Construction Industry News

How to Evaluate Sustainability Innovations in Construction

September 22, 2016
Aarni Heiskanen – AEC Business

I attended a doctoral dissertation defense at Aalto University in Otaniemi on Friday, September 15, 2016. The candidate, Juho-Kusti Kajander, M.Sc. (Econ.), presented his thesis on how construction industry companies can evaluate their sustainability innovations and the economic benefits of innovation investments.

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at

Wilshire Grand Becomes Tallest Building in Los Angeles

September 15, 2016
Greg Aragon – Engineering News-Record

After two and half years of construction, the $1.2 billion Wilshire Grand in Downtown Los Angeles is now the city's tallest building. And according to project officials, the 1,100-ft tower is also the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River.

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Construction July Spending Flat from June, Up Year Over Year

September 1, 2016
Tom Ichniowski – Engineering News-Record

Construction spending in July was virtually even with the June level but rose 1.5% from the year-earlier total, as private-sector work increased and public-sector volume declined, the Commerce Dept. has reported.

Mr. Ichniowski may be contacted at

Crane Collapses Across Traffic Lanes at Tappan Zee Bridge Project in N.Y.

July 28, 2016
Aileen Cho – Engineering News-Record

A team of investigators has been dispatched to the site of the new Tappan Zee Bridge in New York, where the boom of a mobile crane crashed on to the decks of the new and existing bridges. No severe injuries were sustained but traffic was snarled for hours.

Ms. Cho may be contacted at

Contractor Refuses to Pay for Safety Ad Campaign after Manslaughter Conviction

July 14, 2016
Beverley BevenFlorez-CDJ STAFF

Construction Dive reported that a New York judge “ordered general contractor Harco Construction to pay for a safety ad campaign as part of its guilty sentence for an April 2015 trench-related worker death, but a Harco attorney said the company will not comply.”

Harco plans to appeal the conviction of second degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in the death of Carlos Moncayo, an undocumented worker who was killed when a trench collapsed at a Harco job site. According to Construction Dive, “Harco attorney Ron Fischetti told the court that the company is innocent and that the blame for the accident should rest with Moncayo's employer, Sky Materials Corp, which is set to go on trial as well for its part in the trench collapse.”

House-Passed Bill Would Cut FY17 DOD, VA Construction

June 30, 2016
Tom Ichniowski – Engineering News-Record

Military and Veterans Affairs construction would face cutbacks under a 2017 spending bill that the House passed on June 23. The measure may stall in the Senate, due to Democrats’ objections to funding levels to combat the Zika virus.

Mr. Ichniowski may be contacted at

A Tax Guide for California Construction Contractors

June 22, 2016
Garret Murai – California Construction Law Blog

The California State Board of Equalization (“BOE”) has published an online guide to help contractors with tax issues unique to their businesses. The online guide – Tax Guide for Construction Contractors– has helpful information for contractors just starting their businesses as well as those who are expanding their operations.

Mr. Murai may be contacted at

'Nudge' or 'Shaming,' OSHA Injury Report Rule Seen Differently

June 9, 2016
Debra K. Rubin and Pam Hunter McFarland – Engineering News-Record

As a new federal rule takes effect in August to require employers to post injury and illness records electronically, lawmakers and construction-sector advocates on opposite sides squared off at a May 25 congressional hearing on the mandate’s approach to improved workplace safety.

Reprinted courtesy of Debra K. Rubin, Engineering News-Record and Pam Hunter McFarland, Engineering News-Record
Ms. Rubin may be contacted at
Ms. McFarland may be contacted at

A $26.5 Million Mansion That's Good for the Environment

June 2, 2016
Lisa Selin Davis – Bloomberg

In the pre-crash days, sustainable building materials and low-flow toilets became part of the common real estate conversation: Slap "eco" on a home, the thinking went, and it was more valuable, not just to the earth but to the homeowner.

The most direct path to an officially green building was through third-party certification—if the building could check enough boxes on a list, it was green. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most prevalent. The checklist includes boxes for everything from air purifiers to locally sourced lumber to low-emission paint.

NYC Residential Permits Increased 180% Last Year

May 12, 2016
Beverley BevenFlorez-CDJ STAFF

Construction Dive reported that “New York City issued 56,528 permits for residential units in 2015 — a 180% increase from 2014 and a 67% increase from the peak of 2008’s building boom,” according to a New York Building Congress report that came out Tuesday.

This is the sixth consecutive year that New York City’s residential units permits have increased.

CISI & IIF Safety Week & OSHA National Safety Stand-Down

April 28, 2016
Beverley BevenFlorez-CDJ STAFF

The Construction Industry Safety (CISI) group and the Incident and Injury Free CEO (IIF) Forum have joined forces to run this year’s Safety Week, May 2nd through Friday May 6th. CISI and IIF are comprised of more than forty national and global construction firms.

The mission for Safety Week includes thanking workers for supporting a safe workplace, increasing safety awareness, inspiring those in the construction field to work together to build the industry’s safety culture, celebrating the need to be injury-free, and how to conduct on-site safety awareness activities to support education.

During the same week, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) will be hosting its “National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction.” According to the OSHA website, “A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. This Stand-Down focuses on ‘Fall Hazards’ and reinforcing the importance of ‘Fall Prevention.’” OSHA also provides suggestions for preparing a successful “Stand-Down” and highlights from past events.

Read the full story, CISI & IIF Safety Week 2016...
Read the full story, OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down 2016...

Roofer Contractor Fined for Fall Protection Violations

April 20, 2016
Beverley BevenFlorez-CDJ STAFF

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined Apex Exteriors Inc. “for one willful, one repeated and one serious safety violation for putting its workers at risk of falls. OSHA fined the company $57,950,” according to Construction Dive. Furthermore, “OSHA said that falls are responsible for 40% of construction worker deaths, and it actively promotes its fall protection campaign all year.”

Construction Job Openings at Post-Recession High

April 6, 2016
Beverley BevenFlorez-CDJ STAFF

The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Eye on Housing reported that the number “of unfilled jobs in the overall construction sector reached a post-Great Recession high in February.” The estimate rose to 193,000 in February from 157,000 estimated in January. This represents “the highest monthly count of job openings since July 2007.”

Construction Employer News Flash: Fed OSHA Issues Final Rule Protecting Workers from Crystalline Silica Exposure

March 30, 2016
Michael J. Studenka and Thomas H. Reilly – Newmeyer & Dillion, LLP

On March 25, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Fed OSHA), issued its long-awaited final rule on “Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica,” 29 CFR sections 1910, 1915 and 1926. The new regulations, which go into effect within the next 90 days, significantly reduce the permissible amount of silica dust that workers may be exposed to, and require employers to implement controls and practices that reduce silica exposure.

Reprinted courtesy of Michael J. Studenka, Newmeyer & Dillion, LLP and Thomas H. Reilly, Newmeyer & Dillion, LLP
Mr. Studenka may be contacted at
Mr. Reilly may be contacted at

Green Construction Expected to Grow Significantly by 2018

February 24, 2016
Beverley BevenFlorez-CDJ STAFF

The U.S. Green Building Council and Dodge Data Analytics recently produced a global report that demonstrated that “[g]reen building activity is expected to increase significantly in the U.S. by 2018,” reported EcoBuilding Pulse. In previous years, only fifteen percent of U.S. builders surveyed expected green projects to account for 60 percent or more of their total projects annually by 2018, however, in this latest survey, the percentage more than doubled—at thirty-nine percent of responders.

New York Increases Penalties for Construction Safety Violations

February 17, 2016
Beverley BevenFlorez-CDJ STAFF

Following a deadly crane collapse in Tribeca, New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio “announced the city will quadruple penalties for serious construction-safety lapses and require new supervision at construction sites,” CBS New York reported. While construction projects have increased by 329 percent, according to the de Blasio administration, construction accidents have also grown, with a 98 percent increase. Mayor de Blasio told CBS New York: “We do not accept any loss of life in this business as inevitable or acceptable.”

OSHA Fines Construction Company After Trench Collapse Fatality

January 6, 2016
Beverley BevenFlorez-CDJ STAFF

According to Construction Dive, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) “has cited Susquehanna Supply Company Inc., a Pennsylvania-based bridge repair and construction company, for willful violations, fined the company $140,000 and placed it in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program for lack of cave-in protection after a worker died in a trench collapse.”

A Top 2015 Story by Construction Dive: 3-D Printing In Space

December 30, 2015
Beverley BevenFlorez-CDJ STAFF

Construction Dive presented their ten most popular stories of 2015, including the article, “Will 3-D Printing Make In-Space Construction a Reality,” by Sharon O’Malley. According to the article, NASA has installed an experimental 3-D printer at a space station, and NASA has used it to test printing satellite parts. “Space could be the next frontier for the construction industry,” O’Malley wrote.

Trump Loses Bid to Block Scottish Wind Farm Near Golf Course

December 17, 2015
Jeremy Hodges – Bloomberg

Donald Trump -- who promised to make Americans winners again in Tuesday night’s presidential debate -- lost a bid at the U.K.’s top court to block a wind farm near his luxury golf course in Scotland.

The Scottish government’s decision to approve the construction of 11 turbines about 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) from the Trump International Golf Links resort near Aberdeen on the east coast of Scotland was made properly, the U.K. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in London Wednesday.

New York Most Expensive Construction City in US

December 10, 2015
Beverley BevenFlorez-CDJ STAFF

According to the International Construction Costs Index, New York, London, and Hong Kong have the highest construction costs, reported Construction Dive. The Index also “found that as inflation rises, the ability to construct public and commercial projects decreases. In addition, these rising costs combined with falling currency in emerging markets could drive investors to less costly markets.”

Construction Dive concluded, “It comes as no surprise that New York is the priciest city to build in. The city’s construction boom has seen the cost to build office space skyrocket to $500-$550 per square foot, not including an extra 30%-40% for indirect costs such as professional fees, administration marketing, financing and tenant improvements. In addition, overall, the city is expected to pass the $40 billion mark in construction spending next year for the first time in the city’s history.”

Under the Hood of Construction Spending Is More Federal Projects

December 2, 2015
Vince Golle – Bloomberg

Here’s one key takeaway from the Commerce Department’s report Tuesday on construction spending. The 1 percent gain in October, which exceeded the 0.6 percent median forecast, was broad-based and included the biggest surge in federal outlays since October 2006.

Brookfield to Co-Develop Rental Towers on Brooklyn Waterfront

October 28, 2015
Oshrat Carmiel – Bloomberg

Brookfield Property Partners LP has formed a joint venture to build two apartment towers on the Brooklyn waterfront, the company’s first project in New York outside of Manhattan.

Brookfield, in partnership with New York-based Park Tower Group, will build about 780 rental units in the Greenpoint neighborhood, according to a statement Tuesday. The buildings are part of the first phase of Greenpoint Landing, a 22-acre (8.9-hectare) site along the East River that’s slated to get 5,500 residential units.

Will the Construction Labor Shortage Encourage Hiring of Women and Minorities?

October 21, 2015
Beverley BevenFlorez-CDJ STAFF

Construction Dive discussed how “[d]iversity in the architecture/engineering/construction industry is severely lacking” and that the “ongoing labor shortage” may motivate some firms to hire more women and minorities as they search for ways to increase their workforce.

One suggestion listed in the article was for “construction companies to try to reach potential future engineers and construction professionals at a young age, as many women and minorities don’t have anyone in their families in the industry who can serve as an example.”

Another City Considers Tiny-House Ordinances

October 2, 2015
Beverley BevenFlorez-CDJ STAFF

Like some other cities and building departments across the U.S., Seneca, Missouri, has proposed “tiny house” friendly building codes, according to Construction Dive. The purpose of the ordinance is to require the same inspection guidelines as builders of normal-sized homes “in order to prevent people from living in sheds or mobile units that current ordinances don’t allow.” Construction Dive reported that Rockledge, Florida, Sonoma County, California, and the state of Idaho “have all recently addressed the issue of tiny houses in some way in their building codes and zoning laws.”


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