Reshaping the Construction Industry

Last month Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced the arrest of Raimundo Hernandez-Argueta, owner of Naples construction company Complete Framing Professionals (CFP).  Following a joint investigation by the Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) Division of Insurance Fraud and Division of Workers’ Compensation, Hernandez was arrested on fraud charges for allegedly misrepresenting information regarding CFP’s employee operations and payroll when applying for a workers’ compensation policy.  By doing so, Hernandez avoided at least $700,000 in workers’ compensation premium payments.  Workers’ compensation policies protect employees in the event of an on-the-job injury, and if proper policies are not in place, injured employees could be faced with lost wages and costly medical expenses to cover.

Investigators with the Department’s Division of Workers’ Compensation began investigating Hernandez in August 2013 when visits to CFP job sites led investigators to believe that Hernandez was concealing his company’s payroll amount in violation of Florida law.   Read more » about Florida Business Owner Arrested for $700,000 Workers’ Compensation Fraud Scheme

Some sources believe that there were one million drones sold last year. According to those sources, up to 40% of those drones are being used in the construction and infrastructure industries.

According to a recent post on Construction Dive, the long awaited FAA drone rules for the commercial use of drones weighing up to 55 pounds aimed at bringing some order to the “pre Jetson” skies have been released.

The construction and infrastructure industries are the largest commercial users of these drones. The commercial use of drones for surveying, remote sensing, progress photos, pipeline inspection, site and emergency inspections in hazardous areas has already proven that drones can provide a much needed tool and that they will be around for years to come. Read more » about Drones Rule? Nope, Just Drone Rules

Earlier this month, Jim Kollaer wrote here on Construction Citizen that more than 400 new high rises are planned for London's skyline:

“That number is astonishing to me. That is 436 new buildings that will be added to the existing skyline. Sure, a number of them are either residential or mixed use, and the majority of them are office buildings; but it appears that the demand for the space is there waiting for the supply to catch up,” Kollaer wrote.

Jim's report was spot-on at the time, but last week’s vote by the British to exit, or “Brexit,” the European Union could severely hamper that construction market for a variety of reasons.    Read more » about Brexit Vote Could Impact UK's Ability to Build the London of Tomorrow

Construction employment rises in 39 states; ConstructConnect, ABI signal more growth

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 39 states from May 2015 to May 2016 and declined in 11 states and the District of Columbia, an AGC analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released on Friday showed. California again added the most jobs (39,600, 5.5%), followed by Florida (29,400, 6.9%) and Georgia (13,400, 8.1%). The highest percentage gains again occurred in Hawaii (20%, 6,700 jobs), Iowa (13%, 10,400) and Nevada (10%, 6,900). North Dakota again lost the highest percentage of construction jobs, followed by West Virginia (-8.0%, -2,700), Kansas (-5.6%, -3,400), Wyoming (-5.2%, -1,200) and Alaska (-5.0%, -900). North Dakota also led again in number of jobs lost, followed by Kansas, Pennsylvania (-2,900, -1.2%) and West Virginia.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: June 17-23, 2016

The climate and construction codes are changing in a drastic way. We are beginning to hear about building codes around the world that demand that all buildings built by a certain date, whether that is 2025 or 2030, be zero carbon or have zero carbon emissions. This is critical in China where the air quality is questionable on even the best days. Japan is also instituting those rules to provide for the future of their countrymen.

The United Arab Emirates, however, got what they thought was a jump on the world when, in 2006, the government commissioned Lord Norman Foster and his team to build the first pilot “Zero Carbon Emission” city to be known as Masdar or “Source.” It was designed and planned to create a leading edge city for 50,000 in the desert on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi near the airport. Lord Foster planned for it to become a template for other “Zero Carbon” cities around the world.    Read more » about Green Ghost Town

Crane Industry Services LLC (CIS) has taken delivery of three Vortex Simulators from CM Labs Simulations Inc., Montreal, Quebec.  The simulators are designed to provide training and to conduct performance checks for operators of mobile cranes, tower cranes, and excavators.

“The addition of simulators into our curriculum is a natural fit,” said Debbie Dickinson, CEO of CIS, which provides blended-learning training techniques including online introductory training, instructor-led classroom training, hands-on instruction, and on-the-job training.  “These simulators also meet our strategic objectives of recruiting and preparing workers for skilled trades in crane operation, construction, heavy industry, and manufacturing,” said Dickinson.

The simulators are housed at the Centered on Safety™ Training Center located on West Georgia Technical College’s Murphy campus.  “We are pleased with the addition of crane and excavation equipment simulators, which provides added value for employers and students in our community,” said Laura Gammage, Vice President of Economic Development for WGTC.   Read more » about Crane Industry Services Installs Crane and Excavator Simulators at Centered on Safety Training Center

Those sounds you hear are the screams of agony emanating from the labor unions in the construction industry in New York City. For the first time in recent history, three major contractors, Turner, Tishman and Plaza Construction have joined with several lesser-known companies to open their private sector sites to non-union labor.

This is a move that, in the recent past, would not have been considered on commercial and residential projects in New York, long a hotbed of union labor in the construction unions. This is an especially critical change in a market like New York City where densities and construction rules for both public and private sector projects have long mandated that construction workers on the major sites must have apprentice training in order to be employed.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal titled “Construction Unions’ Grip on New York Begins to Show Cracks” states that the major construction firms have declined “to renew collective bargaining agreements with unions, opening the door for more non-union workers and sending the clearest signal yet that once mighty construction trade groups are losing their grip on private-sector construction work.”   Read more » about Wowee Batman!

The Business Columnist at the Houston Chronicle over the weekend forcefully made the argument that tackling the skilled worker shortage along the Gulf Coast will take a lot of work.

"There is plenty of blame to go around for the skilled labor shortage," wrote Chris Tomlinson. "Replacing the retiring workforce will take an all-of-the-above approach, with pre-K through 12th-grade programs graduating career-ready students, community colleges teaching the latest skills, and employers investing in training or agreeing to hire union labor."

Tomlinson drilled down on why there's a shortage of skilled workers in the first place. Among others, he spoke with J.D. Slaughter, vice president at S&B Engineers and Constructors:    Read more » about Houston Chronicle Business Columnist Argues for Better Pay and More Respect for Craft Workers

Construction input PPIs decline year-over-year but rise in May; more hikes appear likely

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 May, not seasonally adjusted, increased 0.3% from April but fell 0.1% year-over-year (y/y) from May 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Wednesday. 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, increased 0.1% for the month and 1.9% y/y. The PPI for new nonresidential building construction—a measure of the price that contractors say they would charge to build a fixed set of five categories of buildings—also rose 1.9% y/y. Changes ranged from 1.2% y/y for industrial building construction to 1.6% for healthcare buildings, 1.9% for schools, 2.1% for office buildings, and 2.7% for warehouses.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: June 10-16, 2016

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

We continue discussing the importance of culture both in creating high-performance teams and in winning the war for talent.  The research seems so compelling that most true leaders believe it is THE fundamental for competitive success.  It even trumps strategy in the hierarchy of critical ingredients.

Culture emanates from the beliefs and values of the founders, owners, and senior leaders and is reflected in the “way we do things here – what you can count on from us.”  It is the basis for policies and practices.  The role of the senior leadership team and all other managers is to define it, align the people to it, and above all demonstrate it.

If leaders walk their talk consistently – writing an occasional check or eliminating a top economic performer who is a major culture killer – specific examples will become part of the “tribal stories” and will be passed along with pride from generation to generation.  I have personally seen this many times.   Read more » about Reinforcing and Engraining Culture

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