Identifying Construction General Conditions for Your Next Project

In a construction project, aside from the direct cost of the project itself, a general contractor may also charge fees for costs relating to additional activities and resources used throughout the life cycle of the project.

The costs are called job site overhead costs, or general construction conditions. Construction general conditions are operations and resource expenses which support the labor that goes into construction. Many line items can be considered general construction conditions, but each can be grouped into three primary types.

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The first type involves the costs that go into in maintaining the project site while construction is ongoing. This is called site management, and it covers the expenses required to create and maintain the work environment of the project.

The goal of site management is to keep the job site useful, usable and safe for workers and the materials they will use. Site management general conditions may include worker offices/hygiene amenities/planning areas; temporary power and water utilities; construction/traffic/labor permits; and general cleanup, as well as job site and material protection (to prevent theft and damage).

While site management focuses on the job site, the second type of general construction conditions focuses on the care of the actual materials that are installed in the project.
The resulting cost is called material handling: operations involved in the delivery of materials. As construction often requires large amounts of materials, moving them from the delivery vehicle to the job site takes large amounts of time and effort.

The proper placement of materials is also an important factor to consider. Laborers need to spend effort in both planning and undertaking the movement of materials in convenient locations around the job site. The aim of material handling general conditions is to finance all these operations: the manpower involved in the unloading, movement and relocation of materials in a way that allows them to be easily accessed when the construction process needs them.

    Finally, the third type of general construction conditions is called project management. These costs cover the professional supervisory labor performed throughout the project. Project management general conditions are intended to support the strategic arm of the construction, compared to the tactical benefits site management and material handling general conditions provide.

Project management may be performed on the job site or in the office, and includes operations at different stages of the construction project cycle.

From planning (pricing projections, mock-up creation) preparation (material samples, tools/material cost research, arranging meetings with property owners, engineers, architects and other involved professionals), procurement (order, delivery and receipt of needed materials) up to the actual construction itself (on-site management, real-time troubleshooting and safety supervision), management and supervision are a critical part of the project process.

        Each of the three types of general construction conditions covers the seemingly-insignificant expenses that are involved in a project, all of which time, money and effort. Understanding each of the general conditions involved in the construction process will allow one to see clearly how it will be operated based, make sound decisions and changes depending on the findings, and create a detailed, expense-oriented and financially transparent overview of the entire project.

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A Career in Construction Engineering

    All adults are expected to build careers that would help them live a comfortable life, and one that goes on until their retirement. One seeks for a profession that is not only mentally challenging, but also financially rewarding. And among the many career paths to choose from, one of the most highly-praised profession is that of an engineer.

Engineering is the practical use of mathematics and science for the purpose of designing and creating solutions for everyday life. Since this study is often very broad, engineering schools offer different specializations which cater to the specific fields which require engineering.

One of the most useful discipline is that of construction engineering. Construction engineering is concerned with the planning, construction, and management of different infrastructures. These are not limited to the construction of buildings, but it also deals with the designing and planning for highways, bridges, dams and other utilities.

Due to its nature which also deals with design, it is a common misconception the to have them confused with civil engineers. The truth is, construction engineering is considered a hybrid profession between civil engineering and construction managers. They do not only deal with the designing and planning; they are also hands on as soon as the construction begins, since they also have management functions.

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For an aspiring construction engineer, the first step is to take note of the institution he will be taking the course from. It must be a college or university that is accredited, and has passed the standards set by said profession.

The next thing to consider is the curriculum being offered. It is common for engineering students to be bombarded with general science and mathematics, but an important consideration when pursuing a career in construction engineering is the amount of subjects relevant to the field. Key subjects to take note of are engineering design, construction management, and engineering mechanics.

Pursing construction engineering as a career will require a lot of time and money. However, it is a good investment since this is a career that is recognized globally. At the same time, engineers are always one of the highest paid professionals wherever they may be. This assures an aspiring construction engineer that job placement will not be an issue, if in case he would like to take the leap and pursue a career overseas. That is why it will be worth all the time, effort, and money spent for a quality engineering education.

Nonetheless, as much as earning a living is important to survive in this life, one must always keep in mind that what allows them to face each of the challenges head on, no matter how hard it may seem, is passion. Many of those who are successful in their chosen career paths are made so because of the burning passion they have for what they are doing. So, in order to succeed in life, the best piece of advice is always to look for what one is passionate about, and build an empire of a career around it.

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Construction Industry and the Top 5 In Demand Markets in Construction Industry Today

Construction is defined as the process or art of creating and building infrastructures and facilities. The construction industry is a highly hazardous industry which involves a variety of activities such as preparation of land and construction as well as alteration and repair of buildings, structures, and other types of real properties. Some examples include residential construction, excavations, paving of roadways, bridge erections, demolitions and large scale painting jobs.


The construction industry has become a very important sector of the economy, making it one of the most booming industries in the world. The industry can be classified into three different categories namely:

1. Construction involving heavy and civil engineering
• This classification mainly deals with the construction of large projects such as roads, bridges, etc.

2. General Construction
• It is a type of construction which involves building and constructing real estate properties such as residential and commercial real estate assets. This includes houses, condos, apartments, townhouses, etc.

3. Construction projects involving specialty trades
• These are construction works which involves building of specialized items such as electrically related works and woodworks.

The construction industry is predicted to remain an important and growing industry in the future years in line with the continuation of the development processes, particularly in the developing countries. The United States, in particular, has a sustainable growth in this industry. Here are the top 5 in demand markets in the construction industry today in the United States based on volume:

1. Houston, Texas

With a total of 19,662 constructed units in 2015, Houston, Texas tops the list of the top 5 in demand markets in the construction industry today. There is no surprise here as Houston has been a top and most favored housing market performer, and is expected to remain in this position for the rest of the year. Houston has been a favorite place not only for household growth, but also with employment and volume of house sales.

One of the reasons is that Houston, being the most populous city in Texas, has a predicted employment growth of 4% for the year and will continue growing to set a new employment record. Moreover, the market prices in Houston remain affordable even if there are several market price increases here and there. The construction sector has been growing strongly mostly because many people from other states would move into Houston to find better jobs and careers.

2. Dallas, Texas

Dallas, Texas is the second top to this list with a total of 16,227 units constructed. It is also a favorite place for household growth and volume of sales as with Houston. It is one of the top performers and is expected to remain one of the best markets in 2015. Dallas is home to 20 billionaires and just like Houston, it continues to draw an influx of households.
This southern city has a strong new construction market so people will not have to worry regarding the shortage of housing supply. Huge new homes are continually built in Dallas and is predicted to have a 3% growth in home prices in 2015 and a 7% home sales increase.

3. New York

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It is no doubt that New York will be on this list (with a total of 12,167 units constructed) given that there are many buildings, both commercial and residential units being constructed in this area. Moreover, private sector construction employment in New York increased by 4.5% in 2014 which only supports the fact that the construction industry continues to grow in this area.

4. Washington, D.C.

Washington is the 4th on the list of top 5 in demand markets in the construction industry today with a total of 10,875 units constructed. Washington D.C. is not only favored for household growth but also with the demands exceeding supply. Ever since the nation’s capital and bureaucracy becomes open again for business and significantly contributes to economic growth, it is predicted that Washington will keep on improving especially in the construction industry.
Washington ranked third overall among other districts in the projected growth of home-owning households over the next five years. Moreover, house sales are also expected to go up by 10% in the latter half of 2015.

5. Seattle, Wash.

Last on the top 5 in demand markets in the construction industry today is Seattle with 10,572 units constructed. Seattle has been defined by a boom/bust cycle especially in the construction industry but luckily, it is now back in boom phase and the industry continues to grow significantly mainly because of the explosive growth of and other tech-related industries in the area.

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Early Prevention Rather than Court Action

Encountering construction problems for every project is basically inevitable. After all, it is general knowledge that risks will always be an inherent part of any construction process. Disputes often happen when participants are either unwilling or unable to compromise.

However, taking into consideration how problems and disputes may arise and preparing solutions beforehand can ultimately prevent things from getting out of hand. Potential liabilities facing the parties involved in the contract should be clearly laid out in advance because this may have a huge impact on the success rate of the project.

Through proper ways and tactics, construction problems should not be reasons for contract disputes because both can be carefully and strategically avoided.

Below are simple ways for you to prevent contract disputes stemming from common construction problems:

  1. Clearly specified contract/s

Specifications regarding the project should be made clear to the parties involved, emphasizing the time frame allotted for the project, list of precise materials needed, the expected quality of service, the liabilities facing those involved and who fail to perform their obligations and the financial statement regarding costs as agreed upon and written in the contract. Parties involved should first and foremost have an expert or an attorney review their contract/s before they both officially sign it.

  1. Careful planning and hands-on management

Prevention is always better than cure. Anticipating probable difficulties during the initial planning phase, the challenges that the project may encounter and the quick, well-thought of actions in response to these difficulties and challenges can avoid conflicts. This may prevent delays, purchase of wrong materials, additional costs due to unforeseen conditions and a 360-degree change of direction of the project. Well thought of strategies to counter these problems in advance make it easier for the project to run smoothly and increase its chances of becoming successful.

Other than preventing problems, also included in pre-production are the recognition of risks that may affect the cost or time allocation such as the adequacy of labor force, adequacy of plans and specifications, and of performance time, accomplishment of permits and licenses, checking of site’s accessibility, contractor/subcontractor’s capability, and assessment of site surface conditions.

  1. Consistent contract documentation

It is typical that changes are required during the completion of the project. Those changes made, whether for the improvement of productivity or avoidance of potential risks, should always be documented so as to keep track of them.  When a client verbally mentions additional work he/she wanted to be done, it should be confirmed through writing to avoid surprising the client when additional costs arise in the middle of the process. It is important to do this with a ‘change order’ declaring changes in pricing, in the initial scope of the work, and the dates to be accomplished because anything that is not included in the final written contract is not binding. Documented changes in the contract/s must always be kept intact and made available to parties involved.

  1. Communication workflow

There must be a constant communication flow among the people involved in order to be able to update one another of daily accomplishments and the like. This is also essential so all parties will have an easier time communicating problems early on. Design professionals and contractors should both clearly understand the client’s objectives, and cooperation among these participants must be established.

  1. Daily assessments

Assessments regarding the progress of the project and costs should be made regularly to keep tabs on how much is accomplished daily or if there are any disruptions happening every now and then.

  1. Provisions for early termination

This happens when either the contractor or the client can no longer afford to push through with the project. It allows participants to leave the contract in exchange for either a percentage of the amount of money that would have been paid over the complete contract or compensation for an estimated amount of money that reflects how much income the other party would have made if the contract hadn’t been stopped.

If things still got out of hand and lead to contract disputes, there are ways to resolve this matter without going straight to the courts. These are as follows:

  1. Negotiation between two parties
  2. Mediation or conciliation with a third party intervening
  3. Adjudicative process or arbitration

Aside from the prevention of construction problems like delays and disruptions, and additional costs, initial preparation for such risks can also be beneficial to all parties. Among the benefits are repeat contract with satisfied clients, and of course, the prevention of lawsuits.

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How can 3D Printers Affect the Construction Industry?

Imagine a world where your dream house can be constructed through printing. Yes, through printing. Seems far-fetched? 3D printers will have you thinking, otherwise.

What is 3D printing? Basically, 3D printing makes use of a specialized 3D printer to ‘print’ a digital model into an object. In contrast with normal printers, a printer used for 3D printing creates objects in three-dimensional models. The adaptation of 3D printing in the construction industry has made its significant progress. Engineers and architects around the globe are trying to uncover the potential of this new construction method. How could this revolutionary construction method affect the construction industry?

For sure, 3D printing will create an impact to the construction industry. These effects can either benefit or harm the industry. To wit, here are the advantages and disadvantages of using 3D printers in construction.

Advantages of using 3D Printers

The potential of 3D printing as a new construction method will surely bring various benefits in the industry. Here are a few of the advantages of using 3D printing in construction:
• Reduced construction time – Using a 3D printer will significantly decrease construction time. Once the digital model is set for printing, the structure will then be set for assembly on site.
• Elimination of errors – A structure built using the conventional construction method can have few errors because of workmanship and other human errors. 3D printing will eliminate these errors. This is because the structure will be printed based exactly on how it should look like.
• Reduced labor cost – Minimal labor is needed when constructing the structure. The printer does most of the job. Human labor is only used in assembling elements on the site.
• Reduced materials cost – The amount of wastes and scrap materials is lessened. Unused materials can be recycled to produce other products.
• Reduced safety risks – There will be lesser need for construction workers to do dangerous jobs on the site.

Disadvantages of using 3D Printers

Inasmuch as 3D Printing is beneficial in the construction industry, it cannot be denied that the use of this methodology can bring about some downsides. The disadvantages of using 3D printers in construction include:
• Reduced employment opportunities – Because the printer will do most of the work, there will be lessened the need for workers on site. This would lead to loss of work and job opportunities for construction workers.
• Large printers – A 3D printer must be large enough to be able to print elements of a structure. As such, 3D printers are huge and bulky. The transportation and storage of the printers on site will pose a problem.
• Limited materials – Not all materials can be used for a 3D printer. Consequently, multiple materials cannot be accommodated by the same printer.
• Loss in revenue for construction-related industries – Manufacturing companies, suppliers, and construction materials plants are highly affected if 3D printing will develop. These construction-related industries may dwindle in revenue if their products and services for construction are no longer needed.
• May cause higher and significant risks – Using a 3D printer in construction will ensure fewer errors. However, if there are errors in the digital model, problems, and issues with the resulting structure on site will occur.

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3 Reasons Construction Workers are the Happiest Employees

You may have your dream job. You may be paid with a buck load of money. You may think that you are satisfied with your career status. Think again. According to surveys, construction workers are the happiest employees.

Before you throw out your work out of the window, take an in-depth analysis of the reasons for this happiness and satisfaction. Read on to find out these simple reasons that will change your perspective about looking forward to your everyday work.

Construction Workers are the Happiest Employees

Growth in the Industry

One of the reasons why construction workers are the happiest employees is that the construction industry is on the rise. The construction industry’s ability to bounce back from any instances of recession is an indication of its strength.

This growth in the construction industry is one of the reasons behind the increase in the creation of new job opportunities. More job opportunities for the workers means that they can get a stable job.

Additionally, the steady growth of the construction industry will lead to higher salaries and compensation for employees. Obviously, the increase in salary will make the workers happier. Aside from gaining enough money to spend, the workers also have an assurance that their hard work is sufficiently compensated.

Supportive Managers/Supervisors

The most common reason for dissatisfaction at work is any conflict or negative relationship with the managers. Employees often do not get support from their superiors. Not gaining a healthy relationship with the managers will surely make the employees feel less fulfilled in their work.

On construction sites, it is a routine to conduct safety meetings every morning before commencing work. These meetings send a message to the workers that their superiors highly regard their safety. This boosts the mood and sense of self-worth of each employee.
There are also instances wherein the manager or supervisor offers mentoring and coaching for some workers. The knowledge gained from coaching will enhance the skills of the workers. This, in turn, will help them to be able to take other challenging tasks.
In the construction industry, the workers are not considered as mere employees. Superiors know the significant role that the workers play in any project. Moreover, construction workers are regarded as partners in building and accomplishing work.

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Supportive Colleagues

Aside from unsupportive superiors, a negative relationship with colleagues comes a close second as a reason for being unhappy at work. The colleagues or coworkers are an employee’s constant companion. Friends at work help in boosting an employee’s mood and motivation. If an employee does not maintain great rapport with them, unhappiness at work occurs.

The construction industry excels in the area of being great friends with colleagues. Each employee of every position – engineers, architects, and even construction workers – aims for one goal: to successfully finish the assigned project. This aim unifies both superiors and employees.

In the construction industry, it is more often to see managers and workers getting together and celebrating. They may share a meal, drink a few beers, and talk about different things. The best thing about working in the construction industry is the great environment established by the colleagues.

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