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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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Four New Technologies that Will Change Construction

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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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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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Are Pre-Fab “Lego” Houses the Solution to the Housing Crisis?

Not much has changed in the home construction industry in the last fifty years. Workers show up to a site, dig, pour, frame, sheath, and finish a house, with a nationwide average cost of $428,000 a piece. And that’s when there’s proper space to find that jobsite and enough skilled laborers to do the work.

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Could “Tall Wood” Buildings Be the Future of High Rises?

In what may seem counter-intuitive to progress, there is a global resurgence of so-called “tall wood” buildings, which are defined as structures that are made primarily from timber framing and are more than fourteen stories or fifty meters tall.

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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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Growing Up Instead of Out

As cities grow, it’s inevitable that they must begin to increase in density. Urban sprawl will always exist, but city centers grow, and there’s only one direction for a downtown to grow: up. As they grow up instead of out, they’re faced with many positives and negatives. This is healthy and positive. Growth in a city is good. But the question of whether you’re growing in the right ways is important for a building planner to consider. Here are a few pluses and minuses to increasing density:

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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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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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Universal Access to Parks and Plazas

Parks and plazas are designed as gathering places for communities, meant to enrich lives and cultural experience, but recent studies show that that is not the case. While the elderly make up 20% of the population, only 4% of park users are elderly. The problem, according to one study, is accessibility.

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Ancient Ruins Found During Construction Project in Colorado

During preliminary construction on a proposed highway in Durango, Colorado, workers uncovered remarkably well-preserved archaeological ruins, most likely dating back to the Ancestral Puebloan period (commonly referred to as the Anasazi).

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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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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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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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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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New Law Allows Construction Workers to Flag Traffic Violators

A new law in the state of Minnesota allows construction workers to flag traffic violators who are driving unsafely in construction zones.

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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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2020 Olympic Venues Nearing Completion

Tokyo 2020 Olympic organizers have released a report outlining their readiness for the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. According to the report, more than half of all venues have been completed with just a year to go.

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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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Construction Worker Saves Children From Fire

At a burning apartment complex in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a father had to lean out a window and drop his 2-month-old baby into the arms of a rescuing construction worker. The father was trapped on the second floor. Seconds later, the worker caught and saved a toddler as well.

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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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Viral Social Media Post Shows Not To Judge a Construction Worker by his Dirt

In a post that went viral in late June, a construction worker in Vancouver, Washington, a construction worker made a social media post after overhearing a woman make disparaging comments about his appearance.

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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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Architecture Firm Creates a Lush Oasis in Center of City

With a population of more than twelve million, the city of Sao Paolo, Brazil, is a thriving metropolis with a bustling economy and miles after miles of concrete, asphalt, and steel. But one architecture firm is doing its part to make an oasis deep in the heart of the city.

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hh2 Exhibits at Procore Groundbreak 2018, Previews New Solution

hh2 Cloud Services exhibited at the 2018 Groundbreak conference hosted by Procore Technologies, Inc. in Austin, Texas Nov. 13 - 15. As the provider for the integration between Procore and Sage Group...

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Top Five Growing Jobs in Construction

As the need to fill job openings within the construction industry increases, now is the perfect time for those who are thinking about a career in construction. However, with the industry being so large and there being...

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New $2.5B TSX Broadway Project Meant to Revamp NYC Times Square

New York City’s Times Square is already one of the most exciting places to visit, and with new construction, it is about to rival Las Vegas when it comes to entertainment. Times Square will be ready to start construction...

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The High Life: City Dwellers Prepare for Taller, More Skyscrapers in Coming Years

Ready or not, thousands of new skyscrapers will be built by 2050 according to current trends. City living is continuing to become more and more popular. By 2050, it is estimated that around six billion people will reside...

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Take Control With hh2’s Unit Production Worksheet

If you work in construction, you need to record unit production and percent completes. Don’t waste time waiting for access to a desktop and logging in to your accounting system to record field data. Now, field laborers...

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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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Top Three Ways Home Builders Can Reach Millennials

The real estate market is at the highest point it has been prior to the recession in 2008. With experts saying home prices will continue to rise over the next couple of years, many are worried that millennials will be...

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Construction Employment on the Rise in 2018

Those who work in the construction sector have something to look forward to as employment rates continue to rise in 2018. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 13,000 new jobs within the industry in May alone...

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How To Choose A Great Cloud-based Solution

Have you ever considered how cloud-based solutions can help you or your company be more efficient at completing your daily tasks? It is important to realize that not all cloud-based services are created equally. Outlined...

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How Artificial Intelligence is Helping the Construction Industry Save Time, Cost and Lives

It’s no surprise that the construction industry is benefiting in large parts from artificial intelligence (AI). A new job within the industry, a data scientist, is using AI to their advantage. Software and computing systems are...

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Advancements in Digital Fabrication Moving Design and Construction Forward

A recent case study was conducted by the American architectural, planning and engineering firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) that show its recent advancements within digital fabrication. Its 3D-printed...

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The Telegraph: Eight Failures at Grenfell Tower Inferno

Much has been written in the last two days about the fire at the London tragedy at Grenfell Tower, but The Telegraph, a British paper, has put together a scathing article outlining eight failures that led to such a...

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New Trends in Technology Bringing Major Upgrades to Construction Sector

Efficiency, safety and sustainability within the construction industry are taking leaps forward as technology continues to improve. The 21st century has brought a plethora of new advancements in...

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hh2 Exhibits at TUG 2018 in Orlando

hh2 Cloud Services recently attended the 2018 TUG National Users Conference held in Orlando this last week. It was a great opportunity for our team to connect with our current customers and to demonstrate our extensive...

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Robots and Exoskeletons Are Coming Soon To a Job Site Near You

With the labor shortage in the construction industry not showing any big signs of relief, a push towards automation that includes robotics and exoskeletons may soon be on its way—much to the delight...

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Not Just a Fad: Four Emergent Technologies That Will Improve Your Jobsite

New worksite ideas come and go, but here are three new emergent technologies that appear to have gotten over the early hurdles and are proving to be invaluable on the job site. Telematics: As the...

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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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Dozens of Startups Looking to Disrupt the Construction Industry

Compared to other long-term business ventures, construction lags far behind in increased productivity, ranking only 1% more productive than it was in 1962. Retailers, financial institutions, hotels and...

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Construction Moving Rapidly Into New Digital Age

It’s a mark of modernity that probably shouldn’t surprise anyone, but technology is moving forward at an astounding rate. Just a few years ago, 3D printers were strange, new inventions that could only construct...

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UK Cladding Problem Widespread; U.S. Mostly Safe

Fallout from the Grenfell Tower, which killed 80 due in large part to the cladding, a form of exterior siding. The cladding allowed for a flammable, chimney-like structure that spread a fire at a catastrophic rate...

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Ancient Roman Concrete Recipe Could Be Answer to Rising Tides

“It’s the most durable building material in human history,” said Philip Brune, a researcher at DuPont, “and I say that as an engineer not prone to hyperbole.” As reported in the Washington...

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ThyssenKrupp Reveals Revolutionary New Elevator System

No cables. Horizontal and vertical movement. It’s being called a revolution in skyscraper construction. “MULTI” is the name of this new system, which has been referred to “like a metro system inside a building...

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Changing Technology in Construction

“As more young people enter the construction industry, they expect technology,” said an international firm that works with contractors to develop IT solutions. “Estimating, project managing, and...

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Fire Which Killed At Least 17 Blamed on Cladding

At least 17 people died, and at least 78 more were injured in London’s Grenfell Tower fire yesterday. And while many things affected the growth of the fire—a spark from a cigarette on an eighth-floor balcony, a gas...

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Laborers vs. Builders: How Do You Solve A Problem Like Economics

While the construction industry is in crisis due to massive labor shortages (as we’ve reported here...

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Korean Highway Transformed into Park

It may seem as though there’s not a lot you can do to remodel a highway. Streets are for driving, and without cars, they’re just narrow strips of concrete in the center of town. Well, Netherlands-based...

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From Furniture to Flight Terminals, Eero Saarinen Designed it All

Some of the most iconic structures in the United States were designed by Eero Saarinen, who emigrated from Finland at age 13. His design work began not with buildings, but with furniture. In 1940, at the age of 30...

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New House Designs Expand Definition of Buildable Space

My grandparents live on a hill overlooking the Salt Lake City valley. They have an amazing view: their second-floor balcony has always been the place to watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July. I remember in 2002...

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90% of Construction Leaders See New Tech as Essential; Only 37% Claim to Be Prepared

While the report is Australian, the points are global: the Construction Industry Innovation & Productivity Report, studying 200 industry leaders, states the 90% of believe it is valuable to stay up-to-date with new...

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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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Project Loses $60,000 After 23-Year-Old Daredevil Shuts Down Job Site

A woman, Marisa Lazo, described by a friend as “adventurous,” shut down a large construction site in Toronto, Canada, after being found at 3:30am sitting on the hook of a crane some 45 meters...

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A High-Tech Step Up From “The Clapper”

Reporting on the latest trends in housing construction, the Wall Street Journal today wrote about a development that is not so much about the existing residential tech, but is more about where the future is headed...

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Strategies for Recognizing Good Tech Trends

It seems like there are dozens of new technologies popping up, claiming to be the Next Big Thing. It can be difficult for managers in any business to keep up with the latest and greatest innovations, especially...

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Construction Crew Stumbles into Colonial Cemetery

On a lot that will soon be a 10-story, 116-unit apartment building, PMC Property Group of Philadelphia, PA, dug down to find the remains of at least 38 people. The bodies are in coffins, six-feet underground...

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Home Depot Surprises Traders with Booming Earnings Report

hh2 Cloud Services recently attended the 2018 TUG National Users Conference held in Orlando this last week. It was a great opportunity for our team to connect with our current customers and to demonstrate our extensive...

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New Silicon Valley Construction Projects Draw Mixed Reviews

With Apple’s new headquarters, nicknamed the “Spaceship Campus,” nearing completion, Google has now received the city council’s approval to move forward with their giant tent-like structure...

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Wearable Tech in the Construction Industry

According to market analysis group CCS Insight, the wearable technology industry will be worth $34 billion by 2020. This may come as a shock to people who remember the ill-fated Google Glass, which literally got...

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New Rotating Dubai Hotel Self-Sustaining

When you hear about an eighty-story luxury hotel that can spin 360 degrees, you know someone must be talking about Dubai. Home to the Burj Khalifa—the tallest building in the world, at a record...

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Construction Plans for Border Wall

Reuters reported this morning that they received an internal report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) detailing the construction of the border wall. Details are still sketchy...

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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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Mesh WiFi for Construction

It used to be mark of a forward-looking company to have Wi-Fi in the job trailer. Now with the proliferation of online meetings and the connected nature of modern business, it has become a necessity...

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The Border Wall and Construction

The Wall. It’s been a subject on the lips of politicians and pundits for well over a year, ever since President Trump has been running for office. And the subject’s not new: a congressional vote for...

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Crowdsharing Construction Equipment?

Taking a cue from the crowdsharing fame of companies like Uber (the rent-a-car-and-driver service that's taking the transportation industry by storm) and Airbnb (the service that lets homeowners rent their...

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Women in Construction Bring Benefits to the Industry

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

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Australian Bricklayers Clever Workflow

As reported this week by Gizmodo, a team of bricklayers in Australia invented a clever, if not entirely practical, way to build a wall. What starts as a simple game of dominos ends with an ingenious and surprising twist...

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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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