JULY 2021
JULY 2021
JULY 2021  VOLUME 15  special focus  ISSUE 07  Inside This Issue  technology  50  22 equipment solution Data Flight  drone...
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Buildable Space ......................................................... 14
Hybrid Roofing Materials ........................................... 16
Cat Mulchers ............................................................. 18
Piping Materials ........................................................ 20
Data Flight ................................................................. 22
Moisture Meters ........................................................ 24
Time Factor ............................................................... 26
Collective Data .......................................................... 30
HR Workflows ........................................................... 32
PR Power .................................................................. 34
Digital Data Flows ..................................................... 38
Integration Works: Part 2 of 2 .................................... 40
Construction Claims .................................................. 44
Laser Scanning .......................................................... 46
Preventing Loss ......................................................... 48
Estimating & Bidding ................................................. 50
Smart PPE ................................................................. 52
Summer Jobsite Health ............................................. 54
Jeffrey Machine: Shim Box ....................................... 58
Donna Campbell
Editor in Chief
Welcome to the July issue! This month’s focus is on technology and the benefits it can
offer your construction company. And, ready or not, it’s summer.
A year ago, the construction landscape looked different. The pandemic hit some areas
of the country harder than others and this put a crimp in construction projects with social
distancing, sick workers, supply chain issues, stay-at-home orders, and mask mandates.
Hand-washing stations on jobsites made headlines and hand sanitizer became a toolbox
staple. Construction companies looked for ways to streamline processes to do more with
less. In essence, construction companies found themselves needing to be more efficient
… and the answer was found in technology.
First up for technology: drones. Check out the article on page 22 as drones begin
to reshape the construction industry, both as a data collector and a safety tool. Data is
king in this construction market. The article on page 30 gives a look into the near-term
future of construction and how the industry has fared thus far.
Next, the use of technology for human capital management (page 32) and company
exposure to rebrand the scope of work (page 34). Plus, software platforms to ease
processes (page 38) and focus on the business side of projects (page 40) are gaining
ground for construction companies on the move.
Finally, the current State of the Process when it comes to Estimating & Bidding
(page 50). This article is a must-read for any contractor on the fence about adopting
technology for their business. Enjoy the issue, and let technology be your friend.
Check out what the coach says to
No-Feedback Frank in this month’s
column on page 60.
PHILIPPINE SEA (June 26, 2021) Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Heath Hudson, from
Birmingham, Alabama, monitors frequencies during an anti-submarine warfare exercise aboard
Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) during Pacific Griffin
2021. Pacific Griffin is considered the most complex and warfare-centric bilateral engagement
between both navies and represents a continued investment in the strengthening of the solid
partnership between the U.S. and Republic of Singapore.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Deanna Gonzales
JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com8
industry news
Skyward, A Verizon company, announces its integration with
Pix4D, giving customers the ability to turn drone data into 2D
maps and 3D models. Enterprises and drone pilots can now
plan flights, receive approval to fly in controlled airspace with
LAANC, fly with Skyward’s InFlight ground control station, and
process data using Pix4D—all from within the Skyward platform.
Skyward Mapping & Modeling, powered by Pix4D, enables
customers to create, view, measure, and export 2D orthomosaic
maps and 3D photogrammetric models right from Skyward’s
web app. With the processing power of Pix4D, the market leader
in photogrammetry software technology, Skyward customers
can get business-ready data sets through a seamless plan, fly,
process workflow. For more, visit, skyward.io.
eMars/Compliant Client was created in 2001 to give construction
company owners an easy, flawless, paperless way to be
compliant with the Davis Bacon Act that enforces a prevailing
wage and 31 other compliance issues. Compliant Client web
was designed with input from the Department of Labor and
contractors. Government auditors are given a portal to view
the progress of every project. A real-time environment was
created to block contractors from altering pay rates then
submitting payroll.
The new American Jobs Plan that calls for the rebuilding
of the U.S. infrastructure works hand in hand with the Davis
Bacon Act. This 1931 act requires private contractors to be in
compliance with each check paid to employees on all federally
funded construction projects over $2,000.
The American Jobs Plan offers fixed highways, rebuilt
bridges, upgraded ports, airports, and transit systems built
with properly paid American workers. Construction companies,
however, need a streamlined way to stay in compliance with
the Davis Bacon Act. Stiff fines and jail time can result if payroll
checks are not in compliance. Many construction companies
prepare their payrolls manually. A study of 100,000 manually
prepared payrolls shows that 20% of these payrolls will contain
one or more errors.
More than 56,000 contractors handling projects in 45 states,
Guam, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico use Compliant Client.
This system processes between 2,000 and 3,000 payrolls a day.
Some payrolls have thousands of workers.
Compliant Client provides immediate, concurrent, real-time
visibility of all payroll records of the sub, prime, plus the owner
agency. All screens are printable via this paperless system.
JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com10
industry news
Every submitted payroll is audited, online, and in real time. The
results are instantaneous, allowing for immediate corrections.
A typical payroll is prepared in less than 5 minutes.
Compliant Client requires a PC and about 30 minutes of
training. Complete implementation takes less than 1 day.
Users report an 80% productivity improvement over manual
payrolls. Compliant Client also encrypts its’ at rest data.
“Security is tantamount”, says Woody Chamberlain, president
of eMars/Compliant Client. “Users have a choice of 13
different security roles. Each role enables the user to perform
defined processes.”
Compliant Client clients have not had any random
Department of Labor audits for the past 6 years. For more, visit
Felling Trailers, Inc. acquired the assets of Larson Cable
Trailers, Inc. (Huron, South Dakota), a leader in fiber-optic cable
handling trailer products. Felling Trailers has retained all of
Larson Cable Trailers’ employees and will continue operation
in Huron. The company has plans for further investment to add
more positions to meet the growing demands of the Larson
product line.
Larson Cable Trailers will continue operating as Larson Cable
Trailers, Inc. as a separate division of Felling Trailers. With this
acquisition, Felling has named original owner/founder Rick
Larson as “product manager” for Larson Cable Trailers. For
more, visit www.felling.com.
Drone-based Infrastructure Inspection company Helios Visions
recently became the first company in Chicago to receive a
Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) Waiver from the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA). This waiver, known as a Part 107.31
Waiver, allows approved companies the proper authority to safely
operate drones Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) of the pilot
operating the drone. In the case of Helios Visions, the Part 107.31
BVLOS Waiver is specifically assigned for bridge sites.
The FAA’s approval of Helios Visions Part 107.31 Beyond
Visual Line-of-Sight waiver makes the drone services
organization the 55th company in the United States and one
of approximately 38 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) service
providers to receive this highly-coveted waiver designation.
Helios Visions’ efficient and accurate inspection of bridges
using the Part 107.31 waiver is made possible through the use of
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JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com12
industry news
American-made Skydio Drones; in-particular the Skydio Autonomy™
Enterprise Foundation which unlocks advanced Artificial Intelligence
pilot assistance for complex inspections and situational awareness.
Prior to the use of drones, bridge inspections required people
to make dangerous climbs of the sides of bridges or expensive
snooper trucks. With the impending passage of the new Federal
Infrastructure Bill, Helios Visions is well-positioned to offer
drone bridge inspection services to clients throughout the
United States in a safe and cost-effective manner. For more, visit
Peterbilt Motors Company, a leader in battery-electric
commercial vehicles, announces an order of five Peterbilt
battery-electric Model 579EVs from Sunbelt Rentals for use
delivering rental machinery to and from jobsites around the
country. The order is the first step towards Sunbelt Rentals goal
of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions 35% by 2030.
Based in Fort Mill, South Carolina, Sunbelt Rentals has
15,000 rental experts, over 975 locations and a diversified fleet
that exceeds $10 billion dollars. Sunbelt Rentals has provided
unparalleled service for more than 35 years to customers
ranging from commercial, industrial, residential, and municipal
industries, delivering the equipment, service, and expertise to
get customers exactly what they need for any project.
Designed for optimal weight distribution and performance,
the fully integrated, all-electric 579EV powertrain provides
a range up to 150 miles. When used in conjunction with a
recommended DC fast-charger, the state-of-the-art, high-energy
density battery packs recharge in 3-4 hours, making the 579EV
ideal for regional haul, drayage, pickup and delivery, and last
mile operations. For more, visit peterbilt.com.
John Deere announces a master supply agreement with
Mobile Track Solutions, L.L.C. to develop Deere-branded
towed scrapers which will be distributed through John Deere’s
construction and agriculture equipment dealer networks.
Through the agreement, Mobile Track Solutions will supply
greater than 27 cubic yard capacity towed scrapers to be
used with John Deere 460E-II Articulated Dump Trucks and
9R Series Scraper Tractors. The John Deere-branded scrapers
will be compatible with its technology solutions, including
an earthmoving productivity system, which debuted at
CONEXPO 2020 and will be launched at a later date. For more,
visit www.johndeere.com.
JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com14
project profile
Buildable Space
created with segmental retaining wall system
alifornia-based developers
Baldwin & Sons began the design
and development of a housing
complex on 99 acres of land in the city of
Lake Forest, at the base of the Santa Ana
Mountains, in 2014. About two-thirds
complete, the 931-unit development,
The Oaks at Portola Hills, is comprised
of seven neighborhoods of both single-
family and multi-family residences, and
sits at the edge of the Limestone Whiting
Ranch Wilderness Park, one of Orange
County’s largest wilderness preserves.
Developing Portola Hills required
converting the site from its natural state
of valleys and steep hillsides into acres of
construction-ready flat pads. A variety of
Belgard Diamond Pro blocks engineered
by Anchor Wall Systems as well as
Belgard’s Vertica Virtual Joint (VJ) and
Planter blocks were chosen to make up
the expansive segmental retaining wall
system that created the buildable space.
To design and build the retaining wall,
Baldwin & Sons chose to work with
Geogrid Retaining Wall Systems, Inc., the
largest segmental retaining wall installer
in Southern California. Geogrid’s owner,
Mike Stevenson, has more than 28 years’
experience, including pioneering some
retaining wall technologies.
“Geogrid checked all the boxes in
terms of the competency of their people,
value-engineering and the products
they were going to use. Their previous
projects and references also gave us a
high comfort level,” says Jose Capati,
vice president of land development
for Baldwin & Sons. “They were very
proactive and responsive from design
stage to construction and we are happy
with the result of the collaboration.”
“There’s not much flat land left in
Southern California, and there is a
shortage of homes in Orange County,
so installation of a retaining wall system
is an investment in creating more
property square footage to build homes
on,” explains Stevenson. The project
was broken into three phases: Portola
Northwest, Portola Northeast, and
Portola South. While the first two feature
single family homes, the last phase saw
construction of 313 single-family, 256
multi-family, and 58 affordable housing/
mixed use dwellings. Portola North West
and Portola South are completed. Phase
1 of Portola North East is substantially
completed and Phase 2 is currently being
worked on as well, with completion
scheduled for December 2023.
Geogrid has an in-house design
engineer, Matthew Merritt, P.E., of
Red One Engineering, who exclusively
designs the segmental retaining walls
for their clients. For Portola Hills, the
company designed and built walls
comprising the entire perimeter of the
project to develop “super pads,” acres of
flat land for Baldwin to build on. Many of
these walls reached up to 49 feet tall and
1,000 feet long.
“We were involved with each phase of
the project early in the design process
and that allowed us to collaborate
with the owner, civil engineer, and
geotechnical engineer on incorporating
the various Belgard wall products into
the project,” says Merritt. Weekly project
meetings with the project management
and engineering team also helped avoid
issues during construction.
Among the main concerns for the
project initially, according to Capati,
were the poor soil quality of the site and
the weather.
Early in the project, they started to
experience landslides because there
were failure planes in the soil being
excavated. A failure plane is weak clay
layer that causes instability. These
thin layers are like grease which, once
exposed, cause landslides as dirt and
rock slip over them—especially during
significant rainfall.
“We worked with the geotechnical
engineer on the global stability analysis
and incorporating the Mirafi global
stability geogrids into the wall design.
Portola South had a long (100’+) and
very strong geogrid for global stability.
www.mcsmag.com JULY 2021
Portola NE had two walls incorporated
into a large landslide buttress,”
says Merritt. “We also worked with
a shoring contractor to incorporate
the Diamond Pro block facing over
the shoring elements.”
Another natural element to contend
with was the fact that the project was
in a seismic area. In addressing global
stability, the team designed a system
of secondary geogrids, placed between
the standard grid layers. A grid’s length
is usually equal to 100 percent of wall
height, so 40 feet long for a 40-foot-
tall wall. At the Portola site, between
every layer of standard-length grid and
compacted fill was another, smaller
grid of only 4 feet long. These strata of
primary geogrid fabric, compacted fill,
secondary grid, compacted fill, and so
on provided the necessary additional
stability in the seismic area.
There were also design requirements
the team had to meet for the project,
including the city’s demand that most
of the walls be plantable. “For decades
now, Southern California has required
plantable walls so, over time, what
passersby see is vegetation instead of
standard concrete,” says Stevenson.
Geogrid’s choice of Belgard plantable
blocks gave them an advantage over
the competition in the bidding process
and, ultimately, gave Baldwin & Sons the
maximum amount of space on which to
build homes. This is because Belgard’s
Plantable system has an 8:1 batter and
the competitor’s block has a 4:1 batter.
In total, the project utilized Belgard’s
, Vertica Pro Stone Cut
Joint, Diamond Pro Stone Cut
, Diamond
Pro Stone Cut Virtual Joint, Vertica
Cap 8”, Vertica Cap 4”, and Belgard
Plantable Unit.
“The fact that Belgard offers so many
complementary products that we could
use both as vertical and plantable walls
was a huge asset,” says Stevenson.
“The manufacture of the product was
also outstanding. We were installing
more than 1,000 square feet of block a
day and they were always timely with
manufacturing and delivery.”
Read how 8:1 is Read how 8:1 is
achieved in this article achieved in this article
on on mcsmag.commcsmag.com
for more information
Belgard, part of Oldcastle APG, offers
a complete collection of paver and wall
products for plazas, terraces, parking areas,
roadways, rooftops, and retaining walls.
Available in a range of styles, premium
Belgard products have been found in the
nation’s finest developments and award-
winning commercial and retail properties
since 1995. Oldcastle APG is part of CRH’s
Building Products division. For more, visit
JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com16
project profile
nnovation is the name of the game for
many industries seeking new solutions
to solve problems, improve efficiency,
or boost the bottom line. One of the last
places most architects or contractors
look to innovate, however, is up. While
roofing materials have improved over
time, there is little that can be done to
the inherent structure of a roof. The
reasons are obvious. For structural and
performance reasons, there is little
wiggle room in roof design. Roofs are
not like pizza varieties.
A recent project for the Virginia
Department of Transportation at its
hazardous chemical storage building
debunks thoughts that there is a lack of
creativity in roofing design.
The team of architects and engineers
at Gauthier, Alvarado & Associates
designed a hybrid solution that is cost
efficient, durable, and unique in the
roof design of the building. The solution
includes roof hatches, a coating material
that is most often associated with truck
beds, and EPDM roofing—an extremely
durable synthetic rubber roofing
membrane—that is expected to last up
to 35 years. The primary objective of
the solution was to stave off corrosion
caused by materials that are stored
in the building.
“Since this is a government project,
longevity was a priority,’’ says Stephanie
Stein, the lead architect on the project
for Gauthier Alvarado. “As a result,
any surface that comes into direct
contact with the salt needed to be
corrosion resistant to increase the
lifespan of the building in this extremely
corrosive environment.”
Salt for roads is the primary material
stored in the building. This salt is applied
to roadways to improve safety, but
the material has a detrimental effect
on building materials. Salt removes
moisture from an environment, causing
a hygroscopic reaction. The mineral
retains water, which then promotes
condensation. The water absorption
allows corrosion to occur at lower
humidity and for longer periods than
otherwise expected. Salt also increases
water’s ability to carry current and
hastens the corrosion process.
As a building ages and the overall salt
content of the building increases, the
building fabric tends to become damper
over time. When the wet salt dries out,
it crystalizes and expands, creating
pressure that over time breaks down
the building fabric. Crumbling, spalling,
flaking and cracking of the building fabric
is largely related to the crystallization
of salts.
Roofing materials and other
components in the Virginia building
showed impacts of corrosion, requiring
a new roof and some rebuilding of
concrete walls.
The building sits in a hilly region of the
state, near the West Virginia border.
Accessing the site is challenging, and
one objective was to simplify delivery
and loading operations.
To solve that dilemma, architects
specified three aluminum roof hatches
manufactured by The BILCO Company.
The hatches, 3-feet, 11-inches wide and
11-feet long, are manufactured with
Type 316L stainless steel hardware,
which is the most corrosion-resistant
type of stainless steel. The roof hatch
curbs were coated in an asphalt-based
liquid coating to provide an additional
layer of protection for the concrete
inside the building.
“BILCO offers stainless steel roof
hatches, but since this is a project that
is designed and built on a government
budget, we provided a more economical
solution,” Stein says.
Hybrid Roofing Materials
Virginia DOT reduces impact of corrosion
By Thomas Renner
Photo courtesy of Dylan Francis Photography
www.mcsmag.com JULY 2021
The unique solution to protect the
hatches from corrosion came in the form
of a liner. The spray-on material, installed
by Rhino Linings of Winchester, Virginia,
is most frequently applied to truck beds.
The company has applied it in other
applications as well, such as vans, boats,
and even dugouts for baseball teams. The
polyurethane material protects against
corrosion while also providing excellent
abrasion, impact, and chemical resistance.
“With this solution, we combined the
durability associated with the BILCO
pre-manufactured aluminum roof hatches
with the corrosion-resistant properties of
the truck bed liner,” Stein says.
Dinks Construction, the general
contractor for the project, installed the
roof hatches while a team from Don
Largent Roofing installed an EPDM roof.
The structural engineering team took
additional steps to protect the durability of
the hatches. “One of our prime concerns
during the design phase was the additional
force exerted on to the roof hatches during
salt loading operations,” Stein says.
They designed a structural steel
bumper to provide additional support to
the roof hatch. When the hatches are
open prior to loading the building with
salt, the roof hatch covers rest upon the
bumpers. “The additional force applied
to the roof hatch covers during the salt
loading is then directly transferred to the
steel bumpers to protect the structural
integrity of the roof hatches,” Stein says.
The building’s design not only protects
against corrosion, but also allows for a
quicker, more efficient solution for storing
the chemicals. For hazardous storage
buildings without roof access, salt has to
be moved by front-end loaders or some
other type of conveyance. The drop-and-go
solution is much quicker and even more
environment-friendly. Road crews access
the salt from the lower part of the building.
Tucked away a short distance from the
highway and nestled in the region’s
hills, the structure will not generate
tremendous attention. It is nonetheless
critical to improving roadway safety, and
offers a long-term solution to a challenge
that faces many communities in the
storage of corrosive materials.
“This was a fun project because it was
quite different,” Stein says. “This was our
second roof and roof hatch system that we
designed for VDOT. We had the opportunity
to incorporate a few lessons learned from
the first roof system replacement. It is our
hope that we will continue to adapt this
roof system prototype for additional VDOT
sites in the future.”
about the author
Thomas Renner writes on building, construction,
engineering and other trade industry topics for
publications throughout the United States.
Photo courtesy of Dylan Francis Photography
equipment solution  RELIABLE PERFORMANCE  Cat Mulchers  easy maintenance and safety a priority  Two new Cat   mulchers for...
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JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com20
equipment solution
ver the last 50 years, the
plumbing industry has seen a
huge shift in piping materials.
Contractors and plumbers have swapped
costly steel and metal piping in favor of
less expensive plastic piping in most new
construction projects, without sacrificing
durability. Read on to learn more about
the benefits and limitations of a variety
of piping materials, and which are best
suited for certain applications.
PVC Pipes: Polyvinyl chloride piping,
also known has PVC, is a popular piping
option for new construction projects,
and for good reason. PVC piping is
lightweight and less expensive than
other piping materials. It can be installed
in both warm and cold climates, as
well. Durable PVC comes in two sizes:
Schedule 40, which is more commonly
used, and Schedule 80, which has thicker
walls, increasing durability and costs.
Both sizes are easy to install, requiring
only solvent cement at the joints.
While PVC is strong, it has a shorter
lifespan than other piping materials.
It also has heat limitations and cannot
be used in applications where water
temperatures top 140 °F. PVC shouldn’t
be used to transport drinking water but
can be installed where higher water
pressure is needed. Use PVC piping in
drain lines, main water lines, vent stacks,
and storm drainage.
CPVC Pipes: Chlorinated polyvinyl
chloride, or CPVC, piping is similar to PVC
piping but with added chlorine. Plumbers
and contractors will still enjoy many of the
benefits of PVC piping, like its lightweight
design and easy installation, but with
added durability and heat resistance.
Unlike PVC, which cannot be used with
water temperatures exceeding 140 °F,
CPVC can withstand temperatures up to
200 °F. It’s also fire resistant and more
flexible than standard polyvinyl chloride.
These added features do come at a
slightly higher price than PVC, but the
versatility of CPVC may be worth the
extra cost. Consider using CPVC piping in
hot drain lines, wastewater disposal, and
even transporting drinking water.
Learn more about the differences here.
PEX Pipes: PEX piping, also known as
polyethylene cross-linked pipe, is another
plastic piping material that has gained
popularity in recent years. One benefit
of PEX is its flexibility. It can easily snake
through walls or in crawl spaces, and
because it uses compression fittings,
solvent cement is not necessary when
joining and installing. PEX comes in a
wide variety of sizes, which makes it
a great option for retrofitting in older
homes, as well.
The initial cost of PEX piping is higher
than other plastic piping, but installation
and maintenance costs are typically
much lower. While it is heat resistant,
PEX cannot be attached directly to a
hot water heater and must instead be
connected to an 18-inch section of
another heat resistant piping, like copper.
PEX is often used for water supply lines
and in areas of construction where
bending and snaking are necessary.
Copper piping became a popular building
supply in the 1960s, and because of its
durability and long lifespan, many older
Piping MaterialsPiping Materials
a breakdown for new construction
By Mark Ligon
www.mcsmag.com JULY 2021
homes still have original copper in them.
One reason for the longevity of copper
piping is that it is resistant to heat and
corrosion. It’s also antimicrobial, which
means it’s a good choice for drinking
water supply lines, HVAC refrigerant
lines, and underground services lines.
Additional fittings and soldering are
required when joining copper piping,
which makes the process to install
more tedious. However, it also creates
a tight seal, which cuts down on the
potential for leaking. Used copper can
also be recycled. Copper piping is more
expensive than other piping options.
Unfortunately, the high price of copper
often makes it a target of theft at
unattended jobsites.
Another higher priced option, brass
piping may be the right choice for a
limited number of applications. It’s
long lasting and resistant to corrosion
and heat damage. Because brass is
softer than copper, a tighter seal can be
achieved, as well. In the past, there were
concerns that brass pipes may contain
lead. However, plumbers and contractors
can now purchase lead-free brass that is
safe for supplying drinking water, as well
as drain lines and gas lines.
When it comes to appliances, stainless
steel is a trend that doesn’t seem to
be ending anytime soon. Stainless
steel piping, on the other hand, may
look great, but it’s not always the right
choice. Like other piping materials,
stainless steel is durable, and it also
comes in both rigid and flexible options
and a variety of sizes. Installation and
retrofitting, however, can be more
challenging with stainless steel because
specific couplings are required. It also
comes at a much higher price point than
other materials. One important feature of
stainless steel is that it is highly resistant
to corrosion. Because of this, it is often
used in areas where corrosion could
occur, like coastal regions.
Unlike several years ago, when
plumbers and builders had a limited
number of piping options, today there
are many, each with its own benefits
and challenges. Consider the location
and function of the piping needed,
as well as the overall budget of the
project when selecting the piping
material that is best suited for your new
construction building.
about the author
Mark Ligon is the marketing manager at
Commercial Industrial Supply, a distributor
of industrial piping, valves, and fittings. Since
2009, CIS has been dedicated to providing
the best name brand products to customers
in a wide range of industrial, commercial, and
residential settings. For more, reach out to Mark
at www.commercial-industrial-supply.com.
JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com22
equipment solution
he world is moving into the post-COVID era, and the
economy continues to rebound. As a result, construction
projects are kicking into high gear.
Couple that with the all-time high prices of materials, and
companies need a technology solution that allows them to
optimize their procurement processes and make wise use of
their precious and increasingly expensive resources.
The good news is there is a readily available technology that
will allow them to do so: drones.
The adoption of drone technology has increased in heavy
construction in recent years. Because drone systems are
easier to use than ever before, they enable generalists to take
advantage of the technology and deploy them to save time and
money on critical projects.
These systems provide increasingly accurate data. As a result,
they offer a cost-effective way to use technology to tackle
long-standing needs, such as safely capturing the accurate and
robust data needed to make real-time decisions that can make
or break a project’s bottom line.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there
are more than 1.7 million drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles
(UAVs). Additionally, 203,000 remote pilots are registered
with the federal agency, numbers likely only to rise in the
coming years.
Recent data from The Civil Quarterly (TCQ), a quarterly
research report on the current business health of contractors
from Dodge Data & Analytics, revealed that the heavy civil sector
has widely adopted many advanced tools and digital processes.
For example, more than half of contractors said they used
drones and ruggedized tablets.
Heavy construction contractors need solutions that simplify
their workflow and allow them to leverage vast amounts of data
to make actionable decisions. Here are a few new ways drones
are shaping commercial projects.
Drones capture more data in a 20-minute flight without
disrupting jobsite operations than a team can capture during
a week of traditional terrestrial measuring. This data leads to
improved client visualization as a drone’s detailed images show
overall site progress against the design.
Processing these images—known as orthomosaic images—as
three-dimensional points on the ground can be combined with
three-dimensional points from other collection sources. Those
points can be used in computer-aided design (CAD) to create
three-dimensional surfaces, contour lines, surface features,
three-dimensional models, site progressions documentation,
and volumetrics for earthwork calculations.
Because the data is dense, rich and accurate, it enables more
detailed analysis, translating into quicker and more complete
decision-making at the project management level.
In heavy construction, much of the focus has been to use
drones to quantify earthwork volumes. For example, contractors
often use drone technology to help with their pre-bid analysis.
By ensuring they know the correct quantities needed, they
can create optimal designs and implement efficient haul plans.
Then, throughout the construction process, contractors can
use drones to track earthwork volumes. With this information in
hand, they can knowledgeably provide feedback on completed
tasks and analyze the work remaining to inform project plans
that allow for faster replanning cycles.
Additionally, teams should use this technology to monitor
their jobsites to gather data for progress reporting and stockpile
management. This information should drive lean procurement
management, ensuring teams have on-site the materials they
need when they need it and that it is stored in the correct
location to keep it safe and secure until the proper time.
Similarly, operators should deploy drones to observe their
on-site equipment to ensure it is appropriately utilized and verify
Data Flight
drones are reshaping construction
By Troy Dahlin
orthomosiac image
www.mcsmag.com JULY 2021
a location’s conditions are safe and
comply with all applicable regulations.
Confirming this information and acting
quickly when a problem arises will
save the time, expense, and hassle of
correcting a problem.
This provides a feedback loop for
the field to the office and back again to
merge drone data with design, as-built,
and on-site progress updates captured
with photos, notes, and machine tracks.
Contractors can also use drones to
validate and hand over the asset to
the owner, helping reduce the time
needed with manual approaches. In
addition, taking this approach ensures
the final product is constructed within
specification, eliminating the need for
costly fixes.
While drones’ most significant upside may
be their fast and flexible data collection,
the technology delivers reduced worker
costs, enhanced jobsite safety, and faster
surveying and construction time than
traditional data capture techniques.
Drones enable heavy construction
contractors to safely, efficiently, and
accurately capture data from hard-to-
reach, potentially hazardous or otherwise
inaccessible locations that would be too
risky or expensive to capture traditionally.
They are instrumental in urban
environments or on heavily canopied
construction sites.
They permit safe automated data
capture to create measurable 3D models
and powerful 2D visuals to incorporate
into workflows. Drone deliverables enable
contractors to bring more eyes to a problem
and do this within the safety of an office.
Despite their proliferation, many
contractors are unaware of the profound
benefits drones bring to the modern
jobsite. Many construction companies
initially deployed drones thinking they
would have them on hand at a site at all
times, but they work best when they are
not viewed as a tool to be used 24/7.
Over time, companies’ plans for
drones evolved into having a dedicated
team of professionals who travel from
site to site where their drone operating
services are needed.
Solutions today make jobsites safer
while driving cost savings; contractors
must view today’s technology as the
professional partner that will help
them save time and money. When
implemented correctly, technology
provides the most potent tool in
contractors’ toolboxes.
about the author
Troy Dahlin is vice president, heavy
construction segment, US/CAN of Leica
Geosystems, part of Hexagon. For more, visit
JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com24
equipment solution
n the construction industry, the
quality of cast-in-place concrete
foundations, superstructure, slabs,
stairs, and architectural features, along
with the speed of project completion,
can largely depend on getting moisture
measurement right—and the same is true
with the masonry mortar used to build
brick, block, or stone walls.
Water is an essential element of both
concrete (i.e., water, aggregate, cement)
and mortar (i.e., water, aggregate,
binding material). However, at the jobsite,
everything from seasonal temperature,
rain, humidity, and groundwater to
circulating air can affect the moisture
content in concrete and mortar greatly.
This can impact setting and drying time—
and incorporating the wrong moisture
levels in concrete and mortar can be
disastrous to quality, finish, longevity,
and even safety.
Although the construction industry
has access to moisture meters, to some
extent, these tools typically require
calibration, sampling, and time. In
addition, they are not always portable or
durable enough to be used on jobsites.
Fortunately, hand-held, durable, instant
moisture measurement devices are now
available that allow anyone without special
training to spot check concrete and mortar
at the jobsite to assure that it is properly
mixed, set, and dry. In many cases,
such pre-calibrated systems allow non-
destructive, non-invasive testing on digital
displays with no pin holes or discoloration.
This approach facilitates construction
work as soon as feasible, speeds project
completion, and improves quality.
Concrete-water ratios can make a big
difference in the permeability of concrete,
but air humidity and summer heat also
can affect the rate at which moisture
migrates through drying concrete.
“High humidity can increase the
risk of fractures and other structural
issues. Concrete can also gradually
change from ductile to brittle when
humidity decreases, which naturally
occurs when summer heat affects
concrete’s evaporation time,” says John
Bogart, managing director of Kett US, a
manufacturer of a full range of moisture
and organic composition analyzers.
He notes that concrete cures best
between 70-80°F, so if temperatures
rise above that and climb towards 90°F,
concrete can be affected and cause surface
problems as well as reduced strength.
Hot weather, wind,and dry conditions
can increase a concrete slab’s rate of
evaporation, which can threaten the
integrity of the top layer of concrete.
Water quickly evaporates from the
surface layer, which can cause the mix
to be drier and susceptible to surface
cracking and shrinkage.
Reduced strength can also become
an issue with hot, dry weather, which
can shorten the hydration portion of the
curing process (when water is absorbed
and crystals form in the concrete). Then
the concrete mixture has less time to
hydrate these forming crystals and
create strong compressive strength. So,
concrete curing in hot weather can suffer
from limited strength and durability.
On the other hand, in wetter seasons,
excess moisture can do a great deal of
damage to concrete and its protective
coatings, as well as affect concrete-
water ratios. Because concrete is porous,
issues arise when water is trapped within
the concrete.
When it comes to structural
concrete, including foundational slabs,
construction contractors do not want to
guestimate” moisture levels, which can
potentially jeopardize the whole project.
Although traditional laboratory and online
based moisture measurement techniques
are useful in the right settings, they
have lacked the simplicity and flexibility
required for frequent spot checks
on construction sites. Because such
moisture tests are too slow, laborious,
and alter or destroy the sample, they
are not practical for the jobsite, where
concrete or mortar must stay in place.
Instead, what is needed is a fast, easy
method to determine moisture content.
So, industry innovators have developed
a simplified approach with testing
Moisture Meters
ensuring concrete and mortar
are properly mixed, set, and dry
By Del Williams
www.mcsmag.com JULY 2021
equipment that allows anyone in the field
to get laboratory-quality measurements
in any environment.
As an example, using a hand-held
device such as the HI520-2 concrete and
mortar moisture meter by Kett, the worker
would select the calibration (i.e., concrete
or mortar), press it against the sample,
and moisture is immediately displayed
with accuracy of +/-0.5% (0-12% for
concrete/0-15% for mortar). Automatic
temperature compensation enhances
measurement accuracy, and two “raw
modes allow the user to calibrate for
deep or shallow samples. Up to 1,000
measurements can be stored in memory
and downloaded to a PC for analysis.
The device utilizes high-frequency
capacitance, comparing the di-electric
constant of the solid with water. A direct
relationship exists between this and
moisture content.
According to Bogart, one construction
contractor used the moisture meter to
confirm that the concrete flooring on a
20-story building was ready for custom
surface treatment. In fact, the contractor
was able to test the entire project in
one morning.
“With an instant moisture meter,
flooring installers can test concrete
humidity as water passes through the
concrete’s surface even after it hardens.
This kind of testing is critical in indoor
installations, where high levels of moisture
and trapped water in concrete can create
mold or lead to bubbling or degradation of
its strength and integrity,” says Bogart.
This approach can be particularly
helpful to contractors responsible for
concrete subflooring.
“If you are building on a slab, you know
the importance of a concrete subfloor
that is fully dried and accurately prepared
for use. Knowing how the concrete will
act when the concrete is coated, flooring
is installed, or the slab is prepared for
final use, is key to success,” says Bogart.
For contractors who need more
specialized applications of measuring
moisture, such as for “wet” concrete,
this is also available with other units.
For instance, with such units, the
sample moisture of slurry and aggregate
can be instantly measured, allowing
contractors to optimize batch mixing
anytime, anywhere.
Whether summer, winter, spring, or fall,
the bottom line for contractors working
with concrete or mortar is that using
hand-held devices that provide instant
moisture measurement helps to ensure
that quality work is done as soon as it is
feasible, without excess or insufficient
moisture, setting, or drying times. In the
end, this facilitates project profitability.
about the author
Del Williams is a technical writer based in
Torrance, California. For more about Kett, visit
JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com26
environmental solution
he total amount of time needed
to complete the waterproofing
system installation should be
considered carefully when exploring the
various product options. Commercial
builders, designers, and architects
should look closely at the time required
for each step, from preparing the
materials and substrate to applying the
product and curing when evaluating the
application. Each waterproofing system
option is vastly different, especially when
you compare cold-applied versus hot-
applied waterproofing systems.
Construction projects are always on tight
schedules, as they involve numerous
tasks and jobs performed by a variety of
vendors or trades, each within specific
timeframes and deadlines. It’s necessary
to keep the numerous jobs moving along
and meeting those deadlines. Delays
incur added costs for equipment rentals
and for labor, which can be costly as they
sit idle waiting to come onsite to start or
proceed with a job.
Sequencing is critical as certain
jobs on a construction site need to
be completed before others can be
started and may take some time before
enabling a return to service. In the case
of waterproofing, the system needs to
be fully dried or cured before anyone can
enter the area to walk or perform work.
The time needed to complete a
waterproofing job is especially vital
in an emergency renovation or repair
scenario. For example, if a multi-million
(or billion) dollar commercial building in
a city’s downtown has water from the
roof or horizontal deck penetrating the
penthouse below, there is a very short
window of time (typically only 4 hours)
to resolve the issue in order to keep
the tenant happy and avoid significant
internal damage.
Waterproofing is a process that includes
several steps: preparing the surface or
substrate that is being waterproofed,
preparing the materials, priming, detailing,
applying the waterproofing product,
applying a reinforcement or protection
system, and ultimately drying or curing
the system. When comparing cold-applied
versus hot-applied liquid waterproofing
systems, there are vast differences in the
number of steps, what’s required for each
step and, ultimately—the time needed to
perform each step.
Note: Application Guidelines, including
the minimum concrete cure time and
required preparation, are provided by
the waterproofing product manufacturer
and should be reviewed specifically
for each project.
Hot-applied waterproofing requires a
crew to clean and prepare the substrate,
then prime and detail. Detailing is a
separate step, demanding a separate
setup as an additional material (a
polyester fabric) needs to be obtained
and applied for the detailing process.
In new construction, the concrete must
cure for a minimum of 28 days prior to
beginning the preparation. It can take
days to complete all the preparation
required depending on the size and
complexity of the project.
With cold-applied liquid
waterproofing, there are some systems
that can go on 14-day-old concrete. The
crew cleans and prepares the substrate
in the same way; however, the detailing
is greatly simplified. Generally, these
steps take 1 to 2 days depending on
the project size and complexity, about
a third of the time required for hot-
applied systems.
Time Factor
cold-applied vs hot-applied liquid waterproofing
By Greg Austin
www.mcsmag.com JULY 2021
Time-saving benefits of cold-applied
versus hot-applied liquid waterproofing
during preparation: Cold-applied, such
liquid waterproofing
system, has 2-3 times faster preparation
time than hot-applied. Waterproofing can
begin 7 days earlier than with traditional
hot applied methods. This equates to a
2-week schedule savings over using a
hot-applied process.
Building the membrane with a hot-applied
liquid waterproofing system requires five
to six layers, including primer, rubberized
asphalt and reinforcement, and the
protection layers made of separate
materials. In addition, there is the time
needed—about 3 hours each day—to
heat up the rubberized asphalt in a kettle
and bring it to 375-400°F. The average
hot-applied installation is 2,100 square
feet per day in an open area, including
primer, first ply, reinforcement, second
ply, and protection board. The detail
work is separate.
The cold-applied liquid waterproofing
membrane requires only two to three
layers including primer, which only takes
1.5 to 3 hours to apply. No reinforcement
layer is required as the membrane is
self-leveling. A comparable cold-applied
installation covers 7,000 square feet
per day, or more, including primer,
membrane and details, and it requires a
crew of only three installers. The cold-
applied liquid waterproofing application
is clearly much simpler, saving time and
labor compared to a hot-applied system.
Also, the primer can serve as temporary
waterproofing in the interim before the
membrane is applied. There is virtually
no preparation time needed for the
membrane material as the crew only
needs to mix the product components,
per the manufacturer’s instructions, and
they are ready to go.
Time-saving benefits of cold-applied
versus hot-applied liquid waterproofing
during application: With fewer steps
involved, cold-applied is 3.5-4 times
faster to install than hot-applied
(installation time comparison is based on
industry information).
The time that it takes for the hot-applied
installation to cure or harden and for the
surface to be ready for return to service
can be up to 24 hours. Cold-applied
installation can withstand foot traffic in
as little as 2 hours and enables faster
construction sequencing.
Time-saving benefits of cold-applied
versus hot-applied liquid waterproofing
during curing: Cold-applied can be 12
times faster than hot-applied to cure and
enable a return to service.
Cold-applied liquid waterproofing is
available in a spray-applied and a hand-
applied version. With the spray-applied
version, the liquid is simply mixed and
applied. It’s a faster application than the
hand-applied version, as it allows the crew
to immediately apply a single membrane.
With the hand-applied version, the liquid
is poured onto the concrete surface and
spread quickly and easily with a squeegee.
Time is money when it comes to meeting
project schedules on construction sites.
The time savings offered by cold-applied
liquid waterproofing over hot-applied
translates to cost savings in terms of
labor, materials, and equipment rentals.
Among the liquid waterproofing options,
cold-applied not only saves time and
money, it also provides a more durable
product and a safer solution.
about the author
Greg Austin is the global product director,
specialty building materials, for GCP Applied
Technologies. He has a background in
consulting and almost a decade of experience
in waterproofing system development and
construction materials.
JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com30
management solution
very day, construction projects
generate mounds of data that hold
tremendous potential to inform
business decisions and drive more efficient
projects with better outcomes. Once
thought only to be useful or financially
accessible for large corporations, accurate
data capture and analysis can be a secret
weapon, providing insight into many
aspects of the business, for any size of
construction company.
To help industry leaders better
understand the current construction
landscape and assess how their own
companies are tracking against industry
averages, Viewpoint, a Trimble company
and construction ERP leader recently
soured data from nearly 1,000 customers
between Jan 1–March 31. The resulting
insights into trends related to project
starts, contract values, hiring metrics, and
cash-flow movement are published within
its Quarterly Construction Metrics Index:
Q1 2021. As we look back at the first
quarter of 2021, what do the trends in the
Index reveal, and how can contractors
use that information to their benefit?
Project starts are the lead indicator that
business is getting back to normal.
Without project starts, contractors can’t
hire employees, bid on contracts, or
spend money on materials. Although the
impact of the pandemic is still being felt,
the rate of projects in the pipeline still
hovers around 20% below where they
were in the first quarter of 2020. That
being said, there are currently 26,000
pending projects in the Q1 2021 backlog
compared to 30,000 pending jobs in Q1
2020, a 15% decrease that suggests
backlogs are slowly rebounding.
When looked at by vertical, heavy
highway and civil projects fared the
best with 10% more pending projects
in March 2021 than March 2020. This
could be due to the fact that the vertical
is largely funded by federal and state
governments or municipalities whose
budgets have already been allocated,
with projects set to start accordingly.
Backlogs for general contractors have
largely been holding strong, though there
are still about 10% fewer pending projects
in Q1 2021 as compared to Q1 2020.
The decrease could indicate that general
contractors are lowering their risk threshold
by taking smaller jobs, which would help
account for lower project starts.
Specialty contractors, who had the
smoothest ride in 2020, had 25-35%
fewer pending projects in January and
February 2021 as compared to the
previous year. This could be due to having
service businesses and picking up work
left behind by general contractors in 2020,
resulting in an abundance of previous
work finally catching up with them.
Contract values have largely held steady
since October 2020 but still saw a 52%
decline as compared to Q1 2020. This is
not surprising as contract values tend to
mirror project trends. As projects decline,
their values decline proportionately.
The decline was seen across all three
verticals during Q1 2021, with specialty
and general contractors experiencing 50%
declines in contract values, while heavy
highway and civil saw a 30% decline.
With contract values holding steady
since October 2020, lower contract
values indicate that there is still
uncertainty in the market as contractors
continue trying to mitigate their risk. One
dynamic that could affect contract values
moving forward is cost fluctuations with
construction materials. Trade tariffs,
production challenges, shorter supply
cycles, and transportation issues have all
contributed to higher material costs for
contractors, with many eating potential
contract profits to keep work moving.
Additionally, lower contract values may
be the result of more competition with
fewer projects available for bid.
Although we entered the pandemic
with a labor shortage, hiring has been
net positive in 2021, meaning more
employees were hired than fired. Hiring
Collective Data
insights into the industry’s near-term future
By Anne Hunt
www.mcsmag.com JULY 2021
is still 12% below what it was a year ago
but has steadily increased throughout the
quarter with net employment up 45% in
March 2021 as compared to March 2020.
Geographically, the Southeast
experienced the largest net hiring
increase—103% as compared to a
year ago—which was followed by
the Northeast, which also saw a 75%
increase. Regional hiring will likely follow
the overall hiring trends, which suggest
that hiring will remain down in 2021;
however, the Southeast and Northeast
might fare better than the Plains, Pacific
West, and Midwest given their more
consistent employment track records.
Regions in which manufacturing and
warehouse construction starts are strong,
particularly the Plains and Midwest, may
realize an increased need for skilled labor.
In 2020, construction companies tended to
be more cash positive than in years past, as
the pandemic and the uncertain business
environment led them to hold on to cash
rather than spend it on new projects.
In Q1 2021, heavy highway and general
contractors remained cash positive,
while specialty contractors were cash
negative, spending roughly 150% more
as compared to Q1 2020.
This uptick in spending could suggest
increasing confidence among specialty
contractors that new projects will soon
be underway.
Although the specialty trades were
hit particularly hard by the workplace
restrictions imposed by the pandemic,
cash flows for the specialty sector
should normalize in the coming months
as restrictions continue to ease.
While it’s always tough to predict
the future, many are hopeful that the
upcoming infrastructure bill will inject
some much-needed investment into
the industry, helping to modernize our
aging infrastructure and stimulate the
labor market. This could have a positive
effect on all of the indicators examined
above; however, if the bill doesn’t
pass in its current form, it’s projected
that even a more limited plan would
still have a meaningful impact on the
industry, leading to more projects, higher
contract values, additional hiring, and
greater cash flow.
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about the author
Anne Hunt is the director of data and
analytics for Viewpoint, a Trimble company
that delivers leading-edge construction
management software. Hunt leads the
incubation and innovation of new data first
services to revolutionize how clients and
the construction industry operate. For more,
visit www.viewpoint.com. The Quarterly
Construction Metrics Index: Q1 2021 can be
viewed at www.viewpoint.com/quarterly-
JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com32
management solution
fter more than a year of dealing
with a dismal pandemic,
America’s construction industry
is bouncing back from the COVID-19
crisis with an expected growth rate
of 15.6% this year, according to
ResearchAndMarkets.com. With this
predicted upturn comes the opportunity
for construction companies to leverage
the right technology to increase
their growth, attract new talent, and
remain compliant.
As manual tracking of employee
time, activities, production, and payroll
informaiton can reduce efficiency,
leveraging a human capital management
(HCM) solution is critical to addressing
the evolving complex HCM needs
of the construction industry. By
utilizing a robust platform to handle a
company’s payroll tracking, attendance
management, and training to remain
compliant gives HR managers more
time to focus on what matters:
company employees.
For example, construction managers
are all too aware that as today’s
workforce becomes more complex,
so does payroll management. That’s
where HCM solutions come in. Rather
than burdening HR manager’s with
time-consuming payroll management
tasks, adopting the right software will
alleviate the daunting administrative
tasks placed on HR professionals and
free them up to focus on value-added
tasks for the organization.
Here are three examples of how a
robust HCM platform can address the
needs of construction companies:
Many companies continue to use
antiquated technology to manage
payroll and attendance separately.
Utilizing software that combines the two
increases efficiencies and accuracy by
automating the application of complex
performance based pay structures and
addressing each employee’s varying
pay, so HR managers don’t have to
do it manually.
Part of managing a complex pay
structure is ensuring each employee is
accurately classified, whether they be
an independent contractor or a full-time
employee with an extensive benefits
package. Guaranteeing that employees
are appropriately classified helps
take the burden off the HR manager,
but most importantly, it ensures the
company is regulation compliant.
Misclassification comes with significant
penalties from a state and federal tax
revenue perspective.
A time tracking system ensures the
time, labor, and production data is
collected efficiently and accurately and
is the source to valuable business data
analytics. Field employees can utilize
technologies, such phone-in, mobile,
tablet, and portable devices in order to
accurately collect activities when and
where they occur. Finally, an automatic
time-tracking system helps keep
companies compliant with the Fair Labor
Standards Act (FLSA) regulations.
After reviewing the above capabilities
available to the construction industry,
companies should remember that the
purpose of investing in HCM technology
is for the benefit of employees. After all,
they are a company’s most important
asset. Investing in their people is the
best thing organizations can do for
their business’s operations, reputation,
and functionality.
HR Workflows
streamlining human capital management
By Teresa Levis
about the author
Teresa Levis is the vice president of presales
at Ascentis. She has more than 30 years of
experience in the HCM industry, with a focus
on helping clients meet their needs through
change management, technology, and best
practices. As a senior leader with Ascentis,
her teams’ focus is working with companies
to align their business strategies and
processes to solutions.
JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com34
management solution
PR Power
building media coverage and exposure
eather Ripley, CEO and founder
of Ripley PR, shares about the
power public relations can have
for both general contractors and the B2B
companies that serve them.
MCS: Creating market differentiation
is sometimes a challenge in the
construction industry. How does public
relations fit into the equation?
RIPLEY: It’s pretty simple. All
businesses benefit from media exposure.
Studies consistently show that people
are more trusting of third-party articles
from credible sources than advertising
messages. Public relations is about
building a strong foundation of earned
media coverage for your company, each
story adding to the portrayal of the
business as a credible industry expert.
This is not to say that PR should
replace paid advertising. It certainly does
increase the effectiveness of marketing
over the long term, though. It’s easier to
reach new clients if you’re already top of
mind as the best and most well-known
contractor in the market.
MCS: What is the difference between
public relations and marketing?
RIPLEY: Marketing encompasses
everything you’re doing to sell your
company’s services or products. Public
relations is a tactic of marketing. PR is
getting someone else to talk about your
company and say how great you are.
An effective and well-executed public
relations plan will help with all of your
company’s efforts to be more visible
online, no matter what the platform.
A good PR strategy ensures your
marketing efforts are guided by a
consistent vision. The objective is to
increase your brand’s visibility, boost its
reputation, and keep it top of mind with
potential clients. Some of the tactics
that can be used to accomplish this
include securing earned media coverage
and television appearances, regularly
releasing informative and newsworthy
press releases, and creating engaging
social media and website content.
MCS: What issues can contractors face
when trying to boost their brands?
RIPLEY: Have you ever thought word-
of-mouth is dead? It’s not. It’s still one
of the best ways to attract new clients.
These days, it’s taking place online
through forums and online reviews, and
you cannot afford to ignore them.
Reputation management should be part of
any comprehensive public relations strategy.
Its usefulness shouldn’t be underestimated.
Word of mouth is still powerful, and ignoring
what is being said about your company
online means losing control of the narrative
and giving someone else the power to
define your company in negative ways.
MCS: When it comes to promoting
positive images of their businesses,
www.mcsmag.com JULY 2021
one question that construction
business owners struggle with is
whether they should draw attention to
their charitable giving? Isn’t that too
RIPLEY: Sharing your company’s good
deeds without coming across as overly
self-promotional means walking a fine
line. But I highly encourage it! Your
company is able to donate more money
or services than most individuals can,
so you have the opportunity to make a
greater difference in helping your chosen
cause. Plus, you are raising awareness
of the need and could potentially
inspire others in your community to
do good, too.
We all know it’s hard to find
skilled labor right now. Sharing your
company’s charitable giving could help
a candidate choose your company over
someone else’s.
There are definitely ways to talk about
your giving culture without it being
overbearing or offensive. Make sure to
keep your public relations efforts in line
with your overall business brand. That
lets your good deeds blend unobtrusively
in with your business philosophy.
MCS: How do you recommend a
company share its charitable giving
without coming across as too
RIPLEY: For our clients, we always
recommend that it be done sincerely and
with consideration. The way to approach
the issue is by putting the charity at
the heart of the giving story and not
putting the stoplight on the size of your
donation. Public relations is a way to
help the charity get needed attention
and publicity. Charities need visibility to
garner the donations that let them do
their own good works.
MCS: Closing thought?
RIPLEY: When thinking about public
relations, all construction businesses
must be able to set clear goals to aim
for in order to keep growing and thriving.
The most successful companies are
continually refining and retuning their
marketing. Today, your goal might be to
cement your image as the top contractor
in the market. Tomorrow, your goal might
be to get acquired. Either way, shining
a media spotlight on your company will
help you get there.
about the author
Heather Ripley is founder and CEO of Ripley
PR, an elite, global public relations agency
specializing in home service and building
trades. Ripley PR has been recognized by
Entrepreneur Magazine as a Top Franchise PR
agency 3 years in a row and was named to
Forbes’ America’s Best PR Agencies for 2021.
For more, visit www.ripleypr.com.
JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com38
software solution
any arduous processes plague
the construction industry,
such as data silos, process
invisibility, and fragmentation, making it
nearly impossible to track progress. The
industry is realizing that feeding real-time
data straight from the field is crucial
for success. When working entirely
around outdated information, project and
financial managers can make mistakes
that dramatically reduce a job’s profit;
but, when working from consistent,
accurate data, guesswork and poor
decision-making are greatly reduced.
Adding real-time data to the management
mix ensures efficient and productive
decisions that will benefit every project.
Real-time data allows teams to stay
up-to-date with the project status and any
issues that may arise. Identifying these
issues early on allows management to
adjust their plans to resolve issues before
they cause real damage. Having data flow
from field to office can also help team
members learn from patterns and optimize
workflows to get the best possible results,
and the information gathered can be utilized
to derive useful insights for future growth.
Cloud-based, platform-enabled solutions,
like CONNEX Jobsite from Command
Alkon, digitize information from paper
tickets so the entire supply chain can
see ticket data in real time, throughout
the ticket’s lifecycles, from anywhere.
Projects reduce waste, eliminate
manual tasks and duplicate data entry,
standardize processes, improve materials
yield, and track job costs daily with digital
workflows from vendor to field to office.
The CONNEX Jobsite solution has been
a great value add to the team at Grand
Parkway Infrastructure, LLC. Providing
the streamlined workflow with ticketing,
payments and materials tracking needed
on such a large infrastructure project,
providing a single source of info for
multiple stakeholders, and keeping the
entire team on the same page.
Although platform-enabled jobsite
technologies do wonders from a
digitization standpoint, the majority of
the tickets in the construction industry
are still just pieces of paper that get
passed through multiple touchpoints.
TicketPro, part of the CONNEX Jobsite
tech stack, makes it possible to digitize
100% of your material and haul tickets
and invoices and do some incredible
things with the digital data, such as
job cost reporting, accruals reporting,
automated invoice reconciliation, and
delivery of more insights that can help to
run a more efficient job.
Capturing tickets on the jobsite takes
just seconds using the TicketPro mobile
app. The ticket signer simply selects
the project, chooses the material being
hauled, and snaps a picture of the paper
ticket. The app even filters the projects
that are displayed to the user by a 1-mile
radius and attaches the GPS location of
where the ticket was captured, to help
eliminate fraud and errors at the jobsite.
All of the tickets submitted show up at
the top of the Tickets Page instantly, and
the user can click on the details to view
who signed the ticket, what time, the
location, and more.
TicketPro can also utilize scanner
integration to upload and analyze tickets
in half the time, while extracting data
Digital Data Flows
get rid of paper management and reconciliation processes
By Lori Allen
www.mcsmag.com JULY 2021
from tickets using OCR technology.
Hundreds of tickets can be imported
in minutes, and users can also capture
tickets directly from the scale printer
with an integration that imports the
tickets as soon as they’re created by the
scale operator, or through an integration
with CONNEX for companies that are
already taking advantage of the platform.
TicketPro has an army of people around
the globe that are working 24 hours
a day to verify data entry. This makes
TicketPro part of a new generation of
technology where robots and humans
have a symbiotic relationship and work
collaboratively to create a new level of
service that traditional software systems
do not provide.
The TicketPro Trucking Cycle report
displays the total loads and weights
delivered to date, as well as monitoring
for problematic trips that are running
long or short. This report provides project
managers and foremen with all of the
information needed for job cost reporting.
In the past if an invoice had a
discrepancy, it would take weeks to
pass changes back and forth before
it gets paid. With TicketPro’s invoice
portal, contractors can communicate
with vendors in seconds to make sure
their records match and then process
the invoice within hours. Vendors
can also request early payment to
fill in those cash flow gaps. With
the Reconciliation tool, the user can
verify the work completed by simply
scanning in a paper invoice and
asking TicketPro to match tickets in
the system with each line item on
the invoice. TicketPro then highlights
any missing, duplicate, or previously
invoiced tickets for review, to ensure
that the work being paid for has
been completed, and that it hasn’t
been paid for previously. TicketPro
integrates with multiple accounting
software solutions, such as Viewpoint,
Quickbooks, and more.
Digitizing the data from tickets that are
coming into the jobsite requires field
personnel to work more collaboratively
with the back office. Taking this a step
further, the relationships between
suppliers or haulers and contractors has
been contentious, and technology can act
as a facilitator in improving and enhancing
collaboration across the heavy building
materials supply chain. Systems like
CONNEX get everyone in the supply chain
collaborating more, sharing the same data,
and optimizing their business processes.
about the author
Lori Allen is the director of marketing at
Command Alkon. In her 20 years with
the company, she has worked in training,
technical writing, product development,
quality assurance, and process development
roles. For more, visit www.commandalkon.
JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com40
software solutionsoftware solution
Integration Works
focusing on the business side of projects
By Donna Campbell
focusing on the business side of projects
By Donna Campbell
Integration Works
focusing on the business side of projects
By Donna Campbell
focusing on the business side of projects
By Donna Campbell
n part 1 of this Q&A with Adeaca’s
vice president of market innovation
and project business evangelist, Matt
Mong, we spoke about Project Business
Automation, a new category of software
solutions designed to help project-based
businesses, including AEC, to integrate
all core project business processes into
one comprehensive system.
We also covered the importance of
identifying as a project business and why
focusing on the business side of projects
is key to ensuring AEC projects are
delivered on time and on budget. Now,
I want to take a deep dive into Project
Business Automation, or PBA, and
how PBA could be the future of project
MCS: What is Project Business
MONG: Project Business Automation is
a new category of solutions designed to
help project-based companies integrate
all core project business processes
into one, end-to-end system. PBA is a
new approach in solutions for project
businesses. It rejects the status quo of
disparate, disconnected applications in
favor of one integrated business system.
More specifically, one that includes
support for all project business processes
and connects them seamlessly in real
time. The PBA approach is the future of
project-based industries.
So, how is PBA different than
other “apps” claiming the same thing?
Great question. Let’s break
it down. In order to create a complete
business system, it must tie together
support for all major business processes.
For project businesses, including AEC,
this not only includes backend ERP
functionality, such as accounting, general
ledger, customer management, HR, supply
chain and MRP, but also project-driven
processes such as project financials and
accounting, project management and
operations, project sales and proposals,
project insight and analytics, as well as
customer collaboration.
PBA is the only system that reaches
this level of comprehensiveness.
Other apps only address part of these
business areas, not all of them. Yes, you
could implement a sophisticated project
management application, but if it doesn’t
connect in real time to your backend
financials, you’ll have a difficult time
running an enterprise based on projects.
Most likely, you’ll employ a hoard of IT
and financial controller resources to
maintain these applications separately
and integrate the data between them. It’s
not only time consuming, but tedious.
MCS: Makes sense. Can you tell me
how PBA works?
There are essentially three core
elements of PBA: Project Financials,
Project Operations, and Project Insight.
Beyond these central functions, there are
further enhancements and extension to
PBA, but I’ll just focus on the main three
right now.
The first is Project Financials. PBA
provides the financial structure for any
AEC company to operate. Effective
financial management of AEC projects
requires much more than what traditional
project accounting systems provide.
PBA closes the gap between what AEC
companies need and what mainstream
ERP solutions offer.
While a solid accounting framework
is required to track actual costs and
invoices, revenue recognition, accruals
and budgets; when it comes to securing
AEC project profitability and support
effective decision making, it’s much
more important to track cost and profit
variances, contingencies and productivity
while at the same time identifying trends
and maintaining a full audit trail.
The second main component if
PBA is Project Operations. PBA goes
beyond project management. For AEC
companies, projects are not simply
an internal exercise in productivity
improvement. When delivering projects
to your customer is how you generate
revenue, your project operations are the
lifeblood of your company.
AEC companies know how critical it
is to be able to accurately plan those
engagements while managing resources,
subcontractors, risks, deadlines, and
related supply chain activities. A lack
of real-time insight into your delivery
operations will result in increased risk
and decreased profitability.
Project management applications were
originally built to manage standalone
projects. They are not meant to run your
www.mcsmag.com JULY 2021
entire business. PBA is a completely
different approach to managing project
operations. It offers a complete and
real-time integration between back-end
ERP functions and your operational
project management activities. With
PBA, all critical operational business
processes are executed within a single
solution with built-in processes and audit
control. This means AEC companies can
control process flows throughout the
enterprise, establishing an enforceable
and repeatable business model.
The third core element of PBA is
Project Insight. PBA brings leaders of
AEC businesses the real-time insight
they need to transform their companies
into high-performing enterprises. It
gets the right information to the right
people instantly. When you bring all
essential project functionality into one
system, AEC companies have access
to project and business intelligence
faster than ever before. When you have
access to the financial and operational
status of all projects and the enterprise
simultaneously, managers and
executives are able to make decisions
with the most accurate and updated
information available.
The bottom line is PBA for AEC
companies is all about making the
business more effective. That means
delivering more projects on time
and within budget. PBA helps AEC
companies produce better outcomes for
their customers, which ultimately leads
to increased revenue and profitability
for more information
Matt Mong is a project business evangelist,
leading thought leadership efforts for Adeaca.
Matt has worked to define and expose the
fundamental issues plaguing project-based
companies. He coined the product category
term Project Business Automation, now
adopted by Forrester, as a new approach
to digital transformation for project-driven
businesses. For more, visit www.adeaca.com.
Our digital marketing campaigns
can identify prospects interested
specifically in your product, and
then tell you exactly who they are!
See what our customers are saying:
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Business Development/International Sales
Call us today to get started at
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more resources
Construction Claims
how to calculate the recoverable costs and damages
By Aman Kahlon
JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com44
legal solution
hen negotiating a complex
change order or preparing to
litigate a claim, calculating
actual recoverable costs incurred can
be a difficult exercise. You will want to
first review your contract to determine
what kinds of costs are compensable.
For example, the change order provision
of your contract may provide a specific
markup that can be included in a change
request or limit the recovery of indirect
costs and overhead associated with
a change. Similarly, a termination for
convenience provision may prohibit
recovery of profit or provide a defined
demobilization fee. Your contract may
also include liability caps or waivers
of certain types of damages (e.g.,
consequential damages). Damages
waivers may try and limit exposure
of both parties to indirect, hard-to-
determine costs.
Beyond the contract terms, recoverable
costs will also be limited by the different
methodologies or approaches used
by various courts. One of the primary
limitations on recovery in contract
disputes, including those involving
construction, is the economic loss
doctrine. Most states have adopted the
economic loss doctrine in some form.
While a detailed discussion could fill
up several pages, the basic premise of
the doctrine is that a party cannot avoid
contractual limitations on recovery by
alleging a tort (e.g., negligence) for
purely economic losses.
Other challenges to calculating
recoverable costs relate to the
accounting methodologies used by a
party in developing a claim. When things
go wrong on a construction project,
it may be difficult to adequately track
costs or assign costs to particular
impacts. Concurrent delays, acceleration
directives, interference with the work,
and other issues all complicate the cost
accounting exercise. Even the most
sophisticated contractors, can have a
hard time tracking their costs. Courts are
not always forgiving of the complexity
involved in tracking construction costs,
so be careful about trying to submit
your claim as a total cost claim (i.e.,
here’s what we bid and here’s what
it actually cost to build the project;
pay us the difference). If you cannot
adequately connect your damages to
the claimed impacts and demonstrate
their reasonableness, many jurisdictions
will not permit recovery based on this
total cost exercise, although there are
exceptions and caveats.
Before you submit a claim, you should
consult internally or with a lawyer to
make sure you are adequately calculating
your damages in way that you can later
justify to a judge or arbitrator. The size
and credibility of your damages claim will
likely factor into the risk assessment that
your company makes in pursuing a claim
in arbitration or litigation.
The size and credibility
of your damages claim
will likely factor into the
risk assessment that
your company makes
in pursuing a claim in
arbitration or litigation.
consultant. The industry has a number of experts who address construction delay and
accounting matters and can help you work through a difficult or complex claim.
www.mcsmag.com JULY 2021
For instance, if a project manager
presents a claim that estimates total
losses of $10 million, at first glance, that
may appear like a sizable claim that is
worth pursuing. However, if on further
reflection, you recognize that the project
manager failed to account for contractual
limitations on recoverable costs or has not
done a poor job of tracking and assigning
costs to the particular impact giving rise to
your claim, the actual amount of the claim
you can legitimately support may be much
smaller. If your $10 million claim turns
out to really be worth only $1 million, the
expected attorneys’ fees and uncertainty
of the litigation process may cause you to
re-think pursuing the matter aggressively.
This article touches very briefly on some
of the complexities of determining
construction damages, but this is not
an exhaustive discussion. There are
other methodologies and approaches
contractors use to calculate their
damages (e.g., loss productivity claims)
that may be worth exploring depending on
the type of claim you are pursuing. Aside
from contacting your lawyer, you may also
consider reaching out to a construction
about the author
Aman Kahlon is a partner in the Construction Practice Group at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings
(www.bradley.com) in Birmingham, Alabama. He represents owners, general contractors, and
subcontractors in construction and government contracts matters. His litigation experience covers a wide
variety of disputes, including substantial experience in power and energy matters. He also advises clients on
delay, interference, defective design, and negligence claims. He can be reached at akahlon@bradley.com.
The industry has a
number of experts who
address construction
delay and accounting
matters and can help you
work through a difficult
or complex claim.
Be careful about trying
to submit your claim as
a total cost claim.
JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com46
technology solution
racy Raver is a builder at heart.
As a pipefitter with 27 years of
experience in the field, he’s had
his head and hands deep in the work of
assembling complex mechanical systems
for commercial and industrial facilities
of every sort. Over the last 16 years with
Apollo Mechanical Contractors, Raver
has seen his employer grow from a local
sheet metal fabricator in Kennewick,
Washington, to a nationally respected
Mechanical Contracting powerhouse
with eight offices stretching from
Washington to Tennessee. Of all the
factors contributing to the firm’s steady
growth during Raver’s tenure, perhaps
no innovation is more significant than
embracing prefabrication’s virtually
unlimited potential.
“For me, the most exciting thing
about construction is the continually
changing technology that is improving
how we work and what we produce,”
says Raver. Apollo believes in building
people who build great things. The
firm focus on employees starts with a
drive for safety, a willingness to put the
customer first always, and a resolute
insistence on installing only the best
quality products that anybody could
supply. Apollo also takes great pride in
innovating in response to change. During
the aftermath of the 2008 recession,
like many union contractors, Apollo was
pressed to find ways to become more
productive on the work.
“Setting up a prefabrication shop
dedicated to building and pre-assembling
components in a controlled facility away
from the jobsite has been a huge success
for us,” continues Raver. Starting with just
a few common building systems, Apollo’s
prefabrication shop quickly enabled
the company to become much more
competitive on price, while increasing
product profitability, ease of assembly,
speed to market, and workforce safety
significantly. As Apollo’s prefabrication
capacities have steadily expanded in the
decade since establishing the prefab
shop, their technological capabilities and
resources also had to keep pace with the
digital world.
“Datum Tech Solutions is a local laser
scanning technology firm that has been
an important resource in our toolbox,”
shares Raver of a consulting relationship
several years in the making. Based
in Seattle, Washington, and serving
clients nationally, Datum Tech Solutions
represents the leading edge of digital
geometric shape-data capture through
point cloud generation.
When Apollo was awarded a complex,
equipment replacement project at
Packaging Corporation of America’s
Wallula Full-Line Plant in Wallula,
Wshington, Datum Tech was the first
resource Raver turned to.
“The scope at the Wallula plant was
to replace an intricate system of vacuum
headers on some large paper processing
machinery that had become clogged with
sludge and wasn’t maintaining pressure,”
Laser Scanning
prefabrication and point-cloud technology go hand-in-hand
By Sean O’Keefe
www.mcsmag.com JULY 2021
continues Raver. “The assembly was a
tangled mess of some 30 to 40 different
pipe and valve components connecting
beneath the mainline of a processing run
in a fairly tight space. The client was very
concerned about any prolonged plant shut
down and lots of other work was being
scheduled concurrently. Our objective
was to recreate the entire configuration in
our prefab shop and save significant time
assembling it at the plant.”
In addition to the intense complexity of
the piping configurations, the machinery
had also been subjected to many years
of ad hoc repairs and patch welds. Raver
estimates that before prefabrication,
Apollo likely would have had a six-man
crew on the project for more than a
month. In the case of the Wallula plant,
the client originally anticipated a 2-week
shutdown but narrowed that window
down to just one week before the scope,
schedule, and costs were fully aligned
with their expectations.
“In terms of site constraints during
construction, the preconstruction process
revealed there would be quite a few,”
continues Raver. “There were roughly
30 other contractors doing work in the
same space the same week and layers of
scaffolding rising around this apparatus
on two sides. The prefabrication shop
became incredibly important. I estimate
that 80% of the manhours took place in
our shop and just 20% in the field. Having
Datum’s virtual model of the machinery to
build from is what made that possible.”
Bob Rice is also a builder at heart.
He’s been in the construction and
design industry for more than 30 years,
maintaining a focus on the intersection
of technology and practical hands-on
reality. As the general manager for Datum
Tech, Rice has his eyes on everything the
firm touches.
Our team excels where conditions
are extreme and require best-in-class
technology and an outside-of-the-box
approach,” says Rice of the work and
ethos at Datum Tech. “This company
loves a challenge.”
As a scanning assignment, the Wallula
plant scan certainly had its fair share of
challenges. The vacuum pump assembly
was located in a 20 ft by 75 ft maintenance
vault with a 10 ft ceiling beneath the
production run. The heat and steam of the
machinery turned the surrounding air into
a stifling soup of more than 100 degrees
F. The clouds of air were so thick, and the
Leica RTC360 3D Laser Scanner Datum
used to capture the scan so precise that
parts of the clouds rendered as tangible
data points that had to be removed from
the recap file. In a single afternoon,
Datum’s technician shot the entire
assembly in exacting detail to produce a
like-for-like virtual model of the machinery
from which Apollo Mechanical recreated
the components in exacting detail.
“From hiring the next generation
of builders to getting the work done,
technology drives our industry,” says
Raver. “Datum’s laser scan produced a
model that allowed us to prefabricate the
entire assembly off-site, and we installed
it in less than a week.”
Having finished their work early, Apollo
invited the plant owners on a tour, and
they were astonished.
“They said they had never seen
anything like it,” finishes Raver. “We all
immediately began discussing ways laser
scanning of this caliber could save us
even more time and money in the future.
It’s a real game-changer.”
Search mcsmag.com for
solution-based articles with
insight from industry experts.
about the author
Sean O’Keefe is a writer crafts architecture
and construction writer stories for Datum
Tech Solutions (datumtechsolutions.com) and
others based on 20 years of experience and a
keen interest in the people who make projects
happen. He can be reached at sean@sokpr.com.
JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com48
technology solution
ue to the advances in technology
designed for the construction
industry, there are more
innovative solutions to choose from
for estimating and bidding, project
readiness, and safety measures. I had
the opportunity to speak with Casey
Banks, senior regional risk control
consultant at Travelers, about his
thoughts regarding technology’s impact
on today’s construction jobsites. Here’s
an excerpt of our exchange via Q&A.
MCS: How are you seeing
technological innovations reshape the
construction industry?
BANKS: Innovative technologies
continue to play an important role in
enabling safer, more efficient jobsites.
We’ve seen many of our customers
benefit from incorporating a variety of
solutions designed to address some of
the main pain points they’re facing—
such as the lack of skilled labor, real-time
project visibility, and the rising costs of
worker injuries.
For instance, smarter, more connected
jobsites that provide instant data on
worker locations can reduce response
times to anyone who gets injured. The
improved visibility has been proven
especially critical during the COVID-19
pandemic, allowing companies to
respond rapidly in the event of a positive
case. Another benefit is that these tools
can aid in maintaining control over who is
or is not allowed on the jobsite.
With all the new types of technology,
many contractors are trying to figure
out the best approach to leveraging
advanced systems to help them improve
safety, while staying competitive in a
world where projects are becoming
“smarter” and more connected across
the industry.
How can new technologies—
such as drones for site surveillance or
smart wearables for physical safety—be
used to improve safety on the jobsite?
BANKS: Each technology brings with
it the potential to address a specific
challenge. Take drones, for example.
Historically, workers would climb up on a
roof or other elevated platform to inspect
a building or a piece of equipment.
Today, we are seeing more contractors
realizing the benefits of using drones to
get that bird’s-eye view without risking
potential falls.
You also mentioned smart wearables.
While they can differ, many are designed
to help prevent worker accidents and
injuries. For instance, a worker wearing a
proximity sensor could receive an audible
or vibratory alert to notify them when
they’re too close to a piece of heavy
equipment or entering unauthorized or
hazardous areas.
Another example would be having
workers with less experience take
simulation-based training through mixed-
reality platforms. This type of solution
allows workers to experience real-life
situations without physically being in
harm’s way. This can be especially useful
in training workers to use equipment,
including cranes, and on how to protect
themselves against falls.
MCS: Why is it important that
construction businesses constantly evolve
their protective measures to minimize
risks to employees and their business,
especially around new technology?
BANKS: We’ve seen the industry
continue to evolve, especially over
the last few years, with increased use
of technology on jobsites. You may
recall that, not too long ago, there
was resistance to devices such as
cameras and tablets. Once contractors
and workers realized usage benefits,
Preventing Loss
advances in technology provide safety benefit
By Donna Campbell
www.mcsmag.com JULY 2021
including how easy they were to use
and how they could help with safety,
production, and quality control,
acceptance grew.
Even with all the technological
advances, maintaining a sharp focus
on worker safety will always be
critical, as physical labor remains vital
to every project. This reality requires
understanding the risk landscape on each
project and knowing which prevention
and mitigation tactics to put in place
to reduce the potential for accidents
and injuries.
MCS: How is Travelers helping
construction businesses foster safe
working environments and the safe use
of technology?
BANKS: As one of the largest providers
of insurance in the construction
industry and a leader in the workers
compensation space, we understand
how things can go wrong on construction
sites. One of the reasons we work so
closely with our customers is to help
them find ways to improve worker safety
and avoid workplace injuries.
Our dedicated underwriters, Claims
professionals, and Risk Control
consultants work with contractors
to share industry insights, assist in
analyzing risk, manage claims to improve
outcomes, and provide information on
safety, health, and risk management
programs to prevent loss.
We’re testing and piloting many
emerging-technology solutions, such
as proximity sensors and wearable
devices for worker safety, as well as
water sensors designed to help identify
potential risks associated with water
damage. These efforts allow us to better
understand their uses, risks, and benefits
so that we can pass those observations
on to our customers and help them make
more informed decisions.
We also work with customers to
help them understand how they can
use all the data from these solutions
to improve jobsite safety. For instance,
this information can empower managers
to provide feedback to workers to
help prevent unsafe behaviors and
as part of longer-term planning and
strategy development.
Regardless of the technology that’s being
used, establishing an effective safety
culture that starts with top management will
remain a critical component of preventing
loss. It is important for managers to lead by
example and to hold workers accountable to
established safety programs.
in Innovative Products
for more information
Casey Banks is a senior regional risk control
consultant at Travelers. For more, visit
JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com50
technology solution
stimating and bidding go hand-
in-hand. It’s the previous job
experience that informs the resume.
The ingredients that make up the recipe.
To have a successful, best-in-class bid,
you first must have the needed insight
from data you can trust to create the
well-rounded, accurate result that keeps
people coming back for more, not unlike
a family-secret recipe for cherry cobbler
that you guard for your life. No one can
steal your secret sauce when you realize
that estimating is both a science and art
that truly informs the bid.
The scientific component of estimating
includes determining the precise
quantities needed for each material.
For those contractors ready to optimize
processes, this most likely includes
utilizing technology to develop a Building
Information Modeling (BIM) model and
automate the quantity takeoff function.
The art of estimating goes far beyond
quantities. It means including logistics,
crew, and time estimates that factor
potential difficulties, risks, and waste into
decisions, painting a complete picture of
what the project might look like far beyond
just materials. This art form is what sets
apart the estimating experts from the
pack, resulting in more winning bids.
After combining the science and art
components of estimating, contractors
can feel assured they are submitting
accurate estimates that will deliver on
time and budget, including potential
external factors with the easy-to-
determine quantity numbers.
Historically, contractors completed the
estimating and bidding processes within
spreadsheets, submitting bids in Excel.
Traditional estimating software includes
variations of spreadsheets disconnected
from actual work performed. It’s high time
this was disrupted, and new technology is
here to evolve these processes, helping to
make estimates more precise and saving
teams time and resources.
Similarly, contractors can utilize this
technology to review findings and data
from similar past projects, meaning they’re
not starting from scratch with every
estimate. This also helps better inform the
Estimating & Bidding
the current state of the process
By Raghi Iyengar
Innovative, best-in-class
software is already
improving and informing
the art of estimating
by providing increased
visibility and transparency
into a project and its
expected risk factors.
www.mcsmag.com JULY 2021
understanding of potential risks based on
actual data. And it provides visibility that
impacts the construction site layout. At the
same time, teams can save time, all thanks
to the wealth of historical information from
previous and current projects.
In turn, all of this is making the industry
interesting as we effectively industrialize
construction by leveraging AI and simulation
to support better decision-making.
Offsite construction software remains
the top-tier option for the industry in
industrializing the construction process.
This technology can provide real-time
insights, visibility, and control into who is
building what components, assemblies
and modules, and where and when for
the largest construction projects.
These end-to-end construction
technology platforms allow you to look at
buildings from the product perspective. It
informs time and costs estimates while also
providing insight into relationships between
specific suppliers and manufacturers to
give better estimates. At the same time,
it helps further establish supply chain
relationships where it is beneficial.
For example, the industry can rely on
machine learning to make sense of all
the data presented and identify trends
and lessons learned across previous
projects to reduce and identify risk
factors, providing a much richer data set
that truly optimizes decision-making.
And, when this technology is paired
with visual intelligence (VI) software,
things become even more intuitive. VI
technology, in the context of digital
twins, provides an immersive experience
powered by AI for complete visibility into
products, processes, people, and more.
Technology is truly revolutionizing the
construction industry starting from the
very beginning: estimating. And, as the
fourth Industrial Revolution becomes
more real for the industry, it’s time we
think about how technology can evolve
and improve the industry, elevating the
role of our teams while also equipping
the sector to make construction projects
faster, cheaper, better, and greener.
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about the author
Raghi Iyengar is the president of
Manufacton, a SaaS (mobile/web) platform
that helps construction firms plan, track,
and manage both prefabrication and
regular material handling. For more, visit
It’s high time estimating
and bidding were
disrupted, and new
technology is here to
evolve these processes.
JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com52
safety solution
Smart PPE
trackable heat susceptibility
and sweat rate
ith summer comes sun
and heat, two factors that
impact the safety conditions
on jobsites. Workers need the proper
hydration and PPE to remain safe on the
job during the hot days of summer. One
company adds to its smart PPE system
to lessen the worry of heat risk, Kenzen.
Kenzen adds two important features
to its smart PPE system for monitoring
workers’ heat risk on the job. Kenzen
technology can track the heat susceptibility
and sweat rate of individuals—key
indicators in the detection and prevention
of heat-related stress, injury, and fatality
risk of workers in hot environments.
The Kenzen system calculates heat
susceptibility of a worker and then
classifies them into low, moderate, or high
heat-risk categories. Kenzen’s proprietary
algorithm determines the person’s heat
risk category by evaluating their medical
or physical conditions, physical fitness,
heat-acclimatization status, history of heat
injury and illness, medications, chronic
illnesses, and age. The classification does
not reveal personal information or reasons
why someone is in a particular heat risk
category; it is only used to help supervisors
monitor and manage people according to
their individual heat susceptibility.
“Managers have so much to worry
about at their worksite, including if their
workers are physically able to work
safely to get the job done well and on
time,” says Nicole Moyen, vice president
of research and development at Kenzen.
“This new feature tells managers which
workers to monitor closely on hot days,
and when and how to alter an individual’s
schedule or workload.”
Kenzen also has a new sweat rate
monitoring feature that uses a worker’s
information and physiological data to
calculate and predict their sweat rate,
in liters per hour. A manager can view
an individual’s sweat rate on the Kenzen
analytics dashboard, which also indicates
how much water that person needs to
drink each hour to stay hydrated. The
data eliminates the guesswork in how
to keep workers safely hydrated and
makes the Kenzen system an even more
valuable planning tool. Now managers
can bring enough water to the worksite
to hydrate their teams sufficiently based
on each individual’s sweat rate and the
predicted environmental conditions that
day. Kenzen’s proprietary sweat rate
feature gives a hydration plan that is
accurate within one quarter of a liter (1
cup of water), so that every worker will
know the specific amount of water they
need to drink that day to stay safe.
“There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it
comes to hydration, which is why it’s
important to use each person’s sweat
rate for an individualized hydration plan,”
says Moyen. “Dehydration is a major
problem on worksites and increases
the chances of someone getting a heat
injury or illness, having an accident at
the worksite, or suffering from cognitive
impairment. Staying hydrated is a simple
fix to avoid most of these problems.”
Kenzen devices worn by workers contain
sensors that monitor, in real time, an
individual’s physiological responses.
The worker is warned when their core
temperature is too high and they are in
danger of a heat-related injury or illness
www.mcsmag.com JULY 2021
via a smartphone app and a device vibration. Managers have
a corresponding app that alerts them when a worker needs an
intervention to stop work, rest, and hydrate, and a second alert
for when it’s safe to return to work. EHS leaders use the Kenzen
analytics dashboard to make decisions to minimize heat-related
injury and illnesses on the jobsite.
With the Kenzen solution, only workers can view the details of
their personal health information, while safety managers and other
EHS leaders only see what’s necessary to keep the workers safe.
This summer, Kenzen has a rental program for companies to quickly
deploy the technology with packages of 10, 20, and 50 devices.
The program includes the monitoring app for managers and can
be rented for a 2-month period online at store.kenzen.com, where
training videos provide instructions for use and deployment.
for more information
Founded in 2016, Kenzen is the premier physiological monitoring platform to
keep workforces safe from heat, fatigue, and over exertion on the job while
providing data driven insights to maintain productivity. For more information
about heat stress and how to integrate the system into a safety plan, visit
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JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com54
safety solution
t’s that time of year again. The sun is
out and the heat is here. According to
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA), July is the
warmest month for most of the country.
For those working on the jobsite, it can
feel even warmer.
High temperatures pose more risks to
workers than extra sweat. Two dangers
to watch out for are heat exhaustion and
heatstroke. Both conditions can be life-
threatening and are caused by overexertion
in hot environments where the body is
unable to cool itself down efficiently or
effectively. Another risk is skin cancer, the
most prevalent form of cancer in the United
States. The leading cause of skin cancer
is UV radiation from the sun’s ultraviolet
rays and those who regularly spend time
working outdoors are naturally at more risk.
That being said, there are ways for
workers to protect themselves against
the sun and warm weather. Below are
some tips to beat the heat while working
outdoors during the summer.
According to the Cancer Society, outdoor
workers are 10 times more likely to
develop conditions from UV radiation. All
skin tones can be damaged by UV radiation
and the damage is not only permanent, but
increases with each exposure. UV radiation
is almost always present outdoors and
can be affected by factors including sun
elevation, latitude, altitude, and cloud
cover. Reflective surfaces from materials
often found on the jobsite can even
bounce UV radiation onto exposed skin.
Despite this, only 18% of outdoor
workers report always wearing sunscreen
on the job. It is understandable—sunscreen
is sticky, attracts dust and debris, and does
not last a full day. But as inconvenient as it
might be, sunscreen is vital for protection.
For the 82% of workers who are not using
sunscreen, there are alternatives, such as
protective clothing that covers vulnerable
areas such as the arms and neck.
Workers should specifically be looking for
clothing with Ultraviolet Protection Factor.
Also known as UPF, this is the numerical
rating given to clothing to indicate
effectiveness at blocking UV radiation.
There are a variety of protective
clothing options including Truewerk’s
T.5 WerkHoody or Cloud Shirt, made with
lightweight, fast-drying, and breathable
fabric designed to keep workers cool.
And don’t forget about protecting the
head! Wear a hat and invest in durable
sunglasses with UV protection.
According to
Water Natura
, 75% of
Americans are dehydrated. If you’re
reading this, that means you are probably
due for a water break!
Drinking water is essential—especially
for those in the trades who always need
to operate at peak performance. H
0 is
critical when it comes to regulating and
maintaining body temperature, removing
waste, and moistening your mouth, eyes,
nose, hair, skin, joints, and digestive tract.
About 85% of the brain is made
of water and when functioning on a
full reserve, people are able to think
faster, be more alert, and concentrate
more effectively. Water is also critical
for efficiently delivering nutrients and
removing toxins from the brain.
Although it depends on H
0, the brain
does not actually have any way to store
water. Even slight levels of dehydration can
cause the brain to shrink in size. Research
Water Benefits Health
that when water loss is merely 2% of body
weight, brain functions such as short-term
memory and visual motor tracking can be
impaired. Those who are slightly thirsty
Summer Jobsite Health
ways to outsmart the sun and heat
By Brian Ciciora
www.mcsmag.com JULY 2021
are already on the way to experiencing
dehydration and slower reaction times.
This can be extremely dangerous for
anyone on a jobsite. Here are some tips to
help workers avoid dehydration:
Drink at least 16-20 ounces of fluid an
hour or two before starting the day.
People should drink 6 to 12 ounces
of fluid every 10 to 15 minutes they
are outdoors. Estimates suggest that
workers in heavy PPE can lose as
much as 2.25 liters every hour.
Even after clocking out, stay hydrated.
To replace what was lost throughout
the day, drink at least another 16 to 24
ounces (2 to 3 glasses).
Keep water cool; the body absorbs
water in the 50-60 degrees F range
much faster. Insulated stainless
steel water bottles from brands
can keep water
cold almost all day and Truewerk’s
Hydra WerkPack
ensures H
0 is
always readily available.
20% of daily water intake comes
from food. High-water foods include
watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers,
berries, and leafy greens. All of these
foods also offer key nutrients.
It is essential that workers are able to
recognize signs of dehydration and
heat exhaustion. These include fatigue,
dizziness, and confusion. Urination can
also provide indicators about hydration.
Everyone should know the “golden rule”
test—if urine is clear to pale, you are
hydrated. If it appears more golden, you
should drink more water.
It is important to be proactive about
looking for warning signs—when not
treated promptly, heat exhaustion
can lead to heatstroke, which can
be life-threatening.
There are unique risks when it comes
to working outdoors in the summer, but
there are ways for workers to protect
themselves against the sun and heat.
Workers should also be aware of how
to catch warning signs of conditions of
working outdoors in the heat early. The
risks associated with outdoor work in the
summer are serious, but when vigilant
about taking the necessary precautionary
steps, workers can successfully stay cool
on the job. It is always worth it to take
the extra time to hydrate.
about the author
Brian Ciciora is the founder and CEO of
Truewerk, a direct-to-consumer performance
workwear brand driven to protect, promote,
and empower industrial athletes through
comfortable, high-performance workwear.
Committed to improving lives by setting a higher
performance standard for workwear, Truewerk
utilizes elite materials and technical design
that keeps you safe, comfortable, and looking
professional. For more, visit truewerk.com.
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JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com56
Go to mcsmag.com for solution-based articles
withinsight from industry experts.
JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com58
featured product
t Jeffrey Machine, they make
tool buying easy and simple.
They focus on having the
latest technology with an emphasis on
innovation and safety. Jeffrey Machine
builds safer, more secure tools to help
eliminate jobsite hazards. The Jeffrey
Machine shim box is yet another
innovation for the drilling community
that pushes us further into the future of
our industry. When it comes to the size
and functionality of drilling equipment
like rigs and augers, companies have a
variety of choices. As most contractors
know, earth-drilling jobs are all unique
and require different equipment to get
the job done and Jeffrey Machine’s
business is providing drilling solutions
for any job.
Jeffrey Machine has recently designed
a shim box that fits directly inside
the kelly box to accept a smaller kelly
bar. Shim boxes are fabricated with
American-made steel, cut on high-
definition CNC plasma machines, and
robot-welded to allow the use of multiple
rigs on the same tool. In cases where
there is a tool with a larger kelly box
than the rig can accommodate, it is not
necessary to purchase an adapter. If
there are multiple sizes of kelly bars you
can buy one tool and three shim boxes
instead of buying four different tools!
Another great benefit to having a shim
box vs. an adaptor is that you will not
lose your auger in the hole that’s being
dug. Losing an auger in a hole can be
problematic and time-consuming, but
this complication can be avoided by
acquiring a shim box. Shim boxes can
also increase the torque output on your
drilling rig which saves time on the job.
Jeffrey Machine offers standard shim
boxes to fit Jeffrey tools along with
stocking several standard sizes of shim
boxes. They can also custom build when
needed. “This type of solution in the field
cuts down time and minimizes costs
to help companies who own multiple
sizes of kelly bars and rigs,” says
Jeffrey Sager, president of the company.
Jeffrey Machine continues to raise the
bar in the industry with another first in
drilling technology.
Jeffrey Machine shim boxes are readily
stocked in both the Texas and Alabama
location. Contact them today and a sales
team member will be happy to assist any
customer with any needs or questions.
They can be contacted at 205.841.8600
(Birmingham) or 817.545.8677 (Euless).
For more, visit
www. jeffreymachine.com.
Shim Box
The Jeffrey Machine
shim box is yet another
innovation for the drilling
community that pushes
us further into the future
of our industry.
7” drive box to
130mm shim box
200mm drive box
to 7” shim box
www.mcsmag.com JULY 2021
The Cat D4 (formerly D6K2) Dozer is a
favorite because of its power, precision,
and optimized balance for smooth
grading performance. The D4 has a
net power of 130 hp. A lower sloping
hood line provides up to 30 percent
better visibility to the area in front of
the blade. The shorter sight lines mean
the visual distance between the blade
and the material pile is shortened
by about 40 percent, so less time is
spent backing up to get a full view
of the material and the job gets done
faster. Customers can also add factory
integrated Cat Grade with 3D. For more,
contact the local Cat dealer or visit
D4 Dozer
Applied Machinery Sales introduces
a new Merlo product: the DBM 3500
Cement Mixer. The DBM 3500 is a
self-contained mini cement mixer. It
has a drum volume of 1,321 gallons
delivering 4.6 yd3 of concrete. The self-
loading bucket handles up to 25 cu/ft
of aggregate at each load cycle. The
pump moves 66 gallons of water per
minute into the mixing drum, suppling
up to 37.7 sq ft of concrete in less than
15 minutes. The DBM cement mixer
is suitable for working in confined,
difficult-to-reach spaces. The large
water tank allows operation in areas
without a water supply. For more, visit
Mini Cement Mixer
Werk-Brau introduces a multi-tined
rake attachment. Designed specifically
for use with compact excavators, this
rugged grading/grapple rake features
tine serrations along the complete
underside of the rake to prevent
material from slipping loose and to
maintain gripping force. Wear-resistant,
high-strength steel throughout the
weldment, and hardened, greaseable
bushings utilized at all pivot points
ensure a long service life. Each heavy-
duty tine is supported by reinforcing
plates, with gussets placed between
tines for added strength and durability.
Ideal for gathering demolition debris,
sorting materials, brush removal, and
other land clearing/demolition tasks.
For more, visit www.werk-brau.com.
Compact Excavator Rake
The Husqvarna DM 200 is a tough
and versatile D-handle drill motor
optimized for handheld drilling of
holes from 1–3 inches. Delivering
top class drilling performance in
both wet and dry applications. The
uncomplicated and sturdy design,
all-around usability makes it an ideal
part of any craftsman’s toolkit as well
as for rental purposes. The Husqvarna
DM 200’s casing is made of sturdy
impact-proof polyamide plastic with ball
valve coupling for wet drilling, vacuum
coupling for dry drilling, detachable
front handle, wrenches, and user
manual. The two integrated levels make
it easy to enable exact horizontal and
vertical working positioning. For more,
visit husqvarnacp.com.
Handheld Core Drill
The Alliance 585 radial’s steel-belted
construction and unique hybrid tread
pattern—combining the traction of
curved lugs with the firm ground
contact and scrub resistance of block
tread—helps telehandlers, backhoes,
and compact loaders deliver more
horsepower. The multi-directional
design grips equally well in forward
and reverse on paved or loose ground,
while reduced rolling resistance boosts
fuel economy. In addition, reinforced
sidewalls and steel radial belts
protect against punctures and impact
damage. Ask your tire dealer or visit
Alliance 585 Radial
Pettibone introduces the Traverse
T1056X telehandler, the first
10,000-lb-capacity Traverse model
it its X-Series lineup. Traverse is
the industry’s only new telehandler
product line with a traversing boom
carriage with the capability to move
loads by traveling horizontally. The
T1056X has a specified lift height of
56 ft, 6 inches and the landing height
is identical. The traversing boom
provides up to 70 inches of horizontal
boom transfer, which extends its
maximum forward reach to 45 ft, 10
inches. Delivering a max load capacity
of 10,000 lbs, the telehandler is
powered by a 117 hp Cummins QSF
3.8 Tier 4 Final diesel engine. For more,
visit www.gopettibone.com.
T1056X Telehandler
modern construction products
JULY 2021 www.mcsmag.com60
Dear No-Feedback Frank,
It’s apparent you know that giving feedback to employees is key to improved
performance. That’s good. What’s not apparent is your belief about them not
wanting feedback. Everyone wants feedback. They want to know if they are
doing a good job or not, and they want to get better. Without your feedback,
good or bad, how will they ever know? Here are some key points to consider
when giving employees feedback:
Start with setting the proper expectations
for your employees. Once expectations
are properly set, you can fairly evaluate
their performance. And when they meet
these expectations, you can lead the
celebration of accomplishment. However,
when expectations are not properly set,
in addition to dealing with unsatisfactory
results, you may have difficulty holding
people accountable. Your expectations
should be:
Reasonable and clearly understood
Come with stated consequences
Feedback means acknowledging a
job well done, suggesting actions for
improvement, and more. Consider these
tips when providing feedback:
Be prepared. Shooting from the hip
is a losing formula and affects your
credibility. Gather the data and get
the facts straight.
Ensure feedback is timely. The
perfect moment to provide feedback
is when it happens. Waiting for a
better time dilutes its effectiveness.
Watch your tone. Feedback should
not be threatening or judgmental;
rather, it should be helpful and
constructive. Focus on the issue,
not the person. Do not be timid,
apologetic, or emotional.
Be specific. Include detailed
examples when appropriate.
It’s good practice to seek feedback from
your team on your own performance
as a way to gain insight into areas that
need improving. Consider these tips for
receiving feedback:
Listen. Acknowledge what you
heard and seek clarity. Don’t debate
or argue or defend. Just listen.
Say thank you. Acknowledge
the feedback from others and, if
appropriate, say what you will do.
Ask for more. This demonstrates
you appreciate the feedback
you’re receiving and are willing to
accept more.
When delivering feedback, choose
your words wisely so you can generate
excitement, enthusiasm, and engagement.
When you choose poorly, you could find
yourself in an uncomfortable situation or
even a confrontational mess.
I’ve always had difficulty giving feedback to my team. When I have to
provide ways to improve, I get concerned that what I say will cause a
problem. So instead of running the risk of confrontation and potentially
losing key employees, I look the other way. They usually do a good job,
but I think they could do better if they’re given more feedback. Any tips?
about the coach
As a leadership development expert,
Randy Goruk works with construction
industry leaders to improve employee
engagement and business growth. Register
to receive his Leadership Tip of the Week at
www.LeadersEdge360.com, or contact him
directly to learn how he can help you and your
team: randy@LeadersEdge360.com.