Ignoring These 5 Areas Can Sidetrack Your Safety Program

construction worker falls down

Falls are a major contributor to construction’s accident statistics. (Image credit: halfpoint / 123RF Stock Photo)

By Richard Saint

(Regulations cited in this article apply particularly to construction in the UK.)

The standardisation of health and safety precautions is one of the biggest changes to hit working environments in recent times. While this is welcomed news, it doesn’t mean these new regulations are universally followed.

Health and safety is crucial within all industries, but rarely more so than in construction. This article details some of the most important considerations that both you and your employer should be making. Read More

Construction to Follow Same Disability Reporting Rules as Everyone Else on Federal Projects

Construction person in a wheelchair

Misinformation, political agendas and incorrect assumptions are keeping the construction industry from benefitting with the help of those who are disabled. (mage credit: digitalreflections / 123RF Stock Photo)

When contractors and subcontractors working on federal construction projects do their next annual Affirmative Action Reviews they will need to track disability status on the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs form that applies.

These firms will also have to ask applicants, new hires and their employees to let them know if they have disabilities and then do the same in five year intervals according to an article published on Mondaq and written by Fisher & Phillips LLP.  Construction contractors on federal projects also must comply with aspects of the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act by inquiring during prehire if they want to identify themselves as protected veterans, and ask new hires to choose the category of veteran they fit. Read More

A Perfect Storm of Encouraging Construction Economic News

woman peels back stormy weather

Could it be the stormy construction economics picture is giving way to brighter days? Those who survey and predict seem to think so. (Image credit: kevron2001 / 123RF Stock Photo

There is a perfect storm of good news brewing for construction and it stands in stark contrast to the perfect storm of bad news from 2008.

FMI, a provider of management consulting, investment banking and research to the engineering and construction industry, predicted 18% growth in single-family residential and 27% growth in multifamily. The firm expects commercial to grow 7%, health care 2%, educational 3%, manufacturing 5%, lodging 13% and transportation 7%. Read More

Sustainability of Steel in Development and Construction

pouring liquid metal

With energy costs historically counting for 20-40% of steel production, many steel manufacturers have been busy finding ways to reduce that input. Over the past 35 years it’s been estimated that manufacturers have cut energy costs by 50%. (Image credit: graf_montekristo / 123RF Stock Photo)

The steel industry continues making inroads in advancing sustainable construction and because of its high strength-to-weight ratio steel is being used on more and more projects. Today there are even steel buildings with low to zero carbon ratings.

It’s the efficiency of steel as a resource that lends to its credibility as a sustainable product. Made from an abundant earth material, it is also 100% recyclable and it can be infinitely recycled without loosing its preferred properties. In fact, the worldsteel association reports that steel used in construction has a recovery rate of 85%. Steel is also heavily reused, or repurposed, and steel makers are increasingly designing products with reuse in mind. Read More

Trends in Photovoltaic Roofing

installing solar panels

While solar panels have reigned supreme for decades, they are not the only way to add solar power options to a building. Solar shingles are coming of age. (Image credit: elenathewise / 123RF Stock Photo)

By Eric Kirberg

Current market trends show the roofing industry is staying up-to-date with green technology. One such technology is photovoltaic roofing. It is as appealing to home owners as it is to larger commercial businesses for its environmental and economic benefits.

When photovoltaic (PV) roofing debuted on the commercial market in 2005, adoption was slow as the “solar shingles” – aka photovoltaic cells – were much more costly than traditional solar panels. Almost a decade later, things have changed and solar shingles are more affordable and in much wider use and demand. Read More

Printing Homes in 3D, From Small to Big

printable 3D house model

This 6-bedroom, 3D printable house is the first in a series that will be available from The Plan Collection. Other plans will be rolled out slowly, however $275-$500 will buy the 3D file for a specific plan, with delivery in about two weeks. (Courtesy The Plan Collection)

Homebuilders have a new option to help show a finished home to prospects, before ground is even broken. The Plan Collection (TPC), an online house plan provider, allows builders to print out 3D models of house plans “to get physical 360-degree views of the plan from both external and internal perspectives.” It also offers much more detail than blueprint images and renderings.

Benefits of having a physical model or replica of a home include: Read More

With Slow & Steady Growth in US Construction, What Other Markets Are Growing?

The muddy Enugu Bamenda highway Nigeria/Cameroon

Before completion of the Enugu-Bamenda Road Project linking Nigeria and Cameroon, travel was treacherous even in the best weather, but forward movement on the project is already producing positive impacts in the region. Financed by the African Development Bank it is a success story, and one that illustrates the opportunities in addressing infrastructure needs there. (Courtesy African Development Bank Group)

By Lindsay Edwards

With the worst of the downturn behind us, the construction industry in the U.S. is back to growth. While we aren’t seeing stratospheric growth, the green shoots are very much established. And do we really need another boom and bust cycle so soon after the sub-prime fuelled mess of the last few years? Few would actually want that to happen again. Read More

Drywall & Plaster Costs Escalating to 2016

Drywall installers hang a sheet of drywall

With low availability of substitutes and the cost of switching suppliers high, drywall and plaster costs are predicted to rise significantly to 2016 in the face of increased construction activity. (Image credit: auremar / 123RF Stock Photo)

Buyers of drywall and plastering services can expect a continuing erosion in their purchasing power for those services all the way to 2016, according to a recent IBISWorld procurement report. Price increases for these services will be fueled largely by increasing demand and the rising cost of gypsum.

The three year price forecast from the beginning of 2013 to 2016 is for an 8.4% rise, slightly less than the increase of 9.2% from the beginning of 2010 to 2013, according to the report. Read More

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