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

Time For The Annual Construction Gift Giving Guide

This construction gift giving guide suggests thousands of ideas for giving the perfect construction person, the perfect construction gift. Updated for 2017.

4 Breakthrough Panama Canal Engineering Innovations

Photo and Map Courtesy Creative Commons by Pixabay Panama Canal engineering used four breakthroughs from a series of landmark canals. At the heart of each lies a major engineering breakthrough that allowed ever bigger ships to navigate landlocked areas. In...

Approaches to Managing Job Site Inventory

Managing job site inventory is a whole lot easier these days because of new technology. This same technology is also handy for managing tools and fasteners. Here are ideas for getting control of your own job site inventory so you can cut losses and improve...

The Basics of How To Install Tile With Careful Planning

Here is a very broad overview of how to install tile. It’s meant to help you understand the materials, tools and methods you use to install tile. It is not a definitive guide since different installations will require more specific instructions. Install...

5 Ways Equipment Financing is Empowering Small Construction Businesses

Small construction businesses can often get 100% equipment financing, eliminating the down payment, and freeing up cash, according to the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA). Most small businesses need equipment in order to operate and grow,...

Want a Fair Chance at a Government Contract? Think Again

Getting a government contract relies on following health, safety and pay rules, but even if you do, those who don’t follow the rules can beat you out.


MP Magic Socks Eliminate the Odor


Working in construction, on your feet all day in all types of environments, is a real workout for your feet. And, a pair of poor socks leave your feet feeling uncomfortable and likely “odorful.” After a sweaty workout pouring concrete or nailing off roof trusses you might want to skip removing the rubber boots or work shoes just so you can escape the smell. 

Introducing MP Magic socks, the world’s best odorless socks, as announced here on this construction blog. These socks are made from a unique fabric that uses three metals: silver, copper and zinc. This combination of metals provides greater antibacterial protection than any single metal alone. Silver is known as a great antibacterial metal, copper can kill bacteria and zinc can also reduce the bacteria and odor. This three-metal-infused technique was applied in the aerospace industry; we’re making the design available for everyone! With these functional fabrics, you can take off your shoes without hesitation. This unique fabric is only the start. Our specially designed socks have toe and heel areas that perfectly match the shape of the human foot and are super breathable and durable.

5 Tips for Spotting Parking Garage Hazards



Western Specialty Contractors names five key indicators of parking garage deterioration calling for preventive maintenance.

  • Water Leakage – Leaking water indicators include exposed metals rusting, rust stains along the walls and efflorescence.
  • Ponding Water – A drain or protective waterproof membrane will prevent future, larger problems.
  • Expansion Joint Failure – Failed expansion joints provide another avenue for water to reach the reinforcing steel and T-to-T connector plates. Wear at the T-to-T joints, expansion joint failure and flange connection deterioration are commonly found in Double Tee Precast structures.
  • Delaminated, Spalled, Horizontally Cracked and Vertically Cracked Concrete -These issues lead to structural damage by allowing water to reach the reinforcing steel.
  • Exposed Rebar – If rebar is visible, there is a problem that needs swift attention. When exposed rebar gets wet, it corrodes and expands up to eight times its original size. The expanding rebar causes more damage to the concrete, allowing more standing water and  more corrosion.

Why Not Break Out Of The Box?


A press release sent to this construction blog announced that 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.

Tallest in the West

LOS ANGELES (23 June, 2017) – The billion-dollar Wilshire Grand Center in downtown Los Angeles celebrated its grand opening today, ushering in a new age and downtown skyline for the city. The celebration concluded with a nighttime light show — accompanied by music — presenting a dazzling spectacle of the building’s signature 73-story-high LED lighting as it illuminated the skyline of downtown Los Angeles.

The grand opening is a significant occasion for the city and for the project that began construction with a record-breaking concrete mat pour in February 2014. Over the past five years, 11,500 workers spent 5,433,012 hours constructing the skyscraper that features Los Angeles’s first sky lobby, a sky deck, innovative outdoor spaces, exterior plazas and light features that will redefine the skyline and living experience of downtown Los Angeles for generations to come. The structure is eco-friendly and built with state-of-the-art construction methods. It’s designed to withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake with its Bucking Restrained Braces (BRB). It also meets the “Green California” and is acknowledged for its efforts in receiving a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the American Green Building Council.

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. The press release sent to this construction blog noted that this unit has built-in spirit levels, and that you can change the blades in seconds with just the push of a button. It’s quicker and easier to switch between single and double socket sizes.

Discover Ancient Origins of Construction Estimating

Ancient Estimators is a web series focused on the oft-forgotten key roles estimators and construction managers played in the building trades from the dawn of civilization. Watch the new web series “Ancient Estimators” which explores the primitive origins of modern-day construction planning and estimating in ancient times.

Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s Survey of Economic Activity

Washington, DC, October 24, 2017—The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s (ELFA) Monthly Leasing and Finance Index (MLFI-25), which reports economic activity from 25 companies representing a cross section of the $1 trillion equipment finance sector, showed their overall new business volume for September was $8.7 billion, down 7 percent year-over-year from new business volume in September 2016. Volume was up 12 percent month-to-month from $7.8 billion in August. Year to date, cumulative new business volume was up 4 percent compared to 2016.

Receivables over 30 days were 1.40 percent, down from 1.50 percent the previous month and down from 1.50 percent in the same period in 2016. Charge-offs were 0.40 percent, down from 0.44 percent the previous month, and down from 0.46 percent in the year-earlier period.

Harbor Freight Announces Prizes for Skilled Trades Teaching Excellence

CALABASAS, Calif.- Harbor Freight Tools for Schools named the 10 finalists for the very first Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence. It awards more than $500,000 to skilled trades teachers and programs in American public high schools, according to the press release received at this construction blog.

The construction teachers honored were: Gerald “Dave” Huffman and Patrick Wadsworth, Gulfport, Mississippi; 
Ed Hughes, Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin; Bob Kilmer, Enumclaw, Washington; Cole Smith and Bill Hartman, Rohnert Park, California; and Randy Williamson, Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The prize competition drew nearly 700 applicants from 48 states, who were narrowed to 54 semi-finalists.

Consumer Advocates Urge Congress To Cap Payday Loan Rates

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), Americans for Financial Reform (AFR), and nearly 40 national and state organizations sent a letter urging Members of Congress to pass the Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Credit Rates Act. “Currently, payday and car title lenders charge triple digit annual interest rates, often 300 percent or higher. A large body of research has demonstrated that these products are structured to create a long-term debt trap that drains consumers’ bank accounts and causes significant financial harm, including delinquency and default, overdraft and non-sufficient funds fees, increased difficulty paying mortgages, rent, and other bills, loss of checking accounts, and bankruptcy,” the group wrote.

Designer Carolyn DiCarlo featured on this construction blogThe Fine Craft of Design as One of the Healing Arts

Carolyn DiCarlo designs not just for beauty and functionality, but also to heal mind, body and spirit. She has been designing structures and interiors for years on that basis. Clients feel the spaces, not just see them.

“Integrative Architecture” could be compared to Integrative Medicine, taking into consideration all the elements which can cause “dis-ease.” It’s an opportunity to rethink our built environments in terms of how it makes us feel. Form, color, choice of materials, circulation flow, all can be considered on subtler levels of how it affects mood, balance and state of mind. With a cultural shift emerging, DiCarlo says, “people now want their homes and offices to reflect a compassionate, transformed, more expansive ways of thinking. Our environment can enhance our well-being if they are designed to support our inner needs.” This may involve principles of sacred architecture, feng shui, color healing, lay lines, or just an understanding of the issues facing the inhabitants. You don’t just see the space—you feel it when you visit Le Bernardin, Gleason’s Gym, Rockefeller Group corporate offices, among hundreds of others DiCarlo designed.

KWA Construction Recognized as One of the Top Ethically-Driven Companies in North Central Texas

August 7, 2017  — KWA Construction, a leading general contractor of multifamily developments in Texas, has been selected as a finalist for the Dallas Business Journal’s Torch Awards for Ethics, proving itself to be one of the most trusted, respected and ethically sound companies among its employees, clients and the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The Dallas Business Journal and the Better Business Bureau selected finalists based upon a rigorous study of each company’s respective policies, education, business-to-business recommendations, client reviews and financial track record. Out of a pool of nearly 100 applicants, KWA and 17 other finalists were chosen for their ethical merits.

    “This coveted recognition is an overall reflection of our core values, culture and steadfast commitment to the success of our clients and community,” said KWA Construction President Brian Webster. “Whether it be through our open and honest conversations with developers discussing budget and project constraints or through our company’s philanthropic efforts throughout the year, KWA is passionate about doing the right thing both inside and outside the workplace.”

BBB Torch Awards for Ethics were established in 2002 to publicly shine a light on those companies which maintain a solid commitment to ethics and trust in the marketplace. This is the first year the North Central Texas BBB is partnering with the Dallas Business Journal to host the prestigious award.

In September, five regional winners will be announced. Each will then be considered alongside other winners from BBB’s in the US, Canada and Mexico for the 2017 International Torch Awards for Ethics.

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About KWA Construction

KWA Construction is a Dallas­-based construction firm specializing in multifamily developments. As general contractors, our team of experts has developed a reputation for being among the best in our industry. Founded in 2004, KWA Construction serves from a foundation of values created and realized by each individual who works in our organization. We strive to set the standard for excellence at the beginning of a project and carry that high standard throughout every process and estimate to ensure clients receive the greatest value at the right cost, every time. For more information about KWA Construction, visit www.kwaconstruction.com.

Death & Injury Infographic

Courtesy ANBU Safety





ANBU Safety infographic

How To Stop Silica Dust Dangers

Infographic Courtesy of Bosch Tools





Innovative Valve Technology Disrupts Standards for Multi-Story Buildings

A growing number of hotels, apartments, office buildings, hospitals, condos and other multi-story buildings are using the advanced, new valve technology from ThermOmegaTech® which is dramatically easier and less costly to install and maintain. Designed and manufactured in the United States, the valve technology threatens to disrupt traditional hot water balancing practice because it enables plumbing designers, engineers and contractors to install one CircuitSolver® valve at the end of each branch and forget it. The thermal actuator inside the CircuitSolver valve modulates open and nearly closed in response to changing water temperature.  At system start up, the valve is open at the end of the branch, permitting hot water to flow through the system.  As the hot water in the branch reaches the factory set temperature, the valve modulates closed, but not completely closed, in order to let hot water trickle through to maintain the temperature.  When the branch cools, the valve modulates open to let more hot water in to balance the system.  CircuitSolver® balances automatically and never needs adjustment.  No external power is required.  Also, because of its automation, the system does not need to utilize over-sized water pumps, saving energy and wear on the system.

BrightLeaf Homes, LLC Receives 2017 Housing Innovation Award

BrightLeaf Homes, LLC, a fast growing, eco-friendly construction company located in the Chicago Western Suburb of La Grange,
is an all green construction company innovating the way homes are built and saving people money on their bills! The company was awarded the 2017 Housing Innovation Award, which is a HUGE deal, according to the company, since it only has eight people.

A. Duie Pyle’s Green initiative

Transportation accounts for 27 percent of Carbon emissions in the Unites States and over 90 percent of the fuel used for transportation is petroleum based, which includes gasoline and diesel. This alone adds heavily to the Greenhouse Effect. How is this affecting the trucking industry and what can companies do to help go green and not affect the bottom line? This year, A. Duie Pyle initiated a successful MPG Challenge which ended up reducing over 2.2 million pounds of CO2, and saved over 101,000 gallons of fuel in the first three months.