For 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:
Aconex – Cloud-based project management tool and app
Asite – Cloud-based solutions for BIM, big data, productivity, collaboration, etc.
The 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.
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.
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.
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:
Use tool lanyards.
Keep all material at least 3 feet from a leading edge, other than material specifically required for work in process.
Remove items from loose or unsealed pockets, especially top shirt pockets, such as phones, pens, and tools.
Do not hang objects over guardrails.
Secure all objects when working on an elevated surface.
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.
Require hardhats and other relevant PPE for everyone in areas at risk for falling objects—no exceptions. Make sure that this is effectively communicated.
Rope off the area, if possible, where fall/drop hazards may exist – especially if work is being performed on a ladder.
Work as a team to avoid complacency and remain vigilant of these procedures at all times.
Ensure hardhats and other required PPE is inspected prior to use and is used in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations.
$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.
Subcontractors 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.
The only risk you assume here is time lost to vetting an unqualified sub. Take the time to Read more
In 1997 and 1998, construction accounted for 6.14% of national GDP. That number declined dramatically the following year and has risen slowly ever since. In 2013, the most recent year for this data, construction was 3.73% of national GDP. That number does not include related costs such as transportation, the demand for building materials, financial services or subsequent purchases from buyers. These additional costs add as much as 2 to 3% making construction even more Read more
Reusing portable storage units is not a new idea. In the last decade we’ve seen them used for trendy urban apartments, coffee shops, even a museum. But Taco Bell is on the verge of taking the concept mainstream. The company unveiled a restaurant built from portable storage units this week in Austin, Texas, home of the growing South by Southwest music festival.
The restaurant, which has half the footprint of a traditional Taco Bell, was built in three days and can be easily taken down and relocated. This flexibility and speed could be the key to meeting the restaurant chain’s plans of adding 2,000 new locations over the next 7 years. One Taco Bell representative said in a press release that they are likely to “explore dropping this type of asset in different locations, which will ultimately give us the ability to show up in unexpected places for our consumers.”
Of course we are big fans of modular construction and the strategic reuse of buildings. We just hope one pops up near us.
Smart phones are working in construction almost as hard as the construction professionals that use them. But finding the latest and greatest Apps can be a challenge that consumes as much time as a quality App saves. Fortunately, the gang at Sourceable.net compiled their list of the Top 10 Construction Apps to simplify our search. Click on the image below to view the full infographic and see which Apps you should be downloading.
We’ve told you before that modular construction is faster than conventional building. Well, Broad Sustainable Building has shown the amazing speed of modular once again. The China-based builder has delivered several large-scale modular projects at unbelievable speeds. Their most recent project, a 57-story high-rise, was completed in just 19 days. Don’t believe us? Watch the time-lapse video below and see for yourself.