Viewing Safety in All Directions

Safety on the jobsite requires more than hot vests and steel toed boots. Vehicle traffic, both delivering and working trucks and equipment, needs to be respected. Drivers must have visual contact with any obstacle and every person in range when moving their vehicle. Since every vehicle has blind spots, adopting technology to give the driver a clear view makes sense.

SmartDrive Systems, a company focused on video-based safety and what they call “transportation intelligence,” provided The Silvi Group  with a video-based safety program across its fleet after Silvi evaluated two other programs. The program includes fully managed service and proactive coaching.


Infrastructure on the Agenda

Since the 2016 election campaign, the status of the infrastructure in the U.S. has been used as a wedge issue. Both major parties talk about it, the President talks about it—remember the almost annual “Infrastructure Week?”—and the press talks about it, but nothing has been done about it. Yet.

The House of Representatives, under the Democratic majority, has been debating H.R. 2, “Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act” better known as the “INVEST in America Act.” The Senate has been moving to committee a similar bill by the Republican majority.


Collected And Connected

Companies buy insurance to protect their bottomline in case of accident or delays; insurance companies create systems to protect their bottomline from too many claims. By helping their clients, insurance firms help themselves as well.

The Construction insurance business of AXA XL takes this idea to heart. AXA XL is the property, casualty, and specialty risk division of AXA, providing insurance and risk management products and services for mid-sized and larger companies. By creating the Construction Ecosystem, an integrated digital platform that employs construction technologies to monitor and aggregate data, AXA XL provides contractor clients with insights and benchmarks to help manage risks on their jobsites and across their organizations.


Construction’s Carbon Footprint

Decades of concern over the carbon footprint of buildings, the Green Building movement, has been focused on their use, the emissions being generated by the people in the building using heat and air conditioning, electricity and natural gas. Now, as the world becomes more aware of the potential for climate change to impact everyone everywhere, other aspects of the building are being brought into focus.

The use of buildings, starting with heating and cooling, has long been the largest producer of emissions in the built environment and so investments have been made in energy efficiency.


Green Is Catching On

With the world’s attention on COVID-19 issues for the first part of 2020, many events have been slighted even though they may have long range implications. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the major long-range concern was the issue of climate change and its environmental impact. For decades, construction and architecture has had a focus on environmentally sustainable building: Going Green.

The Green Movement has been granted new energy with the publication of the 2020 Edition of the ICC-700 National Green Building Standard (NGBS) which was approved by the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and is available for public use. Developed over the past three years, this latest installment expands the scope of applicable building occupancies, keeps abreast of new technologies, and advances the benchmark for residential projects designed and built for high performance.


Modularity in Housing

COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis has impacted residential and commercial building even while states—with the exception of Michigan, New York, and New Jersey—have declared construction an essential business. In addition, construction projects in many parts of the U.S. were slowed as states adopted work rules—such as social distancing—that added to the time needed to complete jobs. The pandemic has also played a key role in causing construction-grade lumber to increase in price. A number of lumber producers have temporarily or permanently ceased operations, reducing lumber supplies as fewer homes were completed and renovation activity fell off.

Building materials suppliers and distributors did see solid sales growth in April due to seasonality and construction professionals stockpiling materials for future use, but primarily sales were supported by homeowners engaging in DIY (do-it-yourself) projects, such as building decks and fences, renovating rooms, and installing shelving.


Affordable Housing

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused economic hardship across all sectors. Job losses in March, for example, contributed to a decline in U.S. median income and housing affordability according to the NAHB (National Assn. of Home Builders)/Wells Fargo HOI (Housing Opportunity Index).

The Index shows only 61.3% of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of January and end of March were affordable to families earning an adjusted U.S. median income of $72,900. This income level is down from $75,500 in the fourth quarter of 2019 when 63.2% of homes sold were considered affordable.


Drilling and Digging

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’s Software

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.


IoT for Smart Construction

The IoT (Internet of Things) connects smart appliances in the home and smart devices outside the home. Often the intermediary, the connector, is cloud-based. Data up, data down, data everywhere. Some construction related tools and equipment are smart enough to be monitored via a cloud app and more companies are searching for ways to make IoT and the cloud a part of construction.

A partnership of PCL Construction with AOMS Technologies, a specialist in IoT technologies for smart buildings and construction sites, is intended to make IoT enabled "Smart Construction" a new reality. The relationship will further enhance Job Site Insights, PCL's cloud-based construction platform, to provide a single view into all aspects of work at a jobsite. With additional sensor technology integrated into the platform, including concrete maturity and strength, gases, sound, vibration, air quality, and energy consumption among others, PCL has taken steps to enhance the smart construction space.