DOZR Blog The Easiest Way to Rent Equipment Sat, 20 Feb 2021 19:44:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 DOZR Blog 32 32 169328251 5 Steps to Renting an Excavator Fri, 19 Feb 2021 14:04:00 +0000 Renting an excavator - or any construction machine - can seem overwhelming. Here are 5 simple steps to take when looking to rent any type of construction equipment.

Read Time: 4 Minutes

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If it’s your first time renting an excavator, or any other kind of construction equipment, you may have a lot of questions. What is a reasonable price to pay? How does delivery work? What happens if it breaks down? Who do you rent from? What type of information do you need to provide when renting?

Renting construction equipment doesn’t have to be complicated or intimidating. Here are some step-by-step tips and tricks when you’re renting an excavator – or any other type of construction equipment.

Step 1: Confirm the Equipment Type – Or Types – You Need to Rent

Before you even start looking to rent an excavator, you must make sure that an excavator is what you need. Studies have shown that using specific equipment for specific jobs not only increases efficiencies on the job site, but it can reduce budget costs, improve workflow and increase on-site safety. 

The first step in renting a machine is to decide what machine is best for the job. If you immediately think backhoe, for example, you may want to consider if renting a mini ex and a skid steer would better serve your project. 

In the same way that project planning and organization is done with purpose, so should the selection process of choosing what machine you need. Every machine is best used for something different. It’s important to be honest with the strengths and weaknesses of each machine and choose the machine that best fits your job – not the machine you’re more comfortable with. That being said, you should always have proper training when operating any type of machine and should rent with that in mind, too.

Step 2: Determine how long you need the machine for. 

Let’s say that for your project you confirm that you need to rent an 18-ton excavator with a trench bucket. In order to successfully rent that machine, length of time or dates for the rental are needed. Daily, weekly and monthly rents are available. 

Of course, rental extensions or getting an additional machine at the end of the set rental period is easy when you use a larger marketplace platform such as DOZR, but getting one machine for the length of time you need it is obviously ideal.

Step 3: Source Your Machine

Now that you know your machine type and for how long you need it, it’s time to source a machine. Heading over to to search the Marketplace is a great way to compare prices, view real-time availability and see what suppliers out there have the machine you need. Makes, models, suppliers and locations can all impact the range of prices out there. 

The biggest change in equipment rentals over the past 5 years is the ability to go to one place to view pricing and availability from a wide range of suppliers. Traditionally, you would have to call or email a variety of suppliers and see what quote they gave you. After waiting for a phone call back, you’d have to compare those quotes, counteroffer, apply for an account, and then, finally, you’d get your rental. Bypass this telephone-tag game by leaning on the latest in Marketplace rentals to make sourcing machines, comparing pricing and viewing suppliers easier than ever.

The DOZR Marketplace gives you as a contractor way more control over what machine you want, who you want to rent it from and does it with the simplicity of a single account.

Step 4: Gather the Information

Now that you’ve compared pricing, found your machine and are happy with the one you’ve selected to rent on DOZR, there’s a few pieces of information that you will need in order to confirm your rental. 

Site location, contact information, company name, email address and whether you want the equipment delivered or not are the basic pieces of information you will have to supply at the time of booking.

Step 5: Enjoy a Stress-Free Equipment Rental

Once you’ve reserved your machine, the DOZR team is there along the way from delivery to off rent to make sure that everything moves smoothly. 

Nervous about booking equipment online? Another benefit of renting on DOZR is that our Team Members are always here to support you. After you book equipment online, a member of the DOZR Team will reach out to you to confirm your booking and ensure that we have everything we need to get you your machine. 

Changes to your rental can also be made by reaching out to a team member here at DOZR after you’ve confirmed your equipment. 

Experience the DOZR difference yourself, today.

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10 Construction Industry Instagram Accounts You Need To Follow Mon, 15 Feb 2021 15:12:00 +0000 With so many Instagram accounts out there, it's hard to know what's worth a follow. Here are 10 industry accounts that you should be following.

Read Tie: 4 Minutes

The post 10 Construction Industry Instagram Accounts You Need To Follow appeared first on DOZR Blog.


Social media isn’t just a great place to showcase your projects and show off your latest equipment. Social media, Instagram especially, can help you connect with other people in the industry, learn about new trends and grow your knowledge within construction. Of course, it is also a great business opportunity to connect with like-minded people in the industry. 

Here are 10 construction and industry Instagram accounts that you need to be following.


For Construction Tech Updates & The DirtStrories Podcast

DOZR Hub Instagram Account

Stay in touch with a leader for ecommerce for construction rentals by following along with DOZR. Producer of the DirtStories podcast, you can get the latest updates on interviews as well as articles from DOZR. Article topics include the “How It’s Built” series from DOZR, industry insights, sustainable trends in the construction industry and on-the-job tips for contractors and business owners. 


For Construction, Design and Landscaping Enthusiasts

Scott McGillivray Instagram

Having hosted an income property show on HGTV, Scott’s social media account is full of stories, DIY tips and reno photos. If you’re looking to follow a contractor account with a more personal story touch, Scott’s Instagram account is for you.


For Construction, Contractors & Those Looking for Insights on Running a Family Business

Missy Scherber instagram

Missy and her husband run a successful excavating and contracting business. T.Scherber Contracting and Missy are based in Minnesota, USA. On her account, Missy shared stories about running a business with her husband, the process of growing a business during the challenging year that was 2020 and provides an interesting perspective on benign a woman in the industry. Lately, Missy is sharing stories about her new HQ for their business. Join the journey of growing a business by following her. 


Photography-Focused Account to Tell Stories About Construction

Blue Collar Photography instagram

This industry is all about equipment and the people who build our world. Get your daily dose machinery and operators with the beautiful photos from Kjell Gerber. His ability to capture the uniqueness of the construction industry in a photo is inspiring. From construction technology to excavators dumping dirt to the men and women who keep those machines moving, @bluecollar_photographer has it all.


Video-Based Content For the Comedian Contractor

Daily Contractor Instagram

The construction industry is a serious job. But it’s also a whole lot of fun. Explore the playful side of the construction industry with the videos from Daily Construction. With videos coming in from different contractors all over the world, Daily Construction never gets old. The video content also diversifies your Instagram feed so there’s always something new to view.


Epoxy Flooring For Those Who Love To See The Process

Tim DCVA Instagram

There’s something so satisfying about nicely finished floors. If aesthetically pleasing flooring and finishes are for you, then you need to follow Tim Seay. Tim’s craftsmanship in combining concrete and epoxy will change the way you look at flooring. 

He does us all a favour and puts together videos that show the entire process. Don’t start watching unless you have some time to kill; It’s way too easy to become obsessed with his videos.


Log Buildings & Behind-The-Scenes Look at a Unique Building Trend

Langberg Log Homes

Turn back time with the incredible log homes created by Langberg Log Homes from Rocky Mountain House in Alberta Canada. Not only can you see some beautiful buildings made from logs, but this account gives an inside look at the process that goes into constructing a log home. The care, attention to detail and stunning finishes will grow your obsession with this building trend. 

If you’re looking for longer-form content, they also have a YouTube channel.


Tips, Tricks & Infographic-Focused Educational Content

Building Science Fight Club

Curious about the “why” in construction? Building Science Fight Club by Christine Williamson is here to help you learn more about the science behind why things are built the way they are. It’s a great account to get some additional learning in the industry in small bite-sized chunks that aren’t too overwhelming.


All About Women In Trades

Trade Women of IG

Get to know some of the women in trades who engage on social media. With plenty of user-generated content, Trades Women of IG is a great account to learn some personal stories and connect with women in construction. If you’re looking for information on what support systems are out there for women in the industry, they also have a lot of inter-industry connections. Send them a message and they’ll be sure to put you on the right path.


Hardscape Landscaping & Almost-Too-Beautiful Designs 

Heart Grit Harscape Instagram

Landscaping is more than dirt, plants and grass. Learn more about the rock side of landscaping with this hardscaping-focused account. With a focus on sharing stories from masons in the industry as well as some tips and tricks when it comes to hardscaping, your inner mason will be inspired by the beautiful works displayed on this account.

Is there an account out there that you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 Things You Need To Know About Electric Construction Equipment Wed, 10 Feb 2021 22:08:10 +0000 Electric construction equipment is becoming more popular. Here are 5 things you need to know about this trending type of construction machinery.

Read Time: 4 Minutes

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Electric construction equipment is one of the latest innovations in construction equipment technology. From making construction projects greener to improving the health and safety of operators, contractors and communities alike, electric equipment is becoming more popular for a reason. Here are 5 things that you need to know about electric construction equipment. 

1. Electric is Healthy for More Than Just The Environment

Electric equipment isn’t just good for the planet. There are health and safety benefits to using electric construction equipment for contractors and the community around a project. Aside from producing zero fumes and improving air quality, electric equipment runs substantially quieter than traditional gas-powered machines. Quieter environments mean less damage to contractors hearing and ears. Ear protection is often overlooked by operators and contractors so reducing the danger from the source would make a big difference. 

Running on electric power reduces the amount of gas and fumes on a site improving air quality for contractors, communities and the world as a whole. Building and construction produces 39% of global carbon emissions and 40% of off-road equipment emissions are created by the construction industry.  When it comes to health and safety, electric equipment makes a difference.

2. Electric is Coming from the Brands You Know and Love

The beauty of electric equipment is that the same brands that are known, loved and trusted are the ones leading the charge for this new technological change. Volvo, Bobcat, CAT, JLG and many other brands have already or will soon be introducing electric equipment to their fleet. 

Contractors can rest assured that the quality, care, support and operation of the machine will not be compromised by going electric. These large names are helping to make electric a viable and reliable option by connecting the upgrade to the brand. This confidence will translate to wider adaption and acceptance of the machines.

3. Electric Will Reduce Project Costs

Fuel costs are one of the biggest money-eaters for a construction project. It can cost thousands of dollars to fuel machines for the length of a project. While electric-powered machines still cost money to charge, it is substantially cheaper than the cost of gas.

While cars are much smaller and powerful than construction equipment, the cost comparisons of an electric vs hybrid vs gas-powered car show just how economical electric can be. 

An Ontario Government cost comparison places electric vehicles at about $530 a year to charge and drive. Hybrids are estimated to cost $700 a year while a comparable gas car can cost upwards of $2,500 a year to fuel. Imagine the savings that could be applied to the construction industry.

Not having fuel tanks on-site reduces the risk of fuel spills or gas leaks as well. Environmental protection standards can lead to high costs for projects in the event of an accident or spillage. Taking the gas out of the equation can help save project owners money when it comes to cleanups.

4. Electric Equipment Could Positively Affect Project Timelines

Because electric machines make much less noise than traditional machines, electric-powered construction projects may be able to work earlier mornings or later days. In many cities, limitations on noise can force projects to stop during certain times of day. When electric equipment becomes more widespread, it may change the rules around operation times for construction sites. 

This could come in handy for areas with extreme weather. During the summer months, early or evening hours can be far cooler than during the day. Working in off-hours or overnight could be safer and reduce the risk of heatstroke for contractors and operators. Freedom in work hours could positively affect project timelines by reducing downtime, lengthening workdays and working with the weather instead of battling against it.

5. Electric Equipment is Growing in Popularity in the Rental Industry

Electric equipment is starting to be seen in the rental market. As popularity grows for the industry as a whole the availability of electric rentals will as well. This is great news for the project managers and operators who can’t afford to purchase the new equipment themselves but want to experience the benefits.

Looking to rent electric construction equipment? A selection is available now for rent on DOZR. Give the DOZR team a call to learn what types of electric equipment is available now near you.

Electric construction is great for contractors, for project budgets and for the environment. It’s clear that it will be more common to see these machines on construction sites in the coming years.

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Building Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Fri, 05 Feb 2021 20:15:47 +0000 Raymond James Stadium is an iconic stadium in the NFL. Learn about how and why this structure was built and how one man made the whole thing happen.

Read Time: 4 Minutes

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On average, 16.5 million people will watch an NFL football game. Over 37% of all Americans say that football is their favourite sport to watch. The NFL has grown a lot since its inception in 1920 and today 32 teams play to have the chance to win the yearly Super Bowl. When only two teams stand and that iconic game happens, it’s more than just the teams and players themselves who are on display. The iconic spaces and stadiums that house the games get just as much attention. 

The 55th Super Bowl and the 51st Modern-Era National Football League Championship Game will be played at the Raymond James Multi-Purpose Stadium in Tampa Florida. But how and why was the iconic “Ray Jay” stadium built?

The Need for a New Stadium

In 1995 Malcolm Glazer bought the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and immediately declared that the team was in need of an adequate and updated stadium. Until then the team played and practised at the Tampa Stadium – also known as Houlihan’s Stadium. He threatened to move the team to another city unless a new stadium was built. Without Glazer making such huge threats and single-handedly pushing for a new stadium, Raymond James would never have been built.

Fundraising and financing the construction of a new stadium was perhaps the hardest part of the project. Tampa and Hillsborough County came together to propose a Community Investment Tax so that public money could help to fund it. Glazer promised to pay half the cost of construction if fans purchased at least 50,000 season tickets. The referendum for the tax passed. Unfortunately, season tickets cost between $190 – $2,500 USD per seat and sales were about 17,000 short. He pulled his funding. Ultimately the project was completely funded by public money. 

The Tampa Bay Sports Authority owns and manages the stadium to this day but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lease it as their home stadium.

Construction of the Raymond James Stadium

The project was massive. Ray Jay was built right by the old Tampa Stadium before they tore it down. For a majority of construction, fans could sit in the old stadium and watch as an innovative field was built right next to them. Wrecking balls and long-reach excavators were used for much of the process of demolishing the old stadium. The last bit of it was taken down with explosives. 

Huber, Hunt & Nichols joined in with Metric Constructors of Tampa to lead the project. However, they were only two of the many big names behind the project. Over 60 general contractors participated in finishing the entire project. Some of the original contractors, such as MMC Contractors were brought back to complete updates later on.

Buccaneer Cove

Something that makes Ray Jay stadium so unique is the “Buccaneer Cove” that lives at the northern end zone of the field. Designed after a 19th-century pirate village and complete with a 103 foot Pirate Ship, there is simply no other stadium out there like it. It cost $3 million to build this particular section of the stadium and the Pirate ship is an iconic tourist attraction for fans and first-time visitors alike. 

The ship was designed by Bill Nassel who owns an Orlando company that specializes in building large iconic structures. He was the perfect man for the job as his company had completed work for AO Schwartz, Universal Studios and Planet Hollywood in Disney World.  It took 71 days to build it.

An article from 1998 in the Tampa Bay Business Journal states that at the time of construction, the Raymond James Stadium was set to be the most advanced and comfortable stadium in all of the National Football League.

The Construction Process

The typical construction process of a football stadium – or any type of outdoor stadium, really – is to first start with the seating bowl. Seats are usually situated on the inside of a ring-like stadium that houses shops, stalls, washrooms and other amenities. The foundation for the seats would need to be finished before working on the actual structure. 

Once the foundation and seating is arranged, then the enclosure and stadium facade can begin. Infrastructure such as plumbing, AC and heating, garbage and trash disposal, wiring, etc can be put in place as this construction process happens. 

Parking lots and outside landscaping usually happens before or during the process of finishing up the field. The field however always comes last. The grade and quality of the field itself is of utmost priority. Bringing in lifts, diggers and machines after working on the field doesn’t make sense so putting in the effort to make it a quality field was done after all other major construction was finished.

Grass for NFL stadiums is never grown in the stadium itself. To ensure quality and consistency it is usually grown by a sod company and then imported to the stadium in rolls and flats. This would have been the very last step in completing the stadium: bringing in and laying the sod. 

The Raymond James Stadium opened on September 20, 1998, for a game between the Buccaneers and the Bears. Of course, the Buccaneers won.

Field Quality in Football Stadiums

Turf and grass is a big factor in the game of football. Turf that is too hard could affect the impact absorption when players hit the ground. Too soft sod can also be a problem. Aaron James has called out the soft turn at Raymond James Stadium, stating that the soft surface could be behind the multiple injuries he’s sustained while playing at the stadium. The NFL does take precautions to make sure that all turf – synthetic and real – meets a set of standards to ensure that fields are meeting quality standards for the sport. 

Ray Jay stadium doesn’t have synthetic grass. It uses Tifway 419 Bermuda Grass. The grass is not grown in the stadium but is shipped in is flats of sod and installed prior to games. Grass is grown specifically for the Super Bowl every year and is immediately removed after the game is done. The grass is usually repurposed in nurseries or surrounding landscape projects.

Fast Facts on Ray Jay Stadium

It cost $168.5 million USD to build the stadium. During construction, the project was known as the Tampa Community Stadium. Naming rights were bought by St. Petersburg-based Raymond James Financial. They purchased the rights in June of 1998 for $32.5 million. Throughout the years, the rights have been extended and Raymond James will stick as the name-sake of the stadium until at least 2028. Raymond James Stadium can seat 65,618 people but can expand to 75,000 with additional temporary seating.

Raymond James Stadium Today

While it was built to be a football field, Raymond James Stadium has hosted a number of events. WrestleMania, soccer games, concerts and music festivals have all taken place in this open air space. In February of 2021, the Raymond James Stadium will host the 55th Super Bowl Sunday between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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Approachable Ecommerce: Why Ecommerce Built for The Equipment Rental Industry Matters Thu, 04 Feb 2021 16:29:12 +0000 Having ecommerce is not the same as having approachable ecommerce. The difference? The confidence and ease in using it for businesses and their customers. Learn why approachability matters in ecommerce and when digitizing your business.

Read Time: 5 Minutes

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Ecommerce is a term that is gaining traction in all industries. What may have started as a retail-specific term has evolved into a buzzword related to online buying, booking, purchasing or renting in all industries. The most influential piece of this drastic change is not the industries themselves, but the needs and expectations of their customers as they themselves adapt to an increasingly digital world. The construction industry is included in this. 

Curious about Ecommerce?

Learn more about what ecommerce is, how COVID has changed it and why it’s becoming so popular. 

At its basic function, ecommerce is meant to simplify the purchasing process for customers and act as a facilitator for business owners to conduct their business in an online space. But online shopping is not always synonymous with easy online shopping. 

Having ecommerce isn’t the same as having approachable ecommerce. 

In order for the mass-migration of shopping from brick-and-mortar stores to websites to work, ecommerce must be approachable for both business owners and their customers. This is where the construction industry’s unique position once again comes into play.

The Unique Nature of Construction

Many ecommerce websites and solutions for businesses were created with retail, vacationers or shopping in mind. The construction industry is incredibly unique in that its community members have specific needs, face one-of-a-kind challenges and have a distinct set of wants and needs when it comes to shopping or renting online.  Not to mention most transactions include high-price purchases of materials or of renting large machines to projects. It’s a scale that isn’t seen in other industries. 

Until now, the needs of the construction industry – let alone the rental aspects of the construction industry – have not been a priority. The development of technology for construction by construction is new. Much newer than it should be. 

Ecommerce only really works if both equipment suppliers or companies have the ability to create quality ecommerce experiences for their customers that are still true to their brands. Their customers also need to have confidence in the system while knowing where to go and how to use the online checkout.

The attention to industry-specific needs, the ability to work with preferred accounts and to save and send quotes all make the shopping needs of the construction industry more complicated than any other. 

No wonder contractors prefer to buy materials and book equipment over the phone. That being said, the benefits of technological efficiency and productivity won’t let the “norm” continue forever.

Why Ecommerce Is Needed in the Construction Industry

Unfortunately “business as usual” just isn’t going to be possible anymore. As the entire industry begins embracing digitalization, changes in the planning, purchasing and renting process are going to follow. 

It’s a shopping ecosystem that lives and feeds off each other; As customer expectations change and begin to look online for shopping and for product information, companies will also have to adjust to meet those new expectations. 

On the other hand, many construction companies that supply projects and materials – and now even heavy equipment rentals – want to take advantage of the latest technologies and offer an online shopping experience. Once customers begin to be comfortable with the ecommerce options out there for construction, the trend will grow. It’s great for simplifying internal processes, can increase efficiencies and reduce business costs. There are a lot of benefits to adapting to new technologies. 

What makes approachability in the world of ecommerce so much more challenging for the construction industry is that it’s often last on the list of design and innovation. While the industry has grown a lot with technology, digital software is moving so fast that it can be hard to keep up. It makes these new programs seem intimidating or even scary – and most definitely not approachable. This is especially true when companies try to integrate technology not made for their industry and attempt to “make it work”.

Approachable Ecommerce: What Is It?

Approachability is a big factor in moving forward with new technologies, especially ecommerce. It manifests itself in two major ways: 

1) having the confidence and ability to add ecommerce to your website as a company and 

2) being comfortable in the quality of service that your customers will still get with the new software. 

The biggest challenge with the first point is that ecommerce software involves technological aspects that many regional rental houses and small rental companies don’t have. Up until 2020, there wasn’t an approachable option for the industry. That’s why WebStores Powered by DOZR was such a game-changer for the industry – it provided a fully integrated, white labelled ecommerce software solution. The biggest difference was that was made specifically for the rental industry and addresses all the individual needs of construction equipment rentals. It was designed so that any rental company of any size can use it. 

“White labelled” refers to software that is created by one company specifically to be used by another. It does not hold the branding or wording from the initial company and is designed to be personalized by whoever is using it. The word comes from the imagery of a product arriving with a blank white label for the initial purchaser to put their own name on it.

WebStores: Ecommerce Made for Construction Equipment Rentals

By utilizing an ecommerce platform explicitly made for construction equipment rentals you don’t have to compromise anything that makes the construction industry special.  Personalize your ecommerce rental store with branding, equipment categories, prices, special accounts and preferred customer rates and company contact information. 

You can provide your customers with an online rental experience while still offering the quality service they expect when renting with your business. And you don’t need to know anything about coding, writing programs or building website pages to adapt to the new world of digital technologies.

Approachable Ecommerce – Programs Made Specifically for the Industry

The construction industry evolved so quickly over 2020. Changes, technological updates and digitization processes are moving at hyperspeed – ultimately it can make it more challenging to keep up with it all. Approachability and confidence in making these changes is more important than ever. 

With so much “adaptation”, the creation of programs specifically designed for the rental industry is so valuable. The industry has unique needs and has faced unique challenges in 2020. It’s time for the rental industry to embrace solutions designed specifically for them. The rental industry deserves to enjoy the benefits of approachable software that solves problems without creating more.

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Building the White House, Washington, DC Wed, 27 Jan 2021 17:59:00 +0000 The White House is perhaps the most famous building in the world. A symbol of power and a beacon of hope, the White House has lived through over 220 years of history. Learn all about the history and construction of this famous building.

Read Time: 6 Minutes

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The White House is perhaps the most iconic building in the entire world. From suspense dramas and tv shows to daily news reports and press photos, the Oval Office and the iconic structure of the White House are recognizable across the world. For something that we see so often and associate with perhaps the most powerful position in the world, what do we know about how this iconic building at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was built?

An artistic interpretation of the construction of the White House in 1792. Image borrowed from The White House Museum.

What Makes Up the White House?

The White House has 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 6 levels, 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases and 3 elevators. The 55,000 square feet of space features a housing wing for the First Family, a number of meeting and entertainment rooms, staff offices, five full-time chefs, a movie theatre (called the White House Family Theatre), jogging track, swimming pool and bowling alley – just to name a few.

Main Parts of the White House

There are three main parts of the white house: The West Wing, East Wing and the Residence. The West Wing houses the offices of the President, the Oval Office, Cabinet Room, Situation Room and the Roosevelt Room. The East Wing often is used as an office space for the First Lady and her staff. This includes as well the White House Social Secretary, Correspondence staff, and other communications and marketing employees. 

The main part of the White House is the Executive Residence. It’s the most recognizable part of the White House and is the actual “house” part of the building. There are four main floors to the residential part of the White House. A kitchen, library, reception room, map room, grand hall and staircase, and a variety of other entertainment rooms can be found in this part of the White House. There is also a separate “private apartment” on the second floor that is used exclusively for the first family.

Redecorating the White House

Every first family has the right to update, redecorate and make the White House their home for the time they’re there.

North and South Portico of the White House

Why was the White House Built?

The White House was built for mainly political reasons and is linked to the founding of Washington, DC. Although the United States was officially founded by the Founding Fathers on July 4, 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War continued on for a few more years. At the time Philadelphia was being used as the American Capitol but this was set to change.

Founding Washington DC

With the Revolutionary War going on, there was pressure from both Northern and Southern states to move the capital to a more impartial place. The North, led by Alexander Hamilton, wanted the new federal government to help take on some of the debts created by the war. The south and Thomas Jefferson wanted a U.S. Capitol that was located in a more accessible and friendly location for those in the south with agricultural and slave-holding interests. Unfortunately, this was a reality of the time. 

The official founding of the District of Columbia took place on July 16, 1790 when Maryland and Virginia both gave the government parcels of land to be carved out for an all-encompassing capital; Washington, DC was born.

Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s map of Washington.  Image borrowed from Smithsonian Magazine.

Designing Washington

President George Washington was the one who decided on the location between the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. He enlisted the work of Pierre Charles L’Enfant to plan the city. The District of Columbia was designed to include awe-inspiring streets, grand walkways, beautiful parks, and a planned grid system with The Capitol building right in the center. 

Philadelphia continued to act as a “placeholder” capital while construction started.

A Home Fit for a President

The White House was designed specifically to act as both a living and workspace for the President of the United States. President Washington created a contest open to architects for the design of the building. The winner of this contest was James Hoban – an Irish architect whose work Washington had admired in the past. In fact, President George Washington personally invited James to Philadelphia in 1792 to enter the contest. 

Later that year, on October 13, 1792 President George Washington laid the first stone of what would become the White House.

Construction of the White House

The original design of the White House was slightly longer and a few stories taller than the final design. It was at President George Washington’s request that the building was to be built completely out of stone instead of the traditional red brick used in most buildings. Aquia Creek Sandstone was used for the construction. 

There were a number of European – more specifically Scottish – masons that were brought over to American to assist in the construction. Sandstone is notoriously porous but, thankfully, the Scottish masons knew a solution to the possible problem. Once the building was complete, they used a thick whitewash to help seal the stone. It was part of what started to make the building look white – giving it its notorious nickname, the White House.  Today, the White House is painted almost every year to maintain the famous white facade.

The White House and Slavery

The original plan was to mainly employ Europeans for the White House project. Congress was tasked with recruiting Europeans to come over to America to help with construction. However, recruitment was much lower than expected. Washington, DC at the time was in the middle of nowhere and no one wanted to go. 

They had nowhere near enough workers. With both Maryland and Virginia being slave-owning states at the time, their influence played a big part in the acquisition of labores.  A large majority of the contractors on the project were enslaved and freed African Americans. Managers and commissioners on the project owned slaves and this played into the decision as well. The other part of the workforce was mainly immigrants which included the Scottish masons.

Michelle Obama addressed this in a powerful speech she delivered at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July of 2016. She addressed both the progress made by African American people in the United States as well as women in power. 

This is the unfortunate reality of the building and it is important to recognize the role of African American slaves in the construction of many historical buildings in the US.

Building Materials

The sandstone was taken from a stone quarry that the government purchased in 1791 which was located a few miles inland from the Potomac River. It was ideal because the stone could be easily transported by boat up to the construction site. The same stone was also used to construct the Capitol Building. Wood from both Maryland and Virginia forests were felled and used for flooring and roof timber. 

Some historical study of the stone used to build the White House indicates that it was sawed to size. Much of the work would have been done by hand with wooden scaffolding providing a working platform as the project grew. It’s a good indication as to why the project took ten years to build.

Moving In

Construction took place from October 13, 1790 and finished on November 1, 1800. Since then, a number of updates, additions, reconstructions and renovations have taken place. President George Washington never actually lived in the White House and President John Adams was the first to ever reside inside the building. Since then, every president in United States history has lived inside this iconic building.

Reconstruction of the White House

The White House as we know it today is not the same one that was built in the 1790s. That first construction project was mainly just the Residence. President after president added and renovated the building until it resulted in what we recognize today. The notorious semi-circle South and North Portico were built in 1824 and 1829 respectively. An expansion of the West Wing added the Oval Office. 

One of the more notorious reconstruction jobs was in 1815 after the British army set the building ablaze on August 24, 1814 during the war of 1812. James Hoban was brought back to lead the reconstruction at this time.

In 1990 during a course of restoration of the building, some of the white paint was removed. At this time, contractors uncovered some scars left on the building during the 1914 raid – proof that history literally lives with this building. 

The design of the building was created with what James Hoban knew at the time in 1790. Steel was not seen very often as a structural material so he relied a lot on archways to help support and hold up the building. When President Truman did an overhaul renovation of the White House in the 1940s, he added steel to the structure. Plaster and mouldings were used to recreate the original design of the building.

Scars from the 1814 fire appeared 176 years later, in 1990, when white paint was removed from the walls in the course of restoration. Image borrowed from White House History.

The White House Gardens

For many people the White House is more than the building itself. The grand lawns, rose gardens and adjacent parks play a big part in making the house what it is. One of the most iconic gardens and beloved public spaces of the White House is the Rose Garden.

Bordering the Oval Office and the West Wing, the White House Rose Garden began to be formed in 1902 by Edith Roosevelt – First Lady of the White House at the time. Before, this part of the grounds held stables to house horses and coaches. As times changed, however, the need for such things dissolved. Her idea was to create a “proper colonial garden” instead of building a conservatory in the space. In 1913, First Lady Ellen Louise Axson Wilson planned and planted the Rose Garden which replaced the Colonial Garden. Ever since, this part of the White House landscape has been known as the Rose Garden. 

Through the years, many updates, changes and renovations have also taken place in the Rose Garden. 

The White House Today

As of January 20, 2021, Joe Biden is the 46th president of the United States and the 45th to live in the White House. To live or even visit this building is to stand in history. There’s no doubt that the White House is a physical representation of all the challenges, changes, evolutions and growth that has happened in America over the past 220 years. 

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Moving Dirt: Why We Do It and The Best Machines For The Job Fri, 22 Jan 2021 15:53:05 +0000 Moving dirt is an integral part of any construction project. Digging, transporting and piling dirt is vital to building strong foundations and keeping construction sites safe. Learn all about moving dirt.

Read Time: 4 Minutes

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Whether you’re a contractor on-site or a community member watching from the sidelines, there’s no arguing that a big part of a construction project involves moving dirt. It’s perhaps one of the most frustrating questions that contractors can get – why they do nothing all day but move dirt around. What many people don’t know is that digging, scooping and transporting dirt is a huge and valuable part of a construction project.

Why We Dig

Digging and moving dirt in the construction industry is as vital as seeing patients is to a doctor or being on the computers is to an office administration person. In order to build a strong foundation and have a level building, digging holes and hauling dirt is needed. As projects grow, excess material needs to be shifted and moved as machines and people need to get into new spaces. 

Digging is synonymous with building; you can’t have one without the other.

The Connection Between Moving Dirt and Building a Foundation

Any construction project is only as good as its foundation. Rushing this first step can result in challenges later on. These can include structural issues, shifting and settling of frames and walls or even within the foundation itself. 

Grading a proper and level foundation, digging holes deep enough to support the new building and having a stable environment for a project to be built on is key. Moving dirt, hauling debris and constructing this vital foundation will happen on any construction project.

What You Probably Didn’t Know About Moving Dirt

When digging up and moving materials on a construction site, it creates a unique opportunity to monitor the soil quality and any kind of unearthed debris that may not have been predicted. Construction projects require soil testing at the beginning of projects to test to check for contamination, organic and sand content and strength. 

The makeup of the soil on which you build your project can impact the outcome. Specific types of soil compact quicker or absorb more water. All of these could impact the construction process or requirements of a project.

Best Machines for Moving & Digging Dirt

There are a number of great digging machines out there for contractors and even more machines that can help move and transport dirt around and off of a construction site. 

The most common digging machine is an excavator. While you can get auger attachments for skid steers or backhoes, excavators are the go-to machines for digging. With a variety of sizes, bucket attachments and varieties such as long-reach or wheeled excavators, it’s understandable why excavators are often referred to simply as “diggers”.

When it comes to moving dirt, there’s a bit more variety.

Front-loaders and backhoes are common for moving dirt. Backhoes are the best-of-both-worlds since they have the excavator arm on the back and a bucket on the front. Front-loaders can often carry a lot of dirt and are ideal for moving large quantities of dirt around a bigger site.

For smaller projects, skid steers are great for moving dirt around. Telehandlers have the advantage of lifting dirt higher than any traditional bucket or front loader. They also have a lower cab height, making them ideal for certain projects.

Of course, rock trucks or dump trucks are best for relocating large quantities of dirt or carrying debris off-site.

Moving Dirt Will Always be A Big Part of Construction

Any time you are building something new, foundations need to be built and the ground needs to be levelled. During a project, debris and dirt needs to be removed or relocated. Finishing touches, site cleanup and landscaping at the end of a project will also require moving dirt. 

There’s a reason moving dirt is one of the most recognized visuals of a construction project. It’s important to recognize it’s vital impact on a project and all the value that it brings to the industry.

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Top 5 Green Trends in Construction Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:29:00 +0000 Green construction has grown in the industry. There's so many different ways that these trends can be seen in the industry. Get to know the top 5 green trends growing in the construction industry.

Read Time: 4 Minutes

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Green construction is a rising industry topic. The interesting thing about green construction trends is that it manifests itself in the industry in a few different ways.

From construction equipment and project management processes to actual building materials and the planning and design of projects themselves, green practices can be found at all levels of projects

 Here are 5 top green construction trends to think about for 2021.

1. Electric & Battery Operated Construction Equipment

Electric construction equipment isn’t new but it is getting bigger. Construction equipment needs to be heavy-duty and able to withstand long days doing tough jobs. For a long time, electric equipment was limited to small landscaping machines or hand-held construction tools. However, thanks to the innovation of some of the biggest names in construction equipment, electric equipment is coming. 

There are a few bonuses to electric construction equipment. Not only does it reduce emissions which is great for the environment, but it lowers fuel costs for construction companies. Electric machines are also much quieter. This is helpful to reduce noise pollution, limit ear damage for construction workers and help keep communities happier with early-morning construction.

Electric Excavator

2. Sustainable Building Materials

One of the biggest changes that have happened in construction during the green movement revolves around building materials. Sustainably sourced materials that can last a long time or are recyclable take priority now. 

The growth of this trend is seen in the rise of lumber construction projects. The idea of a multi-story building being built of wood in the 21st century sounds counterintuitive. This is reality.

3. Eco-Rehabilitation Construction Projects

The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan is a great example of this. After studies came out about the impact that dams and construction projects had on the ecosystem in the Florida Everglades, the state decided to restore the area. Construction projects are now underway to reverse the impact of previous projects. 

These “eco-rehabilitation” construction projects are becoming more popular. Construction is also playing a part in green-ifying the planet by building structures that support eco-rehabilitation. Green and living walls and animal passages over highways are becoming more popular as well.

4. LEED Certification

LEED Certification is the only globally recognized certification to class buildings as being green. Buildings that are LEED Certified spend less on heating and cooling, can charge more for rent, and can feel good about the impact their project has on the environment. 

As LEED popularity grows, project owners are starting to look specifically for construction companies that have experience or know-how when it comes to green construction. Construction companies can set themselves apart for future projects by learning about the LEED Certification process.

5. Being Involved in Natural Disasters More than Ever

Another way that construction is tackling green construction and environmental issues is by being more involved than ever in natural disasters. 

When the Australian wildfires happened in January 2020, there was a lot of talk about the role of construction materials and the industry as a whole with fire prevention and protection. Non-toxic materials and taking location into consideration when choosing building materials was highlighted as an important change that needs to happen in the industry. 

Modular construction to expedite building processes, innovative panelling to protect roads during volcanoes and 3D printing technology which can build shelters in a matter of days are all changing how construction interacts with communities during times of disaster.

Green construction it’s just about reducing toxic materials or waste on construction sites. From small changes to industry-shifting innovations, green construction is more integrated in the industry than you may think.  Before long, it’ll be impossible to find a construction project that isn’t at least a little bit green. The more construction companies embrace this trend, the quicker they can set themselves up for success in the future. 

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In Big Data, Less Is More: What You Should Use Data For Wed, 20 Jan 2021 19:34:08 +0000 Big data is a buzzword in construction that can be confusing to understand. There are a few ways that data can be used in construction to help you streamline your planning and construction process.

Read Time: 5 Minutes

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Big data is a buzzword that’s been circulating in Silicon Valley circles for a few years. It’s started to make its way into other industries and, once adopted, is quickly becoming an invaluable tool. Companies across the spectrum generate massive amounts of information every day, but they don’t necessarily need programs that will sort and organize every single thing. When it comes to this sort of data collection, less is definitely more. 

What should you be using it for in the construction industry?

Breaking Down Big Data Into Smaller Bites

According to data experts, in 2020, internet users generated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. By 2025, that number will climb to more than 463 exabytes. The average construction project contributes to this massive number. Large projects can require upwards of 130 million emails, as well as documents and workflows that all need to be stored somewhere. 

More than 95% of that data doesn’t ever get used again. It’s stashed in a hard drive or a cloud storage system and forgotten, left to collect digital dust when it could instead have a dramatic impact on the construction industry. The trick with this information isn’t to try and make sense of all of it at once. It’s to break it down into smaller bites that are easier to swallow. 

Let’s take a closer look at the different types of uses for these small bites of big data in the construction industry. You’ll find there are many benefits to adopting it into all aspects of your business.

Data in the Design Phase

We start, as with any project, in the design phase. This stage generates a massive amount of data. You’ll collect historical and environmental information about the location, and you’ll launch social media campaigns and email chains a mile long. You’ll collect stakeholder and client input and gather all those stats in one place. Trying to look at it all at once is liable to be overwhelming. 

Instead of drowning in data, invest in a construction software program like one designed for building information modeling (BIM). This isn’t your traditional CAD program. This machine-learning system collects data from all the sources listed above — and more — and builds a digital model of the entire process, from breaking ground to the eventual ribbon cutting. 

The more data the program has, the more accurate its predictions become. Some studies show that a comprehensive BIM can cut expenses by up to 18% and even reduce the amount of time it takes to complete a project.

Data in the Construction Phase

Once we have a design in hand, the next step is to break ground and start construction, creating something from the ground up to the designer’s specifications. This phase also generates a massive amount of data, but it’s more than just emails and digital blueprints this time. This is where the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) comes into play. Networked devices and sensors can collect data on the ground on everything from vehicle fuel economy to how long it takes to complete a task. 

Sensors equipped with GPS tags can even submit geolocations to the database to help the system determine the best way to proceed. They can optimize efficiency and improve logistics while avoiding costly downtime that could put deadlines in jeopardy. Wearable technology for crew members is also growing in popularity because their information can contribute to the growing database. 

You don’t need to use every single bit of data this system collects. Instead, program it to make decisions based on the most important factors. This could mean targeting waste reduction or improving efficiency, but the exact details will vary depending on the precise needs of your job site.

Data in the Operational Phase

Finally, it’s time to move on to the operational phase. Grand openings are over, and the building is now open and functioning. Sensors are still a valuable tool here for collecting all sorts of data, depending on the project’s purpose. Roads and sidewalks can use sensors to collect information on traffic — both vehicular and pedestrian. They can also monitor the structure’s health to determine when it needs repairs and how much traffic it can withstand before upgrades are necessary. 

The exact sort of data will vary depending on the type of structure. In some cases — such as with homes or other private spaces — you may need to acquire permission to allow for collection. Doing so will be well worth the effort, though.

Under most circumstances, you’re not going to be using this data to correct problems with existing buildings. Instead, it becomes a pool of information to draw from so you can make changes to designs and procedures to prevent future problems. The more data you have, the more accurate and useful your predictions and alterations become. Machine learning and big data have the potential to become the closest thing we have to clairvoyance, at least when it comes to predicting what the future of construction projects might look like. 

The Future of Data in Construction

As its name suggests, big data can become overwhelming, especially for those who aren’t experts in the field. Consider dipping your toes in before diving in with both feet. It can be an invaluable tool, but if you go in with the mindset of needing to process and utilize every single byte, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed. Take your time getting used to the many benefits of this methodology.

Big data may have started as a Silicon Valley buzzword, but it has not stayed that way. Nearly every industry in the world can benefit from a way to organize and make use of the massive amounts of information they generate on a daily basis. Don’t try to tackle it all at once. You’ll likely find there are untold benefits waiting for you to uncover once you start excavating all the data you’ve collected over the years.

This article was written by a guest author. Rose Morrison is the managing editor for Renovated.

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The Top 6 Things Contractors Need to Know About Mechanics Liens Tue, 19 Jan 2021 12:39:00 +0000 A staple in some states as a part of the construction project process, mechanics liens can be confusing and overwhelming for new contractors or contractors who haven't dealt with them before. Get the basics on what mechanics liens are and why they can be useful.

Read Time: 4 Minutes

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A mechanics lien is one of the most powerful payment tools available to contractors, but it’s also one of the most misunderstood. Here are 6 things that every contractor needs to know about their lien rights — and why they are so important.

1. Mechanics Liens are Powerful

There are many reasons why mechanics liens are so effective at resolving payment problems. Perhaps the biggest reason is that it quickly gets the attention of the property owner and any lenders on the project. A lien makes your problem their problem. Once you file a lien, it’s all hands on deck to make sure you get paid. 

Another major reason they’re so effective is that anyone can do it — in the vast majority of cases, filing a lien doesn’t require a lawyer or a lawsuit. If you haven’t been paid, you can fill out a lien claim, take it down to the county recorder’s office, and file it the same day.

2. You Have the Right to File a Lien

Every state has laws that give contractors the right to file a mechanics lien claim for non-payment. As soon as you start working on or providing materials to a construction project, you’re eligible for the protection of lien rights. This means that, as long as you follow the steps and meet certain requirements, you can file a lien if you don’t get paid.

3. You Can Lose Your Lien Rights

If you fail to send a notice or miss a deadline, you can lose these rights. In some cases, you may also end up losing your rights if you sign the wrong type of lien waiver. (Pro tip: until the money is in your bank account, watch out for final unconditional lien waivers.)

While every state has lien laws, the rules in each state are different. In some states, you need to  send a notice within 20 days of starting work to secure lien rights. In others, you only need to send a notice before actually filing a lien claim. The deadlines for sending notice, filing a lien, or enforcing your lien can vary dramatically from state-to-state.

4. A Mechanics Lien Attaches to Property, Not a Person

In order to fully appreciate the importance of a mechanics lien, you have to understand how it works. When you file a lien, it attaches to the property that you’re working on. If the property changes hands, your mechanics lien claim will generally stay intact, ensuring that you have payment protection. 

If you decide to take the extra step of enforcing your lien, you can potentially force the owner to sell the property and use the proceeds to pay your debt.

5. It is Actually a Process (not just a document)

To file a claim, you’ll first need to fill out a mechanics lien form. But submitting that form is only one step in the process. Each state has a slightly different process, and the same documents aren’t required in every one. But if you follow these three steps, you’ll be protected in pretty much any situation:

1. Send a preliminary notice
preliminary notice is typically sent to the property owner, GC, and any lenders at the beginning of a project, either before or soon after you begin work. It lets them know that you’re on the job, what work you’re doing, and that you expect to be paid.

2. Send a notice of intent to lien
A notice of intent to lien is sent after payment is late, and typically a week or two before you’re ready to file a lien. It serves as a warning to the owner to resolve your payment dispute — or put their property at risk.

3. File a mechanics lien claim
If you still haven’t been paid, contractors must file a mechanics lien in the county where the property is located, where it will be included in the property records.

6. The Mechanics Lien Process Actually Helps You Avoid Mechanics Liens

It sounds like a contradiction, but it’s true. Each step in the lien process is incredibly effective on its own, reducing the likelihood that you’ll ever need to file a lien. 

When you send a preliminary notice, you put yourself on the property owner’s radar. They know that on payday, you’ll be expecting a check…and ready to take action if you don’t. Sending one simple document greatly increases your chances of getting paid on time, and reduces the likelihood of ever having to file a lien!

A notice of intent to lien is like an invoice reminder with teeth. It lets the owner know that you haven’t been paid, and that they still have time to prevent a mechanics lien by paying your invoice. 

It’s important to remember that everyone wants you to get paid on time. The owner wants to avoid a lien on their property just as much as you want to avoid filing one. The threat of a mechanics lien can be a powerful motivational tool.  With great power comes great responsibility, as they say. Use this power wisely. 

Want to learn more about payment in the construction industry?

Alex joined us on an episode of DirtStories to talk about payment in construction.

This article was written by a guest author. Alex Benarroche is from Levelset

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