Green infrastructure underground more than a pipe dream

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Greenhouse gas emissions from the installation of both large and small-scale underground piping infrastructure can now be significantly decreased while increasing the speed of construction and minimizing disruption aboveground– all thanks to the latest innovations in methodology known as pipe-jacking or trenchless installation. Dr. Mark Knight, executive director at the Centre for Advancement of Trenchless Technology (CATT) at the University of Waterloo, said the technique is becoming increasingly popular due to its environmentally friendly benefits. Based on a study he conducted for the Brazilian Congress of Trenchless Technology in 2008, he calculated that switching to trenchless installation or restorations of sewer, water main and other various piping projects could reduce carbon emissions by up to 98 per cent. Trenchless installation method involves the use of powerful hydraulic jacks to push the pipes into the ground behind a shield while excavation is taking place within the shield. This causes very little to almost no disruption aboveground, and can be completed much faster than the traditional installation method that requires the use of trenches. To learn more about this innovative method, click here…

Contractors Share 6 Considerations For Designing and Constructing Large-Diameter Urban Pipelines

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Contractors often complain about the hassle of bringing in and out large construction materials. Freese and Nichols gathered experienced contractors and observed 6 challenges and found ways to address them. These are trucking, traffic control planning, working room, depth, existing utilities and overhead obstructions.
Moving construction materials such as large pipelines can be very difficult. They require filling and embedding. Access to the construction site is very important as the project’s cost and schedule depend on it. Recycling and the use of native materials can help mobility a lot.
Communications and coordination reduces rescheduling issues. Plan detours and street closure to speed up overall construction and traffic. Excavation depths may be reduced to increase workroom and lessen wastage of imported materials. Utilities must be identified in the work site to lessen risks and costs.
Overlooking overhead constructions (such as power and signalized intersection) may prove a safety hazard and cause delay on project completion. The lack of the proper equipment is a safety concern but working closely with contractors makes it easier to overcome these challenges and contributes to a project’s timely and cost efficient completion. For the full article, click here

Ad Campaign Looks to Honor the American Construction Worker

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Ozinga Bros. Inc. (a fourth-generation family-owned ready mix concrete producer and supplier founded on the south side of Chicago in 1928) has launched the “Born to Build” ad campaign last spring to honor the American construction workers and those in the related trade. The idea was conceived in 2013 by company president Marty Ozinga IV and is launched in partnership with creative agency Cultivate Studios. The company is a huge supporter of the construction workers and has received the ‘Top 100 Workplaces” award in 2014 from the Chicago Tribune. This campaign aims to challenge the stigma that being involved in construction is not a good vocation and to redefine what it means to be a part of the construction industry, helping these greatly underestimated workers get the respect and recognition they deserve. The ad was produced with the support of local general contractors with footages taken at construction sites and local tradespeople being filmed while working.
The next phase of the campaign will focus on finding a way to maintain the drive and imagination children have about constructing and creating buildings and objects, and encouraging them to view a career in construction as something good to consider pursuing in the future. Read the full article here

When Construction Employees Turn Out to Be Superheroes

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

In July, two construction workers from different parts of the US performed lifesaving acts of bravery and became heroes. One of them was Derrick Johnson of McCrossan Construction Company in Minnesota. A young boy came into their construction site asking for help when he saw that an elderly man was being attacked by a pit bull, and Johnson immediately rushed to the scene and wrestled the dog off the man and subdued it until the police arrived.
The other inconspicuous superhero was Kevin Huntington in Virginia, where a young woman jumped off a car near a construction zone along I-95 and shouted for help. Huntington responded to her distress call alerting 911 upon the young woman’s request and proceeded to protect her when she informed him that a man was trying to kill her. He stayed with her until authorities arrived. The police later arrested the alleged assailant for kidnapping and sexual assault charges. These two men responded heroically without a moment’s pause. And though not all construction workers are like that (and frankly, not all men are like that)– but these two ordinary construction workers chose to respond to the circumstances extraordinarily. Read the full story here

Five Ways to Improve Your Employee Hiring Strategy

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

According to Ann Torry, Vice-President of BirdDogHR (a talent management service in Des Moines, Iowa), the trick to hiring good employees nowadays is to demolish stereotypes about construction contractors and discarding outdated recruitment methods to find the good candidates that one seeks. She suggested five points to consider to improve the recruitment and talent acquisition process.
First is creating some excitement in jobs ads and shifting from the standard job descriptions to focusing on the skills, interest and passion needed in the business. Second is making use of social media (Facebook, Linked, Google+, Twitter) to post your employee needs and appeal to the more technologically-inclined generation. Third, using local employment/community job boards and websites is advantageous because such sites were setup to connect the jobseekers with potential employers. Fourth is building a referral network with the movers and shakers in your locale (career counselors, civic groups, social service agencies, community leaders, elected officials, etc.) and sending each contact a simple recruitment kit with the company’s profile and candidate requirements to let them know and remember the important details. And lastly, using every available technology to your advantage especially in screening and interviewing as well as in maintaining a positive impression of the company. Click here for the full article…

High-tech wind alert system keeps construction debris from plummeting

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Weather can be a real problem in construction especially in Calgary. A strong gust of wind could send debris to the ground and hit innocent people. But construction companies are thankful now that they can secure materials before the strong winds hit.
Calgary City now has an electronic wind warning system officially known as the Advanced Weather Forecasting System that sends contractors height-and site-specific information on how wind gusts will hit and impact their construction project and send forecasts of heavy wind gusts through e-mail alerts. Before this technology was introduced, fatalities have been recorded of debris plummeting and hitting civilians on the ground. Now with this forecast system, construction companies can now secure their materials long before bad weather can hit them and prevent serious damage to lives and properties.
Calgary’s weather this summer reported tornadoes inside and outside the city. Such strong and powerful wind can send construction debris flying into the air and landing on people’s houses, animals and people too. Since the introduction of the new system there have been fewer serious calls about construction debris being blown and landing way off site. To read the full article, click here

When Your Employees Are Getting Poached

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

There are instances in the construction industry (or almost any industry basically) when competitors attempt to poach your employees by enticing them with better benefits or better pay, or a combination of both. Sometimes the attempt is successful, and sometimes it’s not. It’s useful to know what your rights are as an employer when it comes to these situations.
The first thing to consider is if the competitor is committing trespassing by entering a secured construction site without permission. If such is the case, then the police can be notified right away at the time of the infringement. The second thing is whether or not there is a non-competition clause in place between your company and the employee that should hinder them from working in a competitor’s business within a certain period of time as stated in the agreement. The agreement can be enforced on the employee as well as the competitor for compliance. And lastly, if the competitor has caused any interference between you and the contractor, or caused any delay or problems with your supplier or labor pool, you have the option to take legal course against them. Read the full article here…

Is feminism the next frontier in construction?

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

No doubt about it, women are in the minority when it comes to the world of construction (they make up only 2.6% of the total population employed by the industry). And what’s worse is that the few who are engaged in the trade still face issues of harassment and sexism. But a change seems to be in the air and the tides are turning in the women’s favor. Initiatives are underway to encourage more children (especially girls) to become interested in fields related to STEM (Science,Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) starting from elementary. There is a real need to bridge the gap between the women who are starting out in their careers and those that have been in the industry for decades. The women are called to be more proactive when it comes to what they want, and the cooperation between different genders are fostered. This is to increase diversification in the workforce, which will in turn improve company culture and the bottom line. Read the full article here…

Top 3 Technologies Changing the Construction Industry Right Now

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Advances in modern technology have brought some groundbreaking changes in the productivity and competition within the construction industry, and they are continually being applied to existing processes to increase revenue and efficiency. One of the technologies that has brought about major changes in the industry is Modular Construction, where a room (or part of a structure) is pre-engineered and prefabricated in a factory and brought to the construction site for assembly. This type of construction can be quickly installed, and reduces the possibility of error and other safety hazards (since production is highly controllable). Another technology that’s making waves in construction is 3D Printing. The possibilities for this method are limited only to what the people in the industry can imagine/design, although a lot of people are hoping that less carbon-intensive alternatives becomes available soon compared to what is currently being used in both the manual and printed construction. And finally, the last branch of technology that has made an impact on construction processes is Robotics. A lot of companies are now moving towards site automation to make project completion faster, less hazardous and more profitable. Read the full article here…

Drones Take Flight in Construction

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

UAS (unmanned aircraft systems)– which are also known as UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles), quadcopters, or more simply “drones”– may soon become part of the construction industry as new regulations were declared last February and May of this year. The Department of Transportation’s FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) are now allowing the routine use of certain small unmanned aircraft systems, while maintaining flexibility to accommodate future technological innovations and exploring the next steps in unmanned aircraft operations. One of the benefits of using drones on the construction jobsite is it eliminates the need to do costly helicopter fly-overs just to show the project’s progress. Aside from that, drones also have the potential to participate in the actual labor and transportation of materials in the construction process as well as collect important data. But hacking and cybersecurity are some of the threats that need to be considered by companies to safeguard important sensitive data. Click here to read more…