Late in 2012 the Construction Labor Market Analyzer reported there would be an expected shortfall of two million construction workers in the U.S. through 2016. This added to the drumbeat being sounded since at least 2006, even before the great recession, when FMI, a construction management and investment firm, called a construction labor shortage the “biggest issue facing the industry for the next five to 10 years.” Read More
By Joseph Baker
Imagine that the groundbreaking architect I.M. Pei, Martha Stewart and Dr. Mehmet Oz are on a committee to evaluate stage props for Shakespeare’s famous balcony scene in “Romeo and Juliet.” Pei’s criticism might be that the set is uninspired, or too traditional. Stewart might be dismayed at the lack of color and aesthetic appeal. Oz might say the scenery does nothing for the health and well-being of the performers.
Just as stage designers struggle to please the masses, architectural designers and construction teams know that pleasing their audience is the most important part of what they do.
Spurred by real challenges that mimic the fictional criticisms in our Shakespeare scenarios, builders are turning toward innovative solutions to bring harmony and balance to indoor living spaces. And one of the ways they’re bringing breathtaking new elements to interior design is by including Read More
Traveling right along with the ‘technology we love to travel with,’ are some sobering statistics of injuries and deaths. The Centers for Disease Control reports that more than a thousand people are injured each day in vehicle crashes attributed to distracted drivers. The deaths from distracted driving hit 3,331 in 2011, with the number injured coming in at 416,000.
While distracted driving includes visual and manual errors, such as taking your eyes off the road or hands off the steering wheel, there is now clear evidence that using devices such as cell phones while driving is increasing the injuries and deaths attributed to distracted driving. For fleets in particular this is a troublesome trend, especially in the light of the US Department of Transportation’s ban on texting and cell phone use for commercial drivers and the increasing number of states that are enacting similar laws. It’s one thing to set up policies that prohibit drivers of company vehicles from texting and talking on smart phones, but quite another to enforce those policies. Read More
By Danielle Rodabaugh
If you’ve worked in the construction industry for very long, you likely know at least a little bit about how surety bonds reinforce certain building standards. Each bond that’s issued requires the principal that buys it to fulfill certain obligations. The construction industry uses surety bonds for a variety of reasons, from ensuring contractors submit legitimate bids, to making sure material suppliers are paid in full. One area of bonding that’s often overlooked within the construction industry, however, is how surety bonds are used to uphold environmental integrity. Here’s how a few specific types of environmental surety bonds do just that. Read More
There will perhaps be no time more critical than the next few years for construction and architectural firms to attract and retain key talent. That’s because losses from baby boom retirements, losses of people from the industry due to the recession, and a low number of new people entering the field are upsetting the labor cart. When hiring through ads in the local paper, or through word-of-mouth referrals no longer meet your needs, and you don’t want to outsource the process to public and private employment agencies, a logical step is to start using hiring or recruiting software, also called applicant tracking software. Read More
It’s amazing what you find if you go into your workshop and start sorting stuff. Construction fasteners are particularly time consuming, especially when you have a bunch of catch-all coffee cans where you’ve casually discarded stray nails, screws, staples and odd pieces of hardware.
My problem was amplified by the fact that I wasn’t the only one filling the cans. At the end of every job it always seemed there was a can or two or three where everyone had been pitching stray items. I ended up with them usually on the day I was turning the building over to the owner because nobody knew what to do with them and just left them on a countertop or in a closet or cabinet drawer.
So, there I was sorting through cans and dutifully stacking like items together thinking about how cool it was to actually know what all those things were. How many people can tell a cabinet screw from any other, and how many know a Tico nail when they see it — and can tell you its name? But, I was forced to stuff all that pride when I came across the little gem you see in the picture here. I don’t have a clue what it is. Because it seems to have been angled at the ends, I was thinking it might be some kind of whetstone. For all I know, it might not have anything to do with construction. But, I thought I’d put it out there and see if anybody had any ideas. For now, I’m just calling it — The Thing.
If the predictors are right, 2013 could be dubbed “the year of the office.” Constrained construction and heated demand for office space in the most active segments of the United States office market are already fueling prospects of rental increases and new office property development in 2013 and into 2014. In particular, an expansion period is approaching for the high-quality urbanized office sector of trophy skyscrapers known as the Skyline, according to Jones Lang LaSalle’s Spring 2013 United States Skyline Review. Read More
This year, AEC Cares has its sights set on improving Denver, Colorado’s Beacon Place facility with a project start date of June 19. The goal is to renovate and enhance this Colorado Coalition for the Homeless facility that provides transitional housing for homeless people. AEC Cares is looking for volunteers of all kinds to help out with the project and is also seeking donations of money and materials. This is AEC Cares’ third project aimed at linking architecture and construction professionals to communities in need. Read More
It’s sobering to think just how urban we are becoming. And it’s not just developed countries where migration is moving more rapidly from rural to urban, but in developing countries as well. There, the trend is troublesome from the perspective of overcrowding, which leads to scarcity. Scarcity of livelihoods, scarcity of resources, scarcity of security and even scarcity of silence, all conjoin to shape mental attitudes attuned to the simple acceptance of having less. Read More
Fewer insurance carriers are willing to extend endorsements to additional insureds on construction contracts, according to Marsh’s Annual US Insurance Market Report. This continues the trend of insurance companies remaining strict about “additional insured wording as they try to limit coverage afforded to the additional insureds on the contract requirements.” Read More
The Nonresidential Construction Index is the same as it was when we entered 2012, according to FMI, a provider of management consulting and investment banking to the engineering and construction industry. That means 2013 might be close to a carbon copy of 2012 for nonresidential construction, although there are signs of a slight uptick in optimism.
For example, more panelists in the survey expected hiring to increase and nearly 20% are Read More
While most office workers are turning up the thermostats on their heating systems this time of the year, that’s a luxury most construction workers don’t have. We’re often working on sites without power or permanent amenities, so keeping warm can be a challenge.
One of the obvious solutions to this problem is to use portable heaters. So, we’ve put together a brief guide to the types of heaters you can install, as well as how effective they are, and how much they cost. Read More
Things are beginning to look a bit bullish for construction and that’s no doubt good news for many. According to Fitch Ratings, last month’s strong, single family housing starts, and an unexpected jump in multifamily starts, are clear signals that 2013 should begin strongly for U.S. housing.
“Most housing macros continue to grow, helped by favorable affordability and buyer psychology,” said Managing Director Robert Curran. “The major public builders are pacing the industry as reflected in their net orders and backlog.” Read More