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Work Shortage May Be Slowing

February 25, 2016

Recent data suggests the much-discussed worker shortage may be in the process of easing pressure on the quickly booming construction industry. The question, however, is if this is a sign of good things to come or just a temporary, yet unsustainable boost.


Hidden dangers of excavation and trenching

November 3, 2015
Safety /

Excavation and trenching are both vital operations in the construction industry. They also happen to be two of the most dangerous. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 350 workers were killed in trenching or excavation accidents between 2000 and 2009, an average of 35 per year. Most of these occurred during work on residential utility lines, at depths of less than 10 feet.


Granite Shows HeavyJob Mobile is So Easy, a Kid Can Do It

March 23, 2015

Have you ever thought about putting mobile job management technology in your field supervisors' hands but worried they wouldn't be able to learn to use it?

One HCSS user can assure you that HeavyJob on the iPad is easy to use--so easy, a 10-year-old can learn it in just 20 minutes.

Mike Williams, Granite Construction Senior Project Controls Engineer and HCSS Advisory Board member, set out to prove to himself that HCSS Field, HeavyJob's mobile application for smartphones and tablets, would be easy for his field employees to use.

So he handed his iPad to his 10-year-old grandson and asked him to enter a time card.

"I just turned him loose," Williams said. "I said, 'You've got to figure it out. Push the buttons, dig your way around, and figure out how to do a time card.' It took him about 20 minutes."


Ferguson Trenching Trades Estimated for Actual Costs with HeavyJob

March 18, 2015

Do you ever look back at the way things used to be?

Reminiscing about the past can be fun, and it might sometimes make you miss the way things were. 

But Ferguson Trenching in Odenton, Maryland, learned the old way isn't necessarily the best way when they implemented HCSS HeavyJob in 2014.

Before they purchased the project management software, Ferguson Trenching had been using Excel spreadsheets and yellow tablets for job costing and production analysis, if they tracked the job at all.

"Before HeavyJob, we had magical numbers of costs per day," Chief Estimator and Senior Project Manager Christopher Rock said. "Half the time we didn't even know what those numbers were. We needed costing. It was one thing to actually get the job set up in HeavyBid and win, and another to be able to take it to the next step and make a profit on it."

Ferguson has had HeavyBid for a decade, and Rock said they saved days of estimating time by using the software to set up standard cost codes and copy previous estimates. The success of that product led them to HeavyJob.


Achen-Gardner Using Full Suite of HCSS Products to Streamline Business

January 23, 2015

Achen-Gardner knows exactly how important technology is to their business.

The Arizona-based heavy civil general contractor, which specializes in wet utility, roadway, and highway construction, has fully invested in the future by turning to HCSS software to manage nearly every aspect of the business over the past 20 years.

They started with HCSS HeavyBid to streamline estimating and manage bid day. HeavyJob followed as the natural next step as a project management software.

HCSS products have certainly created a lot better efficiency,” Vice President and General Manager Kevin Nunez said. “HeavyBid was easy to implement because we had estimators who were already computer savvy. Once we got past the little challenges in implementing the other products, it just opened up a whole new reality as far as what you can do and how quick you can see it.”

Achen-Gardner also implemented Equipment360 to help the shop stay on track of maintenance, and The Dispatcher helps Field Operations Manager John Broderick manage fleets and crews.

“I schedule all the crews and equipment needs, and our equipment manager fills those needs,” Broderick said. “I manage all the crews and move them around in The Dispatcher so ownership can see who is where on any given day.”

Broderick said he ditched the notepads, whiteboard, and magnets he had previously used to keep track of crews and equipment. The Dispatcher’s similar features made it easy to quickly learn and understand the software.


HCSS Named to Top 20 Mobile Apps in Construction

January 8, 2015

HCSS construction software is once again leading the pack.

We were named one of the top 20 mobile apps in the construction industry in the newly released Third Annual 2014 Construction Technology Report.

See the press release from SmartBidNet here.

See the full CT Report here.

The report, presented by JBKnowledge, the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) and Texas A&M University’s Construction Science Department, surveyed more than 1,300 construction professionals regarding technology tools, trends, and strategies in the industry. Participants demonstrated a growing interest in mobile technology, although there was little integration with desktop strategies.


AGC Says Overall Construction Employment Up, Civil Employment Down

December 17, 2014

Employment in the construction industry is at a five-year high, according to a recent article by Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

The sector added 20,000 jobs, bringing the industry’s unemployment rate to seven-year low of 7.5 percent. That’s the lowest November rate since 2007, just before the “Great Recession” hit.

The AGC study, however, did show a few signs that public construction could be slowing. Heavy civil construction jobs—which include public works—were down 1,300 in November. Nonresidential building construction was also down 2,400 jobs.

AGC Chief Executive Officer Stephen E. Sandherr said the slowdown is indicative of recent government fiscal actions—or inactions, in this case. And HCSS Chief Operating Officer Steve McGough agrees.

“If you look at our biggest challenge in this industry, we don’t have a long-term transportation bill,” McGough said. “We kick the can down the road. You want a six-year bill so that states know how to fund projects and know what to expect.”

Instead of the six-year bill, however, Congress has passed nine short-term extensions in recent years. The latest extension, worth $10.8 billion, is set to expire in May, just as construction’s busy season resumes.


Kent Power using flight, job management software to boost business

December 5, 2014

Kent Power has a powerful advantage when it comes to company travel.

The public utility and communications construction company doesn’t need to rack up frequent flyer miles.

Instead, Vice President Lynn Woollard flies employees where they need to go.

Woollard has had his pilot’s license for about 34 years now.

“I got into flying when I was in high school,” he said. “I just thought it was something I would like to try, and I got hooked on it.”


Rumco Construction cuts paperwork, boosts info gathering with HeavyJob

December 3, 2014

Rumco Construction came to HCSS looking for a new way to manage its projects.

For years, the highway and street construction company had relied on handwritten notes and text messages to generate daily cost reports.

But Vice President Carlos Gonzalez said the numbers never quite added up.

“Between our superintendents, our project engineers and our accounting system, we were getting to where we had three different sets of books,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez wanted to turn Rumco employees into users of data instead of just creators. The company also needed to eliminate the duplication of data, which had become a problem for project management.

Rumco implemented HCSS HeavyJob job management software to combat these issues. Starting with a few pilot jobs, a small group of employees worked through the system to fully understand it before introducing it to all jobs across the company.

“We now have about 25-30 active jobs at once using HeavyJob,” Gonzalez said. “We have one guy using the field version on a laptop, but pretty much everyone else is using HeavyJob Mobile on iPads.”


Woman-owned paving contractor overcomes challenges

November 12, 2014

Kim Lineberger is a woman in a man’s world.

As the president of Lineberger Construction Inc., a Women’s Business Enterprise, she’s usually in the minority on site visits and preconstruction meetings. But she’s not in the minority in winning work.

“You always have to have your competitive pricing,” Lineberger said. “But sometimes the guys are more apt to listen to you when you prove yourself. Sometimes you can communicate with them better, and I think it’s the difference in the way men and women communicate with each other.”