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.
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.
According to business consultancy group McKinsey & Co, the construction industry will radically change as it undergoes nine shifts caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The report, The Next Normal of Construction, explains how “disruption is reshaping the world’s largest ecosystem.”
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.”
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.
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.)
The COVID pandemic, which to date has infected 2,000,000 Americans and killed 112,000, has slowed in many areas, which has led to many economies opening—some faster than others. But what all areas have seen over recent months is that for construction to continue, even post-coronavirus, technology will need to be a much bigger factor in the construction industry.
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.
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.
In the first step of reopening the construction in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on June 5th that he would allow 32,000 construction sites to reopen.
According to a report from Moody’s Analytics, many people are considering moving out of large population centers as they have seen areas like New York and New Jersey—with very high density populations—get much sicker from the novel coronavirus. The report suggests people will be moving away from Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, and to smaller towns like Madison, Wisconsin and Durham, North Carolina.
Architecture is an exciting field—behind every building there is a whole team of architects working on each and every detail. If you’ve ever looked at blueprints and thought “I could do that” or looked at a building and said “Why not me?” then this article is for you.
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.
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.
While damage control and preparation is becoming an increasingly important factor in planning our cities, certain extraordinary circumstances are something we can’t plan for but which require quick architectural responses that offer aid to those affected—and often the difference is life and death.
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.
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.
The construction magazine Construction Dive took an in-depth look at what is coming down the pipeline for jobsites in a post-coronavirus world. It listed eight things that it said will changing in coming months and years—some of which will be temporary but some of which will be permanent.
Even as America is reeling from COVID-19 and wonder about the future of sports—both in the short and long term—as we come to struggle with the future where social distancing, masks, and large gatherings are all questions on the tips of our tongues, a $1.7 billion soccer stadium is being constructed in China. When completed—estimated to be in 2022—it will be the largest soccer stadium in the world, including 100,000 seats and 162 boxes.
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.
In Orlando, Florida, the center of theme park and resort entertainment for half the country, there has been observed activity in the construction of Universal Orlando Resort, but Disneyworld and its adjoining parks, hotels and resorts remained shuttered.
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.
Kansas-based construction company Hutton Construction isn’t letting the downturn in projects stop them from working—they’re trading their hammers and nails for masks and gloves, and they’ve gone down to the local food bank to make a difference. Employees and their families are packaging meals for the Outreach Program, a 17-year-old food service foundation based out of Union, Iowa.
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.
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.
Even though construction is still mostly operating at capacity, architectural firms—particularly those that work on public works projects—are getting squeezed by the poor economy, and that predicts few construction projects down the pipeline.
With more than 90% of the country under stay-at-home orders, the streets have been eerily quiet. Of course, there is still the traffic of essential workers, and the trips to the grocery store and pharmacy, but traffic is demonstrably low right now.
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.
ArchDaily is sponsoring a design competition for designing a city in post-pandemic times—specifically, urban designs. We’ve seen all too well, from Italy to China to New York City, how a tightly-packed population can spread disease rapidly to devastating effect. It is with this in mind that the Pandemic Architecture Competition is being held to look for innovative new designs that manage to house many people while keeping them safe.
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.
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.
Construction on a temporary field hospital started on Wednesday on a Shoreline soccer field near Seattle, Washington. As of March 19th, Washington had over 1300 cases of the virus, one of the hardest-hit states in the country.
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.
Last week ConExpo went ahead as planned in Las Vegas, bringing in 130,000 attendees to the once-every-three-years event. The expo takes up 2.7 million square feet of space and is truly staggering in its scope. Taking place on March 10, before most travel bans and mass closures were instituted, the expo move forward on schedule.
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”.
If you were to guess which country on earth had the highest agriculture exports, you’d probably pick the United States, and you’d be right. But if you were to pick second place? Would it be Canada, with its vast land area? China, with their bustling export business? It would have to be a big country, wouldn’t it? Known for cutting edge technology?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Two hospital in China are being special-built specifically to combat the dangerous coronavirus, and a new video from the construction company shows a time-lapse video of the breakneck construction.
A new study by FMI Corp, sponsored by Procore Technologies, found that contractors are not only not taking advantage of existing technological advancements in their current work, but don’t have a plan in place to implement new technologies in the future. This is concerning, though not surprising, as construction has traditionally been slow to adopt new technology despite the promise of savings and efficiency.
While OSHA raised their fines a bit, there were no surprises in the areas where they did: fall and excavation hazards led the list of penalties. Falls are part of the so-called “Fatal Four”, along with struck-by injuries, caught in/between, and electrocution. But it was falls and excavation where the fines seemed to rack up in the fourth quarter.
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.
Drones fulfill many roles in the construction sphere, everything from giving a basic overhead view of the jobsite to maintaining track of materials, machinery and people. Contractors use them from everything from comparing as-planned construction projects to as-built projects, as well as optimizing the grade of the terrain and recording images and videos. Their usefulness can be increased with thermal cameras, mapping tools, and GPS units.
In April of 2019, an electrical fire in the roof of the Notre Dame de Paris, a cathedral that has stood as a national and international landmark for 850 years, sparked a blaze that tore through the ceiling beams and partially collapsed the roof. However much a tragedy, architects are turning lemons into lemonade by using the reconstruction process to determine just how, exactly, the magnificent cathedral was built and stood so solidly for so many centuries.
Mobile apps for construction technology are hh2’s bread and butter, but you may be surprised to learn just how prevalent mobile apps are in the construction workforce. According to the 2019 JBKnowledge ConTech report, 93% of respondents say that they use their smart phones for work, more than laptops (83%) and tablets (64%). The use of smart phones in the industry has grown 21% since 2014.
The Block Kids Building Competition, a partnership between the Girl Scouts of Central Texas and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) with feature 50 girls from kindergarten to sixth grade. Each will get 100 bricks and an hour to build whatever they choose.
Until recently, talk of robotics on jobsites has mainly been experimental. Brick-laying robots, 3D printers, and rebar tying bots have been the primary presence of robotics on the industry. The promise of robots has always been that they could lower operating costs and save labor, but they have never been cheap or efficient—at least not as cheap and efficient as necessary to replace existing technologies and trends. But now, when the labor shortage has grown so drastically, and efficiency is down so much, robots are finally becoming a more appealing solution.
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.
At an October construction technology conference in Singapore, Atkins CEO Keith Clarke told executives that if global temperatures rise two degrees Celsius in the next 20 years then instead of worrying about their pensions they should instead “buy a shotgun” because of “mass migrations, upheaval, and extinctions.”
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.
California’s Bay Area, home to Silicon Valley, where Facebook, Apple, Google, and Microsoft all call home, has a housing problem that is unmatched anywhere, even in Manhattan, the most expensive of cities: the Bay Area’s “low income” designation now applies to a family of four making less than $117,000 a year. The state of California has more than 134,000 homeless, and in the Bay Area that has increased by 17% since 2017.
We’ve spent a lot of time on this blog talking about two things: the slow, but increasing acceptance of technology into the construction industry, and the drastic labor shortage of skilled workers. But it may just be that the improvement of one will improve both.
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.
New York City, which is a hotbed of construction, has a startling problem with worksite safety, and it’s only growing. In 2015, there were 472 construction-related injuries, but that number has jumped a staggering 61% to 761 last year. And the city is cracking down.
The observatory of One World Trade Center, the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex, has a distinct smell to it. Aside from offering 360 degree views of New York City, the observatory has piped in the smell of trees and plants native to New York: beeches, mountain ashes, and red maples.
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.
Just under five thousand American died on the job in 2017, and 20% of them were construction workers, according to statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA). Of those deaths, 381 were falls, 80 were struck by an object, 71 were electrocutions, and 50 were caught-in/between. These are known in construction as the Fatal Four.
Every contractor fears an unknown problem leading to a lawsuit, and new technologies are being introduced more and more to combat those fears and safeguard contractors. Three main categories of technologies are coming forward: scheduling software, 3D modeling tools, and data collection devices.
“Coastal ... real estate development is continuing to be faster than inland, which means we are continuing to put ourselves at risk,” says Susan Wachter, a real estate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
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.
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.
In an industry that is traditionally resistant to technological changes, it may be surprising to learn that the construction industry is forecasted to spend $4 billion in artificial intelligence by 2026. While Power Tools has covered many stories of robots on the job site, this artificial intelligence is expected to come in the form of planning and forecasting software.
Built at the Kennedy Space Center pad complex, the new launch and landing facilities for the SpaceX Starship Mk2 prototype rocket are heavy construction. Although work only began three weeks ago, photos show heavy equipment has already cleared a large area next to the 39A ramp.
North America’s construction and real-estate industry saw a drop in overall deal activity during the second quarter of 2019, according to GlobalData.
The Home Depot Foundation announced its next phase of a $50 million pledge to train 20,000 skilled tradespeople by 2028. They’re partnering with Home Builders Institute to implement youth trades training for high school students in at-risk communities.
Michael Riley, a Manhattan-based research scientist for Google, considered installing $40,000 sound-proof windows before settling on a more cost-efficient choice: a pair of $250 noise-cancelling headphones. He had found out that contractors at a nearby building had received an after-hours variance permit that allowed late-night construction.
Stunning buildings made from raw, imperfect materials
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.
We’ve all seen a construction project tear up existing grass, trees, shrubs and earth—temporarily, to be replanted and “restored” later. But what impact does the temporary disruption really have on the landscape, fauna, and human usage?
While we try to keep you informed on construction news, there’s so much that we at PowerTools can’t cover. Here is a list of ten great construction-related podcasts that can help you keep abreast of everything newsworthy in the industry.
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.
As we’ve discussed at length on this blog, the labor shortage is requiring construction companies to look outside the box to solve their productivity problems, and they are increasingly turning to technology. The progress has been relatively slow compared of other automated fields, such as manufacturing, but progress is being made, and new tech on the horizon looks promising.
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.
“2019 will be a critical year in the evolution of 5G as global roll-out pilots will shape the landscape and specifications will start to be formalized. Intelligent connectivity, enabled by 5G, will be the catalyst for the social-economic growth that the 4IR (4th Industrial Revolution) could bring.” – World Economic Forum
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To take the pulse of the construction industry, Grassi and Co. hired an independent survey group to take a three-month survey of the industry in New York, and the results are in.
Construction workers account for 7% of the world’s workforce, but in a world where robotics is replacing people’s jobs, these workers seem relatively safe. Why? According to an article in TechTarget, it’s because the industry isn’t adopting new technology fast enough.
Construction is booming, and companies are trying to pack as much work into the summer months as possible, but a very real danger lurks out under the sun. According to a new study, construction workers sweltering in the heat are dying at an alarming—and increasing—rate.
Westbury, New York, officials are rezoning a degraded industrial sector near the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) into a sprawling green space, in an effort to increase sustainability.
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.