Construction Fire Safety Practices: What Superintendents Need to Know

June 18, 2019
Raymond O’Brocki - Construction Executive

Fire safety in buildings under construction is a hugely important topic due to the devastating impact large construction fires can have. While rare, the consequences of construction fires are attracting more attention in the public and private sectors, pointing to the need for more accountability on construction sites and greater enforcement of existing fire and building codes.

A variety of best practice manuals and training videos are available on www.constructionfiresafety.org to help reduce the frequency and severity of construction fires. These materials are designed to educate and inform construction crews, including site superintendents, local building and fire regulators, and responding fire departments on how to prevent fires, reduce losses and ensure overall safety at large construction sites.

Reprinted courtesy of Raymond O’Brocki, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.


Construction M&A Activity to Remain Strong Following Record 2018

June 10, 2019
Joanna Masterson - Construction Executive

In 2018, 534 mergers and acquisitions were announced in the engineering and construction industry, a 26.5% increase over 2017, and by far the highest level of activity recorded by FMI. This year, M&A activity should remain strong but return to more normal levels (i.e., 390-440 deals).

In FMI’s 2019 survey, nearly 60% of all respondents indicated that acquisitions were a part of their current strategy, down from 70% in last year’s report. And while more than half of respondents indicated they are less likely to make an acquisition this year compared to 2018, nearly two-thirds said M&A activity will increase in 2019 and 33% believe it will stay the same.

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


Construction Employment Surges to Start Year, Says ABC

June 3, 2019
Associated Builders and Contractors - Construction Executive

Construction employment expanded by 52,000 net new jobs in January, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Industry employment is up by 338,000 net jobs on a yearly basis, which represents an increase of 4.7 percent. Nonresidential construction employment grew by 28,600 net new positions on a monthly basis, although the nonresidential building sub-sector lost 800 net positions.

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


Contractor and Equipment Distributor Optimism Remains Strong

May 27, 2019
Joanna Masterson - Construction Executive

Contractors and equipment distributors believe construction industry expansion is more likely than contraction this year, according to the 2019 Wells Fargo Equipment Finance Construction Industry Forecast. Ninety percent of respondents expect net profits to remain the same or rise in 2019, and Wells Fargo’s optimism quotient remains very strong at 122, compared to 133 in 2018, 123 in 2017 and 108 in 2016.

The vast majority of contractors (96 percent) plan to purchase new or used equipment this year; of those, three-quarters plan to maintain or increase their 2018 buying level. Similarly, 92 percent plan to maintain or increase their rental activity, and 46 percent say flexibility is the dominant reason they rent equipment.

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


The Intersection of Risk Management, Safety, Technology and the Workforce

May 20, 2019
Sean Martell - Construction Executive

The construction space looks attractive in 2019, given its solid economic position, consistent job growth expectancy, and the promises made to boost infrastructure spending in the United States.

However, according to McKinsey Global Institute’s 2018 research report, “Reinventing Construction Through a Productivity Revolution,” the industry is slow to adopt technology, and has been struggling with stagnant productivity levels for decades. One reason for this is companies continue to use various older systems instead of integrating technologies to consolidate methods and increase overall efficiency.

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


Surety Bonding in 2019: What Should Contractors Be Ready For?

May 13, 2019
Vic Lance - Construction Executive

This year will see a number of new surety regulations taking effect across the country. These will require contractors to obtain construction bonds or contractor license bonds in different amounts and adjust to new compliance standards implemented by sureties. Moreover, questions about the state of the economy and what contractors can expect in terms of government spending are also on the table and require attention.

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


A Digital Transformation Report: Five Emerging Trends in Construction

May 6, 2019
Stephanie Viers - Construction Executive

The construction industry is in a moment of enormous change. Business is booming — and so is the number, complexity and duration of projects. Concurrently, a serious shortage of affordable, skilled labor means that many companies are operating short-staffed.

Increasingly, construction companies are turning to technology to improve their productivity, make the most of limited resources, improve safety and document and coordinate every step of their projects. According to McKinsey, investment in construction technology has doubled in the past decade. The most innovative companies are integrating technology into their daily processes, choosing technology partners that provide intuitive tools that every team member can use. By doing so, these companies are able to remain competitive and grow revenue, reaping the benefits of more comprehensive real-time reporting, resulting in savvier asset allocation and project planning.

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

Ms Viers may be contacted at stephanie.viers@smartsheet.com


Report Predicts 4.8 Percent Rise in Construction Spending This Year

May 1, 2019
Joanna Masterson - Construction Executive

2019 construction spending is expected to continue rising, up 4.8 percent, although at a slower pace than 2018’s 6.5 percent growth, according to Atradius’s annual Market Monitor for the global construction industry. As the U.S. economic expansion slows down, commercial construction growth should decline slightly this year due to higher office vacancies.

Residential construction is expected to grow modestly on the back of wage growth, low unemployment and low inventories, while higher interest rates have an adverse effect. Nonresidential construction is projected to continue improving, largely supported by the $305 billion Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act.

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


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



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