of Concord Drywall, Inc. in California, sets up a walk-through that he calls “an architect’s observation.”
Traits of a Winner
I am excited to provide you with a monthly update. As I start my term as the AWCI president, the association is in the interview process for a new CEO/executive director. These interviews take
Aerial Work Platforms
Q: Can you provide some information concerning the new ANSI Standard on aerial work platforms?
A: This new standard, ANSI A92, is the first major change in the standards that covers aerial work platforms
New research in marketing says that if you want to sell a new product—say, an intriguing new flavor of ice cream—you can get more customers to try it by displaying the product stacked in the store in front of
Consulting Sucks (Sometimes)
The gig economy is roaring right along, and that means consulting work is more popular than it’s ever been. And the truth is there are many great benefits to becoming a consultant. In fact, you may even be thi
Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 18
My Day in Court, 1979
There are so many stories that occurred during this period that I need to tell. I had several court dates. I want to tell you about one particular court appearance that trumps all th
Meet Nancy Brinkerhoff, AWCI’s First Female President
Pictured: Nancy Brinkerhoff with members of AWCI’s chapter in Northern California, the Wall And Ceiling Alliance
“Being the first woman president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industr
The Architect: Friend or Foe?
We know that, although not always seeing eye-to-eye, our relationship with the architect is a symbiotic one: A clear case of “can’t live with them, can’t live without them,” and at times, architects and contra
U.S. Department of Labor Kicks Off Safe + Sound Week on August 12
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration will join businesses and organizations nationwide to recognize the importance and successes of workplace safety and health programs
AWCI's 2019 Pinnacle Award Winner: Timothy J. Wies
Timothy Wies, president of T.J. Wies Contracting, Inc. in Lake St. Louis, Mo., was recognized for his unselfish commitment to his company, community and the wall and ceiling industry when he was presented with
Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 17
1978–1988. It takes a long time to climb a mountain, but only a nanosecond to fall from the top.
I had finally settled into Alta, running work and going through a lot of back and forth as we (the othe
Robotic Manufacturing Is Coming
Every day across the globe, about 200,000 people leave rural areas and move into cities, says World Economic Forum.
To support this growing urban population, Autodesk says contractors worldwide have t
The Safety Culture: Making or Breaking It
We know that in a company where safety is a given, the employees will feel both cared for and appreciated—and they will likely spread the word, too, making their friends easier to recruit.
We also kno
Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 16
The Long and Winding Road, 1978 to 1988. I had made mistakes. Plenty of them. I was about to reap what I had sown. No one could’ve known what would lie in the path ahead. It had to be lived out. Experienced. T
FMI Releases 2019 M&A Trends for Engineering and Construction
FMI Corporation’s “2019 M&A Trends for Engineering and Construction” report provides an overview of key trends driving merger and acquisition activity in today’s North American engineering and construction mar
How to Attract and Keep Skilled Workers
As you know, the industry is experiencing a severe shortage of skilled construction labor.
And, as many of you have already observed from time to time, it’s a broad cultural change toward an emphasis
Small Business Owners: Stop Overpaying on Taxes!
If you’re a small business owner, you know: The quest for revenue is never-ending. That means, besides chasing new customers, you’re also scouring your expenses to see where you might make cuts. What does Eric
The Truth about Architectural Bid Packages
Construction estimating is a great career (OK, being Meagan Markle is better), but I’d be lacking if I didn’t confess a complaint or two. No, it’s not the relentless, unforgiving deadlines, nor the paralyzing
Where Are the Exoskeletons?
In February, Morrison Utility Services in the United Kingdom began piloting a health and safety program that supplies exoskeletons to its contract workers.
“The benefits of this wearable technology,”
Are You a Self-Determined Manager?
The best managers intentionally create an environment where employees thrive and great work gets done. To become what David Deacon calls “self-determined,” you must make a choice every day and never, ever let
No longer a plaything of gadget-lovers, drones are making serious inroads with wall and ceiling contractors, enabling those businesses to save significant dollars on surveying, creating 3D renderings of jobs o
Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 15
As my fellow worker kept driving, winding his way down the two lane mountain road, in the San Diego foothills, it was evident by the gleam in his eyes that he had insight I didn’t possess.
He knew the
Dodge Momentum Index Falters in February
The Dodge Momentum Index lost 4.4 percent in February, falling to 146.9 (2000=100) from the revised January reading of 153.6. The Momentum Index, issued by Dodge Data & Analytics, is a monthly measure of the f
Jobs Decline in Construction Sector for the First Time in More Than Two Years
According to an analysis by the Associated Builders and Contractors of data released March 8 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry lost 31,000 net new jobs in February. Overall, non
Lower Interest Rates Stabilize Builder Confidence
Buoyed by falling mortgage rates, builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes rose two points to 58 in January on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market I
The Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry’s annual convention at the end of April in Maryland will be the 25th AWCI convention I have attended. In that time, many traditions and events have stayed the s
Wells Fargo Survey: Construction Industry Reports Strong Optimism for Eighth Straight Year
For the eighth consecutive year, construction industry executives say they feel optimistic about the year ahead for their business sector, according to the 43rd Wells Fargo Construction Industry Forecast relea
What on Earth?
On Feb. 25, 2019, TheGuardian.com posted the article, “Concrete: the most destructive material on Earth.” The report was part of “Guardian concrete week,” a news bundle “[celebrating] the aesthetic and social
As life cycles on, another generation has arrived on the scene: Generation Z.
Gen Z’s oldest members are now 22. And they’re bold, entrepreneurial and technologically well equipped. Soon they’ll be on
Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 14
Many times while I was in the process of losing everything, I told myself, “If I lose everything, I’ll just rebuild it. I did it the first time, I’ll just do it again.” I had no idea how wrong I was and how lo
Doing Submittals Right
Before retiring last year, I spent the previous quarter century as a senior estimator/project manager for a mid-size commercial general contractor in the Midwest. It was fast-paced, rewarding work, and one of
FMI Releases 2019 FMI Overview
FMI Corporation has released its “2019 FMI Overview,” featuring FMI’s latest forecast, the 2019 U.S. and Canada Construction Outlook. The publication offers comprehensive construction forecasts for a broad ran
How to Be a Disruptor
Would you like to be good at sniffing out opportunities and carving out niches before others? Then be a market disruptor.
“Established companies have to start thinking like disruptors,” says Paul Earl
Technology to the Rescue?
Construction technology continues to advance and almost daily offers contractors new tools to meet both long-term growth and efficiency goals—as artificial intelligence analytics, drone hardware-software combi
U.S. Department of Labor Releases Overtime Update Proposal
The U.S. Department of Labor announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would make more than a million more American workers eligible for overtime.
Under currently enforced law, employees with a salar
ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator Sinks Below Record Highs in Q3 2018
Associated Builders and Contractors reports that its Construction Backlog Indicator contracted to 9.04 months during the third quarter of 2018, down 8.4 percent from the second quarter and 4.3 percent lower th
AWCI EVP/CEO Etkin Announces Retirement
Steven A. Etkin has announced that he will retire at the end of this year. Etkin has been executive vice president and CEO of the Association and the Foundation of the Wall and Ceiling Industry since 1995, and
Builder Confidence Drops Four Points Amid Concerns Over Housing Affordability
Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes fell four points to 56 in December on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index as concerns over housing af
Construction Employment Rises from November 2017 to November 2018 in 42 States and D.C.
Forty-two states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between November 2017 and November 2018, while 23 states added construction jobs between October and November, according to an analysis by
Construction Input Prices Continue to Fall in December
Construction input prices declined 1.7 percent in December on a month-over-month basis yet are 3.5 percent higher than the same time last year, according to a new Associated Builders and Contractors analysis o
Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 13
Beginning again, way back when….
The door opened with some skepticism, disbelief and wonder on both sides. As for my wife, she no doubt wondered who might be knocking at 4 a.m. Me, on the outside looking
Dodge Momentum Index Moves Lower in December
The Dodge Momentum Index fell 4.9 percent in December to 151.9 (2000=100) from the revised November reading of 159.7. The momentum index, issued by Dodge Data & Analytics, is a monthly measure of the first (or
Listen to the Music
Don’t you feel it growin’ day by day
People gettin’ ready for the news
Some are happy
Some are sad
But gonna let the music play
— The Doobie Brothers
No doubt about it. Playing music at w
Seventy-Nine Percent of Construction Firms Plan to Expand Headcount in 2019
Seventy-nine percent of construction firms plan to expand their payrolls in 2019 but an almost equal percentage are worried about their ability to locate and hire qualified workers, according to survey results
Single-Family Starts Drop in November as Builders Face Affordability Concerns
Rising housing affordability issues continue to hinder single-family production even as total housing starts increased in November.
According to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing
SWOT Away the Blues
As we go into the first months of 2019, I wonder how everyone is doing when it comes to setting goals and expectations for the new year. One key tool that has been instrumental for us at Baker Triangle is our
The Economy: Steady as She Goes?
Both Dodge Data and Analytics and Associated Builders and Contractors report great October 2018 figures for construction starts and unemployment, although ABC does point out that material prices continue to ri
A Look Back, and What Lies Ahead
I hope everyone had joyous and safe holidays and is ready to start the New Year. As we begin, I have been reflecting on 2018 and thinking about what 2019 has in store for our industry. From conversations with
Auction Donations for 2019 Now Being Accepted
The Foundation of the Wall and Ceiling Industry needs your help with donations of items that can be included in its silent auction on April 25, 2019, during AWCI Celebration Night at AWCI’s Convention. This is
Customer Loyalty Guaranteed?
A while back, I was sitting in on a late Monday morning meeting with my boss and a client (let’s call him “Bob”) with whom we’d completed a building project some years prior. Bob was upset. A fierce storm had
Handing Over the Reins
Many of you have spent a significant part of your lives planning, creating, nursing, growing, consoling, celebrating, aggravating over (kept up at night by), directing and managing this rambunctious baby known
The High-Tech/High-Trust Balance
Technology does a lot but it can’t do everything. Sometimes we forget that. We can get so dependent on email and social media that we lose sight of what people really need from us—especially in business. Yes,
U.S. Department of Labor Proposes to Revise Beryllium Standard for General Industry
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Dec. 10, 2018, issued a proposed rule to revise the beryllium standard for general industry. The proposed changes are designed to
Zero Recordables in 2019
How would you like to achieve the grand total of zero workplace injury and illness cases in 2018?
That’s a challenging goal to reach. Do you think you can do it?
Some in large companies might