Classification is the Bedrock to a Digital Built Environment

February 18, 2020
Andy Hamer - AEC Business

It seems we all agree the digitisation of construction and real estate is an imperative for buildings to be designed, constructed and operated more cost-effectively and deliver the changing needs of the building’s occupants.

There is much discussion about the benefits of AI, MI, Digital Twins and not forgetting BIM to support the digital transformation of the built environment. Yet I’m unconvinced these technologies will deliver their promised benefit without the whole supply chain addressing the underlying fundamental need to deliver structured data, and I repeat the need for structured data.

Keeping it Clean: Analytics Can Benefit Contractors—So Long as They Maintain Good ‘Data Hygiene’

February 10, 2020
Bruce Orr - AEC Business

Construction firms receive a flood of information these days—everything from sales pitches in their email inboxes, to cover stories in industry magazines—about the potential for data analytics to revolutionize what they do.

And it’s true that under the right circumstances shifting from siloed spreadsheets to advanced data warehouses and analytics engines can yield transformative insights.

Mr. Orr may be contacted at

Preparing Your Business For Internal Transition

February 3, 2020
Stephen P. Katz, Esq. - ConsensusDocs

When is it right to start thinking about succession planning and preparing a construction company for transition? Many would agree – in concept, at least – that serious thought regarding succession and transition planning should begin at a company’s inception and be revisited throughout its lifecycle, but as a practical matter, it is frequently not part of the mindset when growing a business. This article explores issues that construction company owners should consider in order to achieve smooth transition of ownership and control. We will address three critical questions:

  • What happens to the business when an owner retires;
  • In the event an owner(s) become disabled; and,
  • Unplanned exit/owner pre-deceases her/his exit from the company

Mr. Katz may be contacted at

FedBizOpps (FBO) is No More. It’s SAM’s Time Now.

January 27, 2020
Alexander Gorelik - Smith Currie

The Federal Government celebrated Veterans day in an unusual way this year. Over the long weekend, it finally decommissioned its long-time registry for bidding opportunities: From now on, the Government will post all of its future solicitations on a successor site at All of the previously issued solicitations have been moved over to the new site as well. Contractors do not need an account in order to search the new system, but will have to create one in order to follow (and receive updates about) a solicitation or save any searches.

Mr. Gorelik may be contacted at

AB5, Dynamex and the ABC Standard Exception for Construction-Related Trucking

January 20, 2020
Donald A. Velez - Smith Currie

Our earlier alert on AB5 outlined the Dynamex case, which brought the inflexible ABC Standard to California for determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor for IWC wage orders. The Legislature passed, and Governor Newsom signed, AB5, codifying the Dynamex case and the ABC Standard for wage orders, the Labor Code, unemployment insurance, and worker’s compensation issues.

We also discussed the Borello test, which applies when a hiring party can meet the construction or construction-related trucking exception and which applies a more employer friendly multi-factor test.

Mr. Velez may be contacted at

CEMEX Ventures Invests in X3 Builders, a Vertically Integrated General Contractor

January 13, 2020
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

CEMEX Ventures has announced its investment in X3 Builders. X3 Builders is a vertically integrated general contractor that combines architectural design, material procurement, and construction services to provide clients with a one-stop solution and a seamless transition from design to construction.

This California-based startup is a completely new type of general contractor due to its 100% technological approach. It provides real-time pricing during the design process to reduce cost uncertainty and wasteful redesign efforts. It also standardizes material selection and works directly with suppliers to procure materials, eliminating submittals and lead-time delays. Their in-house software helps to manage the process end-to-end, simplifying the complexities of construction and automating most of the construction administration and accounting process.

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at

Aiforsite: Manage a Construction Site like a Production Plant

January 6, 2020
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

A construction site is not a factory, so managing a construction project is unlike managing a production line. Aiforsite, a construction tech startup, uses video, IoT, and AI to make construction controllable – analogously to manufacturing.

“Contractors go to seminars and read about the benefits of digitalization. However, when they eventually want to buy a solution that would digitalize their construction sites, they come out empty-handed,” says Kari Hirvijärvi, the CEO of Aiforsite. “There are plenty of apps and services that are point solutions, that do not help to manage a site comprehensively. That’s where we come in.”

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at

IRS Notice 2019-43

January 1, 2020
David R. Cook - AHC Construction and Procurement Blog

Notice 2019-43 updates and clarifies the guidance provided in prior IRS notices regarding the beginning of construction for sections 45 and 48. Specifically, the notice provides that the Continuity Safe Harbor may be tolled and extended in certain limited circumstances involving significant national security concerns. One such concern is the route for the proposed transmission line which runs adjacent to a DOD facility. The DOD states that since the Plan raises significant concerns related to national security a proposed alternative route for the transmission line would be in the best interests of national security objectives.

Mr. Cook may be contacted at

Giant Mozambique LNG Project Goes to JGC-Fluor-Technip Team

December 22, 2019
Mary B. Powers - Engineering News-Record

A joint venture led by ExxonMobil awarded Fluor Corp. and two partners the $3.73-billion engineering procurement and construction contract for onshore facilities associated with a $30-billion liquefied natural gas project in Mozambique, the company confirmed October 8. The project would be Africa's largest private investment, said Bloomberg.

ENR may be contacted at

Replacement of Collapsed Genoa Bridge Slated To Open Next Year

December 16, 2019
Peter Reina - Engineering News-Record

Based on the current pace of construction, a 19-span replacement for the ill-fated Polcevera viaduct in Genoa, Italy, will open to traffic before investigators identify the cause of its disastrous collapse last year and prosecute any culpable individuals.

ENR may be contacted at

Corps Calls For $1 Billion Cape Cod Bridge Replacements

December 9, 2019
Johanna Knapschaefer - Engineering News-Record

Replacing two Cape Cod Canal bridges for an estimated $1 billion rather than rehabilitating them would be more cost-effective, according to a federal study announced on Oct. 3.

ENR may be contacted at

A Fifth Worker Loses Life on Orlando's I-4 Ultimate Job

December 2, 2019
Scott Judy - Engineering News-Record

Another deadly accident, the fifth, has taken the life of a worker on one of the nation's biggest road projects.

Mr. Judy may be contacted at

From CAD to Machines as Co-Designers

November 24, 2019
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

Finnish economics professor Osmo A. Wiio claimed that we typically overestimate the near future and underestimate the distant future. His thoughts resonate well with today’s perception of design automation.

Back in the 1980s, I took part in the first-ever Finnish “integrated CAD” projects, in which the architect, the structural, HVAC, and electrical engineers exchanged CAD files instead of blueprints. We used minicomputers, which had about as much computing power as today’s laser printer. Still, we were able to automate design tasks.

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at

The Fundamentals of the Construction Industry Are Strong, but Lingering Workforce Concerns Need Industry-Wide Action

November 18, 2019
Diane Earll - Construction Executive

The fundamentals of the commercial construction industry are strong and industry leaders are largely optimistic about the future of the sector, according to the latest USG Corporation + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index (CCI). Contractors report a healthy pipeline of new business and more than 50% expect to hire more people in the next six months.

But behind the headline numbers, one of the most persistent challenges in the construction industry is first recruiting, then training and retaining, skilled workers. Like manufacturing and other trade industries, the construction sector is grappling with an aging workforce, as well as a gender and skilled labor gap, which is causing builders to turn down work, submit higher bid levels and struggle to meet deadlines.

Reprinted courtesy of Diane Earll, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.

A 20-Year Odyssey To Widen Brays Bayou

November 12, 2019
Louise Poirier & Pam Radtke Russell - Engineering News-Record

After 20 years, the end of the $550-million Brays Bayou Flood Damage Reduction Project in Houston is finally in sight

Reprinted courtesy of Louise Poirier, ENR and Pam Radtke Russell, ENR
Ms. Poirier may be contacted at
Ms. Russell may be contacted at

Regional Contractors See Market Strength Continuing Through 2020

November 4, 2019
Mark Shaw - Engineering News-Record

The struggle to meet ever-shorter project schedules with a limited workforce continues to dominate daily life for most contractors across the region. Steady in-migration and an economic boom in Boise, Salt Lake City and along Colorado’s Front Range are driving demand for new projects as firms scramble to keep up with record growth in those areas.

Mr. Shaw may be contacted at

Attract More Women to Construction With a Female-Friendly Environment and Culture

October 21, 2019
RubinBrown LLP - Construction Executive

Even with a lot of focus recently on diversity in the workplace, construction is still a male-dominated industry. According to recent surveys, women make up less than 10% of the construction workforce.

There is a higher percentage of women serving in Congress (currently 23.7%) and in the active duty military (14%). Women do, in fact, make up 47% of the total civilian workforce. So, as the construction industry looks for ways to hire and develop skilled labor, diversity has become more important than ever.

There are several challenges to increasing diversity, specifically among women in construction that need to be addressed. These include unwelcome worksites, sexual harassment issues, flexibility and the perception by others that women on the team are not as capable for projects that require manual labor. It’s not the women, it’s the environment and the culture.

Reprinted courtesy of RubinBrown LLP, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.

Contractors Turn to Tech to Help Reduce Jobsite Safety Risks

October 15, 2019
Pete Schermerhorn - Construction Executive

Construction companies, project teams and even insurance companies are increasingly turning to digitalization, and more specifically the internet of things (IoT), to gain much-needed visibility on the jobsite to improve safety, reduce risk and operate more efficiently.

A new study released by Dodge Data & Analytics, in partnership with Triax Technologies, found that nearly three-quarters of contractors surveyed believe IoT will help them control occupational risks, and about half expect it to reduce risks to the public, as well as financial risks and those related to property damage and construction defects. These findings represent a dramatic shift in thinking when it comes to digitalization of the jobsite.

Reprinted courtesy of Pete Schermerhorn, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.

A How-to Guide for Recruiting Millennials to Construction

October 7, 2019
Darren Bounds - Construction Executive

Millennials are slowly taking over the workforce as baby boomers are exiting. By 2024, it is projected that three in four U.S. workers will be millennials. This is particularly impacting the construction industry, with more than 40% of the current construction workforce likely to be retired by 2031. This change is creating a labor gap that must be filled, but the problem is attracting millennial workers to the industry.

The rising workforce is quite different in comparison to its predecessor. The priorities have shifted. Millennials are after benefits and perks rather than pay, so much so that more than 80% of millennials would change jobs to obtain better benefits, and nearly 90% would pass up a pay raise in favor of benefits and perks.

Millennials will require a different approach to recruit, but it isn’t impossible. Below are a few steps contractors can take to attract them to their teams.

Reprinted courtesy of Darren Bounds, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.

Five Mounting Forces Disrupting the Construction Industry

September 30, 2019
Kelly Romano - Construction Executive

Demand for U.S. construction is healthy, growing 10% between 2016 and 2018, and now reaching $10 trillion in construction related goods and services globally (a staggering 13% of the world’s GDP) and $1.2 trillion in the U.S. Yet it’s an industry at a crossroads.

Consider these statistics:

  • 70% of contractors cited trouble finding skilled craft workers; 65% think it will not improve and could get worse.
  • More than half of large projects are delayed past their scheduled completion date, with more than two-thirds over budget.
  • MEP systems (lighting, power, lifts, plumbing, HVAC) now account for 40% of build costs. Their complexity has overwhelmed project management and ongoing building operations.

Reprinted courtesy of Kelly Romano, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.

Ms. Romano may be contacted at

Navigating Aggressive Construction Timelines in the Hospitality Sector

September 23, 2019
Kate Ivanova - Construction Executive

Hospitality construction and renovation work is unique in that, more often than not, it requires contractors to perform complex, bespoke, and intricate work while remaining invisible and inaudible. To eliminate disruptions to the typical flow of business, seldom do luxury hospitality venues close for construction. Instead, renovation and restoration projects must be completed in short, often aggressive timelines.

In addition to everyday construction challenges, aggressive timelines require general contractors to anticipate and plan for a number of scenarios. Inevitably, the one-of-a-kind Italian tile will get delayed in customs, or a spontaneous labor strike will prohibit ships from being unloaded, thus delaying critical materials to the jobsite. These occurrences cannot be used to rationalize delays.

Reprinted courtesy of Kate Ivanova, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.

Bridging the Gap Between Old and New Schools of Construction

September 16, 2019
Adam Quiñones - Construction Executive

It is undeniable that the construction industry is experiencing a period of expansion and success since the gloomy years of the great recession. This rapid growth in the volume of new construction has created unique opportunities for millennials to enter an industry in which entry-level positions are bountiful and the compensation is enticing.

However, young construction professionals are entering a workforce with one of the highest age gaps between senior-level managers and fledging graduates who are seeking life-long careers in construction. Studies show that the construction industry has surpassed all other industries in age gap from the beginning of the great recession to the present-day boom by about two years. The average age of construction professional currently sits at about 40, which means the industry is facing an era of transition where experienced project managers and superintendents are phasing out of their careers—and the void is being filled by a new generation of skilled workers.

Reprinted courtesy of Adam Quiñones, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.

Avoid Tax Trouble by Ensuring Construction Workers Are Correctly Classified

September 10, 2019
Gregory Seador - Construction Executive

With the recent increase in the number of federal and state task forces aimed at curbing tax fraud in the construction industry, construction companies would be wise to ensure their businesses are in compliance with the tax laws. One area in particular that has drawn increased scrutiny by federal and state tax authorities is the misclassification of construction workers as independent contractors instead of as employees of the business. Construction companies can reduce the risk of an audit and incurring costly penalties by accurately classifying its workers at the outset of the relationship.

Reprinted courtesy of Gregory Seador, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.

From Duct Taping to Reinventing Construction – an Interview with Steve Holzer

September 4, 2019
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

Construction tech is hot. The question is: Are the dollars are invested in contech reinventing the industry or are they merely adding patches to outdated processes? Steve Holzer, an industry expert and Product Evangelist at BIMobject, shares his views in this interview.

Steve Holzer’s LinkedIn profile details industry experience that starts from 1976 when he became the president and owner of Holzer Construction Company. Since then, he’s been on the cutting edge of AEC technology and, today, is an acknowledged tech expert and visionary.

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at


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