Monthly Archives: January 2022

Construction Industry Trends in 2022

2021 brought a lot of obstacles for the construction industry. The rise of construction costs, labor shortages, and the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how our industry does business. Many industry trends continue to emerge from the pandemic and are changing the roles of industry professionals and frontline workers.

 

Here are 5 major construction industry trends to look for in 2022:

Shortage of Laborers

One very noticeable construction trend is a steady increase in the demand for labor. Quality labor is expensive and competitive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2021-2022, the construction sector is projected to grow 2.6 percent. This equates to 1.6 million new jobs. An influx of educated and seasoned workers will be needed to manage and interpret the data produced by new technology.

Modular and Offsite Construction

Modular and prefab construction is experiencing multiyear rapid growth, and it is not slowing down. The modular construction market, led by the residential sector, is predicted to increase to almost $110 billion by 2025. This uptick is driven by a lack of skilled labor and an increase in cost-cutting technology.

Increasing Material Costs

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Producer Price Index for construction goods increased by 17% year over year in 2021. Rising interest rates are likely to compound all types of costs, which will result in further pressure on total construction costs. Technologies like drones will be in key in helping to maintain project volume and combat this cost pressure.

Green Building

With more and more people looking for ways to protect the environment, green construction has become the standard for homebuyers, renters and commercial tenants. Unfortunately, many sustainable and eco-friendly features remain out of reach despite their long-term saving opportunities. This may change over the next decade as eco-tech and sustainable construction become more acceptable and affordable.

Protective Equipment

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically impacted the construction industry by affecting site guidelines with updated state regulations emphasizing cleanliness and strict safety protocols. There is a growth of new devices capable of identifying common safety issues. Some examples of this new technology include material-moving “mules” that transport heavy or hazardous materials and robots that could complete mundane tasks like brick laying to larger more complex tasks. 

These are just a few of the construction industry trends for 2022, there are many more to be on the look out for. Visit the Hugg & Hall website to find out how we can help you stay on trend in 2022!

Prepare for the Winter: Machine Winterization Tips

Winter brings shorter days, frigid temps, and slick, icy conditions. During this time of year, we need to take extra care of our equipment to avoid any damage the colder temperatures can bring. Read on to learn some tips on machine winterization!

MACHINE WINTERIZATION TIPS

Follow these best practices to make sure your equipment is ready for winter.

CHECK CHAIN TANKS, FINAL DRIVES, SWING GEAR BATHS, AND GEAR BOXES FOR WATER

Be sure that you are using coolant that complies with ASTM standard D-621, with a freeze point low enough for you climate. If coolant freezes, it can crack the engine block and ruin the engine.

ADD FUEL CONDITIONER 

Fuel conditioner prevents your fuel from freezing and ensures your engine starts in the cold. The amount of fuel conditioner needed varies depending on the brand and model of the machine. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the amount of conditioner needed. Lastly, always match the fuel conditioner to the type of fuel you’re using (e.g. low sulfur).

CHECK THE FUEL FILTER

If the fuel filter is clogged, moisture can build up and freeze in the winter, causing your machine to run improperly or fail to start. Empty the water traps in the filters before cold weather arrives. To avoid downtime, keep an extra set of fuel filters in your cab.

CHECK COLD START AIDS

Diesel engines spray ether into the air system to help the engine start in cold weather. For older machines that have ether spray bottles, check the bottle to make sure it isn’t empty. For new machines with an automatic ether system, inspect the connections and hoses for cracks or loose connections.

CHECK THE BLOCK HEATER

Block heaters keep fluids at the optimum temperature and viscosity. If the block heater isn’t working, oil can thicken, making it harder to turn the engine over and causes added stress on the battery. To test that it is working properly, plug in the heater then touch the hoses to ensure they are warm.

INSPECT AIR PRE-CLEANERS

Large dust particles and debris can build up during the summer and should be removed. Otherwise, snow and ice could collect around them, allowing moisture into the air system, which could cause engine failure.

CHECK BATTERY AND CONNECTIONS

Corrosion around battery connections causes less voltage to be transmitted, and increases strain on the battery. These corroded connections can drain the battery, preventing your machine from starting. Periodic inspections for corrosion can reduce the chance of having a dead battery.

If your machine is still giving you trouble after you perform these winterization tips, contact our service department!

WINTER STORAGE

DRAIN THE FUEL TANK IF POSSIBLE

If you have a diesel engine, either drain the engine or leave it completely full during the winter months. Draining the fuel tank can be time consuming, but this eliminates the possibility of condensation forming in the fuel tank and spreading. Condensation can clog the fuel filter, which can clog fuel lines, carburetors, and injectors.

RUN THE ENGINE AFTER CLEANING

Run your machine after cleaning the engine and replacing the oil so that a protective film of oil coats the internal parts. The oil coating acts as a rust preventative. Pour a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze into the coolant system before running as well, to protect the cooling system up to -34°F.

CLEAN & FULLY CHARGE BATTERIES, THEN DISCONNECT THE POWER LEADS

Never store discharged batteries. Colder temperatures slow the discharge rate of fully charged batteries.

START MACHINES ONCE A MONTH

Avoid starting machines in extremely cold weather. Find a time when the temperature is above freezing to start the machine and fully warm hydraulics after the engine comes to operating temperatures.

DO NOT TRY TO BREAK CRAWLER TYPE MACHINES FROM A BADLY FROZEN SITUATION

The result can be powertrain damage.

COLD WEATHER OPERATION

PROTECT YOUR MACHINE

If you can’t keep your machine inside when it is not in use, try to at least keep a water resistant tarp over the engine. Snow brings condensation, which can cause problems for the entire engine. 

MANAGE PRODUCTIVITY

Cold weather makes the earth harder, and frost can penetrate roadways and aggregates to make utility, road, and crushing jobs much more difficult and time consuming. Winter months have less daylight, so manage your time wisely.

CLEAN AREAS DESIGNATED FOR SNOW REMOVAL

Clean up debris or equipment that will be hidden by fallen snow. Mark any areas of concern with reflective stakes, so snow removal crews can easily identify and stay away from those areas.

PLAN FOR EARTHWORK PROJECTS

Frozen chunks of ground need to be placed in designated areas. The frozen chunks of earth contain water that can cause major issues in the spring, such as sinkholes.

WARM UP THE MACHINE/WARM UP TO IMPROVE STEERING RESPONSE

Let machines come up to operating temperature before working. Steering response on equipment with hydraulic steering may become very slow at low temperatures, even when the correct oils are used. 

CHECK  FOR ICE BUILDUP 

Check for ice or snow buildup in exhaust or intake if applicable. Inspect and clear any ice or snow from the throttle and break area.

STAY AWARE OF SAFETY

Mount and dismount your machine using three points of contact. Remember that you are working with snow, ice slips and falls are a common cause of injuries. Wear your seatbelt when operating equipment and stay alert. 

Prepare not only your equipment and jobsites; but your employees as well for these temperatures, to help avoid any possible personal injuries and downtime from work. Visit our blog to learn more winter safety tips!