Construction Hiring

How to attract millennials and Gen Z to work in construction.

Talk about worker shortages have hit national news the past few months with many businesses scrambling to staff up to meet demand. But for construction, this is nothing new. The construction industry has been battling a skills and worker shortage for decades and estimates show the industry will need to hire 430,000 construction workers this year and 1 million more over the next two years in order to keep up.

The push toward college over the past generation and the drastic drop in trades offered in high school made recruiting a real challenge for years—but the tides are turning. Millennials in construction are now aged between 25-40 and it’s time to turn our attention to the next wave of workers who do not want debt, care about the environment, and are values-driven. The good news is that the construction industry already checks these boxes and many more.

Here are some tips on how to recruit Gen Z into construction and build out your pipeline for skilled workers.

How to Recruit Gen Z? First, Get Into Schools

Exposure to trades in high school is not only important for solving the low workforce in construction, it’s incredibly valuable to students. It lowers drop out rates and offers options for what comes next, especially for students who know that a traditional 4-year degree isn’t right for them. Trades are less frequently offered as classes than they once were but many schools and teachers are still open to creating opportunities for professionals to visit classrooms and share their experiences. Additionally, think about ways you can connect to students outside of school by offering events that demonstrate what construction work actually looks like and having industry veterans share their stories.

While high school is a critical time to reach prospective employees, don’t leave out college students. Job fairs, networking events, and campus groups are a great way to get in front of young people who are looking for their next step. Consider bringing along one of your younger employees who may have recently graduated to speak on why they chose this path and the benefits it offers.

Lead with Values for Strong Construction Hiring

Generation Z wants to work for companies and industries that match their values and are doing good in the world. Here are some ways you can align with this aspect:

Highlight the ways you’re giving back and get your workers involved. Chances are, your company is already heavily involved in the community. It’s important to showcase that, but there are other ways to let your younger team members get some skin in the game. Consider encouraging suggestions for volunteer opportunities or fundraising events and then letting the person who suggested it drive that effort. Not only will you create a sense of ownership and connection, but it will help younger workers build leadership skills.

Lean into green construction. This industry historically has contributed to pollution and is a huge consumer of resources, but green construction techniques are changing that. For a generation so heavily concerned about the environment, the construction industry is an option for work that can truly make a difference in long-term sustainability.
Highlight technology. Whether you’re using drones to map a construction site, modeling a project with BIM, or conducting virtual trainings, technology is finding a home in construction and that’s important to attracting Gen Z workers.

It’s Not (Only) About the Money

Generation Z wants financial stability and a path to advancement. Of course, salary is an important part of that. But don’t get tripped up by thinking that simply increasing compensation is the way to attract and keep this new generation of workers. The pay is already good—averaging well above minimum wage across the country—and workers don’t have to go into huge amounts of debt to get there. Instead, focus on mentorship and career advancement.

Pair your younger workers with someone who can help them navigate your company and industry. In addition to hands-on training, offer feedback and development opportunities for softer skills like communication, leadership, and teamwork.
Build a path forward. Simply taking the time to understand what new hires are looking for and working with them to develop and achieve learning goals and a path to advancement is a great step. You will benefit from an internal pipeline of skilled-up workers, and your team will benefit from adding tools to their toolboxes.

Get Online

Recruiting Generation Z means you might need to step out of your construction hiring comfort zone and log on. Gen Z is aged between 6-24 and they expect to be able to find jobs, make connections, and learn about a potential employer online.

Check your online presence. Make sure you’re highlighting your values, what you have to offer, and ways to connect in your online content.
Consider adding social media. Construction is dynamic and interesting, but most people don’t have an accurate picture of what a career in construction would look like. You can use social media to highlight your workers, show what it’s like to actually work on a project, and dig into how construction is evolving through technology.
Let your team recruit for you. Both good and bad experiences get amplified online because this generation is not afraid to share. Happy Gen Zers will help recruit their friends when they enjoy what they do.

The bottom line is that the construction industry offers rewarding jobs with opportunities for advancement, and careers are accessible without acquiring huge amounts of debt. Most importantly, construction workers are happy, making this industry a great fit for Generation Z.

As a family-owned business with deep roots in our community, we prioritize excellence and relationships on all of our projects. If you’re looking for a partner for your next project, contact GALBRAITH today.

General Contracting

Construction project management tips

The construction industry is no stranger to inconveniences, delays, and other operational challenges. From budget inaccuracies to legal agreements, a project can quickly go off course without the proper leadership and management in place. Many builders are opting to hire project managers to help the company gain control of how long a project takes to complete as well as how much money it costs. 

We’ve summarized the responsibilities of a project manager and the many benefits of utilizing construction project management for a new building project. Keep reading to learn all about the importance of construction project management. 

What Does a Construction Project Manager Do? 

A project manager has a wide range of responsibilities. In a nutshell, their job is to keep a building project on budget and on time by planning and closely monitoring each step of the process. The following are common duties of construction project managers. 

Planning and Organizing

Construction project managers, or CPMs, work with both clients and internal teams in the pre-construction phase of development on a project. They create detailed plans and sort out the logistics for the building sites. CPMs also provide clients with price estimates and budget requirements.

Contract Management

Project managers oftentimes decide which workers to assign to a job. They coordinate and negotiate contracts while also supervising the work done by subcontractors. They also oversee contracts with the clients. 

Setting Deadlines 

For builders, the longer a project lasts, the more it is going to cost. A project manager is responsible for project scheduling and identifying an accurate project timeline. They monitor progress, set deadlines, and ensure a project is on track during construction.

Troubleshooting 

One of the greatest responsibilities of a CPM is anticipating problems in the project management process and dealing with them proactively. Project managers closely monitor the construction site’s progress to catch issues early and foresee delays. Ensuring the project is properly defined from the beginning can help prevent delay-causing changes down the line.

Managing Construction Budgets

One of the main duties of a CPM is managing a project’s budget, making cost efficiency a priority. Managers must deliver accurate costs to the client and actively track where money is going. 

Improving Safety

On any construction worksite, safety must be taken seriously. Project managers ensure workers are taking the proper precautions to avoid unnecessary accidents. They actively identify and address potential problem areas, making sure everything complies with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines.

Complying with Legal Requirements 

In conjunction with contract management, a CPM needs an understanding of applicable laws, permits, and contracts for proper planning. Only with legal requirements in mind can a builder begin work on-site. 

Evaluating the Finished Job

Even after a project is complete, a construction project manager’s job is not done. Once finished, the CPM will evaluate both how efficiently the job was completed and what areas could use improvement on future worksites. 

The Benefits of Having a Construction Project Manager 

With the responsibilities of a construction project manager in mind, one can already see some of the benefits of working with one on a building project. In the same way that oil lubricates a machine, CPMs keep a building project running smoothly and increase the chances of completing a project successfully.

Construction as an industry can be complex—there are a lot of moving parts. Having a central person or team to manage the building process can influence a more effective project completion. The following are three of the top benefits of working with a construction project manager.

Save Costs

Did you know that nine out of every 10 construction projects will go over budget? Projects typically go over budget when plans are not created with accurate figures or when other unforeseen changes occur during the building process. Project management is a very important part of saving costs. This is especially true because small, uncaught errors in the building process can lead to major expenses. 

Having a project manager can help by monitoring costs throughout the entire process, identifying where expenses can be reduced or eliminated. Keeping a close eye on budget information can mitigate unnecessary spending so builders can align efforts closely with estimated costs. 

Improve Communication

With the help of a CPM, clients and internal team members can better communicate with each other, leaving less room for costly miscommunication mistakes. Project managers are the main point of contact for construction clients and often maintain the primary interactions with the client. One of the most important duties of a project manager is communicating project specs clearly with stakeholders and workers. 

A project manager collects feedback from workers to further efforts towards efficiency. They lead the team, delegating and assigning workers to specific tasks. Great communication skills are a must for a project manager. They utilize these skills to keep construction teams on task and give stakeholders a transparent look at how the process is going as well as how much it will cost. 

Stay on Schedule

A CPM must keep projects on schedule as best they can, despite some delays being unavoidable. Construction project delays can have several causes, including the following:

  • Inaccurate budgets
  • Scheduling conflicts with subcontractors
  • Labor shortages
  • Slow approvals
  • Miscommunication
  • Severe weather
  • Supply chain disruptions or delays
  • Legal hiccups

While project managers cannot control obstacles such as weather or raw material shortages, they can manage other common delay causes. By abiding by legalities and closely monitoring logistics, having proper project management and project scheduling will enhance productivity and keep teams on track.

Trust GALBRAITH and Butler Manufacturing with Your Next Construction Project

GALBRAITH measures the success of a project by customer satisfaction. We have expertise in numerous sectors ranging from food processing services to concrete construction. And with over 25 years of experience, we have the systems in place to complete projects within the confines of both your time frame and budget! 

The GALBRAITH team also proudly partners with Butler Manufacturing to not only provide a holistic construction experience, but ensure the highest quality of materials is used. Using pre-engineered steel building systems from Butler allows us to provide the most efficient and effective construction method in the low-rise construction marketplace.

We’ve completed projects in fifteen different states and have familiarized ourselves with local regulations. Plus, we pride ourselves on adapting to your schedule. With GALBRAITH, your project can be completed around your working hours and at your convenience.  

Request a free consultation for your next construction project and experience the Galbraith difference today!

Commercial Design, General Contracting, Multi-Family Structure

Building and Maintaining Multifamily Structures

Back in June, a condominium collapsed in Surfside, Florida, resulting in the death of 98 people. The Champlain Towers was a 12-story condominium complex with 136 units built in 1981. On June 24, the South Tower collapsed at 1:25 AM, causing an underground fire—an additional obstacle for emergency responders on top of accounting for all the residents in the building. This “unexpected” collapse prompted an investigation as to what caused this catastrophe.

This multi-family structure was due for its 40-year recertification inspection this year, but the warning signs that this structure was unstable emerged years ago. A report released back in 2018 identified issues with the concrete at Champlain Towers South, such as cracking and exposed rebar. Additionally, the pool deck caused significant damages to the building’s overall structure. According to Frank Morabito, the engineer responsible for the 2018 report, an issue prevented proper water drainage in the pool. Despite the costly repairs and disturbance for the residents, Morabito suggested a complete reconstruction. On the other hand, the responding building official claimed the condo was in good condition, so repairs were not immediately needed. Following the report, no repairs were made to the building partially due to the lack of urgency from Morabito and lack of support from building officials.

An estimated $15 million in repairs, expected to start in April 2021, was approved for the building’s 40-year recertification process.

Based on a study reported by USA Today in 2020, between the years 1993 and 1999, evidence showed the building was sinking around 2 millimeters a year. Yet, officials claimed any previous warning signs were not enough to cause the condo to collapse.

Following the condo collapse, investigators discovered water damage along with structural corrosion. Federal investigators released a video last month that showed proof of extensive corrosion and overcrowded concrete reinforcement. The video indicated steel reinforcement in different parts of the building was densely packed.

These red flags should have been enough reason for The Champlain Towers to implement preventive and routine maintenance. Yet, they waited until the 40-year recertification to make any effort in the building’s upkeep. 

What is the lesson learned for the construction industry? It is vitally important to find contractors who will prioritize the highest quality, structural integrity, and safety in all construction projects while acting with a sense of urgency.

The Role of Contractors

At GALBRAITH, we specialize in commercial, industrial, and institutional construction. We prioritize integrity, honesty, and value engineering, ensuring the highest level of quality with a favorable bottom line. To combat building inspection and code compliance issues, we use our resources to provide safe worksites and emphasize safety by adhering to strict safety standards to minimize risk.

Our team is experienced with building maintenance, especially in multi-family structures, to prevent the need for emergency repairs or, worst-case scenario, unimaginable disasters such as the one mentioned previously. By thoroughly inspecting each building, we can determine the necessary repairs while working around your business needs.

As construction experts, preventative problem-solving is essential to identify potential issues before they arise and to anticipate any unexpected changes. Contractors need to be familiar with the construction materials and the environment in which they are building, while also being proactive in making recommendations to prevent further issues.

GALBRAITH provides top-rated concrete construction services, and we mix our own concrete to keep projects on schedule. Through expertise and experience working with concrete, we understand the factors that need to be considered for successful construction.

The Surfside condo collapse shows that our responsibility as contractors is to provide job site safety and ensure that the project is on-time while meeting the necessary code compliance on all facets.

Why a Maintenance Schedule is Important

A regular maintenance schedule is essential to ensure that a building’s structure or any equipment is maintained correctly, so it causes minimal disruption to its operations. Additionally, scheduled maintenance can save money due to costs associated with productivity. When a building’s structure or equipment breaks down due to lack of care, more time is spent trying to resolve the issue, leading to a loss of productivity.

Here are some items to include in a maintenance schedule:

Preventative Maintenance 

Preventative maintenance implements the necessary processes or guidelines to predict and prevent failures before they happen. Regular maintenance involves ensuring that everything is in proper condition before it breaks down, including inspection or servicing.

Routine Maintenance 

Routine maintenance involves scheduling ongoing maintenance tasks to diagnose any issues before it leads to equipment failure. Unlike preventative maintenance, routine maintenance consists of smaller tasks that do not require much skill or training and takes less time.

Fire Code Safety 

Fire code safety is necessary for any building maintenance, especially multi-family structures. Creating a fire-resistant building can aid in saving lives by reducing flammability. Fire safety also includes the necessary warning or detection systems to prevent fire from spreading throughout the building.

Remedial Work Schedules 

Remedial work schedules plan for any defects in a building that may come up from inspection after construction is already completed. If remedial work is included in construction agreements, contractors can quickly dive in and fix any defects. Remedial work costs time and money since it is important to perform the repairs without adding further damage.

Maintenance Checklist

In order to ensure the reliability of buildings or equipment, it’s essential to have a maintenance checklist to determine the basic routine and preventative actions to help businesses achieve their goals by monitoring all the tasks required for regular maintenance.

Developing Relationships with Contractors You Trust

While there are many factors that come into play when it comes to the condominium collapse, we can see the lack of support from building officials in the reconstruction as suggested by Morabito led to this traffic event. When it comes to your business, developing a relationship with a team you trust is vital. You won’t have to second guess their recommendations and can rest assured that they’re working with you and your customer in mind.

How GALBRAITH/Pre-Design, Inc. Can Help Your Business

At GALBRAITH/Pre-Design, Inc., we value the relationships we have with our clients. Originating with pre-design services, we have grown to become an award-winning small family business that maintains the highest quality—with one of our areas of expertise being multi-family structure development, maintenance, and renovation.

We have over 25 years of experience, and we perform all phases of a project with our own crews to guarantee the closest attention to detail as we strive for customer satisfaction. We look forward to working with you on your next project!

Schedule a free consultation for your next project today!

Construction Process, Contractor Safety, General Contracting

Safety in construction

With longer daylight hours and warmer weather, summer is the prime building season across the country. You don’t have to combat the constant rain of spring or the frozen ground of winter. It’s also a time for construction companies to find more interested seasonal workers to hire larger teams to accommodate for larger construction projects.

However, longer hours in the sunlight and rising temperatures means your team will be working for extended periods of time in the heat, increasing the hazards that come along with summer weather. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are all significant dangers that construction foremen, supervisors, and managers need to be aware of to keep all employees safe.

Outdoor Construction Workers are at a Higher Risk for Heat-Related Illnesses

Due to the nature of the job, employees working at outdoor job sites are exposed to the elements. For most of the United States, the warmest days of the year occur sometime between mid-July and mid-August. That’s right in the middle of many building projects. 

With the extent of the physical labor required at the job site in combination with the temperature, humidity, sunlight exposure, and in some cases, lack of wind, thousands of workers suffer from heat-related illnesses each year. Roofing projects in particular are dangerous with temperatures on these surfaces reaching higher than 150°F. 50%-70% of outdoor fatalities occur in the first few days of working in hot environments due to the body’s need to build a heat tolerance gradually.

Monitor Outdoor Construction Workers for These Heat-Related Disorders

It’s essential to be aware of the risks for the heat-related disorders that are up against your employees. Below are the top three.

Heat Stroke

Categorized as the most serious heat-related disorder, heat stroke occurs as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures, increasing internal body temperatures to 104°F or higher. This heat injury requires emergency treatment. If untreated, heat stroke can damage the brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles, sometimes resulting in death.

Symptoms of heat stroke include: 

  • High body temperature
  • Altered mental state or behavior
  • Alteration in sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Flushed skin
  • Rapid breathing
  • Racing heart rate
  • Headache

If you believe one of your employees is suffering from heat stroke, call 911 and take immediate action to cool the overheated person. You can bring them indoors where there is A/C or move them to a shaded area. Remove excess clothing and cool the person with whatever means available, whether that is with ice, cool water from a hose, or pouring cold water bottles onto towels and laying them on the person’s head, neck, armpits, and groin.

Heat Exhaustion

This mid-level heat-related injury occurs when the body overheats due to high temperature exposure (sometimes combined with high humidity and physical exertion). Without proper treatment, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, mentioned above.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: 

  • Cool, moist skin
  • Heavy sweating
  • Faintness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weak and rapid pulse
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Headache

If someone on the job site is experiencing heat exhaustion, have them stop all activity and rest in a cooler location (like a shaded area or indoors with A/C). Have them drink cool water or a sports drink. If symptoms worsen or don’t improve within one hour, seek immediate medical attention and follow the steps above for heat stroke.

Heat Cramps

Because of the high level of physical activity on a construction site, workers may experience painful, involuntary muscle spasms—more intense and prolonged than your typical nighttime charley horse. Fluid loss due to high temperatures and electrolyte loss due to intense exercise contribute to heat cramps.

If you suspect your construction workers are experiencing heat cramps, have them briefly rest and cool down. They should drink clear juice or an electrolyte solution like a sports drink. Massaging the cramping area also helps the affected muscles. The employee should not resume strenuous activity for several hours after the heat cramps occur. If symptoms do not improve within one hour, they should call their doctor and make an appointment to be seen.

Improving Outdoor Construction Safety

Workers who are not fully acclimated to the hot weather, 65 years of age or older, are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or take certain medications are all at a greater risk for one of the heat-related illnesses above.

You can be directly responsible for keeping your outdoor contractors safe by:

  • Increasing the number of workers per task need at the job site
  • Offering air-conditioned/cooler areas for recovery times
  • Having all foremen, supervisors, and managers trained in identifying heat-related symptoms
  • Providing adequate amounts of cool, drinkable water
  • Encouraging workers to hydrate frequently to the point of never becoming thirsty
  • Telling contractors to wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing as well as UV protected glasses and brimmed headwear
  • Planning for those on the job sites to do the hardest work in the morning when it’s coolest
  • Implementing a buddy system where co-workers keep an eye on each other to identify early symptoms of heat-related illnesses

By educating yourself and your employees on the causes and symptoms of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and heat cramps, your team will be more prepared to identify and prevent these heat-related illnesses from occurring on your job sites. In turn, this makes outdoor work for your contractors safer, allowing you to beat the heat.

If you’re looking for a partner who values relationships with their clients as much as you value the safety of your employees, contact GALBRAITH/Pre-Design, Inc today. We look forward to working with you on your next commercial, industrial, or institutional design-build project.

Construction Process, Green Building

Most Popular Green Building Techniques for Sustainability

78% of people are more likely to purchase a product that is clearly labeled as environmentally friendly. 96% of people feel like their actions, such as their buying power, can make a difference. It’s no wonder larger brands like Amazon, McCormick, HP, and Pratt & Whitney are moving sustainable business practices to the top of their priority list. 

In 2018 alone, the construction industry produced about 60 million tons of waste in the United States, which begs the question: What are you doing to reduce waste and become more sustainable in the construction industry, and have you considered green building?

 

Green Building Continues Its Ascent in the Global Marketplace

Green building is a resource-efficient method of construction that produces healthier buildings that have less impact on the environment and cost less to maintain. This sustainable approach to construction accounts for a building’s entire life cycle: siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and demolition.

Client demands largely trigger the growth of green buildings, which as we’ve seen from the consumer to the commercial level, doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

 

Green Building Techniques Increasing in Popularity

Clay Plaster and Brick

Clay material is extremely versatile and can be used in many different ways in construction. Clay plaster can be used in place of regular plaster as well as paint as it doesn’t give off any harmful toxins during and after application and installation. It also helps to fight humidity and indoor airborne toxins that may be found in buildings. Like clay plaster, clay brick doesn’t release harmful toxins. It can be recycled and is known for its low maintenance, permanence, and durability. Clay bricks are also energy efficient as they aid in temperature stability.

Recycled Glass

Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity and can be substituted for up to 95% of raw materials. Recycled glass is a great material to use when building infrastructure as it can be quite harmful to the environment when discarded. Glass produced from recycled glass reduces related air pollution by 20% and related water pollution by 50%.

Mycelium

Mycelium comes from the root of a mushroom and while it is widely used as an eco-friendly alternative for packing materials, it is slowly rising in popularity as a good material to use for construction. Mycelium can be made into bricks or used for insulation. The tissue of mycelium is fireproof, non-toxic, water-resistant and it has proven to be stronger than concrete. 

Reclaimed or Recycled Wood

Reclaimed or recycled wood can be used in green builds for a more natural look while still reducing an ecological footprint by using used wood instead of new wood. It also reduces the devastating impact of deforestation and has much lower emissions than the logging, transport and processing of new wood. Plus, with the rising cost of building materials, using recycled wood cuts costs.

Recycled Steel

Steel is one of the most recycled materials in the world. It’s extremely strong and durable and doesn’t lose its properties after being recycled, making it the perfect material to use for a strong, green build. In fact, steel can be recycled indefinitely and be used for green roofs. Even after incineration, steel can be recovered for recycling.

AshCrete 

AshCrete is used as an alternative to concrete and is made out of 97% recycled material. Since AshCrete has smaller pores and requires less water in the mixture, it’s a material that’s found to be stronger than Portland concrete. The fine particles within AshCreate reduce permeability—one of the main causes of premature failure in concrete projects.

Straw Bale

Straw might not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about building materials (especially knowing what happens in The Three Little Pigs). In reality, straw is an excellent material to use for green buildings. The bales are made from waste products and are a less expensive way to achieve thick walls in your building. It’s renewable and has great insulation properties that can be used for temperature stability, making it energy efficient. The harvesting of straw is an environmentally friendly process and the material is 100% biodegradable when the time comes.

Bamboo

Due to its lightweight and elasticity, the use of bamboo as a building material is popular in areas of the world where earthquakes, hurricanes, and typhoons strike more frequently. Bamboo is one of the strongest building materials, having the same strength ratio as steel and almost twice the compression ratio of concrete. Just like straw, harvesting bamboo is an environmentally friendly process since it grows fast and reduces pollution white it grows.

Ferrock

Ferrock is made out of ground-up glass and recycled steel that was turned to dust. Both of these materials combined make this concrete-like material. Ferrock not only acts as a strong cement but it helps to reduce CO2 and aids in reducing pollution. Plus, Ferrock costs less in transportation and labor movement as it weighs 10-25% less than normal cement. 

Cork

Cork’s multifaceted use in green building construction is making it one of the best up-and-coming materials. It can also be used for walls, floors, and ceilings. With its 200 million air cells per cubic inch, it acts as a cushion absorbing vibrations and direct impacts. While cork is eco-friendly, it’s also water and mold-resistant. It can be used for insulation, is renewable, and can be reused without losing its properties.

 

Applicable Sustainable Building Practices

As consumer demand for green building and building methods increase, sustainable building practices must as well. Looking for further information on sustainable construction? Check out our blog, Sustainable Construction 101, here. And, if you’re in search of guidance on how to go green on your next construction project, give us a call today.

Commercial Design, Commercial Office Construction, Hybrid Office

The Latest Trends in Commercial Workplace Construction

It goes without saying that this past year has been hard on many companies and employees, regardless of the industry. When taking a look back to March 2020, the hot topic in most workplaces was the transition to remote work. The internet was buzzing with words like “quarantine,” “social distancing,” and the infamous “COVID-19.”

Now, a whole 15 months later, we are finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel and getting back to “normal.” The internet is now stirring with words such as “back to work” and “hybrid workplace.” As more and more employees are breaking out of their home offices and returning to the in-person workplace, there is an increasing need for workplace design and construction that encompasses safety, efficiency, and the tools necessary to collaborate with virtual teams. 

Luckily, Galbraith is specifically positioned to update your office space or build new spaces with the latest workplace aspects to accommodate our new normal. Check out our past designs here.

How many employees are expected to return to work, in-person and hybrid?

While companies and employees are talking about getting back to work, we often wonder: How many are actually getting back to the in-person workplace and how many are switching to a hybrid format? 

Lucky, Deloitte surveyed 275 clients in April of 2021 and asked these exact questions. 

Here are some key findings from the survey:

  • 64% plan to physically return to the workplace (either fully or hybrid) in 2021.
  • As employees return, 91% of clients will require masks and 89% will require social distancing.
  • For clients that have already started the process of returning to the physical workspace, 89% will return to the workspace in 2021. 
  • 67% will have enhanced health and safety protocols.

The Latest Trends in Workplace Construction

From the Deloitte survey, we know that many businesses are planning to get back to the physical workplace. This includes all employees fully returning and those that are remaining at or switching to a hybrid format. Both of these plans may come with safety protocols that need to be implemented or just a general change in how the workspace is structured. 

With that, here are some workplace design/construction trends that are happening in 2021:

  1. Sanitization procedures. Many companies are enforcing safety in the workplace and that includes keeping hands clean to prevent the spread of germs. Because of this, many workplaces have an abundance of sanitizer dispensers located throughout the space.
  2. Hot desking. “Hot desking” is when a company does not assign specific workspaces to their employees. Instead, when employees arrive for work, they choose any desk that is available to them. This has been around for a while but is making a resurgence in 2021 so that desks and chairs can be deep cleaned every night.
  3. Biophilia. Biophilia is a type of design that many companies are considering now that they’re bringing employees back to the physical space. Biophilia works with design that is centered around outdoor spaces. For companies utilizing this kind of workplace, construction is beneficial since CDC guidelines have had a trend of allowing for more people to congregate outside than inside.
  4. Dividers, Boundaries, Shielding, etc. Implementing more dividers and boundaries within the workplace complies with the social distancing protocol that companies are looking to implement. There is an upward trend in allowing employees to have separate spaces from one another to ensure proper distancing.
  5. Flexible spaces. While some companies might opt for more separation of their employees and implement dividers, boundaries and shields, others might opt to bring their employees together, but in the safest way possible. This is where flexible spaces come in. Flexible spacing includes workspace optimization so that employees have plenty of room to move around and allow for co-working spaces to still exist.

Whether you’re looking to remodel your existing space or build an entirely new workplace, our team at GALBRAITH is happy to help answer any questions you may have about the process. Contact us, and schedule your free consultation today!

Construction Process, Food Processing

Safe Food Processing Plants

It’s no surprise that safety is one of the most significant concerns for food processing plants. And today, it’s never been as essential to ensure that your food processing plant is safe and clean.

One of the most accessible and most proactive approaches to manufacturing plant safety is the facility’s construction and design. If a food processing plant’s layout isn’t optimized, efficiency and safety are at risk. Having an expert build a processing facility’s plant and implementing an efficient layout can lead to fewer safety hazards and an improved workflow.

How to Optimize Your Food Processing Plant

First, you should research the constantly changing regulations and trends in the food processing industry. 

Over the last year, workplace safety standards have changed drastically, and food processing plants have stringent guidelines they must accommodate to maintain safety standards.

Some considerations you must take into account:

  • Regulations from governmental entities, such as the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture
  • Applicable local and state environmental and building permits
  • Ecological safety (food storage and disposal) and local weather conditions
  • HVAC system sanitation and odor-controlling functionalities
  • Your return on investment

It’s also important to ensure that you’re meeting the hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) layout practices for safety and handling requirements.

Next, ask yourself what your personal needs are. Are you planning a completely new facility? Or are you renovating an existing food processing plant? Regardless, your plant layout should minimize the risk of biological, chemical, and physical working hazards.

As soon as you’ve considered the above factors, you can begin the actual pre-design phase.  If these steps are skipped in the planning phase, food hygiene issues can lead to significant financial losses and sometimes legal prosecution.

An Optimized Food Processing Plant Layout 

To build a food processing plant that increases safety and efficiency, it’s important to:

1. Take measures to reduce the possibility of microbial contamination around food items.

2. Discover which areas in the food production process are most prone to contamination.

3. Establish a plant layout that:

  • Minimizes worker traveling and food movement distance
  • Enhances production efficiency
  • Encompasses an easily accessible waste generation system

4. Determine which areas in your facility call for differing levels of temperature and humidity control.

5. Optimize the lighting in each area of your plant to reduce the risk of physical hazards.

6. Ensure that your facility is resistant to pests. 

7. Consider the placement of floor drains and proper ventilation in food processing areas.

8. Group storage spaces for food products that require refrigeration to maximize energy efficiency.

9. Create a list of the equipment in your facility that will require protective surface coatings.

10. Review the standards for cleaning and sanitizing your facility and optimize the layout to decrease the time spent on housekeeping tasks.

Make sure your team also considers where your suppliers will deliver raw ingredients to your facility and where the finished goods will leave your processing plant.

Expert Food Processing Plant Construction with GALBRAITH

If you’re still not sure where to start, don’t worry. Developing a food processing plant for safety is a task with many moving parts and considerations. The GALBRAITH team is ready to help, spending the last several decades providing the highest-quality food processing facilities for industry-leading manufacturers.

Whether you’re looking to remodel your existing space or build an entirely new plant, our team is happy to help answer any questions you may have about the process. Contact us, and schedule your free consultation today!

Construction Process

Construction Material Costs

We’re sure you’ve heard about the current shortages, long delays, and price spikes in construction materials as a result of the pandemic. 

At the end of 2020, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index reported that an astounding 71% of contractors were facing a shortage in at least one type of material. Looking further, 52% of 1,489 AGC member contractors have reported a project delay due to a shortage of construction materials, parts, or equipment. And some materials, such as lumber, have increased as much as 170% in price throughout the process.

The issue has grown unexpectedly and quickly, and many industry professionals are unsure of where to go next in dealing with the shortages and price spikes while demand is only growing. It’s important to understand everything that is contributing to the problem to recognize where we can go to help remedy it.

Why the Construction Materials Crisis is Happening

From the outside looking in, it may be easy for one to think that the increase in price of construction projects is to make up for a lack of business as the economy took a big hit since the start of the pandemic. However, it’s quite the opposite.

The industry is trying to find a balance between the surge in demand for new projects and supplies becoming more limited and therefore, more expensive. Contractors have to bill in reflection of the price of the materials that the project requires.

These materials are increasing in price for their own set of reasons:

  • Delivery methods have become limited. Container and trucking shortages across the nation have also contributed to a decrease in avenues for construction materials to get from one place to another, causing significant lead time issues. 
  • The supply chain is turning to regional sources. Many local contractors rely on global manufacturers to provide specialty materials for their projects. But in today’s world, these sources are either heavily delayed or unavailable, so contractors are turning to regional suppliers who already offer limited availability and putting a heavier demand on their resources.

Another large underlying issue that the industry is currently facing involves the extreme labor shortage. Timelines are being pushed with the limited amount of manpower available on the jobsite, in addition to the problems mentioned above. 

What Contractors Can Do

To help in the current situation the construction industry is facing, a main driver in sticking to scheduled project timelines, efficiently maximizing your available labor, and utilizing your resources and supplies effectively is prefabrication, or modular construction.

The prefabrication process in the construction industry involves constructing subcomponents of a structure within controlled environments and bringing them to the jobsite as whole pieces for further completion of the project.

The benefits of using this method include:

  • Significantly less waste. Building materials are stored, used, and put together without being exposed to weather elements that could cause damage and leave them to be wasted. 
  • Accelerates timelines. Similarly, weather can negatively impact turnaround times and steps in the process by causing unwanted delays. When working exclusively out of these conditions for a large portion of the project, this is avoided. Other parts of the project can be happening at the jobsite or at another facility at the same time, as well.
  • Maximizes labor availability. Prefabricated processes typically offer much safer environments for construction workers, avoiding injuries that could decrease their availability. Working in controlled environments also leads to an increase in efficient labor.

All of these factors can easily contribute to keeping your construction project on the right track, the whole way through, balancing some of the current issues that are tipping the scale in the wrong direction.

What the Supply Chain Can Do

Before COVID-19 struck our nation, many of our supply chain organizations were utilizing a “just-in-time” business model. They were used to the steady demand in resources and materials without expecting a major spike to happen.

This past year has put a spotlight on the need for resiliency in the supply chain. We have a unique opportunity to learn from this experience. Building a resiliency plan is essential in being prepared for major disruptions to occur. This includes reevaluating business models, processes, and workflows and building manufacturing and distribution facilities to help alleviate the vulnerabilities that led us to this major shortage in supply for construction materials.

How to Guarantee a Secure Construction Project

Despite the challenges that the construction industry is facing, GALBRAITH/Pre-Design, Inc. is devoted to providing the highest quality service, efficiency, and trust in each of our construction, renovation, or pre-design projects. We’re proud to utilize sustainable, efficient, and cutting-edge technologies and processes to stick to timelines and exceed expectations, while developing relationships with the most-reliable suppliers on the East Coast. Contact us today for a FREE consultation!

Construction Process

Sustainable Construction
As a whole, the construction industry uses large amounts of global resources and contributes heavily to pollution. It is reported that building and construction companies can contribute up to the following amounts across various industries within a single economy: 

  • 25-40% of total energy consumed
  • 30% of raw materials used
  • 30-40% of global greenhouse gas emissions used
  • 30-40% of solid waste generated

It’s clear why sustainability has been deemed a major goal and responsibility for the construction industry. 

Sustainable construction has been developed as a solution and entails utilizing renewable and recyclable materials and resources, reducing waste and energy consumption where applicable, and protecting the natural environment at each job site. End results of sustainable construction projects provide a structure that is environmentally-friendly in the long-term.

How Sustainability Fits Into the Realm of Construction

As an upfront barrier, various sustainable efforts or resources can come with a higher cost. What’s important to recognize is that this initial cost that may be higher than typical usually leads directly to less expensive ongoing costs throughout the rest of construction and the building’s lifetime.

Ways of Implementing Sustainable Construction

There are a few processes and opportunities that construction companies have in the U.S. to achieve higher sustainability:

  • LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design): Registrations for this certification/rating system have increased every year since the program was established in 1993. As of the end of 2019, the number of registrations had amounted to roughly 70,000. Learn more about the green building initiative and certification.
  • Minimize waste: Although construction waste can be inevitable, the amount that can be minimized may surprise you. A simple step is to use materials or suppliers that don’t require an unnecessary amount of packaging. Utilizing recycled materials for various components can also reduce the amount of waste produced. It’s additionally important  to train your employees to separate and categorize project waste as it’s developed. Using renewable energy to power operational components or using onsite water treatment plants are another two ways of reducing the waste at your construction job site.
  • Green building materials: It can be very helpful to establish a network of vendors that use green building materials that support sustainability efforts. Some of these building materials include wood, recycled metals, sustainable concrete, mud or wool bricks, or even straw bales. 
  • Prefabrication: Modular construction has gotten popular in recent years within the industry. Building individual parts of an overall project or structure within a controlled environment and then transferring it to the job sites keep projects on track for timing, budgeting, and materials used—all contributing to a sustainable build.
  • Standardized processes: If you approach each construction project differently, your team could spend unnecessary time getting up-to-speed on the process for that particular construction. No need to reinvent the wheel—you can still accomplish completely custom builds, specific to your client’s needs while using a standardized process. Your projects can get completed more quickly, efficiently, and with less waste due to errors.
  • Optimal equipment performance: Plan your team’s workday to optimize each piece of equipment and exactly when it should be used—every minute that a piece of machinery is idling or used inappropriately contributes to higher energy costs and carbon emissions. Looking for ways to reduce the use of heavy machinery where applicable can help for long-term effects.

Benefits of Sustainable Construction

Implementing sustainability measures in your construction process has far-reaching benefits for both your business and external factors:

  • Environmental: The use of renewable energy, green building, and sustainable resources helps in fighting against climate change and improves waste management and high carbon footprints. The World Green Building Council stated:
      • “Green buildings can not only reduce or eliminate negative impacts on the environment, by using less water, energy or natural resources, but they can—in many cases—have a positive impact on the environment (at the building or city scales) by generating their own energy or increasing biodiversity.”  
  • Financial: Despite the initial cost being higher on some fronts of sustainable construction, green buildings are reported to see a 7% increase in their value versus traditional buildings. Utility bills are also likely to be cheaper.
  • Social: Sustainability is a high priority across virtually every industry in today’s world. Your team can rise above the competition if your construction process involves sustainable methods. Worker productivity is also likely to increase with these measures in place. 

Looking for another way to save time and money on your next construction job? Design-build. Learn how the process works here, and give us a call today to get started on your next project!

Commercial Design, Construction Process, General Contracting

Hybrid ConsructionFor generations, building owners have debated over the advantages of one construction method over the other. Conventional wisdom was that traditional construction could meet requirements for irregular layouts, heavy loads, and multiple stories; while pre-engineered construction introduced advantages of shorter construction time and consistent engineering standards.

Today you can get both in one building—not an imitation of one embedded in the processes of another, but a true hybrid construction process that allows the strengths of each to play a valuable role.

This works because our partner, Butler Manufacturing™, takes a unique approach. Butler provides the necessary value engineering that brings these construction methods together for maximum efficiency and savings. The company manufactures all the parts in one manufacturing facility, so you receive a completely integrated product from a single source. A hybrid building solution integrates three types of primary structural steel (mill beam, three plate members and truss girders or hybrid combinations) with secondary structural members—either Zee purlins, truss purlins, or bar joists. Mezzanine or multi-story floor members are also included in a comprehensive structural design.

The Butler hybrid building solution integrates any wall material—such as masonry, EIFS, brick, glass, concrete, or metal wall systems—with a conventional or structural system to create the desired architectural effect.

Our partner manufacturer’s high performance, standing-seam metal roof system (MR-24® Roof System) is easily integrated into a hybrid building design. The MR-24 Roof System has a documented life of up to 60 years and is virtually maintenance-free. The Butler hybrid building solution can also accommodate building designs that call for a roof solution using a metal deck.

The Advantages of True Hybrid Construction

  • An engineering consulting approach ensures better results and fewer problems in construction
  • Upfront planning allows for more flexibility to design
  • Allows for a true design/build approach
  • Reduces complexity by using the best construction method to fit the building design
  • Provides a single source for manufacturing and engineering

 

Design-Driven

By using our fast-track design/build construction services, clients of GALBRAITH/Pre-Design, Inc. are able to occupy their finished facilities well ahead of standard design/bid/build construction timelines. Our design/build capability alleviates anxiety caused by the coordination and interaction of disciplines required to achieve a finished structure. At the same time, we give you the ability to remain involved at any level you desire.

Most problems that occur during construction are linked to design. By taking a more active role in the design stage, Butler Manufacturing and GALBRAITH can use a true hybrid process to reduce the chances of these problems occurring. The preliminary design stage is the critical portion of your project. That’s when the value engineering associated with the hybrid process can have maximum impact. 

The Right Combination

When your needs exceed the ideal conditions of either traditional or pre-engineered construction alone, we can bring the two together in ways that no one else can to deliver a building that meets your needs.

With decades of experience in successfully completing hybrid design/build projects in Pennsylvania and surrounding states, GALBRAITH is your single source solution for commercial, industrial, and institutional construction projects throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Here are some of the reasons our clients appreciate working with GALBRAITH/Pre-Design, Inc.:

  • Over the past 25 years, we’ve developed systems and processes to deliver projects on-time and within budget.
  • We adapt to your schedule and workflow to minimize disturbance to your operations.
  • We focus on preventative problem-solving.
  • We have experience in 8 states.
  • We primarily use our own crews to control project timeline, budget, and quality.
  • We build relationships not transactions.
  • We use quality assurance checklists.

For more information call 717-776-6337 or send us an email at build@gp-inc.com.