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Construction Stats Beginning to Reach Pre-COVID Stats

According to data collected by Procore and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), levels of production in the construction sector are returning to where they were before the coronavirus widespread outbreak in March.

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Three Keys to Technology Adoption in Construction

A 2018 study from Fails Management Institute (FMI), a management consultancy group, reported that 55% of engineering and construction firms were “actively seeking new technology solutions.” But at the same time, a 2019 study from Dodge Data and Analytics found that 90% of the contractors surveyed “do not specifically budget for innovation.”

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Commercial Construction Index Takes Big Hit

The USG and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index, a gauge for the outlook and confidence in the commercial construction industry, dropped massively from 74 in Q1 to 56 in Q2. The reason for the dive is that two of the index’s three main indicators—confidence in new business and revenue expectations—both fell 26 points, to 50 and 44, respectively. The third indicator, backlog, dropped 3 points, to 73.

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U.S. Home Construction Rebounds 4.3% in May

U.S. home construction rebounded 4.3 per cent in May after steep declines caused by shutdowns due to the coronavirus.

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COVID-19 Side Effect: Severe Lumber Shortage

While construction was considered an essential service in much of the country during the heart of the lockdown, many factories were shuttered, as the disease spreads so quickly and dangerously through factory workers side-by-side during long shifts, often sweating and breathing hard. (See the massive shutdowns in meat processing plants for more examples.)

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Report Reveals Construction Disputes on the Rise

A study, “Global Construction Disputes Report 2020: Collaborating to Achieve Project Excellence,” was recently released by US-based Arcadis, and reports that construction disputes in North America are increasing, both in quantity and dollar amount, but declining globally. The report also suggests that we’re likely to see a sharp rise in post-COVID disputes, especially in regards to timeframes and deadlines.

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U.S. Court Reject AFL-CIO Bid for OSHA COVID Protections

The AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations) the largest organization of unions in the United States, filed a lawsuit with OSHA to create an emergency workplace safety rule based on the coronavirus pandemic.

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Trump Administration is Easing Up on Construction Regulations

The Trump administration has decided to ease enforcement of environmental regulations covering some industries to help them cope with impacts from the coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday.

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Construction Like “A Rocket About to Take Off”

In an interview with construction website Construction Dive, Chuck Goodrich, CEO and president of the Indianapolis-based Gaylor Electric, which works in 27 different US states, says that not all is doom and gloom in the future of construction, as some have been predicting.

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It May Take Years for Economy to Recover, ABC Economist Says

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Chief Economist Anirban Basu said that it will likely take years for the nation’s economy to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic’s blow.

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Construction Loses Nearly One Million Jobs in April

According to a survey by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and drawing date from construction technology firm Procore, the US construction industry shed nearly a million jobs in the last month.

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AIA Points to Major Downturn in Commercial Construction

According to the American Institute of Architects, the demand for design services saw its biggest plunge in recorded history in the month of March. Billings at architecture firms dropped 20.1 points to 33.3, the largest single-month decline in the 25 years that the Institute has been keeping track. By comparison, in the 2001 recession there was a 9.4 decline, and in 2008 an 8.3 decline.

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Construction Industry Feels Hit In Residential and Commercial Projects

US homebuilder sentiment in April dipped to its lowest level in over seven years, the steepest decline in the 30-year history of the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.

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New York City—COVID’s Epicenter—Moves Forward with Construction

After saying that all construction workers were essential in the time of crisis, the city of New York (which, at the time of writing, has seen more than 7,000 deaths from COVID-19) has eased off of that decision and has taken a much more cautious approach—one that is hurting the construction business.

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Construction—Formerly “Essential Workers”—Is Taking a Hit

It seems incredible to think that we’ve been writing for years about a shortage of skilled labor in construction, with companies desperate to find and secure new employees. But now, in just a few months, we’ve seen a remarkable number of construction companies furlough or lay off workers.

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Coming “Post-Coronavirus Construction Tsunami”

While there are many stories of doom and gloom, especially around the economy, there are glimmers of hope. One in particular came from Keith Prather, a market intelligence expert for the business management consulting firm Pioneer IQ. They developed something called the “Fear and Recovery Curve” model to indicate when the crisis would end and what the recovery would look like. And the future, Prather says, is rosy.

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Architecture Firms Lobby for Stimulus Relief

In a letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the American Institute of Architects asked for improved aid, including loans and tax breaks, to help architecture firms amid the economic downturn caused by COVID-19.

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Construction Is Continuing as an Essential Service—But Not Everyone Agrees

With a third of the United States on lockdown, including the three largest cities (New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago), something is continuing unabated—construction. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom labeled construction as an “essential service” alongside things like healthcare and food service. And while some construction projects are easily labeled as essential—things like road repair, and maintenance of water and transit infrastructure, it may be hard to understand what is so essential about the construction of housing or commercial projects.

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California’s Strictest-Yet Quarantine Order Does Not Apply to Some Construction

The massive stay-at-home order issued by Governor Gavin Newsom of California, which restricts 40 million people to their home except for emergency trips to the store, the gas station, or the doctor, does not appear to affect the construction industry. Although it was not mentioned specifically in the executive order issued March 19th, a notice on the government’s website lists construction as one of the sectors not affected.

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How to Hire and Retain Women in the Construction Workforce

Sunday, March 8th, is International Women’s Day, a day that does not celebrate the superiority of women to men, but the importance of gender equality in the workforce and society. But that equality in the construction field is lacking. Women make up 50% of the U.S. labor force, but only 10% of the construction industry.

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Procore Technologies Files for IPO with SEC

Project management software giant Procore Technologies Inc has held its cards close to its chest in the decision to go public, but last Friday the answer came forth loud and clear as the company filed the paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announcing its plans for an initial public offering (IPO). No date for the IPO has been set, but they say it will happen in the “near future”.

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Including People Skills in Construction Management

In business schools across America, managers are taught to use the “soft skills” that can’t be measured with a calculator. Hard skills include things like accounting, productivity, efficiency, and output. Soft skills are the harder to compile things like communication, empathy, teamwork, flexibility and problem solving. For a long time, construction management has historically glossed over these things, with a “get ‘er done” approach that assumes that production is the only thing that matters.

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New Forecast Says 2.7 Million Construction Jobs to be Automated by 2057

MEPI, an organization that focuses on infrastructure and construction in the Midwest, reports that their forecasts say that 2.7 million jobs currently done by laborers will be done by autonomous robots by the year 2057. As an example, they point to brick laying robots, which can lay thousands of bricks in a day, compared to human bricklayers, who average about 500.

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School Construction Costs are Skyrocketing

In 2016, California construction company C.W. Driver began work on a new 94,000 foot school in Irvine, and the costs came in at $475 per square foot. Fast forward to 2019, and a similar school (both are K-8, and both in Irvine) is pricing out at $598 per square foot. That’s a 26% jump in just three years, and it’s not restricted to California.

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Associate Degrees and Vocational Training Lead to Higher Median Salaries than Some Bachelor’s Degrees

According to a new study from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, it has been found that those receiving associates (two year) degrees, vocational training and certificates are more likely to earn more money coming out of school than those with four-year bachelor’s degrees. In the report, titled “The Overlooked Value of Certificates and Associate’s Degrees: What Students Need to Know Before They Go to College,” the findings were that associates degrees and certificates are more directed to provide a career path for students than those getting bachelors.

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Multifamily Construction Starts Rose Just 1% Last Year

According to the National Association of Home Builders, despite increasing demand for multifamily properties, construction starts rose just 1% to 381,000 and are expected to increase just 1% more to 383,000 in 2020, though an increase of 4% is expected in 2021.

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Construction Equipment Stocks on the Rise (and Fall)

Construction machinery stocks have trailed the S&P 500 by about 20% over the last year due to a variety of factors, including trade deals with China and the current state of unfavorable farming conditions. But despite these setbacks, data shoes that the global construction equipment industry is set to reach $90 billion this year, up from $70 billion in 2016. The same data shows that overall construction spending, which was at $1.3 trillion in 2019, will reach $1.45 trillion in 2023.

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Urban Planning is Changing as the World Urbanizes

By 2050, 68% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities. The biggest cities—known as megacities—are almost hard to comprehend: Tokyo is the biggest at 37 million people, followed by Dehli at 29 million and Shanghai at 26 million. It’s enough to make the United States’ largest city, New York City at 8.3 million, look quaint.

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Economists Weigh In on 2020 Construction

Economists have been announcing their predictions and forecasts for the new year, and some of the news isn’t as good as we’d like—but it’s not all bad.

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Residential Construction Booming

Sales of new homes rose in November to an annualized rate of 719,000, according to the Census Bureau and the Department for Housing and Urban Development.

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Hotel Construction is Booming—Or, It Should Be

Hotel construction plans are, on paper, on track to be the highest growth trend since 2007. The hotel industry has reported year-over-year increases in growth in occupancy, average daily rates, and revenue per available room, according to STR, a group which monitors trends in the hospitality sector. In October there were 1500 hotel projects under construction in the United States.

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Change in Projects’ Scope the Leading Cause of Construction Disputes

International consulting group HKA, in its report “CRUX Insight: A Global Sector Market Analysis”, the group found changes to the scope of a project was the most common cause of construction disputes. This looked at many sectors, including commercial, defense, aerospace and military, industrial, infrastructure, oil and gas, and power and utilities.

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Still a Good Old Boy’s Club?

While there is the ever-present labor shortage in construction and skilled labor, the industry still lags in attracting women to the workforce. In an industry that has been dominated by men, female representation in construction has only increased 3% since 2007, according for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Reasons Why Construction Companies Fail

At the upcoming CONEXPO in Las Vegas in 2020, Larry Kokklenberg, PhD, will be presenting on the top ten reasons that construction businesses fail. Two thirds of these businesses fail within the first five year, and he says that most of the owners blame external sources, like insurance, taxes, or politics. But he’s identified ten things that businesses do to hamstring themselves. You can read the whole article at Daily Commercial News, but here are five of them.

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Labor Shortage May Be Hiding Potential Recession

Two things seem to be on the lips of construction managers everywhere: there is certainly a labor shortage, and there’s talk of a recession. But construction has typically been a bell weather for economic ups and downs—construction sees the slowdowns before anyone else, and it sees the pickup before other industries—and there’s no sign of a recession right now.

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Women in Construction and #MoveOverBob

Encouraged to pursue construction after winning a contest for the This Old House magazine, due to her expert kitchen remodel, Angela Cacace joined a local building program. Although the 32-year-old former barber was nervous, she was pleased to find that of the twelve people in the program, half were women. She posted happily about it on social media, using the hashtag #MoveOverBob, in reference to the children’s Bob the Builder show.

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Construction Industry Sees Drop in Deal Activity, Output Growth

North America’s construction and real-estate industry saw a drop in overall deal activity during the second quarter of 2019, according to GlobalData.

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Building Futures Changing Lives

A year ago, Jaqueline Haller was homeless, addicted to drugs and behind bars. Today she is starting an apprenticeship with the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 189, as part of the Building Futures program.

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Five Ted Talks that For Construction and Design Professionals

Stunning buildings made from raw, imperfect materials

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Caterpillar and Deere Stocks Taking a Tumble as Recession Worries Begin

With the slowing of both commercial and residential construction, and rumors of an impending recession grow, two mainstay companies in the construction industry are seeing their values dipping—particularly because of the lack of demand for backhoes, cranes, and dump trucks.

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Colorado Considering Changes to Labor Laws

Colorado lawmakers are looking to expand labor laws that will affect all areas of the workforce, but especially construction, as they seek to raise minimum wage and worker protections.

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Housing Market Slumps as Trade War with China Grows

The current trade war with China—which just increased tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods—is having an impact on nearly every product that comes from China, leading many companies to have to adjust pricing, reevaluate new policies, and even seek new sources for their supply chains.

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A Gentler Way to Gentrify

Developers in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick do not like to be called “developers”. The word is loaded with a lot of negative public connotations, not the least of which is the dreaded term of “gentrification.” Instead, the real estate developer Venn prefers the term “impact developer”, a developer that is concerned about the quality of life in the communities and towns in which they operate. Gentrification has been associated with higher rents and hipster classifications, and Venn wants to avoid that. It doesn’t even refer to its residents as residents, but as Venners, or members.

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Three Industry Disruptors Coming in the Next Decade

In a recent meeting of the American Concrete Institute, Brian Moore of the FMI Institute stated that the future is changing and that there are three factors that will either make or break a construction company in the next ten years.

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Women's Organizations Building the Construction Industry

Teresa Mast, president of Sarasota-Manatee Professional Women in Building (PWB), was surprised when fifty women showed up at the first meeting of the organization last year. Mast, who is also president of her company, the custom building and remodeling Davin Group, has been in the business for twenty-six years, and sees it as her goal to encourage women and girls to pursue work in the construction industry.

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Housing Nonprofit Begins Training New Workers

While the Habitat for Humanity has long been working to provide good housing at affordable rates, and owners are given a chance to put sweat equity and volunteerism into their work, one worksite in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, has changed their model to not only providing housing, but providing job training.

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Four Areas Where Construction Costs Routinely Exceed Budget

While budgets are developed with cushions for unexpected pitfalls, there are areas where budgets routinely are overrun. Knowing about these areas ahead of time will help to make better budgetary decisions in the future.

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How Blockchain Will Change Construction

Blockchain, the technology that powers things like bitcoin, is set to revolutionize the way that construction companies, engineering firms, architects, and customers interact. Blockchain is defined as a growing list of records, or blocks, that are connected using cryptography. Each block contains a link to the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data. It’s a little like communicating on the cloud, but with intense security, and on some serious steroids.

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Single Family Rental Homes the Latest Trend in Residential Construction

While builders have always sold some of their homes for rental purposes, new reports show that this has increased dramatically—and some homebuilders are becoming the landlords themselves.

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Construction Spending Sees Huge Drop

Residential and non-residential construction saw their biggest decline in seven months, while government spending saw their biggest drop in seventeen years.

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Developers and Urban Planners Consider What To Do With Closed Golf Courses

From a peak in 2003, golfing across the United States has declined by a whopping 20%. Two hundred courses closed last year alone, and it’s leaving many people to wonder what to do with the empty green space in their neighborhoods—land that was once well-maintained and paid for, but land which has gone out of use.

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Widespread Beliefs About US Infrastructure Spending May Be Unfounded

It is a fact that much of the United States infrastructure is deteriorating rapidly, but the commonly held belief that our spending on such infrastructure has dramatically decreased does not appear to be upheld by the evidence, according to a new report from the Brookings Institute.

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Heavy Market Investment in Construction Automation May Signal Change in Industry

Investors are pouring money into construction technology start-ups at a rapidly increasing rate, and it’s making many in the industry stop and take notice.

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National Craft Championships Names Clemon Prevost Craft Instructor of the Year

The National Craft Championship, an organization that gathers competitors from around the country to compete in trades and crafts, recently recognized Clemon Prevost, a senior talent development specialist for Fluor’s U.S. Gulf Coast Craft Training Center in Pasadena, Texas, the 2019 Craft Instructor of the Year. Prevost was honored during the Careers in Construction Awards at ABC Convention 2019 in Long Beach, California.

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Construction Industry Sees Growth in Number of Employment Openings

If you’re contemplating a career in construction, now is a perfect time to explore the industry. The construction industry’s employment outlook is looking promising as the number of jobs within the sector continues...

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How Agile Project Management Can Effectively Work For Construction

You may be familiar with agile software methodologies and how they effectively help development teams collaborate and work together to reach a common goal. However, could this methodology work for the...

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How Employee Recognition Lends to a Better Job Site

When is the last time you said thank you to your employees? Studies show it pays off! A recent study conducted by the University of Warwick shows that employees who feel recognized are happier in the workplace...

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Enhancing Employee Productivity on the Job Site

Employee productivity is a vital metric that workplaces measure to ensure important tasks are getting accomplished. These tasks vary greatly depending on the type of work you are in. In construction, these tasks...

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Business is Great--for the Skilled Worker

Historically, summer is the boom time of housing construction. But this year it’s not. We wrote in a recent piece about the low unemployment rate had dropped to 4.5%. And in some states it’s much lower than...

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Having Trouble Hiring? You’re Not the Only One

The unemployment rate for construction is down to 4.5%, a rate that sociologists consider to be a healthy rate for any economy, the 4.5% representing the regular shuffling of workers from one job to another. Even at that...

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McKinsey Institute Lists Seven Ways to Improve Construction Productivity

We’ve reported here that productivity in the construction sector is lagging dramatically behind other industries: a recent report wrote that only an average of 1% increased in productivity since the 1960s...

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TimberScan Mobile and Brahma Group Inc.

Buena Vista Biomass Power is a clean burning biomass plant designed to output 18MW of base load electric generating capacity. Brahma Group, a commercial builder exceeding $300 million annually, has offices in...

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Understanding Your Role In The Workplace

Success in the workplace depends on how well employees work together to accomplish goals. In order to grow any organization and be profitable, employees must have an understanding of each other’s strengths...

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Ensuring the Customer is Always Right

For as long as I can remember, I have been trained and taught to believe that “the customer is always right.” And while there is no question that the customer should always be made to feel valued and heard, where...

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Keeping it Professional: How To Be The Best Version of You

I have found through my personal experience that becoming a professional in life requires special attention to detail. It’s the small things that produce big results. Being a professional and...

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Updating Sage Accounting Systems

hh2 was designed from the ground up to sync with Sage accounting, specifically Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, and Sage 100 Contractor. It is therefore essential that, when you update Sage you do not...

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Where is the Construction Industry Going in 2017?

I got the itch to write this post after reading a piece in Construction Business Owner called “State of the Industry: Trends and Changing Barriers Your Business Will Face This Year,” by Hank M. Harris. The article...

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Women in Construction Bring Benefits to the Industry

Only 9% of workers in construction are women, a statistic that is lower than in almost any other industry (for comparison, mining is at 13%, transportation at 23%). And in senior positions, women are even more...

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