February 2012

Nothing like kicking off 2012 on the right foot. As the new year begins and the homebuilding industry embarks on yet another fresh start, the hope of good things to come should lead the way.

News in early January, of builder confidence on the rise and production of new single-family homes creeping up, certainly has injected some life into a residential market that has been in the doldrums for the better part of four years. Now the matter becomes sustaining such momentum and turning it into a fresh, exciting opportunity for your company.

In early January, the NAHB (National Assn. of Home Builders) reported nationwide production of new single-family homes rose 4.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 470,000 units in December. Not only did this mark the third consecutive increase, but also represented the fastest pace of single-family housing starts since April 2010.

At the same time, builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes climbed for the fourth consecutive month in January. Rising to 25 on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, this number represented the highest level the index has attained since June 2007.

While we still have a ways to go before we can say the housing market is in full recovery mode, both of these figures should certainly inspire some optimism for a market in desperate need of positivity. The good news is if you are still in business and actively building, you have indeed been making the moves necessary to keep your company moving in the right direction. Feel good that you have weathered perhaps one of the strongest storms to hit not only the U.S. housing market, but the economy in general.

As we look out into 2012, if we want the numbers to continue moving upward, it will take a collective effort. Builders, consumers, lenders, government officials, and every piece across the building supply chain will need to do its part to breathe new life into an industry that for all intents and purposes is the lifeblood behind the American economy. The new home is the American dream—always has been and always will be. Nothing is better than being handed the keys to your brand new home, and you as builders should feel a sense of pride and accomplishment that you are part of building, creating, and sustaining the American dream each and every day you go to work.

At Constructech, we have been there to help you make the right business decisions since 1998. Technology, at that time, was just creeping into the mindset of the construction industry. Things like email, scheduling, and basic accounting were the tech tools of choice for the building industry.

Through the years, the construction-technology tools have evolved to include everything from mobile devices that allow you to carry out tasks straight from the field, to more advanced workflow, modeling, and project-control technology that can help take your operations to the next level.

Still, for all the great things technology can help you enable, we at Constructech realize that in tough times you can only invest so much. That is why this year in our annual technology outlook for homebuilding, we have decided to focus on the core: Helping you do more with the technology tools you may already have in place. Because part of the advantage of using technology is sharpening the skill set of those using the systems within your company. Oftentimes, that means a back-to-basics approach for how to manage schedules, produce timely and relevant bids, compile accurate estimates, and track financials, among other tasks. Our goal is to help you set the stage with the idea of allowing technology to guide you forward.

In addition, you will also notice this month’s cover story is a bit of a stray from the norm for Constructech. Rather than profiling a builder or conducting a roundup of builder or tech provider interviews, we instead present to you a compelling story about a couple, with strong and lasting roots in the construction-technology space, stepping out of their comfort zone with an eye on helping the residential construction market. The story of John Bodrozic and Elizabeth Dodson is one of optimism and hope. The service they are providing could be an attractive option you can consider for your customers. Part of the story is around the timing of such a venture, and how the market now seems ready to embrace technology that has been attempted once or twice before in the homebuilding market.

In the end, it is about preparing yourself for the long road ahead. We believe strongly the content you will find in this issue will help you as you embark down that road of recovery.

— Constructech Editors

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