Reshaping the Construction Industry

The lunch whistle has sounded at ABC's 2015 National Craft Championship, signaling to craft professionals that it is time safely secure their workstations and proceed to lunch.

This morning, a similar whistle sounded, signaling the beginning of the skills portion of the craft competition. Within moments, the quiet focus and anticipation felt in the Grand Hall was overcome by organized commotion. Saws began to buzz. Hammers went to work. The smell of fresh cut wood accompanied fleeting whiffs of welding fumes.

Truly a spectacular transformation.

I am grateful for the opportunity to be here covering this event, and as I walk around observing the competitors, I am awestruck at the amount of precision and attention to detail required to be successful at these trades. The craftspeople that have made it to this event are seriously skilled.    Read more » about Skills Portion of National Craft Championships Officially Commences

Walmart made waves recently with the announcement that the largest retailer in the world will boost pay for its employees and do more to create career paths within the company for those employees.

It seems the same discussion that construction executives have been having for years about how to create a sustainable workforce is now being hashed out in Walmart’s boardroom as well.

In an open letter, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said the most immediate change will be raises for employees. Beyond that, he also said there will be chances for those workers to earn more based on their performance.    Read more » about World’s Largest Retailer Makes Changes Aimed at a Sustainable Workforce; Construction is Ahead of the Game

Applause erupted as spectators watched nearly 200 proud craft professionals march by and into the Floridian Ballroom at the Broward Convention center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, kick-starting ABC's 2015 National Craft Championships.

After introductions, presentation of the colors, and the pledge of allegiance, Mike Stilley of S&B Engineers and Constructors stepped in to highlight the importance of safety throughout the event before keynote speaker John Ratzenberger took the podium. Ratzenberger is an entrepreneur and actor, best known for his role on Cheers. On a related note, he also voiced the character of Construction Foreman Tom in the movie, Up.   Read more » about ABC's 2015 National Craft Championships are Underway

According to NCCER’s 2014 Craft Professional Wage Survey, wages for craft professionals continue to rise with the average annual salary being more than $50,000, excluding overtime, per diem, bonuses or other benefits. This is very encouraging news for anyone looking for career opportunities and alternative options to a four-year degree.

NCCER began collecting this data in a quest to provide accurate information about the numerous construction career opportunities available to students, transitioning military and displaced workers. NCCER participates in numerous career fairs, presentations and panels representing the industry to a variety of organizations throughout the year including counselor and teacher associations. I personally have used this survey in presentations in which I have had educators ask if individuals can really make that kind of salary in the construction industry. As an industry, we have to realize that the majority of the public really has no idea about the amazing opportunities construction offers.    Read more » about Wages for Craft Professionals on the Rise

We hear that question a lot on the Internet these days, but my question refers to the picture of a class of students who attend the Career Pathways Institute in Grand Island, Nebraska finishing concrete for a townhouse project for Ryan Bartels Construction Company.

The story chronicles the way that one of those students, Caleb Wardyn, a senior at Central Catholic high school found a part-time job with Bartels. It also talks about how Bartels, a staunch supporter of the CPI construction pathway, brought Caleb and 11 other students who are in the construction pathway at CPI to work on a project where they get “hands-on” experience while they are still in school.    Read more » about What’s Wrong with this Picture?

Construction spending slips for month but rises year-over-year; input price cuts spread

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.

Construction spending in January totaled $971 billion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, down 1.1% from the rate in December, but up 1.8% from January 2014, the Census Bureau reported today. Private residential spending in January climbed 0.6% from December but slid 3.4% from a year earlier, while private nonresidential spending fell 1.6% for the month but rose 4.8% year-over-year. Public construction spending decreased 2.6% from December but increased 5.1% from January 2014. The largest private nonresidential segment was power construction (including conventional and renewable power plus oil and gas fields and pipelines), which plunged 13% year-over-year.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: Feb. 24-Mar. 2, 2015

Crane Institute of America has long focused on providing technical training for equipment operators and riggers, but as American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards have evolved, placing greater emphasis on the responsibilities of other crew members, Crane Institute has expanded its available training programs.

“There is an increasing need for formal training for other crew members, such as Assembly/Disassembly Directors, Lift Directors, Master Riggers, and Site Supervisors,” said Jim Headley, President of Crane Institute.

The newest training program to join Crane Institute’s Management Training Curriculum is the four-day Lift Director/Lift Planner course.  The first open-enrollment classes will be held March 9-12 at Crane Institute’s headquarters in Sanford, Florida.   Read more » about Journeyman to Directors, Crane Institute of America Offers New Crane and Rigging Training Courses for all Skill Levels

State funding for college campus construction projects has been described by many around Texas as “long overdue.”  Leaders in the Texas legislature have agreed on the fundamentals in recent years but have been unable to come to a consensus on the details of a solution.

This year, various construction associations, educators, and others are pushing lawmakers to approve as much as $3.6 billion in new buildings at multiple college campuses.  Leaders in higher education say public universities are quickly falling behind in classroom space and other facilities as they struggle to accommodate growing demand.  In many cases, the buildings on college campuses are decades out of date.   Read more » about Higher Education Chairman Optimistic About Campus Construction Funding

Earlier this month I had a chance to speak with Miguel Lopez, Roofing and Sheet Metal Superintendent at Chamberlin Roofing and Waterproofing.  I wanted to learn about his craft and how he learned about the trade.

Before he came to Chamberlin, Miguel worked installing track for a railroad company, but did not see a future for himself in that line of work.  There were no opportunities for advancement, so when the work at the railroad company began to slow down, Miguel looked for something different.  Miguel’s brother-in-law worked at Chamberlin and told Miguel about the opportunities there.

At Chamberlin, Miguel started out as a “laborer” where his duties included moving trash, setting out and covering material, moving materials, and readying equipment.  After a couple of years, he was given the opportunity to run a crew of four laborers who tackled smaller projects such as jobs which were only 1500 square feet.  He said, “Whenever I got [the jobs] done, Chamberlin saw that I could do it because I liked it, and they gave me the opportunity to grow more.”   Read more » about Spotlight on Roofing: Learning Something New [VIDEO]

The following article is authored by the Co-Chairs of the National Construction Forum.

A skilled craft shortage currently exists that will impact the extensive planned industrial expansions along the Gulf Coast.

Why is it important to you as an owner?

  1. This shortage will impact cost, schedule and doability of your capital expansions.
  2. Even if you have no capital expansions planned, other planned capital expansions will draw people from your maintenance and small cap programs, as well as create significant wage rate increases.
   Read more » about A Business Case for Owners Supporting Craft Training

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