TD Garden Renovations Will Modernize Major Arena

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The major renovations to Boston's TD Garden are providing plenty of jobs in construction for workers in the area. With an approximate budget of $70 million, according to Boston CBS affiliate WBZ, work will through the next two years and continue on a more limited schedule while the arena is open for games, concerts and other events. Some of the biggest changes that will occur during the current concourse renovation phase are the addition of the physical infrastructure needed to implement high-speed Wi-Fi throughout the building. Parts of the club section seating areas such as the pro shop will also be modified, along with updates to the restaurants inside the arena.

The changes during this phase are mostly focused on visitors, ultimately attempting to attract capacity crowds with better amenities and improved dining options. The New England Sports Network pointed out that the improvements currently being made involve complete renovations of two floors of the arena, along with more minor changes elsewhere. This is good timing for major renovations to the areas that primarily cater to servicing fans, as two of the TD Garden's major tenants, the Celtics and the Bruins, have both finished their 2014 seasons.

Modernization a Key Factor
Far from the problems that plagued the original Boston Garden, such as a lack of air conditioning that led to fog forming above the hockey rink when weather began to warm up during playoff season, the TD Garden is trying to maintain its position as a top-tier venue. Rossetti Architects, a firm specializing in sports and arena-related construction projects, is in charge of the concourse renovations. Rossetti is emphasizing improving the fan experience inside the Garden and offering digital avenues for sponsors to convey their messages. The addition of the high-density Wi-Fi, along with approximately 200 advertising display screens, are two of the biggest components of this renovations.

Other elements including reconfigured common areas to provide visitors more room to interact with each other and the addition of more upscale dining options, such as craft beer bars, point to the driving force of modernizing the arena. Although the renovations are costly, they are necessary to keep the arena competitive in the heavily populated area where it resides. By building now, the arena owners are better able to adjust for the future and keep the Garden an attractive option.

 

Detroit-Canada Bridge Plan Needs Funding to Continue

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One of the construction projects currently garnering national attention is the commuter bridge connecting Detroit with Canada. President Barack Obama's federal budget proposal didn't include funding for the customs plaza that will be built on the U.S. side of the Detroit River. However, despite the funding recommendation's omission, officials believe the $2.1 billion New International Trade Crossing plan will be completed on schedule by 2020.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder doesn't have a strategy in place to come up with the $250 million needed for the customs plaza, but through his spokesperson, Sara Wurfel, he issued a statement explaining construction of the bridge will proceed without delays.

"This infrastructure project is of utmost economic significance to both Michigan and the entire U.S. and our largest trading partner Canada," Wurfel said. "The Canadian government and the state of Michigan remain deeply committed to their highly dependent partnership and multiple avenues of resolution to the issue are being explored."

The New Bridge Creates Several Opportunities
Currently, the trade relationship that brings in $70 billion per year between the U.S. and Canada is being fostered by the 84-year-old Ambassador Bridge, according to The Associated Press AP. Improving the infrastructure will not only increase construction jobs during the lifespan of the project, but it will also boost the U.S. economy. 

Michigan Rep.Gary Peters recently released a statement, claiming the Obama Administration made a mistake by not including the Detroit plaza in its budget plan. He believes working with leaders in Michigan and Canada will help both sides come up with a way to collect the funding needed.

Mark Butler, a spokesman of Transport Canada, agrees. He told The AP that roughly 10 million jobs in his country and the U.S. depend on a smooth trade route. Without a new bridge, it will be difficult to ensure the export and import relationship between the two countries will continue to get stronger,he added.

"A new bridge is needed for growing trade and traffic at Windsor-Detroit,'' Butler said. "This project will also create thousands of jobs and opportunities on both sides of the border. It will also provide a much-needed crossing alternative at the busiest Canada-U.S. commercial border crossing.''

Canada Plans to Provide Much of the Funding
The New International Trade Crossing project is expected to costs roughly $3.5 billion, and The AP reported Canada will be responsible for $2.3 billion of the total. It will even cover $550 million in infrastructure costs for construction on the Michigan side. Without federal funding, state officials in Michigan may have to get a little creative to finance their side of the bridge.

According to MLive, a local news website, coming up with the funds for the project is the final obstacle the state must overcome before starting the project in 2016. Getting final approval will likely allow officials to seek out contractor bids in the local construction network.

 

Construction Firms Must Focus on Employee Engagement

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One of the most important aspects of construction management is fielding a team of employees who appreciate one another and respect the work they do. When staff members feel engaged in their roles, it presents an opportunity for construction firms to improve their performance and better address the needs of their customers. However, fostering a happy group of workers is much easier said than done.

Provide Clear Expectations for Employees
The "2013 Towers Watson Change and Communication ROI Survey" found that creating a employee value proposition can get staff members to become more engaged in their roles. These agreements clearly state what is expected of workers and how the business will compensate them. In fact, nearly 3 in 5 highly-effective companies leverage EVPs to extract the potential out of their workers and employ a team of productive staff members, while 47 percent of such firms use EVPs to sustain a competitive advantage over other businesses in their industries.

"The EVP is one of the best tools available for companies to engage employees, as well as attract and retain top talent," said Richard Veal, head of Towers Watson's Reward, Talent and Communication consulting practice. "Unfortunately, to many organizations, the EVP remains a hidden gem that is unshaped, overlooked or not utilized to its fullest extent."

Improve Employee Engagement to Lead High-Performing Workers
Creating a work culture that staff members enjoy coming to every day will make it easier to complete construction projects on schedule, as well as ensure clients will continue to want to work with the business. While that may be a struggle for some firms, a recent article written by Roxana Hewertson, president and CEO of the Highland Consulting Group, for Construction Business Owner sheds light on how to ensure that staff members are happy in their roles. Below is a list of factors that can boost worker satisfaction:

  • Strong Leaders: One the most important elements that encourage employee engagement is trust. Staff members have to know that their bosses have their backs and that they will always be honest with them. Workers trust the leader of the business when the lines of communication are open and managers never delegate work unrealistically. Achieving credibility is key for leaders at construction companies.
  • The Staff Acts as a Team: Many construction companies use contractors to complete different components of a job, while others will finish everything in-house. Firms that do everything on their own must employ workers who get along and support each other. When staff members collaborate, it can often lead to higher levels of employee happiness.
  • Opportunities for Advancement: Employees will value their company when they know that they are appreciated and that all their hard work pays off in the end. Keeping this in mind, managers must regularly talk to their teams about vacant positions and the steps they must take to apply. No employees want to work at a dead-end job. 

 

Olympic Games Construction Workers in Brazil Launch Labor Dispute

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In Rio de Janerio, more than 2,000 construction workers for the 2016 Olympics Games went on strike this past week. The conflict escalated to construction workers and security guards firing gun shots. No one was injured, Reuters reported. Rio Mais, the association constructing the venues, has not yet announced when the construction will pick up again.

The employees claim to be fighting against low wages, subpar benefits and poor working conditions, reported The Associated Press. They are also requesting improved union representation, according to Reuters.

The labor dispute is causing construction delays, and Brazil faces tight deadlines to complete the Olympics project. Rio has just over two years to construct the cluster of Olympics venues.

"We are worried by the fact we are losing time," said Mario Andrada, spokesman for the Rio Olympic organizing committee, according to The AP. "Beyond that, there is catch-up to do and we will have to move faster to make up whatever time we've lost."

Additional issues delay construction 
There are other issues causing these hold-ups, such as water pollution in Guanabara Bay, according to The AP. Guanabara Bay will house the Olympic sailing games. Pollution in the area would pose potential health issues for athletes, a major concern for the International Olympic Committee.The Coordination Commission plans to eliminate 80 percent of sewage by 2016, according to Inside the Games. Other dangerous conditions involve the Joao Havelange stadium, which hosted the 2007 Pan American Games, added Reuters. Engineers warned that the roof could fall down in high winds, so Officials closed the stadium last year.

The 2016 Olympics Games are expected to cost Brazil $15 billion, according to The AP. The City Government and the Rio Mais Consortium are funding the construction, but the three government levels are debating over who will pay for the construction. 

The Government is also prioritizing accessibility and environmental efforts. This includes Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, which requires the building to meet certain prerequisites. Olympic.org, the official Olympic Movement website, reported the building will feature energy-saving air conditioning and lighting systems.

Additionally, the Brazilian government is focusing on accessibility for those with disabilities. The buildings will offer ramps to accommodate people in wheelchairs and will post Braille signs.

"Modernity and sustainability mark the new headquarters," said Carlos Arthur Nuzman, Rio 2016 president, according to Olympic.org. "The modular construction is an innovation that better suits our project. We will use the building according to the committee's growth demands."

 

Secure Job Sites to Prevent Theft

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A series of construction site thefts in Douglas County, Colo., have already caused large losses for firm owners who had lost equipment and materials to burglars. CBS Denver reported that within the past month thieves have infiltrated 16 different job sites throughout Castle Rock and Lone Tree. Company owners on the construction projects have discovered thousands of dollars worth of tools, copper and building materials have been taken from their sites. Not only is this impeding their progress and ability to complete jobs on schedule, such thefts can have other negative effects on contractors.

"When construction site security is breached, owners' losses go well beyond the value of the scrap metal and other materials," said Kathleen O'Toole, former Boston Police commissioner and board member at Netwatch, a full-service remote surveillance company. "Indirect costs often include downtime, rentals and project overrun penalties, which can be very substantial."

Better Site Surveillance is Needed
Larry Tillman, who is one of the victims of the burglaries, told CBS Denver that a lot of the stolen equipment was expensive. For example, taking one or two paint sprayers that cost roughly $4,000 a piece can do some serious damage to construction companies that need them to complete their work. He added electricians' materials and a lot of copper had been taken from his site. Without proper security measures, he sees how it's easy for thieves to get in and out without being noticed.

Tony Spurlock, undersheriff for Douglas County, told the news source that the robbers are getting to the sites just as workers are leaving, making it easy for them to go unnoticed. 

"These folks are backing up trucks and they are stealing lots and lots of equipment," he said. "Big rolls of copper, huge components and they are stealing them."

Protect Your Sites from Copper Theft
Copper is an expensive metal that isn't easy for construction companies to replace. Keeping this in mind, managers have to inform their staff about security measures that they can use to decrease the theft of copper. Below are some tips from Netwatch that firms can use to ensure they aren't a victim of copper theft:

  • Build a secure perimeter: One of the best ways to deter thieves is to make it difficult for them to infiltrate the job site. Using barbed wire on fences and making sure they are locked at the end of each day makes it much more difficult for burglaries to take place.
  • Keep the lights on at night: Even if workers aren't around the job site at night, thieves are more likely to stay away if areas are brighter. Light makes it easier to see burglars on camera and even catch their license plates if they attempt to steal any copper or other materials.
  • Order supplies throughout the project: When large quantities of copper are just sitting around the job site, it can be very tempting for thieves. A good way to alleviate that problem to is make weekly orders of copper as it is needed by workers.