MBEX Has the Scoop

Check out our latest updates & findings below.

Have news to share? We’d love to hear it! Send your company hires, news, events and press releases to ah@mbex.org.

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Construction Technology

So, What Is BIM?

posted on 07.20.2022

When it comes to BIM, even the acronym causes misunderstandings. It is certainly not a new term, yet the confusion surrounding it could be one of the major barriers to its implementation.

The volume of misconceptions surrounding BIM sadly doesn’t end at its name. As BIM is increasingly becoming part of daily lives for those in the built environment, it’s time to bust the most common myths and allow organizations to confidently move forward with their digitalization journeys.

What does BIM mean?
Is it building information modeling? Is it better information management? Well, BIM is indeed an acronym for building information modeling.

This term has been used for many years and was originally and primarily focused on 3D models and the associated data. Having said that, over the years, it has matured to describe the wider information management process across the lifecycle of a built asset.

Depending on what part of the industry professionals are from, BIM can mean different things, so you can see why there’s some confusion. Regardless of the ‘why,’ there is clearly a greater need to simplify the terminology and to give BIM the commonly understood description - one that will not only reflect the broader industry transformation and today’s digital landscape, but one that can spark instant understanding and confidence among all professionals in the built environment.

So with that, BIM could be considered as better information management, and associated with managing information in a smarter way.

Digital Assets for Project Management 
For years, many organizations in the built environment have imagined BIM as a 3D model that helps create a more visual representation of the project at hand. Certainly, the old acronym of building information modeling did not help to shift the common thinking that BIM is just a model. 3D manifestations are only part of a much wider process that at its heart fosters more collaborative working, seamless information sharing and easier access to data, to ultimately produce a wide variety of digital datasets and meet tight project deadlines.

Is BIM just software? 
BIM software does not exist. However, there are different tools on the market that can enable professionals to generate and share information more effectively. It is often the case that organizations need a range of software solutions to help them deliver different parts of the project.

The specific software will therefore depend on the specific needs and project goals, and it is up to the individual organizations to choose solutions that will help them improve efficiencies, reduce risk and improve collaboration. While the software is an important element of achieving better information management practices, BIM in itself is much bigger than just an online tool.

What are the Benefits of BIM? 
It is another common misconception that implementing information management practices is too costly and simply not worth the money.

While there is undoubtedly some upfront cost associated with changing traditional and legacy working processes, these should – and will – be countered by the long-term efficiencies and benefits that an organization gains.

These upfront costs can include software and extra training, but both do not have to be expensive. There are many tools out there that are free or at low cost to start the digitalization journey, as well as various readily available resources and guidance online that can help with smoother, cross-team implementation.

When starting, re-starting or moving onto the next step of BIM implementation, organizations should always keep the efficiency gains at the forefront, as there is a clear and direct correlation between efficiencies and the bottom line. Easier project information sharing equals met deadlines, no time-wasting, better communication, less risk, and subsequently greater trust among clients to deliver future projects.

Improving the Future of the Built Environment 
With the most common myths now debunked and greater clarity provided over what BIM means, both private and public sector built environment businesses can more confidently embark on their digitalization journey and succeed in their BIM implementation. While it’s only natural to hesitate to make a change, better information management has the power to greatly improve processes and productivity for all stakeholders involved in a project.


This article originally appeared within CONEXPO CON/AG 365 Newsletter on May 27, 2022 and was written by Nigel Davies.

Member News & Events

Full MBEX Calendar Ahead

posted on 07.13.2022

We’re halfway through summer; how did that happen so quickly?!

As hot summer days continue, we're looking ahead to a slew of MBEX events that offer networking opportunities with fellow members and professional across the industry, entertaining ways to spend a day, and connection with the organization.

After a successful Twin Cities Golf Tournament in June (check out the recap here), we’re keeping the momentum going with a packed events calendar over the next couple of months. Here’s what’s coming up, and we sure hope you can make it:


July 20, 2022
Set sail on Lake Superior aboard the retired Coast Guard Cutter, Sundew. Enjoy an evening cruise around the Duluth-Superior harbor, dinner, and drinks while aboard connecting with members and experiencing the lake shore in a brand-new way. Registration is now open at www.mbex.org/sundew.


July 22, 2022
Join us in wishing Tom, our Executive Director, a fond farewell as he closes out his time with the Minnesota Builders Exchange and heads into full-time retirement. Send a note and well wishes by emailing tg@mbex.org. Our next Executive Director, David Siegel, officially started on July 5, 2022. Read the full press release here.


August 18, 2022
Aim, pull, and shoot in support of raising funds for the MBEX Scholarship Fund at Game Unlimited. Enjoy an afternoon of clay shooting with members and other construction pros, and afterward, sit down to a steak dinner with all the fixings. Awards will be handed out for team achievements as well as door prizes and raffle winners will be drawn. Register at www.mbex.org/clays.


August 24, 2022
We FORE-see a great event on the greens of the Ridgeview Country Club! Gather your foursome, tee up more than a few golf balls, and enjoy a beautiful day out on the course with fellow members, MBEX board and staff, and make connections throughout the industry. Register now at www.mbex.org/golf-north.


We look forward to seeing many members are these noted events! Have questions? Please email Tom at tg@mbex.org or Don (for either the Sundew or Golf Tournament North) at don@mbex.org.

Don't miss an event; download our 2022 Events Calendar.

Member News & Events

MBEX Announces New Executive Director

posted on 07.07.2022

The Minnesota Builders Exchange (MBEX) Board of Directors has named David Siegel as the new executive director of MBEX. Siegel will begin his duties on July 5, 2022. Current MBEX executive director, Tom Getzke, has announced his retirement set for July 22, 2022.

“We are delighted to have someone with David’s management, nonprofit expertise, and construction industry experience as our new executive director,” said Randy LaFaive, president of MBEX. “Under David’s leadership, MBEX will continue to be a regional leader in the digital construction plan distribution service market,” he added.

Siegel brings over 28 years of experience in the residential construction, hospitality, education, and media industries, serving as executive director of Housing First Minnesota (former Builders Association of the Twin Cities) from 2010 to 2022, and executive director of Hospitality Minnesota from 2003 to 2010. He is the immediate past chairman of Associations North, the trade association for association executives. He has earned a CAE designation (Certified Association Executive) from the American Society of Association Executives and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota.

“I strongly feel that MBEX is healthy and poised for growth,” said Siegel. “I am anxious to collaborate with a talented staff, a dedicated Board, and highly-motivated volunteers working together to meet the needs of the 1,375 MBEX members,” he added.


Download Press Release

For questions, please contact Ashlee Hartwig, MBEX Communications + Membership Manager, at ah@mbex.org or (612) 381-2631.

Worksite Safety

How to Make the Construction Industry Eco-Friendlier

posted on 04.22.2022

Happy Earth Day, construction workers!

Today, April 22, is the much-celebrated annual holiday known as Earth Day. As an industry, we should strive to make construction more efficient and eco-friendlier. What choices can we make across all parts of the industry that fill our need for infrastructure while keeping an eye on the future and protecting our world at the same time?


Start with Your Equipment
New technology and equipment investments can help improve the ROI on a project. Technology, which might feel scary at first, helps contractors get jobs done faster, reducing fuel consumption and allows contractors to move on to more jobs faster. Not to mention the carbon emission being saved by completing jobs faster and more efficiently.


Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
Seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? However, many construction companies do not recycle materials on their jobsites. Estimates show that if all concrete and asphalt pavement generated annual in the U.S. were recycled, the energy equivalent of 1 billion gallons of gasoline, or 1 the removal of 1 million cars from the road, would be saved.

It’s not just good for the environment. Recycling can have economic benefits for your business, too! Some recyclers charge less to accept materials that can be recucled, especially if they are separated from other materials. Recycling or using material onsite can also reduce material hauling and disposal costs.


Research and Try New Materials
The industry also needs to look to more sustainable building materials to help preserve finite resources. For example, asphalt pavements are the number one recycled material in the U.S., using reclaimed asphalt pavement materials from old roads and parking lots and recycled asphalt roofing shingles. These reused materials are used in new asphalt pavement mixtures.

Other sustainable materials making waves inside the industry are composite roofing shingles, smart glass windows, bamboo floors, insulated concrete framing, solar panels, and eco-friendly hemp-based insulation.


Get to Know Green Rating Systems
If your company isn’t familiar with rating systems like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Envision: Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure, Green Globes, Greenroads, Greenlites, etc., this is your sign to get to know them.

Learning about these programs can help put your company ahead of the competition.


Let’s work together toward a greener, healthier planet, and make everyday Earth Day.

Worksite Safety

Construction Bond Claims - Part 3

posted on 01.24.2022

So far, we have covered Bid Bonds and Payment Bonds. For our third and final exploration of bonds claims, we will take a look at Performance Bonds.


Performance Bonds, a common type of surety bond, are issued either by a bank or surety company and provide a guarantee that a contractor will finish a project on time while meeting the agreed-upon specifications. Should a contractor fail to deliver on a project, either by not completing it or otherwise failing to meet their obligations, the developer of the project can attempt to recover their losses by demanding payment equal to the bond's value. This is known as "calling the bond."

It's been said that handling a performance bond claim is like driving an ambulance and not a hearse. Every claim has varying levels of urgency, cooperation/agreement among the participants, and unique challenges. 

When a bond obligee, the project owner, decides to call a performance bond, the claims process is set into motion. When a call is made on the performance bond, the first thing the surety company will do is launch an investigation.

The typical process is as follows:

- Acknowledge receipt of the claim and send an intial request to the project owner for information and documents;
- Send an intial request to the principal for documented position;
- Review the underwriting file, which is comprised of a credit file and a bond-specific file;
- Review the contract documents and bond form;
- Perform an accounting of remaining bonded contract funds;
- If appropriate, assemble an investigative team, which can include outside legal counsel, a construction consultant, and sometimes an accountant; and
- Attend a site visit and in-person meetings.

If the surety company determines that conditions have been met when the performance bond is called, they will then move on to one of four different options for handling the situation:

1.) Help finance the principal,
2.) Find a new contractor,
3.) Complete the project, or
4.) Do nothing.


The right surety partners will work with contractors to avoid claims, and if the situation is unavoidable, to mitigate the severity of it. Choosing the right surety with a track record of resolving claims while minimizing legal fees is important for any contractor to consider. 

Worksite Safety

Construction Bond Claims - Part 2

posted on 12.20.2021

Everyone appreciates getting paid for the work that they do, but rarely do employers have to take out a special type of bond just to guarantee that they’ll pay their employees, subcontractors, and suppliers. This is where a Payment Bond steps in, the second type of construction bond we are exploring this week. 


To start, what is a Payment Bond? A payment bond is a type of surety bond issued to contractors that guarantees all entities involved with the project will be paid. A payment surety bond is a legal contract, a type of bond, that guarantees certain employees, subcontractors, and suppliers are protected against non-payment. Other common names for these include "construction", and "labor and material". In government contracting, these bonds are sometimes referred to as "Miller Act Bonds".

A payment bond is one type of surety bond that most government projects require of all contractors bidding on their projects. Surety bonds are also becoming more popular on commercial projects.

A payment bond claim arises when the principal (known also as the contractor) fails to pay subcontractors, laborers, and/or suppliers. Generally the surety has the right to assert all of the principal's defenses as well as its own surety defenses --- which commonly include notice and time limitations. Notably, the bond provides recourse for only proper "claimants," so the principal and surety need to confirm the claimant has standing to pursue the claim. The project owner, or person hiring the contractor, will indemnify themselves through this type of surety bond in-case they become liable for unpaid employees, subcontractor or suppliers.

When might you need a payment bond? Payment bonds are typically used in conjunction with performance bonds and are oftentimes even on the same bond form. Contractors purchase payment bonds when negotiating a construction contract to reassure those working with them that they will be paid appropriately and on time.


In short, as long as a contractor has clear means to pay their employees, subcontractors, and suppliers, they should be able to qualify for a payment bond. This will allow the contractor to bid on a much wider range of construction projects.

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