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

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,...
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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.

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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.

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The New Promises of Construction Equipment Telematics

The new functions coming to construction equipment telematics promise to make life easier for owners and equipment managers. Sure, they're reducing waste and lowering costs, but the real transformation on the horizon is one where advanced streams of data combine to...
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Define Your Best Construction Customer, And Sell To the Right Ones

Here’s how to define your best construction customer so your marketing is spot on and your project outcomes meet your goals.

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Trip Up the Grim Reaper with a Safety Program

This definitive guide to developing a construction safety program includes the rationale, a video overview and a list of resources.

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Blog Begins

10 Years!August 6th, 2007
The first post appeared on Construction Informer 10 years ago on August 6.

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.

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. 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

Cordapillar deals with the predicament that is all too familiar to everyone: extension cords running loose on the floor, creating potentially hazardous conditions in the working environment. Tripping is serious and there are 4,000 cord-related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms every year. About half of the injuries are from people tripping over cords. You cannot always make the extension cable run in straight lines. If your protective solution consists of rigid, straight pieces, the bends can remain unprotected. The designers of Cordapillar have solved the problem in a brilliant way. It consists of modular segments that allow unlimited length and bending around corners. You just snap the segments together.

If You're Gonna Dig, Call 811

The April National Safe Digging Month was created by the Common Ground Alliance (GCA) to make people more aware of the need to dig safely. This initiative promotes an overall focus on the safety of land workers, and reminds diggers to take safety precautions before digging. GCA says to call 811 before digging underground. The service doesn’t cost, and will get utility lines marked. No excavation job is too small to place the call because utilities vary in depth, and many are closer to the surface than expected. A message from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

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.

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.

New Drone Portal Amplifies Collaboration

Hangar’s JobSight Project Tracker is a team’s portal to visual records of their job site. The company claims that users get quick and clean access to site-specific aerial data and the information teams need. Save meeting time, eliminate redundant communication, ensure teams are working with thorough, up-to-date data and enhance collaboration by connecting the field to the office in an established rhythm. This interface gathers team members around the same information virtually, and keeps them informed and equipped to verify their projects are on task, creating streamlined project management and a more efficient site, according to Hangar. Other benefits claimed include fewer meetings, better communication, a safer work environment, and true on-site results. Now integrated with Procore.

U of M School of Architecture Hosts “Complexity: Dutch and American Housing” Symposium

WHEN: Friday, October 6 through Sunday, October 8, 2017
WHERE: Rapson Hall, University of Minnesota, 89 Church Street SE (East Bank), Minneapolis, MN RSVP: Registration for the symposium is now open. To register, visit http://www.z.umn.edu/complexitysymposium. Based on the book Complex Housing: Designing for Density by Professor Julia Robinson, FAIA, “Complexity: Dutch and American Housing” will explore the values inherent in Dutch Complex Housing and how to apply these values to American housing developments. At the symposium twelve Dutch presenters, representing four projects, will showcase best housing practices governing the development of Dutch housing.

USW Blasts Proposal to Cancel Beryllium Protections for Shipyard and Construction Workers

PITTSBURGHJune 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.

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.

Keep Your Building Cool in Summer with a Cool Roof

(St. Louis, MO, July 25, 2017) — As we experience the dog days of summer, building owners and managers are likely considering ways to keep their cooling costs down. This can be a particularly critical issue for anyone planning to construct a new building or planning to replace or restore an existing roof. That’s where a cool roof comes in.

A cool roof is a process by which many common roofing surfaces are made “cool” by applying coatings, which are either white or contain special reflective pigments that reflect sunlight. Cool roofs protect the roof surface from ultra-violet (UV) rays and chemical damage that can cause premature aging and drying. Additionally, cool roofs absorb less heat and keep the entire building cooler and at a more consistent temperature, thereby reducing energy usage and the corresponding expense.

According to St. Louis-based Bade Roofing Company, a standard or dark roof can reach temperatures of up to 150 degrees, but a cool roof, under the same conditions, could be more than 50 degrees cooler.

“Cool roofs help keep extra heat out of a building during the summer without losing heat during the winter. This means lower energy costs as you don’t need as much air conditioning. They’re also better for the environment,” said Dave Bade, CEO of Bade Roofing Company.

Below, Bade Roofing shares some examples of common roofing types and how they can be made cool:

  • Built-up Roofs: Built-up roofs are the old standard tar-and-gravel combination that is typically black or dark gray. To make this roof cool, you can replace the surface layer with a UV-resistant white mineral fiberglass surface or coating.
  • Roof Coatings: Roof coatings are constructed by mixing two liquid chemicals together that react and expand to form one solid piece that adheres to the roof. A reflective, protective coating can be applied to this type of roof that offers cool-roof performance.
  • Metal Roofs: Metal roofs can be made cool simply by painting the surface with a reflective paint or coating.
  • Modified Bitumen: Modified bitumen contains one or more layers of a plastic or rubber material with reinforcing materials and topped with a surfacing material. This roof type can be made cool by adding a cool-roof coating to achieve a high solar reflectance.
  • Shingles, Slate, or Tile: These roofing products are used for steeper-sloped commercial buildings. For cool asphalt shingles, you’ll need to use specially coated granules that provide better solar reflectance.  Slate and tile products are available with solar-reflective surfaces in a variety of colors.
  • Single-ply: Single-ply roofing is a pre-fabricated sheet that is rolled onto the roof in a single layer and attached with mechanical fasteners, adhered with chemical adhesives, or held in place with gravel, stones or pavers. To make this roof type cool, single-ply roofing products can be ordered with ultra-violet-resistant and highly reflective surfaces.

For more information about cool roof coating systems, contact Dave Bade of Bade Roofing at 314-892-1331 or visit baderoofing.com.

About Bade Roofing Company, Inc. 

Founded in 1954, Bade Roofing Company, Inc. is one of St. Louis, Missouri’s premier family-owned and operated commercial and industrial roofing specialists. Bade Roofing uses a highly-trained and skilled union workforce to install the highest quality roofing systems on major retail centers, grocery stores, hospitals, schools, warehouses and office buildings. Working directly with facility managers and building owners, and in partnership with local architects, designers and roofing consultants, Bade Roofing also provides comprehensive roof inspections and survey reports, leak finding and repair services, green roof installation, and licensed asbestos roofing removal and abatement. For more information about Bade Roofing, call 314-892-1331 or visit www.baderoofing.com.

Death & Injury Infographic

Courtesy ANBU Safety

 

 

 

ANBU Safety infographic

How To Stop Silica Dust Dangers

Infographic Courtesy of Bosch Tools

 

 

 

August is Tree Check Month

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) wants to remind the public that August is Tree Check Month. This is the best time to spot the round, drill-like holes made by the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), a highly destructive invasive pest that destroys trees.

“If you love trees, now is the time to take 10 minutes and go outside and look for the signs of this invasive pest,” said Josie Ryan, APHIS’ national operations manager for the ALB eradication program. “Look for round holes the size of a dime or smaller in tree trunks and branches. If you see them or black beetles that have long antennas with black and white bands, report them immediately.”

The Asian longhorned beetle has the potential to destroy millions of acres of America’s treasured hardwoods, including maple, birch, elm, willow, ash and poplar trees. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure to save infested trees. They need to be removed to keep the beetle from spreading to nearby trees, as well as to protect homes and other personal property, since infested trees will die and can drop branches.

“Trees infested by the beetle weaken and die over time and are more likely to fall or lose branches during high winds and storms,” added Ryan. “Since we’re in hurricane season, it’s wise to remove trees sooner than later. It’s possible to get rid of this destructive pest, but we need the public’s help to do so. To date, the beetle has been eradicated from Illinois and New Jersey.”

The beetle is slow to spread on its own during the early stages of an infestation, so early detection and reporting is critical to containing it. People can also help by not moving firewood from areas quarantined because of the ALB, which can transport the beetle hidden inside to new locations.

The beetle has distinctive markings that are easy to recognize:

• Long antennae with black and white bands, longer than the insect’s body.
• A shiny, jet-black body, about 1” to 1 ½” long, with white spots.
• Six legs with possible bluish-colored feet.

Signs of infestation include:

• Round exit holes, about the size of a dime or smaller, in tree trunks and branches.
• Shallow oval or round scars in the bark, where the adult beetle has chewed an egg site.
• Sawdust-like material, called frass, on the ground around the tree or in the branches.
• Dead branches or limbs falling from an otherwise healthy-looking tree.

After seeing signs of the beetle:

• Make note of what was found and where. Take a photo, if possible.
• Try to capture the insect by placing it in a container and freezing it. Doing so will preserve it for easier identification.
• Report findings by calling 1-866-702-9938 or completing an online form at www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com.

The ALB was first detected in the United States in Brooklyn, New York, in 1996. It is believed to have come from wooden packing material used in cargo shipments from China. Since then, it has led to the loss of more than 160,000 trees.

For more information about the Asian longhorned beetle, ways to keep it from spreading and eradication program activities, visit www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com and www.HungryPests.com. For local inquiries or to be forwarded to your State Plant Health Director, call 1-866-702-9938.