Have You Voted Yet?

Have you placed your vote for the Best Construction Blog? This competition is put on by Mark Buckshon of Construction Marketing Ideas. Every year he compiles a list of the top construction industry blogs and pits us against each other. In addition to Mark’s review, there is a popular vote.

If you haven’t voted yet – there is still a little bit of time! Voting ends March 31 at 11:00 PM.

like buttonOh by the way… Thanks for your support!



Construction Humor – Feuding Homeowners

I came across this on Snopes and has been confirmed as true!

Read the story below before you look at the pictures.

This is a true story, it happened in Utah and was on the news!

I thought each of you could use a little comic relief today. Here’s the story. A city councilman, Mark Easton, lives in this neighborhood. He had a beautiful view of the east mountains, until a new neighbor purchased the lot below his house and built.

Apparently, the new home was 18 inches higher than the ordinances would allow, so Mark Easton, mad about his lost view, went to the city to make sure they enforced the lower roof line ordinance. Mark and his new neighbor had some great arguments about this as you can imagine — not great feelings. The new neighbor had to drop the roof line — no doubt at great expense.

Recently, Mark Easton called the city and informed them that his new neighbor had installed some vents on the side of his home. Mark didn’t like the look of these vents and asked the city to investigate. When they went to Mark’s home to see the vent view, this is what they found … (see attached pictures).

middle finger house 2middle finger house

4 Most Promising States for Welders in Construction

By Audrey Clark

In the construction industry, welders are critical professionals who help create a wide range of buildings. From the backbones of skyscrapers to welding air conditioning systems or fences for the new house down the street, welders are a critical part of the construction industry.

Welders are needed with all kinds of training and skills. As the Tulsa Welding School notes, welders who have become experienced and capable in high tech welding will have little trouble finding a job in just about any welding industry. These skills can be very helpful when welding small details for a new building.

As the economy begins to recover, so does the construction industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry is continuing to rebound, and with it, the availability of jobs. Employment for metal fabrication workers in the construction industry is slated to grow by 22 percent by 2022. This is 7 percent more than in other sectors and 11 percent more than the average growth rate of all occupations.

Despite this nationwide increase, the availability of jobs is still likely to vary widely by location, as the commercial and residential real estate markets in certain states remain stronger than in others. Knowing where the market is strongest can help new workers emerging from trade schools to find gainful employment and begin making their own way in this exciting industry.

  • New York
  • Hawaii
  • Washington
  • Alaska

The welding and construction industry continues to grow and recover from the real estate collapse and general economic dip. These four states, however, have shown themselves to be leaders in investing in construction and offering excellent wages for those interested in welding and construction. Those who have finished trade school should carefully consider if any of these locations would work for them.divider 1

New York - New York is a fantastic state for welders in construction because it offers the perfect intersection of a booming industry and high wages. According to Forbes, the first five months of 2013 saw an additional $8.5 billion invested in new construction starts, which was a 16 percent increase over the money put into the industry last year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New York is also among the leaders in the nation for wages, with construction laborers earning a median wage of $48,320. For welders industry wide, the median wage comes in around $40,240, which is moderately strong compared to the national averages.

Hawaii - With good news for those who love the tropical weather, the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism has reported that construction is expected to be a major factor in Hawaiian economic growth in the coming years, with numerous houses and building projects to be expected. The area also offers excellent wages for both construction workers and welders. Construction workers report a median average salary of $49,020, the highest in the nation. Welders have median average salaries of $62,750, the second highest in the nation.

Washington - Washington State also has the perfect trifecta for those interested in entering construction welding. To begin, the Seattle area has one of the strongest construction rates according to Forbes, with several billion dollars being invested in 2012 and 2013. It also is one of the nation’s leaders in wages for construction laborers, at $41,560 and for those in the welding industry at $44,710.

Alaska - Those who do not mind the cold may be in for some great wages in Alaska. A local newspaper, Newsminer.com, reported that new construction spending for 2014 is expected to surpass $9 billion. The state also offers excellent wages for welders and construction laborers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that construction laborers earn a median wage of $44,940 while those in the welding industry earn the highest in the nation, with a median annual salary of $68,750.

Oh, By the Way… Audrey Clark is a skilled freelance blogger covering a range of topics from careers and finance to travel and leisure, along with everything in-between. When not writing, she’s always on the lookout for her next adventure. Connect with Audrey on Twitter and Google+.

RS Means Estimating

We had a contact request a reprint of this American Society of Professional Estimators article that Don Short wrote back in 1990! It is a book Review of the MEANS Estimating handbook from the RS Means Company.  In addition to Don’s review, there is a response from Jeffery M. Goldman of RS Means Company, Inc. Even though it is 25 years old, I think you can still find some helpful information.

MEANS Estimating Handbook

by Don L. Short II, FCPE

RS Means Estimating Book Review


Estimate Sharing

When I go to meetings with estimators, we almost always tell war stories. They are usually about last minute changes or about how the estimator was successful despite everything that was happening. I wanted to share a story that I heard about a company’s approach to estimating.

There is a national contractor that has branches throughout the country. Each of the branches perform their own estimating with little to no support from the home office. The company thought that the local branches knew better about what was happening in their areas, so they let them act on their own, with one exception. When there would be a specific “Big Box Store” coming into the branch office market, they would use the resources of the home office. The branch office would let them know what store type was bidding, and the home office would give them the takeoff from the same “Big Box” that another branch had worked on previously. All the local office would have to do is adapt for site changes.


Oh, By The Way… I can really see how it could help a company stay competitive in the construction world and be able to bid more projects faster. What do you think?

Estimating Ethics – Quantity Takeoffs

I was reading a lively discussion on LinkedIn about estimating ethics.

The topic of debate: Is it ethical to provide a quantity takeoff to multiple clients.

At Tempest Company, we have had instances where we provided multiple clients with the quantity takeoff for the same project. I feel that the process is very ethical if:

  • What is provided to each client is the same.
  • All parties know what is going on.
  • The clients all agree to it ahead of time.

You need to have everyone in agreement that the quantities are going to be provided to everyone that is paying for them before anything is started. The process can provide the reassurance that others will be using the same quantities and they do not have to worry about their competitors missing quantities on bid day. We have even been asked by owners to provide the quantities to the bidders so everyone is using the same quantities for their bid. This is a win for the owners, as they know they are truly getting a apples to apples comparison.

Copyright:  / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

There are unethical ways to do most things in life. It is up the integrity of the individual to make sure that whatever they do is ethical.

Oh By The Way… What do you think?

St Patrick’s Day Humor

shamrockAt a global construction conference, an Irish contractor overhears a Spanish contractor using the word ‘manana’. When the Irishman asked what that meant, the Spaniard said it means “maybe the job will be done tomorrow, maybe the next day, maybe the day after that, next week, next month or next year. Who cares?” The Irishman was then asked if there’s an Irish equivalent. “No. In Ireland we don’t have a word to describe that level of urgency!”

Oh, by the way… Did you know that the Tempest Company newsletter features not just construction news and education, but jokes too?! Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter HERE!

Fifty Seven Stories in Nineteen Days

My Friend Gene sent me this article and video along with two questions.

  • Did you ever consider that it could take 4 times longer to estimate a project than to build it?
  • Would you want to create the resource, cost load schedule for this project?

Oh, By the Way… The time lapse starts on the video at about 1:54.

Must see: 57-story modular skyscraper was completed in 19 days

After erecting the mega prefab tower in Changsha, China, modular builder BSB stated, “three floors in a day is China’s new normal.”

Modular Building | March 10, 2015 | Adilla Menayang

A 57-floor Chinese skyscraper was completed in 19 days

Inhabitat names it “the world’s tallest prefab tower.” Official pictures and a statement are yet to be released.

The tower, called Mini Sky City, is located in Changs

ha, in the Southeastern Chinese province of Hunan. It is part of the Sky City complex which is to include a 220-story tall skyscraper at 2,749 feet, but is yet to be completed,

According to Sploid, the construction company used 2 million-sf worth of modular blocks they manufactured themselves that are energy efficient. The tightly sealed blocks ensure an efficient use of HVAC systems, as well as protection from outside pollution.

A representative of the company told Sploid “that the use of mo

dules reduced the use of concrete by 15,000 trucks, [which] almost eliminated all the release of dust in the air.”

Mini Sky City has 19 atriums that are 33 feet tall each. It has the office space capacity for 4,000 employees, as well as residential units for 800 households.


Tempest Company – Your First Line Of Defense

I was always told to shoot straight with clients and potential clients. In one week, I had both a potential client and an established client call about projects. Each of the projects had their own unique challenges that I informed them about. Letting them know of the challenges that I saw, they were able to make informed business decisions and pass on the projects.

The first contractor was looking at expanding what their company does. He picked out what he thought to be a nice little project that they could do. The drawings were sent to me and I was reviewing them, so that I could develop a quote to do the work. I saw a few notes on the drawings that I wanted to make sure that the contractor knew about. Once I told him what they were, he did not want to bid the project because of the risk in the notes.

The other project was a quick turnaround project that I took a look at. I was confirming the scope with the client, and he noticed that this project, in its current configuration, was not possible without massive design changes. The client thanked me for going over the scope and drawings and for helping him make the decision to let the owner know that they would need to redo the design.

In both cases I didn’t get hired to do any estimating, therefore I did not make any money. However, I would rather do right by my clients (and potential clients) then to have them be uninformed on a project that could potentially cause them many problems.




Vote For Us!

Oh, by the way… we have been nominated for the Best Construction Blog! This competition is put on by Mark Buckshon of Construction Marketing Ideas. Every year he compiles a list of the top construction industry blogs and pits us against each other. In addition to Mark’s review, there is a popular vote.

That is where you come in! Since many of you are loyal readers, we would love to have your vote! Just click the button below to vote!

like buttonOh by the way… In the infamous words of John Van Buren, “Vote early… and vote often.” Okay, technically voting early doesn’t do anything, and you can only vote once per email address. So I will just say, vote before March 31st and tell your friends to vote too!