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Welcome to the Construction Informer blog – featuring news, information and commentary for contractors

Construction Waste Management Gets Help from Circular Building

New practices from viewing building as a circular process could drastically improve construction waste management and sustainability.
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Manufacturing Breakthrough Pushes Flexible Solar Cells Mainstream

A new manufacturing process is offering CIGS flexible solar cells at a price comparable to silicone cells and making them a good fit for many types of buildings.
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June 2016 Construction Products Announcements

It's no secret that these June 2016 construction products announcements might have just the solution you need. Secure data, jobs for vets, and more.
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Promising May 2016 Construction Products Announcements

The May 2016 construction products announcements include unusual items like invisibility glass, and new items like a pre-packaged solar power system.
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The Last Digitizer

The digitizer made construction takeoffs faster and more accurate for many decades, but it's been replaced by software. Digitizer history.
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A Deeper Look at Restaurant Construction

Rob Mescolotto, founder and owner of Hospitality Construction Services, answers some questions about restaurant construction trends, the challenges of building them, and tells how his company differentiates itself in the busy hospitality sector. What restaurant design...

Government Buildings Slash Energy Use

From 2003 to 2012, the average energy intensity, or energy consumption per square foot, of government buildings decreased by 23%. The slide shows how it was done. About 14% of commercial buildings in the United States are owned by a government agency at federal, state, and local levels. Over the same period, the average energy intensity across all commercial buildings decreased by 12%.

CBECS data highlight some of the specific actions building owners can take to help meet building energy reduction goals or requirements, such as monitoring energy use and upgrading key equipment. Building automation systems that automatically control lighting and heating, cooling, and ventilation (HVAC) systems are present in about one in three government buildings, more than twice the rate as in nongovernment buildings.

Skanska Delivers First Major US P3 Months Ahead of Schedule

Skanska, leading a joint venture of Skanska, Kiewit Construction and Weeks Marine (SKW Constructors), announced that it reached substantial completion of the new Midtown Tunnel, a key element of the Elizabeth River Tunnels project between Norfolk and Portsmouth, VA, four months ahead of schedule.

The project is using a public private partnership (P3) model for the finance, development, design, construction, operation and maintenance of a new two-lane tunnel adjacent to the existing Midtown Tunnel under the Elizabeth River. The 3,800 foot-long underwater vehicle tunnel is one of the few immersed-tube tunnels in the U.S., and is comprised of eleven 16,000-ton concrete elements.

The tubes were fabricated at Sparrows Point, MD, and towed 220 nautical miles down the Chesapeake Bay to the project site in Portsmouth, VA. They were then immersed and positioned – one element at a time – in a dredged trench nearly 100 feet at the bottom of the Elizabeth River and then connected together through a series of locking mechanisms and seals.

Elevated Foundation Helps Deal With Volatile Soils

In North Texas, active soils often cause foundation problems due to movement and settlement. By using a field-tested, patented process of elevating a slab-on-grade foundation, Tella Firma creates a protective void between the ground and the foundation itself. This application isolates the slab and guards it from damaging soil swells, contractions and unexpected movement. Most foundation damage results from soil movement that can be caused by expansion and contraction of clay soils due to moisture change and other changing conditions that affect the soil.

Faulkner Perrin Custom Homes used Tella Firma Foundations ( for two high-end spec homes under development in the Preston Hollow neighborhood in Dallas.  One project will be completed by the end of this year, while the other project is just under way.

Cancel the Loud

Traditional earplugs rely on absorption to lower sound, which rapidly meets its limit particularly with bass frequencies. ISOLATE® protectors reflect sound away from the ears and therefore achieve much greater sound reduction. And, they don’t let sound into the ear canal.

Custom designed memory foam tips, EARFOAMS®, dramatically reduce sound without muffling or distortion. Hear with increased detail and at safer listening levels. Protects your ears from loud noise that could damage your hearing. Construction workers will particularly appreciate the ability of ISOLATE® to block very low frequencies from entering their ears.

Traditional ear plugs and defenders do not block the lowest frequencies, creating a muffled sound which, as well as being unpleasant to listen to, leaves wearers feeling disconnected or even ‘underwater.’ Flare Audio is already respected in the live audio industry, with its products used by artists at festivals and concerts. Flare products are also installed at cinemas, including the renowned Olympic Studios in London.

ISOLATE®s current crowdfunding campaign offers a one-off chance to secure a pair at an introductory price of £23 for ISOLATE®, £46 for ISOLATE® PRO. Packages available. Ships worldwide.

Bring Your Projects to Life With Video

When you get your video assets from VideoBlocks you get a selection spanning thousands of videos shot in HD, SD and even 4K. Right now, you can also get a great deal on an unlimited downloads membership. There are hundreds of construction related videos to choose from and you can even get backgrounds for many uses.
Get The Deal

TrueLook Offers Turnkey Drone Photography Services

TrueLook released a new drone photography service available for all active customers, and became the first construction camera service to offer integrated drone photography. A qualified pilot captures HD photos and video of the client’s jobsite, and the media automatically appears in the customer’s TrueLook app. This provides a simple, cost-effective way to add aerial photography and videography to project documentation.

TrueLook has a nationwide network of drone operators who are insured and FAA approved to fly for commercial purposes. This eliminates the hurdles of FAA requirements, paperwork, and ever-changing guidelines for customers trying to legally operate their own drone or quadcopter. Each pilot is vetted for professionalism and bound by strict safety guidelines. The drone service will deliver high quality HD media. Pilots capture at least 20 aerial images in 4k resolution and deliver an edited 1080p video production. The media appears in the customer’s TrueLook photo albums within a day or two.

New Augmented Reality Option For Android

The NGRAIN Viewer for Android, a new app for Android tablets and smart glass devices, enables you to deploy industrial 3D content created with NGRAIN’s Producer Pro.

Organizations working with heavy equipment, assemblies, and other industrial assets in the field, can use the viewer to easily explore possible use cases for smart glasses and 3D content without having to develop mobile 3D apps. Since the Viewer for Android is open source, R&D teams and developers have a starting point to create and customize their own industrial applications.

NGRAIN partnered with Epson in delivering an optimized experience for the Epson® Moverio® BT-200 and BT-300 smart eyewear. Eric Mizufuka, product manager, New Ventures for Epson America said the NGRAIN viewer for Android dramatically lowers the cost of content creation while maintaining the quality of these high-end content experiences for AR glasses. The NGRAIN Viewer for Android is free for download via the NGRAIN Web site.

Ramtech Building Systems Starts Installing a Temporary Elementary School Campus

The relocatable modular school project includes 11 buildings to replace the Deweyville ISD’s elementary school that was lost to flooding in March. The buildings are sequenced to get finished quickly. The first building is an 8,064 square foot eight classroom, followed by a 6,272 square foot multipurpose facility which includes an administrative section for the elementary school staff and the district’s superintendent. The admin building will have nine offices, a reception area, four bathrooms, a large conference room, computer lab, and a library.

Drone World Expo

San Jose Convention Center

Tuesday, November 15 – Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Featuring dozens of educational sessions and case studies led by thought leaders, industry experts and end-users who will present real-world solutions like the one specifically for construction entitled: “On the Air: UAS for Live and Taped Production; Drones in Construction.”

Attend the Workshop entitled: “Multirotor sUAS Safety and Operational Familiarization for the Commercial Operator.”

“We are thrilled to welcome the MAPPS Fall Conference back to Drone World Expo and expand our show floor and conference sessions to offer more education and solutions focused for geospatial firms, especially during this pivotal time in the profession,”said Joelle Coretti, event director, Drone World Expo.