Contributed by Eric D. Lussier
With 2018 behind us, and with that another great year of articles, podcasts and many workshops across the nation (and even one in Canada), Let’s Fix Construction looks forward to 2019, as do many others. A new year starts with fresh energy, renewed spirit, a hopeful change of habits and a positive outlook.
With 2019 facing us and 2018 in the rearview mirror, Let’s Fix Construction is using this post for a Call to Arms. A challenge, if you will. Hopefully you can identify your role, or more than one, in this list. Don’t see a challenge that calls to you? Identify your own. Step out of your comfort zone and move yourself and the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry forward.
Educate yourself before you proceed with your project, especially if it is your first one! Take the time to learn the roles of the major players in a building project. Vet your architect, construction manager, general contractor and any other major contractor or consultant that you are going to be contractually obligated to. You don’t have to be best friends, but it will go a long way if you know who you will be working with and get along with them. What makes them tick? What sets them off? What are their expectations? What are their expectations of you? And in the end, if you really want to educate yourself about a project, get a copy of the Construction Specifications Institute’s ‘Project Delivery Practice Guide’. It could just be the best $129 you’ve ever spent. AND save you a thousand-fold in the long run.
Projects are getting increasingly complex and the demands on you, your supporting staff and ultimately, your entire office are growing as well. The world we live in changes rapidly and with that the demands that are put on all the major players in a project. You’re being asked to do much more in much less time for the same amount of money. Practice saying no. Don’t be afraid to lose a client that expects more from you without understanding your point of view. Make sure you and your staff are compensated appropriately for your time. Track all costs and analyze your data. If you are able to reference a completed project that is similar in size and scope of a new project you are working on, you will be able to substantiate to the Owner why you have the requests, both financial and otherwise, that you do.
Contributed by Eric Weisbrot
Construction as an industry has noticeably lagged in moving operations toward a more digital realm compared to other business verticals. A report published by McKinsey in 2017 highlighted this truth, citing a near stagnant rate of productivity growth among construction businesses. Comparing that to the 1,500 percent growth of industries like manufacturing and agriculture, it is clear construction is ripe for disruption. But those who have earned a living from the construction business, including licensed and bonded contractors and project managers, have been slow to adopt new technology over the years.
Now, however, the industry is in dire need of change. Many statistics show a labor shortage in construction, high occurrences of waste and inefficiencies on job sites, as well as skyrocketing budgets and capital spending for substantial projects. In order to combat these growing concerns and bring technology into the fold, the construction environment is starting to grasp the power of the following revolutionary changes fueled by technological tools and resources. Here are seven ways technology is influencing construction today.
Countless technology firms are focusing their energy on developing autonomous construction machinery, some led by former tech company engineers and designers. Self-operating machines, including bulldozers, excavators, and cranes, are already operating on sites around the world. Their mainstream entrance into the market is imminent in the next several years. Machines that do not require a human touch can be used to tackle repetitive, simple tasks that take skilled workers significant time and effort to complete. The inclusion of robotics in construction has the potential to reduce waste and inefficiencies across the board.
Drones and 3D Printing
In addition to self-operating machinery, the technology behind drones and 3D printing is also making its debut in the construction field. Drones have been used to help monitor job site progress, as well as lend a hand in the inspection process for projects both small and large. 3D printing offers a new way of designing projects and creating some structures that would otherwise require ample time and effort by individual construction professionals. These technologies have other far-reaching implications in construction as they become more developed and more widely used.
Contributed by Eric D. Lussier
Let’s raise construction as an option in the eyes of the world."
This sentence was penned by Thad Goodman, in an article entitled "It's an Image Problem", which you can read here on the Let's Fix Construction blog. Thad also states "one of the bigger issues we have currently is labor. Or should I say a lack of it."
So, when one of the largest private employers in the United States last week announced a $50 MILLION commitment to train 20,000 new construction workers over the next ten years, Thad's concerns from August of 2017 seem to be validated. That employer, The Home Depot, ranks fifth (as of 2016) in total number of employees with 406,000, and while they depend on skilled trades to shop at their establishments across the Nation, they also rely on tradesmen to install construction materials and appliances for their customers directly.
In the coverage of the Home Depot news, the USA Today stated that '84% of contractors surveyed by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo in December cited availability of workers and cost as their most significant problems last year'.
Our hope is that more of the major names in the construction industry step forward to address the concern about the lack of the skilled trades, across all industries within AEC.
Please read on for the entire press release from Home Depot, which you can also read here.
ATLANTA, March 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, The Home Depot® Foundation announced a $50 million commitment to train 20,000 tradespeople over the next 10 years in order to fill the growing skilled labor gap.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently 158,000 unfilled construction sector jobs in the U.S. – a number that is expected to increase significantly as tradespeople retire over the next decade. The ratio of construction job openings to hirings, as measured by the Department of Labor, is at its highest level since 2007.
In 2017, The Home Depot Foundation launched a pilot trades training program for separating military members in partnership with nonprofit Home Builders Institute (HBI) on Ft. Stewart and Ft. Bragg. The first set of students will graduate this March. The 12-week pre-apprenticeship certification program, which is provided at no cost to students, uses an industry-based curriculum recognized by the Department of Labor that integrates work-based learning with technical and academic skills. The program, which has a job placement rate of more than 90 percent, will now roll out on additional bases across the United States.
“We want to bring shop class back, from coast-to-coast,” said Shannon Gerber, executive director of The Home Depot Foundation. “We’re thrilled to train 20,000 next-generation plumbers, electricians, carpenters and beyond. It’s a true honor to welcome our first classes of separating soldiers as they transition to civilian life and into successful careers in the trades.”
“HBI has a 50-year history of training individuals with the skills they need to succeed in the building industry. Our program prepares men and women for high-growth careers in the industry after leaving military service,” said HBI CEO John Courson. “With 200,000 service members separating from the military every year, our partnership with The Home Depot Foundation enables us to serve more veterans across the country.”
In addition to serving separating military members, The Home Depot Foundation is establishing an advanced level trades training program in partnership with the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA) for residents of Atlanta’s Westside community. Over the next 10 years, the Foundation will expand training support to include the broader veteran community as well as underserved high schools across the United States.
Today’s announcement expands The Home Depot Foundation’s mission beyond its existing quarter-of-a-billion dollar commitment to veteran housing, as well as its commitment to serve communities impacted by natural disasters.
About The Home Depot Foundation
The Home Depot Foundation works to improve the homes and lives of U.S. veterans, train skilled tradespeople to fill the labor gap and support communities impacted by natural disasters.
Since 2011, the Foundation has invested nearly a quarter-of-a-billion dollars in veteran-related causes and improved more than 37,000 veteran homes and facilities. In 2018, the Foundation committed an additional $50 million dollars to train 20,000 skilled tradespeople over the next 10 years starting with separating military members and veterans, at-risk youth and members of the Atlanta Westside community.
To learn more about The Home Depot Foundation and see Team Depot in action, visit thd.co/community and follow us on Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram @teamdepot and on Facebook at facebook.com/teamdepot.
HBI is a national nonprofit that provides training, curriculum development and job placement services for the building industry. With overall program job placement rates at over 85 percent for graduates, HBI training programs are taught in local communities across the country to at-risk youth, veterans, transitioning military members, justice-involved youth and adults, and displaced workers. Visit www.hbi.org for more information.
For more information, contact:
Financial Community News Media
Isabel Janci Amy Crouse
Investor Relations Public Relations
Contributed by Randy Nishimura
Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’re probably aware of the growing interest in and use of mass timber as a construction system in increasingly significant (larger and taller) buildings. I wrote previously following a tour last year of a CLT plant in Riddle, OR, architects are quickly latching onto mass timber because of its sustainable attributes. Mass timber structural products can outperform steel and concrete, whether the metric used is embodied energy or the amount of air and water pollution produced during their extraction and processing. Additionally, wood products sequester carbon and are derived from renewable resources.
Despite the greater awareness and appeal of mass timber as a viable alternative to steel and concrete for primary structural systems in larger buildings, its use remains a challenge because current building codes have been slow to recognize its inherent fire-resistive properties, resilience, and ability to be assembled by means capable of resisting seismic forces comparable to steel or concrete alternatives.
A recent CSI-Willamette Valley Chapter meeting was a real treat, as Eric McDonnell, a structural engineer and associate with KPFF, built a solid case in favor of mass timber construction systems. As someone who’s been at the forefront of the development of emerging industry standards for CLT use, Eric was eminently qualified to deliver a technically comprehensive, yet concise, primer on the topic to our audience.
Eric originally joined the KPFF San Francisco office in 2005, but left in 2010 to respond to a strong need in New Zealand for structural engineers capable of completing damage assessments and helping with the rebuilding process following the Canterbury Region earthquakes. He rejoined KPFF after two years of work in Christchurch, relocating to the firm’s Portland office.
Eric’s experience in Christchurch proved invaluable, as the damage wrought by the massive earthquakes served as a real-world laboratory for him and other structural engineers. Eric could see firsthand how the buildings there—designed and constructed in a similar fashion to those here in the U.S.—had performed. The vast majority of buildings engineered to meet modern codes did achieve their life safety performance objective; however, the central business district was cordoned off for two years and more than 1,000 buildings ultimately were demolished because the cost to repair them was too great. In that aftermath, public entities, engineers, and the general public began to ask whether it was reasonable to expect better outcomes in the wake of a seismic event. The notion of low-damage or resilient design took off in earnest.
Contributed by Cherise Lakeside
Once again in 2018, Eric and I are honored to be invited back to participate on the CONSTRUCT Education Advisory Council. CONSTRUCT, which will be held in Long Beach, CA from October 3-5, 2018, is the only dedicated national trade show and educational conference for the commercial building teams that spec, source and purchase building products and coincidentally, is where he and I met in Phoenix in 2011. The Advisory Council is a group of 13 professionals from a variety of disciplines in Architecture, Engineering and Construction that represent a wide range of experience and expertise. We work together to review and select from the submissions to present at CONSTRUCT to help create the best slate of educational content possible. You can read the full press release from Informa immediately below this post.
CONSTRUCT and Let’s Fix Construction share a similar mission. It is a mission of bringing many members of our industry together where we can learn, share and grow as professionals. Not only does this help us do our own job better, but it also increases our awareness and knowledge of how other members of the project team approach the same topics and issues. This fully open lens and view of the challenges we face every day is a game changer.
We would like to personally invite our readers and/or listeners to bring their expertise to the table. CONSTRUCT is looking for a wide range of topics for the event in Long Beach in October. All of the information and the submission form can be found on the Call for Sessions page at the CONSTRUCT website. Proposed presentations are welcome from anyone who works in the built environment are are due by January 31, 2018. We want you!
You can also hear more about CONSTRUCT and the Call for Sessions on our latest podcast, which you can listen to on your favorite podcast player, or here: www.letsfixconstruction.com/podcast/ep-004.
We hope to see you in Long Beach!
Official Press Release - CONSTRUCT Call For Sessions
CONSTRUCT 2018 invites application submissions to present at the 2018 event, taking place on October 3-5 at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center in Long Beach, CA. CONSTRUCT welcomes compelling proposals that address a wide range of topics relevant to the commercial building team and those who design, build, specify, engineer, renovate and operate in the built environment.
With over 40 accredited sessions and non-conflicting exhibit hall hours, the education program is an integral part of the CONSTRUCT event experience for specifiers, architects, designers, product reps, contractors, engineers, project managers, and other industry professionals.
Seeking dynamic speakers with a firm grasp of technical issues, including building scientists, researchers, architects, specifiers, contractors, owners and code experts, sessions are 60 – 120 minutes in length and should contain timely, practical information and solutions that can be immediately implemented in the workplace.
"Our goal for 2018 is to provide unique and engaging educational experiences utilizing a combination of learning formats, from case studies and panel discussions to small group discussions and hands-on learning. Additionally, our participants are hungry for intermediate to expert level content that they can’t get anywhere else" said Jennifer Hughes, Informa Education Manager. "We encourage dynamic professionals from all areas of the industry who can offer solution-based content, to submit a proposal.”
Topic submissions should focus on applications-oriented, real world, problem-solving topics and be free of promotional materials to sell a product or service.
The multi-track educational program includes technical and design oriented sessions, as well as business-related sessions including project management and legal topics.
The deadline for submitting a proposal is January 31, 2018. Session proposals should be submitted via the automated submission form at https://www.constructshow.com/en/education/speaking-opportunities.html. Questions should be directed to Jennifer Hughes, Informa Education Manager, at Jennifer.Hughes@informa.com or 972.536.6388.
For information about CONSTRUCT, please visit www.CONSTRUCTshow.com or call (866) 475-6707 or (972) 536-6450. Additional show information can be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/constructshow, Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/constructshow and Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/construct_show. Twitter users can follow the show using #CONSTRUCT
About the Event
CONSTRUCT is your most cost effective strategy for combining educational opportunities with practical, real-world, product and service solutions for your business success. This event is dedicated to the institutional, industrial and commercial building industry. If you design, build, specify, engineer, renovate or operate in the built environment, this is your event. The show is owned and produced by Informa Exhibitions U.S., Construction & Real Estate. For additional information, contact CONSTRUCT at P.O. Box 612128, Dallas, Texas 75261-2128; call the main show line at (866) 475-6707 or (972) 536-6450.
About Informa Exhibitions U.S., Construction & Real Estate
Informa operates at the heart of the Knowledge and Information economy. It is one of the world’s leading business intelligence, knowledge and events businesses with more than 6,000 employees in over 100 offices across 25 countries. The Dallas Exhibitions team produces a portfolio of 15 trade shows in various sectors of the construction and real estate industry. To learn more, visit www.informaexhibitions.com.
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