Blog Entries

With a Labour Shortage, Increased Productivity is Paramount

Project management in today’s climate is tough. We’re dealing with supply chain issues that result in ridiculous hold-ups. Record-high job vacancy levels are hitting our sector hard. Add the fact that there’s such high demand for construction projects that we could truly be making hay while the sun shines—if only we had the materials and skilled labour on hand to allow us to. Delays impact our bottom line and cause huge issues for the clients relying on us to get them into a new home, office, hospital building etc. Many of us are having to say no to new projects because we simply don’t have the resources to take them on.

Where did everybody go?

Putting supply chain issues aside, clients and laypeople people can’t help but wonder: where did all the skilled labourers go? Many of us in the construction industry have seen the current skilled worker labour shortage looming on the horizon for decades. We knew that plenty of skilled tradespeople were edging closer to retirement. We also saw that there weren’t enough young people stepping up to replace them. According to Employment and Social Development Canada, this problem isn’t going away anytime soon. By 2028 an estimated 700,000 skilled trades workers are set to retire. 

However, foresight doesn’t make dealing with this thorny issue any easier. When the construction industry bounced back with a vengeance after the initial pandemic slowdown, those people that were still wanting to work were snapped up fast. Ultimately we still need to get the job done, whether we have enough people on our teams or not. 

So what can we do to mitigate this? Streamline our systems to make every action count on each and every project. And, when we are lucky enough to make new hires, we need to get those team members up to speed fast. That’s where project management software becomes crucial. It’s time to ditch spreadsheets and inconsistent communications. You need to implement systems that make project management more effective and efficient. 

Better systems bring better outcomes

When you use a cloud-based project management software, you ensure that all stakeholders on a project have access to the same information, the second that decisions are made and any documents are updated. With RForm, onboarding new (and existing) team members is fast and simple. When you invite team members, the invite includes a quick start video that outlines the basics of the software in just five minutes. Employees learn just how easy RFrom is to use and buy-in is generated from the get-go. As team members use the software, helper videos throughout are on hand to go over each section (though we find many users are able to jump right in with very little support needed). 

In this superheated market, we no longer have time to just keep doing things in the same way that we always have and hope for the best. It’s time to move workflows onto systems that free up more time to actually do the work. Who has the time to deal with communication breakdowns and errors caused by someone using an old document? Or because somebody missed the email with the new one, or forgot to update the spreadsheet? Contract administration software can help with productivity and efficiencies.

Innovation as a new-employee attractor

Using a cloud-based system may actually help you attract more skilled workers to your company. Having a central repository for all project data gives better control over projects, and the ability to see how workflow can improve as you move forward. Automating and expediting some of the paperwork especially submittals on projects appeals to potential hires who would much rather be doing the jobs that they trained for than staying on top of documents. New hires are actively looking to work for companies that encourage innovation. It’s time for everyone in the construction industry to work more effectively using the tech tools available to them.

RForm is free for 30 days. Sign up now or schedule a 20 min webinar to learn more.

Designing Canada’s Railway Hotels

Image credit: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. 

Though it opened in 1911, the Chateau Lake Louise hotel has likely never been as popular as it is now. Room prices are exorbitant, and unless staying there you aren’t even allowed to visit most areas of the hotel. The fact that many of the hotels built by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and Canadian National Railway (CNR) more than a century ago (and some that are soon to be centenarians) are still considered to the utmost in luxury and style is a testament to the vision and talents of the architects that designed them.

These grand buildings showcase both Canadian architectural prominence and the grit of the builders in those days.

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Use of construction contract administration programs is essential, says the Ontario Association of Architects

As any architect knows, although it is vitally important, contract administration (CA) is rarely the fun part of any project and is often greeted with similar levels of enthusiasm as when one is called up for jury duty. In our experience, there are two reasons why architects dread the many chores associated with CA. First off, no architect goes into the profession because they love paperwork – the thrills are in the creative design process, and that’s why most architects went into the profession in the first place. Secondly, problems in CA, no matter how trivial, can lead to conflict with contractors and project owners, possibly even resulting in lengthy and time consuming litigation.

Experienced architects also know that managing contract administration well is what keeps projects on track, and what supports the continuity, quality, and intent of their original design. When the architect serves as contract administrator, they can also better manage and limit risks by facilitating communications and maintaining clear project records. The architect is also in the best position to identify and correct problems in construction as they occur, and can quickly deal with them to minimize any negative impact on the construction.

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Bring your project team onboard: Four steps to easing in a new contract admin solution

As you evolve any business, finding brilliant new tech solutions to help manage workflow is going to be a big part of how you grow. However, no matter how much you know it is going to revolutionize how your team works, it is absolutely normal that you are going to face resistance when it comes to buy-in from your team. And, if you’re looking to onboard external project stakeholders to that particular tech, you may face further resistance there too. In this blog, I’ll outline ways to smooth the buy-in process in order to help transitions to new solutions, and ensure better outcomes.

Recognize the opposition

There are plenty of reasons why people resist new tech solutions. Not everyone feels that confident with computers, and no doubt there will be some people in the office who are perfectly fine doing things the old way. Often fear of change is based on anxiety about being able to keep up with changes, and it doesn’t take much to reduce that level of fear. A simple acknowledgement that this will require effort in the short term, and that you’re going to ensure that everyone has the support they need to learn it at their own pace, will do the job.

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