Construction Industry News

Congress Faces 'Packed' Agenda After Aug. Break

August 17, 2017
Tom Ichniowski - Engineering News-Record

When Congress returns after Labor Day from its break, lawmakers will be staring at deadlines just weeks ahead for at least three must-pass, construction-related measures. The list includes legislation to fund federal agencies for at least part of fiscal year 2018 and a measure to reauthorize Federal Aviation Administration programs, including airport construction grants. The deadline for both bills is Sept. 30. Congress has made headway on the measures but almost certainly won’t have final votes by the deadline. That means lawmakers will turn to stopgap extensions.

Mr. Ichniowski may be contacted at

Australia Pitches Trump on a Plan to Fix America’s Roads and Bridges

August 10, 2017
Mark Niquette - Bloomberg

Among his many campaign promises, Donald Trump pledged to fix America’s crumbling roads and bridges with $1 trillion in infrastructure spending. Almost seven months into office, though, and two months removed from his vaunted “infrastructure week,” the president has revealed few details for how to pay for it. As his advisers look for ideas, a group of Australian politicians and executives has been lobbying for the administration to adopt a controversial policy of selling or leasing airports, toll roads, and other public facilities to raise money for infrastructure projects.

June Construction Spending Dips from May, Up Year over Year

August 2, 2017
Tom Ichniowski - Engineering News-Record

Construction spending in June slipped 1.3% from the previous month’s level, to an estimated $1.206-trillion annual rate but the total rose 1.6% year over year, the Commerce Dept. has reported.

Mr. Ichniowski may be contacted at

The Agonies of Building Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium

July 26, 2017
Nadine M. Post - Engineering News-Record

Just about every Tuesday for three years, structural-engineer Erleen Hatfield arose at 3:30 a.m. to catch a 6 a.m. flight from New York City to Atlanta. The early riser was determined to make a 9:30 a.m. meeting for her most dynamic project in more than a quarter century of practice—a 2-million-sq-ft stadium with a 14.5-acre convertible roof that opens and closes at its center, much like a camera lens iris. The daring design, which brazenly departs from kinetic-roof sports architecture, makes earlier “boxes with sliding lids” look almost simple.

Ms. Post may be contacted at

Veteran Contractor Is A City Change Agent

July 19, 2017
Jim Parsons - Engineering News-Record

Complex projects that require a healthy measure of innovation and problem-solving skills are the norm for New York City’s construction management firms. But applying an entrepreneurial approach to tackle those challenges is what Ken Colao, founding principal and president of CNY Group, believes sets his firm apart.

ENR may be contacted at

President Trump Issues Executive Order on Apprenticeships

July 13, 2017
Garret Murai - California Construction Law Blog

Perhaps it was only apropos. This past month, President Trump, former reality show host of The Apprentice, signed an executive order calling for more money and a bigger role by private companies in designing federal apprenticeship programs.

The federal government and many states including California have apprenticeship programs designed to provide a pathway for individuals to enter into the workforce. In California, with limited exceptions, public works project valued at $30,000 or more are required to use apprentices.

Mr. Murai may be contacted at

Indiana Takes Over Failed Privatized Highway

June 29, 2017
Mary B. Powers - Engineering News-Record

Indiana will assume control of a nearly $476-million public-private-partnership project to complete a 21-mile section of I-69 that is two years behind schedule. The state is set to terminate the contract with the Spanish-led developer and has named Walsh Group, a former P3 project competitor, as construction manager to complete work.

ENR may be contacted at

How to Add 39 Tons of Steel to the Top of the Empire State Building

June 21, 2017
Tom Sawyer - Engineering News-Record

When engineers made plans to reinforce and upgrade the carrying capacity of the Empire State Building’s mast and tower by adding 39 tons of steel, they had to find a way to protect pedestrians from falling rivets, tools and materials. Roofing the observatory and building bridges over the sidewalks 1,250 ft below were lousy options. The top of the iconic New York City building has an open-air observatory at the 86th floor and premium viewing spaces at the 102nd and 103rd levels. Annually, these spaces host about 4.3 million visitors and generate about $85 million in revenue. Soaring above the busy streets, a 200-ft-tall steel broadcast tower bristles with antennas that generate about $20 million more. Together, the observatory, mast and tower are the crowning jewel of the 86-year-old icon, which is owned by the Empire State Realty Trust Inc.

Mr. Sawyer may be contacted at

The New Promises of Construction Equipment Telematics

June 15, 2017
Clive Winward - Construction Informer

There are some big shifts taking place in the field of construction equipment telematics. Starting with the integration of telematics devices in vehicles right from the manufacturers, to the standardization and integration of telematics data across various business functions, the future of telematics has never seemed so full of potential for fleet based businesses. Perhaps more than any other industry, the construction industry is set to reap the benefits of the seismic shift taking place in construction equipment telematics.

Construction Adds 11,000 Jobs in May

June 5, 2017
Tom Ichniowski - Engineering News-Record

The construction industry added 11,000 jobs during May and its unemployment rate improved from April’s level but it was slightly worse than the year-earlier figure, the Labor Dept. has reported.

Mr. Ichniowski may be contacted at

Construction Women Push To Earn What They're Worth

May 10, 2017
Debra K. Rubin - Engineering News-Record

Noting their contributions to "the power of the purse" for their employers, women in construction are pushing for parity in compensation, which continues to lag behind that of male peers.

Ms. Rubin may be contacted at

The Unfulfilled Expectations of Prefabrication

May 3, 2017
Jim Parsons - Engineering News-Record

Many of us have experienced that proverbial “lightbulb moment,” a flash of insight when the complexities of a new or challenging concept finally make sense. But when it comes to the nuances of prefabrication, a recent industry survey says many contractors are still in the dark.

ENR may be contacted at

Survey: Workers Intentionally Take 'Calculated' Safety Risks

April 20, 2017
Scott Van Voorhis - Engineering News-Record

A survey of construction workers across the country finds that, at least sometimes, more than half purposefully ignore their training to take "calculated risks" on the worksite.

ENR may be contacted at

State Dept. Plans 6 More Embassy Contracts This Year

April 13, 2017
Tom Ichniowski - Engineering News-Record

The State Dept. is pushing forward with its embassy construction program, expecting to award contracts this year to build four new facilities and renovate two others. It also is seeking a cadre of design teams for a range of tasks on unspecified future projects. But the program’s 2018 funding won’t be determined for months.

Mr. Ichniowski may be contacted at

How 'Normal' Activities Led to Three Fatal Construction Accidents

April 5, 2017
Richard Korman - Engineerings News-Record

At these jobsites, sloppy practices seem to have been routine, or normalized, and deadly. A Kentucky trench excavation (above) was braced by a trench box, creating a feeling of security, but the trench box was too short. During a collapse, spoil piled at the edge of the trench poured in, killing a 19-year-old laborer, according to a report from the state’s Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program.

Mr. Korman may be contacted at

Subcontractor Sentenced in Chicago DBE Fraud Case

March 29, 2017
Jim Parsons - Engineering News-Record

A former Chicago-area concrete and carpentry subcontractor has been sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for fronting a women’s business enterprise/disadvantaged business enterprise (WBE/DBE) fraud scheme that involved multiple major public infrastructure projects.

ENR may be contacted at

How To Fix Oroville Dam

March 22, 2017
Henry W. Burke - Engineering News-Record

On Sunday, Feb. 12, California officials ordered the immediate, mandatory evacuation of 188,000 residents from towns below the Oroville Dam. Two days later, when federal and state officials deemed the dam safe, the evacuation order was rescinded, and people were allowed to return to their homes. It isn't often that hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. have to leave their homes because of worries about a catastrophic structural failure.

ENR may be contacted at

Trip Up the Grim Reaper with a Safety Program

March 16, 2017
Duane Craig - Construction Informer

People who are serious about business won’t tell you that planning doesn’t work. Yet, that’s what countless small businesses do when they “wing it,” instead of having a safety program. Why? Because a safety program is really about so much more than just putting a ‘method to the madness.’ It also really helps to make people more aware and thoughtful about the dangers they face everyday. That’s exactly what’s needed to avoid the madness you see below.

Mr. Craig may be contacted at

DHS Seeks Proposals for Border-Wall Prototypes

March 1, 2017
Tom Ichniowski - Engineering News-Record

In a step toward meeting one of President Trump’s most prominent campaign pledges, the Dept. of Homeland Security is seeking firms to provide prototypes of a U.S.-Mexico border barrier.

Mr. Ichniowski may be contacted at

Actions by Judges and Lawmakers Could Alter Contracting in California

February 23, 2017
JT Long & Debra K. Rubin - Engineering News-Record

Separate actions earlier this month by California Supreme Court justices and two state legislators could set some new parameters for construction contracting in the state.

Ms. Rubin may be contacted at

Senate Bill Would Bar Davis-Bacon on Highway Construction Projects

February 16, 2017
John Guzzon - Engineering News-Record

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) is pushing legislation that would suspend the Davis-Bacon Act’s prevailing-wage provisions on federal highway construction contracts. Supporters of Flake’s bill include the Associated Builders and Contractors. But leaders of the building-trade unions blasted the proposal.

Mr. Guzzon may be contacted at

House Votes to Derail Contractor 'Blacklisting' Rule

February 2, 2017
Tom Ichniowski - Engineering News-Record

The House has voted to block an Obama administration regulation that would require prospective federal contractors to disclose past violations of labor and workplace-safety laws to qualify to bid on federal work.

Mr. Ichniowski may be contacted at

Silica Rule Dustup at World of Concrete 2017

January 26, 2017
Jeff Rubenstone – Engineering News-Record

Crowds were somewhat subdued at the World of Concrete equipment show, held in Las Vegas on Jan. 17-20. But while many of the more than 50,000 attendees were eager to try out ride-on concrete trowels and carnival-style games at outdoor exhibitor booths, the largest crowds on the show floor lingered at displays explaining compliance with the silica-dust exposure rule, issued last year by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The rule, which limits workers’ exposure to harmful silica dust, went into effect on June 23, 2016, and construction companies have until June 23, 2017, to fully comply.

Mr. Rubenstone may be contacted at

Energy Sector Supports 2 Million Construction Jobs, Says Analysis

January 19, 2017
Pam Radtke Russell - Engineering News-Record

More than two million construction workers are employed in energy-related activities, according to the U.S. Energy Dept’s second annual national energy employment analysis released Jan. 13.

ENR may be contacted at


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