Reshaping the Construction Industry

It seems that every morning we see on the news that the industry is at another crossroads whether it be politics, manpower shortages, market shifts in mid construction, new financing and risk management schemes or technology.

Actually technology is probably the first on the list since it is beginning to impact the construction industry in ways not thought of a decade ago. Unfortunately for the industry as a whole, the “early adoption” of new and sometimes “bleeding edge” technologies for the most part is an anathema for current boomer owners and leaders of our firms.

A recent article titled AEC at a Crossroads with Technology written by Steve Hansen in Sourceable, a publication about the construction industry “Down under” describes the reasons behind the slow adoption, the need for that adoption and the younger managers who are pushing and sometimes even demanding that their firms find a way to move forward in the new technologies like drones, virtual reality and augmented or assisted reality.    Read more » about Another Crossroads?

As construction companies continue to look for ways to grow a sustainable workforce whose craft professionals are well trained in skilled craft trades as well as in essential safety procedures, TEXO has developed an initiative to help commercial construction companies achieve the latter.  TEXO is a large trade association of builders in the Dallas/Fort Worth region of Texas, and Safety First is a safety training course which companies can send employees to for an interactive orientation in how to keep themselves and others safe on jobsites.  Classes are offered in either English or Spanish, and participants must be pre-registered as the classes usually fill up in advance and are limited to approximately 40 students each.

Todd Holtz, Vice President of Safety at TEXO, had this to say about the program:

“TEXO’s Safety First program is a hands-on, interactive safety orientation for commercial construction employees.  In place since 2013 and endorsed by industry leaders in the field of construction safety, participants have the opportunity to handle and wear the PPE they are expected to use on a jobsite, in addition to learning about the safe use of tools in their trade.   Read more » about Texas Construction Companies “Do the Right Thing” for Jobsite Safety

Employment hits eight-year high in November; spending, job openings rise in October

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.

Help AGC generate a comprehensive construction business outlook for 2017 by taking our survey. 

Nonfarm payroll employment in November increased by 178,000, seasonally adjusted, from October and by 2,343,000 (1.6%) year-over-year (y/y), the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on December 2. The unemployment rate (4.6%) decreased from 4.9% in October. Construction employment (6,704,000) increased by 19,000 from October and by 155,000 (2.4%) over 12 months to the highest level since November 2008. Residential construction employment (residential building and specialty trade contractors) rose by 19,600 for the month and 120,400 (4.8%) y/y.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: December 1-9, 2016

During a nationally televised report on Fox News Channel, a prominent Texas construction executive said President-elect Donald Trump has a chance to be both tough and smart on border security and immigration.

Stan Marek, President and CEO of the Marek Family of Companies, said the President-elect needs to enact immigration reform that identifies and taxes those who are illegally in the country. But that does not meant Trump would be somehow softening his position on border security, Marek said.

Instead, Marek insists that the best border security happens at the job site.

That increased security would be accomplished by issuing tamper-proof ID’s only to workers who are authorized to be in the United States.   Read more » about Texas Construction CEO on Fox News Channel: Trump Can be Both Smart and Tough on Immigration

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

I lost another hero. Dr. Denton Cooley died on November 18th 2016; he was 96. He was an incredible human being in addition to being a brilliant heart surgeon. I worked for him for 10 years, writing news releases and an occasional speech. He has the same qualities that great contractors do: a great respect for superior craft skill and the ability to analyze and take risks – in his case to save lives.

He was a superb technical surgeon, gifted with incredible speed, a true Master Craftsman. Recognized heart surgeons from around the world would “scrub in” to watch him. Dr. Christian Barnard, another high-profile heart pioneer, called Cooley’s surgery “the most beautiful he had ever seen.” Cooley and his team have done the most open heart surgeries in the world.

He was the “Captain of the Ship” in the OR; he was totally responsible for the patient, the highest authority, and he would take calculated risks to save patients, many times moving the medical frontier forward.   Read more » about Denton Arthur Cooley, MD: A Master Craftsman and Builder

The Obama Administration’s controversial new overtime rule is on hold as a court battle plays out and President-elect Donald J. Trump has so far been unclear about exactly where he stands on the policy that would make roughly 4 million additional workers eligible for overtime pay. While some believe Trump will scrap the rule, his comments have been a bit ambiguous.

Under the Labor Department’s proposed rule, which has been blocked by a federal judge in East Texas, employers would be required to pay time-and-a-half to employees who work more than 40 hours each week and earn less than about $47,000 per year. The new threshold is roughly twice what the government currently allows for workers to be exempt from overtime.   Read more » about New Overtime Rule on Hold as Court Battle Plays Out and Trump Administration Looms

A ceremony held at the recently completed C3 project for the Greater Houston Partnership in Partnership Tower has the potential to impact the construction workforce in the Houston region for decades to come.

The ceremony honored the inaugural class of 17 graduates of Generation Houston, a collaboration of the Greater Houston Partnership’s Upskill Houston, United Way, and Generation, a 501(c)(3) social initiative sponsored by McKinsey & Company and other major sponsors.

The four week, fast track program was aimed at individuals who express an interest in the construction industry as a career and offers them training in life, safety, social and career skills. The United Way Thrive program provides the candidates and the screening of the individuals who are eligible for the training. McKinsey’s Generation provides the instruction.   Read more » about Generation Houston Inaugural Graduation

A 98-page report produced by Stockton University’s William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy last June presents a detailed look into the “underground construction industry” in New Jersey.  Titled The Underground Construction Economy in New Jersey, the report lists specific ways that “off-the-books labor,” also called worker misclassification, damages the construction industry, cheats the misclassified workers, and costs the state government and ultimately local taxpayers millions of dollars each year.  Best practices for dealing with the illegal practice are identified in the report, and the report concludes with 15 policy recommendations for the State.  From page 12 of the report:

“Based on the review of best practices in other states, we outline 15 policy recommendations for the State of New Jersey (page 90). Recommendations #1 through #4 are related to the structure and functions of state government entities that have duties related to employee misclassification.   Read more » about Research Report: The Underground Construction Economy in New Jersey

The following article originally appeared in the December newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, LLC for the purpose of providing the latest leading indicators and industry issues to those clients.  Reprinted with permission.

On November 10th, in front of thousands of attendees, Dr. Bill Gilmer, Director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting at the University of Houston, laid out his forecast for Houston in 2017. After recognizing the bumpy and considerably steep decline in the energy sector, Dr. Gilmer remained optimistic about Houston’s economy overall, feeling that the worst is likely in the rear view mirror and that Houston will begin to recover in 2017.

Dr. Gilmer outlined a series of scenarios, largely dependent on when the energy sector will rebound, with the weighted average being a loss of approximately 22,000 job growth in 2016, 4,500 jobs added in 2017 and then ramping up to 74,800 jobs in 2018 and 85,100 in 2019.   Read more » about Houston’s Monthly Metrics: December 2016

Fewer metros add construction jobs in October; Dodge, Beige Book report mixed starts

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.

Help AGC generate a comprehensive construction business outlook for 2017 by taking their 2017 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook survey.

Construction employment, not seasonally adjusted, increased from October 2015 to October 2016 in 223 (62%) of the 358 metro areas (including divisions of larger metros) for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides construction employment data, decreased in 73 (20%) and was stagnant in 62, according to an AGC release and map on Tuesday.(BLS combines mining and logging with construction in most metros.) Two metro areas tied for the most jobs added (10,800 combined jobs): Denver-Aurora-Lakewood (an 11% increase) and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (17%); they were followed by Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale (9,900 construction jobs, 10%), the Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. division (9,000 construction jobs, 10%) and Las-Vegas-Henderson-Paradise (8,500 construction jobs, 16%).   Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: November 22-30, 2016


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