Better Indoor Environments with Real-Time IoT Data

January 21, 2019
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

Homes and other properties contain an increasing number of IoT sensors and smart devices that provide data relating to their environment. Cozify wanted to demonstrate how that data could be used to create comfortable indoor conditions for people, and save money while doing so.

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at aec-business@aepartners.fi


Viewpoint: Recruiting Efforts Alone Won’t Solve the Skilled Trade Shortage

January 15, 2019
Debbie Burkett - Engineering News-Record

Aggressive recruiting tactics have become commonplace in response to skilled trade shortages, and even small organizations and specialty contractors are hiring dedicated recruiters to get bodies through the door and into the field at a frantic pace.

ENR may be contacted at ENR.com@bnpmedia.com


U.S. Housing Starts Top Forecasts, Permits Rise to Seven-Month High

January 9, 2019
Sho Chandra - Bloomberg

U.S. new-home construction rebounded last month to the best pace since August while permits rose to a seven-month high, a sign homebuilding is potentially stabilizing even as higher prices and borrowing costs pose headwinds.


Florida Ranks First on Merit Shop Scorecard; Illinois Remains Last

January 2, 2019
Joanna Masterson - Construction Executive

Florida jumped from ninth place to first place on Associated Builders and Contractors’ 2018 Merit Shop Scorecard based on the state’s free enterprise and open competition approach to the construction sector, increased career and technical education opportunities, and job growth rates. Now in its fourth year, the scorecard rates laws, programs, policies and statistics to highlight states that have created the conditions for growth and identify areas where strategic improvements are needed.

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


U.S. Existing-Home Sales Rise for First Time in Seven Months

December 19, 2018
Katia Dmitrieva - Bloomberg

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose in October for the first time in seven months, suggesting demand is stabilizing at a lower level as available properties become less scarce.


U.S. Housing Starts Rise as Apartment Groundbreaking Gains

December 11, 2018
Katia Dmitrieva - Bloomberg

U.S. new-home construction picked up in October on a rebound in apartments and other multifamily housing, offering some hope that the market is stabilizing despite rising prices and borrowing costs.


OSHA Releases Final Crane Rule

December 4, 2018
Jeff Rubenstone - Engineering News-Record

The Occupational Safety and Heath Administration published the final version of its new crane rule on Nov. 9, which covers training and certification for crane operators. The rule is a revision of a draft version published in May 2018, and it removes the need to certify operators by crane capacity rather than just type of crane.

Mr. Rubenstone may be contacted at rubenstonej@enr.com


Homebuilders Finally See Some Relief After Analyst Upgrade

November 28, 2018
Lily Katz, Natalie Pertsovsky, & Vildana Hajric - Bloomberg

An exchange-traded fund tracking homebuilders climbed the most in more than six months Thursday, offering the battered sector a reprieve, following a bullish call on Wall Street and a rebound in U.S. pending home sales.

The 36-company SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF, known as XHB, rose as much as 3.3 percent, the most intraday since April 4, after Evercore ISI analyst Stephen Kim upgraded six stocks. He said the sector’s winter rally, which usually begins in October or November, has “an impressive track record of outperformance.” Meritage Homes Corp., which was upgraded to overweight, jumped as much as 9.4 percent in its biggest gain since January 2016.


Thwarting the Worst of Hurricane Irma

November 21, 2018
Joanna Masterson - Construction Executive

Insurance companies, homebuilders, and city and county officials are still assessing residential and commercial building damage after Hurricane Irma tore through South Florida on Sept 10, but in general, the stricter building codes enforced after Hurricane Andrew did their job.

“Florida has the strongest wind-load building code in the United States, and by and large the code is paying dividends,” says Peter Dyga, president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) Florida East Coast Chapter, located in Coconut Creek. “But hurricanes are very powerful storms. Property damage is 25 times worse for a Category 4 storm and 50 times worse for a Category 5 storm than the damage caused by a weaker Category 2 storm.”

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


Vornado NYC Luxury Condos ‘Exceeded all Expectations,’ CEO Says

November 14, 2018
Noah Buhayar - Bloomberg

Vornado Realty Trust’s Manhattan luxury-condo tower has “exceeded all expectations,” even with suggestions of a slowdown in the high-end market, the developer’s chief executive officer said.

The project, at 220 Central Park South, is “approaching 85 percent sold” and stands to produce $1 billion in profit, Steven Roth said Tuesday on a conference call with analysts. Of the tower’s 27 full-floor apartments, 26 are under contract, with two of those deals signed just this month, he said.


U.S. Homebuilder Sentiment Unexpectedly Rises With Solid Demand

November 6, 2018
Sarah Foster - Bloomberg

Confidence among U.S. homebuilders unexpectedly rose in October, registering the first gain in five months amid falling lumber prices and solid demand, according to a report Tuesday from the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo.


Kenya Sees $545 Million for Affordable-Housing Fund in 2018

October 30, 2018
Adelaide Changole - Bloomberg

Kenya plans to raise as much as 55 billion shillings ($545 million) this fiscal year for an affordable-housing fund through a new tax, helping the state to finance 500,000 new low-income units promised by President Uhuru Kenyatta.


Raising the Bar for Project Coordinators

October 23, 2018
Lauren Pinch - Construction Executive

When contractors talk certification, they’re often referring to apprenticeship, craft training and safety qualifications for field workers. But at a time when the industry is eager to fill jobs and skills gaps across the board, from the office to the field, some firms are getting creative to help all types of construction employees reach the next level of leadership.

Associated Builders and Contractors’ Wisconsin Chapter is already ahead of the game. Through its award-winning Construction U certificate programs, the chapter provides practical, management-level education for local employees who learn how to better plan, organize, communicate and monitor their daily activities, while leveraging both the hard and soft skills necessary to overcome obstacles with increased confidence.

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


Five Steps to Make Your Home More Cyber Secure

October 16, 2018
Michael Jervis - White and Williams LLP

October has been designated National Cyber Security Awareness Month by the Department of Homeland Security, and in the first week of the month we are focusing on developing good cybersecurity habits in our most personal spaces – our homes. Most of us are aware that in the age of nearly ubiquitous WiFi, as well as the near-constant presence of mobile phones, the cyber world extends into our living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens. Anywhere the internet reaches, so do the cyber threats. The seemingly constant stream of news about cyber threats and attacks can seem daunting, but there are several things we can all do in as little as a few hours that will go a long way to staving off many of the most common threats.

Mr. Jervis may be contacted at jervism@whiteandwilliams.com


Amazon Comes Up With Another Way to Get Alexa Into Your Home

October 9, 2018
Noah Buhayar - Bloomberg

Amazon.com Inc. has shown a boundless desire to put its Alexa smart-home devices in every nook and cranny of people’s houses. Just last week, it announced a raft of new gadgets, including a microwave and clock.

Now it’s making its first bet on a homebuilder.

The Seattle-based Internet giant is investing in a $6.7 million fundraising round for Plant Prefab, a California company that manufactures modules that can be assembled quickly into a home at a job site. The wager is being made through the Alexa Fund, a pool of capital Amazon created in 2015 to back startups working on new uses for voice technology.


Canadian Home Sales Rise for a Fourth Straight Month

October 2, 2018
Greg Quinn - Bloomberg

Canada’s housing market showed continued signs of stabilizing in August, with sales rising for a fourth straight month and prices easing.

The number of transactions rose 0.9 percent from July to 39,366 units, the Canadian Real Estate Association said Monday from Ottawa. Sales in Toronto, the nation’s biggest city, advanced 2.2 percent and rose 2.9 percent in Vancouver.


Hurricane Florence Takes Center Stage at North Carolina Builder Gathering

September 25, 2018
Prashant Gopal - Bloomberg

The North Carolina Home Builders Association's three-day conference has just gotten under way, but as Hurricane Florence bears down, some of the 2,000 attendees are leaving early to prepare for the worst.


Florence's Floods Obscure Damage Inflicted on Carolinas

September 18, 2018
Mark Niquette, Rachel Adams-Heard, & Olivia Carville - Bloomberg

Record-setting, still-rising floods covering much of eastern North Carolina are preventing companies, regulators and environmental groups from making a comprehensive assessment of damage from Hurricane Florence.

Reprinted courtesy of Bloomberg journalists Mark Niquette, Rachel Adams-Heard and Olivia Carville


Smart Cities May Stall, But Smarter Communities Are Surging

September 10, 2018
Tom Sawyer - Engineering News-Record

A vision of the future with smart, efficient, utopian, technology-empowered “smart cities” has gleamed on the horizon for years. The concept offers vague promises that all of a city’s infrastructure and operations will be connecting, communicating and automatically adjusting facilities and services to deliver ever higher levels of satisfaction and efficiency.

Mr. Sawyer may be contacted at sawyert@enr.com


New Homes Look Like a Deal, at Least Compared With Existing Ones

September 5, 2018
Prashant Gopal - Bloomberg

What’s happening to the new-home premium?

The average new home in the U.S. went for $324,467 in June, 28 percent more than the $254,200 price for existing homes, according to data from John Burns Real Estate Consulting LLC. That’s down from a 37 percent gap in 2015 and is the smallest difference since the end of 2010.


U.S. Housing Starts Rebounded in July on Single-Family Gain

August 29, 2018
Sho Chandra - Bloomberg

U.S. new-home construction rose less than forecast in July amid a rebound in groundbreaking for single- and multi-family houses, indicating the industry was trying to regain its footing at the start of the second half.

Key Takeaways
A strong labor market, lower taxes and improved finances are providing support to demand for housing, which indicates that homebuilding will keep expanding, albeit at a slower pace.


Toll Brothers Surges Most Since 2011 on Gain in Home Orders

August 21, 2018
Prashant Gopal - Bloomberg

Toll Brothers Inc. surged after the biggest U.S. luxury-home builder reported rising orders, revenue and backlog, a sign to investors that wealthy buyers are feeling confident enough to make purchases despite talk of a housing slowdown.

The company reported a 27 percent increase in quarterly revenue and an 18 percent gain in signed contracts per Toll housing community. The value of the builder’s backlog at the end of last month was $6.48 billion, up 22 percent and “the highest at third-quarter end in a dozen years,” Toll Chief Financial Officer Marty Connor said in a statement.


P3 Delivers Architect's Original Vision for Gateway Arch Park

August 15, 2018
Jeff Yoders – Engineering News-Record

The largest public-private partnership investment in a national park is delivering a new experience for visitors to the landmark Gateway Arch in St. Louis, which was designed by the late-architect Eero Saarinen. The 10-year path to the opening this month was full of hurdles, including floods. And the project’s 46,000-sq-ft underground visitor center expansion needed to be built without shutting down the arch, which gets nearly 3 million visitors each year.

Mr. Yoders may be contacted at yodersj@enr.com


HomeBuilder Organizations Respond to Trump’s Executive Order for Job Training

August 8, 2018
Beverley BevenFlorez-CDJ STAFF

As part of President Trump’s Executive Order demanding more job training in high-demand industries, “[t]he National Association of Home Builders and the Home Builders Institute promise to train 50,000 in homebuilding careers over the next five years,” according to National Mortgage News. The Department of Labor recently provided guidelines for the “industry-led apprenticeship programs.” National Mortgage News reported that “[t]he next steps for the organizations include obtaining a determination that their apprenticeship practices meet the criteria set forth by the DOL.”



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