News & Updates

Construction in Texas Experiences High Growth

on . Posted in Construction industry trends

Texas is flourishing economically and leading the nation in job growth, which is positively affecting the construction industry in the state. Between April 2013 and April 2014, the state added 23,900 jobs, according to The Associated General Contractors of America. Between March and April of this year, Texas's industry added 7,500 jobs. Tradesmen throughout the state are working on all types of construction, ranging from industrial and commercial efforts to residential development.

The northern part of Texas is doing particularly well. Lucy Billingsley, an influential builder in the area, is working on several projects in and around Dallas. One of the developments include the Nationstar Mortgage headquarters. This company will lead to further residential and business developments. The projects are addressing the high demand for office space, single-family units, retail, multi-family homes and industrial buildings. In fact, Northern Texas is building more apartment complexes than any other state, The Dallas Morning News reported. 

Road construction is also underway in the region. CBS DFS, the local station in Dallas-Forth Worth, reported that the area is booming because of low interest rates, job growth and corporate expansion.

"What's happening in Dallas is self-evident," Billingsley told CBS. "This is a state that's a 'can do' state. There is an energy, excitement for tomorrow. How are we going to grow and what companies are going to grow here? That's infectious!"

The University of Texas at Austin is also taking on a construction project. The academic institution is working on the new Dell Medical School. The UT System Board of Regents funded $334 million for the project, according to The University of Texas at Austin's website. It will include administrative, education and research facilities, as well as a 515,000-square-foot parking garage. The new building serves as a way to educate medical providers and deliver quality health services. 

 

Construction Industry Trends in 2014

on . Posted in Construction industry trends

Many projects and trends are shaping the construction business in 2014. From building multifamily homes to focusing on government infrastructure, the construction industry is slowly picking up speed following the Great Recession.

Here are four trends that are affecting the construction industry:

  1. Funding May Increase for U.S. Transportation Initiatives
    Construction officials expect to start building the $1.3 billion Capitol Crossing project in Washington, D.C. in July. Engineering News-Records reported that the 2 million-square-foot complex will reconnect the city grid, and be used for office space, retail and residential estates. The Washington Business Journal reported that it will take two years to build, and will involve a 15-foot-wide pedestrian bridge.
  2. Home Construction is Becoming More Customer-Centric.
    The industry is integrating energy efficiency into homes, which reduces homeowners' utility bills, according to Ground Report. Homeowners appreciate high-efficiency heating and solar energy solutions to lower energy costs.
  3. A Workforce Problem Lingers.
    ENR reported there is a worker shortage. Many individuals who left the construction industry during the recession will most likely not return. Additionally, baby boomers are retiring and many young adults are choosing less-technical careers.
  4. There is a Potential Decrease in Construction of Rental Housing Units.
    However, demand is still significant as the industry will develop 19,000 in 2014 and expect to deliver more than 60,000 multifamily rental units in 2015.

Even as the construction industry ebbs and flows, new technology and energy efficient solutions are here to stay. 

 

Construction Pros May Not Be Engaged in Their Roles

on . Posted in Construction industry trends

A new survey from CareerStructure.com showed job satisfaction in the construction industry may not be as high as it once was. According to the research, 47 percent of professionals with engineering, building and construction jobs want to leave their companies this year. Fifty-eight percent of workers cited their salary as the reason they want to leave, while 3 in 5 reported being unhappy with the benefits offered by their employers. 

 In fact, just 9 percent of construction workers said they plan to stay in their current roles through the remainder of the year. Fifty-seven percent of respondents explained they want better job security in the next roles. Construction firms that are able to meet the needs of their staff members can better manage their staff in the future.

"As industry confidence grows, the desire for change will build, so we expect to see a lot of switching in 2014," said Rob Searle, commercial director for CareerStructure.com. "Employers will need to work harder than ever to retain their talent, as job-seekers consider locations abroad and at home which offer bolstered remuneration packages."

Recruit Qualified Professionals to the Business
Part of construction management is accepting that employee turnover is going to happen, and being prepared for it will help firms get ahead of their competitors. Businesses may have to consistently recruit and onboard new hires to respond to the number of staff members who leave the company. An article for Construction Business Owner outlined how firms can put themselves in a good position to locate and add qualified staff members. Below is a list that breaks down some of the insights from the website:

1. Identify Model Employees
It's hard to bring on new staff members if managers don't know what to look for. It's important to come up with a list of skills and competencies that new hires must possess, the education level expected of job candidates and types of people the business wants to add. Hiring professionals must also stress how job-seekers should fit in with the firm's company culture. If someone doesn't seem like they will fit in, it may be hard for these employees to make the transition to their new positions. Understanding which candidates are the overall best fit can make the onboarding process a lot easier.

2. Maintain a Stellar Reputation
Job-seekers with the best skill sets are more likely to apply to a construction company if it has a strong reputation for employee safety, expertise and productivity. To get the word out about a business, construction firm leaders must work on marketing efforts for their enterprises. Leveraging social media, newsletters and email blasts will help people learn about the company. In addition, it's always a good idea to maintain an informative and easy-to-use website.

3. Build an Internship Program
The company's next project manager may be waiting in the wings while flourishing in an internship program. These initiatives will help prospective employees understand if the business is right for them, and at the same time, managers can evaluate the skill sets and talent levels of interns. Many firms' top leaders stated off as interns.

 

OSHA Holds National Safety Stand-down in June

on . Posted in Construction safety and enforcement (OSHA)

About a week ago, a construction worker fell to his death from the Dream Hotel in New York City, according to Gothamist. In the construction industry, falls account for the highest number of deaths. In 2012, 278 of 775 construction deaths were caused by falls alone, the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported. That portion represents 36 percent of construction-related deaths.

To address these devastating numbers, OSHA started a Fall Prevention Campaign in 2012 by partnering with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Occupational Research Agenda. As part of the OSHA'S ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign, the administration is hosting a national safety stand-down from June 2 to 6. During this time, OSHA is asking employers, workers, industry groups, government agencies, civic and faith-based organizations, among other group and companies, to hold a safety stand-down. This voluntary, nationwide event involves discussions surrounding "Fall Hazards," and reinforces the importance of taking preventive measures. 

The safety initiative requires employers to take a couple hours out of the day to discuss ladder, scaffolding and roofing safety, as well as protective measures and company-wide safety policies. OSHA's national safety stand-down website provides further information on conducting an effective educational safety workshop. The administration's goal is to have more than 25,000 employers hold a stand-down, which will reach nearly 1 out of every 10 employees in the nation.

OSHA is working with the National Institutes of Health, the Center for Construction Research and Training, the American Society of Safety Engineers, the National Safety Council and the OSHA Training Institute Education Centers, among other key groups.

"This safety stand-down serves as an important opportunity for everyone to take the time to learn how to recognize and prevent fall hazards," said Dr. John Howard, NIOSH director.

In addition to this safety stand-down, the Fall Prevention Campaign also provides information and educational resources on the appropriate equipment for workers and how to use it properly.

 

Construction industry sees job growth in the U.S.

on . Posted in Construction industry trends

The number of jobs in the construction industry increased across the nation. Construction firms added jobs in 38 states over the past year, the Associated General Contractors of America reported.

Florida led all states in total construction gains with 41,000 new jobs from March 2013 to March 2014, according to the Construction Equipment Guide. After Florida, California added the most new construction jobs with 37,100 jobs. Additionally, Oregon experienced a 10.8 percent increase in construction employment.

Just between February and March of 2014, Ohio created 4,600 jobs, with a 2.5 percent increase in job growth, North Dakota experienced a 3.4 percent increase in construction employment across the country and Louisiana ranked second in the percentage of job gains with 3.3 percent, according to the AGCA.

Even with this employment growth, 23 states declined in construction jobs, while employment remained steady in Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming from February to March. Texas lost the most positions, decreasing by 5,300 jobs, and New Mexico endured the highest monthly percentage decline at 4.2 percent, AGCA reported.

"The never-ending winter of 2014 may account for the dip in the number of states that added construction jobs in the latest month," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist.

Simonson anticipates private nonresidential construction  will add workers, especially  firms in states with oil and gas activity. This includes North Dakota, Louisiana, Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma.

As construction firms add jobs, there is a concern among the construction industry regarding a shortage in qualified construction workers. Association officials say federal, state and local administrators need to push down barriers and adopt policies which will draw more individuals into the industry. To address these issues, AGCA just launched a workforce development plan that will encourage more people to pursue careers in construction.