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Homebuilders are Looking to High School Seniors to Fill Gaps in Labor Shortage

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.

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New Construction Labor Marketplace Gains Silicon Valley Funding

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.

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Tradeswomen Want to See More Women in Construction

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.

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Three Technologies that are Improving Construction Fast

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.

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The Construction Industry is Demanding More Tech Vocations

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.

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Despite Layoffs, Finding Skilled Labor Remains a Concern

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.

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New York Contractor to Pay $1.5 Million in Harassment Settlement

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.

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Woman Hired to Solve Construction Embezzlement Gets Arrested for Embezzlement

Construction company No Limits Construction might need to revisit their hiring practices and do some more background checking on their new employees.

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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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The “Next Normal of Construction”?

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.”

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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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“LinkedIn of Construction” Raises $3.2 Million

Trade Hounds, an app which has the goal of being “the LinkedIn of the construction industry” has raised $3.2 million in seed funding.

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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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What You Need To Know About Becoming an Architect

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.

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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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UK Report Says that Construction Workers at Among Most at Risk for Virus

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.

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Wearable Technology to Help With COVID-19

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."

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8 Ways COVID-19 is Changing the Jobsite

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.

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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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Software Companies are Finding Tech Solutions for Social Distancing

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.

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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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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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5 Ways the Coronavirus Will Affect Construction

Steve Lesser, the chair of Becker’s Construction law practice, says the key words right now are “Wait and see.”

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Coronavirus Didn’t Slow Down ConExpo, Largest Construction Convention in North America

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.

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Two Men Sentenced in Architecture Forgery Scheme

Two California men were sentenced to one year in jail and five years probation after they were convicted of more than 200 counts of forgery in an architecture and engineering scheme.

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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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Coronavirus is Hampering Construction Efforts in United States

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.

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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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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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Mobile Apps Springing Up Across Jobsites

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.

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Texas Lego Construction Competition Aims to Get Young Girls into Construction

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.

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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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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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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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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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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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EEOC Sues a Florida Company for Telling an Applicant They Don’t Hire Women

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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Work is such a Crick in the Neck

If you are like me and sit at a desk all day, you may also have a sore neck and a backside that resembles your office chair. Media splashes news of the negative effects sitting all day can cause. Dr. James Levine...

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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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