Reshaping the Construction Industry

As part of our continuing stories on the use of robotics in the construction industry, today we spotlight the SAM100, the first commercially available robotic mason in use today.

The Sam100 is in use by the Clark Construction Group, LLC on the construction of the 29,000 square foot Lab School in Washington, DC. The robotic mason works with a human mason and together they can place 4-6 times as many bricks as their human counterparts. That is a real improvement in productivity. The robot, built and tested by Construction Robotics, a New York based firm has shown its worth on several projects and the Lab School is the first application in the DC area.

This type of laser-guided robot is interesting since it “butters” and places the bricks.   Read more » about First look at SAM100 Robotic Brick Mason

Strong construction spending pushes up GDP; multifamily builders remain optimistic

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.

Gross domestic product, net of inflation (real GDP), grew 3.7% in the second quarter of 2015 (2Q15) at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, rather than the initially estimated 2.3%, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported on Thursday. Reuters reported, "Investment in nonresidential structures was revised to show it rising at a 3.1% rate, reflecting stronger spending on commercial and healthcare construction. It was previously reported to have contracted at a 1.6% pace. Spending on residential construction was raised to a 7.8% pace from a 6.6% rate."    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: August 24-28, 2015

We have previously written about the autonomous, remotely driven trucks being used in the mines in Australia and the Google cars that have driven over 700,000 miles without a driver as a true test of the viability and safety of the next generation of cars and trucks.

In the US, truck manufacturers are delivering autonomous trucks to the military, but now the Florida Department of Transportation is about to launch its first venture into the public arena by using autonomous trucks in rolling construction zones on Florida highways. These construction zones for overlaying, repairs and striping are among the most dangerous conditions on our highways. Construction workers and transportation experts will welcome any technology that will avoid major rear end crashes and human injury and deaths.   Read more » about Autonomous Trucks Come First

I recently wrote about a graduation ceremony honoring several who had advanced within Marek’s workforce development programworkforce development program.  Part of the program included some remarks from Marek COO and Division President Mike Holland.  In talking about the importance of developing a quality, skilled workforce, Holland said “Workforce is our product.”  Holland then introduced the keynote speaker of the evening, John Roberts, Executive Vice President for Jones Lang LaSalle with the following:

“John’s roots in construction began like many of us at a jobsite, so he knows what drives our business.  He has been an active participant in the Construction Career Collaborative; he is on our Board.  He has used his influence in the industry to bring on other contractors to talk to many of our workforce professional partners, continuing to further this conversation.  As a contractor, he is a really practical guy, like a lot of builders, but he is a guy with vision.”

Roberts began his remarks by stating that he has long been passionate about labor and workforce development.  He has always believed that companies need to do more to develop the skilled workforce and create career paths which will attract young people into the construction industry.   Read more » about Keynote Speech at Marek WFD Graduation Commends and Inspires [VIDEO]

Despite the fact that women are the absolute best candidates for many careers in construction, the perception remains that it’s a “man’s world” and that’s all there is to it in the industry. Though women lag behind the men in jobs actually held, leaders in the industry are working overtime to try to get more women involved and dispel the myths that prevent many of them from applying for positions in the first place.

Now the Tampa Bay Times, the winner of multiple Pulitzer Prizes, reports that the pay gap for women in the construction industry is much smaller than in other kinds of businesses:

   Read more » about The Pay Gap for Women is Much Smaller in Construction Than Other Industries

We have written about the strength and skills of master craftspeople in the construction industry, but one company is going further to honor construction workers on their own.

According to a recent post on ConstructionEquipmentGuide.com, the "Ozinga Brothers, a fourth-generation family-owned ready mix concrete producer and supplier business founded in 1928 on the south side of Chicago, currently run by five brothers and a cousin,” have teamed up with their ad agency to produce a campaign called “Born to Build” that honors construction workers.

The campaign, underwritten by the Ozingas, includes 16 billboards, a series of 60-second ads, and an on-going social media strategy that has paid dividends for the company in their efforts to honor the industry.    Read more » about Ad Campaign Honors Construction Workers [VIDEO]

States add jobs in July but at slower rate than before; PPIs for construction demand rise

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.

Seasonally adjusted construction employment rose in 37 states and the District of Columbia from July 2014 to July 2015, declined in 12 states and held steady in Vermont, an AGC analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released today showed. The year-over-year gains were widespread but less so than in the previous 12 months, when 47 states and D.C. added construction jobs. California again gained the most construction jobs (48,900 jobs, 7.3%), followed by Florida (26,500, 6.6%), Washington (15,300, 9.6%), Texas (14,500, 2.2%) and Michigan (12,400, 8.7%). Arkansas added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (15%, 6,800), followed by Idaho (14%, 4,900), Nevada (11%, 6,800), Washington and Michigan.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: August 10-21, 2015

The following article originally appeared in the August newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, LLC.  Reprinted with permission.

In this final article on Succession Planning, which we reiterate is THE hallmark of all successful organizations, we want to discuss two things: the critical steps that must occur when there is a change in the CEO role and ownership structure; and the critical relationship between the successor and the succeeded – this is key especially in a CEO change, but also important at all levels.  Space and unequivocal support are the right approaches for the succeeded.

Change of control in the CEO position impacts all major constituencies – employees, clients, building partners and professional partners.  In privately-held and family-held companies, this is almost always a three part process: Succession (selection of the person); Business Continuity (transferring the bonding and banking responsibilities); and Ownership Transfer (sale and purchase of stock, which also can lead to changes in the board structure).  Specialized legal counsel should be involved as many legal documents must be properly executed.  Hopefully, especially at this level, the transition has been well planned, the successor well-mentored and coached, and everyone impacted well-prepared in advance.  The actual occurrence is seamless.  However, sometimes tragedy necessitates this action occurring rapidly.   Read more » about Successors and the Succeeded

We have written several times about the value of tuned mass dampers in the construction of tall buildings as counterweights to the tendency of tall things to sway in the wind making the occupants most uncomfortable.

Nowhere is that more important than in a hurricane, typhoon or harmattan when winds reach 130-175 mph and pummel everything in its path. Recently, Typhoon Soudelor hit Taipei 101, the fourth tallest building in the world, and the value of the tuned mass damper was proven to the structural engineers, designers, owners and occupants of the building.

Not only did the damper do its work, but also Popular Mechanics and Arch Daily captured the actual movements of the building during the onslaught by the typhoon.   Read more » about Taipei 101 Mass Damper in Typhoon Soudelor [Video]

More than two dozen states have now agreed to cooperate closely with the federal government to crack down on what’s known as “worker misclassification.”

Sometimes known as payroll fraud, worker misclassification has been called a “cancer” in the construction industry and other sectors of the economy as well. “Because of weak enforcement mechanisms, there are virtually no tangible consequences for violating the law,” said Professional Janitorial Services executive Don Dyer during a Texas House committee hearing on the subject last year. So far, Texas has taken a targeted approach to the problem but many advocates say it is simply not enough.    Read more » about Another state signals it will get serious about worker misclassification

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