Welcome to the Construction Informer blog – featuring news, information and commentary for contractors
Why Not Break Out Of The Box?
Load Center, LLC, has invented several new electric panel enclosures to make the electrician’s job easier and faster. When changing out panels there are wires that run through the top and bottom. That box, with the wires hanging out, has to be inserted in a cut-out in the sheet rock not much bigger than the box. Most times, after much struggling to install a standard panel the sheet rock ends up getting broken and needs repaired, sometimes repainting, and the wires many times get damaged. Electricians can struggle for 20-30 minutes just to get the standard box in the wall.
Load Center, LLC has designed six and tested four different enclosures to solve this problem. The new Pivot Panel allows the electrician to install this box in the wall in 4-7 minutes with no stress or struggling and with no damage.
Go Around to Cut Square
Almost every construction project requires square holes for electrical sockets and other boxes but for years electricians have struggled to create them with rulers, pencils and handsaws. QUADSAW solves this problem thanks to its unique four-blade technology that cuts square holes in seconds and with absolute precision. QUADSAW is a simple attachment to a power drill that uses patented technology to convert rotary motion into linear motion – in four planes at once. It has built-in spirit levels and the blades can be changed in seconds at the push of a button enabling the user to switch between single and double socket sizes.
A New Solution to a Safer Working Environment
Benefit Everyone with the New Stub-EASE
Until now, conduit stub-ups had been universally accepted as a necessary evil in concrete construction applications. Previous methods of protection and awareness varied from spraying or flagging the stub-ups, to setting concrete blocks over them, only serving to highlight or hide the hazards on a raceway.
Stub-EASE allows the customer to keep future extensions of the conduit from projecting beyond the top of the concrete slab, by attaching to the embedded conduit via a threaded coupling. After the concrete pour, the HDPE (High Density Poly-Ethylene) sleeve and support are cut down to the top of concrete elevation and left in the slab until the future raceway is ready to be safely extended into a wall cavity. At this time, the electrician can use a driver with standard size paddle bit on the plastic partition wall in the middle of the sleeve, to expose the embedded threaded coupling.
USW Blasts Proposal to Cancel Beryllium Protections for Shipyard and Construction Workers
PITTSBURGH, June 23, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The United Steelworkers (USW) today blasted the administration’s proposal to cancel important protections for shipyard and construction workers exposed to beryllium. Under the proposal OSHA released this morning, employers would no longer have to measure beryllium levels in the workplace or provide medical testing to workers at risk of fatal lung disease. In addition, workers would not have the right to wear protective clothing or to shower at the end of the work shift, making it possible for beryllium to be taken home and exposed to spouses and children.
Roof Design for Builders
CASTLETON ON HUDSON, N.Y., June 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Attention to Detail announces the release of Easy Rafters 4.0, the latest version of its interactive roof design software for builders, remodelers, architects, engineers and do-it-yourselfers. Easy Rafters has been completely rewritten with new features, better support for the latest versions of Windows and a new licensing option. In addition to the Gable, Shed, Saltbox, Hip, Valley, California Valley, Gambrel, and Bay Roof options, the new Polygon Roof (3-12 sides) option has replaced the Octagon Roof. Other new features include jack rafter layout drawings for Valley Roofs similar to the Hip Roof layout drawing, roof sheathing drawings for several roof types, DXF output in AutoCAD 2000 format, and Print Preview functionality.
Sunscreen to the Workers
WATERFORD, Ontario–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Skin cancer is by far the most common form of cancer and too much exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) radiation increases the risk of skin cancer. However, according to a 2016 survey Deb Group commissioned, 71 percent of outdoor workers are not provided sunscreen by their employer’s to use at work.1 A new survey commissioned by Deb Group, and conducted online by Harris Poll among 2,057 U.S. adults aged 18 and older, examines the public’s opinions on sunscreen at businesses. The study found that 74 percent of adults believe businesses with outdoor workers should provide sunscreen for their employees to use while at work.
Very Tough, And They Plunge
Mt. Prospect, Ill., June 14, 2017 – The days of having to change jig saw blades in the middle of a job for fear of hitting a nail or a screw in wood or laminate are over. Bosch Carbide for All-Purpose and Bosch Carbide for High-Pressure Laminates (HPL) jig saw blades are tough enough to withstand a nail hit and keep going – no change-out required. A Bosch-exclusive carbide brazing technology delivers 10X life versus standard bi-metal blades.So one jig saw blade really does do it all in tough laminate, wood with nails and hard materials. Premium Bosch Carbide for All-Purpose jig saw blades rely on Progressor® Technology that is a combination of aggressive small teeth that work together with larger teeth to increase speed and life.
New Wearable Sensor For Safety Alerts
NORWALK, Conn., May 23, 2017 – Triax Technologies Inc., just released the spot-r, a lightweight wearable sensor that alerts safety personnel to slip, trip and fall incidents in real time so workers can receive aid faster. It also logs key data for insurers on when and where incidents occur. The IoT device comes with a dashboard that provides visibility into worker location and site operations. This unprecedented Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled technology makes the digitally connected construction worksite possible for the first time. It helps to improve worker safety and reduce incident response times, while enabling general contractors to better manage projects and labor productivity.
Shedding Light on Lighting
“The most recent Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) collected new information about lighting control technologies and strategies in the United States in 2012. Compared with other investments in energy efficiency—such as upgrading heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems or replacing insulation—lighting controls are often relatively easy, accessible, and affordable changes. A new EIA report, Trends in Lighting in Commercial Buildings, details these strategies and provides information about lighting technologies in commercial buildings.”—EIA
Slowing M&A Deals Blamed on Uncertainty
Deals Insights Q1 2017
Q1 17 M&A activity decreased to $12 billion which is the lowest level in the last three years. While there are some seasonal influences on the first calendar year quarter in any year, the drop in Q1 17 was far more pronounced than in previous years suggesting ongoing levels of heightened market uncertainty as well as tempered demand from Asia, and specifically Chinese investment. – Colin McIntyre, US Engineering and Construction Deals Leader
- Deal value in the E&C sector decreased from $23.3 billion in Q4 16 to $12 billion in Q1 17. Deal volume also dropped by more than half from the previous quarter.
- Two megadeals were announced in Q1 17 with a total aggregate disclosed value of $4.8 billion.
- The civil engineering category had the largest share in terms of both value and volume – 47% and 35%, respectively.
- In Q1 2017, financial buyers deal value decreased by 43% and 38% as compared to Q4 16 and Q1 16, respectively. Strategic investors had a higher drop in deal value, decreasing by 51% and 53% during the same period.
- Asia and Oceania continued to lead the region, but only marginally in an otherwise down quarter across the globe.
- China M&A activity in Q1 17 continued a trend of declining comps versus the prior year, reflecting continued influence of currency controls in the market making completion of overseas transactions more challenging for Chinese outbound investors.
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Half of Mature U.S. Workers Will Wait Until At Least Age 70 to Retire
While delaying retirement can be fueled by a number of reasons, financial motivations typically top the list as mature workers work to ensure they have a large enough nest egg. But, just how much they’ll need in the bank to enjoy their golden years remains a mystery or moving target for some. One third of workers ages 60+ (34 percent) say they aren’t sure how much they’ll need to save in order to retire.
Asked how much money they think they’ll need to save in order to retire, 42 percent of U.S. workers ages 60+ believe they will need at least $500,000. A quarter (24 percent) believe they’ll need less than $500,000.
- Less than $500,000: 24 percent
- $500,000 to less than $1 million: 25 percent
- $1 million to less than $2 million: 13 percent
- $2 million to less than $3 million: 3 percent
- $3 million or more: 1 percent
When asked if they’re currently contributing to retirement accounts, more than 1 in 4 (26 percent) workers 55+ said they do not participate in a 401(k), IRA or other retirement plan.
Three out of four workers ages 55+ (74 percent) don’t earn their desired salary, and they’re taking steps to change that. Eight percent took on a second job in 2016, and 12 percent plan to change jobs this year.