Construction has been considered an essential service in 31 states since April’s extended lockdown period and more are making that declaration as restrictions are loosened. But regardless of the limited or unlimited status of construction, companies in the industry have been taking extra precautions to prevent their workers on the jobsite from succumbing to the coronavirus pandemic. Wearing masks and keeping distance from others whenever possible are common actions while sharing of hand tools and other equipment is frowned upon.
With remote work the norm for many functions since the coronavirus pandemic, it is natural for remote observation of jobsites to be a trend. Why risk exposure to the virus by touring an active site when you can do much the same surveillance from the office—or from home?
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) advises that the best way to prevent illness and prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to the virus by way of physical distancing (also known as social distancing). New camera technology, using AI (artificial intelligence), can be used to determine when two or more people are standing or working too close to each other. The technology, from construction camera specialists OxBlue, has the potential to increase awareness and improve safety and is available to those looking for alternative ways to create social distancing awareness.
The slogan, “What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas” doesn’t apply to what is happening there now. With most trade shows and conventions, arguably the second biggest visitor draw to Las Vegas, on hold or outright cancelled for the year due to the coronavirus pandemic, work on the remodeling of the LVCC (Las Vegas Convention Center) can proceed without impacting the Center’s crowds. There are no crowds.
A major part of the LVCC remodeling is a new underground transportation system designed by Elon Musk’s The Boring Co. The first commercial endeavor for Musk’s company, the $52.5 million project will allow convention attendees to be whisked across the 200-acre campus in under two minutes, free of charge, in all-electric Tesla vehicles. Construction is already underway on all three passenger stations in the system.
Seattle is known for many things: the Space Needle, Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks among others. It is a city willing to try new as well as revel in the old. In the near future, it may very well be the case study for automation of city contract functions.
Aurigo Software, a provider focused on the public sector, entered into a multiyear, multimillion dollar contract with the City of Seattle to automate the entire city's contract management process including more than 5,000 individual construction and non-construction contracts annually.
Sometimes the simple things are overlooked. With the emphasis on “social distancing” these days, with spaces marked on grocery store floors showing where to stand six feet apart, with people avoiding each other on sidewalks, there is one space that many forget can be a problem: the elevator. Once stores and offices are open for business, the old days of crowding into elevators or riding shoulder-to-shoulder on escalators will be a thing of the past.
And the elevator industry recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic might have long-term impact on the business. Take for example, the European market. According to a Technavio report, the elevator and escalator market in Germany may be impacted by the spread of COVID-19 if the containment efforts go beyond Q2 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant changes in energy supply and demand patterns. Crude oil prices have fallen significantly since the beginning of 2020, largely driven by the economic contraction caused by COVID-19 and a sudden increase in crude oil supply following the suspension of previously agreed upon production cuts among the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and partner countries.
The EIA (Energy Information Admin.) expects retail sales of electricity to the industrial sector will fall by 4.2% in 2020 as many factories cut back production. Sales of electricity to the residential sector should fall by 0.8% in 2020, as reduced power usage resulting from milder winter and summer weather is offset by increased household electricity consumption as much of the population stays at home.
Some companies are known for their wide range of products while others are niche players. In construction, the biggest names in big equipment generally have been building their reputation for generations. And one of the biggest names is often shortened to one of the smallest: Cat.
Caterpillar has been making heavy equipment since 1925 and is presently the world's largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives.
In March 2017, W. Gardner, a company focused on land clearing and earthwork, was born. The company started clearing one lot at a time for small homebuilders, and then that grew into clearing acres for subdivisions and commercial parcels. Today, the company has positioned itself to meet the expectations of today’s owners and developers and does basically everything on the surface or below the surface. It is a company of dreamers and tech enthusiasts—a factor that helps set the company apart and accelerates its business.
Just a few months after the company was launched, it brought on Elliot Jones, whose background was as a project manager, to serve as president and oversee all business operations and the overall construction management process, ensuring that the day-to-day operations meet or exceed the expectations of the clients.
Enclosed areas, like tunnels or storage and water tanks, are notorious for being hazards to worker safety. Obviously, fumes from activities such as welding can be trapped in these environments while workers are performing their duties. But other air quality changes are also dangerous and harder to prevent. What is needed is a way to monitor and regulate activities to prevent injury or death to workers. GSIL, a South Korean company that specializes in construction applications, independently a smart safety management system for the prevention of accidents and the elimination of safety "gray areas" at construction sites. The system features a function that can ascertain a worker's current location as well as an SOS-enabled emergency rescue system.
Today, there is a big opportunity construction professionals can tap into: supporting customers globally in the digitalization of facilities and asset support services. New technology continues to come to market to help make this possible. For instance, Leica Geosystems, a Hexagon company, and Geomap, a cloud-based and GIS (geographic information systems) integrated workplace management system, are working together to facilitate digitizing facility management. With this announcement, Geomaps’ IWMS platform is integrated with Leica Geosystems’ reality capture solutions.