The construction industry needs new blood; labor shortages exist everywhere, and methods of attracting new hires increase in complexity.
The construction industry needs new blood; labor shortages exist everywhere, and methods of attracting new hires increase in complexity.
Despite the rapidly growing population, the pandemic-driven boom in residential housing sales and the high demand for builders with large backlogs, construction in the Lone Star State looks dismal.
Construction workers commit suicide at three times the national average. Within the construction industry, already the most dangerous profession, more workers die from suicide than job injuries and accidents. Construction has the second-highest suicide rate of any sector in the United States.
Last week, Hyundai Heavy Industries purchased Doosan Infracore, creating a combined company in the top ten largest global construction equipment manufacturers. The plan makes Doosan Infracore a subsidiary of Hyundai Genuine group, of which Hyundai Construction Equipment is also a subsidiary. Both Doosan and Hyundai are South Korean companies. After the purchase, they will continue to operate independently.
According to the most recent data from OSHA, construction continues its poor streak as the most dangerous industry in the United States, accounting for one in five workplace deaths. The top ten causes of workplace deaths contain three that are specific to construction: Ladders (#6), Scaffolding (#3), and Fall Protection (#1). Fatalities from construction falls have been in the number one place on the list for nine straight years. Additionally, construction fatalities increased by six percent in the last year.
According to the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) report in conjunction with the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the national construction unemployment rate dropped 2.6% in June compared to the same month last year. Forty-five states experienced decreases, though the rates have not rebounded back to pre-pandemic levels.
Colorado courts sentenced Bryan Johnson, a contractor from Avon, CO, to 10 months in prison. He faced manslaughter and negligent homicide charges after a workplace accident left a man dead in 2018. Johnson didn’t go to trial; he pled guilty to two counts of reckless endangerment and one count of 3rd-degree assault causing injury.
According to a new report from Associated Builders and Contractors, the construction industry—already short on workers before the pandemic—needs to hire 430,000 more laborers in 2021 for a total of 1,000,000before the end of 2022.
East High School in Des Moines hosts a free construction camp for girls aged 14 to 18. The class includes some lecture time and plenty of hands-on experience, such as wiring a three-way light switch.
The Manhattan Federal Court sentenced Vito Nigro, a New York construction executive, to 51 months in prison for evading taxes on more than $1.8 million in bribes he received from subcontractors.
After the death of seven construction workers so far this year in New York City, including three in May, the city’s Department of Buildings plans to crack down on safety violations.
A blistering heatwave torments the western United States. The heat significantly affects people who work outside, such as construction and farm laborers. In the past week, authorities have put advisories in place for an area containing more than 50-million residents.
The economy added 559,000 jobs in May, and the unemployment rate fell from 6.1% to 5.8%. However, despite the job gains and a massive labor shortage that has plagued construction, the industry lost a net 20,000 jobs; this comes after an April with no increase in construction jobs.
Due to high demand, of all industries, construction perhaps most seamlessly weathered COVID-19. Hence, construction workers enjoy premium pay. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts construction employment adding 4% year-on-year from now through 2029, compared to a national job average of 3.7%. The BLS expects to see the most growth in solar photovoltaic installers (up 50.5%), tile and stone workers (up 8.6%), and electricians (up 8.4%).
Every construction company knows about the drastic shortage of skilled labor entering the market. Numerous polls cite this shortage as the number one or two concern among contractors, builders, and owners.
Earlier this month, New York City construction industry professionals debated the future of safety on the job site at the Commercial Observer’s third annual Construction Safety Forum. They reviewed what happened during coronavirus and what is expected to happen now.
The Dodge Momentum Index, a monthly measurement of nonresidential building projects in planning, jumped 8.6% last month, climbing to 162.4 over 149.5 in March; this happened despite hitting its nine-year low in January; the index grew 77% over the previous three months. Healthcare and laboratory projects lead the index, while commercial projects have slipped with fewer warehouses in production. Overall, the index sits 31% higher than in April of last year.
Despite the massive worker shortage plaguing construction, new figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that homebuilders have slowed their hiring pace. The trend moves upward at a crawling pace.
According to new data released from the Federal Highway Association (FHWA), in 2019 (the year with the most recently compiled data), 842 fatalities occurred in work-zone crashes, compared to 757 in 2018, representing an 11.2% increase; this means the highest number of deaths in work zones since 2004.
Curri, a new company referred to as the “Uber of Construction,” gains investors as it seeks to disrupt a stagnant distribution model.
On March 31, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that makes recreational marijuana legal in New York. Anyone over the age of 21 can possess up to 3 ounces of the drug. As far as construction crews, a simple solution seems obvious: make a rule that no one may work while impaired. But the problem's complexity requires a more involved solution.
Despite the blockbuster residential market, as a post-vaccination country re-opens for business as usual, construction industry problems remain. Two issues hang over the construction industry's head: material and supply chain and labor shortages.
The unemployment rate dropped to 6%, adding 916,000 jobs to the economy. The construction industry, with 110,000 new jobs, represented a significant portion of the employment growth.
This week in Texas, a federal grand jury returned an indictment on Michael Angelo Padron with one conspiracy charge to commit wire fraud and eight counts of wire fraud, along with two co-conspirators. According to the charges, Padron placed a service-disabled veteran, Ruben Villareal (one of the co-conspirators), as frontman at his construction company to acquire Small Business Association contracts reserved for veteran-owned businesses.
A Fox Business report this week cites an increase in women moving into the construction industry. Within the past 12 months, many more women than men lost their jobs due primarily to womens’ prominence in the retail, hospitality, and travel industries.
In a year that has seen massive layoffs and millions of people looking for work, you'd think that construction—an industry that has historically suffered from significant labor shortages—would fill vacancies with the flood of unemployed workers. Construction companies have found increasing difficulty hiring skilled laborers.
New York lawmakers hope to reduce on-the-job construction industry injuries and deaths with a new bill. The New York State senate signed Bill S1302 into law on February 16th; this bill expands on a registry of information related to construction incidents that result in fatal injuries. The bill's language qualifies workers in the following groups: “direct employees, contracted employees, subcontracted employees, independent contractors, temporary or contingency workers, apprentices, interns, volunteers.” It also expands the term “contractor” to include direct employers, contractors, and subcontractors.
The IRS convicted Hugo Cruz-Medina, a 33-year-old from Jacksonville, Fl., of several counts of mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and illegally entering the country after being deported. He received a three-to-five-year sentence in federal prison and orders to pay his victims $3,266,506.33 in restitution, as well as a punitive amount of $1,408,712.08, which were the proceeds of his mail and wire fraud.
On February 12, exactly one year after the California-based company, Level 10 Construction, announced it had reached 6 million man-hours worked without a lost-time incident, they announced the next milestone: 7-million hours and seven straight years without a lost-time incident.
Fortune magazine has published its annual ranking of most admired companies in all sectors, including construction and engineering. The category leader was AECOM, followed by Jacobs, Quanta Services, MasTec, and KBR.
The Associated General Contractors of America's "2021 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook" report uncovers a significant post-pandemic slowdown. The information also doesn't predict a return to typical construction in 2021.
According to a new report from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), “Opioids have commonly been prescribed to construction workers to treat pain caused by these occupational injuries. Workers in the industry also have higher rates of opioid overdose death compared with other groups.”
Fewer young people are entering the construction industry; this could translate into an increasing labor shortage. Compared to 2009, there were 330,000 fewer construction workers between the ages of 20-29 than in 2019. On the other hand, there are 312,000 more construction workers over 60 in that same period.
Last month saw a drop in 140,000 jobs, attributable to increases in COVID cases and efforts to contain the pandemic, said a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, there was good news for construction: the industry's jobs grew 51,000 in December.
A new study published in MedRXiv reports that construction workers have the highest COVID-19 cases of nearly any industry, including healthcare workers, first responders, food service, correctional personnel, elderly care workers, and grocery store workers.
Covid cases are reaching massive numbers and breaking records again for the first time since the spring’s initial surge. Construction companies are looking for ways to survive the potential drought of work that may occur if lockdowns continue—as seen in the tens of millions of people under stay-at-home orders in California last week.
After a record 6,100,000 new jobs added to the US economy in October, November saw a massive plunge, gaining only 245,000 jobs, which is the slowest month’s gain in six months.
One of the oldest electrical contracting companies, Rosendin, with nearly 7000 workers, is looking to an unusual source for its training: gamers. Founded in 1919 and active in commercial, institutional, transportation, and other sectors, the company began using 3D modeling in early 2000. That team of modelers has expanded to more than 250 employees who are immersed in BIM technology. And those modelers? They’re coming from gaming backgrounds.
Construction is one of the largest industries in the world economy, making up 13% of the world’s GDP. Yet, construction is widely recognized as much slower than other sectors in adopting new technology. And while many new technologies appear in the industry, including virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and robotics, there has been a reluctance to use these tools.
Jeffrey Mansfield, a design director who was born Deaf, is keenly aware of how some architecture serves to set the disabled free and some stifles and traps them. Influencing work at the MASS Design Group put him on course to enter a multi-year course of research exploring how deafness has shaped space (or been shaped by it). For his work, he was recently awarded the Disability Futures Fellowship from the Ford Foundation.
According to a new study from Advisor Smith, several of the country's highest-paid jobs that don't require a degree are in the construction industry.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has clarified a rule that instructs on reporting infection and deaths from diseases caught on the job site. Under 29 CFR 1904.39(b)(6), employers are required to report in-patient hospitalizations if the hospitalization "occurs within twenty-four hours of the work-related incident." For cases of COVID-19, the term "incident" means exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in the workplace.
As with nearly every city across America, skilled labor shortage is a significant problem. The Associated General Contractors of America shows that employment numbers have been down across the country. Boise, Idaho, is faring better, but they find that they’re facing one major problem when they recruit: the stigma of working in the construction industry.
A study from McKinsey reported that a large majority of projects miss their deadlines by 40% or more, which causes all sorts of headaches—most of them financial. Some of the most common reasons for construction mistakes are:
Even though 20 million people are out of work, there remains a shortage of skilled labor in the construction industry. The demand for houses continues to grow despite the pandemic or perhaps because of it: interest rates are at historic lows, which are making homes in high demand.
Core, a new app and online site, is designed to connect construction laborers with contractors and builders in need of workers. It has gotten the eye of several influential Silicon Valley investors.
With the COVID-19 outbreak, an estimated 11.5 million women lost their jobs between February and May. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the worst-hit areas are hospitality, transportation, travel, entertainment, personal services (like daycare and hair salons) and retail. Those industries employ, on average, more women than men.
Building Information Modeling was a new technology a few years ago that is now a universally accepted staple of the industry. It allows all the stakeholders in a project, from builders and architects to accounts and owners, to look at the process in real-time to see completed work and the challenges looming ahead.
The construction world has been slow to adapt to new technology but in recent years the boundaries of what is possible continue to be pushed. The problem, experts say, is finding people who are skilled in both the tech world and the construction world. It’s a rare skill set, but it’s becoming increasingly in demand as everything from BIM to robotics to virtual reality devices are pounding on the door of the industry.
Back before there was wall-to-wall coverage of the Covid-19 epidemic, there were constant reports—even here on this blog—of the inability of contractors and construction companies to find skilled labor. One would think that since the major layoffs occurred in the spring of 2020, more of these positions would be easier to fill. But that is not the case, according to a workforce study from the Associated General Contractors of America and AutoDesk.
In a suit that is making waves across both the New York construction landscape, but also across the country, a New York construction contractor, Trade Off LLC, has to pay 18 women $1.5 million in a settlement of a case that the New York Attorney General called "severe" sexual harassment.
Construction company No Limits Construction might need to revisit their hiring practices and do some more background checking on their new employees.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Low-skilled construction workers in the U.K., urged back to work by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have one of the highest rates of death from the virus.
Businesses all over the globe are facing the ever-increasing challenge of keeping their employees safe and complying with safety guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19. While many businesses have adopted work-from-home procedures and others have furloughed their employees or shut down completely, essential businesses, including construction, are still operational and finding it more critical than ever to manage the situation. And, as the country at large looks to reopen and get workers back to work, organizations will need solutions in place that can help them operate in the "next normal."
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.
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.
While construction continues in many states, social distancing is remaining a rule on worksites, and it often makes things difficult for workers to move around the building—and especially difficult for site managers to patrol them and make sure they’re following the rules. And not following the rules could, in many areas, land them heavy fines.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Even though there have been very few cases of the coronavirus confirmed in the United States, it has already impacted the construction industry in several places and may spread to more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Florida construction company passed over the application to hire a woman as a heavy equipment operator because of her gender, according to a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on August 27th.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...