Companies are always on the lookout for employees who will stay long-term and are committed to growing and improving. Likewise, employees want to work for companies that will provide them with opportunities to develop their skills.

Mentorships are a great way to help employees, both new and experienced, expand their knowledge and personal development. They focus on positive workplace behavior and performance, providing employees with the training needed to be successful.

Traditionally, mentoring relationships have involved senior employees guiding their younger colleagues, but hierarchy and age aren’t necessarily important in modern workforces. As long as mentors have experience that can help others learn, this is all that matters. For instance, younger employees can teach older employees about ever-changing technology in the workplace.

Successful mentoring relationships can also naturally create a rich multigeneration office culture by combining the top qualities of each participant. Senior employees traditionally have a great work ethic, loyalty and dedication. Whereas, younger employees may come to work with new ideas and passion. Together, they can make for a positive and effective team.

Research has shown that workers who have a mentor enjoy greater job satisfaction, and mentors learn from those they are guiding. But, mentoring in the workplace not only benefits the mentors and mentored, it also benefits companies with increased employee retention and knowledge sharing. On top of that, mentoring programs have shown to increase company diversity, with participation expanding minority representation in management-level positions.

Top Benefits of Mentorship in the Workplace

Mentors
Mentored
Company
  • Better Job Satisfaction
  • Better Job Satisfaction
  • Better Employee Satisfaction
  • Increased Pride
  • Increased Self-confidence
  • Higher Employee Retention
  • Improved Communication Skills
  • Desire to Achieve Goals
  • Diversity of Leadership
  • Improved Knowledge Sharing
  • Skill Development
  • Increased Knowledge Sharing
  • Experience for Leadership Roles
  • Greater Probability of Promotion
  • Improved Company Culture

Something important to note is that mentoring relationships should never be forced. This can cause employees to resent the idea as an obligatory task. Instead, sharing the positive benefits with employees and offering to help connect them with a mentor, when and if they are ready, is most effective. To be prepared, companies should gather information about employee skills, communication styles and career goals. A major key to successful mentorship relationships is connecting employees who communicate well together, can connect on a personal level and are working toward attaining similar goals.

In the end, mentors need to feel that their time is valued in order to achieve a successful mentorship relationship. Those who are mentored must think of the experience as an investment in their growth, rather than a sure path to promotion.

Apprenticeships prepare workers for highly skilled construction jobs. Employers invest time and money in hands-on training, often along with regular classes. The model provides valuable real-world experience and educational instruction for workers who would like to break into an industry that is new to them. The end goal of an apprenticeship is attaining national skills standards and becoming licensed in a particular skilled trade.

There are many benefits to apprenticeship. However, many people often overlook apprenticeships, instead opting to attend college or beginning their career with an entry-level position.

Here are the top three reasons to consider an apprenticeship:

  1. Learning While Earning
    Going off to college or a trade school can be a great educational experience, but it can cost a lot of money that many simply do not have. On top of that, it can be challenging to hold a full-time job in order to pay for expenses while in school.

    Apprentices are paid a basic living wage (the national average is $15/hour) to start while also learning and gaining experience every day. As an apprentice’s skills grow, wage increases and promotions often follow.
  1. Access to Ongoing Mentoring
    Apprentices are usually assigned a mentor who is an experienced construction professional. The mentor’s role is to help plan and guide an apprentice’s learning along the way. They provide valuable feedback and support to improve an apprentice’s skills and are always available to answer questions.
  2. Increased Future Opportunities
    Being involved with the day-to-day operations of a business during an apprenticeship, which usually takes two to four years to complete, allows apprentices to make connections with many important people within the industry.

    Future employers will also see the hard work that was required to complete the apprenticeship and will surely value that education and work ethic when considering hiring an individual.

    In addition, apprentices have the potential to earn college credit toward a degree through their apprenticeship program, should they decide to work towards gaining an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree at a later date.

The apprenticeship model prepares workers to compete in today’s economy. The hands-on training keeps apprentices current with innovations and technology. Moreover, the majority of apprentices stay on as full-time employees upon completion of an apprenticeship, allowing for a successful long-term career with a competitive salary without college debt.

The RK Apprenticeship Program helps provide skills for a much needed construction workforce. If you are interested in starting an apprenticeship in construction, click here to learn more about what our program offers.

 

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, last year was anything but predictable or normal. Predictions for 2021 are cautiously optimistic with a combination of positive and some negative growth for the construction industry, arguably one of the largest sectors worldwide. Although large hotel and higher education projects have declined recently, others have increased, such as healthcare facilities and warehouse construction to meet current needs.

Because of measurements put in place to keep everyone safe, businesses have had to change how they function and communicate both internally and externally, limiting in-person interactions. This has also caused delays in some projects. The need to know what is happening on a job site has become greater than ever. As a result, even in an industry that is otherwise resistant to embracing new technology, construction has seen an increase in adoption of construction-specific technology, from BIM to 3D-printing, facilitating a more versatile way of working.

Without further ado, here are the top eight construction trends predicted for 2021.

  1. Keeping focused on safety with continued social distancing, protective gear and enhanced protocols for cleanliness
  2. Increased hiring for seamless execution of current and unexpected future projects
  3. Implementation of construction-specific equipment and technology to supplement a declining workforce
  4. Expanded distribution and manufacturing facilities to meet current e-commerce demands
  5. More complex urban development and infrastructure projects
  6. Renewed focus on sustainability and renewable energy
  7. Expanded use of modular construction, increasing quality while also reducing costs and project timelines
  8. Increased construction cost and pressure on the bottom line, as net profits remain slim

Construction companies must prepare themselves for the uncertain future. Luckily, with many recent innovations already in place, the construction industry has begun to optimize processes in all phases of construction.

Key developments in the construction industry will likely continue to grow and change as we progress through 2021, and we look forward to it.

 

Digital Builder, 2021 Construction Trends: 20 Insights from Experts, 12.17.20
Construction Dive, 2021 Outlook: 6 Trends that Will Influence Construction this Year, 1.04.21
Chad Fisher Construction, Commercial Construction Trends For 2021, 12.07.20
Method:CRM, Key trends in the construction industry for 2021, accessed 1.19.21
Let’s Build, 5 construction trends you want to look out for in 2021, accessed 1.19.21

Culture is the character of an organization. It’s the values, traditions, behaviors, interactions and attitudes displayed every day. Workplace culture is to an organization what personality is to an individual.

Positive workplace culture attracts talented people, affects happiness, engagement and satisfaction, while also improving performance. A company’s culture is influenced by everything from leadership and management to workplace policies, practices and people.

When looking to work for a company, the primary factors are often the company’s brand value and compensation to employees. While many believe these are enough to attract talent, work culture often plays an even bigger role in retaining good employees. Workplace culture makes some places great to work and other places miserable. It affects relationships between employees and leadership. This can mean the difference between working with each other for the common good of the company or arguing every step of the way.

A company’s culture is so important in bringing out the best in employees even during not-so-great times. Negativity not only crushes creativity and an employee’s will to perform but also stops the development of dedication to a company’s success.

When it comes down to it, humans are relatively simple beings. Working in a positive environment with a good culture affects the way we think and how we act with one another. So, make your workplace a positive one!

RK strives to create a rewarding workplace for employees by hosting several employee-focused events and recognition ceremonies throughout the year, check them out here.

By: RK Mechanical

Energy consumption is on the rise and consequently, more expensive than ever. As the demand continues to increase, scientists and engineers are exploring new ways to increase efficiency and safety in systems that require a lot of energy; HVAC systems are no exception. In recent years, groundbreaking technologies began giving consumers the ability to reduce the energy consumption of HVAC systems in our homes and buildings. While many new technologies are still in the early stages, several have been widely adopted. Here are the top innovations taking over the HVAC industry.

TOP 8 HVAC INNOVATIONS:

By using cloud-based systems and increasing smart and real-time communication between mechanical units, HVAC controls will continue to become more energy efficient and allow for cost savings. Energy alternatives, such as solar and geothermal will become more commonplace and technology like smart thermostats will become more popular by reducing energy consumption.

RK Mechanical is the Rocky Mountain Region’s leading full-service mechanical contractor. We fabricate and install mechanical systems, including HVAC, sheetmetal, plumbing and piping utilizing the latest innovative technologies.

By: RK Service

Colorado is known for its severe spring and summer storms, and they typically include large hailstones. Hail forms when updrafts in thunderstorms pull rain up into frigid areas of the atmosphere where they freeze into ice pellets. When the storm can no longer support the weight of the hailstones or the updraft weakens, the hail falls to the ground. The larger the hailstones, the more damage they can do.

Hail can cause serious damage to a building’s roof or ground-mounted machinery and equipment. It often damages the facility’s condenser unit, reducing its ability to dissipate heat. This excess heat not only greatly reduces building efficiency and creates unhappy occupants, it is likely to cause the compressor and condenser fans to fail, resulting in much higher repair costs.


An RTU damaged in a major hail storm.

AFTER A BIG STORM YOU NEED TO HAVE YOUR EQUIPMENT CHECKED!

Contact RK Service at servicesales@rkindustries.com to conduct a free inspection of your rooftop or ground-mounted equipment, make any emergency repairs or replacements and help you prevent damage from the next storm. If you experienced additional hail damage to your roof or windows, our team can also connect you with other experienced and reputable contractors, getting you back in business as soon as possible.

By: RK Mechanical

Working outside during the winter can leave construction workers susceptible to hypothermia, frostbite or trench foot, a decaying of the feet due to prolonged cold and wet conditions. In extreme cases, workers without proper personal protection equipment can also suffer shock that could even lead to death. Not only do workers need to stay warm and dry to prevent health risks, but it’s also important to eat properly, stay active and keep an eye on coworkers.

Productivity is often delayed due to harsh weather. So, work hours should be scheduled during the warmest part of the day. Below are some recommendations to stay warm, healthy and safe during the winter season.

Winter Clothing and Layering Reduce Injury Risks

Clothing should be selected to suit temperature, conditions, duration of the activity and location. Wearing proper clothing and layering can reduce sweating and the risk of injury. It’s best to avoid cotton material, as once it gets wet from rain, snow or sweat, it will begin to extract heat out of the body. Some alternate material choices are fleece, wool, Thinsulate, nylon and polypropylene. Weather can change rapidly, therefore it is important to plan and dress accordingly.

The top nine types of clothing to wear while working in the cold:

  1. Thermal insulated coveralls
  2. Thermal polyester underwear
  3. Fleece or wool liner for hard hat
  4. Insulated gloves, mittens should be worn for extreme temperatures below -17 degrees
  5. Wrap-around eye protection
  6. Scarves
  7. Thick socks: layer two pairs to stay warmer longer, but avoid a tight fit which restricts circulation
  8. Insulated boots
  9. Waterproof/windproof external layers

Warm Break Areas Help Re-energize

When spending long hours exposed to the elements, a warm area to rest will help workers warm up and re-energize. Breaks are of the utmost importance, but without a warm and comfortable place to rest, breaks can be useless. For long-term construction projects, setting up a warming shelter is a must. Temporary tents with portable heaters can be used for smaller projects.

Incorporate a Buddy System to Stay Safe

Avoid traveling or working on your own unless someone knows your route and estimated time of return. Workers in frigid weather can show signs of uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech and erratic behavior. Keep an eye on your peers to help them stay safe.

If a co-worker is showing early signs of Hypothermia, like uncontrollable shivering, apply these treatments to help:

If more severe signs are present, such as slurred speech or erratic behavior, call for emergency help right away. While waiting for help to arrive, provide warm drinks, extra layers and heating blankets, if available.

Hydration and Good Snacks are Important in the Winter

Save Your Skin from Freezing Temperatures

It’s especially important to stress these simple points to people who may not be accustomed to cold temperatures. Holding safety meetings to help workers identify the signs and symptoms of cold-related illness and injuries and training them how to prevent and treat these injuries can save lives.

At RK, we take safety seriously and empower our employees to stop work if unsafe conditions exist. We encourage our employees to take responsibility for their own safety, as well as that of those working alongside them. Working responsibly in cold weather is no exception.

RK assesses how every aspect of our work integrates to improve your project. From conception through completion, we streamline the process while maximizing value. The combined skill set of our seven business units makes us the region’s most powerful single source for mechanical contracting, custom manufacturing, steel fabrication, prefabricated construction, facilities services, electrical work and water treatment solutions. If you would like to know more about our safety procedures or have questions about what we can do for your business, contact us at communications@rkindustries.com.

By: RK Mechanical

Large-scale construction requires collaboration across numerous disciplines. It’s rare to find a contractor who has the capability to perform multiple trades in-house. For the successful execution of a project, effective planning is essential. From project conception to completion, construction teams must consider zoning, scheduling, budgeting, bidding, safety, transportation of materials, logistics and much more.

Trade-Specific Roles and Responsibilities

The architect designs and develops construction drawings including structural, electrical and mechanical requirements, interior design and lighting. Their final drawings are detailed and include specifications and materials for a construction manager to estimate the total cost of the project. During construction, they monitor work and submit new drawings if changes are made. They also prepare final acceptance documents at the completion of the project.

Construction engineers direct construction projects. They handle everything from the design of the construction project to making sure that everything is going as planned on-site.

General contractors are responsible for providing all of the necessary material, equipment, labor and services for the construction of the project. They typically hire special trade contractors to perform all or some of the work.

Mechanical contractors* install and maintain technologically advanced and energy-efficient HVAC, refrigeration, plumbing and piping systems. The following trades fall under mechanical contracting:

Plumbing: Plumbers install and maintain pipes and mechanical systems for water supply, gas, drainage, sewerage and HVAC systems.

Piping: Pipefitters fabricate, assemble, maintain and repair large high-pressure piping systems.

Sheet Metal: Sheet metal workers install HVAC ductwork and related work.

Construction laborers perform a variety of tasks from erecting and restoring structures, maintaining stormwater, drainage and sewerage systems to excavating, clearing and leveling sites. Laborers are skilled workers who are proficient with pneumatic tools, hand tools, blasting and smaller heavy equipment.

Carpenters and joiners construct, erect, install and renovate structures and fixtures made of wood, plywood, wallboard and other materials and cut, shape and fit the parts to form structures and fittings.

Electricians* specialize in electrical wiring of buildings and equipment. They design, assemble, install, test, diagnose and maintain electrical systems and equipment.

Glaziers are responsible for measuring, cutting, installing and removing glass for windows, doors, mirrors, shower doors, skylights, display cases, facades, interior walls, ceilings, tabletops and more.

Heavy equipment operators operate heavy machinery such as cranes, hoists, lifts and winches to lift, move and place materials, equipment and people onto building and construction sites.

Insulation installers are responsible for all insulating materials, protective coverings, coatings and finishes to mechanical systems.

Ironworkers* fabricate and erect structural steel and other metals as well as repair metal products using various welding techniques. They also position and secure reinforcing bars and mesh which are used to reinforce concrete.

Landscapers create or renovate outdoor spaces by planting lawns, flowers, trees and shrubs. They also construct hard landscaping features such as paths, patios and decks.

Masons are skilled in brick laying and concrete finishing which includes pouring and finishes concrete for floors, stairs, ramps, footpaths, bridges and more.

Painters are responsible for the painting and decorating of buildings which includes the application of paint, varnish or wallpaper to protect and decorate surfaces of structures.

Plasterers apply plaster and fix partitions, suspended ceilings, fire rating systems, acoustic tiles and apply decorative and protective coverings of plaster, cement and similar materials to the interiors and exteriors of structures.

Roofers specialize in roof construction including the application of materials such as tiles, sheets and shingles that weatherproof buildings.

Tilers lay various types of tiles on external and internal surfaces, such as walls and floors, to provide protective and decorative finishes.

With the large number of diverse trades that may be involved in a construction project, establishing collaboration is particularly important. All large commercial projects are likely to involve the coordination of complex information, procedures and systems.

RK gives construction, commercial and industrial customers a reliable, single source for mechanical and electrical contracting, custom manufacturing, steel fabrication, prefabricated buildings, facilities and equipment maintenance and water treatment solutions. For more information about what RK can do for your next construction project, contact sales@rkindustries.com.

*RK has professionals who specialize in these fields that are available to collaborate with you on your next construction project.

By: RK Mechanical

Whether a project is large or small, there is always a skilled team building and installing the systems that make facilities safe, efficient and dependable. Today, many general contractors and subcontractors have a special projects team dedicated to projects that have a fast schedule or a sensitive working environment. All contractors define their special projects parameters differently.

Operating in Unique Conditions at a Fast Pace
Special projects have always been a large part of RK’s business. The RK Mechanical Special Projects group incorporates all aspects of mechanical construction and maintenance and provides the same preconstruction services as RK’s traditional Mechanical business unit, but typically in sensitive or occupied environments and almost always at a fast pace. RK defines a special project as one with unique criteria or size that requires ingenuity and construction excellence.

Pre-planning Regardless of Project Size
RK Mechanical’s Special Projects group believes that all projects should have careful pre-planning, such as budgeting, estimating and value engineering, regardless of their scope. The team provides insights on technology, design, building codes, energy standards, and changing market conditions in order to successfully lead and manage projects from start to finish. The group also uses tools like Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Building Information Modeling (BIM), as well as Design Build and Design Assist to ensure that projects are successful from the start.

$1,500 or $2 Million, 1 Day or 3 Years – They’re All Covered
RK Mechanical Special Projects’ contract values are generally around $2 million or less but can vary depending on the project. The majority of the work performed by the group is equipment refurbish and replacement or tenant improvements. The two main leading indicators of a special project is the need for a quick response time and speed to market. Project length can be anywhere from one day to multiple years, depending on the specific circumstances. The average duration for a project is around three months long. Although some projects can last multiple years, those are generally owner direct time and materials work.

A Strong Team is a Great Asset
The RK Mechanical Special Projects group is run by two operations managers, Jim Martin and Mark Rawlings.  There are a total of five project managers, eight project engineers, five estimators, a project/estimating coordinator, a project accountant and two dedicated account executives. The group is fully staffed to work on any design build, design assist or hard bid project.

Project owners can expect friendly service, commitment, experience and responsiveness from the RK Mechanical Special Projects team with the financial strength and buying power of an established, award-winning company. For more information about RK Mechanical Special Projects’ capabilities contact us at sales@rkindustries.com.

By: RK Mechanical

Hospital construction requires perfection from conception to completion. To ensure safety, healthcare building design is governed by codes, standards and regulations.

The most recent change in healthcare building standards was to the NFPA 99: Health Care Facilities Code. This code establishes criteria for healthcare systems or services based on the risk to the staff, patients or visitors in healthcare facilities in order to minimize the hazards of fire, explosion and electricity. This code applies to all healthcare facilities other than home care. It’s intended for professionals involved in the design, construction, inspection and maintenance of healthcare facilities, as well as to the design, manufacture, and testing of equipment and appliances used in patient rooms within healthcare facilities.

This latest edition, 2012 NFPA 99, presents significant changes for the first time since 2005. It has undergone a complete restructuring from prior editions and is now a risk-based code document instead of a facility-based document. The occupancy-based approach was replaced by a categorization of each healthcare facility system regarding its risk to patients’ welfare. Earlier requirements have been removed and replaced by a focus on risk instead of occupancy. New chapters have been introduced for IT and communication systems, HVAC, plumbing, security, emergency management and features of fire protection unique to healthcare facilities.

NFPA 99: Health Care Facilities Code guides users to first determine the level of system category contingent upon the risks to the patients and caregivers within the facilities. The system categories are determined by following a defined risk assessment procedure. Depending on these results, and the system category classification of the healthcare facility, the minimum criteria for gas vacuum, gas equipment, gas electrical system, electrical systems and equipment, plumbing, HVAC, IT and communication systems, emergency management, security management and fire protection features are then determined.

RK Mechanical has worked on several major healthcare facilities both locally and nationally. We understand the complex requirements and have the experience to keep your staff and patients safe­—and your facility operational.

Looking to build or renovate a healthcare facility? RK Mechanical would be happy to discuss our services with you. Contact RK Mechanical at communications@rkindustries.com for more information.

Sources:

www.csemag.com, NFPA 99: Health care facilities code overview
www.nfpa.org, NFPA 99: Health Care Facilities Code