Two Techniques to Connect the Next Generation to the Trades

November 18, 2019
Jeremiah Hayes - Construction Executive

There is a mountain of research and discussion around the differences in generational value sets, work ethic and motivational drivers. Where this intersects with skilled trade work, there is a diminishing reservoir of the talent and passion that will build the next generation of schools, hospitals, courthouses and other traditional infrastructure.

In short, more people are leaving the trades than coming in. But, far worse (and rarely discussed) is the internal poverty this will bring to the reservoir of character, creativity and true satisfaction that companies will need foster if they are to endure in the decades to come. The mass migration from physical jobs to intellectual ones—while largely a positive trend—carries some damaging side effects to individuals and corporations if not intentionally managed at the organizational level.

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

South-East Asia’s Largest 3D-printer for Construction Operational in Singapore

November 12, 2019
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

South-East Asia’s largest 3D-printer for construction is declared operational in Singapore by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) in Singapore at the PEAK Forum on 11 September 2019.

This 3D concrete printer is capable of printing concrete components up to 9 m long, 3.5 m wide and 3.8 m tall. The 3D-printer is developed and operated for HDB by Witteveen+Bos South-East Asia Pte. Ltd. and the overall project is a joint effort of Robin Village Development Pte. Ltd., Nanyang Technological University and Witteveen+Bos.

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at

From Linear to Circular in Construction: An Interview with Lu Ying

November 4, 2019
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

Lu Ying recently co-founded Future Urban Living to explore sustainable solutions for businesses and cities in the Circular Economy through design thinking. Lu gave a great keynote speech at WDBE 2019 in Helsinki. We continue the discussion in this interview.

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at

ENR New York’s 2019 Best Projects: Woolworth Tower Residences

October 21, 2019
Engineering News-Record

The Woolworth Building, an iconic tower that was the world’s tallest in 1913, has been transformed into a mixed-use skyscraper—though it still has its Cass Gilbert-designed neo-Gothic facade, soaring arches and gargoyles.

ENR may be contacted at

ENR New York’s 2019 Best Projects: Fisher Houses

October 14, 2019
Engineering News-Record

Building the nonprofit Fisher House Foundation’s two 16-bedroom houses—where military and veterans’ families can stay free of charge while a loved one is receiving care at the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center in the Bronx—was no typical homebuilding effort. It required considerable logistical skill thanks to challenging site conditions.

ENR may be contacted at

Regional Builders Grow Revenue At A Steady Pace

October 7, 2019
Justin Rice - Engineering News-Record

Thanks to solid strength in the regional market, the 70 firms participating in this year’s ENR MidAtlantic Top Contractor survey posted a combined $27.7 billion in revenue from work performed and billed in 2018. That represents a 6% gain over the amount reported by a slightly different lineup of 70 firms in last year’s ranking from projects in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Mr. Rice may be contacted at

NYC Affordable Infill Housing Plan Puts Design First

September 30, 2019
Nadine M. Post - Engineering News-Record

The five finalists of an international design competition for affordable infill housing on scattered “sliver” sites, owned by New York City, are currently entering a capacity building phase with the city to convert their designs into viable development proposals. The city expects to assemble development teams early next year, receive their proposals next spring and make selections by next fall.

Ms. Post may be contacted at

Giving Heating Control to Residents is Good for the Environment

September 23, 2019
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

Heating in EU households accounts for 79% of the total energy consumption. In cold climate areas, like Finland, the percentage is even higher. Enermix set out to test how room-level control in district-heated apartment houses would affect the comfort of living and energy consumption.

“Our mission is to digitalize Finnish buildings, especially the existing ones,” says Janne Heinonen, the CEO of Enermix, a Finnish tech company. “We focus on existing buildings because the owners are still reluctant to invest in smart building solutions during construction because of the additional costs they entail. Another reason is that there’s not fierce competition in making old buildings smart.”

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at

More Housing? YIMBY, Please

September 16, 2019
Tyler Cowen - Bloomberg

The YIMBY movement is definitely on to something: In many parts of the world it is too difficult to build new housing. The result is that lower-income individuals are priced out of some of the world’s most productive cities, such as San Francisco and London, because of exorbitant rents.

U.S. Homebuilder Sentiment Improved in July on Stronger Sales

September 10, 2019
Ryan Haar - Bloomberg

Sentiment among U.S. homebuilders crept higher in July after falling the previous month, indicating lower mortgage rates are helping shore up demand.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose one point to 65 this month, according to a report Tuesday. Economists in a Bloomberg survey projected the gauge would hold at 64.

This VC Firm Is Persuading Real Estate Rivals to Become Friends

September 4, 2019
Patrick Clark & Lily Katz - Bloomberg

Fifth Wall employed an unusual strategy to raise its second venture fund: It got rival real estate companies to pool resources to invest in property-technology startups.

Los Angeles-based Fifth Wall said Wednesday that it closed the $503 million fund by bringing together mall owners, hotel companies and office developers. Four major U.S. homebuilders invested in the fund -- D.R. Horton Inc., Lennar Corp., PulteGroup Inc. and Toll Brothers Inc. -- as well as competing brokerages CBRE Group Inc. and Cushman & Wakefield Plc.

Powell Says Tariffs and Immigration May Be Slowing Homebuilding

August 26, 2019
Prashant Gopal & Reade Pickert - Bloomberg

The U.S. housing shortage has the attention of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Homebuilders are being held back by a “series of factors,” including higher materials costs, a skilled-labor shortage and President Donald Trump’s immigration and tariffs policies, Powell said during a Senate Banking Committee hearing Thursday.

U.K.’s Arcane Land-Ownership Rules Targeted by Labour Party

August 20, 2019
Will Mathis - Bloomberg

The opposition Labour Party took aim at one of the U.K.’s most controversial land-ownership rules, proposing to end a system that can leave some homeowners paying rent each year on the ground beneath their buildings.

So-called leaseholders, who own a house or flat but not the plot underneath, would have the right to buy that land for no more than 1% of the property’s value under Labour’s plan. The “ground rent” they pay each year to owners of the land beneath their buildings would also be capped, and the sale of new private leasehold homes would be stopped.

Lennar Rises as Strong New Home Orders Signal Improving Market

August 13, 2019
Prashant Gopal - Bloomberg

Lennar Corp., the first big U.S. homebuilder out of the gate this earnings cycle, reported quarterly orders that beat expectations. a sign that low mortgage rates are fueling demand. The shares rose.

In the three months through May, home-purchase contracts rose 1% from a year earlier to 14,518 homes, the Miami-based company said in a statement Tuesday.

U.S. Existing Home Sales Top Estimates as All Four Regions Gain

August 6, 2019
Katia Dmitrieva - Bloomberg

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rebounded in May to a three-month high as all regions gained amid lower interest rates and a labor market that remains strong.

Contract closings rose to 5.34 million annual rate, topping projections and climbing 2.5% from April’s upwardly revised pace, the National Association of Realtors said Friday. The median sales price rose 4.8% from a year earlier to $277,700.

U.S. Housing Starts Stabilize as Building Permits Edge Up

July 30, 2019
Reade Pickert - Bloomberg

U.S. new-home construction fell in May after an April reading that was stronger than initially reported, signaling stabilization in the market amid lower borrowing costs.

Residential starts dropped 0.9% to a 1.27 million annualized rate after a revised 1.28 million pace in the prior month, according to government figures released Tuesday that compared with a 1.24 million estimate in Bloomberg’s survey. Permits, a proxy for future construction, increased 0.3% to a 1.29 million rate that was about in line with estimates.

A Reminder to Renew Your Public Works Registration by June 30, 2019

July 22, 2019
Garret Murai - California Construction Law Blog

A friendly reminder from the folks at the CSLB . . .

June 24, 2019 CSLB #19-05
Public Works Contractors: Renew Your Registration Online by End of This Month

Contractors can now register for one, two, or three fiscal years
The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) are informing public works contractors that their registration will expire on June 30. The public works contractor registration application was recently updated to process applications within one business day when paid by credit card, and provide the applicant with a credit card receipt.

Mr. Murai may be contacted at

Samsung Bets It Can Sell Smart-Home Tech by Building the Homes

July 15, 2019
Sam Kim & Kyunghee Park - Bloomberg

For years, Samsung has pitched customers internet-connected TVs, refrigerators, and other cornerstones of the home re-imagined for the data-overload era. Now the South Korean engineering-to-gadgets conglomerate is trying to go a step further: making the home itself.

Inside an airy, lavish model house in Seoul, Samsung’s virtual assistant, Bixby, can show visitors what’s inside the kitchen fridge while Amazon’s Alexa assistant controls the living-room lighting and A/C, and a speaker developed by Naver Corp. recommends music and TV shows. Samsung software overlays the in-house and competing products to create a unified control system, and so the company might someday be able to analyze the data created to refine its so-called internet of things.

This House Is Built to Stare Down a Hurricane

July 9, 2019
Jim Efstathiou Jr & Prashant Gopal - Bloomberg

Breezy Point is beautiful in the summertime, a quaint neighborhood sitting on a slim peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic just south of New York City.

In a storm, though, that dreamy setting can become a nightmare.

Luxury Home Sales Boom in Sao Paulo With Low Rates Spurring Demand

July 1, 2019
Cristiane Lucchesi - Bloomberg

It took less than a month to sell half the units in a Sao Paulo luxury apartment building earlier this year, even though construction won’t be complete until 2022. And one brokerage that specializes in high-end real estate saw its revenue double in the first four months of this year.

The luxury residential-property market in Brazil’s biggest city is booming with demand from rich Brazilians, fed up with the toll record low interest rates are taking on their portfolios. Gone are the days of double-digit returns on simple treasury securities, so many of the rich are trying to capitalize on soaring prices in the high-end real estate market.

U.S. Homebuilder Sentiment Rises to Seven-Month High in May

June 25, 2019
Reade Pickert - Bloomberg

Sentiment among U.S. homebuilders increased in May by more than expected, sustaining this year’s upward swing on stronger sales and lower mortgage rates.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose to 66, the highest level since October as all three main measures increased, according to a report Wednesday. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view conditions as good than poor.
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U.S. Housing Starts Climb More Than Forecast as Permits Rise

June 18, 2019
Reade Pickert - Bloomberg

U.S. new-home construction rose for a second month and topped estimates in April in a sign of positive momentum for the housing sector at the start of the second quarter.

Residential starts increased 5.7% to a 1.24 million annualized rate after a 1.7% gain in March that was previously reported as a drop, according to government figures released Thursday. Permits, a proxy for future construction, advanced 0.6% to a 1.30 million rate.
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Living Building Challenge Group Relaxes Requirements

June 10, 2019
Nadine M. Post - Engineering News-Record

The International Living Future Institute, steward of the world’s most demanding sustainable-building program, is no longer satisfied with its boutique status as a third-party certifier of super-green buildings. ILFI, on a course to scale up the number of participants and scale down the rigors of its Living Building Challenge, recently introduced a less rigorous option for LBC certification, called Core Green Building Certification.

Ms. Post may be contacted at

Three Worker Fatalities in NYC in Single Week Prompt Focus on Safety

June 3, 2019
Eydie Cubarrubia - Engineering News-Record

After three New York City construction workers died on the job within six days, officials are demanding stronger safety measures and promising punitive action against those responsible.

Ms. Cubarrubia may be contacted at


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