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Six Steps For De-Carbonizing Construction

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.”

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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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Silicon Valley Making Pledges to Address Housing Construction

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.

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Killing Two Birds With One Stone: Technology and Labor

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.

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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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Surprise Inspector Visits Hand Out 11,000 Citations

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.

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One World Trade Center Leading Sustainability Charge

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.

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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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Wearable Technology the Latest in Construction Safety

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.

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New Jobsite Technology Can Help Contractors Avoid Lawsuits

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.

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Coastal Construction on the Rise—But So is Sea Level

“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.

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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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AI Making In-Roads into Construction

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.

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Construction for Starship 39A Launch and Landing Facility Taking Off

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.

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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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Home Depot Foundation Fights Skilled Labor Shortage

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.

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Construction Noise a Nuisance All Night

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.

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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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Uprooting Green Space Can Have Decades of Impact

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?

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Top Ten Construction-Related Podcasts

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.

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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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Drones and Robots on Jobsites

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.

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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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How 5G is Poised to Revolutionize Infrastructure

“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

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Catcalling Women Must Stop, Owners Demand

The owner of a Boston-based construction company, Cathartes, has laid down the law when it comes his workers making catcalls from construction sites: do it and you’re fired.

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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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Grassi and Co.’s 2019 Construction Industry Survey Results

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.

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Can the Internet of Things Revolutionize Construction?

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.

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Construction Workers are Dying in the Heat

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.

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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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Long Island Industrial District Being Reinvigorated as Green Space

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.

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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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Is The Focus on Modern Construction Automation Misplaced?

hh2 Powertools reported on the rapid growth in investment into construction automation, but an editorial by Chris Stanley, of the Concrete Block Association, says that it’s an enticing solution that overlooks the real problems.

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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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Canadian Construction Workers Took a Moment of Silence for Safety

Last week, after a particularly bad year for workplace accidents, 4000 construction workers took a break from their jobs to take a moment to reflect on safety. More than 50 companies and organizations joined in the second annual Construction Safety Stand-Down, a program hosted by the Newfoundland and Labrador Construction Safety Association

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Vocational Training in Juvenile Detention Center Offers New Lease on Life

This is a bulldozer and forklift simulator. Students using it can earn three different heavy equipment certifications. “The kids, they know, you know, that could be real money, instead of what they’re getting out on the street,” says Earl Gale, one of the instructors at Sojourn High Vocational Lab, inside a juvenile detention center. Gale has been an instructor there for 12 years.

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Antarctic Construction Project Estimated to Cost $250 Million

In what is expected to be harsh conditions, a New Zealand construction company is undertaking a $250 million development on the Scott Base of Antarctica. The 10,000 square foot base, comprising three buildings, is expected to house 100 personnel against the freezing temperatures.

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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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Researchers Are Recycling Glass into Concrete

In search of new ways to reuse non-recyclable glass, scientists have found a simple answer: they’re turning glass back into sand.

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How to Choose the Right Glass for Your Project

With such rapid advances in technology, the options for something as basic as glass are no longer simple. There are extensive selections to choose from when building your project, and your purpose, geography, and usage play an essential role.

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In Addition to Loss of Trade Workers, the Construction Industry Also Needs Architects

Ten years ago when the economy dropped, not only did many workers leave the industry, but many students fled the architecture and surveying programs in college. Now, when those students would normally be maturing in the job field, there is a stunning lack of experienced and new people to fill those roles.

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Employee Spotlight: Sidney Coleman - Customer Service Specialist

Introducing Sidney Coleman, one of hh2 Cloud Services’ customer service specialists! Sidney is a part of the customer support team and has been at hh2 since April of 2018. Current customers may have had the opportunity...

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Case Study: NEI General Contracting Improves Quality and Consistency of Payroll with hh2 Cloud Services

NEI General Contracting (NEIGC) was founded in 1998 in the United States and celebrated its 20-year anniversary in October of 2018. The company had a target revenue of $205 million as of 2017...

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2018 Year in Review at hh2

2018 brought big changes across the globe, and it was no different here at hh2 Cloud Services. This year was filled with conferences, new product releases and feature updates across multiple platforms and solutions...

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What Segment of Technology Adoption Does Your Company Belong To?

While the thought of new technology is exciting for some, it takes some time and proven results for others to get behind adopting a change in one’s workflow. This can be explained in detail in the Diffusion of Innovation...

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Cold Weather Apparel on the Job Site

As cold temperatures move across the contiguous United States, the East Coast will experience below average temperatures this winter between December and February of 2019. According to...

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Las Vegas to Secure #1 Spot for Entertainment With Exciting New Construction

New construction broke ground over the past week in Las Vegas. Residents will soon be able to see exciting new development directly on the famous Las Vegas Strip. A new globe-shaped event center has started...

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Home Shortage Continues as Prices Continue to Rise

Finding a home to purchase with a budget of under $250,000 seems close to impossible in today’s housing market. Labor, land and material costs continue to rise, which is resulting in slowing down the production...

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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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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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Is California's Housing Market Indicative of Nationwide Trends?

There’s a saying in fashion that as goes California, so goes the rest of America. If that can be extrapolated to other industries, we might be seeing a housing slump over what has been a buyer’s market...

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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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Construction Industry is Booming--Or Is It?

Today, as I went to read the news to find something to blog about, I noticed half a dozen new articles about the booming construction industry. From the Miami Herald...

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“Magic” Self-Healing Concrete

Arthur C. Clarke, the author of science fiction such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, and inventor of ideas such as the geostationary communications satellite, once wrote that “any sufficiently advanced technology is...

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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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Labor Shortage Slows New Construction

Not long ago, construction jobs were scarce. When the Great Recession hit in 2008 and 2009, 31% of laborers left the construction industry, and they haven’t come back. In fact, the National Association...

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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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Future Exists in “Circular Cities”

By now we’ve heard of the circular economy, a process for making the world more sustainable, creating a cycle that reuses and captures resources. Now, circular economies are turning to urban planning to make our cities into circular cities. Right now, more than half of the population lives in a city, and by 2050 that will rise to two thirds. If we’re going to continue to build up and out, we need to figure out how to better use resources.

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