The Effect of Smart Devices on the Jobsite

Everywhere you look, people are taking photos on their smartphones or typing away on their tablets. Almost every industry utilizes smartphones and tablets, including the construction industry. While viewed as delicate devices on a construction site, smartphones and tablets have become a valuable tool in the field. Many forms of technology can be used to elevate our performance.

Construction technology advancements have primarily taken place in the project management, architectural, and office executive fields. While it has certainly helped with designing, planning, and scheduling projects, it can also be utilized by Foremen, Superintendents, Engineers, and other workers wearing hard hats daily. Many tasks they perform everyday can be streamlined with mobile technology.

Here are some ways our smartphones and tablets can do this:

-Plan viewing: Individuals can work off the most up-to-date sheets and never lose track of on-site logistics, because plan sets are readily available on their devices.

-Task management: With a single click, someone can see duties and deadlines assigned. They also have the ability to establish priority and view progress updates.

-Issue tracking: Organize hundreds of photos for punch lists and inspections. With data stored on the cloud, it takes minutes to assemble reports.

-Productivity: All communications can be archived and time-stamped, so someone can easily see what areas are on schedule and budget. This information allows the function of a site to be improved.

Smartphones are saving time and money by cutting down on printing and materials. Brandt knows that time is something we can’t recoup and technology allows us to be more efficient.

Brandt works hard to stay on top of industry trends and innovations while maintaining the highest quality. Click here to learn more about Brandt.

Brandt Introduces Trade Up Initiative

Brandt is proud to introduce our newest initiative, Trade Up. This program aims to increase awareness of skilled trades career opportunities among students between the ages of 13 and 18 years old.

For the past five years, skilled trades positions have been the most challenging jobs to fill in the U.S due to a shortage of technically trained workers. In Trade Up, Brandt employees go to schools and speak directly with students about training and career opportunities in the industry.

“My best experience was at the Houston Career and Technical High School. Thomas Stright, Senior Virtual Designer, and I visited this high school to meet with the CTE Director. While we were there, we were able to visit with several classrooms and talk with students about trade apprenticeship,” Hattie Morse, Trades Recruiter said. “We met two of the top students from the Skills USA championship, who both expressed interest in learning more about Brandt.”

Scott Boswell, Vice President of Mechanical Field Operations, started as a Pre Apprentice in the Plumbing and Pipefitting trade 31 years ago. He is passionate about encouraging the next generation to explore the skilled trades.

“For some high school seniors, the thought of sitting through a minimum four more years of school as well as dealing with the associated cost of college is not an appealing thought,” Scott said. “They want to start earning money and they can do that while they learn a craft that involves working with their hands. They can become skilled at MEP crafts which will always be needed due to the rate of construction that is required to accommodate an ever-growing population.”

Skilled trades are an excellent career path for those who want to work with their hands, want each day to be different, and enjoy challenges that enable them to learn and grow. Apprentice programs provide an opportunity for students to work, earn money, and attend classes toward becoming a licensed Journeyman.

“I think most young people do not truly understand where the skilled trades can take them in their careers and the monetary compensation that is involved with joining an apprenticeship program,” Scott said. “You are able to work during the day and go to school at night. By the way, top notch journeymen craftsmen do quite well financially.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Manpower Survey, skilled trades jobs are hard to fill because many candidates lack strong technical skills. As workers in the baby-boomer generation begin to retire, there will be a significant reduction in the available skilled labor force. Brandt’s Trade Up initiative addresses this predicted shortage by showing young adults that skilled trades are a worthwhile and fulfilling career path.

“The skilled trades are a viable option because there is no limit to where they can take you as long as you are willing to put in the work and dedication it takes to get there,” Scott said.

As Brandt’s Trade Up initiative moves forward, our goal is to provide educators a means to propose skilled trades as an alternative to attending a traditional four-year college. It is critical that skilled trades are represented as a respectable career decision for the next generation. Becoming a trained Plumber, Electrician, Welder, Pipefitter, Sheet Metal Worker or HVAC Technician offers a rewarding career path while allowing workers to contribute to society through their work. Skilled Tradesmen built this country and continue to build American dreams.

Color Contrast in Design-Build

Brandt is known for MEP design-build expertise, and much like the impact air conditioning and lighting has on the environment, color schemes also play a role.

If you’re looking to increase innovation in the corporate world, the bright color red increases attention to detail, improves proofreading accuracy, and raises alertness to errors. The color pink reduces aggression in prison inmates. Hospitals and schools use light green because it is calming and neutral in nature.

Blue boosts performance on creative tasks like brainstorming. Countries such as Japan and Scotland are using this color for outdoor lighting due to blue being associated with police and security, leading to a decrease in crime rates.

Bold uses of color and contrast strategically placed within a work environment, such as blue and orange, promote creativity, brainstorming, and alertness. However, the overuse of any color can lead to saturation and monotony, which decrease brain activity by being visually unstimulating.

In the learning and work environment, contrast and variety increases brain activity and attention span. Contrast, not color alone, is important to specific segments of the population. Variety and balance must be used with contrast to make sure a space is not overwhelmed. High contrast should be limited to only places of importance, highlighting moments of attention.

In the end you want to allow the user’s eyes to rest between areas so they can process and absorb more information. Be sure to balance the overall palette by avoiding contrasting bright colors as well as dull and similar colors.  By doing this, you will establish a happy environment for your employees to work and customers to visit.

At Brandt, we include our users in the process of design-build to represent their specific vision and culture they choose for the look and feel of their own environment. Color is perceived by everyone differently so we want to make sure the colors are right for you.

Understanding Building Code Basics

Are you up-to-date on all current building codes? Building codes focus on the important safety, health, and environmental protection concerns of society. Following codes during the initial design and construction phase can determine maintenance costs, quality, safety, and energy performance of the building. While some things within a building plan are easily replaceable, most aspects can be very hard to change without a significant impact to the building once construction is complete.

All codes are very important for a building’s safety and efficiency.  Some aspects can affect the employees and customers of a business without notice such as light quality, acoustics and airflow. Unfortunately, these are some of the most overlooked aspects of a building’s quality. More obvious requirements include fire safety codes and structural and seismic standards.

When constructing a building, it is important not to cut corners for both legal and financial reasons. Model codes are a set of minimum requirements for a building’s design and construction that help us “build it right” the first time. These requirements ensure that a structure will protect public health, safety, and natural resources.

When creating and discussing building codes, the U.S. code development process gathers all interested parties to determine what is needed and feasible for the construction of new buildings. Building codes make our communities more livable, resilient and sustainable by offering an enhanced protection against possible threats of natural disasters and terrorism, which can in turn lower the price of mitigation for building owners.

Model codes give the construction team guidance on how to achieve all of these goals and give the insurance industry a baseline for estimating and managing risk. They also help lower and control the cost of insurance premiums. Energy codes, at a time when best practices for sustainable design are widely known and taught, are making a major contribution toward solving our energy needs and can substantially affect the value of your building.

Following and enforcing building codes helps prevent unnecessary and costly modifications. When considering the construction of a new building it is extremely important to be up-to-date on all requirements to ensure that your building will meet code when construction is complete. See all of the current building codes by visiting the International Code Council’s website. http://www.iccsafe.org/codes-tech-support/codes/2015-i-codes/ibc/

Understanding Noise Hazards on the Job Site

Brandt always wants to ensure our employees that they are working in a safe environment and their health will never compromised. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that 30 million people in the U.S. are exposed to hazardous noise every year. For the past 25 years noise related hearing loss has been one of the most prevalent occupational health concerns. There are ways to recognize and prevent hearing loss in the work place.

Warning Signs

Noise could be a problem for you in your work place if you are:

  • Hearing ringing or humming in your ears after you leave work
  • Experiencing co-workers shouting at you in order for you to hear what they are saying at an arm’s length away
  • Experience temporary hearing loss after leaving work

How loud is too loud?

OSHA has legal limits on noise expenditure in the workplace. The limits are based on worker’s time weighted average over an 8 hour day. For noise, OSHA’s permissible exposure limit is 90 dBA for all workers for an 8 hour day. The national Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends that all workers exposed to noise should be controlled under a level equal to 85 dBA for 8 hours to minimize occupational noise induced hearing loss.

Reduce the hazard from noise

  • Choose low-noise tools and machinery
  • Maintain and lubricate machinery and equipment
  • Place a barrier between the noise source and employee
  • Enclose or isolate the noise source
  • Limit the amount of time a person spends at a noise source
  • Provide quiet areas where workers can gain relief from hazardous noise sources
  • Wear hearing protection devices such as earmuffs and plugs
  • Implement an effective hearing conservation program

All of these elements are critical to ensure that workers are being protected in high noise environments in the workplace. Brandt is always making sure our employees and work environment is a safe place to work.

As Summer Heats Up, Be Aware of Heat Hazards

Summer is here and with that comes the long scorching hot days. Many people’s careers expose them to heat on the job whether it is outdoor or hot indoor environments.  Jobs that take place in high temperatures, high humidity, direct physical contact with hot objects, or strenuous physical activities have a high chance to harm its employees with heat related illnesses. Every year, thousands of workers become ill from their jobs being exposed to heat for long periods of time, and some have even died. However, this can be prevented!

Why is Heat a Hazard?

When a job is located in a hot environment, the workers body must get rid of excess heat to maintain a stable internal body temperature. In order to maintain our internal body temperature, our body sweats in addition to circulating blood to the skin. However, when air temperatures are close to or warmer than our normal body temperature, cooling the body becomes more difficult. This is when heat exposure in the work force becomes dangerous for our health. When the body cannot get rid of excess heat, it begins to store it. What this means is the body’s core temperature rises along with the heart rate. If the body stores too much heat, the person can begin to lose concentration, become irritable or sick, and can lead to fainting or even death if the person is not cooled down.

How to know when it is too hot

Some ways to figure out when it is just too hot is to be aware of your environmental surroundings. Here are some signs:

  • Temperature rising fast
  • Humidity increase
  • Sun’s UV rises
  • Little to no air movement

These are just a few of the many signs that you should prepare yourself for the heat. A useful tool to use that takes both temperature and humidity into account is the heat index. If you are an outdoor worker, we strongly suggest using the heat index to prepare yourself for your long day of work in the sun.

Prevention of Heat-Related Illness

Some ways to prevent yourself or your employees from suffering from heat-related illnesses in the summer months are:

  • installing air conditioning and ventilation
  • Have break cycles to drink water often to build up a tolerance to work in the heat
  • Look out for symptoms of heat related illness in yourself and others

If you’re beginning a career that involves working outside in hot weather conditions, make sure you are set for the worst conditions so you can help prevent your health from being harmed. Remember to stay hydrated and take periodic breaks in shaded areas. If you begin to feel lightheaded, dizzy, weak, nauseous or suffer from headaches, move to a cooler place, sit down and drink some water.

Dropbox Improves Business Process Management for Brandt

Brandt is the largest mechanical services firm in Texas, so we spend a great deal of time on business process management. When we have problems of our own with workflow processes, we look for partners with the power to innovate and provide real solutions. We knew our document management for field orders needed serious work, so we worked with one of the biggest names out there—Dropbox—for reliable process change.

Brandt uses Dropbox’s services to improve our workflows and minimize costs through better business process management.

The Problem

Our headquarters had no simple way to communicate with techs in the field about work orders and service calls. Our techs were carrying binders full of forms out to job sites, taking up our time and our customer’s time on filling out paper forms. After they faxed or emailed forms back to headquarters, our office staff and supervisors often had trouble finding the right invoice. This was business process management at its worst. Dropbox Business was the solution that saved us time and money—savings we could pass on to our customers.

Dropbox Business

Now that we work with Dropbox Business, we assign jobs to our technicians by uploading service call documentation to shared folders that the techs access on a tablet in real-time. Customers sign the paperwork directly on the tablet, and completed documents are instantly synced with headquarters. Supervisors can approve invoices in hours, rather than the previous turnaround time of up to four weeks. That translates to much faster revenue recognition for our company as a whole.

300% ROI

Three years after our conversion to Dropbox business process management, we’ve had a 300% return on investment. Our Senior Vice President Steve Hayes said, “to see a 300% ROI in our third year was totally beyond our expectations and has transformed how our business works.” We estimate that we’ve shortened every service call by at least 15 minutes. At 120 techs each responding to an average of two calls each day, that’s around $400,000 saved annually.

Want to know more? Check out the Dropbox blog featuring our new workflows. You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Brandt Hires | Spring 2016 College Recruiting Events

brandt-spring-recruiting-events

Brandt is looking for the best and brightest to join our team! We offer opportunity for advancement at every level, and our multi-discipline approach means there’s a place for anyone with the drive to learn and the determination to succeed. Find out when we will be at a career fair near you:

Texas A&M University Engineering Fair
College Station, TX
1/26/2016
9 AM – 4 PM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

Oklahoma State University College of STEM Engineering Fair
Stillwater, OK
2/4/2016
12:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

Texas A&M University Engineering Fair
College Station, TX
2/4/2016
8 AM – 12 PM
Recruiting:
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

Prairie View A&M Spring Career Fair
Prairie View, TX
2/10/16
10 AM – 3 PM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

Texas State University Construction Fair
San Marcos, TX
2/11/2016
12 PM – 4 PM
Recruiting:
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

University of Oklahoma CNS Construction Science
Norman, OK
2/11/2016
4 PM – 6 PM
Recruiting:
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

Southern Methodist University Engineering Fair
Dallas, TX
2/16/2016
4 PM – 6 PM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Assistant Project Managers

University of Texas San Antonio UTSA STEM Career Fair
San Antonio, TX
2/16/2016
8 AM – 11:30 AM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

Texas Tech University Construction, Mechanical & Electrical Engineering Fair
Lubbock, TX
2/17/2016
10 AM – 4 PM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

University of Houston College of Technology Construction Management Fair
Houston, TX
2/17/2016
11 AM – 3 PM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

Baylor University Career & Internship Fair
Waco, TX
2/18/2016
12:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

University Texas Dallas STEM Undergraduate Fair
Dallas, TX
2/18/2016
11 AM – 4 PM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

Oklahoma State University Construction Management Fair
Stillwater, OK
2/18/2016
4 PM – 6:30 PM
Recruiting:
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

University of North Texas Engineering & Computer Science Fair
Denton, TX
2/25/2015
11 AM – 3 PM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

Keep up-to-date with our recruiting team and events by connecting with our communities on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In.

Brandt Companies Honored with TEXO Distinguished Building Award

(DALLAS, TEXAS), January, 25, 2016 – The Brandt Companies, LLC won the prestigious TEXO Distinguished Building Award for its 2015 Chiller Capacity Upgrade at Texas Woman’s University (TWU) in Denton, Texas in the under $5 million category. TEXO is the largest commercial contractors association in Texas and one of the largest affiliated with the national Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

The Brandt Companies, LLC won the prestigious TEXO Distinguished Building Award for its 2015 Chiller Capacity Upgrade at Texas Woman’s University (TWU).

Brandt was the main contractor and performed all mechanical and electrical work to expand the chilled water capacity at the TWU central plant. The complex project included installation of a new 1,500-ton chiller and 1,000-ton cooling tower cell to the existing plant in such a way that did not disrupt operations and chilled water service to the TWU campus. Additionally, Brandt was responsible for the structural work that included extending the foundation and steel framing for cooling tower support and a new retaining wall adjacent to the area.

“The project was a significant undertaking,” said Steve Hayes, senior vice president at Brandt. “It involved not only expanding TWU’s chilled water system but also upgrading structural electrical systems as well. We greatly appreciate that TWU entrusted us with such an important project, and we couldn’t be prouder of our team.”

The TEXO Distinguished Building Award recognizes the skill, commitment and passion that TEXO members have for construction and is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the nation.

TEXO received over 70 submissions competing for 27 building and specialty categories. The winning submissions were featured at the annual Association gala on Thursday, December 3, 2015 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center.

Brandt, the largest mechanical electrical and plumbing services provider in Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Waco, Houston and Austin, designs, builds, services and retrofits energy-efficient building systems. For more than 55 years, the company has helped forward-thinking business leaders design and build facilities that are energy efficient, environmentally sensitive and cost effective. Brandt brings together more than 1,000 highly-trained technicians, top caliber craftsmen, engineers and renowned technology experts to help clients develop strategic solutions for buildings and campuses with minimal facility downtime and maximum productivity.

Brandt | AT&T Center Project Highlights

With an 18,000-seat capacity and over 200 scheduled events a year, the AT&T Center is San Antonio’s hub for some of its most important sporting and cultural events, from San Antonio Spurs games to the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. So when it came time to renovate the center, a contractor with years of experience in mechanical and plumbing installations was needed to take on the large-scope project.

Brandt shares highlights of its mechanical and plumbing installation at San Antonio's popular AT&T Center.

Brandt was awarded the major renovation contract, which included:

  • An overhaul of the VIP Charter level, including new concessions, restrooms, bars and seating areas
  • A new home team locker room and training area, including hydro therapy spas and restrooms
  • New bars and concession areas on the plaza level
  • An overhaul of the Spurs’ coach area

The 750,000 sq. ft. project broke ground on June 15, 2015 and was completed by October of the same year, thanks to a solid effort by a crew of almost 70 workers.

As part of the project’s scope, Brandt installed a number of mechanical and plumbing fixtures and equipment that would bring the AT&T Center up to today’s standards. and ready for the future. Some of the state-of-the-art equipment included an updated BAS system, and a highly efficient new cooling system. In addition, everything from standard plumbing fixtures to kitchen exhaust fans and new air conditioning units were added to the renovated structure.

Brandt is proud to be a part of mechanical and plumbing installations such as the AT&T Center project. To learn more about Brandt, visit us on our website and join our online communities today.