Category: Construction Technology Inititiative

North Mechanical Proves that Fabrication Can be Profitable on a Smaller Scale

Small and medium contractors have some advantages when it comes to both innovation and fabrication. Innovation is far easier to implement when there are fewer people to train on a new process. Fabrication can be highly productive in smaller spaces that require less overhead.

On Thursday, February 11, 2021, North Mechanical Contractors, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana shared some insights on how they drive an amazing amount of productivity through innovation. The presentation, led by North’s VDC and Technology Manager Trent Leinenbach and Tole Burnett, the company’s Manufacturing Manager, demonstrated the process, software and hardware that allow them to approach fabrication from a manufacturing mindset.

Their presentation largely featured a software integration with GTP Stratus that allowed them to connect their VDC and BIM department with the fabrication shop and the field. The software not only assists in their organization, process, purchasing and scheduling, it can be used to drive manufacturing equipment more efficiently. One of the many processes North shared in the video demonstration was how the software provides automated cut lists that can minimize waste by driving a Tigerstop to automate pipe lengths before cutting them automatically.

It also allows computer workstations at fabrication stations access to more information. This includes 3D models that can be rotated and zoomed with dimensions and hidden systems available to be seen.

An archived video of the webinar is available free to MCAA members.

Connectivity on the Jobsite is Absolutely Critical. Register for MCAA’s Virtual Education Conference to Discuss the Various Options with James Benham.

As part of our Virtual Education Conference (VEC) Essential Learning for Unconventional Times, you will stay connected with James Benham, the CEO of JBKnowledge.

In a hyper-connected world, the ability to get connectivity to the jobsite is absolutely critical. “5G Platforms: Connectivity of the Future” will discuss the different options that contractors have for connectivity. All the best apps in the world won’t help your company if they can’t connect, so register and join the discussion! You will learn the options for jobsite connectivity, including 5G and 4G networks, satellite solutions, traditional wire-line solutions, as well as challenges and solutions for bandwidth between devices inside the site.

James is CEO of JB Knowledge, a premier provider of technology solutions for the construction and insurance industries. The company is a seven-time recipient of the Aggie 100 award, a six-time Newman 10 recipient and was recently named to the LSU One Hundred for the second time.

Register today and join your MCAA friends and colleagues online at MCAA’s first Virtual Education Conference (VEC) Essential Learning for Unconventional Times, March 22 – 25, 2021.

Registration is available for individuals and for companies (up to 10 registrants per company registration). Questions can be directed to eventregistration@mcaa.org. We look forward to seeing you in March!

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What Does the Construction Landscape Look Like in Five Years? Join MCAA’s Virtual Education Conference to Discover the Innovative Opportunities from Lee Smither.

As part of our Virtual Education Conference (VEC) Essential Learning for Unconventional Times, you will hear from Lee Smither, a principal for FMI’s consulting practice.

Prefabrication, modularization, robotics, autonomous equipment, 4D and 5D design… innovation is around every corner and technology companies have discovered opportunities within the construction industry. This seminar previews what Construction 2.0 looks like and what it means for you and your company. You will learn what our landscape will look like in five years, what innovations are already being used today and what is yet to come.

As a principal for FMI’s consulting practice, Lee helps engineering and construction companies with strategic planning to improve their corporate performance. He specializes in market strategy and consulting, developing and implementing organization-wide change initiatives and other leadership focused engagements. Additionally, he led FMI’s CEO Forum, which hosted the Top 100 leaders from the industry each year in Washington, D.C.

Register today and join your MCAA friends and colleagues online at MCAA’s first Virtual Education Conference (VEC) Essential Learning for Unconventional Times, March 22 – 25, 2021.

Registration is available for individuals and for companies (up to 10 registrants per company registration). Questions can be directed to eventregistration@mcaa.org. We look forward to seeing you in March!

Thank you Trimble for sponsoring this session and your continued support of MCAA.

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MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program Finishes Week 2

MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program has kicked off! Each of the 17 presentations is meant to help students navigate the proposal and bid process for the annual MCAA Student Chapter Competition project.  

Did we mention registration is free and you only have to register once for ALL of the presentations!

Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email with the MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program website login instructions. This website includes:

  • All virtual program details;
  • Presentation descriptions;
  • Speaker overviews; and 
  • A full agenda with links to join the live sessions!

We encourage you to attend as many presentations live to interact with fellow students and engage with the presenters in the presentation Q&A. If you are unable to attend any of the sessions live, don’t you worry, the recorded presentations will be posted on MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program website AFTER the live session.

MCAA is sending a weekly Monday reminder email to registered attendees, highlighting the presentations for that week. Don’t forget to add them to your calendar!

MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program is sponsored by

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2020 Construction Technology Report Challenges Contractors Innovation

In 2020, the construction industry has been forced into dramatic changes in operations and workflow. More people are working remotely and thus, more projects are being handled in a distributed manner. To help MCAA members better understand what processes are gaining wide implementation across the industry and how their companies measure against these benchmarks, MCAA has sponsored the JBKnowledge Construction Technology Report.

The 2019 report, released in December, has an accurate look at where companies began the year. MCAA has worked with JBKnowledge to make sure that the 2020 report will take into account new practices and challenges that contractors face with the COVID-19 pandemic. Simply taking the 2020 survey can force you to ask questions about your own operations and if your company is operating at pace with innovation in the industry.

To learn more, download the 2019 report:

DOWNLOAD REPORT

Or participate in the 2020 ConTech Report Survey:

TAKE THE SURVEY

Registration is Now Open for MCAA’s October Field Leaders Conference in Toledo, OH!

Two days’ time spent learning from some of the industry’s best will help you go from a good project leader to a GREAT project leader. You will hear firsthand the importance of accurate costing, and takeaway strategies for managing actual hours to budget. You will observe behaviors that will help you improve the communication on your jobsites. You will leave with a new professional identity, recognizing your importance and value as a professional and a member of your management team. Don’t miss out on this opportunity!

See what past attendees have to say and what to expect from your Field Leaders Conference Experience!

To view more conference details and to register, visit http://www.mcaaevents.org/field-leaders-conference-toledo/.

We look forward to seeing you in Toledo!

Webinar #3: Shifting Work from the Jobsite – Jonathan Marsh, James Benham, Sean McGuire and Josh Bone

The COVID-19 crisis is forcing contractors to perform work in challenging new ways. This webinar focuses on two scenarios that will become more likely in the weeks ahead – forced remote work with no job site activity and one in which job sites might be shut down and fabrication facilities remain open. We discuss how to prepare staff to work remotely, what work can be prioritized to be done remotely and how to utilize fabrication space safely to keep projects progressing. This panel includes Jonathan Marsh, MEP Innovation Lab; James Benham, CEO of JBKnowledge; Sean McGuire, MCAA Director of Innovative Technologies; and Josh Bone, Director of Industry Innovation at NECA.

This webinar was recorded Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

Letsos Company, CFI Mechanical Swap Uponor PEX for Copper, PVC

Letsos Company and CFI Mechanical, both of Houston, TX, used Uponor PEX for two high school plumbing projects to save money for the school district while also realizing faster installation and cost savings over traditional approaches. CFI Mechanical estimated a 30-percent savings in cost and labor resulting from using smaller PEX piping (1″ and below).

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Looking for More Smart Solutions?

Visit the Smart Solutions Case Studies area of our website! You’ll see how other mechanical contractors found their win-win with productivity-enhancing and cost-saving applications from members of MCAA’s Manufacturer/Supplier Council.

Plus, you’ll find tips and ideas on other ways you and your company can save money and enhance your productivity.

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Dorvin D. Leis Says Aloha to Faster, Smarter, More Accurate MEP Layout Using Trimble Technology

After winning a renovation project to transform the Waikiki Trade Center into a 230-room contemporary Hyatt Centric hotel, the Dorvin D. Leis Company, Inc. (DDL), Hawaii’s largest mechanical contractor, decided to ditch the string and tape for the Trimble RPT600 paired with Trimble Field Link software. The cutting-edge technology helped DDL save time, increase productivity, and bring a constructible process from the office to the field and back again.

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Looking for More Smart Solutions?

Visit the Smart Solutions Case Studies area of our website! You’ll see how other mechanical contractors found their win-win with productivity-enhancing and cost-saving applications from members of MCAA’s Manufacturer/Supplier Council.

Plus, you’ll find tips and ideas on other ways you and your company can save money and enhance your productivity.

VISIT SMART SOLUTIONS

Milwaukee Tool Debuts New MX Fuel Heavy Equipment System at MCAA Tech Conference

At the 2020 MCAA Technology Conference, one of the newest innovations was demonstrated by Milwaukee Tool.  The MX Fuel Equipment System goes beyond standard hand tools.  The new products focus on equipment that was previously considered too powerful to be run on anything other than gas powered engines or power cords.

The new line is powered by new MX Fuel Batteries that are capable of providing enough power to replace gas powered machinery.  Replacing gas engines offers some additional advantages in this equipment.  Without concern of emissions, the tools can be used indoors or in confined spaces.  It also allows innovations built in Milwaukee’s Tool line to be incorporated into the equipment like One Key, instantaneous start, anti kickback and power clutch.

At the Tech Conference, Milwaukee showcased six new products ready for the trades:

 

High Degree of BIM Use by Mechanical Contractors Leads to Multiple Benefits, New Study Shows

A new Dodge Data & Analytics study of mechanical and HVAC contractors using BIM shows that most mechanical contractors that use BIM experience benefits such as improved cost and schedule performance, lower labor costs and greater productivity. MCAA partnered with Dodge to produce the report, which includes input from many MCAA members.

The Business Value of BIM for Mechanical and HVAC Construction SmartMarket Report based on the study’s findings provides a comprehensive examination of the benefits that mechanical contractors experience when using BIM as well as the challenges they face in expanding BIM use.

The study demonstrates that mechanical contractors are sophisticated users of BIM software who have seen the benefits from that use. However, the study also shows that the ability of these contractors to fully leverage the value of modeling technologies is hampered by training and manpower issues, along with the challenge of getting other project stakeholders equally engaged in BIM.

One of the biggest benefits reported by contractors is the ability of BIM to improve the fabrication process. Many mechanical contractors are frequent users of offsite fabrication for their systems, and the study shows that nearly half use BIM on 50% or more of the assemblies they prefabricate, demonstrating that BIM is an essential tool for this process. Benefits from using BIM to aid prefabrication are widely reported, with over 80% of mechanical contractors who use it to prefabricate reporting that they see improvements in the material waste generated, labor costs, quality of installed work, avoiding the purchase of extra pipes and fittings and schedule performance.

Other top benefits reported by contractors using BIM in general are increased labor productivity, increased profitability, better utilization of resources and improved cost performance.

“BIM is an increasingly important and incredibly complex part of the building process. It requires additional coordination, planning, and design expertise, and MCAA members are embracing the tools and technology to rise to the challenge. This new process is still in its infancy, and mechanical contractors—especially those that are already using BIM—have a lot to learn from this report.”

–Sean McGuire, Director, Innovative Technologies, at MCAA

By using BIM, mechanical contractors have also been able to leverage the technology to conduct more analysis on their projects.
• Over 70% report that they use BIM for shop drawings and spatial coordination on half or more of their projects.
• Nearly two thirds (61%) report using BIM for constructability evaluation on more than half of their projects.

“Use of BIM for spatial coordination and constructability evaluation provides these contractors with a clear advantage,” says Steve Jones, Senior Director of Industry Insights at Dodge Data & Analytics. “They can address issues before construction begins, which saves both time and money, and can even help improve safety by avoiding rework.”

However, there are still challenges that prevent these contractors from fully leveraging the use of BIM. The biggest challenges include training needs for employees and lack of available manpower to create BIM models. In addition, these contractors struggle with full engagement with BIM across the project team, with lack of support for BIM from other important trades, the issue of other stakeholders on their projects not using BIM and poor-quality BIM use by other stakeholders also presenting significant challenges. Addressing these issues will allow even more contractors to more fully experience the benefits of using BIM collaboratively on their projects.

Technology Conference Delivers Ideas and Innovation

Every year, the MCAA Technology Conference brings ideas and innovation to MCAA members. This year’s event was no exception. Take a look, and plan to join us next year. MCAA thanks our title sponsor, Trimble, and our event sponsors: Autodesk, DEWALT and Rhumbix.

Major Growth Expected for Prefabrication and Modular Construction, New Study Finds

Findings of a landmark Dodge Data & Analytics study on the use of fabrication and modular construction show that most design and construction professionals using these methods experience improved productivity and project quality, plus increases in schedule certainty. MCAA partnered with Dodge to produce the report, which includes input from many MCAA members.

The Prefabrication and Modular Construction SmartMarket Report based on the study’s findings provides a comprehensive examination of the current state and future expectations for prefabrication and modular construction. It takes a close look at critical drivers, obstacles and benefits of using these methods, based on insight from architects, engineers and contractors already leveraging them.

The report shows that architects, engineers and contractors that have used these methods plan to significantly increase their engagement with them, especially for healthcare facilities, hotels and motels, multifamily projects, and college buildings and dormitories, which are at the vanguard of the new wave of interest in these methods. Critical trends in the construction industry, such as shorter project schedules and workforce shortages, are driving wider use of these methods, and technology like building information modeling (BIM) is enabling increased use.

In order to better understand the critical drivers and obstacles for using these methods and the benefits achieved, the study focuses on the architects, engineers and contractors that are already using them.

When it comes to methods already in use, the study shows that:

  • Prefabricating single-trade assemblies (such as plumbing assemblies behind the wall in hospital rooms) is widely practiced, with 62% of respondents using prefabricated single-trade assemblies in the last three years.
  • 48% of those doing modular are using panelized modular components (such as wall or floor panels).
  • Use of each of these methods is expected to increase in the next three years, with the percentage of those leveraging them on 10% or more of their projects nearly 15 points higher than present use.

However, most interesting growth is expected in practices less widely used now:

  • Prefabricated multi-trade assemblies, which involve the work of several trades combined together (such as a corridor rack in a hospital) will be used by 58% of those doing prefabrication in general—up dramatically from the 33% using this approach now.
  • Equally dramatic growth is seen among those doing modular construction in the use of full volumetric approach, in which entire parts of buildings (such as bathrooms or hotel and hospital rooms) are delivered preconstructed onsite and assembled together. A striking 61% expect to employ that method at least 10% of their projects in the next three years, up from just 44% of those doing modular construction who report using this method currently.

“It comes as no surprise to us that more developers and GCs plan to use modular construction over the next few years,” said Tom Hardiman, Executive Director of the Modular Building Institute. “The lack of adequate housing and the shortage of skilled labor, coupled with chronic cost and schedule overruns are leading more people towards this process.”

And when it comes to benefits of use:

  • About 90% report that they achieve improved productivity, improved quality and increased schedule certainty when using these methods compared to traditional stick-built construction.
  • 80% or more also report that they see improved cost predictability, reduced waste and increased client satisfaction.
  • Improved schedule performance, decreased construction costs and improved quality are also the top drivers for increasing their use of prefabrication and modular construction in the next three years.

The use of building information modeling (BIM) is also tied to the experience of those benefits. Among those using BIM on the majority of their projects, 60% credit it with improving the schedule performance of their prefabricated or modular projects, and 50% with improving budget performance. “BIM improves the prefabrication and modular process by providing the means to accelerate the design early enough to take advantage of these approaches and then offering certainty during the entire process,” says Steve Jones, senior director of industry insights at Dodge Data and Analytics. “Having these tools helps enable the industry to invest more in the use of multi-trade assemblies and volumetric construction in particular and may be contributing to the strong growth expected in these areas.”

The greatest growth in the use of these methods will be in building types in which they are already well established, such as healthcare facilities, hotels and motels, multifamily and college buildings and dormitories. However, a sizable percentage also expect low-rise offices, K-12 schools, public buildings and commercial warehouse to experience a high frequency of use of prefabrication or modular construction.

The report findings will be discussed during a general session at the MCAA Technology Conference.

MCAA Sponsoring Dodge Survey on BIM Usage

MCAA is partnering with Dodge Data & Analytics to study the value of BIM for mechanical construction, HVAC, and plumbing contractors. This is the first of a larger, ongoing series of BIM studies to focus specifically on our industry. It will shed light on the opportunities and challenges of using BIM and VDC for your work. Your participation is vital to the study’s success, even if you have no experience with BIM.

Steve Jones, Senior Director of Industry Insights for Dodge Data & Analytics, will present the study findings at the MCAA Technology Conference on January 31. Those who attend will receive a hard copy of the resulting Business Value of BIM for HVAC and Mechanical Construction SmartMarket Report.

All participating companies will receive a copy of the report via email as a thank you for participating in the survey.

The survey takes 10 to 12 minutes to complete, and your answers are strictly confidential. They will not be associated with your name or the name of your company in any way.

Find the Latest from Jay R. Smith Mfg. Co.® and ManufactOn in MCAA’s Virtual Trade Show

MCAA’s Virtual Trade Show connects our contractor members with the members of MCAA’s Manufacturer/Supplier Council.

Participating companies highlight and link to new products, product lines, services, solutions or web pages of particular interest. Here are just a few of the recent additions:

Jay R. Smith Mfg. Co.® a Member of Morris Group International - MCAA Virtual Trade Show
Jay R. Smith Mfg. Co.® a Member of Morris Group International

This unitized structure makes installation simpler and faster compared two individual uprights. Adjustment brackets make last minute changes easy. Discover more products that save you time on the job.

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ManufactOn - MCAA Virtual Trade Show
ManufactOn

ManufactOn is a SaaS (mobile/web) platform that helps construction firms plan, track and manage both prefabrication and regular material handling. The ManufactOn platform helps optimize the end-to-end prefabrication process.

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Need Something Else?

Find many more smart solutions in MCAA’s Virtual Trade Show!

Visit the Virtual Trade Show

Speaking of Smart Solutions

Visit the Smart Solutions Case Studies area of our website to learn how other mechanical contractors found their win-win with cost-saving and productivity-enhancing applications from members of MCAA’s Manufacturer/Supplier Council.

This section of our website also includes tips and ideas to help your company save money and enhance your productivity. Don’t miss it!

VISIT SMART SOLUTIONS

A Technology Conference Like No Other

Are you tired of conferences that end up being a series of advertisements for products, software or services? The MCAA Technology Conference is different. It focuses on sessions that are by contractors, for contractors. It also showcases innovation and shares ideas from industry experts to help you make your company more agile, productive and future-ready. So, join hundreds of contractors in San Diego this January 29-31 for a conference that’s a cut above the rest. Space is running out, so register now!

10 1/2 Tips to Properly Specify Your Trench Drainage System

With years of manufacturing all types of trench drain under their belts, engineers at Jay R. Smith Mfg. Co.® have come up with a list of 10 tips—and a bit extra—to assist you in specifying a trench drain system. By applying the following tips during design, you will avoid situations that might cause headaches both during and after installation.

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Looking for More Smart Solutions?

Visit the Smart Solutions Case Studies area of our website! You’ll see how other mechanical contractors found their win-win with productivity-enhancing and cost-saving applications from members of MCAA’s Manufacturer/Supplier Council.

Plus, you’ll find tips and ideas on other ways you and your company can save money and enhance your productivity.

VISIT SMART SOLUTIONS