Industry Trends7 min

A Solution for the Labor Shortage?

How Product Design and Training Are Mitigating the Lack of Skilled Labor

The on-going shortage of skilled labor in the construction field is forcing manufacturers to find creative ways to deal with it, particularly in product design and training. First, the products themselves need to be intuitive and designed to eliminate unnecessary mistakes. Sub-flooring products offer a good example of how to design for easy installation.

Check out these eight common sub-floor installation mistakes and how to avoid them.

Secondly, training materials industry-wide are getting more visual and concise. Helpful infographics and installation videos are replacing text-only installation instructions. 

“I would challenge all manufacturers to greatly expand their use of video and start YouTube channels so that construction newcomers can watch a video rather than getting bogged down reading installation instructions,” says Shawn Van Dyke, a leading construction industry coach, author and speaker. “If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million.”

Watch this video to learn about the advantages of using LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding products and how to install them.

Van Dyke feels that brilliantly designed products and training materials are only part of the solution to the nagging labor shortage problem. "It's no secret that the value of a traditional college education is not what it used to be, but parents keep telling their kids that it's the only path to a high-paying career. These students and their families are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, and about 40 percent of college students go to school for six years and don't get even get a degree. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence is wiping out a lot of white-collar jobs in medicine, finance and law. Many young people could have lucrative careers as carpenters and electricians, but their parents still aren't encouraging that path."

LP, however, is active in supporting the early development of students studying design and construction. LP supports the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s annual studio design challenge in conjunction with the Nashville Civic Design Center. Additionally, LP supported the Fredericksburg Independent School District in its pursuit of the 2017 Best in American Living Award by donating LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding and offering training. The FISD high school students built the award-winning home with the help of the Hill Country Builders Association. 

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Business Advice6 min

Horizontal Property Regimes: How to Help Prevent Row Home Fires

The trend to live near downtown hasn't waned in recent years. However, finding empty lots to construct new houses continues to pose a challenge. Builders are finding solutions within the Horizontal Property Regime (HPR) zoning policy, which allows tall and skinny row homes. However, with as little as six feet between structures the potential for row home fires dramatically increases. Let's take a look at some of the concerns for both builders and homeowners-and how LP® FlameBlock® Fire-Rated Sheathing can help builders meet code.

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Business Advice6 min
How to Install Insulation Sheathing with LP® NovaCore™ Thermal Insulated Sheathing

New to the LP® Structural Solutions portfolio, LP® NovaCore® Thermal Insulated Sheathing is a dual-layered wall panel design to protect structures against heat loss and gain. It combines resilient OSB sheathing with XPS foam to provide continuous insulation without the long-term R-value deterioration associated with other foam insulation products.

Business Advice5 min
How to Engage Design Conscious Construction Clients

With an abundance of inspiration at their disposal, clients may have design goals that exceed their budget. We talked to building professional Kyle Stumpenhorst to get his tips for helping clients achieve their goals without breaking the bank.

Business Advice6 min
How Pivoting to Premium Products Can Reduce Customer Callbacks

With today's hot housing market the last thing you want to do is stop, backtrack, and address a customer callback. In any economy, callbacks in construction cost money and time-time you may not have. Some builders are dramatically reducing customer callbacks by choosing building products that promote greater performance.