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 ECONOMIC OUTLOOK 01The U.S. construction outlook is as bright as it seems. 

By Nathan Fisher

In business, there is such a thing as a good problem to have. For those in the construction industry who feel like business is booming, it might be because they find themselves declining to bid on good projects, grappling with work/life balance or struggling to hire enough of the right staff. But is the current U.S. construction boom just a feeling, or is the outlook as strong as it seems? According to economic data and your peers in the construction industry, the answer for now is yes. 

 BUILDING SKINS 01Building skin failures can be avoided.   

By Jeffrey C.F. Ng, Jennifer Keegan and Matthew Ridgway

Building skin failures generally stem from materials, components or assemblies that do not comply with project requirements, building codes or industry standards. They are objective, observable and measurable, becoming apparent throughout a building’s use and operation or through simulated testing. This means failures can be assessed, predicted, managed and mitigated.

 BECK TECH 01Collaboration is critical to growing innovation. 

By Michael Boren 

Problem solving is one of my favorite activities. Recently, I’ve gotten into creating custom cabinetry as a weekend hobby. Sketching designs, calculating the amount of material needed, and making sure all the tools are nearby is a regular occurrence around my house. However, I’m a hobbyist at this art form. Often, I ask other people on how to best approach a specific nook or cranny detail.

Modular articleYou can use technology for increased flexibility and profit.  

By Paul Jakse

In the May 16, 2012, article for Construction Today, the Modular Building Institute’s Executive Director Tom Hardiman voiced the institute’s desire to enhance awareness and reputation of modular buildings both in the United States and beyond. It worked. Demand for high quality, modular buildings has started to increase according to a May 2015 Global Industry Analysts Inc. report. Many sectors including government, corporate, education, construction, retail and residential account for the upswing. Google uses modular buildings, as does Yale University. Hotel News Now reports more hotel chains are using modular vs. stick-built construction, with modular increasing by 31 percent according to a 2015 Permanent Modular Building report. The up-trending retail pop-up store phenomenon, reported by TREND HUNTER Inc., is another example of growing opportunities.  

 SEXUAL HARASSMENT 01Take a proactive approach to sexual harassment policies.

By Brett Schneider and Michael Kantor

Unless you have been living under a rock the last few months, you have no doubt heard about the allegations of sexual harassment made against many high profile personalities, including Matt Lauer, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. 

However, Hollywood doesn’t have a monopoly on sexual harassment, and lawsuits have arisen in every industry. As more and more women enter previously male-dominated industries such as construction, employers must be very proactive to protect themselves from liability for employee claims of sexual harassment. 

There are three steps that can help construction companies reduce workplace harassment – make a plan, communicate the plan and make the plan work.

 OP RESIDENTIAL 01By Joshua Estrin

An unsecured construction site is a playground for vandals, thieves and trespassers. The 2017 "Construction Equipment Guide" reports that construction site theft costs the industry between $300 million and $1 billion annually. As a result, construction equipment on site as well as the dollar investment in the construction project demands that construction site security must be a priority.

The potential costs are staggering, so what is the solution? As with any construction management challenge, analyzing the hazard(s) of a specific job is integral and security is no different. Although jobsite security is multi-faceted, one of the greatest necessities is addressing the reality of trespassing.

Trespassers come in many different sizes and shapes and have just as many different intentions as to why they choose to trespass. Statistics collected by the American Association of Insurance Services (AAIS) and Insurance Service Offices (ISO) indicate that approximately 6.3 percent of builders risk losses are attributed to theft, burglary, robbery, vandalism and malicious mischief.

 OP INSTITUTIONAL 01By Jason Cocek

A decade ago, ask employees at virtually any construction and engineering firm and they would tell you one of the most popular services they offered was helping clients earn LEED certification. At the time of its introduction, it no doubt provided a number of firms enough work to keep employees busy during working hours and beyond.

Fast forward to 2017. LEED certification projects still come across the desks of construction professionals, but have likely become a smaller part of the daily workload. That’s not because it isn’t important and the certification isn’t valuable. Companies that meet the requirements get more than a nice plaque, but also save on their utility bills and can also qualify for a number of tax breaks.

The change in course has more to do with the fact that as an industry, the definition of a major buzzword is changing somewhat, which has in turn changed the focus of many companies.

 OP COMMERCIAL 01By Guy Skillett

On a typical construction project, there is one resource that dominates all other costs: labor. Up to 50 percent of the cost of construction can be attributed to the cost of the craft workforce. Not only is labor a significant cost on many projects, it’s also the most variable and the least understood. Construction sites are complex and rapidly changing, where unforeseen events like weather, equipment delays and worker turnover are all levers that can seriously impact productivity.

The construction industry often considers labor as a fixed cost, where little can be done to optimize craft performance and productivity. There’s some obvious reasons why this is the case. Construction is largely executed by subcontractors, where jobsite conditions and project execution are defined by planning and sequencing of work by contractors. Subcontractors are often not in control of all the factors that define project success.

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