Category: Featured Resource

Construction Employers Composite Plan Letter

Mechanical Contractors Association of America teamed up with industry partners, including the Associated General Contractors , FCA International, International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (ICEBAC), National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association, Signatory Wall And Ceiling Contractors Alliance and the Association of Union Constructors in a joint letter to Congress regarding the  multiemployer pension plans, which provide retirement benefits to over 10 million Americans.  

National Service and Maintenance Agreement Negotiations to Begin Spring 2020

The National Service and Maintenance Agreement continues to be an excellent tool used by  HVACR and plumbing service contractors around the country to grow market share and remain competitive in this highly competitive market.  The current National Agreement is effective through July 31, 2020.  The MSCA Labor Committee will be discussing potential changes or modifications with the UA later this year.  Although we anticipate very few changes, we would appreciate your input or recommendations on terms and conditions which you feel may be helpful in expanding your service business.  Please send all comments to bdolim@mcaa.org  by December 6, 2019.

HoloLens Research Report Reveals New Advantage for Contractors

What was once thought of as science fiction or construction fantasy is starting to make its way on to construction job sites. In late 2016, Microsoft released developer editions of their mixed reality headset, called the HoloLens. It represented the first time that a big tech company had offered a stand-alone headset that could overlay holograms in the real world that would stay in place as you moved around and changed your perspective.

For the construction industry, it offers a new path towards design, collaboration and visualization. The HoloLens allows you to take BIM models and overlay them on job sites or in conference rooms. You can see how your designs exist in the spaces you are building in. It allows you to move around them to check for collisions, plan for installation and visualize in real-space the plans that were once only on paper.

In MCAA’s Technology Research Series seventh installment, the MCAA Technology Committee explored the capabilities and potential of the Microsoft HoloLens for mechanical, plumbing and service contractors. Over the course of a year, the committee tested and proved that these devices are not only capable of making contractors more efficient, they can be seen as an immediate differentiator to your competition.

The report looks at how the HoloLens can be used to perform common processes for contractors. While it offers some extraordinary potential for jobsite planning and marketing, some areas like service had a limited role. These limitations stemmed from a lack of software that was designed for tasks important for service work.

Software plays a very important role in the usefulness of the device. To their credit, Microsoft was very savvy in the rollout of their new product. Right from the beginning, they partnered with leading software developers from multiple industry sectors to create apps designed for the HoloLens. This allowed for access to software applications for a lot of targeted applications, even during the roll-out of their developer editions.

Thankfully, one of the companies they partnered with was Trimble. Through Microsoft’s collaboration, Trimble developed tools for the construction industry to visualize construction models in real space. In the past year, more software developers have created solutions for the construction industry. The committee evaluated these apps in the report and made recommendations for software depending on the workflows that you intend to use the HoloLens for.

Software available today make it possible to pull BIM models into the device and visualize with extremely little training. They also offer capabilities in workflows that are not available on any other device. For contractors that are already working with BIM, this is another tool to increase efficiency and productivity.

The MCAA Research Report goes through five workflows to test the effectiveness of the device. In some cases, although a HoloLens could be used to perform a task, it was not the most efficient way of doing it. For other tasks it presented options and efficiencies that simply were not available using any other tool.

The HoloLens has proven to be an effective tool ready for the industry, the question is, how can your company ready to benefit from its use. To learn more, download the report and watch for updates. Software is in development by leading industry manufacturers that should push the capability of the HoloLens even further. The report is available to MCAA and MSCA members as a complimentary benefit of membership.  With the release of new applications scheduled for the HoloLens, the report will be updated throughout the year.

 

Clarifying the Process of Selecting Labor Inefficiency Factors

The 2018 Edition of MCAA’s Change Orders, Productivity, Overtime features new material that clarifies the process of selecting labor inefficiency factors. A new chapter devoted to the subject of concurrent delay has also been added. This resource is a must-have for mechanical and other specialty contractors, attorneys in construction practices, and consultants.

The new material within the chapter on How to Use the MCAA Labor Factors clarifies the process of selecting inefficiency intensity factors. This information will prove useful for those using the MCAA Factors to prepare loss of labor productivity equitable adjustment requests.

In the concurrent delay chapter, authors Doug Patin, Esquire and Paul Stynchcomb, CCM, PSP, CFCC, explain how you can avoid being cited for potentially costly concurrent delays to a project. The chapter also provides information to assist you in defining and identifying concurrent delay in a project schedule.

Make sure your construction attorneys and consultants have this book! Look for the share icon under the story title to let them know it’s available. Can’t find it? It’s three dots connected by lines, to the left of the print icon.

Download or Purchase Your Copy

Contacting Congress for the First Time? Help is Here!

Congress is back in session! This is your chance to get in touch with your House representative or Senators about the industry and business issues that concern you. If this is your first time advocating for a cause, a newly revised Management Methods Bulletin is available to show you the ropes.

Business and Politics has been updated to provide you with advice, tools and information about the federal legislative process to help you be effective in presenting and discussing industry issues with your House and Senate representatives. From sending electronic messages to arranging personal meetings, the bulletin suggests how, when and where to communicate your concerns about legislation and/or regulations to your elected Members. Useful tools on MCAA’s website under the Advocacy menu, the MCAA PAC and the National Issues Conference direct your path to the legislators you need to reach. And, helpful information included in the bulletin will guide you through the bill making process.

The advocacy menu on our website also has a direct link to Congress.gov, where you can research current legislation and follow its progress through Congress.

Download your copy and start contacting your Congressional representatives today.

MCAA Releases Robotic Total Station Report

While the basics of heating and plumbing haven’t significantly changed in a century, the tools and processes used to build have evolved exponentially in just the past few years. One such evolution is the development of total stations to assist contractors in more rapidly and more accurately laying out systems on the jobsite.

This sixth report in the MCAA Technology Research Series provides an introduction for members who are considering their first layout system purchase. It is also a valuable evaluation tool for those who are considering an upgrade to their existing system.

Like the other reports in MCAA’s Technology Research Series, the report was written by our partners at JBKLabs exclusively for MCAA.

Download the Report

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Additional Research Reports Help You Keep Up with Technology

3D Scanning

Forecasts point to increased use of 3D scanning for its ability to precisely measure an existing site, component or assembly and bring that information into a BIM model. It can save tremendous time in measuring, taking notes, designing, documenting conditions and rebuilding a BIM model. This report canvases 3D scanning technology. Included is an assessment of various laser, non-laser scanning and photogrammetric hardware and software tools for mechanical contractors.

Download the Report

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BIM Software – A Comparative Analysis

BIM technologies can expedite construction and maintenance work, increase precision, and prevent mistakes. This report explores scanning, tracking, layout, design and fabrication technologies using BIM and other software tools. Focusing on MEP, the report includes an assessment of various BIM software for BIM model authoring, model review, construction management, and analysis software tools for mechanical contractors. This snapshot evaluated the products as of the second quarter of 2016.

Download the Report

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BIM to Field Software – A Comparative Analysis

This report focuses on applications that can be used to allow access to BIM models and data from the field. These applications empower the remote mobile device to have access to the same data as the powerful BIM workstation in the office.

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Field Service Software

Service software is a foundational tool for running a service business. At the core of your business is the call, quote, work order, invoice and payment workflow. Now weave in the transactional relationships that interconnect with that core workflow and it becomes clear that efficient visibility and management of that complexity is key. This report analyzes the current state of service software deployment and helps demystify the process for evaluating and implementing service software in your organization.

Download the Report

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Safety Apps Report

This report evaluates numerous applications on the market for safety professionals and foremen. Most of these apps, it finds, are geared towards documentation. Contractors are using analytics on this data to identify root causes and trends. Predictive analytics, which analyze historical data, current projects and weather can be used to predict higher chances of incidents happening, thus providing powerful tools to help prevent them from occurring.

Download the Report

Play the Companion Webinar

Want More? Additional Reports Are On the Way!

Watch our website and social media feeds for announcements when they’re available.

Update Your HR Policies with MCAA’s New Guide

Have your human resources policies kept pace with change? If they don’t address electronic communications and social media, cell phones and other technology-centric issues, MCAA’s Guide to Human Resources Policies can help fill the gap. The guide, which reflects current trends and law, provides examples of human resources policies and guidelines. These provide a starting point from which you can customize the guide to meet your company’s needs.

Download Your Copy

Looking for Cost-Effective Pipe Fabricator Options?

If you’re looking for a fabricator that will make consistent repeatable pipe cuts for a fraction of the cost of commercial cutters, check out the award-winning innovation created by Air Masters Corporation of Fenton, MO and described in a recently-released MCAA Management Methods Bulletin.

The idea for the fabricator was sown when Air Masters started looking around for fabrication equipment that would reduce shop time, enhance the services it offers to its customers and increase its competitiveness in the marketplace. However, Air Masters discovered that pipe fabricators that would meet its needs could cost as much as $250,000, a substantial investment for a small company.

Air Masters invented a solution to this challenge—the CNC Pipe Fabricator. It was created with already existing components and custom-designed software. The fabricator was designed for 2 ½” to 12” pipe, mounts on the end of any pipe roller bed and can make straight, inside bevel, outside bevel, saddle cuts or hole selected. Its total cost came to less than $30,000. And, in recognition of its innovation, Air Masters was presented with the E. Robert Kent Award for Management Innovation.

So, if future plans for your company include a pipe fabrication operation, the CNC Pipe Fabricator may be a good option.  Find out more about this impressive innovation.

 

MCAA Releases Tech Research Report on Safety Apps

At the 2017 Safety Directors Conference, Sean McGuire, MCAA’s Director of Construction Technology, presented the findings from the latest MCAA Technology Research Series on Safety Applications.  The new study, produced independently by JBK Labs, focuses in on apps that can be used by companies to document, report, organize and even predict future incidents.

[Download the MCAA Safety App Report]

The report compares 13 different applications available on the market today that can perform a variety of features.  These range from basic compliance apps that can import current safety forms and digitize them to more hi-performance apps geared specifically towards safety inspectors.

The report also identified an emerging technology within safety apps – predictive analytics.  While some apps focus on merely storing data for reporting and legal purposes, there are two apps on the market that are leveraging that data through machine learning using it to predict higher probability of safety occurrences.  As Rob McKinney of JBKnowledge, a former safety director and the principal researcher for the report put it, “Predictive analytics in safety apps is a game changer for the entire construction industry. When you consider how much effort is spent on avoiding accidents and zero injury worksites, having a predictive tool that can call out potential risks can only be seen as a positive benefit.”

The MCAA Construction Technology Committee is working with the Safety Committee to put together a taskforce to further research predictive analytics in safety.  Volunteers from the taskforce are field testing the apps with the help of JBKnowledge in an effort to evaluate the benefits of the software and produce a supplemental report for the research.  The supplemental report is expected to be completed in the third quarter this year.

MCAA also provided a supplemental webinar, hosted by JBKnowledge’s Rob McKinney, the report’s principal author. To get additional detail, click on the webinar below.

mcaa-safety-apps-report

MCAA Releases Updated HR Manual

The MCAA Guide to Human Resources Policies–just updated to reflect current technologies, practices and laws–is now available for download at no charge as a benefit of MCAA membership.

The Guide was designed and is intended to be a tool for mechanical contracting firms to use in creating employment policy manuals for their personnel. New sections have been added concerning employee use of social media, computers, and vehicles, immigration law requirements, nondisclosure of confidential information, security procedures, benefits, leave and much more. The Guide includes two formats—Adobe Acrobat for reading and Microsoft Word for customization.  Bookmarks allow for easy navigation, quick scanning and convenient reference.

Download your copy here.  For assistance, contact publications@mcaa.org or call 800-556-3653.

 

Learn How to Deal with “Safety Fines” in Contracts

Subcontractors’ contracts may include provisions that impose fines or penalties for subcontractors’ safety violations. While such provisions may not be legally enforceable under most state laws, they could lead to serious disputes. MCAA’s Management Methods Committee has just released a Management Methods Bulletin that explains how such provisions could impact a subcontractor, how best to avoid them and how the courts have addressed the issue. Enforceability of Contractual Fines/Penalties for Subcontractor Safety Violations is available to MCAA/MSCA members as a benefit. Click here for your downloadable copy.

New Management Methods Bulletin on Fabrication Shops

Planning to build or renovate a fabrication shop for your business? You may want to read through MCAA’s latest management resource, Factors to Consider in Establishing, Operating and Maintaining a Fabrication Shop.

Developed by an Advanced Leadership Institute (ALI) team as a Class 15 project, this Management Methods Bulletin takes you through all the considerations that affect your decision to establish a fabrication shop, design issues, equipment needed, and operating and maintenance concerns as well.

The bulletin contains drawings and photos to help you plan your facility. This is an excellent resource that may help you avoid costly design, operating and maintenance mistakes.

This resource is free as an MCAA member benefit. Download your copy now.