Five Ideologies That Need to Change for Construction to Advance

April 22, 2019
Matt Mann - Construction Executive

While it may seem as though the construction industry has stuck to the status quo for some time, peering beneath the surface reveals much more is changing than actually meets the eye. Despite an estimated 11 percent increase in commercial construction in the United States, the percentage of young construction workers has declined by 30 percent in the past decade. With more projects and fewer workers, the landscape of the construction industry must adapt if it hopes to advance.

1. Construction Sites Are Prone to Delayed Information
Historically, construction sites have been operating comparably to a game of telephone: inaccurate information travels slowly by word of mouth to each party operating different portions of the jobsite. However, with the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), there is reason to believe a solution is on the horizon. Often, all parties involved in a project have different pieces of information. Fifty-two percent of rework is the result of poor project data or miscommunication, costing more than $31 billion in 2018 alone. Having a common and consistent understanding is crucial to the success of a jobsite to generate more trust and improve decision-making. Tools such as AI establish newfound workplace transparency and are rapidly improving the efficiency of construction and development.

Reprinted courtesy of Matt Mann, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.


Four Trends to Watch for the Construction Industry in 2019

April 17, 2019
Mike Sobolewski - Construction Executive

By most accounts, 2017 and 2018 were successful, but balanced, years for the industry. Many companies recognized the benefits of strong backlogs and growth in a number of the industry sectors, while also seeing challenges in cost containment, product availability, talent and preparing for an anticipated overall downturn.

Engineering and construction firms often are the hardest hit when economic conditions change. Some strategies that could help position construction firms for success include using technology to improve efficiencies, renegotiating contracts with clients and suppliers and using M&A to increase market share. Even with the best-laid plans, however, unanticipated political and economic events can require organizations to change course. Agile strategies are key to managing capital projects and infrastructure.

Reprinted courtesy of Mike Sobolewski, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.


Trends in Commercial Real Estate Contractors Need to Know

April 10, 2019
James Segil - Construction Executive

Commercial real estate stakeholders are finding it more important than ever to upgrade their buildings’ infrastructure and embrace new technologies. However, it can be tough to distinguish between which tech trends are passing fads and those that are worth investing in. As tenant needs shift, making the right investments can greatly impact the long-term health and prosperity of a building and can help attract and retain tenants.

One of the biggest trends to look out for in CRE tech is a growing focus on user experience. This will be the overarching theme for CRE tech trends in 2019 and beyond. As new generations enter the workforce, more tenants will demand a better user experience as new office technologies capable of simplifying their workdays emerge. Building owners need to listen to these desires and provide their tenants with technologies that improve their everyday experiences at the office. Here are just a few ways to do this.

Reprinted courtesy of James Segil, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.


Real Estate and Construction Ecosystem in the Making: From KIRA-digi to KIRAHub

April 3, 2019
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

The Finnish Ministry of the Environment’s recent key project KIRA-digi was set up to promote digitalization of the built environment and construction. Although the project came to an end in December 2018, the work carried out in KIRA-digi will continue under the brand of KIRAHub. In a recent seminar, the lessons learned and future outlooks were discussed in detail.

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at aec-business@aepartners.fi


ACS Wins $3.3 Billion Contract to Build Virginia Bridge-Tunnel

March 27, 2019
Charlie Devereux - Bloomberg

A joint venture led by Spanish construction company Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA won a $3.3 billion contract to build a bridge-tunnel project in Virginia.

The Hampton Roads Connector Partners venture, 67 percent owned by ACS subsidiaries Dragados USA and Hochtief AG, will design and build improvements along 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) of the I-64 highway connecting Hampton and Norfolk, ACS said in a statement released Friday.


Construction Training: Ideas and Resources for Making it Happen

March 18, 2019
Duane Craig - Construction Informer

There’s much more to construction training than learning the technical aspects of how to do a job. There are also supporting and amplifying skills, and knowledge, that turn acceptable performers into exceptional performers. These ‘other’ skills are increasingly needed in construction because of complexity.

Oxford Economics took a deep look at the human resources challenges in the near future and found that 66% of companies are coming up short in putting together a workforce that will meet their business goals. Basically, business leaders are out of touch with what people want from their employers in “incentives, benefits and training.”


Plan for 3 Percent Uptick in Construction Spending in 2019

March 4, 2019
Joanna Masterson - Construction Executive

Following 5 percent growth in total U.S. engineering and construction spending in 2017 and 2017, FMI predicts another increase of 3 percent this year. Primary growth segments (of 5 percent or more) are expected to include office, educational, public safety, transportation, conservation and development, and manufacturing. Most other segments should roughly match the rate of inflation and therefore be considered stable, but look for the multifamily, lodging and religious markets to experience declines.

Reprinted courtesy of Joanna Masterson, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.


Three Ways Technology Is Changing How We Look at a Construction Site

February 27, 2019
Michael McLin - Construction Executive

Technology is helping the construction industry shed its image of being slow to integrate change. Smartphones and mobile apps have made communication and collaboration on construction projects much easier and, more importantly, are significantly increasing the speed of sharing information. BIM is improving project visualization, making scheduling more efficient and reducing waste and rework.

Reprinted courtesy of Michael McLin, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.


Contractors Report Strong Opposition to PLA Mandates

February 19, 2019
Joanna Masterson - Construction Executive

In a survey of more than 500 members of Associated Builders and Contractors, 98 percent said they were less likely to bid on a taxpayer-funded construction contract if the bid specifications required the winning firm to sign a project labor agreement with labor unions. Additionally, 97 percent stated that a construction contract mandating a PLA would be more expensive compared to a contract procured via free and open competition.

There was near unanimous consent that a PLA would result in worse local hiring outcomes for a project, and almost 90 percent of respondents agreed that a PLA would decrease the hiring of women, veterans and disadvantaged business enterprises.

Reprinted courtesy of Joanna Masterson, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.


Scaling up Building Sustainability Assessments with BIM Model Checker Tools

February 11, 2019
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

Sustainability of buildings is an essential topic – buildings and construction consume almost half of raw materials and one third of energy in Europe. Therefore, scaling up the building sustainability assessments and making them faster and more reliable is a key challenge.

Building sustainability is evaluated with a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). An LCA is a quantitative method of assessing a building’s environmental impact throughout its life cycle, i.e., procurement, construction, operation, and decommissioning. The assessment allows owners to optimize the entire building process from a life cycle cost perspective instead of resorting to short-term sub-optimization.

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at aec-business@aepartners.fi


Leo Sveikauskas: Federal Economist Leads Design of a More Reliable Construction Productivity Measure

February 6, 2019
Alisa Zevin - Engineering News-Record

Leo Sveikauskas, research economist in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Division of Productivity Research and Program Development, had been thinking about issues in measuring construction productivity after a discussion with peers in that unit of BLS, part of the U.S. Labor Dept.

Ms. Zevin may be contacted at zevina@enr.com


New Systems Aim to Improve Jobsite Safety Awareness

January 28, 2019
John Gregerson - Engineering News-Record

Construction companies can’t afford to scrimp on jobsite safety because even a single accident comes at too high a price, say industry professionals and insurers.

ENR may be contacted at ENR.com@bnpmedia.com


Contractors See Bright 2019, But Finding Workers Is Still Tough

January 21, 2019
Tom Ichniowski - Engineering News-Record

Construction contractors are upbeat about their businesses’ outlook for 2019 and expect to increase staffing, but they remain worried about recruiting enough workers to meet their needs, a new industry survey says.

Mr. Ichniowski may be contacted at kormanr@enr.com


Five Innovations Powering the Construction Equipment of the Future

January 15, 2019
Allen Schaeffer - Construction Executive

When it comes to the latest trends and innovation in construction, drones, big data, smart and connected jobsites, virtual reality and artificial intelligence get most of the headlines. These technologies appear to hold great promise to enhance and further enable the interface of man and machine to work faster, smarter, safer and more efficiently.

However, innovation in construction also is taking on new forms as it relates to efficiency and environmental sensibility in the design and operation of machines and equipment. For the last decade, machine design and manufacturing revolved substantially around achieving progressively more stringent emissions standards. Due to their unmatched combination of power, efficiency, performance, reliability and durability, diesel engines are the primary power source in the overwhelming majority of construction equipment.

Reprinted courtesy of Allen Schaeffer, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.


Construction Dec. Jobs Surge by 38,000, Led by Heavy-Civil SectorConstruction Dec. Jobs Surge by 38,000, Led by Heavy-Civil Sector

January 9, 2019
Tom Ichniowski - Engineering News-Record

Construction added a strong 38,000 jobs in December but the industry’s unemployment rate showed mixed results, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported.

Mr. Ichniowski may be contacted at kormanr@enr.com


Construction Nov. Jobless Rate Drops Year-Over-Year, Up Vs. Oct.

January 2, 2019
Tom Ichniowski – Engineering News-Record

Construction’s November unemployment rate fell sharply from the year-earlier level but rose slightly from October’s mark as the industry added a modest 5,000 jobs during the month, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics says.

Mr. Ichniowski may be contacted at ichniowskit@enr.com


Fire-Resistant Homes Don't Have to Cost a Fortune, Report Says

December 19, 2018
Christopher Flavelle - Bloomberg

Homes in wildfire-prone areas around the U.S. could be built to better withstand blazes without increasing the cost of construction, according to a new report.


Construction Billionaire Appears in Thai Court as Poaching Trial Begins

December 11, 2018
The Associated Press - Bloomberg

Kanchanaburi, Thailand (AP) -- The trial of a Thai billionaire construction tycoon charged with poaching an endangered black panther and other animals in a wildlife sanctuary began Tuesday after months of delay.


Amazon To Build Headquarters in New York City and Washington, DC

December 4, 2018
Jim Parsons, Engineering News-Record

As Amazon’s decision to split its second headquarters between New York City and metropolitan Washington, D.C., draws plaudits and criticism regarding incentives used to lure the e-commerce giant, contractors are weighing the impacts of major new construction programs in what are already the nation’s top two construction markets.

ENR may be contacted at ENR.com@bnpmedia.com


Shale Gas Fuels U.S. Chemical Plant Construction

November 28, 2018
Pam Radtke Russell - Engineering News-Record

McDermott project managers held their breath as a nearly 3,000-ton module journeyed on a carefully ballasted barge along the Gulf Coast to Lake Charles, La. Anticipation mounted as the module arrived safely to the site of the $1.9-billion ethane cracker McDermott was building for a joint venture of South Korean Lotte Chemical and Houston-based Westlake. Over the course of the next two days, self-propelled modular transporters shuttled the component to its intended spot, where it was placed carefully on preconstructed piers. As seamlessly as two Lego bricks snapping together, the module fit snuggly in place. Over the next two months, an additional two heater modules—each over 2,500 tons and 155 ft high—made the daylong journey from Gulf Island Fabrication in Houma, La., and were set in place without a problem.

Ms. Russell may be contacted at Russellp@bnpmedia.com


Fall Protection Tops OSHA’s 2018 List of Most Frequent Safety Violations

November 21, 2018
Joanna Masterson - Construction Executive

For the eighth year in a row, fall protection was the leading workplace safety violation cited by OSHA in 2018. More than 7,200 violations were recorded through Sept. 30. And for the first time, eye and face protection joined the list in the 10th spot, with 1,536 violations in fiscal year 2018.

Reprinted courtesy of Joanna Masterson, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.


Modern Technology Is Influencing Construction Safety

November 14, 2018
Michael Rivas & Scott Chinn - Construction Executive

How is technology influencing the construction industry? The short answer is in each and every aspect of construction. Technology and construction are both ever-evolving industries–from the world’s first skyscraper to the under-construction Vista Tower which will be Chicago’s third tallest building when completed in 2020.

Reprinted courtesy of Michael Rivas & Scott Chinn, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.


Report Finds Construction Labor Shortage Impacts Jobsite Safety

November 6, 2018
Donna Laquidara-Carr - Construction Executive

Safety has been a top concern in the construction industry for decades, but there are new challenges on jobsites whose safety implications need to be addressed. The most recent USG Corporation + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index, a quarterly report based on surveys of general and trade contractors conducted and analyzed by Dodge Data & Analytics, explores the degree to which several factors that now impact jobsites raise safety concerns among contractors. Findings show that factors such as skilled worker shortages, shorter construction schedules, greater project complexity, an aging workforce and the use of marijuana, alcohol and opioids all play a role.

Reprinted courtesy of Donna Laquidara-Carr, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.


Uruguay's No.1 Construction Firm Smells Opportunity in Argentina

October 30, 2018
Ken Parks - Bloomberg

Uruguay’s largest construction firm is scouting for highway, rail and energy projects in Argentina even as South America’s second-largest economy slips into a recession and a corruption scandal stalls investment.



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