Reshaping the Construction Industry

There is lots of buzz in the US about women in the construction industry. Questions are being asked about why more women are not attracted to the field, how more women can be attracted to a career in construction, and who are the leading women in US construction.

We wanted to show you what women in construction look like in the rest of the world, specifically in Cambodia where women are construction workers as a matter of necessity. They, like migrant workers around the world, work hard for their living, and women are paid less than men for that work.

The BBC News recently covered the women in construction in Viet Nam and Cambodia in an article titled Cambodia’s Female Construction Workers. The BBC documented some of the women who have returned from Thailand after the government there tightened the rules governing migrant workers. They are in Cambodia to work on construction sites in a market that is expanding at a very rapid pace.

According to the article and images, about a third of the construction workforce in Phnom Penh are women and they work on construction sites that are a far cry from the construction sites in the US.

When you look through the pictures in the article pay close attention to the fact that they have no “personal protection equipment”, a requirement on the majority of construction sites in the US.    Read more » about Women in Construction in the Rest of the World

Hi there. The Chamberlin Man here.

Howdy! This month I am coming to you with an extra “spring” in my step. Yes, it’s that time of year, but I am also proud as a peacock to share with you that the Chamberlin team recently received three prestigious awards from the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).

A few Chamberlin blokes took a trip to Ft. Lauderdale a couple weeks back to attend the ABC 27th annual Excellence in Construction Awards celebration. They were fortunate enough to bring home two Eagle Awards and a National Safety Excellence Award (NSEA).

The Excellence in Construction program is the industry’s leading awards competition. A panel of experts selects winning projects from across the country based on unique challenges overcome, timeliness of completion, quality, innovation and safety.&nbps;  Read more » about Flying with Eagles

The campaign promises of President Donald J. Trump to construct a physical barrier along the international boundary with Mexico – yes, a border wall – are now turning into actual requests for proposals by the federal government from businesses interested in making the project a reality.

But there are still many questions about how this will actually happen, including whether Mexico will pay a single penny to help with construction. Mexico maintains that it will not and President Trump is already proposing that US taxpayers at least pay for it initially while holding out some hope that there will be reimbursement from Mexico down the line.    Read more » about Who Will Build the Border Wall?

Building Information Modeling or BIM has been around the architectural profession for several decades, but it is just now hitting the offices and projects in the construction industry as new delivery and contracting methods are arriving on the scene.

Those new delivery methods and the emergence of virtual reality and augmented technologies pioneered by NASA and the gaming industry, are fast becoming the next wave of technology hitting the construction industry scene.

There are quiet conversations among the “Techies” in the industry about 3D, 4D, 5D and even 6D or 6th dimension BIM. Most of the research and development is currently in the 3D environment and is exemplified by the introduction of Augmented Reality Technology by Google and Autodesk.    Read more » about BIM – Fact or Whim?

The 2017 ABC National Craft Championships concluded with an awards ceremony at 8:30 am Friday morning in the Floridian Ballroom of the Greater Fort Lauderdale and Broward County Convention Center.  I was privileged to attend the hands-on portion of the two-day competition for craft profession trainees and apprentices, as well as the awards ceremony Friday morning for what Greg Sizemore, ABC Vice President of EH&S and Workforce Development, called “The biggest and best celebration of merit shop construction.”

Awards were presented for Craft Instructor of the Year and Craft Professional of the Year, and a special thank you to the NCC Committee with a description of all they do was presented.  Then began the announcements of the winners of each craft in which Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals plus one Safety Award were presented to competitors in each of 14 different categories.   Read more » about 2017 NCC Careers In Construction Awards [VIDEO]

Dodge, ConstructConnect, ABI, Census find divergent starts, design and permit trends

The value of construction starts rose 2% from January to February at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, Dodge Data & Analytics reported on Tuesday. "This was the second straight monthly increase, following a 15% hike in January [revised up from an initial estimate of +12%], as construction starts regained the upward track following four consecutive monthly declines to close out 2016. Much of February's advance came from a strong performance by the public works sector, led by the start of a $1.4 billion natural gas pipeline in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, plus an improved level of highway and bridge construction. The electric utility/gas plant category also strengthened with the start of two large power plants and a major transmission line project. At the same time, nonresidential building made a partial retreat [-9%] after its strong January performance, yet still remained slightly above its average monthly pace during 2016. Residential building in February also settled back [-3%], due to a slide for multifamily housing....Additional perspective is obtained by looking at...the 12 months ending February 2017 versus the 12 months ending February 2016, which lessens the volatility present in comparisons of just two months. On this basis, total construction starts were up 2%. By major sector, nonbuilding construction dropped 12%, with public works down 4% and electric utilities/gas plants down 30%.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: March 20-23, 2017

Now that it’s been given the green light by the the Austin City Council, a new program will launch in the coming weeks to expedite permitting for construction projects including "living wages" for large commercial projects.

The Austin Business Journal described the program this way:

After paying the additional fees, residential, mixed-use and small commercial projects can join the expedited permitting program with no extra hurdles. However major commercial projects — at least 75,000 square feet or $7.5 million in value, with no residential uses — must submit to oversight by a third party, such as the Workers Defense Project through its Better Builder Program.    Read more » about Austin Prepares to Launch New Expedited Building Permit Program

Construction input costs again outpace building PPIs; hires rise; 39 states add jobs

Editor’s note:  Construction Citizen is proud to partner with AGC America to bring you AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson's Data DIGest. Check back each week to get Ken's expert analysis of what's happening in our industry.

The producer price index (PPI) for final demand in February, not seasonally adjusted, increased 0.4% from January and 2.2% year-over-year (y/y) from February 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Tuesday. AGC posted tables and an explanation focusing on construction prices and costs. Final demand includes goods, services and five types of nonresidential buildings that BLS says make up 34% of total construction. The PPI for final demand construction, not seasonally adjusted, dipped 0.1% for the month but increased 1.2% y/y.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: March 13-17, 2017

From the window of my home. I can see two cranes against the skyline. I live in Houston and over the past few years, cranes have become a pretty common site. With binoculars, I can see the sole operator in his solitary perch. All day he swings the long lateral arm. Sometimes it is a bucket of cement, other times long steel rods and other assorted materials. Any other method of moving so varied payloads would take a great deal more time and human power.    Read more » about Drill Bits

“The Future is here, it is just not very evenly distributed yet.” - William Gibson, Author

Advanced technology is screaming onto the construction jobsite today. Everything from remote driverless dump trucks to self driving concrete trucks, smart phones, ipads, laser scanners, thermal imaging cameras, RFIDS and geospatial devices are all being adopted by contractors on the jobsite. Some companies are investing in the new technologies and others are waiting. They will soon be screaming if they don’t pay close attention to the rapid development of augmented reality and its impact on all parts of our industry.

Personal protection too, is about to get a makeover for the first time in decades.    Read more » about The Future is Here

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