Steps to Controlling Runoff and Erosion at Construction Sites

muddy road with sky light opening
Mud is as native to construction as lumber and steel. But it now needs a lot of watching to make sure it doesn’t flow where it shouldn’t be. (Copyright: mihtiander / 123RF Stock Photo)

Recent devastating mudslides graphically remind us of just how tenuous our footing is, even on trusted land. And while most of the recent devastation wasn’t caused by construction activity, there are many times where runoff and erosion from construction sites is excessive and largely preventable.

The University of Missouri Extension reports that construction sites typically add 100 to 200 tons of sediment per acre, per year to waterways. Continue reading

Autonomous Heavy Equipment Becoming Better Suited to Construction

Komatsu’s D61EXi/PXi-23 Intelligent Machine Control Dozer is just one example of the latest round of machines promising to reduce errors, increase productivity and keep people safer. (Courtesy Komatsu)

With the announcement by international mining group, Rio Tinto, that it just moved 200 million tones (224 million tons) of material in Western Australia using autonomous haul trucks, the realities of automation in mining as well as in construction come into sharp focus.

Rio Tinto has 53 autonomous trucks in its fleet that use GPS to deliver loads 24 hours a day. Each truck carries 500 tons and is monitored remotely. Continue reading

New Design Build Documents Help Enhance Participant Interaction

signing contract
AIA updated its design-build documents to strengthen the relationships between owner and other parties. (Copyright: gvictoria / 123RF Stock Photo)

The American Institute of Architects updated the “most frequently used” documents of the entire AIA portfolio, saying the “significance of this release cannot be overstated.” According to the AIA, these updated documents are preferred for use on commercial design build projects.

The new documents are supposed to help improve the interaction between owner and design-builder by “calling for clearly defined and mandated Owner’s Criteria for the Project and requiring submission of a Preliminary Design by the Design-Builder.” Continue reading

New Standards on Revenue Recognition Have Particular Impact on Engineering and Construction

two people struggle with graph lines
The new converged accounting standards from FASB and IASB increase required disclosures and add some challenges for those in the E&C sector. (Copyright: nexusplexus / 123RF Stock Photo)

In May, the Financial Accounting Standards Board and International Accounting Standards Board issued their long-awaited converged standard on revenue recognition, which have significant implications for the engineering and construction industry. This affects companies applying U.S. GAAP and IFRS who have typically been using industry guidance when accounting for revenue, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, or PwC, a company offering audit and assurance, tax and consulting services. Continue reading

Who Wants to be Managed, and Who Wants to be Led?

young and older workers
Technology preferences are just one difference between boomers and millenials in the work place. (Copyright: auremar / 123RF Stock Photo)

Generational differences in the workforce have never gotten as much play as they do today. Seventy years ago the things that were important to dad at work became important to junior when his time came to get a job. In fact, many kids followed parents into the factories, the legal firms and the family businesses of the time, in an unquestioning show of affirmation for the same work values.

Now, according to some, much has changed. George Bradt recently wrote in Forbes that people born between 1980 and 2000, the so-called millenials, can’t be managed. Continue reading

AEC Cares: “Blitz-Build” Set for June 25

kids on a slide
Kids on Chicago’s south side will soon be enjoying a colorful new play area compliments of AEC Cares. (Copyright: andresr / 123RF Stock Photo)

On June 25th, the next AEC Cares project features a “blitz-build,” following several months of preparations. During the one-day event, volunteers will install a playground, play areas and renovate several interior areas at a learning and wellness center in Chicago. The center is used for daycare and early learning for infants, toddlers and preschoolers from very low-income families.

AEC Cares is working with Metropolitan Family Services on the project. During the past several months, design team members completed the preliminary tasks for the project, ranging from drafting plans to ordering materials, enlisting volunteers and installing ceiling tiles. All that planning set the ground work for the one-day “blitz-build” where the teams from Reed Construction Data, the American Institute of Architects and Hanley Wood will finish Continue reading

Nonresidential Construction Execs Pessimistic About Industry’s Innovation

man innovating with computer
A majority of index participants say their companies are innovative, while 69% say the nonresidential construction industry is only moderately innovative or less. (Copyright: alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo)

Nonresidential construction executives recently revealed a lot more about the sector’s challenges than simply trying to gain some economic traction. Forty-seven percent of respondents in the FMI Nonresidential Construction Index Report said their firms don’t have ongoing research and development efforts, and 69% ranked the industry’s ability to innovate as moderate to very slow.

Lack of innovation, according to the report’s authors, is troubling, given respondents saw no improvement in the sector’s productivity compared to last quarter’s index, in a time when labor shortages loom large. Tied to that, panelists revealed that lack of training and not finding innovative personnel is a concern for more than half of them. Their confidence in a favorable cost of labor also slipped from Q1 to Q2, dropping more than six points.

Generally, panelists participating in the index thought innovation needs to focus on increasing productivity and solving the shortage of skilled labor. Reducing commoditization of construction and improving safety and quality were also top of the list.

When asked where they thought innovation was coming from in the industry, 44% respondents nodded toward the supplier community, while 25% said from their own R&D efforts. Research universities and industry associations each received 14% of responses, and architecture and engineering firms got 3%.

Beyond the R&D and innovation issues, this quarter’s index is up on the overall economy, overall economy where panelists do business, panelists’ own construction businesses, the nonresidential markets where panelists do business, and panelists’ expected backlogs.

You can see the whole report, right here.

Infrastructure Funding Not Only About P3

Just in the U.S. repair cost estimates for infrastructure is $3.6 trillion. (Copyright: kadmy / 123RF Stock Photo)

It’s a no-brainer that infrastructure is a big consideration in how and where people invest their real estate dollars. But what the recent report put out by the Urban Land Institute and EY showed is that there are more forms of funding options than just public private partnerships, or P3s, that people view as significant.

Venture capital strategies came in second place behind P3s but it was followed by four other funding sources with a dead heat of support - negotiated exactions; user charges and fees; contributions from federal/national governments; and contributions from state/provincial governments. Not very far behind those four was “income or property taxes.” Perhaps more telling was that all funding mechanisms were viewed as significant by more than 50% of respondents. Continue reading

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