New York Shuts More Projects As COVID-19 Cases Soar

March 30, 2020
Eydie Cubarrubia & Debra K. Rubin - Engineering News-Record

New York has narrowed the definition of "essential" construction, closing most projects in the state following concerns about worker safety as numbers rise related to COVIS-19 cases and deaths.

Reprinted courtesy of Eydie Cubarrubia, Engineering News-Record and Debra K. Rubin, Engineering News-Record
Ms. Cubarrubia may be contacted at cubarrubiae@enr.com
Ms. Rubin may be contacted at rubind@enr.com


How Gaps in Contractor-Owner Communication Are Impacting Multi-Site Projects

March 23, 2020
Stephen Kuhn and Donna Laquidara-Carr - Construction Executive

For any construction project to succeed, it’s imperative that all project or program stakeholders establish consistent and clear communication process early in the project. In no industry is this practice more important than multi-site construction.

An often-overlooked segment of the construction industry, multi-site projects represent a significant volume of work nationally. Multi-site involves similar work on dozens, hundreds or even thousands of sites across a wide geography. The scope of the work could be remodeling retail stores across the country, rebranding multiple locations due to an acquisition, or managing ground-up new to industry locations.

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


Risk-Adjusted Cost: A New Frontier in Construction

March 16, 2020
Justin Levine - Construction Executive

Successful general contractors understand that accurate cost estimates are essential to both project and organizational success. For decades, the cost of construction has been a function of marketplaces: labor, materials, insurances and fees. However, given increasing project complexity and greater technological capabilities, this reality is changing. The need to both understand and quantify the risk in performing complex projects will shape the way cost estimates evolve in the very near future.

WHY ACCURATE COST ESTIMATES ARE CRITICAL

It is safe to say that cost overruns have become common across the construction industry. According to a study from KPMG, just 31% of all construction projects from the past three years have been completed within 10% of their initial budget.

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


Four Ways Sustainable Cities Will Impact Urban Construction

March 9, 2020
Emily Folk - Construction Executive

All people across the world have similar ideas when they move to big cities: Cities are where people go to achieve their goals and dreams. This is certainly a small part of why the UN predicts 68% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050.

It’s not difficult to imagine all of the challenges this raises—including how successful we are in bringing renewable power to all of these rising city centers. Here’s a look at how the transition to sustainable cities is already changing how we build, maintain and even rebuild them.

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


September Construction Unemployment Rates Down in 48 States Year-Over-Year, Says ABC

March 2, 2020
Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. - Construction Executive

In September, estimated not seasonally adjusted construction unemployment rates fell nationally and in 48 states and rose in two states on a year-over-year basis, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released by Associated Builders and Contractors. For the fifth consecutive month, the construction unemployment rates for all 50 states were below 10%. For the nation and 29 states, this was their lowest September construction unemployment rate on record.

The construction industry employed 155,000 more workers nationally compared to September 2018, as the September 2019 national NSA construction unemployment rate fell from 4.1% to 3.2% over the same period, according to BLS numbers. But the worrying trend of declining growth in construction employment continues. September’s increase in year-over-year employment is the smallest increase since the January 2013 increase of 116,000. Part of the slowdown in employment growth may be result of the continued shortage of skilled workers.

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


The Future of Construction Depends on High School Students

February 24, 2020
Meredith Love - Construction Executive

Across the country, the demand for construction labor is continuing to grow—and the supply is continuing to dwindle. From a continued flood of retiring construction workers to a significant decrease in the availability of immigrant labor, numerous factors are affecting the construction labor pool and making it more difficult for companies to hire top talent.

While all levels of the construction industry are affected by the labor shortage, the trades have been hit especially hard. As a result, construction companies need an infusion of so-called “new-collar workers,” who have pursued less traditional and more targeted training and education opportunities. The industry is starting by reaching out to an unexpected source for help: young students.

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


Classification is the Bedrock to a Digital Built Environment

February 18, 2020
Andy Hamer - AEC Business

It seems we all agree the digitisation of construction and real estate is an imperative for buildings to be designed, constructed and operated more cost-effectively and deliver the changing needs of the building’s occupants.

There is much discussion about the benefits of AI, MI, Digital Twins and not forgetting BIM to support the digital transformation of the built environment. Yet I’m unconvinced these technologies will deliver their promised benefit without the whole supply chain addressing the underlying fundamental need to deliver structured data, and I repeat the need for structured data.


Keeping it Clean: Analytics Can Benefit Contractors—So Long as They Maintain Good ‘Data Hygiene’

February 10, 2020
Bruce Orr - AEC Business

Construction firms receive a flood of information these days—everything from sales pitches in their email inboxes, to cover stories in industry magazines—about the potential for data analytics to revolutionize what they do.

And it’s true that under the right circumstances shifting from siloed spreadsheets to advanced data warehouses and analytics engines can yield transformative insights.

Mr. Orr may be contacted at bruce@pronovos.com


Preparing Your Business For Internal Transition

February 3, 2020
Stephen P. Katz, Esq. - ConsensusDocs

When is it right to start thinking about succession planning and preparing a construction company for transition? Many would agree – in concept, at least – that serious thought regarding succession and transition planning should begin at a company’s inception and be revisited throughout its lifecycle, but as a practical matter, it is frequently not part of the mindset when growing a business. This article explores issues that construction company owners should consider in order to achieve smooth transition of ownership and control. We will address three critical questions:

  • What happens to the business when an owner retires;
  • In the event an owner(s) become disabled; and,
  • Unplanned exit/owner pre-deceases her/his exit from the company

Mr. Katz may be contacted at skatz@pecklaw.com


FedBizOpps (FBO) is No More. It’s SAM’s Time Now.

January 27, 2020
Alexander Gorelik - Smith Currie

The Federal Government celebrated Veterans day in an unusual way this year. Over the long weekend, it finally decommissioned its long-time registry for bidding opportunities: www.fbo.gov. From now on, the Government will post all of its future solicitations on a successor site at beta.sam.gov. All of the previously issued solicitations have been moved over to the new site as well. Contractors do not need an account in order to search the new system, but will have to create one in order to follow (and receive updates about) a solicitation or save any searches.

Mr. Gorelik may be contacted at agorelik@smithcurrie.com


AB5, Dynamex and the ABC Standard Exception for Construction-Related Trucking

January 20, 2020
Donald A. Velez - Smith Currie

Our earlier alert on AB5 outlined the Dynamex case, which brought the inflexible ABC Standard to California for determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor for IWC wage orders. The Legislature passed, and Governor Newsom signed, AB5, codifying the Dynamex case and the ABC Standard for wage orders, the Labor Code, unemployment insurance, and worker’s compensation issues.

We also discussed the Borello test, which applies when a hiring party can meet the construction or construction-related trucking exception and which applies a more employer friendly multi-factor test.

Mr. Velez may be contacted at davelez@smithcurrie.com


CEMEX Ventures Invests in X3 Builders, a Vertically Integrated General Contractor

January 13, 2020
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

CEMEX Ventures has announced its investment in X3 Builders. X3 Builders is a vertically integrated general contractor that combines architectural design, material procurement, and construction services to provide clients with a one-stop solution and a seamless transition from design to construction.

This California-based startup is a completely new type of general contractor due to its 100% technological approach. It provides real-time pricing during the design process to reduce cost uncertainty and wasteful redesign efforts. It also standardizes material selection and works directly with suppliers to procure materials, eliminating submittals and lead-time delays. Their in-house software helps to manage the process end-to-end, simplifying the complexities of construction and automating most of the construction administration and accounting process.

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


Aiforsite: Manage a Construction Site like a Production Plant

January 6, 2020
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

A construction site is not a factory, so managing a construction project is unlike managing a production line. Aiforsite, a construction tech startup, uses video, IoT, and AI to make construction controllable – analogously to manufacturing.

“Contractors go to seminars and read about the benefits of digitalization. However, when they eventually want to buy a solution that would digitalize their construction sites, they come out empty-handed,” says Kari Hirvijärvi, the CEO of Aiforsite. “There are plenty of apps and services that are point solutions, that do not help to manage a site comprehensively. That’s where we come in.”

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


IRS Notice 2019-43

January 1, 2020
David R. Cook - AHC Construction and Procurement Blog

Notice 2019-43 updates and clarifies the guidance provided in prior IRS notices regarding the beginning of construction for sections 45 and 48. Specifically, the notice provides that the Continuity Safe Harbor may be tolled and extended in certain limited circumstances involving significant national security concerns. One such concern is the route for the proposed transmission line which runs adjacent to a DOD facility. The DOD states that since the Plan raises significant concerns related to national security a proposed alternative route for the transmission line would be in the best interests of national security objectives.

Mr. Cook may be contacted at cook@ahclaw.com


Giant Mozambique LNG Project Goes to JGC-Fluor-Technip Team

December 22, 2019
Mary B. Powers - Engineering News-Record

A joint venture led by ExxonMobil awarded Fluor Corp. and two partners the $3.73-billion engineering procurement and construction contract for onshore facilities associated with a $30-billion liquefied natural gas project in Mozambique, the company confirmed October 8. The project would be Africa's largest private investment, said Bloomberg.

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


Replacement of Collapsed Genoa Bridge Slated To Open Next Year

December 16, 2019
Peter Reina - Engineering News-Record

Based on the current pace of construction, a 19-span replacement for the ill-fated Polcevera viaduct in Genoa, Italy, will open to traffic before investigators identify the cause of its disastrous collapse last year and prosecute any culpable individuals.

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


Corps Calls For $1 Billion Cape Cod Bridge Replacements

December 9, 2019
Johanna Knapschaefer - Engineering News-Record

Replacing two Cape Cod Canal bridges for an estimated $1 billion rather than rehabilitating them would be more cost-effective, according to a federal study announced on Oct. 3.

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


A Fifth Worker Loses Life on Orlando's I-4 Ultimate Job

December 2, 2019
Scott Judy - Engineering News-Record

Another deadly accident, the fifth, has taken the life of a worker on one of the nation's biggest road projects.

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


From CAD to Machines as Co-Designers

November 24, 2019
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

Finnish economics professor Osmo A. Wiio claimed that we typically overestimate the near future and underestimate the distant future. His thoughts resonate well with today’s perception of design automation.

Back in the 1980s, I took part in the first-ever Finnish “integrated CAD” projects, in which the architect, the structural, HVAC, and electrical engineers exchanged CAD files instead of blueprints. We used minicomputers, which had about as much computing power as today’s laser printer. Still, we were able to automate design tasks.

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


The Fundamentals of the Construction Industry Are Strong, but Lingering Workforce Concerns Need Industry-Wide Action

November 18, 2019
Diane Earll - Construction Executive

The fundamentals of the commercial construction industry are strong and industry leaders are largely optimistic about the future of the sector, according to the latest USG Corporation + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index (CCI). Contractors report a healthy pipeline of new business and more than 50% expect to hire more people in the next six months.

But behind the headline numbers, one of the most persistent challenges in the construction industry is first recruiting, then training and retaining, skilled workers. Like manufacturing and other trade industries, the construction sector is grappling with an aging workforce, as well as a gender and skilled labor gap, which is causing builders to turn down work, submit higher bid levels and struggle to meet deadlines.

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


A 20-Year Odyssey To Widen Brays Bayou

November 12, 2019
Louise Poirier & Pam Radtke Russell - Engineering News-Record

After 20 years, the end of the $550-million Brays Bayou Flood Damage Reduction Project in Houston is finally in sight

Reprinted courtesy of Louise Poirier, ENR and Pam Radtke Russell, ENR
Ms. Poirier may be contacted at poirierl@enr.com
Ms. Russell may be contacted at Russellp@bnpmedia.com


Regional Contractors See Market Strength Continuing Through 2020

November 4, 2019
Mark Shaw - Engineering News-Record

The struggle to meet ever-shorter project schedules with a limited workforce continues to dominate daily life for most contractors across the region. Steady in-migration and an economic boom in Boise, Salt Lake City and along Colorado’s Front Range are driving demand for new projects as firms scramble to keep up with record growth in those areas.

Mr. Shaw may be contacted at shawm@enr.com


Attract More Women to Construction With a Female-Friendly Environment and Culture

October 21, 2019
RubinBrown LLP - Construction Executive

Even with a lot of focus recently on diversity in the workplace, construction is still a male-dominated industry. According to recent surveys, women make up less than 10% of the construction workforce.

There is a higher percentage of women serving in Congress (currently 23.7%) and in the active duty military (14%). Women do, in fact, make up 47% of the total civilian workforce. So, as the construction industry looks for ways to hire and develop skilled labor, diversity has become more important than ever.

There are several challenges to increasing diversity, specifically among women in construction that need to be addressed. These include unwelcome worksites, sexual harassment issues, flexibility and the perception by others that women on the team are not as capable for projects that require manual labor. It’s not the women, it’s the environment and the culture.

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


Contractors Turn to Tech to Help Reduce Jobsite Safety Risks

October 15, 2019
Pete Schermerhorn - Construction Executive

Construction companies, project teams and even insurance companies are increasingly turning to digitalization, and more specifically the internet of things (IoT), to gain much-needed visibility on the jobsite to improve safety, reduce risk and operate more efficiently.

A new study released by Dodge Data & Analytics, in partnership with Triax Technologies, found that nearly three-quarters of contractors surveyed believe IoT will help them control occupational risks, and about half expect it to reduce risks to the public, as well as financial risks and those related to property damage and construction defects. These findings represent a dramatic shift in thinking when it comes to digitalization of the jobsite.

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



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