The Top 100 Project Delivery Firms Balance Increased Risks

June 27, 2022
Emell D. Adolphus & Jonathan Keller - Engineering News-Record

With projects facing rising material costs, crunched schedules and labor shortages, project delivery firms say owners are finding themselves at a fork in the road when it comes to design-bid-build versus alternative delivery models. Risks are inherent to any project, but more owners are turning to alternative delivery to reap the rewards of early collaboration.

Reprinted courtesy of Emell D. Adolphus, ENR and Jonathan Keller, ENR
Mr. Adolphus may be contacted at adolphuse@enr.com
Mr. Keller may be contacted at kellerj@enr.com


Seven Safety Tips to Protect Construction Workers in Summer Heat

June 20, 2022
Western Specialty Contractors

(St. Louis, MO, June 14, 2022) – Summer is a great time for construction work, but a brutal time for construction workers. Excessive heat and sun exposure pose significant dangers, such as sunburn, dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Every year, construction workers become ill on the job and some even lose their lives due to heat exposure.

To protect its workers from the extreme summer heat, Western Specialty Contractors manages a heat illness training program and a safety hotline for its employees. As part of the program, training is provided to all employees and supervisors who work in high temperatures. Training topics include: how heat can affect the body, how to identify the signs and symptoms of various heat-related illnesses, and what to do if a co-worker is experiencing symptoms of a heat-related illness. Western also regulates the hotter environment by providing water and shade to workers and by having supervisors and safety managers monitor the heat index so that the proper protective measures can be taken.

About Western Specialty Contractors
Family-owned and operated for more than 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation's largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and specialty roofing. Western offers a nationwide network of expertise that building owners, engineers, architects and property managers can count on to develop cost-effective, corrective measures that can add years of useful life to a variety of structures including: industrial, commercial, healthcare, historic, educational and government buildings, parking structures and sports stadiums. Western is headquartered in St. Louis, MO with 30 branch offices nationwide and employs more than 1,200 salaried and hourly professionals who offer the best, time-tested techniques and innovative technology. For more information about Western Specialty Contractors, visit www.westernspecialtycontractors.com.


5G Technology and the IoT Introduce New Regulatory and Security Concerns for Developers

June 13, 2022
Lee G. Petro - Gravel2Gavel Construction & Real Estate Law Blog

Over the last several years, the proptech movement has become entrenched in the lexicon of the real estate industry as developers use the term as a catch-all term for using technology in the construction of new commercial buildings and begin planning for Smart Cities. The various technologies incorporate wireless sensors, broadband service and other cloud-based applications to reduce energy costs, improve transportation and enhance security.

At the same time, the introduction of these technologies increases the likelihood that property owners will need to incorporate an extra layer (or two) of due diligence when incorporating these services. Not only do many Internet of Things (IoT) devices use wireless spectrum to communicate with other devices, but recent actions by the Federal government have led to the prohibition of certain equipment manufactured in China. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has primary responsibility over devices that use wireless spectrum and also implements federal policy with respect to devices that may implicate national security concerns.

Mr. Petro may be contacted at lee.petro@pillsburylaw.com


Builders Hurt Protected Areas in Climate-weary Puerto Rico

June 6, 2022
The Associated Press (Danica Coto) - Bloomberg

Salinas, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Jacqueline Vázquez was sitting on the couch when her phone rang.

She had just returned from a government office where she filed a complaint about illegal construction in an ecological reserve. The reserve is dedicated to one of the island's largest mangrove forests near her neighborhood in southern Puerto Rico.

“What the hell were you doing in Natural Resources?” a man's voice bellowed through her phone.

Vázquez took it as a threat, one of several that community leaders like her have received as outraged Puerto Ricans demand answers from their public officials. Lax oversight, dwindling budgets, and permits illegally issued by the government have led to an increase in construction in protected areas and regions, some of them prone to flooding or landslides.


Industrialized Construction Pioneer Bryden Wood Opens Boston HQ

May 30, 2022
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

Tech-powered global design company, Bryden Wood, is strengthening its presence in the US by opening a new headquarters in Boston, MA, in the coming weeks. Bryden Wood board director Jaimie Johnston MBE, together with Phil Langley, board director and head of Bryden Wood’s creative technologies division, will lead the company’s US expansion.

Equinix, Amazon Web Services, Boldt, Chandos, and DPR Construction are already working with Bryden Wood on industrialized construction projects. The company’s new US HQ will allow more US clients to benefit from this market-leading approach.

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


Three Strategies to Survive Fluctuating Lumber Prices

May 23, 2022
Deb Hilmerson - Construction Executive

Doubling tariffs on Canadian lumber is just one of the latest actions creating volatility in lumber pricing and demand. For two years, construction also has been coping with the pandemic, lumber mill shortages and skyrocketing demand in addition to wildfires and floods. In January, lumber prices once again hit a seven-month high.

While there is no magic wand to fix this dilemma, it’s pretty much guaranteed that unless contractors make changes, the big hits to their bottom line will continue. The construction industry is notoriously slow to turn from the top. Contractors have been doing things one way for so long, why change? But this time, they must do it.

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


Construction Must Evolve to Address the Labor Shortage

May 16, 2022
Matt Daly - Construction Executive

There is a lot of good news in construction. PwC reported that in 2021 engineering and construction deal volume surpassed pre-pandemic levels. The firm also noted that construction is “well-positioned” for 2022. ConstructionConnect recently forecasted that the put-in-place investment in U.S. construction spending will increase 6.6% this year, and another 8.4% in 2023. Consider passage of the Infrastructure and Jobs Act, and the doors are open for significant projects all across the country. Plus, home prices are up, delivering new residential building opportunities and increased property tax funds filtering back to state and local governments that can be reinvested in construction initiatives.

All of these promising statistics come in spite of inflationary pressure, supply chain issues and rising material costs. The construction industry is growing at a healthy clip–even after the major hit it took during the height of the pandemic and the challenges that lie ahead. But, to capitalize on new opportunities and continue along the growth trajectory, certain things need to happen.

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


Using Construction Technology to Attract Younger Workers

May 10, 2022
Brian Poage - Construction Executive

The construction industry isn’t exactly known for its exciting new tech. For the newest generation of workers, who grew up using smartphones and laptops on a daily basis, trade work seems rooted in tradition.

Younger people often decline to pursue lucrative training or job opportunities in this industry because they assume construction companies aren’t modern or forward-thinking. They don’t want to learn new, complex skill sets to work in a business built on outdated tools and infrastructures. Old-fashioned processes like pen and paper reporting or paper time cards, both of which are still widely used in construction, discourage many potential applicants.

However, despite the industry’s reputation, some construction companies embrace technology and utilize modern solutions for daily reports, time tracking, payroll, communications and other crucial operations. The companies that use technology in this way are far more likely to attract and retain qualified young workers.

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


ABC 2022 Safety Performance Report: Top-Performing STEP Members Are Six Times Safer Than Industry Average

May 2, 2022
Associated Builders and Contractors

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Associated Builders and Contractors today unveiled its 2022 Safety Performance Report, an annual, comprehensive study of the impact of the STEP Safety Management System and guide to safety best practices on construction jobsites. STEP is a proven system, more than 30 years old, that enables top-performing members to achieve incident rates 645% safer than the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics construction industry average. The annual study is published to coincide with Construction Safety Week, May 2-6.

"World-class safety and total human health are integral parts of the culture of ABC STEP members companies—and it shows," said Greg Sizemore, ABC vice president of health, safety, environment and workforce development. "STEP is a crucial 'step' any company can take to be safer. STEP Diamond members are more than six times safer than the industry average, achieving an 84% reduction in Total Recordable Incident Rates. ABC annually researches what truly makes a contractor safer than others—and this report quantifies those best practices and results. Our people are our greatest asset, and ABC will continue to advance world-class safety for our people through valuable resources like the Safety Performance Report."


Kwant AI Raises Millions to Improve Construction Efficiency and Safety

April 25, 2022
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

New York-based AI SaaS startup Kwant AI brings AI technology to the field, adding efficiency and safety to the global construction industry with the System of Record of Workforce. The startup announced a $3.9 million seed round with investment from LAUNCH, Fairstead, Pearl Fund, 7BC Venture Capital, Forefront Ventures, Martinson ventures, and Serra Ventures. Funds will be allocated to facilitate customer expansion, scaling the platform, and staff hiring.

Kwant AI protects lives and adds over 15% toward operational efficiencies, saving huge costs for the construction industry. The solution is proven to work in large deployments such as the new airports in New York, EV factories in Detroit and Tennessee with over 10,000 construction workers using the technology daily.

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


Gen Z Frenzy

April 19, 2022
Maggie Murphy - Construction Executive

Six-hundred fifty thousand. That’s the number of skilled trades workers the construction industry needs to hire just to keep up with the current backlog. In the grand scheme of the American workforce, it may not sound like a lot, but when you consider the fact that not even 20% of Gen Zers—the newest generation in the workforce—say they would even entertain the idea of a career in the trades, it suddenly becomes quite daunting. In an industry historically slow to adopt the latest technology, how can contractors entice the tech-savvy “zoomer” generation into careers in construction?

In an exclusive interview, Construction Executive talks to Casey Welch, CEO of end-to-end workforce development company Tallo, who sheds light on what Gen Z wants in a career, how and where to reach the incoming workforce and what proactive steps construction companies can take today to secure the skilled workforce they’ll need to complete tomorrow’s projects.

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


Project Starts in 2021 Surge But Material Shortages Force Delays

April 11, 2022
Mark Shaw - Engineering News-Record

Early last year, many of the region’s contracting firms were concerned about ongoing pandemic-related delays and their impact on project starts. However, many of those concerns abated late in the year, and now firms are reporting that 2021 starts met or exceeded their expectations and that current backlogs are strong.

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


Take Action to Improve Construction’s Skilled Labor Shortage

April 4, 2022
Christy Crook & Brian Montelongo - Construction Executive

While workforce shortages have become much more commonplace across many business sectors during the pandemic, the construction industry’s skilled job vacancies have reached dire levels. According to analysis from the U.S. Department of Labor’s statistical data—released almost a year ago—the demand expressed in sheer numbers is alarming. In 2021 alone, it was predicted that the industry would need to hire an additional 430,000 workers to meet the needs of commercial construction companies. Additionally, it was also reported that a growth rate higher than the predicted 1.3% could boost the number of required employees to one million.

At the owner and managerial level of the commercial construction industry, most leaders are more than aware of the dire shortage of skilled labor. There’s no need to continue preaching to the choir. The real question is, what do we do about it? Brian Montelongo, president of the Rocky Mountain Masonry Institute (RMMI), and Christy Crook, president of Phoenix Masonry, address key questions about the industry’s most pressing concern.

Reprinted courtesy of Christy Crook and Brian Montelongo, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.
Ms. Crook may be contacted at christy@phoenix-masonry.net
Mr. Montelongo may be contacted at brian.montelongo@
coloradobestblock.com


Miami Boutique Office Tower Planned as Companies Hunt for Space

March 28, 2022
Natalie Wong - Bloomberg

Miami’s Design District, known for its high-end stores and posh restaurants, is getting a new office building as developers look to capitalize on demand from companies looking for space in the city.

The 15-story building, dubbed “The Ursa,” is a joint venture between Dacra Development Corp., Brookfield Properties and L Catterton Real Estate.


Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2020 Lower Overall

March 21, 2022
Construction Executive

There were 4,764 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2020—a 10.7% decrease from 2019 and the lowest annual number since 2013, per “National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2020,” a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The fatal work injury rate also decreased, from 3.5 to 3.4 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.

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


KAI Build's Women Share Their Unique Experiences for Women in Construction Week, March 6-12

March 14, 2022
KAI Enterprises

(St. Louis, MO, March 7, 2022) During Women in Construction Week (March 6-12), St. Louis-based general contractor KAI Build asked several of its women employees to share their stories and opinions on the future of women in construction. KAI Enterprises, one of the largest minority-owned design/build firms in the country, proactively supports women in construction through its recruitment, training programs and outreach to women-owned businesses for project collaborations. As an ambassador of diversity, KAI Build's workforce includes 20 percent women, with 25 percent of women holding leadership roles.

KAI Build Senior Project Engineer Jasminn Jones, LEED AP BD+C, said times are changing for women in construction because of more available opportunities, education and knowledge about careers in the industry. For Lynnette Bryant, a Superintendent at KAI Build, a career in construction where she can work with her hands and be outside was the perfect fit for her. Marisol Ramos, Project Engineer at KAI Build, said she never imagined a career in construction, but she just kind of fell into it six years ago, with no regrets. KAI Build Controller Kimberly Horskins said she initially pursued a career in architectural drafting before shifting to the financial side of the business.

KAI Enterprises
KAI Enterprises is a national design and build firm providing delivery-oriented building solutions with a diverse portfolio of experience, in-house multi-discipline professionals, and expertise in both design and construction delivery. Founded in 1980, KAI has grown into one of the largest minority-owned firms in the AEC industry. For more than 40 years, KAI has been instrumental in transforming communities through its expertise in residential, commercial, K-12, higher education, healthcare, science and technology, aviation, mobility, sports and entertainment, government, water and community-focused projects. KAI Enterprises is comprised of four distinct business units—KAI Design, KAI Engineering, KAI Build and KAI 360 Construction Services. To learn more about KAI, visit www.kai-db.com.


Four Strategies to Promote Construction Careers for Women

March 6, 2022
Marge Hart - Construction Executive

For companies in construction-related fields, women make up a sizable untapped labor market. Even though women make up a majority of the American workforce, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that they account for just 11% of workers in the construction industry. Women are also underrepresented in supporting professions for industries related to construction, particularly technology fields. The same report finds that women make up only 30% of the software workforce, for example.

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


Sustainable Construction Solutions Expected to Rise as Innovation Increases

February 28, 2022
Nobu Iguchi - Construction Executive

Sustainability is gaining momentum in the construction industry. With an increasing awareness on environmental concerns and the renewed tailwind from the 2021 United Nations COP26 Climate Change Conference, many construction companies and developers have put out long-term sustainability goals to play a part in reducing carbon footprints in an industry that accounts for as much as 40% of the CO2 emissions with building operations, construction and materials.

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


The Importance of Industrial Hygiene in the Construction Industry

February 21, 2022
Jonathan Sharp - Construction Executive

Industrial hygiene is one of the key factors that keep employees safe at their places of work. Hygiene in a large industry such as construction is crucial for workers’ safety, the company’s reputation, the company's finances. Only one catastrophic incident can cause lots of harm to workers, the local community and other nearby facilities. Their day-to-day operations may cause environmental exposure, which is why it is essential for contractors to understand the risks involved and develop a plan.

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


Overcome Top Construction Risk Challenges in 2022

February 14, 2022
Craig Tappel & Kirk Chamberlain - Construction Executive

Nobody was prepared for the fallout from the global pandemic, including the construction industry. But as 2022 and the pandemic’s third year arrives, contagion from new COVID-19 strains continues unabated and so has the fallout.

The pressure has only intensified to get ahead of barriers COVID-19 has created. The challenge facing the industry is to understand and manage the risks blocking its way.

Critical among them, of course, are shortages of everything, starting with materials and labor. By themselves, materials and labor shortages have led to costly delays in project completions, hurting revenues and the bottom line.

But the environment also has had positive implications for other deepening trends that construction firms should be prepared to leverage. Alternative materials have continued to evolve and—even without supply chain issues—will be more viable in 2022. And technology’s influence is unstoppable. It’s managing the downsides that may be problematic.

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


D.C. Mass Timber Project Adds Three Floors to Commercial Building

February 7, 2022
Johanna Knapschaefer - Engineering News-Record

In 2019, when Columbia Property Trust was mulling how to increase the height of its existing 90-ft, seven-story, concrete-framed office building at 80 M St. SE in Washington, D.C., it chose a mass timber frame over a steel frame for an addition atop the oldest high-rise in the Navy Yard neighborhood. That was a ground-breaking choice. It would mean that the facility would be D.C.’s first mass timber commercial office building.

ENR may be contacted at enr@enr.com


Innovation: The Key to the Post-Pandemic Construction Era

January 31, 2022
Jeanne Eason - Construction Executive

From where Peter Muench sits, it’s the imperfect storm. The vice president of preconstruction for industry leader LeChase Construction Services, he thinks building-material shortages, skyrocketing prices, insufficient trucking capacity and labor availability are presenting unprecedented challenges for clients whose critical construction projects are on the line.

These complex realities, however, are a unique opportunity for experienced, savvy commercial construction firms to innovate around the obstacles—and bring clients’ projects in on time and on budget, without compromising quality.

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


How the Construction Industry Can Better Support Hispanic Workers

January 24, 2022
Francisco Ramirez - Construction Executive

In 2020, Hispanic workers made up 30% of the construction industry’s workforce. The highly skilled labor that these workers provide is crucial to the industry’s success, yet many Hispanic construction workers feel disconnected from their non-Hispanic colleagues. This divide stems from many factors, among them an overarching lack of diversity in construction and a potential language barrier for workers whose first language isn’t English. These roadblocks can feel limiting and discouraging, and much remains to be done to strengthen a sense of belonging for Hispanics in the construction industry.

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


Would Dramatically Higher OSHA Penalties Make Workers Safer?

January 17, 2022
Richard Korman & Jonathan Barnes - ENR

When the U.S. Labor Dept. sought to enforce a penalty for violations it believed were connected to the death of welder Jose Armando Maqueda Mejia in North Carolina earlier this year, the largest part of the penalty was $13,653, the maximum fine for a serious violation. It brought the total proposed fines against employer PCL Civil Constructors to $23,000.

Reprinted courtesy of Richard Korman, ENR and Jonathan Barnes, ENR
Mr. Korman may be contacted at kormanr@enr.com



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