Tag Archive for 'construction industry'

The AED Foundation unveils its latest report at CONEXPO-CON/AGG: “The Equipment Industry Technician Shortage: Reassessing Causes, Impacts and Policy Recommendations.”

The AED Foundation at CONEXPO-CON/AGG released its latest report compiled by the College of William & Mary entitled “The Equipment Industry Technician Shortage: Reassessing Causes, Impacts and Policy Recommendation.”   

Highlights of the report include:

The need to fill up to 73,500 heavy equipment technicians over the next five years
The equipment industry has a job opening rate three times higher than the national average
Almost 90% of AED member dealerships have a job opening rate above the national average
Among AED member respondents, 95% agree there is a skills gap in the industry and 89% report a shortage of workers in their company

The AED Foundation Chairman Jeffrey Scott, President of Intermountain Bobcat, stated “While this report highlights the challenges we face, it also presents recommendations to help us overcome those challenges, including; strengthening our recruitment strategy, furthering educational development initiatives, maximizing data collection and increasing recruiting effectiveness and creating roles for older workers to leverage valuable knowledge. These recommendations dovetail nicely with The AED Foundation’s Vision 2024, which seeks to have; 100 accredited college programs, 50 recognized high school programs, and 10,000 skilled technicians entering the workforce by 2024.”  

Concurrent with the report release, the Caterpillar Foundation announced a $300,000 grant to The AED Foundation to fund scholarships to high schools interested in promoting a curriculum that leads to a career in the heavy equipment industry.  

“With this partnership, we are taking a step forward to close the skills gap directly and educate the next generation of skilled technicians for our industry,” stated AED President and CEO Brian P. McGuire. “We are honored to have the Caterpillar Foundation as a partner in this endeavor, and their assistance will go a long way toward addressing the realities detailed in the report we released today,” he added.  

“The Caterpillar Foundation wants to build resilient communities that thrive in a rapidly changing world. As part of this focus, we are investing in programs that empower the workforce of the 21st century,” said Caterpillar Foundation President Asha Varghese. “We are proud to partner with The AED Foundation to help high schools build a diverse pipeline of candidates for career and technical college programs, and ultimately, help address the manufacturing skills gap we are facing globally,” Varghese continued.
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USGBC Releases the Top States for LEED

Top 10 List Recognizes Leaders Committed to More Sustainable and Resilient Buildings, Cities, and Communities

As cities and states continue to work toward climate action goals, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announces its list of Top 10 States for LEED green building. For the first time since 2011, Colorado took the top spot on the list, which ranks states based on the number of LEED certified square feet per person. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world with more than 100,000 projects engaged. This year’s top states are home to more than 105 million people, including more than 80,000 LEED green building professionals with the skills to support the sustainable transformation of buildings.

“As we embark on a new decade, the USGBC community is focused on helping more projects get on the path to LEED certification and a more sustainable future,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO, USGBC. “Over the last year, the Top 10 states have certified projects that serve as incredible examples of how green building can create more sustainable and resilient spaces that improve our living standard. There is still much work to be done, but the progress made across these states shows us that our work is having a tangible impact on people’s lives. As we enter our next chapter, we are committed to helping more buildings, cities and communities improve their sustainability performance through LEED.”

LEED-certified projects support personal health and well-being, as well as use less energy and water, reduce carbon emissions and save money for families, businesses and taxpayers. The Top 10 list is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects certified throughout 2019. Colorado certified 102 green building projects representing 4.76 square feet of LEED-certified space per resident. The state has made the Top 10 list each year but jumped to the top spot after ranking sixth in 2018. Minnesota and Oregon reemerged as Top 10 states after missing the list last year, coming in at number eight and nine respectively. The full rankings are as follows:

2019 Top 10 States for LEED
RankStateCertified Gross Square Footage (GSF)GSF Per CapitaNumber of Projects CertifiedLEED Professionals
1Colorado 23,962,3444.761026,339
2Illinois49,363,8223.851218,662
3New York72,778,9163.7619312,576
4Massachusetts24,505,5123.741016,827
5Hawaii4,083,7133.00121,1,45
6Maryland15,234,5542.64964,998
7Virginia19,981,1122.50986,526
8Minnesota12,708,7062.40253,346
9Oregon8,825,4322.30332,908
10California80,669,0662.1740026,794
**Washington D.C.31,810,01852.861432,597

**Washington, D.C. is not ranked as it is a federal district, not a state

USGBC calculates the list using per capita figures to allow for a fair comparison of the level of green building taking place among states with significant differences in population and number of overall buildings. Despite Washington, D.C. not appearing in the official Top 10 list because of its status as a federal territory, it consistently leads the nation and in 2019 certified 52.86 square feet of space per resident across 143 green building projects. The nation’s capital has a strong legacy of sustainability leadership and has expanded its use of LEED from buildings to cities and communities to support its goals. In 2017, it became the first LEED-certified city and in 2019 certified the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District LEED Platinum, the first business improvement district in the world to certify.

With green building expected to grow globally through 2021, the need for skilled professionals to support green building projects has never been more important. Across the U.S. there are more than 165,000 LEED green building professionals with the knowledge to help cities and communities transition to greener buildings and spaces. LEED professionals demonstrate a competency in green building principles that can set projects on the path to certification and help them consider ways to reduce their impact on the environment and provide people with healthier, more sustainable spaces to live, learn, work, and play.

As USGBC continues to advance green buildings, cities and communities through the adoption of LEED and the latest version of the rating system, LEED v4.1, the organization is also considering a future that is focused on a more regenerative approach. In November 2019 at the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, USGBC introduced LEED Positive – a roadmap that will lay the foundation for a future of LEED that transitions away from strategies that only reduce harm and instead focus on those that help repair and restore. With a continued focus on performance, USGBC is laying the groundwork to ensure sustainable design, construction and operations of buildings, cities, and communities remains focused on better buildings that contribute to better lives.

This feature appeared in the March 2020 issues of the ACP Magazines:

California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder

Somethings Never Change…

By Greg Sitek

In construction one of the key components in being successful is completing a project on time or ahead of schedule. Another is completing the project at or under budget. There are many factors that can and do impact both the productivity and cost of a project but a lot depends on the equipment.

If the equipment is dependable and reliable; if the equipment doesn’t perform at it was designed to it’s difficult to be productive and operating costs are up. Throw in a major failure and costs can skyrocket and productivity plummet. 

One critical production machine being down can throw a job behind in every sense and every way.

There is insurance that can prevent this from happening or at least minimize the potential for such a catastrophe happening – good equipment management and good equipment maintenance program.

Equipment, all equipment has always demanded maintenance and management. If the equipment isn’t properly maintained, i.e. following the maintenance programs and procedures as outlined in the owner/operator manuals or online programs provided by the machine’s manufacturer. 

The routine daily inspections and procedures need to be done by your operation either by the equipment operator or company maintenance staff. Periodic or interval maintenance requirements can be fulfilled either by your operation or through contractual arrangements with your equipment dealer. 

To make certain that you are going to get the most out of the equipment make certain that the machine operators and maintenance staff are properly trained, use the correct tools and equipment to do the inspections, repairs and maintenance and use wear-products, i.e. filters, lubricants, belts, hoses, replacements parts, etc. recommended by the manufacturer.

Cutting corners with any of these “components” won’t save you money long term. Quite the contrary, usually it will end up costing much more than you could possibly have saved.

Manage the use and application of the equipment. Establish and follow, religiously, inspections, routine maintenance, wear-part replacement and periodic maintenance as prescribed by the manufacturer. Don’t put off a scheduled maintenance/inspection because you need the machine on the project. Don’t tempt fate. If you need the machine and a routine inspection or maintenance procedure comes up, shut the machine down or bring it in and follow the schedule.   

Use all the available maintenance aids you can to make the job easier, more efficient, more exact. Things like oil and/or fluid analysis provide excellent data on the internal conditions of your equipment.

Use maintenance software programs to help with the scheduling and recordkeeping. Good records are essential to good management and maintenance practices. 

Use your equipment in applications for which it was designed, engineered and manufactured. A piece of equipment that’s too big for an application doesn’t mean you get the job done fasted. 

Intelligent Sizing Drives Success

We’d all love it if we could justify owning and operating the biggest equipment – just to have it in case certain jobs come up that may require that added capacity. But it’s not practical in terms of owning and operating costs, and zoning in on equipment size ranges that best complement your work will make the most sense for your business in the long run.

(Source CASE News: (https://www.casece.com/northamerica/enus/resources/articles/measuring-up-factors-for-sizing-equipment-from-backhoes-to-bulldozers))

What size equipment is right for you?

Determining what size of equipment is best for you depends on many factors. Primarily, it’s the application or exact task you require the machine to do. It also depends on what you expect as a return on investment. Generally, larger and more complex machines have higher purchase and operating costs, and have to be billed out at a higher rate. Smaller machines are more affordable to own and run, but they don’t command the large dollar-per-hour fees their big cousins do.

Equipment sizes vary according to volume demands. Often, the machine’s physical weight and dimensions affect the capacity more than engine horsepower or hydraulic pressure. Transportation is another prime issue when it comes to deciding on the right-sized piece of equipment. Having to purchase or arrange for large-capacity hauling between worksites can be an additional overhead that doesn’t pay back. (Source Warren CAT.com)(https://www.warrencat.com/news/construction-equipment-size-guide/))

It’s March and for most of the country time to start getting the equipment ready for the surge of work and from all indicators, this is going to be a busy construction season across the country. If you have questions about maintenance programs, equipment applications, training for operators and/or maintenance staff contact your local dealers. They are a good and reliable source for virtually all equipment related questions. 

This feature appeared in the March 2020 issues of the ACP Magazines:

California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder

Intelligent Compaction is the Key

Long-lasting, Durable Surfaces Result From Quality Compaction

By Jeff Winke

The most elemental meaning of the word “compaction,” is the exertion of force on something so that it becomes more dense.

In the realm of road construction, compaction is considered one of the most important processes in pavement and roadway surface construction. It is necessary in order to attain high quality and uniformity of pavement materials, which in turn better ensures the long-lasting performance of the road. 

It has been more than a few years since the term and method of “intelligent compaction” (IC) has become a given in discusions of paving. Today, it has become the norm – compaction is pretty much considered intelligent compaction.

IC refers to the compaction of road materials, such as soils, aggregate bases, or asphalt pavement materials, using modern vibratory rollers equipped with an integrated measurement system, an onboard computer reporting system, Global Positioning System (GPS) based mapping, and optional feedback control. IC rollers facilitate real-time compaction monitoring and timely adjustments to the compaction process by integrating measurement, documentation, and control systems. IC rollers also maintain a continuous record of color-coded plots, allowing the user to view plots of the precise location of the roller, the number of roller passes, and material stiffness measurements.

“Operators have told me that intelligent compaction takes the guessing game out of their rolling pattern,” said Daniel F. Brown, President of Phend & Brown, Inc., Milford, Indiana. “They no longer need to remember which utility power pole or mailbox they started or stopped at with their rolling pattern. Additionally, uniform pass coverage is assured because pass coverage is being measured and documented.”

The Background on IC

Back in 2011, the Federal Highway Association (FHWA) reported on a major three-year research project that was designed to verify that IC, which at the time had been considered “emerging technology,” was mature enough to be implemented in the real world. The intent of the project was to create the blueprint in the FHWA IC strategic plan. This study was under the Transportation Pooled Fund project, which included 12 participating state department of transportation: Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The report’s Executive Summary states that the project “demonstrated tried-and-true Intelligent Compaction (IC) technologies through 16 field projects and open house activities, numerous meetings and training for State personnel and local earthwork/paving contractors, and assistance on the development of State IC specifications.”

The IC project’s key conclusions:

  • IC mapping of existing support layers is effective in identifying weak support areas for corrective actions prior to the compaction of the upper layers. 
  • With hot-mix asphalt (HMA) paving, IC tracking compaction roller passes and HMA surface temperatures can provide the necessary means to maintain a consistent rolling pattern within optimal ranges of temperatures for coverage of 100 percent of the construction area. 
  • IC technologies can be especially beneficial to maintain consistent rolling patterns under lower visibility conditions, such as night paving operations.

IC Technology Aids Productivity

IC technology, the report stated, will have profound influence on the responsibilities of various stages of pavement constructions and will eventually help produce better and more consistent pavement products. 

“We are currently running Topcon C-53 IC Systems on two Caterpillar CB-534 D XW Rollers, and two systems on Bomag BW190 AD Rollers,” stated Brown. “At the time of purchase, the C-53, which offers the GX-55 control box, was the newest technology available.

“We like that the technology provides for remote mobile access via Sitelink to allow process balance decisions to be based on real-time data for the entire paver/roller operation, which in turn ensures that optimal production rates and density values are consistently achieved.” 

Topcon Positioning Systems offers an IC system that is designed to track pass counts of multiple rollers or IC machines working on the same project. Through secure connectivity to Topcon’s global Sitelink3D service, each compactor not only performs its tasks, but also becomes part of the overall monitored project. 

“Each operator is not only able to see their own passes, but those made by other machines on-screen in real time,” Brown said. “And in real time, the paving superintendant, foreman, and general contractor personnel can also see what exactly is going on via the Sitelink platform. This ensures proper compaction from each machine and eliminates redundancy.” 

The IC system is designed to:

  • Leverage multiple integrated temperature sensors, so each compactor can achieve consistent results through constant feedback into the system.
  • Provide accurate pass counts, geographic locations of each run, as well as georeferenced task assignments and their completion via its GNSS technology.
  • Ensure that regulatory IC standards are being met by documenting surface stiffness values through its accelerometer.
  • Connect to the Sitelink3D Enterprise service which provides 24/7 access to project data, team collaboration, custom reporting, as well as standard export to Veta management and analysis software, which can provide additional customized information. 
  • Provide data to demonstrate specification compliance and confirm proper density claims.

“We’re using the Topcon C-53 IC System with a GX-75 control box on our 850 Series Sakai Oscillation/Vibration Paving Roller, which allows the machine operator to monitor the compaction pattern and the temperature as they’re working,” stated Sergio Muniz, Paving Superintendent with Payne & Dolan, Inc., Waukesha, Wisconsin, who acquired the system working through his local Topcon Solutions Store. “I like that I can jump onto my laptop and see the work being completed in real time and make certain we’re complying with the tough DOT state specifications.”

Muniz added: “We’re finding the Topcon system to be essential for our high-profile big jobs to ensure we remain on task and is instrumental for when we work at night. It also is proving handy for smaller parking-lot-type jobs as well.”

The key benefit of IC is greater control over the compaction results, which in turn provides better finished paved results. Compaction at its most elemental is the exertion of force on something so that it becomes more dense, while IC provides the technological means to ensure that compaction is performed consistently, thoroughly, and accurately. The goal is to achieve optimum densities that ensure adequate support, stability, and strength. Achieving these densities uniformly is key, and clearly IC aids this process.

This feature appeared in the January 2020 issues of the ACP Magazines:

California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder

6 Evolving Technologies in the Construction Industry

Attend the education session “A Construction Tech Odyssey – From Today to 2025” on Thursday, March 12, 2020 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. at CONEXPO-CON/AGG. 

REGISTER NOW

The construction industry – a very information intensive industry – has been slow to adopt technology. Until about six or seven years ago, technology was reserved for the back office and typically used for HR, accounting, contract writing, tracking change orders, with nothing to drive the information to the people actually doing the work in the field.

That changed because of several key reasons, explains Kris Lengieza, senior director, business development, at Procore, a leading provider of construction management software. These include:

  • The prevalence of mobile devices and new technologies in our personal lives and the realization that these could be used out in the field.
  • The growing labor shortage.
  • The need for the industry to be more productive.
  • Younger people coming into the industry with new ideas on how to do things.
  • The growth of technology and innovation companies.

Nowadays, construction companies are welcoming and embracing innovation. As old methodologies and science converge, new technologies improve efficiency, productivity and profits, he says.

By way of example, Lengieza cites the use of 360-degree cameras – also referred to as photospheres – to capture and document construction progress and check for safety issues, among other uses.

Webcams are being leveraged for enhanced visibility into a job site, adds the 15-year veteran of construction industry. Webcams can do a time lapse of a project, track weather data, detect schedule deviations of where a project should be and where it is and more.

Lengieza says drones are being used to survey construction sites and do progress tracking. Drone technology has capability to capture better, real-time necessary data in much less time than traditional methods take.

A big challenge in construction is collecting structured data to be able to do analytics, he notes. Nowadays, big data, cloud computing, labor tracking, project management software, cloud computing, etc., can be used to help understand how projects are progressing, see what projects require immediate attention, identify more efficient ways of doing things and enable faster, better decision making.

KEY TECHNOLOGIES FOR THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

According to Lengieza, the following are some of the new technologies evolving for use in the construction industry.

1. Virtual reality (VR) for training: VR training simulations replica situational experiences that can be difficult, expensive or dangerous to do deliver in real life, he points out. For example, training an apprentice iron worker how to weld is typically done with him standing on the ground.

In real life, that apprentice might have to go up 30 stories, walk out on a beam, receive a piece of steel and weld it, and that is very a different situation, says Lengieza. You don’t want to expose an apprentice to that risk and danger without proper training.

VR is also being used for construction machine operating training, he adds. This eliminates the need to transport students to locations and equipment and reduces the chances of damaging very expensive machines.

2. Augmented Reality (AR): This is taking data and information out into the field. It involves using a spatial/virtual reality headset that lets the wearer see and interact with digital content at a jobsite by overlaying holograms or 3D models over the real world.

For example, says Lengieza, a person can visualize what the design of the building is supposed to be, right alongside the current progress of the building to detect any problems or issues.

3. Robotic technology: This is currently being used to automate processes and increase productivity for such jobs as welding, demolition, drywall hanging, brick laying and masonry assistance (lifting concrete blocks) but it is not commonplace, he says. He envisions robotic technology in rover and data collection applications evolving more rapidly in the construction industry.

4. Automation technology: The mining industry is using this technology to have haul trucks respond to calls to the shovel, move into position and haul to dump points, observes Lengieza. Development is happening with backhoes, bulldozers, excavators and other construction vehicles so that they can operate themselves and make construction safer and faster.

5. Machine learning: This is being used to more efficiently – and with greater accuracy – analyze and categorize data project data, which in turn helps boost productivity, increase safety and reduce costs, says Lengieza.

A method of data analysis, machine learning is a process wherein computers, by creating algorithms, learn from previous data without being explicitly programmed.

6. Artificial intelligence (AI): This involves layering industry knowledge into machine learning so AI can think like a construction superintendent and, by way of example, make suggestions, he says. However, that is a ways off because there must be enough aggregated data to train AI models and then time has to be invested to evolve those models.

Attend the education session “A Construction Tech Odyssey – From Today to 2025” on Thursday, March 12, 2020 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. at CONEXPO-CON/AGG. 

https://www.conexpoconagg.com/visit/registration-and-pricing/