Industry Trends7 min

A Solution for the Labor Shortage?

How Product Design and Training Are Mitigating the Lack of Skilled Labor

The on-going shortage of skilled labor in the construction field is forcing manufacturers to find creative ways to deal with it, particularly in product design and training. First, the products themselves need to be intuitive and designed to eliminate unnecessary mistakes. Sub-flooring products offer a good example of how to design for easy installation.

Check out these eight common sub-floor installation mistakes and how to avoid them.

Secondly, training materials industry-wide are getting more visual and concise. Helpful infographics and installation videos are replacing text-only installation instructions. 

“I would challenge all manufacturers to greatly expand their use of video and start YouTube channels so that construction newcomers can watch a video rather than getting bogged down reading installation instructions,” says Shawn Van Dyke, a leading construction industry coach, author and speaker. “If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million.”

Watch this video to learn about the advantages of using LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding products and how to install them.

Van Dyke feels that brilliantly designed products and training materials are only part of the solution to the nagging labor shortage problem. “It’s no secret that the value of a traditional college education is not what it used to be, but parents keep telling their kids that it’s the only path to a high-paying career. These students and their families are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, and about 40 percent of college students go to school for six years and don’t get even get a degree. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence is wiping out a lot of white-collar jobs in medicine, finance and law. Many young people could have lucrative careers as carpenters and electricians, but their parents still aren’t encouraging that path.”

LP, however, is active in supporting the early development of students studying design and construction. LP supports the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s annual studio design challenge in conjunction with the Nashville Civic Design Center. Additionally, LP supported the Fredericksburg Independent School District in its pursuit of the 2017 Best in American Living™ Award by donating LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding and offering training. The FISD high school students built the award-winning home with the help of the Hill Country Builders Association. 

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Protecting Your Business From Subcontractor Mistakes

Both general contractors and building product dealers have a lot on the line when they use subs, so it’s important to understand subcontractor liability. It’s common for both dealers and Big Box retailers to hire a subcontractor to install materials like hardwood flooring purchased at their stores. GCs likewise have relationships with many trade subcontractors.

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Industry Trends4 min
A Mid-Year Look at 2019 Exterior Trends

While many building professionals actively seek out exterior trends at the start of the new year, it’s important to keep on top of trends as we approach the latter half of 2019. Taking a mid-year look at what industry trends have dominated so far and what’s to come will ensure you are delivering your customers timely recommendations when it comes to their home’s aesthetic.

Industry Trends8 min
Building Smarter Starts With Smashing Silos

One of the most vexing problems in home construction is that productivity isn’t rising fast enough – even though there are fabulous productivity tools everywhere you look. Making a process lean and efficient isn’t always the answer, according to John Murphy from the consulting firm FMI. Sometimes a process can be scrapped entirely, which in turn causes productivity to soar. But it can only happen when all the key stakeholders – developers, designers, manufacturers and builders – tear down their respective silos and start collaborating more effectively.

Industry Trends5 min
Strong Demand for “Zero Energy Ready” Homes

Homebuyers are quickly realizing that there’s a new symbol of excellence in energy-efficient homebuilding: the Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) certification from the U.S. Department of Energy DOE. Currently only select builders meet the levels of excellence and quality required for ZERH certification – but their numbers are growing as homebuyers learn more about the program.