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Construction Technology Trends Shaping Our Skylines

With urban areas of Australia experiencing significant population growth, construction activities are rising to meet demand. The global construction industry is expected to grow by 4.2% between 2018-2023, and the Australian construction sector is enjoying its piece of the pie.

New structures are being built to accommodate homes, offices and even emerging industries. This has led to the need for more efficient and effective construction technologies on the worksite.

Construction companies are implementing innovative and advanced technologies in order to shape our skylines with safer, more useful and more durable structures. Let’s look at some of these trends.

1. Use of Wearable Technology

In construction, wearable technology is being used to improve efficiency, safety, and connectivity on the worksite. Workers can now use wearable devices to communicate their location in real time, to receive instructions, and to exercise better risk management.

For example, smart helmets can monitor worker fatigue, display plans and alert wearers of worksite dangers.

2. Construction Management Software

Long gone are the days when construction work was done using a pen, paper, and spreadsheets. While construction management software has been around for some time, it’s becoming an increasingly important component of any construction project.

Construction management software is also useful for coordinating the work done by subcontractors and other personnel relevant to the project. In this way, builders can be more transparent with their customers and provide real-time updates of the work being done. They can also foresee challenges in advance and take a proactive approach to find solutions.

3. Augmented Reality

Augmented reality provides the dream platform that every builder has been waiting for. Having the ability to visualize a project in live 3D form, make changes to it, and optimize the process before work begins is truly a game changer.

Builders can now estimate costs better, work out timelines for the project and assess environmental impact even before a piece of earth is moved.

Augmented reality is becoming a valuable construction tool for many different companies. With the click of a button, realistic 3D views can be overlaid on the worksite to help plan for the entire building process.

4. Device Convergence

Mobile technology provides a convenient way for workers to collaborate on site, however, construction companies have typically struggled with the decision to either use company smartphones or tablets.

While tablets have larger screens that make it easier to access digital images and blueprints, smartphones are capable of communicating without relying on a Wi-Fi signal.

The convergence of phones and tablets to create phablets (phones with larger screen sizes) has made it easier for builders to access the best of both worlds. Construction companies can now deploy devices capable of carrying out multiple functions. Workers can access construction software, make calls and collaborate in real time because of this device convergence.

5. BIM for Enhanced Safety

With BIM (Building Information Modelling), buildings are now being designed as an interconnected package from start to finish. This means that HVAC systems, lighting systems, and fire safety are all being considered even before excavators begin moving earth.

These smart building designs leverage construction technology and real-time collaboration between engineers, designers, builders and other construction professionals. The end result is a smarter and safer building designed with minimal wastage to resources.

6. Use of Better Estimating Techniques

Perhaps the most beneficial trend in construction technology is the ability for builders to estimate their projects more effectively. Using advanced estimating software, builders are now able to save time and money when planning for a construction project.

They can create accurate estimates for material costs, subcontractor costs, overhead costs, and much more in a fraction of the time of traditional methods. In this way, customers are able to receive more accurate pricing and builders can work out their margins more effectively.

Cubit (a natural estimating platform) is an advanced and easy-to-use platform that allows builders, contractors, surveyors and more to plan their projects more effectively in a shorter amount of time.

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5 Smart Ways to Get Construction Leads

Generating leads is critical to the success of any business. In the construction industry, lead generation (through online and offline channels) is essential to keeping the pipeline full, extending your reach and growing your company.

As your competitors will tell you, marketing a building business is unique, and an out-of-the-box strategy won’t be enough to attract quality leads.

Here are five smart ways to get leads for your construction company.

1. Online Marketing

The construction industry has largely relied on traditional marketing channels to attract customers. However, in today’s world of technology, it’s important for your business to be more visible online. Online marketing has become an essential practice for many construction companies. In fact, 73% of construction marketers have increased their investment in online marketing channels.

There are many different strategies you can use to increase your visibility online. The first step is to create an attractive website with SEO-optimised content. A website serves as the home of your brand and the hub of services that you offer to customers.

After you establish a website, make sure its content is optimized for search engines.

This means using keywords, phrases, and content that your customers are likely to search for online. When your target audience carries out an online search for construction services, they’ll be more likely to come across your website if it includes educational and informative content targeted to their queries.

2. Trade Shows

Trade shows and conferences are excellent channels for promoting your business. These events are often focused on a specific industry, and they bring together a broad range of businesses and customers. You can use a trade show to position yourself within the sector and to promote unique services that your company offers.

In addition to national trade shows that bring together construction companies from across the country, you should also seek out regional and market-specific trade shows. These events tend to be more focused on a specific niche, allowing your company to appeal more directly to potential leads.

For example, a market-specific trade show may focus exclusively on residential apartment construction. If your company designs and builds apartments, the guests who attend such a niche trade show are likely to be more qualified construction leads.

At the actual event, ensure your trade booth is unique, branded, and representative of your services.

3. Referrals

Referrals are key to the success of any business. In fact, 92% of customers trust referrals from friends and family when purchasing a product/service. In the construction industry, things are no different. Customers trust referrals from other customers, business associates, friends, and family when looking for construction services. But how can you encourage your customers to refer your business to other people?

Start off by building strong relationships with your current customers. When you provide high-quality services and develop trust with your customers, they will be more likely to recommend your services to others. Go the extra mile to make sure that each contract you handle is done to the full satisfaction of your customers.

You can also obtain referrals by offering your customers something in return. Offer discounts or extra services if a customer refers to your construction business to a certain number of people.

4. Listing Sites

Construction companies are often listed in both local and national listing sites. These sites serve as resources for helping customers to find a reputable construction company. If your business is listed on the right sites, you can land quality leads for nurturing. For example, the CHDC business directory is a useful resource that customers refer to for construction services.

When looking for a listing site to use, do some research to find out the types of customers that the site attracts and then optimize your listing to appeal to these potential leads.

5. Use of Better Technology

Another effective way of generating construction leads is by upgrading your technology. Construction software has revolutionized how the industry is operating.

Technology like estimating software makes it easier for you to provide more accurate quotes, reduce the time it takes to deliver work and provide better satisfaction to your customers.

By cutting costs with estimating software, you can redirect more resources to marketing efforts and obtain more referrals due to the quality of your work. And by using better and more innovative construction tools, your business will continue to grow its brand and generate quality construction leads.

For a free marketing plan template and more, download our Tradies’ Template Pack today.

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Sustainable Construction: Techniques and Trends

In the world of construction, many trends come and go. Some fall by the wayside in a short period of time, but others grow to become an integral part of the industry as a whole. Sustainable construction definitely falls under the latter.

Green building techniques are reshaping the industry and becoming a fundamental part of new building designs. Construction professionals are using many different eco-friendly design principles to construct new buildings and to renovate old ones.

Let’s take a look at these green building techniques as well as developing trends that will define sustainable construction in the future.

1. Modular Construction Techniques to Eliminate Waste

Modular construction is a sustainable technique that builders are using to design structures faster, at a more competitive cost, and with maximum resource efficiency. Modular structures can be built within a controlled environment where wastage of resources is minimized and pollution is controlled.

For example, modular homes being built in large cities such as Sydney can be constructed offsite (in a controlled manufacturing plant) and the final product delivered to the actual location. This prevents environmental pollution and rubbish accumulation. The modular construction process is also carefully controlled for material usage, quality, and reliability.

Construction technologies can be used to make modular construction even more efficient. The use of construction software allows builders to prepare accurate material estimates, design 3D images of the construction site, and coordinate activities with all stakeholders. The end result is a high-quality structure that is also environmentally friendly.

2. Use of Green Building Materials

Perhaps the most popular sustainable construction technique is the use of green building materials. These are materials sourced from renewable sources and are also recyclable when the building has reached its lifespan.

Green building materials are typically sourced from sustainable forests (such as timber forests). They can also be produced from innovative manufacturing processes that reduce harmful emissions to the atmosphere. Concrete and steel are two examples of materials that are now being produced via eco-friendly manufacturing processes.

Through the use of sustainable building materials, new structures will have a lower carbon footprint and better energy efficiency. The amount of waste that ends up in landfills is reduced if the building needs to be renovated/demolished in the future.

3. Zero Energy Construction

Zero energy construction is an emergent trend in many different homes/buildings. The goal of a ‘zero energy’ structure is to produce as much energy as it consumes, having a zero net impact on the environment.

Builders are incorporating zero energy techniques to design more efficient, durable and sustainable structures at a competitive cost.

Zero energy construction techniques involve a combination of the following steps:

  • Using renewable energy sources (such as solar and wind) to power the building
  • Efficient air ventilation systems that eliminate pollutants from the surrounding air
  • Better insulation materials that minimize leaking air and noise pollution
  • Using energy efficient indoor appliances

Zero energy construction also allows buildings to put back as much energy into the grid as they use during the year.

4. Flexible Space Design to Improve Functionality

Flexible and dynamic construction is another sustainable design technique, which involves making a space functional for more than one purpose.

This dynamic design trend first started with reception areas being designed to also act as a lounge for both guests and employees. The technique is also expanding into hallways, classrooms, stairways and dining locations. Builders are trending towards designing offices to also become liveable apartments, hotels to become condos, and retail spaces to double up as community centers.

By making a previously static space more useful for different functions, builders can reduce material usage and save on valuable resources.

5. Resilience and Durability

Sustainable construction also involves improving the durability and resiliency of buildings. Climate change has heightened concerns of more inclement weather events (such as flooding, bushfires, and cyclones), with structures needing to be designed with resiliency at the fore.

More builders are trending toward incorporating risk mitigation steps such as insurance plans, construction technology, and renewable building materials. In this way, structures can recover quickly after disaster strikes.

The eco-friendly design techniques highlighted above not only contribute to more sustainable structures; they also allow builders to save costs, increase quality and improve the efficiency of their construction processes.

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How to Start a Building Company

It’s an attractive time to start a building business in Australia. Strong sector growth, growing demand for both residential and commercial projects, and a steadily rising population are leading many Australians to ask how they can get in on the action.

Starting a building company looks complicated on its face. However, by tackling the process one step at a time, you can navigate the challenges that lie ahead and get started on the front foot in the construction industry.

This blog outlines some of the essential steps of starting a building company in Australia.

1. Determine Your Business Structure

Even before you start planning on laying bricks or establishing building foundations, you first need to determine how your business will be structured. The company structure will define how you run your daily operations, and which licensing and insurance requirements will be necessary.

There are four main business structures you can choose from:

1. Sole proprietorship 

A sole proprietorship simply means that you own the company yourself. You can still hire workers, advertise, and bid for contracts like many other companies. However, you’ll be the sole owner and primary decision maker. 2. Limited liability company

Another option to consider is a limited liability company. This is essentially a private company (typically with multiple owners who invest capital). The major benefit is that your extent of liability to repay debts will only be as much as the capital invested.

3. Publicly held company 

A public company is one that’s open to investment from the general public. Australians will be free to purchase shares in your company, which you can use to raise capital. However, the licensing process is more complex and this is rarely appropriate for smaller businesses.

4. Trust 

You can also establish your business through a trust, where a designated trustee manages assets within the trust. You can direct those assets towards starting a building company.

It’s always wise to seek the advice of a business adviser when choosing your structure.

2. Register Your Company

After deciding on the best structure for your business, the next step is to register your company. Visit the Business Registration Service website to register your company name and to apply for a Business Registration Number. Fill in the required forms and provide the legal names of you and your partners.

You will also need to apply for a tax file number. This number will be used to track tax payment and expenses for your business.

3. The Licencing Process

Once you’re officially registered with the Australian government, the next step is to obtain the required business licenses. As a building company, you’ll need to apply for construction-related licenses before you begin work.

The first license necessary will be an individual contractor’s license. This license is necessary before carrying out any residential or commercial building work. If you’re setting up a limited or public company, you should also apply for a company contractor’s license. This license will allow you to establish contracts and subcontracts with other companies.

Another license that may be required is a high-risk work license (if you’ll be operating cranes, forklifts, and other heavy machinery). For more information on the required licenses, visit the Business.gov website.

4. Safety Requirements

When applying for the relevant licenses, you will also need to provide a detailed safety plan for your business. The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) department will confirm the steps you’re taking to ensure workplace safety and to minimize hazards on the construction site.

5. Insurance Regulations

To prepare your business for potential accidents, you’ll be required to obtain insurance coverage. Public liability insurance is necessary to protect the public from any damages that your business might cause.

You can also obtain workers’ compensation insurance to protect your workers from any injuries that occurred in the workplace.

6. Hiring

After being licensed and insured, the next step is to employ workers. Make sure you follow legal hiring processes such as fair work requirements (minimum pay and safe working conditions), employee-benefits, and tax-withholdings (with the Australian Tax Office).

You should also establish specific positions and roles that your workers will be fulfilled within the company.

6. Marketing Tips

Once your core business operations are set, you’re now ready to obtain your first customers. Marketing a new building company can be tricky, but there are useful strategies that can produce meaningful results.

First off, it’s best to join an industrial organization. These groups connect builders to customers and also help you network within the industry. You should also use online marketing techniques and social media to build your brand and attract new business.

7. Use Estimating Software

As a new building company, the importance of construction software cannot be overstated. Estimating software like Cubit provides builders with a natural estimating platform, allowing you to plan for better projects, to save on costs, and to improve performance right away.

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