In many ways, construction companies should select from the pool of talent within their organizations. When promoting an internal leader, the individual knows the work rules, intuitively understands the culture and is a walking source of institutional knowledge. The internal candidate understands the hot button safety issues, the personality quirks of the team and the organizational discomfort with specific policies unique to a construction company. In essence, the internal leader is a known quantity. He or she has a well-defined cost, and possibly modest expectations for increased compensation due to the impending promotion. Certainly, the morale of others may rise as evidence of promotions becomes suddenly real. At least, that’s the ideal.

In the past 30 years, very little has changed for most small- to mid-sized general contractors and subcontractors in terms of onsite project management. Generally speaking, it’s been a seat-of-your-pants approach to overseeing the building process. A superintendent’s role is much like a fireman’s – dousing out problems as they flare up. Ideally, we’d spend more time preventing issues before they become emergencies.

That’s where agile project management comes in. In 2001, a group of computer software developers who were tired of the complexity and ineffectiveness of traditional project management practices created The Manifesto for Agile Software Development. The agile methodology is a declaration of four values and 12 principles aimed to streamline the workflow process by increasing communication and collaboration throughout the scope of the project. 

CCI Group (CCIG) Inc., which offers building lifecycle consulting engineering services, was named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies’ Gold Standard Winners in 2015. Deloitte, CIBC, National Post, Smith School of Business and MacKay CEO Forums sponsor the Best Managed designation.

“Being named a Gold Standard winner is a remarkable accomplishment,” CCIG CEO Gus Sarrouh said in a statement. “Over the past few years, this company has achieved some incredible milestones, including opening offices across the country, expanding our service offerings to better help our clients and almost tripling in size.

Each year, the BUILDEX Edmonton show strives to stay on top of topics that are the most pressing to the construction, renovation, architecture, interior and property management industries. This made its 10th anniversary show even more of an essential event to attend, Paul Maryschak says.

“This year, a lot of [the show] related to being effective in your business,” he reports. “[We] also continued to focus on many of the sustainability initiatives, which are constantly changing around the world.” 

Buzzwords are a common challenge across the construction workforce continuum. While the exact definition of the term is rarely agreed upon, it is safe to assume that buzzwords are a series of overused and often ambiguous words or expressions seemingly meant to convey an important idea or concept in an engaging and often entertaining manner. Workplace buzzwords that set aside the normal rules and expectations of the English language in favor of obtuse expressions are neither helpful nor effective in engendering a safe jobsite.

As an industry, we must get beyond safety strategies and more importantly workplace traditions based on a “buzz” that cannot be operationalized effectively and as such cannot be measured in a reliable manner to create a strong culture and, in turn, climate of safety. We must stop using reactive approaches in our responses to safety and endeavor to create proactive approaches that reinforce policies and procedures that have a single goal: keeping the worker safe. 

Managing supply chains in the construction industry can be very challenging. Roadblocks have a tendency to develop throughout the chain, which leads to higher project costs, wasted materials and a lower quality of the completed structure. But these pain points can be avoided by making certain choices in logistical planning.

Responsible sourcing is continually becoming more achievable, thanks to new sustainable materials and technologies. This focus not only improves the building process, but also the overall end product. From choosing building materials sourced in innovative ways to reducing carbon in the transport of those materials, there are many facets of supply chains that can be improved.

Global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) have become a vital instrument in many construction companies’ toolsets. Their accurate locating capabilities and universal availability can help crews more easily collect data and save time when surveying, easily locate sites, manage fleets and even help protect expensive, critical equipment from theft. 

But GNSS technology and the global positioning systems (GPS) receivers they communicate with also are vulnerable to malicious attacks via RF interference, jamming and the deliberate counterfeiting of signals known as spoofing. These attacks have a direct impact on security and accuracy and can ultimately undermine a construction company’s profitability.

Prefabrication is really a misnomer for what is happing in the industry. It’s not prefabrication that is happening, but rather separation of production from installation. Most find there’s no longer a choice to participate in productivity improving activities to improve time, cost and quality of the construction project delivery.

The construction industry still looks at productivity as an individual measurement and uses accounting or financial output as bases of productivity scale. The actual throughput, which is only measured as an outcome, is lost in the current financial measurements. System productivity, which means how much of the resources we transferred to performance obligation, has been absent from the construction industry until recently. 

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