Category Archives: Construction Industry Information

2014 Online Planroom Survey Results

In March, Builders Exchange of Kentucky offered online planroom users an opportunity to provide us with opinions and suggestions for improvement of our online planroom (also called IPIN system), and we listened.

The survey asked respondents to rate their satisfaction with the Builders Exchange online planroom in five key categories as well as compare the online planroom to competing services in those same categories.  Questions were also asked about the format and presentation of bid documents, open-ended suggestions for improvement, and identifying interest levels in mobile applications.

And the survey says…

Over 70% of applicable respondents are satisfied with their experience with the Builders Exchange online planroom in four out of five key categories (see below). The majority of respondents in the fifth category (Software provided for conducting online takeoffs and estimates) were “Neither Satisfied or Unsatisfied”.


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A majority of all applicable respondents judged the Builders Exchange online planroom favorably in all five key categories compared to competing services, with over 80% judging favorably in three out of the five categories.


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With your feedback, we also identified three primary areas to bolster the member experience on the online planroom:

  1. Timeliness of post-bid reporting
  1. Improved software options for conducting online takeoffs/estimates
  1. Ability to batch select multiple plans in different divisions with one click

Timeliness of post-bid reporting and improved options for online takeoffs will be main areas of focus for Builders Exchange as we move forward with upcoming upgrades to the online planroom and continue evaluate our project reporting coverage.

We are also pleased to report that the ability to batch select plans has already been addressed, and as a direct result of your feedback, members now have the ability to batch select entire divisions with one click of the mouse (see this IPIN Tip of the Month).


While the majority of members feel that Builders Exchange offers the most user-friendly and easy to use tools in the industry, we remain committed to improving and expanding our products and services to enhance the value for our trusted members using the online planroom.


Thanks again to all of those who took the time to take the survey and congratulations to Chris Revell with Mills Supply, who won the drawing for the free iPad Air!

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Keeping Safety in Focus

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By: Zachary D. Jones

Keeping focused can be difficult. The world seems to be growing ever more complex, and the construction industry is no exception. Where fifty pages of contract documents—including the technical spec’s—might have sufficed a few decades ago, now multiple reams of two-sided, single-spaced contract documents are the rule rather than the exception. Many of the requirements contained in those cumbersome contract documents relate to general conditions. In addition to the contractually required general conditions, contractors are also subject to more regulatory and other legal requirements than ever before. One such requirement that often appears in both the contract and government regulations are safety requirements. In Kentucky, those safety requirements are usually enforced by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet.

For many contractors, general conditions, including safety requirements, represent additional expense that must be endured, even suffered through. For project managers and superintendents, the ability to trim that expense represents easy margin—a way to beat the budget without reducing overtime or cutting into the much loved per diem. In the end, it is easy to view safety programs as merely an added expense and lose sight of why owners, general contractors, construction managers, and lawmakers insist on including voluminous pages of general conditions and regulations.
Safety is not something to be taken lightly. Over the years, safety requirements have grown in importance. On many public projects, for example, contractors must maintain certain safety performance records to even be eligible to bid. And private owners often have similar requirements for not only the general contractor, but all subcontractors on the project too. Thus, maintaining a good safety record can lead to more opportunity.

Having a good safety record starts with having a good safety program. Periodic training, coupled with weekly or even daily safety talks with crews, is an essential component of a good safety program. Depending on the size of the business, hiring a full time safety professional may be a necessary component as well. To that end, many contracts require contractors with a certain number of workers on site to assign a full time safety manager to oversee implementation of the applicable safety requirements. Further, a safety program should ensure compliance with all applicable regulations—including maintaining accurate records of training, accidents, near misses, etc. While implementing a comprehensive safety program will cost money, in the end they typically save much more than they cost.

Not having a safety program may actually cost more than having one. A single reportable incident can result in expenses that far outweigh the cost of creating and running a comprehensive, size appropriate safety program. Considering the potential cost of fines, remedial measures, insurance premiums, potential tort liability, and legal costs, safety programs start to look rather cheap—and certainly more predictable. On the other hand, for contractors looking to grow, owners and general contractors are almost universally dictating that contractors have a written, developed safety program in place. Not having such a program may end up shutting a lot of doors.

In the end, safety is not about the dollars and cents. In the Commonwealth, being a construction worker is one of the deadliest jobs. The Kentucky Labor Cabinet has recently released information indicating that of the jobs it examined, construction workers had the highest death rate. Of those deaths, falls represented the most common fatal hazard. What is frustrating, is that falls are also one of the most preventable hazards. This is even more embarrassing considering the minimal cost of job site management enforcing a 100% tie-off policy and buying each worker a harness and lanyard. Safety is not a general condition expense worth trying to cut.

This week safety is in focus in Kentucky. The 30th Annual Governor’s Safety and Health Conference and Expo is at the Galt House in Louisville starting on May 6th and running through the 9th. For contractors who recognize that they may not be up to date on the latest safety tech, current issues, or trends in safety and safety programs, this expo could be a great way to breathe new life into a forgotten or neglected safety program. And for contractors who simply have failed to ever develop a safety program this expo is a great place to start. Information about the expo can be found at



First Aid / CPR / AED / Bloodborne Pathogen Course – June 24, 2014

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In the busy summer months, don’t forget to make sure you have at least one trained employee on every job site who can give life-saving care in an emergency. Knowing what to do and being prepared in case of a medical emergency can mean the difference between life and death. If your company needs instruction in life-saving techniques, please join us on June 24th. Please see below for details. To make a reservation, please contact Mary Ellen Higgins at 502-459-9800 or

Course Title: First Aid / CPR / AED / Bloodborne Pathogen

Date: June 24, 2014 at Builders Exchange of Kentucky, in Louisville, KY.

Time: 8:00a.m. – 1:30p.m.

Trainer: Bart Leist, Owner, Compass Safety

Cost: $85.00 per participant

Course Description: The Emergency Care and Safety Institute (ECSI) First Aid, CPR, AED, and Bloodborne Pathogen course is designed for all job-site workers and supervisors. During the course, an instructor conducts video-based lessons and works with students individually to complete their first aid, CPR, and AED skills practice and testing. The ECSI Course Completion Card is valid for two years. Bloodborne Pathogen training must be completed annually.

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87th Annual Gala Recap and Picture Gallery

Builders Exchange of Kentucky celebrated its 87th birthday in style at The Olmsted on March 27th! The annual gala was shared by more than two-hundred guests and was filled with many memorable moments. The evening’s festivities began with a hospitality hour and included a silent auction of more than forty generously donated items. Nearly five thousand dollars was raised to benefit the Builders Exchange Scholarship Program.

The evening’s program included a unique perspective of Louisville’s neighborhoods offered by Councilman Tom Owen, a heartfelt tribute to John Kelly, congratulatory awards presented to two Builders Exchange retiring board members (Paul Clements and Mike Harpring), firms celebrating milestone anniversaries with Builders Exchange, and the presentation scholarships to sixteen worthy recipients.

The event was unforgettable thanks to so many people. The sponsors, the silent auction donors, the presenters, The Olmsted, and the Builders Exchange staff all worked together to celebrate the evening in style! A special thanks goes to the Builders Exchange members. This celebration is for you!

Check out the gallery below!

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