Reshaping the Construction Industry

The transit hub at the World Trade Center site is still under construction, and one major piece underway is the Oculus (a circular or oval window usually found at the top of a dome) that covers the transit station. In this case, the oculus is not at the top of the dome and is much larger than you might find in the landmark buildings in Europe.

According to Jessica Dailey at, this Oculus has been named the “bird in flight” by its designer Santiago Calatrava. Calatrava’s firm is best known for his sculptures and landmark bridge designs that reflect his design thinking and philosophy. The General contractor for the structure is Skanska, USA.

   Read more » about World Trade Center “Oculus” Construction

Construction spending hits 6-1/2 year high in May; metro job gains shrink; ABI moves up

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 May totaled $1.036 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, the highest rate since October 2008, the Census Bureau reported today. The level was up 0.8% from the rate in April (which was revised up by a steep 2% or $20 billion) and up 8.2% from May 2014. Private nonresidential spending increased 1.5% for the month and 13% year-over-year, private residential spending rose 0.3% and 7.8%, respectively, and public construction spending gained 0.7% and 2.8%. However, the residential total masks a 13% year-over-year rise in new construction (21% for multifamily and 11% for single-family) and a drop of 3.4% in improvements. A 70% increase in manufacturing construction (led by a doubling of spending for chemical plants and tripling for transportation equipment plants) made this the largest private nonresidential segment. Next came power construction (conventional and renewable power plus oil and gas fields and pipelines), down 22% year-over-year, followed by commercial (new and renovated retail, warehouse and farm), up 11%; and office, up 27%. The two top public segments also had year-over-year gains: highway and street construction, 1.7%; and public educational spending, 3.4%. Census made annual revisions to 2013 and 2014 data. Total spending rose 6.6% in 2013 (instead of 5.6%) and 4.8% in 2014 (instead of 5.5%).    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: June 22-July 2, 2015

Wowsers!  Have you seen something like this happen to a building around you?

If your roof fails you, it will ail you in all sorts of awful ways.  First and foremost, a roof cave-in could cause serious injury to people inside the building.  Two, roof failure is a big and expensive mess!  And that’s putting it mildly if your roof fails during a storm.  A wet mess is the worst kind.

What’s more, at the end of the day, the fiscal and possible legal impact of a total failure is likely massive compared to the normal cost of regular, proactive maintenance.  So we at Chamberlin Roofing and Waterproofing think it makes sense to keep up with necessary repairs.   Read more » about Failure is NOT an Option!

Editor’s note: The following was originally published in Cornerstone, the quarterly magazine of AGC Houston.  Reprinted with permission.

“If you want something done, ask a busy person.”  I am not sure to whom or what Benjamin Franklin was referring when he made the statement, but he very easily could have been describing the AGC Houston chapter during the first months of 2015.

While the drop in oil prices has created a cause for concern, Houston continues to enjoy a very strong construction market.  Despite some markets seeing a bit of a slowdown, there continues to be plenty of work to bid and build on.  With that being said, the support so many members give the chapter through their involvement is especially gratifying.  It is difficult to single out individuals for their contributions because so many members impact directly our organization in numerous capacities.  However, I would like to recognize a few for their good work over the past few months.   Read more » about Getting Things Done and Accomplishing Much

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) named the top four global award winners for new tall buildings as part of its annual awards program. The 123 submissions, up 40% from last year, were judged by an independent board of jurors, and they selected four to honor this year. The submissions are required to be new buildings and are judged for their sustainability, their contribution to the science and design of tall buildings and their livability.

The jury selected one honoree from each of the four areas of the globe, The Americas, Auastralasia, Europe, and the Middle East and Africa.

You can see the awardees and the finalists from each of the geographical areas on the CTBUH website here.    Read more » about The Four Best Tall Buildings of 2015

Federal agencies with oversight over various industries are taking the problem of worker misclassification more seriously and are taking steps to rein in as many bad actors as possible, according to various reports.

Worker misclassification, as you may know, happens when a company pays employees as independent subcontractors with the intent of skirting payroll taxes and denying benefits like health coverage. There are many legitimate uses of contract labor, of course, but the problem arises when companies use the classification to gain an unlawful competitive advantage and to deny basic protections for craft professionals and others. Companies that cheat on their payroll taxes can easily underbid law-abiding contractors by as much as 30 percent or more because of their illegitimate savings on labor costs.    Read more » about Report: Federal government is getting more serious about cracking down on worker misclassification

According to recent data from the Construction Labor Market Analyzer, the construction industry will need 1.5 million additional craft professionals by 2019.  To highlight this shortage and create a sustainable pipeline of craft professionals, states are proclaiming October as Careers in Construction Month.

Alabama, Indiana, Nebraska and Mississippi already have proclamations signed by their state governors declaring October as Careers in Construction Month (CICM).  This nationwide campaign is designed to increase public awareness of the opportunities available in the construction industry.  Schools, contractors and organizations are encouraged to partner locally and host construction career events throughout the month.  In recent surveys conducted at local career fairs, 92 percent of the students attending these events stated the career fairs increased their interest in careers in construction.   Read more » about The Clock is Ticking; October is just Around the Corner

MX3D, a design and engineering firm located in Amsterdam, is working on new and innovative ways to use robotic 3D printers to autonomously print with exotic materials. A unique feature of their process is that the robots are multi-axis and can build some projects without additional supporting structures. They build their own support as part of the construction process.

MX3D has proposed to build a Joris Laarman-designed pedestrian bridge from molten steel and resins that will cross one of the many canals in Amsterdam as a way to showcase their abilities. DeZeen, a design, architecture and interiors website, says that the bridge will be printed by two multi-axis directional printing robots usually used in auto manufacturing to autonomously print the bridge by starting on opposite sides of the canal and building towards each other until the bridge is complete.   Read more » about MX3D will 3D Print a Bridge From Here To There

Our industry cannot talk its way out of a problem we behaved our way into. That’s why the ABC Houston Board of Directors has tasked the group’s Industrial Committee with putting forward solid proposals for addressing workforce needs on the Gulf Coast. As part of that, we realize that maintaining a sustainable workforce will require clear career paths for those who choose to become craft professionals.

The Industrial Committee’s members have worked hard during recent meetings to formulate recommendations for the full ABC board. The ideas are wide-ranging, including changes to the way things are done on jobsites as well as improving the industry’s image in the eyes of potential future employees and their families.    Read more » about Promoting Craft Career Development on the Gulf Coast

As many readers are aware, the Construction Career Collaborative, commonly known as C3, is growing steadily and is beginning to have an impact as it executes its owner-driven strategy to create a sustainable workforce for the commercial construction industry.

The Collaborative recently achieved a huge strategic win with the addition of Hines to the list of C3 owners. The international real estate firm, which is headquartered in Houston, is a leading influencer in the design and construction community. Hines becomes the first C3 owner from the commercial development world to join our ranks; we look for more to follow. Current C3 owners include M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Hermann Healthcare Systems and Texas Children’s Hospital.    Read more » about C3 News & Upcoming Town Hall Meetings


Subscribe to Contrustion Citizen | Reshaping the Construction Industry