Why Workers Are the Key to Construction Industry Success

Why Workers Are the Key to Construction Industry SuccessThe debate about when construction will rebound is over. Sure, fluctuations still happen month to month. But compared to a few years ago, building is back, in all forms. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) August 17 report, “Components measuring current and future home sales also rose to or remained at new heights not seen since late 2005.”

The same can be said about commercial construction. “Nonresidential construction spending has been recovering robustly in the U.S. in recent months -­ up more than 11 percent on a year-over-year basis,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

Construction’s recent reboot is not without a few hiccups. A few factors stand in the way of sustained growth. And at the top of that list a labor shortage. Despite plenty of Read more

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2015 Top 50 Tech Firms for Construction

2015 Top 50 Tech Firms for ConstructionFor an industry that was slow to jump on the tech train, construction has come a long way in a short time. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the new standard for design while large-scale projects are being managed from smartphones and tablets loaded with construction-specific apps. Meanwhile, new construction technologies and materials are advancing construction efficiencies, quality and sustainability.

Constructech recently announced its 2015 top 50 tech firms for construction. Here’s a peak at the list leaders:

  1. Aconex – Cloud-based project management tool and app
  2. Asite – Cloud-based solutions for BIM, big data, productivity, collaboration, etc.
  3. Assemble Systems – Cloud-based access to BIM data and AEC workflows
  4. Autodesk – Creators of Revit, the standard for BIM software
  5. Avid Ratings Co. – Online surveys, organizational strategies and employee training
  6. B2W Software Inc. – Construction project management software
  7. Bentley Systems – Infrastructure-focused software solutions
  8. BuilderTREND Solutions – Construction management software for home builders
  9. BuildTools Inc. – Construction management software for home builders.
  10. CG Visions – Construction technology consultants

Read more

New OSHA Smartphone App Gauges Risk of Heat Illness

New OSHA Smartphone App Gauges Risk of Heat IllnessThe heat is on. And anyone working outdoors or in confined spaces is at risk for heat-related illness, such as heat stroke. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is combating heat illness with an App that gives iPhone and Android users real-time analysis of rising temps.

According to OSHA, the App calculates the heat index and displays a risk level for outdoor workers. The App also lists preventative measures that should be taken to protect workers at risk and the symptoms of heat-related illness.

Learn more and download the App from OSHA.com. Also see Tips for Preventing Heat Illness.

The OSHA App changes to red
in “Extreme Risk” situations.

Simple Tools That Improve Worksite Safety

Eliminating hazards in the factory or on the jobsite can be as easy as selecting the best tool for the job. As we recognize National Safety Month, here are a couple tools that can reduce your risk without blowing your budget.

Self-retracting Cutters

Cutters with “Smart Knife Technology” retract the blade automatically when it loses contact with the material it’s cutting. The blade will self-retract even if the user tries to override the safety system by leaving the slider in the forward position. Cutters with Smart Knife Technology cost slightly more than conventional cutters but can prevent injuries making them well worth the investment.

Tool Lanyards

This may be the easiest way to prevent falling object injuries on a worksite. Tool lanyards are elastic straps that connect tools to a tool belt or personal fall protection.

Tips for Preventing Falling Object Injuries: 

  1. Use tool lanyards.Simple Tools That Improve Worksite Safety
  2. Keep all material at least 3 feet from a leading edge, other than material specifically required for work in process.
  3. Remove items from loose or unsealed pockets, especially top shirt pockets, such as phones, pens, and tools.
  4. Do not hang objects over guardrails.
  5. Secure all objects when working on an elevated surface.
  6. Ensure toe boards are present and inspect toe boards frequently. They should be at least 4 inches high and continuous. 4 inches is the minimum height with a maximum ¼-inch clearance from the working surface.
  7. Require hardhats and other relevant PPE for everyone in areas at risk for falling objects—no exceptions. Make sure that this is effectively communicated.
  8. Rope off the area, if possible, where fall/drop hazards may exist – especially if work is being performed on a ladder.
  9. Work as a team to avoid complacency and remain vigilant of these procedures at all times.
  10. Ensure hardhats and other required PPE is inspected prior to use and is used in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations.

2 Commonly Overlooked Job Site Hazards and How to Avoid Them

Construction Site SafetyJune is National Safety Month, so we’ll be posting a series of safety tips, policy updates and other useful information to help you and your team stay safe on the job site, in the factory or wherever hazards may be.

Here are two hazards that tend to fly under many project managers’ radars. Both pose serious threats to individuals and are entirely avoidable.

Working Alone

Limited perception and limited number of hands can result in workers overlooking or missing hazards altogether. To minimize the risks associated with working alone, a Hazard Read more

New OSHA Confined Spaces Rule Starts August 3

OHSA Confined Spaces RuleA new rule from Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) regulating how the construction industry operates in confined spaces will go into effect on August 3, 2015.

“This rule will save lives of construction workers,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. David Michaels.

OSHA says that confined spaces put workers at heightened risk for face life-threatening hazards including toxic substances, Read more

Disaster Recovery Test… Are You Ready?

Past studies by the Department of Homeland Security have confirmed that businesses that reopen within days of a major disaster are up to four times more likely to resume normal operations, even thrive. Many businesses that are unable reopen quickly never reopen at all.

Our friends at Agility Recovery know how to get operational quickly after a disaster. Watch this video and see how their own team performed in a disaster recovery test.

Non-Residential Construction Jumps 32.4% in March

$25 billion in non-residential construction starts in March marked a 32.4% climb over February numbers according to the just released Construction Industry Snapshot by CMD Group, formerly Reed Construction Data. The positive number in March confirms an upward trend in construction spending, but falls short of the same period last year when spending increased by 40.3%. For comparison, the long-term February-to-March increase has been 6.0%. See the full report from CMD here.

Non-Residential Construction Jumps 32.4% in March

Graph courtesy of CMD Group

5 Tips for Better Subcontractor Management in Construction

Construction JobsSubcontractors have become the norm at construction sites. The benefits to construction firms are plenty. But so are the risks. On the surface, a quality sub should make your job easier. Alternately, a sub-quality sub can put your entire operation in jeopardy. As you weigh the pros and cons of using subcontractors on the jobsite, here’s what some construction industry experts are saying as to how you can get the most out of these relationships and mitigate risk at the same time.

1. Prequalification

The only risk you assume here is time lost to vetting an unqualified sub. Take the time to Read more