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

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.

The Gillespie Group and UZIN® Flooring Team Up for Renovation

After moisture from a boiler and leaking roof raised havoc with the school gym floor, it was time for a complete gymnasium floor renovation.

One Scale to Rule Them All

I have been working in the Architecture/ Design Industry for the past 10 years and have been consistently frustrated by the problem of drawings in imperial when I needed metric or dealing with out of scale drawings (drawings printed on the wrong paper size or printed to ‘fit-to-paper’). Recently, in a moment of lucidity and uncluttered thought, I had a brain wave that there was a solution to this problem. The Smart Scale Ruler. The only issue was that I had to invent it. After working with a design company for a period of months I have finally arrived at a point where I need the help of kickstarter to secure investment to take the product to the next step. So positive was the feedback I have been getting from the construction industry that I recently left my career job to work full-time in trying to get my product to the market. Watch the video to see it in action, and then Find out more.

Children's Hospital Dressed Up with Colorful Glass

The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio by Overland Partners includes Bendheim’s channel glass façade elements in custom colors inspired by the hospital’s logo (orange, green and purple). Visible from within the patient rooms, the vibrant colors bring joy and healing to children. “The vibrant, ceramic-fritted glass units rise along the building’s 10 stories and a 2-story-tall ‘lantern’ cupola. The striking colors of the glass are visible from a distance in the day or night, while the smart technical design of the system makes this project truly stand out by answering a number of unique design challenges. It is the first and only installation of vertically-unitized, multi-colored ceramic-fritted channel glass in North America.”

Coplan Named Main Developer for Woking Gateway Project


Coplan, was appointed by Woking Borough Council as its development partner for the next significant step in the transformation of Woking Town Centre. The development, as announced to this construction blog, delivers modern, energy efficient residential buildings  on an elevated public space that compliments Woking. Plans might also include retail and leisure, which will create jobs and continue to transform this area of the town centre. The first step is for development of 476 residential units in three towers. This will sit above 4,412 m2 (47,500, sq. ft.) of new commercial space (including the re-provision of community uses) predominantly facing Commercial Way with ancillary servicing and parking accessed from the High Street.

“I am delighted that we are moving to the next phase for the continued growth and evolution of Woking, which will be a huge boost to the local economy and will complement our Victoria Square development.” – David Bittleston, leader of Woking Borough Council

“As specialist mixed use developers for local authority partnership schemes, we understand the requirement of councils and needs of the communities, working hard to ensure that our schemes are beneficial to everyone.“ – Nick Doyle, managing director, Coplan

Norway to build world’s tallest timber building

  Mjøstårnet, is a record-breaking construction that sits on the edge of the north-eastern tip of the lake in the small town of Brumunddal, an hour and a half’s drive north of Oslo. As reported to this construction blog it spans over 18 floors, will be 80 metres (262 feet) high, and include apartments, an indoor swimming pool, hotel, offices, restaurant and communal areas. Construction is scheduled to be completed in December 2018. Moelven, a Mjøsa-local Scandinavian industrial group, will supply the timber constructions from local spruce forests required to construct the tower and the swimming pool area. “The assembly and construction of the Mjøstårnet is nothing short of world-class engineering, and will be managed without external scaffolding, despite the complexity of working at heights. We are primarily using cranes and supplementing with lifts as needed. We have reached 33 metres (108 feet) to date (Dec 5, 2017), meaning we have 48 metres to go,” says investor and contracting client, Arthur Buchardt.

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.

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.

Ad Campaign Criticizes Heritage Foundation for Trying to Kill Infrastructure Package

NATIONWIDE – ReBuild USA is urging Congress to reject the attempts of special-interest groups, like the D.C.-based Heritage Foundation, that are trying to kill bipartisan efforts to fix America’s roads, bridges and infrastructure. The Heritage Foundation falsely and recklessly claims that just because bridges are “structurally deficient doesn’t mean they are unsafe.” In contrast, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the United States a dangerous D+ grade for the collective state of our infrastructure— highlighting the poor condition of our roads, bridges, energy systems, and waterways. ReBuild USA is a nonpartisan project that advocates for infrastructure improvements at the national, state, and local levels and is supported by North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU). ReBuild USA’s digital ads can be viewed HERE.

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.

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.

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.

# # #


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.