ABC Launches Tech Alliance to Help Contractors Transform the Construction Process

November 23, 2020
Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. - Construction Executive

Associated Builders and Contractors announced the launch of its inaugural Tech Alliance—a consortium of firms that create construction technology and innovative digital solutions for ABC contractor members, the majority of which are classified as small businesses and primarily perform work in the industrial and commercial sectors. Consisting of 13 companies, the Tech Alliance will leverage technology solutions to help ABC members develop people, win work and deliver work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which they work.

“The need for technological solutions—both big and small—in the construction industry is clear, especially given changing work conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Matt Abeles, ABC’s vice president of construction technology and innovation. “I look forward to the exceptional products, education and dialogue the Tech Alliance companies will bring to ABC members and our evolving industry, especially as we continue to implement technology to revolutionize the design, build and delivery process.

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


How Low-Carbon Concrete Could Shape Sustainability in Construction

November 16, 2020
Emily Folk - Construction Executive

As a wide variety of industries explore sustainable improvements, many look to options like process changes to improve efficiency while cutting resource uses. Those alterations can help, but it's sometimes necessary to do things differently regarding the materials used.

The construction industry is a prime example with its use of concrete. Cement is a binding material that mixes with sand, water and gravel to make concrete, the world's most widely used construction material. Portland cement—invented in the early 1800s—is part of the vast majority of concrete used today. The process of making it causes problems for the environment, however.

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


Construction Adds 84,000 Jobs in October, Largest Gain Since June

November 9, 2020
Tom Ichniowski - Engineering News-Record

The construction industry continues to recover from its coronavirus-caused deep drop in employment, adding 84,000 jobs in October, the industry’s largest monthly increase since June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported.

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


How the Construction Industry Weathers the COVID-19 Storm

November 2, 2020
Corbett Nichter - Construction Executive

No one could have predicted the speed and reach of COVID-19 in the last few months, or the overall impact to the construction industry. There have been drastic changes in operations and implementation along with disruptions to the industry’s supply chain. Safety on the job site has become more important than ever, especially as contractors focus on preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Financial standing plays a major role in construction projects, and coming out of COVID-19 will be no different. Because of the pandemic’s far-reaching impact, there may be unforeseen delays in project funding due to the dip in Q1 market conditions and Q2 earnings reports. In North Texas, for example, more than $2 billion in bond referendums were pushed from May 2020 to November 2020, and potentially even further. The biggest uncertainty is that the pandemic’s true depth is not understood, but the construction industry is made up of committed and hardworking thought leaders who will push through and work together to resolve these challenges.

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


Building Space

October 26, 2020
Jessica Porter - Construction Executive

The effects of COVID-19 on the global economy are far-reaching, and the construction industry is no exception. No one can predict precisely how the shutdowns and new way of living will impact the industry long term. Though business will never return to normal, it will continue, and construction will adapt.

The markets most likely to experience significant change include health care and office construction. Some markets, including hospitality, arena and convention centers, may never return to the construction levels contractors once experienced. The jury is still out on education and municipal construction, as the United States awaits guidelines on how to reopen public schools, and colleges and universities go virtual.

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

Ms. Porter may be contacted at porter@constructionexec.com


Innovative Strategies for LEED Certification in Green Building

October 19, 2020
Ruben Mejia - Construction Executive

The trend toward sustainable construction is changing the way projects are designed and built. The demand for green buildings continues to rise driven by increasing concerns over global warming, tighter environmental regulations and a growing focus on occupant health. In response to this demand, the construction sector is embracing green practices including delivering LEED-certified commercial projects.

LEED, a third-party certification program sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council, has verified the sustainability of thousands of buildings. Last year the program announced it had surpassed 100,000 registered and certified global LEED commercial projects and noted that the organization certifies more than 2.6 million square feet of space each day. And, according to data from Statista, the number of LEED registrations has steadily increased since the certification program’s implementation in 1993 with registrations in the United States alone reaching approximately 69,066 in 2019.

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


Billionaire Brothers Raise U.S. Property Bet With LA Project

October 12, 2020
Benjamin Stupples - Bloomberg

David and Simon Reuben are continuing their run of big investments in U.S. real estate, financing a $275 million loan for a major construction project in Los Angeles.

The British billionaire brothers funded a senior mezzanine loan for the $2.5 billion redevelopment of the city’s Century Plaza site, according to a statement Friday. They previously acquired a stake in another loan for the project, which includes two residential towers, retail space and a luxury hotel.


Bringing BIM to the Modern Built Environment: An Interview with Prof. Martin Fischer

October 5, 2020
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

We talked with Professor Martin Fischer of Stanford University’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department in the run-up to WDBE. Our discussion covered what drew him to the discipline and the practical challenges of applying BIM in the modern built environment.

An essential part of contemporary design, Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a valuable collaborative practice when supported by the right suite of tools and workflows. It helps disparate teams work together, model progress on a build, and has been an area of interest for Professor Fischer since the start of his career.

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


Taking the Mystery Out of BIM Data Mining

September 28, 2020
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

Information mining as a way to affect the productivity curve in construction.

Success in the AEC industry comes down to productivity. Unfortunately, as we all know from many famous studies, productivity has not changed much in the AEC industry. However, there is a deep well of potential for BIM to help show us how problems in our project delivery workflow can be re-thought. VIATechnik is achieving a finer understanding of our productivity levels by collecting and organizing data output from the software backbone of the project. This has the potential to truly impact the industry as we discover ways to improve communication and move closer to a single shared source of information for all project teams.

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


COVID-19: The Catalyst to Permanently Transform Construction Safety With Live Field Data

September 21, 2020
Mike Merrill - Construction Executive

Construction is considered an essential service, which is why many projects have continued to hum along even as large portions of the economy have shut down. And while some projects may slow or experience delays from budgetary constraints, experts forecast that the construction industry could soon be busier than ever. Still, amidst the uncertainty of COVID-19 is a silver lining: construction companies now have the opportunity to examine safety processes and update their technology and operations in ways that will positively affect their businesses for years to come.

The 2020 FMI Industry Report shows 66% of firms believe that maintaining a safe worksite is the number one concern for their future success. Now, since the advent of COVID-19, safety managers must do everything they can to protect their workforces, which is where technology comes in.

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

Mr. Merrill may be contacted at Mike@abouttimetech.com


Why Construction Is Considered a Fundamental Service

September 14, 2020
Chris Jackson - Construction Executive

When the pandemic first hit the United States, many businesses were either ordered closed by different states or decided to close by themselves. There are, however, some major exceptions: those businesses that are considered as “essential” enough that should continue operating during this crisis. There are many states that include construction and building materials industries as “essential services.”

Of course, this might make many people wonder why construction is a fundamental service. To clear the misconception about construction services, here’s a brief guide that breaks down why construction is considered as a fundamental service.

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


Navigating the Perfect Storm: Combating a Projected Spike in COVID-19 Cases During Flu Season

September 7, 2020
Curtis Moore - Construction Executive

While COVID-19 related information and recommendations are continually evolving, many experts have warned that the United States will likely experience a surge of COVID-19 cases in the fall. This projected surge will likely coincide with the beginning of flu season—creating a perfect storm for the public and employers alike.

Flu season typically arrives in October or November and can last into May. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates, during the 2018-2019 flu season 35.5 million people were sick with the flu, 16.5 million people went to a medical provider, and the flu caused 34,200 deaths. Many experts estimated that flu cost employers $17 billion in productivity for the 2018-2019 flu season. On top of those bleak numbers, the Integrated Benefits Institute estimated in April 2020 that COVID-19 could cost employers more than $23 billion in lost productivity and employee benefits.

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


Get Creative for Post-Pandemic Construction Recruiting

August 31, 2020
Annalisa Enrile - Construction Executive

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has put millions out of work, essential workers in industries like construction have continued. Considered part of the more than 17 million workers in infrastructure jobs that include construction site workers, electricians, plumbers, other skilled trades and project managers, the need for a consistent labor force is even more urgent. Questions about how to fill labor gaps due to illness, vulnerability to the pandemic and aging pose real challenges to companies.

While these labor gaps might seem insurmountable or—at the very least—unfillable, another way to look at it is an opportunity. Namely, this is an opening for construction executives to think outside of the box or, in this case, traditional populations where hiring occurs and instead look to untapped communities.

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


Three Ways Aerial Imaging Benefits Construction Amid COVID-19

August 24, 2020
Rob Newman - Construction Executive

One would be hard pressed to find an industry that has not felt the effects of COVID-19 in its own unique way. The worlds of construction, roofing and solar are no different, and come with their own unique challenges. Among them, these industries are tasked with considering new ways of working to make contracted surveying, onsite inspections, design planning, bidding and winning new projects more efficient. But this was an obstacle even before the pandemic.

Unfortunately, these pre-pandemic obstacles haven’t gone away; if anything, they've become more challenging. COVID-19 is forcing contractors to think creatively and critically about how to approach the operational challenges inherent to their work. Tackling them is paramount to adapting to the difficulties presented by COVID-19.

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


Union Specialty Contractors Urged To Seek Additional Pay for Pandemic Costs

August 17, 2020
Richard Korman - Engineering News-Record

Studies by key union specialty contractors indicate that COVID-19 has turned their projects into money-losers and that firms must seek and receive additional payment via change orders to prevent a wave of company failures.

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


Preserving Cash and Incentivizing Employees During a Pandemic

August 10, 2020
Benjamin T. Gibbs - Gravel2Gavel Construction & Real Estate Law Blog

As COVID-19 reverberates through the real estate and construction industries, impacted companies should revisit their employee compensation programs to preserve cash and drive performance while maintaining legal compliance. This is particularly true for companies normally dependent on high rents in cities, where commercial tenants are trading brick-and-mortar office space for work-from-home arrangements, and freeing up employees—unshackled by any commuting concerns—to relocate in pursuit of lower housing costs.

Mr. Gibbs may be contacted at benjamin.gibbs@pillsburylaw.com


Antibody Tests Cannot Be Required From Employees to Return to Work; Other New Covid-19 Guidance Issued

August 3, 2020
Amy R. Patton & Rana Ayazi - Payne & Fears

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its technical assistance guidance for employers. The new guidance explains that antibody tests cannot be required from employees to re-enter the workplace, addresses when an employee may receive an alternative symptom screening check as a disability or religious accommodation, reminds employers that actions taken based on their benevolent concerns about older workers, pregnant workers, and child caregivers may be discriminatory, and reiterates the employer’s obligation to prevent harassment against employees who are or are perceived to be of Chinese or other Asian national origin.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also released guidance on contact tracing for government contract tracers. The guidance includes material that private employers might find helpful in contact tracing within their workforce.

Reprinted courtesy of Amy R. Patton, Payne & Fears and Rana Ayazi, Payne & Fears
Ms. Patton may be contacted at arp@paynefears.com
Ms. Ayazi may be contacted at ra@paynefears.com


Turner Construction is ENR Midwest Contractor of the Year

July 27, 2020
Jeff Yoders - Engineering News-Record

With $2.99 Billion in 2019 revenue from the 11-state region and leadership in the construction of digital infrastructure, historic reconstruction and preservation, Turner Construction has been voted ENR Midwest's Contractor of the Year for 2020. This is the second year in a row that big blue stood alone atop ENR Midwest's top contractors rankings, booking $2.77 billion in regional revenue in 2018, and the fourth time they've had the most revenue in the last five years.

Mr. Yoders may be contacted at yodersj@enr.com


Contractor Haskell Hits Its Reset Button

July 20, 2020
Scott Judy - Engineering News-Record

Bolstered by a series of strategic acquisitions broadening its array of in-house capabilities, along with a major investment in modular construction, long-time design-builder Haskell is now embracing an all-of-the-above project delivery approach as it pursues a plan to nearly double annual revenue by 2025.

Mr. Judy may be contacted at judys@enr.com


Protecting Construction Workers from the Dangers of Hydrogen Sulfide

July 13, 2020
Chris Detillier - Construction Executive

Construction is one of the most dangerous professions, with one in five worker fatalities in 2018 occurring within the industry. The dangers of a construction site extend beyond the fatal four dangers reported by OSHA (falls, electrocution, struck-by-objects and caught-in-between) to those that cannot be easily spotted. Known as the silent killer, Hydrogen Sulfide, commonly referred to as H2S or sour gas, is the second most common cause of workplace gas inhalation fatalities following carbon monoxide. The colorless, flammable gas is naturally produced by the decomposition of organic material and is also emitted as a by-product of many industrial processes.

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


ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator Inches Higher in May; Contractor Confidence Continues to Rebound

July 6, 2020
ABC - Construction Executive

Associated Builders and Contractors reported that its Construction Backlog Indicator rose to 7.9 months in May, an increase of less than 0.1 months from April’s reading. Furthermore, based on an ABC member survey conducted from May 20-June 3, results indicate that confidence among U.S. construction industry leaders continued to rebound from the historically low levels observed in the March survey.

Nonresidential construction backlog is down 0.8 months compared to May 2019 and declined year-over-year in every industry, classification and region. Backlog in the heavy industrial category, however, increased by nearly one month in May after reaching its lowest level in the history of the series in April.

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


Get on the Path to Healthy Buildings With LEED

June 29, 2020
Tommy Linstroth - Construction Executive

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a new focus on how health and wellness issues can be proactively addressed through building design and green construction techniques.

Designers have to consider how viruses can be transmitted and how the danger can be mitigated. Research on how airborne particles can be circulated in HVAC systems leads to more discussion about proper system design and filtration and the importance of introducing clean outdoor air in the facility.

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


Technology—The Future of the Construction Industry

June 22, 2020
Michelle Johnson & Robert Mercado - Construction Executive

One of the most challenging obstacles contractors face is securing qualified skilled laborers to meet the demands of their current workload. The advent of more sophisticated technology on jobsites is alleviating the problem in part as contractors are increasingly utilizing technology to assist in achieving timely job completion. The use of technology also makes current workers accountable for meeting production timelines. Of course, technology is not new to the construction industry; however, significant advances are enabling construction contractors to take greater advantage of technology to fill the gap in human capital.

Building Information Modeling is a prime example. During the design stage, BIM, combined with virtual and augmented reality, can facilitate sharper results and greater efficiencies. BIM assists contractors in choosing materials, fittings and design changes in order to make post-completion buildings more maintainable. For example, BIM enables the maintenance team to do a virtual walkthrough of the building to understand placement of the mechanical system in order to determine access and ability to service the system. This allows design changes to be made before the construction stage begins and can reduce or eliminate delays and change orders in the construction process.

Reprinted courtesy of Michelle Johnson & Robert Mercado, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.


Culture of CARE Works to Boost Diversity and Inclusion, Overcome Racial Inequalities

June 15, 2020
Scott Blair - Engineering News-Record

The Associated General Contractors of America recently launched Culture of CARE, a program designed to boost inclusiveness and diversity in the construction industry by helping firms create more welcoming workplace environments to boost innovation, safety and profitability. ENR’s Managing Editor Scott Blair sat down (virtually) with Brynn Huneke, AGC director of diversity & inclusion and member engagement, and Brian Turmail, vice president of public affairs & strategic initiatives, to talk about what the program means for companies that sign the pledge to participate, and how the program addresses current events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide protests to overcome racial injustices.

Mr. Blair may be contacted at blairs@enr.com



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