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Showing posts from November, 2013

THANKSGIVING

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“Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.”
Edward Sandford Martin

Regardless if you stay near or travel far, spend the day with family, friend or foe, may you know the peace and joy of that truly American holiday - Thanksgiving. Above all else, I wish you gratitude - for there you will find joy, contentment, laughter, happiness and love!

Happy Thanksgiving!

2014 Dodge Construction Outlook

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For 2013, the forecast calls for total construction starts of $508 billion, compared to $485 billion in 2012.  Initial estimates for 2014 construction starts are $555 billion - a 9% increase from 2013.  The backdrop for the construction industry remains the hesitant U.S. economy.  During the first quarter 2013 it was assumed uncertainty would ease with the presidential election decided and the fiscal cliff averted.  However, the prolonged government shutdown in October 2013 dealt another blow to the economy and fueled uncertainty as the budget agreement only keeps the government running until January 15, 2014.  On a hopeful note, there have been comments from lawmakers that they intend to avoid a repeat of what took place in October.  We will see.....


To review the 2014 Dodge Construction Outlook in its entirety click below. 

Click Here for the 2014 Dodge Construction Outlook

Official name given to Chicago Cubs' new spring training stadium

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The new spring training stadium for the Chicago Cubs will be called Cubs Park — for now.

Unlike their contract for Hohokam Stadium and two previous city sites, the Cubs control naming rights for the new ballpark in Mesa.

But the Associated Press reports that Chicago's general manager for spring-training business operations, Justin Piper, says the park's name could change.

The inaugural game at the ballpark will be Feb. 27 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. For the complete story, click on the AP link below.
Read More at Associated Press

AGC Asks Congress to Ease Truck Driver Hour Limits

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This week, AGC submitted a statement to the House Small Business Subcommittee asking for construction industry drivers to be exempted from new hours of service restrictions that require a 30-minute break during an eight-hour on-duty period and a requirement that those who do not meet the construction driver definition can only restart the weekly on-duty clock following a 34-hour off duty period that includes at least two periods between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. The new regulations went into effect on July 1, 2013, and have caused problems for certain segments of the industry. New Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules continue the construction exemption which allows a reset of the on-duty clock after a 24-hour off duty period for drivers delivering construction materials within a 50 air mile radius of their work reporting office. However, in circumstances where drivers travel greater distances or are required to work 12-hour shifts, more stringent rules …

Contractor charged with murder in Philly collapse

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A contractor has been charged with murder in the Philadelphia building collapse that killed six people and injured 13. PHILADELPHIA — The contractor who oversaw a botched building demolition that killed six people in a Salvation Army thrift store in Philadelphia is being charged with murder, manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

Officials said Monday that Griffin Campbell is also charged with risking a catastrophe and criminal conspiracy in addition to the six counts of third-degree murder, six counts of involuntary manslaughter and 13 counts of endangerment. In the collapse, an unsupported wall crashed down onto the neighboring thrift store, trapping and killing shoppers inside.

The charges are the first since excavator operator Sean Benschop was charged this summer on six counts of involuntary manslaughter for allegedly operating heavy equipment while high on marijuana and painkillers.

1 hr ago By MaryClaire Dale of Associated Press

The recovery needs to man up already.

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Women have regained all the jobs they lost during the financial crisis, but men are still lagging behind. After losing more than 6 million jobs, men have gained only about 70% of them back, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So what's the hold-up? First, men lost more jobs than women to begin with, so they have more ground to gain back. Meanwhile, most of the missing jobs come from just two male-dominated industries: construction and manufacturing. They're barely recovering, whereas sectors populated with a lot more women -- like education, leisure, hospitality and health care --have all been growing more rapidly.

Where have all the good men gone?
Construction workers were the single hardest hit group in the recession, accounting for nearly a quarter of all job losses in the economy. In 2010, their unemployment rate surged to 25%. Now, it's much lower -- around 9%, but it's not because construction workers are getting jobs. Roughly 1 million of them appear to h…

November 2013 Monthly Lunch

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Just some of what you missed today!

Thank you from UMOM!!

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Private developers now requiring surety bonding for construction contracts, as contractor defaults escalate

Since the end of the Great Recession, many small and midsize contractors have become much more likely to encounter requirements to provide surety bonding as a condition of approval for a construction contract, according to several surety and construction risk management experts.

Already mandated for most types of public contracts, requests for surety bonds have grown increasingly common among private developers seeking to protect their investments, as contractor and subcontractor defaults in the middle market continue to rise amid sluggish recovery in the construction industry, experts said.

Still, even with market conditions firming, experts said small and midsize contractors with consistent performance histories, realistic views of their own capabilities and, most importantly, strong financial footing should be able to leverage the surety market in pursuit of public or private work, experts said.

“There are quite a few surety underwriters that are willing to entertain surety bonds …
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Our thoughts & prayers are with our friends and family in the Phillipines......

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(CNN) -- With 25 million people in its path, Super Typhoon Haiyan -- one of the strongest storms recorded on the planet -- smashed into the Philippines on Friday morning.

As the storm plowed across the cluster of islands in the heart of the country, casualties were reported, more than 100,000 people took shelter in evacuation centers and hundreds of flights were canceled. The storm brought tremendously powerful winds roaring ashore as it made landfall in the province of Eastern Visayas, disrupting communications with a major city in its path. With sustained winds of 315 kph (195 mph) and gusts as strong as 380 kph (235 mph), Haiyan was probably the strongest tropical cyclone to hit land anywhere in the world in recorded history. It will take further analysis after the storm passes to establish whether it is a record. Read more:http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/07/world/asia/philippines-typhoon-haiyan/index.html

Ten Lesser Known Google Features and Search Tricks

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Most people don’t have time to keep up with everything Google has to offer, which is why it’s great when websites and blogs do the work and share their findings with the world. The daily blog at Lifehacker.com looks behind the scenes at common and not-so-common software apps and offers insight and tips for techies and non-techies. A recent Lifehacker post explains 10 lesser known Google features and search tricks that anyone can use.

Among the 10 hints are these nuggets:
·A reverse image search can lead to information that may be otherwise difficult to find.
·Free downloads can be found through some of Google’s search tools when used together.
·Paywalls and blocked sites can be accessed with Google search tools.
·Time-based search results, such as anything posted within the last few minutes, can be found with a little-known “URL hack” (i.e., some figures and letters added to the URL).
·Advanced tools allow searches that include two words that are not necessarily together, or eliminate a wo…

Gary Williams, founder and past President of Irontree Construction

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It is with great sadness that we let you know that the founder of Irontree Construction, Gary Williams passed away on Friday November 1, 2013, as a result of complications from the stroke he suffered in July 2011.  The entire family and Irontree group is sad but they are comforted by the fact that Gary is now at peace and no longer suffering.  A memorial service is being planned for the week after Thanksgiving.

Fringe Benefits in the Prevailing Wage World

The purpose of this article is to increase the awareness of the requirements related to federally funded Davis Bacon construction projects.
Established in 1974, Interstate Mechanical Corp. is a mechanical contractor located in Phoenix, Arizona that specializes in HVAC within commercial construction. In the past year, we were contracted to perform specialty welding on large piping at a power plant located west of Phoenix. This project was federally financed and therefore required us to pay the prevailing wage and fringe benefits to all laborers and mechanics as specified under the Davis Bacon Act.

The Department of Labor, Wage & Hour Division (DOL) is a federal agency that enforces compliance with all provisions of the Davis Bacon Act. The DOL notified us that we were the subject of an investigation aimed to review compliance on this specific project. We were required to provide various records and allow for our current and former employees to be interviewed by federal investigato…