COVID-19 Pandemic: Is it Over Yet? Not so Fast!

October 18, 2021
John P. Ahlers - Ahlers Cressman & Sleight

The COVID-19 Pandemic created a global disruption across trade, finance, health, education, businesses, and society in general like few others in the past 100 years. The pandemic’s fallout is being felt in the supply chain interruption experienced across all construction projects. This vulnerability, especially to an industry that has high dependence on China to fulfill its need for raw materials or finished products, has been exposed. China’s dominant role as the “world factory” means that any disruption to China puts global supply chains at risk. The impact to construction has manifested itself in rising prices of steel, other metals, PVC products, lumber, and a variety of other essential construction materials. The impact to the supply chain has shocked the construction industry and likely future measures will address the overdependence on foreign markets for construction supplies. News accounts are filled with COVID-19 mutations and virus strains that threaten further disruptions to the construction industry. Simply put, the pandemic is not over yet.

Mr. Ahlers may be contacted at

Preparing for Another Wave of Construction Project Demand

October 11, 2021
Brian Cooper & Jackie Robinson - Construction Executive

First, the pandemic changed the way people live and work. Then, it caused massive disruption in the supply chain, leading to a shortage of most materials like lumber, steel, pipe, etc. Now the country is facing a lack of skilled labor across many industries. This trifecta of cultural shifts has put a heavy burden on the construction industry in the midst of increasing demand for its products and services.

What’s driving this wave of construction demand? Simply put, Americans embraced the new normal, including flexible work and school options. Business executives are reimagining the physical workplace and homeowners are moving or renovating to meet a new hybrid lifestyle.

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

Tips to Identify and Mitigate Risks on Construction Sites

October 4, 2021
Zachary Perecman - Construction Executive

Construction sites are full of dangers—tall heights, sudden drops, distracting noises, heavy equipment and machinery. On a worksite, the safety of the workers is of utmost importance, and accidents can only be avoided if employers, general contractors, site owners and laborers remain vigilant to potential hazards, learn and follow protocols, conduct and reinforce training, and proactively maintain equipment.

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

COVID-19 Emergency Standard to Exclude Construction

September 29, 2021
Construction Executive

In a decision supported by the Construction Industry Safety Coalition, and the industry at large, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration applied its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard only to the health care industry. CISC, of which ABC is a member, released a statement saying it was “pleased that the Biden administration and OSHA listened to the concerns and recommendations of the construction industry in formulating a COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard. OSHA made the right decision to issue an ETS to cover tasks associated with high-exposure risk levels and not construction operations, which are generally low risk.”

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

Build Group to Use Buildots’ AI Technology for Three Construction Projects

September 20, 2021
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

Build Group Inc. will use Buildots’ technology on three projects in the US, including a 19-story M2 tower which is part of the wider 5M development in San Francisco. Buildots’ AI computer vision will collect, analyze, and leverage data to ensure these projects are delivered on time and under budget.

“The complex nature of managing thousands of details and dozens of trades on a construction site is the biggest challenge to finishing a project on time and within the budget,” said Chad Krause, Vice President of Operations, Build Group Inc.

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at

Analysis: State Construction Unemployment Rates Down in 45 States From a Year Ago

September 13, 2021
ABC - Construction Executive

The not-seasonally adjusted national construction unemployment rate was down 2.6% in June 2021 from a year ago. and 45 states had lower unemployment rates over the same period, according to state-by-state analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released by Associated Builders and Contractors. Although not back to pre-pandemic levels, both overall employment and construction employment have demonstrated significant improvement during the past year.

National NSA construction employment was up 233,000 from June 2020. Nevertheless, seasonally adjusted construction employment remained 238,000 (or 3.1%) below its February 2020 peak, before the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic began to affect employment numbers. This was better than national SA nonfarm payroll employment, which was 4.4% below its February 2020 peak as of June.

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

Create a Culture of Safety Within a Construction Company

September 6, 2021
Kevin Cargill - Construction Executive

Construction work is inherently dangerous, so creating a culture of safety throughout a construction organization is critical. Safety should not be something that is addressed only when accidents happen or leading up to OSHA inspections. It is a crucial component of a successful workplace and everyone involved in a construction job should treat it that way.

When construction company owners, leadership and partners treat safety as an essential part of each day’s work, risk decreases and productivity increases. Creating a culture of safety, then, means that every team member is responsible for a safe jobsite. Whether an employee has boots on the ground or is managing from an office, safety must be top-of-mind.

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

ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator and Contractor Confidence Index Rise in June

August 30, 2021
ABC - Construction Executive

Associated Builders and Contractors has reported that its Construction Backlog Indicator rose to 8.5 months in June, according to an ABC member survey conducted June 20-July 6, 0.5 months higher than in May 2021 and 0.4 months higher than in June 2020.

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

Tips for Planning Construction Projects Around Severe Weather

August 23, 2021
Courtland Keith - Construction Executive

In the construction industry, maintaining a project’s schedule and safety of operations are some of the main concerns for project leaders. During severe weather season, typically spring and summer for the United States, heavy winds and rain, lightning, high temperatures, and flooding can be disastrous for scheduling and safety. There can be especially harsh impacts during the Atlantic hurricane season. Here are some tips and best practices from leaders in the industry for maintaining safe, timely operations regardless of the weather.

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

Ms. Keith may be contacted at

Construction Safety Concerns: The Fatal Four and Heat Safety

August 16, 2021
Zachary Perecman - Construction Executive

The construction industry presents a number of safety concerns and everyday hazards on the worksite. Additionally, in the warm summer months, many hazards can be exacerbated by excessive heat and moisture.

By nature, the industry necessitates handling and maneuvering heavy materials and machinery, heights and tight spaces, as well as electricity and heat concerns. The employer must provide and require proper training, personal protective equipment, health and safety plans and protocols, as well as job safety reviews both before any job tasks begin and throughout the active workday. On the worker’s end, it’s important to understand the risks, qualifications, safety policies and tools involved in any job.

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

Hard Hit by COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy? Call in Occupational Health Reinforcement

August 10, 2021
Jeffrey Wainstein - Construction Executive

Concern about being infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is seen as one factor in the struggle to hire new employees that many industries are experiencing, including construction.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce report on the Commercial Construction Index, released in June 2021, states, “In industries as diverse as agriculture and construction, healthcare and hospitality, manufacturing and computer software, 76% of the respondents reported that businesses in their industries find it difficult’ (52%) or ‘very difficult’ (24%) to hire workers right now.”1

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

Creating a Culture of Health, Safety and Well-Being in the Construction Industry

August 4, 2021
Andrew Butterfield - Construction Executive

In today’s rapidly changing landscape, construction organizations are under growing pressure to deliver projects on time and budget. As a result, health, safety and well-being (HSW) programs are sometimes denied the priority they require. The outcome: company HSW cultures that barely meet satisfactory standards resulting in site mishaps, delays, cost overruns or worse.

Globally, there are around 340 million occupational accidents and 160 million victims of work-related diseases each year, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). The cost of this damage accounts for almost 4% of the world’s GDP, or $3.2 trillion.

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

Preparing the Construction Workforce for an Upswing

July 25, 2021
Pamela A. Scott - Construction Executive

Are architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firms prepared for an upswing? More than 80% of CEOs participating in a conference board roundtable see improved economic conditions in the coming months, the highest confidence level since 2004, according to Axios.

While some AEC markets declined during the pandemic, others experienced growth. For example, warehouse construction grew from approximately one-quarter of put-in-place commercial construction in 2015 to nearly half in 2020, representing approximately 18% growth year-over-year. For many AEC companies, 2021 will be a “bridge year,” of recovery in preparation for a possible upswing in 2022.

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

Be Prepared With Emergency Response Planning

July 19, 2021
Alvin Paniagua - Construction Executive

Given the nature of the work, construction sites pose inherent safety risks. In fact, OSHA estimates that nearly a quarter of all work-related fatalities occur in the construction industry. But oftentimes the first risks that come to mind are equipment-related accidents and personal injuries.

While these may be top-of-mind concerns, it’s particularly important to be proactive about emergency response planning in the spring and summer. As temperatures warm, weather conditions such as tornadoes and flash flooding can cause sudden, serious threats anywhere in the country—while some regions are prone to specific threats like hurricanes and wildfires.

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

Out of the Shadows: Breaking the Stigma Surrounding Mental Health

July 11, 2021
Scott Wittkop - Construction Executive

It’s time to change the way the construction industry communicates about mental health to reduce the stigma and ensure that individuals get the help they need. Far too often, mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and substance abuse disorders have been cloaked in a veil of secrecy and shame. Yet these issues pose significant risks to health, well-being, safety and productivity.

According to insurance broker Holmes Murphy & Associates, the construction industry is especially vulnerable to mental health challenges because of factors ranging from financial and family pressures to workplace injuries, chronic pain and substance abuse.

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

Opinion: Will The Florida Condo Collapse Remind Americans of Their Aging Infrastructure?

July 5, 2021
Richard Korman - Engineering News-Record

The distance from the White House entrance walkway where presidents sometimes greet reporters, to Champlain Towers in Surfside, Fla., where life is about the beach, is about 1,050 miles and just shy of a 15-hour drive, depending on traffic. The distance between the two disappeared on June 24, when President Biden emerged from the White House with a group of Senators from both parties to say they had reached agreement on the framework of a $579-billion infrastructure spending measure. As they spoke, rescue crews were beginning to pick through the debris pile of Champlain Towers South, the 12-story condominium apartment complex that had partly collapsed early that morning. They were searching for more than 150 people entombed there. Many may not even have their remains recovered and identified.

Mr. Korman may be contacted at

Diversity in Construction: Seven Tips for Successful DEI Programs

June 28, 2021
Lisa Robinson - Construction Executive

Last year, spurred by a global movement to celebrate diversity and strive for social justice reforms, tens of thousands of companies—including scores of construction firms in the United States—took a look at their own business practices and made public commitments to improving diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) among their workforces.

Diversity and inclusion at its most basic concept means truly accepting, supporting and including the full range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical abilities, religious or ethical values systems, national origins and political beliefs. It’s a practice that’s not just the right thing to do, it’s also good for business.

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

The Value of Mentorship in the Construction Industry

June 21, 2021
Dale Kopnitsky - Construction Executive

Construction is an industry filled with potential for people with a wide range of skillsets. The industry not only has careers for project engineers, but also provides countless opportunities in marketing, accounting, human resources, business development, preconstruction and more. Construction is unique because it is one of the rare industries that provides lucrative job opportunities for skilled laborers—carpenters, welders, ironworkers and equipment operators—whose education is on-the-job training.

The thousands of students who graduate from high school each year can pursue a career in construction without a college degree and achieve success through hands-on experience and mentorship opportunities.

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

Construction Financial Management in the COVID Economy

June 14, 2021
Cybele Tamulonis - Construction Executive

As the nation races to vaccinate more than 320 million citizens, construction firms have been busy catching up on backlog, keeping workers safe and grappling with the complexities of construction finance during a pandemic.

The economy has bounced back much quicker than expected; however, there are still plenty of reasons for construction firms to remain vigilant and continue to implement strict financial controls as the recovery unfolds. The challenges of the past year have sharpened the business habits of contractors and financial professionals alike across the United States—proving that consistent success is achievable—if contractors are committed to seeing past the boom and taking adequate measures to streamline their bidding, contract and finance practices. Resisting bidding on unprofitable work, keeping careful records through automation and paying attention to new tax laws are just some of the methods that can ensure a contractor remains profitable for years to come.

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

Biden Restores Obama-Era Local-Hire Pilot Program on FHWA, FTA Projects

June 7, 2021
Tom Ichniowski - Engineering News-Record

The U.S. Dept. of Transportation is reviving Obama-era pilot programs for state agencies and contractors to give hiring preferences to people who live in areas where construction projects are located if they receive federal agency funding.

Mr. Ichniowski may be contacted at

Biden Administration Repeals Trump-Era Independent Contractor Rule, Signals Change to Joint Employer Rule

May 31, 2021
Jessica Ewert - Lewis Brisbois Newsroom

This week, the Department of Labor (DOL) repealed the Trump Administration’s independent contractor rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The DOL has also proposed the rescission of the Trump Administration’s joint employer rule and sent a new proposed regulation to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review. Both moves signal a return to standards more likely to find an employment relationship.

Ms. Ewert may be contacted at

In 2021, Industry Needs to Hire an Additional 430,000 Craft Professionals

May 24, 2021
ABC - Construction Executive

In 2021, construction companies will need to hire 430,000 more workers than they employed in 2020, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released by Associated Builders and Contractors. The analysis also revealed that every $1 billion in extra construction spending generates an average of at least 5,700 construction jobs.

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

When the Construction Project Team Made 122 Design Changes in the Name of Safety

May 17, 2021
Richard Korman & Scott Van Voorhis - Engineering News-Record

It’s not every day that a project interior designer sits down with the project team to discuss construction and occupant safety. But in 2019, Keith Switzer, who heads interior design firm INTEC Group, found himself in meetings doing just that as plans took shape for a four-story office and research building in the Boston suburb of Billerica. The project’s owner, drug maker EMD Serono, was “very keen” on safety, Switzer recalls. So leaders from the project’s prime contractor, Erland Construction, and much of the project team gathered regularly in an existing building at the project site, and later sometimes in a project trailer, where the vibe was for a “roll up your sleeves effort … literally everyone at the table throwing out ideas.” Even after the pandemic shifted the meetings to the internet, the basic mission as Switzer sees it was to explore ideas where “if you did this differently, this would be a safer way of doing XYZ.”

Reprinted courtesy of Richard Korman, ENR and Scott Van Voorhis, ENR
Mr. Korman may be contacted at

New Orleans Officials Select Developer for $1-Billion Riverfront Project

May 10, 2021
Autumn Cafiero Giusti - Engineering News-Record

Plans for a $1-billion riverfront entertainment district moved forward after New Orleans convention center officials selected a developer to transform an adjacent, 39-acre site into the new destination.

ENR may be contacted at


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