Tag Archive for Politics

Fall Protection and OSHA Compliance: What You Need to Know

Construction Fall Protection e1396013849818 300x192 Fall Protection and OSHA Compliance: What You Need to KnowWe recently published an article about the 46% jump in OSHA violations from 2012 to 2013. Not surprisingly, fall protection topped the list, again, with more than 8,000 violations, or 33 percent more than the second most common violation, Hazard Communication. The article sparked some good conversation around the industry about fall protection compliance and best practices.

With this in mind, here are some OSHA codes and general information that every project manager and worker should fully understand before stepping onto a jobsite. Because regulations can change, it is important that you consult the appropriate professionals when considering code compliance

Meet or exceed these codes:

Top 10 OSHA Safety Violations Make Big Jump in 2013

Construction Safety small 300x208 Top 10 OSHA Safety Violations Make Big Jump in 2013A year ago, we reported on the  top 10 OSHA safety violations for 2012. A year later, the number of OSHA safety violations is up 46%. While the list of common violations remains largely intact, many have moved up or down the list. Most importantly, every violation in the top 10 earned more citations than the previous year.

Here’s the top 10 OSHA safety violations for 2013. Click on each to see OSHA’s recommendations for safe operation and compliance.

1. Fall Protection  (code: 29 CFR 1926.501)

Up 14% to 8,241 violations
2012 Rank: 1

Read more

Olympic Host Cities Look to Modular for Scalable Building

Modular Olympics Boston2024 Olympic Host Cities Look to Modular for Scalable BuildingAs Beantown makes its bid to host the 2024 Olympics, Boston has proposed using (and reusing) modular construction to create a scalable Olympic stadium and Olympic Village.

The Olympic Games can be a double-edged sword for a host city. An influx of tourism and a public relations blitz are assured for the months up to and during the Games. On the flipside, the host city also risks losing the sizeable investment required to submit a bid to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

After the Games the host city is often left with an overbuilt, even excessive infrastructure. Read more

The Affordable Care Act’s Impact on Construction

Healthcare Reform The Affordable Care Act’s Impact on ConstructionIn a recent interview, MedBuild Director of Business Development Brian Albers shared some insights on the future of healthcare construction. In it, Albers noted that an aging population, the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), and the economy are the three largest factors in determining the future of healthcare construction.

There’s no question that an aging population will require increased healthcare services in the near future, creating further demand for related medical facilities. The economy continues to show improvement. The wild card in the equation remains the Affordable Read more

BLS and ADP Release Conflicting Reports for December Construction Employment

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released December’s employment numbers today. Not surprisingly, it reported a decline in construction employment by 16,000 jobs. In November, construction employment rose by 17,000.

Historically, December has always seen low levels of construction employment. In an interview with Forbes, Bankrate.com Washington Bureau Chief Mark Hamrick said that the wave of inclement weather in December likely played a role in the decline. He noted that new Read more

LEED vs. Green Globes: The Battle for Sustainable Building Supremacy

greenbuilding 300x274 LEED vs. Green Globes: The Battle for Sustainable Building SupremacyThere’s a new kid on the green construction standard block. The Green Globes rating system is being touted as a less-expensive method of rating the sustainability of construction projects. Until recently, LEED was the leading certification program that offered ratings for green architectural design and development, construction and maintenance. Now, LEED is facing competition from Portland, Oregon-based Green Globes, causing controversy and competition throughout the green building industry.

Differences & Similarities

Both LEED and the Green Globes provide national/state/local certification for sustainable building projects; however, there are quite a few ways in which these two systems differ.

  • LEED is based on a system of 110 points whereas the Green Globes utilizes a 1,000 point system.  Each requires a minimum of points in order to be certified. Read more

Why Smart Cities Are the Cure for America’s Aging Power Grid

smart cities 3 Why Smart Cities Are the Cure for America’s Aging Power GridSmart cities are all the rage with urban planners. But does this mean that the smart city design is right for every city? And what about the United States — will it fall behind and never catch up? Here are some of the questions city planners are asking.

What is a Smart City?

The term smart city applies to cities aiming to improve quality of life for citizens by updating infrastructure with smart power grids fueled by renewable energy. Smart cities can reduce traffic congestion, cut CO2 emissions and reduce operating Read more

The Pros and Cons of Energy Usage Disclosure

Lightbulb 300x225 The Pros and Cons of Energy Usage DisclosureAs global green initiatives continue to increase and energy efficiency remains a priority, the question of energy usage disclosure has become a highly contested issue. As its name suggests, energy usage disclosure is the requirement that building managers report the total energy consumption rates of their respective properties.

Much of the country already complies with such informational reporting (specifically Northeastern states), however California, due to state law AB 1103, and Chicago now require that commercial building owners disclose their energy use. Other major cities, including New York, Austin, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. are Read more

State of the Industry: 2013 U.S. Construction Performance Scorecard

Construction Scorecard 300x214 State of the Industry: 2013 U.S. Construction Performance ScorecardWith the building season winding down, it’s a good time to look back at how construction in 2013 stacked up against industry predictions and look ahead to 2014.

U.S. Construction Growth

In October 2012, McGraw-Hill Construction’s Dodge Outlook report predicted U.S. Construction would see an uptick of 6%, bringing construction to $483 billion in 2013. The August 2013 update shows that for overall growth, the McGraw-Hill prediction was spot on. Here’s a breakdown of how sectors within construction performed this year compared to projections.

Single Family Housing

McGraw-Hill predicted an increase of 21% more units and a 24% increase in revenue. Building is on-track to outpace those predictions, with 28% growth. The increase is due Read more

Modular Obstacles in Small Town America

TacoBell exterior 031 300x182 Modular Obstacles in Small Town America

Modular Taco Bell Franchise, Grundy, VA

Critics of modular often confuse exterior aesthetics with structural design. The truth behind this myth of modular construction is that, like traditional buildings, there are no limitations on the exterior aesthetics of modular buildings. They can be designed and built using the most elegant exterior finishes, or made cheaply with no-frills, low-cost cladding. Exterior appeal is determined by the architect and his client, not by the construction process.

Small Town Debates Modular Codes

Similar confusion has led residents of Kilgore, TX to lodge complaints about the design of Meadowbrook Preschool, a small expansion project still in progress. The uproar has town leaders considering new codes for future modular construction projects.

While some may scoff at such an issue in small town America given modular’s widespread adoption for large-scale projects, the Kilgore case confirms continued misconceptions about modular construction.

In the Eye of the Beholder

Muhlenburg 300x251 Modular Obstacles in Small Town America

Muhlenburg College Modular Residence Hall, Allentown, PA

The concerns expressed about Meadowbrook Preschool are little more than critiques on its physical appearance with no comment about the new classroom’s functionality or benefit to the existing structure.

The Meadowbrook expansion was properly planned and approved. It meets existing city codes, zoning requirements, and other regulations. Yet, the proposed ordinance (which would not affect Meadowbrook) includes a pair of regulations that could set an interesting precedent if approved. Future modular buildings in Kilgore would need to: 1) be comparable in value to surrounding homes/buildings within a 500’ radius; and; 2) have external facades that look similar to others in the vicinity.

The proposed regulations fail to consider that options for design aesthetics for both traditional and modular buildings are virtually unlimited and are the direct result of the architects vision. That vision is subject to the client’s final approval. They can be elaborate, polished or elegant. Or, they can be plain, unfinished or downright ugly. The fact that the building is modular is irrelevant.

The Right Resolution

We hope that the Kilgore City Council realizes the debate is about exterior aesthetics and not structural design. Given the advantages of modular construction, cities like Kilgore could benefit greatly from going modular more often.