Data-driven Construction Helps Builders Mitigate Risk and Strengthen Profitability
For many years, construction pros have relied on experience and gut instinct more than on data, but that’s rapidly changing. Many banks, investment groups and insurance companies now need a construction data analysis to help identify potential risks before okaying a construction deal. And in the field, builders need easy access to actionable information – both at the lot level and company-wide – to help boost quality, control costs and manage trade partners.
LP helps customers, in part, by sharing data and industry insights. This is particularly helpful for smaller builders trying to compete with bigger builders in their market.
LP views itself as more than simply a manufacturer; rather, it values the depth of the relationships it forms with customers. It is an example of a building solutions company using data in transformative ways to help customers. “We’re leveraging data to better understand how we can bring value to contractors and homeowners,” says Liz Hunt, an LP marketing automation specialist. “A great example is the LP BuildSmart® app, which allows our preferred contractors to manage their homeowner leads. Not only are we helping connect homeowners with qualified remodelers, we can also identify which areas of the country have the most demand for LP® SmartSide® products.”
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But LP doesn’t work alone in this endeavor to support customers. They turn to other industry resources, like IBACOS, to understand and address industry challenges.
“Our company is really a knowledge provider that leverages technology, not a software company in the homebuilding space,” says Glenn Cottrell, managing director of Builder Solutions at Pittsburgh-based IBACOS, makers of the PERFORM® lot-level quality inspection platform that offers on-site installation tips for hundreds of building products (including several LP solutions). Cottrell’s team recently helped create a digital guidebook and library of installation illustrations to support in-field technical standards for Toll Brothers, America’s fourth largest homebuilder.
Using PERFORM on a smartphone or tablet, a field manager can quickly validate that the job site complies with Toll technical standards. It’s also an excellent on-site training tool. “If supervisors are inspecting a shaft liner installation and want to make sure it’s done right, they can pull up a side-by-side checklist and illustration. If improvements are needed, a supervisor can show the trade contractor exactly what’s expected.”
Like most other industries, homebuilding is getting too complex to rely solely on experience and instinct. Homebuilder data analysis is an inextricable part of everything from project financing and risk management to quality assurance and customer satisfaction.
According to the latest American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, about 4 million people now work in residential construction (both single-family and multifamily) – down from the 5 million who were employed just before the Great Recession. Although the workforce has shrunk by 20 percent nationwide, some parts of the country are experiencing less pain than others. Similarly, light commercial construction has been reportedly back on the rise post-Recession, with IBISWorld reporting that the recovery started just before 2014 and continuing steadily through 2019 (source).Continue Reading
It’s frustrating when factors outside of your control cause you delays or unexpected expenses during a project. Those factors could be weather delays, insufficient staffing, breakdowns in cash flow and unreliable product availability. LP devotes significant resources each year to ensure that its product availability is second to none. Because even the most innovative building solution is useless to customers unless they know that it’s available when they really need it.
It’s a silly name, but a “butt joint” is an application technique where two pieces of material are “butted” up against each other. It is the simplest joint to make, and a butt joint can be either end to end or end to face. Depending on the width of the wall, butt joints will occur where two pieces of lap siding come together, creating a vertical seam. LP® SmartSide® lap siding products are available in 16’ lengths, and can help reduce the amount of seams where a butt joint would normally occur when using shorter pieces.
The three main buckets of costs to build a home: cost of land, cost of materials and cost of labor. Regarding labor costs to build a house, it’s getting tougher to ensure high efficiency on the jobsite as highly skilled Boomer-age construction pros retire. One way to accomplish that is to use high-performance building products that deliver lasting results yet are easy to work with and install.