Construction employment on a slow increase...
The VA vacates hospital construction...
Updating the highway funding debacle...
And a pile depth record for Miami...
That and more on Construction News Tracker brought to you by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.
The month of March saw only 5,000 net new jobs added in the nonresidential construction sector with 4,000 of those by specialty trade contractors.
Associated Builders and Contractors association Chief Economist Anirban Basu says the loss of 2,800 jobs in the residential sector last month was stunning and the first loss in 15 months. Base hopes these numbers are not a sign of a weakening U.S. economy.
Updating the U.S. Highway Fund program... federal money will be exhausted by July, although the program itself expires May 31, 2015. That's the latest from the federal DOT which has put forth a $478 billion proposal to pay for infrastructure over six years. Meanwhile, the Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) reports four states have already pulled design and construction projects from the 2015 bid process as they do not believe there will be a continued money flow. This amounts to $1.3 billion in state highway construction alone now unsupported as state DOT officials appear ready for another congressional "kick the can" short-term money approval ahead.
One billion dollars over budget. That's the problem facing a new Veterans Administration hospital near Denver - and it is three times the original budgeted amount. Contractor Kiewit-Turner has requested permission to walk away from the job.
Because the VA internally has apparently fouled up the entire process with cost overruns the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers will take over from here, presuming Congress appropriates another $930 million to complete the massive project.
OSHA, the federal agency that regulates workplace safety, wants to reduce the permission exposure limit of crystalline silica used in construction. Reducing the PEL limit, OSHA estimates, would cost the industry about $511 million a year in required new equipment, labor and record keeping costs.
Not so fast says the Construction Industry Safety Coalition. The group is claiming the new OsHA rule would trim over 53,000 jobs from construction, and with other related costs send the construction bill about $4.5 billion higher.
Twenty-three award winners have been announced in the Alliant Build America competition for 2014 by AGC, and the best construction award has gone to J.P. Cullen of Janesville, Wis. The firm completed an 11,400-seat auditorium for Epic Systems Management of Verona, Wis., along with 800,000 square feet of conference center consisting of six acres of green roofing with rock and cave-like facade — all 73 feet underground over three and a half years of work.
The foundation for a 62-story ultra luxury condo tower in downtown Miami is being set, and it's a record. Miami Dade officials report the contractor, H.J. Foundation, drilled two shafts at 177 feet and 171 feet for the 30-inch-diameter pilings that will support the 1000 Biscayne tower. That's a record depth, even for Miami, as contractors know has a lot of sand before hitting limestone rock. The previous piling depth record was 158 feet.
High fives all around on this our 100th edition of Construction News Tracker. Little was known five years ago when the idea was hatched how far we could go. A host of people share in the accomplishment, particularly those at Caterpillar marketing who shared our vision then and now. And thank you in the construction industry for your continued support.
Summing up, only those who do nothing make mistakes.
This is Construction News Tracker watching out for the industry that makes the world a better place, brought to you by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com
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