General Contracting, Roofing Repair

Extending the Life of Your Metal Roof

Studies show that a properly installed and maintained metal roof system has a service life of 60 years or more. A preventative maintenance program is a key factor in maximizing the life expectancy and dependability of your roof system. Periodic inspections should begin as soon as your building is complete and continue throughout its service life.

 

Roof Repair or Maintenance Safety

Whenever you perform maintenance on your roof system, safety must be the primary concern. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires fall protection and personal protection equipment (PPE) for all maintenance personnel, and your state and local regulations may impose additional safety requirements. Failure to follow these laws can result in serious injury and substantial fines.

A completed metal roof is a safe walking surface except near the edge of the roof and when any moisture (dew, frost, snow, ice, etc.) makes the surface of the roof very slippery. Steep slopes can also make the roof tough to navigate without proper safety equipment. Appropriate safety measures and extra caution should be exercised whenever these conditions are present. When performing building maintenance, the following precautions should always be taken:

  • Always use fall protection
  • Do not walk on skylights
  • Do not walk on wet roof panels
  • Do not walk, step or sit on skylights or the ridge cap
  • Do not walk in gutters
  • Guard all roof openings and skylights

Roof Inspections

Metal roof systems should be inspected semi-annually. In addition to scheduled inspections, roof inspections should be conducted after the following events:

  • Exposure of the roof to severe weather conditions, such as strong winds, hail or continuous heavy rain. Examine the roof for severely ponded conditions, debris, and any other damage to the roof components that may allow moisture to infiltrate. The roof panels should be carefully examined for punctures or loose fasteners.
  • After repair or replacement of rooftop equipment, rooftop work by other trades and after any excessive foot traffic.

Foot traffic should be kept to a minimum. Where frequent or heavy traffic is anticipated, you should install a roof service way to protect the roof. This is necessary where regular servicing of rooftop mechanical equipment is required.

Roof Damage from Equipment Drainage

Corrosive conditions can occur when water from air conditioner condensate lines, copper flashing, lead and other heavy metals is drained directly onto aluminum, aluminum-coated steel, and/or aluminum-zinc alloy coated steel roofs.

Common causes of the damage include:

  • Copper in direct contact with roof
  • Drainage from copper onto the roof
  • Condensate drainage from air conditioners
  • Copper cable from lightning rods
  • Rust particles
  • Lead flashing on vent pipes
  • Black steel from gas pipes or RTU supports

If any of these conditions occur on the roof, special coatings may be required on adjacent panels to maintain the life of the roof.

Restore Sealants Around Roof Openings

Sealants around roof openings for mechanical equipment, vents, and flexible pipe flashings are

particularly susceptible to deterioration from weathering. These areas should be inspected frequently and resealed as needed.

Ice and Snow On Your Roof

Excessive ice and snow build-up should be removed from the roof immediately to prevent damage from the freeze/thaw cycles and possible overload. Heavy and/or repeated snow storms can create packed snow that imposes unusual and excessive loads on any building structures.

It’s important to keep drains and gutters clear of ice and snow to facilitate melting runoff. Heat tapes in gutters and downspouts may assist in preventing ice buildup.

Snow/Ice Removal

Every situation is different, so careful planning is necessary before snow removal can begin. It is

important to remove the snow in a pattern that will not cause an unbalanced load condition on the roof that could lead to a damaged roof or a roof collapse. Also, sliding snow and ice can create a safety hazard for both personnel and equipment.

GALBRAITH/Pre-Design, Inc. is a commercial general contractor with extensive experience providing building maintenance services for hospital and medical facilities. Several members of our team have the Certified Healthcare Constructor (CHC) and Infection Risk Assessment (ICRA) certificates. For industrial and plant maintenance, the GALBRAITH team holds Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and Safe Quality Foods (SQF) certification.

GALBRAITH/Pre-Design, Inc. is an authorized Butler Builder. With decades of experience in successfully completing 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.

 

For more information on the Butler MR-24® Roof System, visit www.gp-inc.com

Construction Process, General Contracting

Construction Project TipsHow to select your project delivery method, contractor, and construction method.

A construction project can be a long and arduous process. But there are three things you can do today to get started in the right direction. These basic steps, with some research and planning, will prepare you for future success.

Every construction project begins with these three decisions:

  1. Selecting a delivery method
  2. Selecting a contractor
  3. Selecting a construction method

 

Project Delivery Methods

The three most common project delivery methods available include:

  1. Design-Bid-Build – The owner solicits proposals and pricing from architects and/or engineers to design the project. Once design is determined, the owner bids the project to contractor to construct the building. The owner must manage two separate contracts which often creates an adversarial relationship between the designer and contractor. The process is time-consuming and requires the owner to be involved in day-to-day project management.
  2. Construction Management at Risk – Construction Management at Risk is a delivery method which entails a commitment by the construction manager to deliver the project within a guaranteed maximum price based on the construction documents and specifications at the time.  An adverse relationship between the construction manager and the architect can lead to some of the same issues that arise in the design-bid-build method.  Incomplete and/or inaccurate drawings can result in changes orders that exceed the guaranteed maximum price.
  3. Design-BuildThe design/build method is simply the fastest, most efficient, most cost-effective building process you can use. The owner selects one company, the design-builder, as the single source for design and construction. The designer and contractor work together from the beginning, as a team, providing project recommendations that fit the owner’s schedule and budget.  Any changes can be addressed by the entire team, leading to collaborative problem solving and innovation.  More than half of all projects today are built using the design/build method.

 

Selecting a Construction Contractor

The most important criteria for selecting a general construction contractor are a good reputation and the use of high-quality construction methods and materials. Consider construction companies that can handle every phase of your building project, as well as offer complete design-build expertise.  Your contractor should be able to balance risk and responsibility appropriately and clearly define expectations regarding costs, schedules, quality, and safety compliance.

With decades of experience in successfully completing 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 have 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 and your bottom line.
  • We focus on preventative problem-solving.
  • We have experience in working in 8 states and are familiar with local regulations.
  • We use primarily our own in-house crews and do not subcontract every aspect of your project
  • We focus on building relationships, not transactions.
  • We use quality assurance checklists throughout your project.

 

Selecting a Construction Method

There are three construction methods available.

  1. Conventional Construction – Requires the building components to be cut, fitted, welded, and assembled on-site. This process is time-consuming and can be more expensive.
  2. Systems Construction (Pre-Engineered) – The steel building components are pre-engineered at the factory to fit together precisely. Systems construction components include structural, roof, and wall systems. The pre-engineered facility is designed to your exact specifications and delivered to the job site ready to be assembled.  The process is quick, efficient, and usually less expensive.
  3. Hybrid Conventional – Uses the best advantages of both the conventional and systems construction to provide the flexibility and efficiency needed to meet the needs of the project.

GALBRAITH partners with Butler Building Systems, the world’s leading producer of engineered steel building solutions. For more than 100 years, the name Butler has been synonymous with building innovation. Every Butler Building is designed, engineered, and manufactured to exact specifications, assuring fast assembly and long-term performance. Here are some of the highlights of our partnership:

  • Materials made from 30%-70% recycled steel
  • Minimal waste with made-to-order building systems
  • Energy-efficient roofing and wall systems
  • Durability from a 60-year roof system (MR-24®)
  • Reduction of the heat island effect with cool roof colors
  • Streamlined construction schedules
  • Design flexibility to accommodate any wall system
  • Hybrid building solutions combining conventional and pre-engineered structures

For more information, contact us today at 717-776-6337 or email build@gp-inc.com.

Commercial Design

Key Elements to Functional & Appealing Commercial Office Design

The Latest Trends in Commercial Office Space Design

Take a look at your office space. Is it stuck in traditional and outdated style and functionality? Maybe it’s time for a refresh, or maybe it’s time to look for a new space altogether. In any case, updating your commercial office design to today’s standards and trends is a worthwhile measure.

5 Key Elements to Functional and Appealing Commercial Office Design

When it comes to designing modern commercial office space, there are a few key elements you’ll want to keep in mind. 

1.) Sustainable characteristics. Your space will reflect who you are as a company and as a brand. With sustainability taking up such a large part of today’s conversation, it’s important for you to represent your support in the effort. With natural elements weaved into your office design such as plant life and windows to let in natural light, or fireplaces and water fountains, offer ways to break down the barrier between work and nature that your employees may feel being stuck inside each day. This is also a huge part of being able to resell the space down the road.

2.) A sense of community. You can use your commercial office space as an opportunity for your employees to collaborate productively and in an open-concept environment. A traditional office design holds 40 percent of the operations privately, and behind walls. Today’s trends call for a design that includes less than 17 percent of operations occurring behind closed doors. This design includes more open cubicles and less private offices; enhancing collaboration efforts and reducing the money and labor needed for more drywall. Instead, those efforts could be put to use to make community rooms designed for team sessions, brainstorming meetings, and more.

Brainstorming at LinkedIn Offices in New York – Photo: Eric Laignel

3.) Wood: The new norm. For similar reasons as with the sustainability movement, wood is a highly desired style and element to add to today’s office spaces. With Millennials and Generation Z becoming the largest parts of today’s workforce, they’re looking to work in places that match company values that are important to them. Wood represents a natural environment, as we mentioned before, but also adds character, warmth, and depth to an office space that is missing when white drywall and black metal make up the overall feel of the space. 

4.) Dynamic, flexible abilities. Another major trend in modern commercial office design is creating opportunities for employees to work in ways aside from sitting in front of their computers in the same chair, in the same space every day. People are looking for ways to be flexible. Today’s world comes with an increase in awareness of the unhealthy side effects of desk jobs when it comes to ergonomics, so many people are looking for places to work that offers ergonomic features such as stand-up desks. 

At ProxyClick, using stand-up meeting stations not only gave their employees more options for ways to spend their time at required meetings, but also cut down on unproductive meeting time by 34 percent. 

Going further, what’s known as the Dynamic Flexibility design trend offers moveable elements in an office space, such as walls, furniture, screens, etc. that can be easily moved around in the area to fit the multidisciplinary needs of a business’ daily schedule. Rooms can be changed in just a few minutes to be used for various projects; from meeting rooms to quiet workspaces, to video production studios, and more, when the space doesn’t allow for all of those places to exist independently. 

5.) Technology-based spaces. The modern workspace can’t exist without support for its technological needs and activities. Including power outlets and screens in several places throughout the commercial office space is now a standard requirement. This allows your employees to be able to use advanced tools in several spaces throughout the office and easily share with others.

Whether you’re looking to start a project for a new commercial office space, or just have a few questions about how you can update where you work now, we can help you find the right answers. Schedule a free consultation today!

General Contracting

How do you know it’s time for roof replacement at your building? Here’s what to look for, and why you need to act as soon as possible.

A Roof that Outlasts All Others: Go Metal

It might not be the most appealing part of your building, but your roof is certainly one of the most important. A good roof maintains the integrity of your building and protects all that’s under it from being exposed to unforgiving weather. But unfortunately, it can be one of the most costly components to repair or replace.

Nonetheless, it’s typically a much smarter move to pay for the roof replacement cost rather than putting it off. Even though the job can cost tens of thousands of dollars in some situations, there are several reasons that prove you shouldn’t wait.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Repair or Replace Your Roof

Responding to roof damage or deterioration with procrastination can come with many excuses. Maybe it’s not wanting to spend the money, not having the time to schedule a repair, not worrying about any impending bad weather, or not being due for an inspection anytime soon; but regardless, here is what’s at stake if you wait to repair your building’s roof until after it’s needed:

  • A new living space for bugs and animals. With a roof that’s ready to retire, it’s common for holes and cracks to form, especially with asphalt shingle roof structures. This allows space for bugs and animals to infest and set up living quarters throughout the structure of your building. This can cause problems ranging from electrical issues, to plumbing issues, to damage to your building’s insulation or foundational elements.
  • Here comes the rain. With the same cracks and holes, it’s easy for water damage to find its way into your building’s structure. This can cause extreme problems including the formation of mold, the deterioration of your foundation, or property damage – all very expensive issues to fix.
  • Repair → Replacement. There’s not a lot of people who want to replace their roof, which is usually the most expensive way to fix problems with a roof. But putting off repairs that could address and fix an issue early on can cause the needed solution to then become a total replacement, at a much higher cost. When it does come time to eventually replace your roof, however; it will be a much easier task if you had kept up with repairs as they were needed throughout its lifetime.
  • Energy loss wins. Your roof is one of your strongest lines of defense against the threat of energy loss. With roof damage, air can escape through cracks and holes, therefore making it more difficult to control and keep cooling and heating efforts to a minimum at your operation.
  • A decrease in property value. If you ever try to sell your building to another owner, it will be a much harder sell if your roof is in bad shape. People don’t often want to go into buying a property already knowing that it’s in need of roof replacement. It’s better to replace it on your own and not have to worry about getting low offers if you ever attempt selling.

Commercial Roof Replacement – What to Look For

When it comes time to address the age of your roof or any damage it’s undergone, it’s helpful to know what to look for in order to make the right decision about roof replacement. Here are some tell-tale signs that your roof needs an update:

  • Interior status. If you can access an attic space or level just under the roof at your building, take a flashlight and check how your roof is protecting the interior from the outside. If there’s water leaking through anywhere or light shining through the top, you likely have cracks or holes in your roof that need to be taken care of.
  • Shingle appearance. If your roof is constructed of shingles, take a look at the top of your roof when you get a chance and look for any sections that are cracked, buckling, damaged, or growing moss (a sign of trapped moisture). If your gutters or rain spouts have pieces of your shingles in them, that’s also a sign that they’re due for repair or replacement. Also, check to see if the shape of your roof shows any overall signs of sagging in the middle and losing its rigid shape.
  • Your roof’s history. It’s important to know the age of your roof and what type of material it’s made of. Different materials come with different lifespans, so stay up-to-date on the expected timeline of your roof. For example, an asphalt shingle roof typically lasts between 20 and 25 years, and a metal roof will last roughly 60 years.

The Benefits of Metal Roofing

Metal roofs have been the #1 choice for non-residential construction since they first arrived on the scene, and this is no surprise. They last much longer than other roofing materials without needing to be replaced. In addition to offering long-lasting durability, they can reduce the energy costs of cooling your building, protect against fires, and won’t corrode, crack, or become damaged when installed properly.

While they can be more expensive upfront, metal roofs can easily save money in the long run and last for decades. You won’t have to check for all of the signs mentioned previously and worry about excessive damage to the rest of your organization’s structure. There’s no sagging or deteriorating with bad weather as shingles do.

Metal Roofing Experts at Your Disposal

At GALBRAITH, we’ve specialized in metal roof systems since our very beginning. Check out all of the projects we’ve completed in recent years and some tips we’ve written regarding metal roofing for nonresidential structures. Contact us with any questions and we’d be happy to discuss your roofing needs!

Construction Process, General Contracting

Generation Z is Interested in Construction—Here’s How to Help them Get There

The construction industry has a lot to offer for those who are considered part of “Generation Z,” born between 1995 and 2010. The industry is a promising career field for them for a couple of reasons—the important thing is advertising this in a way that resonates with Gen Zers.

Why the Construction Field is Appealing to Generation Z

A few outstanding characteristics about this generation contribute to them being a good match for the construction industry.

  • Older Family Experience: Gen Zers witnessed their parents, siblings, and other older family members suffer financially with the recession or paying college tuition and developed a general fear of debt, particularly from higher education loans. A study from GenZ@Work, 75 percent of the generation feel that there are other worthy alternatives than going to college to get a good education, hint hint—such as construction.
  • Desire for Career Advancement: According to Barna, 66 percent of Generation Z want to be started in a career before they’re 30, compared to just 51 percent of millennials feeling this way. There’s a very clear path in the construction industry to have a solidified career at a young age, and potential to own one’s own business.
  • Technologically-Advanced Skillsets: Today’s high schoolers and college students are growing up with technology surrounding them, offering a digitally native set of skills. These are a good match for the construction industry, which is constantly evolving with new advancements to help make the processes on construction sites safer and more efficient.

How to Attract Gen Zers

There are a few ways to effectively get your message across to these aspiring future professionals:

  • Start early. The most important part of appealing to members of this age group is to advertise to them early. With their concerns for financial success, many are already thinking about their future career field while still in high school, and paying attention to possible mentors around them. Exposing them to the opportunities the construction field has in store while they’re in early consideration and exploration phases is important. In particular, show the path of how career and skills advancement can occur for them.
  • Promote social responsibility. Members of this generation deeply care for philanthropic and socially conscious actions. Choose a fundraising outlet, charity, way of volunteering, or global mission to pledge your company to, and promote your efforts of supporting it. This can significantly resonate with members of Generation Z.
  • Use technology. Just as they are preparing to bring new technology to the field, this is how they currently get much of their information, along with the type of work they are attracted to. Advertise the usage of drones, 3D modeling, virtual reality, and more in the construction industry through social media and online communication campaigns.

Overall, we’re at a great intersection in the construction industry, where young professionals have career interests aligned perfectly with what the industry has to offer. To learn more about Galbraith’s fit in the industry, get to know us a little better.

Construction Process, General Contracting

Is Your Construction Project Reaching its Highest Potential? (Pun Intended)

Above all other sectors, drone usage is finding a comfortable home in the construction industry, growing by 239% year-over-year.

One of the main components to successful construction project management that we’ve been heavily talking about recently is being able to adjust tasks and timelines as the project goes along in order to adapt and still meet goals with the same quality achieved. Drone usage is particularly beneficial in streaming real-time data so this can happen at a jobsite.

Uses for Drones at Construction Sites

Construction companies no longer have to face the unsightly expense of using an airplane to take aerial photos of the site. This can happen easily, and as often as you’d like, for a fraction of the cost that is required to purchase a drone off the shelf. But the advantages don’t stop there—here are some advanced ways that this technology can help:

  1. Mapping and Surveying Land: Drones reduce the amount of time, labor, and human error that occurs when creating accurate surveys.
  2. Volumetrics Analysis: With specific software, drones are able to measure the amount of material in a pile and calculate the amount of truckloads that is needed.
  3. Transportation: Using drones to aerially transport goods helps to keep track of everything that goes in and out of the job site, helping to ensure positive jobsite inspection.
  4. Thermal Heat Imaging: This technology can also identify any heat loss from a building or infrastructure so leaks can be found and addressed as soon as the problem occurs.
  5. Security and Surveillance: Drones provide constant monitoring over all parts of your jobsite that may be subject to theft or vandalism.

With each of these applications, using drones also enhances the safety at your construction project. You’re sending a machine only weighing a few pounds to those extreme heights to watch over everything, instead of one of your workers.

The Obstacles Drones Have Overcome

In previous times, drone usage faced a lot of rules and regulations that served as huge obstacles to overcome. But significant changes have been made to make this technology much more accessible. For instance, the Federal Aviation Administration introduced Part 107 rules in 2016 that simplified the requirements for drone pilot certification.

Additionally, Construction Dive mentioned that: “This year, the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) opened up 99% of U.S. airspace to drones and reduced flight approval times from about 90 days to just seconds.”

I’m sure we will be seeing more strides made in the near future for deregulating drone usage and making it an accessible option to explore for construction contractors. Throughout the years in the industry, we’ve learned at Galbraith Pre-Design, Inc. that technology isn’t taking over—it’s here to help. Read our blog to learn more.

Galbraith’s Drone Footage

Check out how we used drones at a recent cold storage facility project!

 

Construction Process, General Contracting

How Lean Construction can Eliminate Waste and Improve Efficiency

Economic pressures (that include preventing another recession) are pushing hard on today’s construction industry to improve productivity and eliminate waste. Over the past 20 years, the manufacturing sector has increased its labor productivity by 3.6%, and the construction sector by only 1%.

Increasing productivity has an array of benefits, including addressing the chronic labor gap for the industry, reducing materials and costs, preventing accidents, decreasing stress for workers, increasing customer satisfaction with reliable timelines, and enhanced worker accountability and job satisfaction.

Yet unfortunately, the construction industry is actually second to last within all U.S. sectors when it comes to levels of productivity. How can we make a change? Instituting lean construction.

The 5 Principles of Lean Construction

Basically, this method of production that is strongly focused on reducing time, materials, costs and effort on a construction process needs a clear-cut strategy from the beginning. Here are the principles that align with minimizing the bad and maximizing the good.

  1. Identify value from the customer’s point of view. Looking past what the customer wants you to build, but why they want you to build it establishes trust and deep understanding from the start.
  2. Define the value system. Only add steps to the process that are adding the value to the project that the customer wants, removing unnecessary tasks or effort.
  3. Eliminate waste. This includes waste from defects, overproduction, waiting, not utilizing talent, transport, inventory, motion, or over-processing.
  4. Design a cohesive flow of work processes. In traditional models, mass production includes little to no interaction between each touch point of a project, with only the worker’s one job being their main focus. In lean construction models, employees, distributors, and all managing parties work cohesively together throughout the project, continuously verifying and communicating how the original strategy and timeline is being carried out.
  5. Continuously improve. At the heart of the lean construction philosophy is the necessary ability to be flexible throughout the process. Recognizing opportunities to eliminate waste, either in material or effort, and acting upon them is a critical part of the method.

Ditching Traditional Methods, Improving Efficiency

We’ve discussed modular construction in a few of our previous blog posts, but it’s also very relevant to the issue of “building lean.” This process of creating structures in a controlled environment, then taking to the jobsite reduces waste of materials and saves time by simultaneously building the structure (in a place where weather elements won’t push the timeline) while getting the jobsite ready. This is certainly a process that would fit in with the philosophy of lean building.

A Leaner, Cleaner Future

In a McGraw Hill Construction survey, 84% of companies who were questioned reported higher-quality projects since moving from traditional processes and adopting lean construction. Additionally, 80% saw greater customer satisfaction, 77% experienced greater productivity, and 77% saw improved jobsite safety.

Galbraith’s Commitment

We are taking every opportunity we get to worker towards cleaner, more efficient and productive strategies as we approach construction projects. In a recent cold storage industrial job, we reduced waste and time by implementing modular construction. Check out the results, and let us know what you’re looking for in your next construction project!

Construction Process, General Contracting

Using the same contractors to design and build your next project

There was a time when the thought of using the same contractors to design and build a construction project was outrageous.

Those days are over.

The master design-build approach has quickly surpassed the role of an alternative way to complete a project and has become dominant in today’s world. It’s now responsible for nearly half of U.S. nonresidential spending.

The Design-Build Institute of America recently held its 25th-anniversary celebration, in which design-build projects were a primary topic of discussion. It was mentioned at the event that there are only three states that have yet to embrace design-build procurement and delivery for public projects, but their acceptance is soon forthcoming.

To add, spending on these types of projects is estimated to increase by almost 18 percent in the next three years, to equate to roughly $324 billion.

3 Reasons Why Design-Build is Climbing to the Top

So, why is the industry turning to this solution for so many of today’s projects? Several benefits come along with using the same company to both create and carry out the design of a construction project.

  • Cost: With this process, there are fewer expenses involved with its streamlined organization. Bidding to build and implement a separate design is traditionally more costly.
  • Timeliness: There’s no lag time between the design team and the build team when issues arise during the stages of bringing the design to fruition. 
  • Universal application: Design-build projects aren’t something that only large-scale corporations can be qualified for. Nowadays, these contracts are in play for smaller projects, such as transportation, costing around $5 million to complete in the same way as they’re applied for commercial building projects.

The Galbraith Difference

Design/Build has been around since the beginning of the construction industry. Galbraith has been following these standards for at least 55 years.

We’re more than happy to offer the design-build process and its extensive benefits to our clients. This capability uses one contractual agreement and one point of responsibility, which means you can rely on our services from beginning to end.

Our design-build approach 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 as involved as you wish in the construction management for your project.

Contact us today to get started and streamline your next construction project.

Construction Process

4 Ways Technology is Here to Help

“Humans have this amazing ability to take a challenging situation, think in real time and then be able to adjust to it.” – Scott Peters, President and Co-founder of Construction Robotics

This is something that most robots can’t do. 

There’s a fear circling around the construction and manufacturing industry that claims it will be taken over by machines and robots as the age of technology only enhances. Why don’t you need to worry about this happening?

Because technology cannot replace the skills of a human, only supplement them. It’s here to help, and here’s how:

The Internet of Things

Smart devices that are connected through the Internet of Things (IoT) can provide your firm the opportunity to collect, monitor, and make adjustments based on real-time data. There are sensors, cameras, and wearable equipment for your workers that can give you insight into the overall safety of your operation, as well as how to optimize your job site. For example, these tools could allow you to monitor your crew’s health levels to prevent any injury from things such as heat exhaustion during the hot summer months. 

Artificial Intelligence

The IoT is able to collect tons of data, but Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning is what to use to analyze all of it. Instead of spending your time getting lost in tracking through data coming in at real-time, you can shift your efforts to making high-level strategic decisions based on what machine learning alerts you about from the data. An example of this efficiency is the technology from Smartvid.io, a platform that uses visual information from a jobsite through live camera footage and tags potential safety hazards and violations occurring on the jobsite. The company has seen reduced injury rates up to 30 percent, avoiding 1 of 4 predicted incidents and saving companies $1.4 to $3.6 million with the incorporation of their AI technology.

Virtual Reality

Say goodbye to the “It just doesn’t look like what I had imagined” situation. Virtual reality can be used for both clients and construction managers alike, allowing the project to be seen in a finished state while still in the planning phase. This ability can enhance how you present your plan to a customer, as well as make sure what you have developed will be correct when it comes time to fit all the parts together.

This tool has even been used by doctors when developing plans for new hospitals or medical centers. They’re able to see what the rooms would look like and practice performing surgery in this virtual space to make sure it fits all of their needs.

Drones

Another way of increasing the safety of your operation is to prevent workers from having to climb to extreme heights while using crucial time and energy just to get an overhead look at things. Using drones is a safe way of getting a bird’s eye-view of the state of your project, making sure to keep your crew safe while maintaining accurate to the plan, timeline, and budget of your construction project.

As time goes by, I am sure we will be seeing more technological tools developed, but it’s important to remember, these “robots” aren’t here to take our jobs. They’re here to give more space and opportunity for our creative, strategic, and critical thinking skills to thrive in the construction and manufacturing industries.

Construction Process, General Contracting, Industrial

Modular construction can be very effective and beneficial in today's structural projects.

So, What is Modular Construction?

Modular construction is the process of building parts of a structure, or the entire construction, away from the job site—in a controlled indoor environment (an off-site manufacturing plant). The building is then brought to the job site, completed and ready for the finishing touches needed for full implementation. 

Typically, these “modules” are between 8 and 16 feet wide, with the sections’ lengths ranging from 20 to over 70 feet long. These structures can be used for both temporary and permanent construction projects, and will still be able to match the aesthetics of the overall design.

Who is Using This Process?

About 35% of U.S. contractors use these techniques during their construction processes, and that number is expected to grow. Today, the modular construction market stands at about $112.4 billion, but is projected to reach $157 billion by 2023 (a 6.9% increase). 

How Does Worker Experience Change?

Primarily, working outdoors to construct a building or its subparts can lead to an inconvenient, uncomfortable, and potentially unsafe experience when being exposed to the elements. Many parts of construction require a steady hand, and when dealing with wet, muddy, or cold water, this presents new challenges for your crew that aren’t at play with modular construction.

Are These Structures Durable and Safe?

When it comes to product quality, modular construction provides many advantages. By being built indoors and avoiding bad weather, better air quality ensures the materials will remain moisture-free. Since these projects also have to withstand transportation, they are generally built to be stronger and more structurally sound.

And the market isn’t the only thing that’s growing as far as modular construction is concerned. These projects have been reaching new heights—literally. Construction Dive recently discussed a company called Prescient, and how their modular construction projects topped out at five stories in 2015, but are now reaching up to 18. The square footage of their projects has grown tremendously as well, at 60,000 in 2015 to 200,000 today.

Will This Increase ROI?

Additionally, the timeline of a construction project when completed through this process is significantly faster than traditional methods, estimated between 30-50% quicker. With modular construction, your team is able to develop the site and lay the foundation at the same time the structure is being built, doubling your productivity during this time period. Not to mention, weather delays won’t be pushing back your plant construction timeline.

Is This a Type of Green Construction?

Absolutely. This process produces much less waste than on-the-jobsite construction methods. Materials are optimized and kept safe from exposure to the inclement weather at outdoor environments. Also, companies can reuse the project’s materials for different needs by disassembling or relocating these structures, instead of disposing of materials in good condition and starting again with new.

What Type of Maintenance is Involved?

For modular construction buildings in particular, Vanguard has outlined these steps to maintain great condition:

  • Change HVAC filters at least once per month, and change them more frequently if you’re in a dirty environment
  • Never block a return air register and clean ducts as needed
  • Report any leaks resulting from plumbing or rainwater immediately
  • Inspect the roof periodically for visible tears, cracks or loose shingles. Clean the roof and gutters of debris, and remove snow to prevent leaks
  • Maintain adequate stormwater drainage away from the building
  • Maintain floor coverings
  • Replace batteries in smoke detectors/emergency exit lights once a year at the very least
  • Operate the air conditioning during evening, holidays and weekends to maintain a reasonable temperature and humidity level
  • Periodically check caulking around windows, doors, and siding

What Materials Are Used?

Since the buildings have to undergo the same inspections and have to meet the same building codes as any other structure(regardless of construction method), the same top quality materials that you would see used in a conventionally constructed building are available. 

Typically, the base frames are structural steel, while the walls and ceiling are made of either wood or steel and concrete. It all depends on the requirements at the job site.

Galbraith’s Contribution

We’re proud to say we offer modular construction services to our clients. We’ve developed a history of pre-fabricating different parts indoors before delivering them to a jobsite. Check out how we recently used this process for a cold storage industrial job. Get in touch with us today to start designing your next project!