Distribution centers are big in every sense of the word, and getting bigger. Developers, retailers and investors are intensely focused on big-box distribution buildings, which encompass 250,000 to more than 500,000 square feet of floor space and have ceiling clear heights of 36 to 40 feet.

That’s big from every perspective, not least of which is user demand. Since 2009, the big-box  sector has consistently outperformed the rest of the industrial real estate sector, as large retailers have moved quickly to secure the best space and lock in low long-term rates. Now, as several years of a slow construction pace have thinned out large blocks of space, the big-box  market is seeing fast-rising rents and heightened investor demand.

“Employees aren’t just assets, they’re investments.” It’s a cliché, but it’s one of those clichés that carries the power of truth. Given how much you’ll spend on your employees over the course of their careers, you can’t help but think of them as such.

Problem is, that kind of investment is getting harder to afford. Money for new salaries remains scarce in a struggling economy; funds for employee benefits can be scarcer still. Yet if you don’t make those kinds of investments in human capital, your employees may begin to feel unappreciated — and may start looking for outside opportunities.

Emerging trends in urbanization, globalization, rising water and energy demand and infrastructure renewal all indicate a new global demand for construction in the coming years, especially in emerging markets. But, for construction companies, capturing increased demand will depend on their ability to manage the supply side needed to satisfy it.

Over the next decade, the global construction industry is expected to experience significant growth, particularly in the rapidly emerging economies of Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. Construction in emerging markets is expected to double during this period and will become a $6.7 trillion business by 2020, accounting for some 55 percent of global construction output, according to the “Global Construction 2020” report published by Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics.

It’s been nearly 18 months since the construction industry started making a comeback from the recession. At the height of the recession, industry spending was shrinking at a rate of more than 16 percent per month. But as of March 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau reported construction spending was up 4.8 percent from the same period in 2011.

With the sector maintaining positive spending since fall of 2011, construction executives are faced with the opportunity of betting on the slowly improving market and rebuilding their companies to operate at pre-recession capacity.

As buildings become smarter and more efficient, projects are becoming more complex and require multiple skill sets to achieve sustainability. Often, energy upgrades require multiple retrofits customized specifically for a particular property in order to drive a true return on investment. But this puts owners and operators in a tough spot – with increased complexity comes increased work and greater risk. How can you be sure you’re getting the most out of your investment?

In its broadest sense, communication makes it possible for people, processes and systems to work collaboratively and decisively in an effort to realize goals and objectives. The means by which safety policy, protocol and expectations influence workers to become active participants in the safety process can be approached by a top-down leadership approach by encouraging, supporting and developing opportunities and unobstructed channels for bottom-up communication.

If you had to choose between good business results and good business relationships, which would you pick? This might seem like a trick question – after all, results are what you put into the bank at the end of the day, but you know that a hard-working team of motivated people makes that possible.

But it isn’t a trick: there's a conflict between people and profits playing out everyday that executives need to be aware of.

Across North America, wood is being rediscovered as a cost-effective, versatile and sustainable material for mixed-use construction. After a prolonged emphasis on steel and concrete for buildings other than homes, wood is increasingly being used in mid-rise residential, office and mixed-used projects. This transition is largely due to advances in building science and technology, new building systems and products that have been developed for use in a wider range of buildings.

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