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Thursday, 30 June 2016

Experience vs. Credentials: Does Your Commercial Construction Contractor Make the Grade?

Experience vs. Credentials: Does Your Commercial Contractor Make the Grade?
A culture that values safety training of its own accord, not just as a minimum requirement to be met, is an important credential in any construction firm.
 
With back-to-school season here, it’s exciting to think about students heading off to pursue a degree or certificate in a construction field. Anyone who does so is probably making a smart move – according to a recent study, construction is the industry with the second largest talent shortage in the U.S., and the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows employment for construction managers will grow 16 percent (faster than average for all occupations) from 2012 to 2022.
But the interesting thing about commercial construction is all the different paths people take to end up in this industry. Many prepare for a commercial construction career with a formal education, whether it’s a college degree in construction management, engineering or architecture, or a related field. Take for example Englewood Construction President Bill DiSanto, who is a licensed architect through the University of Illinois. Our team also includes many project managers and staff members with construction degrees, and even several MBAs. But typical of any construction office, there are also plenty of people like myself who worked their way up through the industry, and have extensive knowledge based on years of field experience.
At Englewood Construction, we see tremendous value in those diverse backgrounds. But a client vetting a commercial construction firm might wonder if there are specific credentials they should look for to ensure a successful construction job, or if they should place more weight on the contractor’s real-world experience?
I think most of our clients would agree their top priority is working with the best national general contractor who has a portfolio of successfully completed projects and a long list of satisfied clients as references. However, with the many licenses, training and continuing education opportunities out there for construction professionals to enhance their expertise, it’s important for clients to understand what value they add. Here are just a few examples:
Contractor Licensing – There is no state contractor’s license in our home state of Illinois, but many other states and municipalities require a contractor be licensed to do business. A license basically tells you a contractor met the minimum requirements to obtain one – usually passing an exam and paying a fee – so it’s not a great gauge of a company’s experience or reputation. But in some scenarios it’s necessary to find a contractor with the appropriate license. That is one advantage of working with a national commercial contractor like Englewood – we hold licenses in many states and municipalities, so we are qualified to do work across the country.
LEED Accreditation – Contractors with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification through the U.S. Green Building Council have passed an exam on green building practices and the LEED rating system. This designation primarily indicates a contractor is well-versed in the requirements of achieving LEED certification for a project. But keep in mind that a construction firm does not have to hold LEED credentials in order to be skilled at implementing sustainable commercial construction techniques. In fact, as building codes have evolved to catch up to LEED standards, many of these best construction practices are followed by experienced commercial contractors as a matter of course.
Safety and OSHA Training – Safety is a priority to all of our clients, and meeting OSHA training requirements is an important credential for any contractor. But for us, ensuring our job sites are safe by training our superintendents and staff in the best safety and general construction practices is more than just a requirement – it’s part of our culture and something we do for the benefit of our own people. If a contractor isn’t making safety a top concern on their own accord, that should be cause for a red flag.
But perhaps one of the most important things to look for in a general commercial contractor is an environment that values learning. Years ago, I met a carpenter who said he tried to learn something new every day. That sentiment is so critical in an industry as vast and varied as construction where there’s always a new challenge. And like most industries, construction is continually evolving, particularly as we advance with technology to stay relevant and service our clients better. So is your contractor eager to implement the newest online platforms and streamlined processes? Are they working with subcontractors to educate them on the best ways to do business together? Are they like that carpenter, always looking for an opportunity to learn something new? If so, then that is probably the most important credential of all.

Brexit leaves UK construction industry on shaky ground


Dive Brief:

  • Construction experts have said the United Kingdom's vote last week to withdraw from the European Union will damage the country's already "struggling" construction industry, CNBC reported.
  • Of primary concern is the potential for higher building costs, more difficulty in finding skilled labor and a limited ability to provide affordable housing.
  • In addition to the loss of European construction workers, who UK construction experts said are vital to supplementing the British skilled worker pool, construction companies and professional architecture and engineering firms must now wait to find out how the move will impact their non-British payroll, in some cases an estimated 40% of employees, according to the Architects' Journal.

Dive Insight:

The Architects' Journal post-Brexit construction industry predictions include:
  • Projects will be put on hold or canceled altogether due to the uncertainty caused by Brexit.
  • Builders will most likely have to find new sources for building materials, as currently the UK sources its materials from all over Europe.
  • The likely fall of housing prices should come as a relief, particularly to first-time buyers, but could also spur an influx of foreign investors.
  • There will be changes in public procurement laws, but not in the amount of red tape.
  • Confusion around the direction of the green building "agenda" will lead to questions about how multiple nations will have the same bargaining power to make carbon reduction deals.
However, just as a downturn in housing prices will appeal to many homebuyers, 20% of construction companies surveyed said that being a part of the European Union actually hurt business, according to CNBC.
One developer told CNBC that the U.K. construction industry is already experiencing a "crisis" due to the skilled labor shortage. The U.S. building industry is suffering from a similar problem, as the lack of available workers has plagued contractors for years. Earlier this month, AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr said "it is only a matter of time" before the skilled worker shortage affects the general economy now that it is starting to impact construction hiring.

Фотоохота: 50 способов найти место бассейну на шести сотках

Приятно искупаться в жаркий летний день. Но вблизи вашего дачного участка может и не быть природного водоема, а для полноценного бассейна нужно место. В нашей подборке идеи организации миниатюрных бассейнов там, где вы совершенно точно не думали его разместить.

Мы собрали идеи из реальных проектов со всего мира по особому принципу. Одинаковая ориентация кадра позволит максимально сосредоточиться и не отвлекаться на скачки картинок в ходе пролистывания в полноэкранном режиме.Нажмите на первое фото и откройте изображение в максимальном размере. Вдохновляйтесь идеями из подборки и делитесь своими в комментариях после статьи.