Reshaping the Construction Industry

Excitement filled the air on a cool, crisp, picture perfect day when 322 students with 38 teacher/administrator chaperones from Houston-Metropolitan Area high school campuses attended the 2016 Construction Careers Exposition on Thursday, October 27, at the Pasadena Municipal Fairgrounds.  These select students represented Aldine, Alvin, Barbers Hill, Channelview, Deer Park, Galena Park, Goose Creek Consolidated, Humble, Pasadena, Pearland, and Sheldon Independent School Districts.  185 volunteers representing 33 contractors, colleges, and suppliers joined with the Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston/Construction and Maintenance Education Foundation (CMEF) to sponsor and facilitate the Exposition – including the donation of resources, services, and time – to make this event happen.   Read more » about Area High School Students Experience Hands-On Activities at the 2016 Construction Careers Expo

The “private sector solution” to workforce challenges in the Houston area is growing by leaps and bounds, but there is an incredible amount of work yet to do. The Construction Career Collaborative, or C3, continues to pick up steam and more industry leaders are being asked to join what has been described as “a movement.”

During a breakfast hosted this month by the Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston, C3 Executive Director Chuck Gremillion told executives the best way to create an industry that’s attractive to young American workers is through better craft training, safety training, and a focus on the financial security, health and well-being of craft workers.

“We’re really a pretty simple organization,” Gremillion said. “We want to attract young people to a career.”

While the vast majority of construction companies understand the need for safety training, which is a great thing, Gremillion said it is regrettable there aren’t more firms with a focus on craft training.   Read more » about More Construction Leaders Are Needed to “Walk the Talk” on Workforce Solutions

On September 25, 2016, Arnold Palmer died at age 87. Golf lost an outstanding champion; America a truly great citizen. He was called “the King”, not only for his 62 wins, including 7 majors, but also what he did for the game, for thousands of ordinary people, and for the community and the country. His life provides a leadership blueprint for all.

He remained, despite all his success, an absolutely authentic person. He was a blue-collar everyman, the son of a golf course superintendent and golf pro, who gave him bedrock values of respect for others and the importance of hard work – values he embraced and honored his entire life (Arnold’s dad also gave him a great grip, the most critical fundamental to the golf swing.) It is interesting that these traits and values are the hallmark of most successful contractors as well. They are humble, real, hardworking, and appreciative.

Palmer had an amazing connection with his fans. They formed Arnie’s Army, and thronged around him at tournaments. They relished his consistent hard-charging style where he would take risks his competitors would not. Risk taking resonates with contractors too; it is the heart of the business. After his playing days ended, he and pal, Joe Gibbs, started the Golf Channel, now part of NBC. His lawyers and advisors told him this deal was too risky, to which he snapped back, “If I hadn’t tried to hit it over some trees or across some ponds on several occasions, we wouldn’t be here talking.” Sound familiar?   Read more » about Lessons from the Life of the King: Arnold Palmer

to You and Yours!
Read more » about Happy Thanksgiving!

Job growth continues in 35 states; PPIs remain mild; multifamily market appears to slow

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 35 states from September 2015 to September 2016, declined in 14 states and the District of Columbia, and held steady in West Virginia, an AGC analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released on Friday showed. Iowa again led in percentage gain (13%, 10,400 jobs), followed by Nevada (13%, 9,200), Colorado (11%, 16,400) and Washington (10%, 17,300). The most jobs added were again in California (34,100 jobs, 4.6%) and Florida (28,400, 6.6%), followed by Washington and Colorado. Kansas had the steepest percentage loss (-7.6%, -4,700), followed by Maine (-7.5%, -2,000), Wyoming (-7.4%, -1,700) and Delaware (-6.0%, -1,300). Illinois lost the most jobs (-5,500, -2.5%), followed by Kansas, Kentucky (-3,500, -4.5%) and Pennsylvania (-3,000, -1.3%). For the month, employment rose in 23 states and D.C., shrank in 23 states and was unchanged in four. (AGC's rankings are based on seasonally adjusted data, which in D.C., Delaware and five other states is available only for construction, mining and logging combined.)

The PPI for final demand in October, not seasonally adjusted, was unchanged from September and increased 0.8% year-over-year (y/y) from October 2015, the BLS reported on Wednesday.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: November 14-21, 2016

Hi there. The Chamberlin Man here.

This Thanksgiving, take a moment to breathe in the smell of turkey roasting in the oven and count your blessings. Now, imagine me, The Chamberlin Man, tipping my hat and raising a glass in gratitude to you, our clients and colleagues, for trusting Chamberlin with the blessing of your business for yet another year. From all of us at Chamberlin, I’d like to offer a very sincere Thank You.

We feel like it’s a great time of year to take stock of all the good in our lives at home and at work. One of the things we’re most grateful for at Chamberlin is the opportunity to give back to the communities where we live and work. In fact, Chamberlin employees collectively volunteered nearly 400 hours for a good share of nonprofit organizations in 2016. since 2007, Chamberlin is excited that WorkFaith's job readiness program is celebrating its 200th graduating classChamberlin also raised funds for Seven Loaves Community, which will result in over 200,000 meals served to those in need.   Read more » about Good Gravy!

This is another in a series of games we see on construction projects. Have any of you seen this one?

Most of us have heard that term applied to plumbing systems or negative feedback on our projects. Being at the end of the line usually means that you catch everything that falls apart above you in the job. This is especially relevant for this game on construction projects and schedules.

This game usually begins when the architects have incomplete construction drawings or the contractor can’t build something that the architects have detailed, and it has to be redrawn. It can also be caused when the owner’s rep, engineers, or GC doesn’t approve shop drawings for an order, delivery and install on time.   Read more » about Games Contractors and Subs Play – “It All Flows Downhill”

At Construction Citizen, we’re always interested in exactly how various projects are completed through the hard work of skilled craft professionals. One cool way to observe that is through time lapse videos like the one that was just sent to us from the folks at Work Zone Cam.

In less than 2 minutes, this video shows the construction work done over a roughly two-year period to complete the Fine Arts Instructional Center at Easter Connecticut State University. “Barr & Barr was tasked with building the 118,000-square-foot facility, and chose Work Zone Cam to document the construction,” per a press release from Work Zone Cam. “Ground was broken in December of 2013, and the project concluded in November of 2015.”    Read more » about Time Lapse Video: Eastern Connecticut State University Construction

This is another in the continuing series spotlighting the games that general contractors and subs play. This one is called, “Sub Sub,” and it is found in a broad range of project types from residential to commercial and institutional. It happens in both the private and public sector. In other words, it is a widespread practice by subs who want to maximize their profit, minimize their risk and overhead, and who do not much care for the well-being of the workers on the job.

What is it? The Dictionary of Construction defines it as: One under contract to a subcontractor for completion of a portion of the work for which the subcontractor is responsible.” Sounds reasonable enough, but like the other games we will talk about, this one is regularly gamed in a variety of ways.

For example, take a hard bid or low bid job where a company with little or no field labor force wins a bid and then hires another sub contractor to do the work under the original contract and then that sub contractor hires 1099s or independent contractors from a “labor broker” to do the work that the original sub is responsible for.   Read more » about Games Contractors and Subs Play – “Sub Sub”

The memorial service for Paul Gervais Bell, who died on October 31, 2016, held at St. Martins Episcopal Church, was perfect – brief, traditional, and reverent. It reflected his respect for ritual and protocol. The magnificent sanctuary structure added dignity and relevance. It reflects the very best of construction craftwork and construction company leadership, two areas that were of major importance to him throughout his life.

Those of us from the construction industry called him, “Paul;” those from his other walks of life “Gervais.” By whatever name, we all know he was as fine a person as we have ever known, so the church was predictably full. The Right Reverend Pittman McGehee’s eloquent homily, replete with poetry, movie lines and reflecting his Jungian mastery, portrayed Paul as a “fully individuated individual,” a man who achieved “all that he was born to be through baptism,” and, “as one of the Easter People, Paul would move to an afterlife having been a Good Man and Good Leader here.”   Read more » about Paul Gervais Bell Jr. (1922-2016): Statesman – Patriot – Leader


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