Tag Archives: Construction

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!

The Future in Equipment Training

Earlier this month, the Fayetteville Public Library in Fayetteville, AR opened the J.B. & Johnelle Hunt Family Center for Innovation. This space provides patrons with free and public access to technology and educational resources. The Center for Innovation stems from the 2020 expansion of the library, which added more than 5,000 square feet to the building. The new space offers access to workforce simulation, virtual reality, audio/video production and editing, and a robotics/fabrication lab.

The Crossland Companies Simulation Lab offers training on equipment such as large trucks, hydraulic excavators, and forklifts. These simulators offer a similar experience as hands-on training. Participants are able to log hours and then use those hours towards their certification. These simulators allow library goers to learn various trades and gain valuable knowledge that can launch them into the workforce.

Will this make a difference in the equipment training world? Absolutely. These simulators allow more people to gain training. This training allows for more efficient starting employees and less time spent on onsite training. Geared towards teens and those interested in heavy equipment, the opportunity to learn these skills come at a much earlier age.

The world needs tradesmen and the simulation lab gives people the opportunity to try out these machines and see if these fields of work are right for them- free of cost. With the construction boom currently happening, there are plenty of opportunities to come.

The library is already working on adding more simulators in the future to allow training on other pieces of equipment. A tool rental center/shop is in the works as well, with hopes to open in late 2022.

5 Summer Safety Tips

The summer months come and go in the blink of an eye, but the warmer temperatures can linger on well into the fall. When working in these hotter conditions, employees need to take certain precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses. Below are five safety tips to keep your crew safe during the summer.

 

 

 

Stay Hydrated

Having accessible drinking water and staying well-hydrated is the body’s best defense in hot working conditions. Make sure employees have plenty of water on site and are encouraged to frequently rehydrate. 

Shaded Areas for Resting

Make sure employees have a chance to take breaks out of the direct sun to avoid heatstroke and sunburns. Having lighter mesh clothing and sunscreen are also important tools to staying safe in the sun.

Take Constant Breaks

Continuous work in the heat is not advisable, taking frequent breaks to cool off is ideal when working in hot weather. 

The CDC estimates the amount of break time needed depending on weather and type of work being done- for example, doing moderate work in 103 degrees Fahrenheit would require a 30 minute break for every 30 minutes of work. 

Learn to Recognize the Signs of Heat-Related Illness

Heat stress can be dangerous mainly because it can come on very suddenly- the person experiencing it may not even know it. Making sure everyone on the jobsite is able to spot the signs of heatstroke and heat-related illness, and what to do if these symptoms appear in someone, can be the key to keeping everyone safe.

Some signs to look for include:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Clammy, damp, or pale skin
  • Strange behavior or altered mental state
  • Panting/rapid breathing, rapid heart rate

If someone is experiencing any number of these symptoms should stop working immediately and seek medical attention. 

Use Climate Control Equipment When Working Indoors

Working inside on a hot day can begin to feel stifling very quickly. Using industrial size fans or air conditioning can make employees in an indoor work environment cool, safe and productive. Hugg & Hall Utility Services offers multiple air conditioning units, including the Airrex w/ Dehumidifier which offers programmable controls and operating range of 64-113 degrees. This can be especially important to control the dampness in the air to keep materials dry and provide cool air for employees.  

Modernizing the Construction Industry: Client Engagement

When improving client engagement, businesses often consider performance, service, and support. Nonetheless, client retention goes far beyond high-quality products and service; supporting customers and encouraging spending is not always enough. This kind of interaction may in fact cause clients to feel more like a transaction rather than a meaningful customer.

In the construction industry, owners and administration often plan for the year and evaluate prospects for new and recurring business. It is also important to judge internal aspects, like client engagement, to create a more dynamic and productive environment for clients and employees to thrive. Taking actions to generate client engagement can be a crucial step to increasing capital & resources for your construction business.

Getting Started

Critical to client engagement is making it clear to your customers that there is value in their relationship that is not solely based upon profitability. That is why consistent engagement with customers is important in every relationship. Construction companies can address this relationship by optimizing how customers communicate with their company. Allowing multiple channels, that are up to date and serviced regularly will magnify customer relations.

For industry leaders, this process starts from the first interaction and expands over the course of time and business. Throughout this process, companies should interact through social media, email campaigns, personal emails, online dashboards, phone calls & any other channel that makes sense for the business.

Participating in these additional interactions will emphasize that there is value beyond traditional products and service. Although it is likely that customers chose your company based upon a variety of reasons, including reviews, quality, and pricing, content that keeps them engaged will develop continued business and allow customers to better remember your company when completing further industry transactions.

The client engagement strategy should deliver relevant, personalized messages in a timely manner to customers. Personalization of content to match the customer base, is what ultimately sets client engagement marketing apart from other strategies. This being said, customers should be targeted based upon their prior interactions.

For example, a customer interested in plumbing a school, likely will not be the same customer laying the foundation, each of these clients should be categorized to receive different content. This does not mean each category deserves a different social media page, but it is important when sponsoring content or sending a promotional email to recognize different customer bases.

The Performance

Every business has the potential to engage clients in a beneficial way that encourages interactions from current and future customers. It is not always a ‘typical’ marketing campaign; a highly prioritized campaign will cause more engagement from the customers you want. While client engagement style campaigns can often be successful, if can be difficult to predict whether it is the right campaign for your company.

Investing in your campaigns, by participating and promoting, will consistently be profitable for your business. For small teams, a customer engagement platform may be necessary to help manage ads and interactions, track customer engagement, and assist in responding to inquiries or reviews. (Some of our favorites hootsuite.com & hubspot.com)

With the presented information, it is clear that proper client engagement will have a positive impact on your business, while strengthening your customer base. It may not always seem so easy, so when building your audience, focus on your brand, your company’s voice & personalized customer experiences.

ANSI A92: NEW STANDARDS TO REQUIRE CUSTOMER EDUCATION, TRAINING & ENGAGEMENT

ANSI_ NEW REGULATIONS WILL REQUIRE CUSTOMER EDUCATION & TRAINING

Hugg & Hall Equipment Company (Hugg & Hall) is committed to transparency and keeping customers informed of industry updates/regulations to ensure successful transitions and positive experiences.

The importance of educating customers on impact of new standards

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is expected to release new standards for boom and scissor-type lifts, in the coming months. The updated standards have significant implications for the construction, equipment rental and equipment sales industries and will impact prices, training and operations. An important aspect of the implementation will be equipping customers for the change; both for awareness and preparation purposes.

The new regulations are replacing prior ANSI standards A92.3, A92.5, A92.6 and A92.8 which covered manually propelled aerial, booms, scissors and under-bridge inspection machines. The updates are focused on moving North American equipment toward current global standards. The updates to regulation will include: terminology changes, platform load sensing technology requirements, new wind force requirements, new stability testing, new railing height requirements and new platform entry requirements. ANSI and their Canadian counterpart, the Canadian Standards Authority (CSA), are moving toward equipment design standards that will bring North American equipment up-to-date with the current standards implemented in Europe to reduce global variances in the industry.

Educating customers is particularly important because of the, plausibly, profound impact that the new standards will have on equipment operation and prices (on compliant machines). Manufacturers will be forced to invest in production to supply compliant machines within the one-year from implementation limit and the new features and production costs will raise the prices of machines for direct buyers, including rental companies.

The precise impact of the new standards is yet to seen, but it’s clear that the standards will have a significant impact on prices, equipment operation and training procedures. Thus education will be very important to ensure a smooth transition for companies and their customers.

How training will play a part in the implementation of the new standards

Training is expected to play an integral part in the successful implementation of the new A92 standards. New training and familiarization requirements will be implemented under sections A92.22 and A92.24. A significant change to prior requirements is in the new requirement of training occupants and supervisors along with operators. In addition, online theory will be available as an option for operator training.

Occupant training will include the use of fall protection, stability factors, safe use of accessories, work procedures, hazard avoidance, manufacturer warnings/instructions, site risk assessment, general knowledge and basic operation comprehension.

Supervisor training will include proper equipment selection, potential hazards training, applicable rules/regulations/standards and manufacturer operation manuals.

Recently, James Lennartz, Training Manager at Hugg & Hall, spoke on the importance of training as it relates to the ANSI A92 updates.

“We need to make sure that our customers are prepared for the changes so that they do not lose valuable time on their projects,” said Lennartz. “Every single one of our customers are on time schedules to complete their projects and if they are not aware of the coming changes they have the potential to fall behind on the completion date and lose money; their delays cost their customers time and money. A vicious cycle.”

The standards specify requirements for application, inspection, training, maintenance, repair and safe operation of Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) formally known as Aerial Work Platforms (AWPs), according to Lennartz.

“Our task as trainers is to ensure that our customers are aware of all changes and how they will affect their daily processes throughout the work day on each jobsite,” said Lennartz. “No one jobsite is the same nor are the conditions at which the MEWPs are being used by our customers. We need to make sure that both operators of MEWPs and their supervisors are able to safely operate and evaluate the use of MEWPs.”

Lennartz elaborated on how Hugg & Hall trainers are strategizing to accomplish these important goals.

“We hope to accomplish this by providing the necessary information in regards to the features, functions, safety devices, equipment limitations and operating characteristics as defined by the manufacturer, utilizing both the standards and operator manuals,” said Lennartz.    

The new ANSI standards will require more customer engagement, which is a primary reason customer education/training, leading up to the implementation of the standards, is essential.

“From what we are seeing the customer is going to have a bigger role in how their operators are using the MEWPs,” said Lennartz.

Customers are expected to be more involved in areas such as safe use planning, records retention, personnel qualifications, training requirements and rescue from height plans, according to Lennartz.

“Personnel operating MEWPs will be trained based on the classification of equipment that they will operate as equipment will be divided into different types and groups,” said Lennartz.

Though the new standards are yet to be released, the Hugg & Hall team is committed to keeping customers educated on upcoming industry changes and is dedicated to providing the needed support and resources.

Optimize Engine Efficiency

Optimize Engine Efficiency

Engine maintenance is a constantly evolving subject which requires regularly updated tweaks to stay current with persistent advancements. Hugg & Hall is committed to supporting their customers and assembled this list of quick tips on how to optimize the efficiency of the most advanced engines.

Fuel

One can’t speak on engine viability without speaking on appropriate fuel usage. One way to improve engine productivity is to improve fuel usage procedures. An issue limiting engine efficiency is ethanol-based fuel. Ethanol is a water-alluring substance. This is bad news for engine longevity because water can inflict corrosive patterns and damage carburetors. This issue can be resolved in a couple of ways. One way is to use fuel stabilizers which work to keep fuel fresh, remove water to prevent corrosion and cleanse carburetors. Stabilizers may also protect engines from gum, varnish, rust and corrosion. However you look at engine maintenance, fuel stabilizers are a great option for better productivity. Another option is to use ethanol-free fuel. Having said that, even if you choose to use ethanol-free fuel, fuel stabilizers remain a great way to better engine longevity. Being mindful of the fuel you’re choosing is the first step in optimizing engine efficiency.

Oil

Another obvious indicator of engine health are the engine oil procedures used. Regularly scheduled oil changes are integral to engine productivity. Most engines require oil changes every 100 hours of operation. However, smaller utility equipment, which utilize air-cooled engines, require oil changes every 50 hours of operation. As improvements to oil and oil systems continue to develop, oil change intervals are expected to extend. It’s important to review the owner’s manual for engine maintenance recommendations and engine oil guidelines. In order to avoid wasting money or damaging your engine, it’s important to have an appropriate maintenance schedule. Another oil tip is to consider full-synthetic oil options as this type of oil is typically designed to accommodate longer usage intervals in higher-heat environments. Some synthetic oil options also include anti-wear components which may improve engine viability. Potential engine oil developments on the horizon include reservoirs which continually exchange oil from the engine to an external reservoir and vice versa. This process reduces the breakdown of oil, keeps engines cooler and thus extends oil change intervals. So be on the lookout for the enactment of this technology.

Air

Air is an important aspect of the efficiency and productivity of many engines. Smaller, air-cooled engines require fresh air in order to maintain a high-level of performance and longevity. Regularly changing engine air filters is an integral maintenance routine with disastrous implications if left undone. Another thing to consider is the use of OEM filters as opposed to cheaper options. OEM/cyclonic filters offer a higher-performing option that extends use by as much as three times. The higher-performing filters also better the productivity of machines and extend the overall lifespan of engines. Engine owners are encouraged to review manuals to ensure that comprehensive, appropriate maintenance is performed regularly.