Builder Chicks represents the day-to-day needs of women in the construction industry. We offer the latest building news, links to educational resources and job boards. We bring you stories related to developments that affect all construction workers. Enjoy your first cup of morning coffee with Builder Chicks.


Women Top Men at Keeping Their Jobs

This is a bittersweet turn of events. While women are holding onto their jobs better than men are during the creeping recession that started in 2007, no one wants to see anyone, male or female, lose their job. Not only are women less likely to lose their job - currently there are more women in the workforce than there are men.

So what's behind this trend? At the University of Chicago, economics expert, Casey B. Mulligan, has been carefully tracking the employment trends. Mulligan believes that historian decades from now will point to this anomaly with interest. Never before have there been more women employed than men.

So, while this is a day for the record books, it's too soon to congratulate our sister co-workers, not when their brothers, sons and fathers are unemployed.

The Pros and Cons of Construction Estimating Software

It's every woman contractor's dream to be able to open up a software program, enter a few dimensions and have an immediate printout of her material's list and hourly labor requirements.

While construction estimating software plays a valuable role in figuring bids, it doesn't do it all by itself. The contractor must input a number of parameters and she may have to update them frequently, as well.

  • Materials: Some estimating programs link to a national database for materials prices and update the list constantly. But if prices in your community vary much, you bid may be off.
  • Labor: You must not only enter the average number of hours it take you, or your crew, to complete a specific job, such as taping out drywall or installing bathroom fixtures, you must enter each employee's wage. If some workers are much faster than others, your program may register a big discrepancy.

    However, if you're spending too much time figuring your estimates and you have an office staff, you may benefit from having them monitor material prices changes in the program .

    Good programs aren't cheap and there is often a steep learning curve. But they're still less expensive than hiring an independent estimator. The caveat here is research and buy with care.

    Stretching to Avoid Construction Injuries?

    Why not?

    Many construction projects are no different than playing sports. All good coaches recommend at least a brief stretching period before taking part in the strenuous stuff and for good reason; a long muscle is a strong muscle. And it's less likely to be injured.

    Building is no different, especially if you're going to be framing walls, roofing or installing drywall. You bend, lift, reach, stretch and twist your body as you build.

    Protect your muscles by stretching gently before starting your day and during breaks.

    A few good construction stretches:

    • Face a wall with one foot in front of the other. Lean forward, bracing yourself with your hands and keep your back leg straight, stretching your Achilles tendon. Switch legs and repeat.
    • Standing, clasp your hands together behind your back and bend forward at the waist .Lift your arms high behind you to stretch your upper back and shoulders. Stand up, relax, roll your head slowly and repeat.
    • Plant feet shoulder width apart and raise your arms to the side to form a "T". Twist gently as far as you can to one side, then to the other to loosen your midsection.
    • Take your coffee break on the floor. Sit with legs extended straight in front of you and gently stretch your torso towards your legs. Repeat.
     Five minutes is all you need to reduce your risk of pulling a muscle. Commit now to be a safer, and more flexible builder. Your body will thank you.

    Construction Scholarships for Women

    Finding sources of financial aid for construction education can be tough, especially if you're a female. The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) know this and they make a valiant effort to help other women achieve their dreams of getting a degree in the building trades.

    Each year, the NAWIC offers women seeking financial assistance a chance to go to school. With a number of scholarships, totally $25,000 each year, I guess we can safely say that the women of NAWIC mean business.

    Apply for a general scholarship or submit an essay if you're currently an undergrad with dreams of a career in the construction trades.

    The deadline is March 15th, so it's time to download the applications and get started.

    A big thank you goes out to NAWIC for making this sholarship available to those who will one day help society build a better future.


    Breaking the Mold

    It wasn't that long ago when women who dared to enter the construction industry were ridiculed, insulted and had their sexuality publicly questioned. Today we live in a different world. More females are successfully following their dream of working in the construction industry.

    From carpenters and masons and from contractors and company owners, women are entering the construction industry at full force and there's no turning back.

    This blog celebrates women in the construction industry, shares their stories and offers advice and educational resources.

    Build it Sister!