Tag Archive for 'economy'

Advantages of Buying Used Construction Equipment

Interesting Events

By Greg Sitek

Recently I’ve had the opportunity to participate, live and digitally, in several events that have or will have an impact on our world. They involved asphalt, tires and mobility and the introduction of a new piece of equipment.

Mobility is at the heart of all our activities. It’s a basic human need, both social and economic, as well as
a powerful environmental constraint. The challenge that we must now meet is: provide good solutions for society and the planet and make them a level of responsible corporate development. Critical components of mobility are the construction industries – roads & bridges, rail, waterways, ports & terminals, buildings — residential, commercial, industrial, institutional – infrastructure. Without the construction industries paving the way society would become stagnant.

The bottom line is that “mobility” is an essential component in today’s world but mobility has to be done responsibly. In this issue is an article on Movin’On.

Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) recently presented field test results for its LX1 prototype electric hybrid wheel loader to a group in California. Included were Volvo’s customer Waste Management, which carried out the field tests, CALSTART, which conducted emission tests on the machine, and the California Energy Commission, which helped fund the LX1 project. Since the end of last year, the LX1 has performed hundreds of hours of real work in two applications at Waste Management facilities in California.

The LX1 prototype cuts fuel consumption radically while delivering quiet reliable performance that leaves a small carbon footprint. A full-size diesel-electric loader?

Yes. You can see and listen to it on YouTube: https://youtu.be/BMPS3kWoAg8 and there is an article on it in this issue.

And then there was a webinar on a perpetual design software update.

The Asphalt Pavement Alliance introduced Version 4.3 of PerRoad Perpetual Pavement design software. Developed at Auburn University, PerRoad uses the mechanistic-empirical design philosophy to estimate stresses and strains that would prove detrimental for fatigue cracking or structural rutting.

PerRoad Version 4.3 incorporates recent research conducted on the Pavement Test Track at the National Center for Asphalt Technology at Auburn University and then validated with live traffic on Perpetual Pavement sections. The new features allow PerRoad to perform a conventional mechanistic-empirical (M-E) design to directly compare against Perpetual Pavement designs. It can also use strain distribution or a single endurance limit strain value to design a Perpetual Pavement.

“Perpetual Pavement designs allow us to limit distresses to the easily repaired surface,” stated David Timm, Ph.D., P.E., developer of PerRoad. “By coupling layered elastic analysis with a statistical analysis procedure, PerRoad helps a designer understand the layer thicknesses and other values that will ensure a long-life asphalt pavement.”

PerRoad, which is available for free from www.AsphaltRoads.org/PerRoad uses the mechanistic-empirical design philosophy. The program couples layered elastic analysis with a statistical analysis procedure (Monte Carlo simulation) to estimate stresses and strains within a pavement. Version 4.3 provides design results as percentile responses and as conventional designs with transfer functions.

Perpetual roads are…

Ten departments of transportation were named winners of the 2016 Perpetual Pavement Award by Asphalt Pavement Alliance (APA). The award celebrates long-life asphalt pavements that reflect the characteristics of a Perpetual Pavement design. The award is presented to state transportation departments and local agency road owners for well-performing asphalt pavements that are at least 35 years old with a proven high-quality structural design.

To earn the award, the pavement must not have suffered a structural failure, and it should have an average interval between resurfacing of no less than 13 years. The road must demonstrate excellence in design, quality in construction, and value to taxpayers. Engineers at the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) at Auburn University, evaluated the nominations and validated the results for this year’s Perpetual Pavement Award winners.

Since the Perpetual Pavement Award was first presented in 2001, 118 pavements in 30 U.S. states and one Canadian province have been honored with the award.

The states winning the 2016 award were: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Montana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington. For details visit: http://www.asphaltroads.org/news/post/asphalt-pavement-alliance-announces-winners-2016-perpetual-pavement-awards/

Wells Fargo Reports: Homebuilder Confidence Jumps in August

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose 4 points in August to 68. Rising demand for new homes pushed the future sales index up 5 points to 78, back to its post-recession high.

Demand for New Homes Strengthens in August

  •   Homebuilder confidence rose solidly in August, as more homebuilders reported improving sales and strengthening demand in general.
  •   The present sales index rose 4 points to 74, which is precisely even with its average for the past six months. The future sales index climbed 5 points to 78 and is back at its post-recession high. Builders are selling homes as fast as they can build them.

Low Inventories Continue to Limit Sales

  •  Single-family starts have not risen nearly as much as builder confidence has, reflecting the greater difficulty builders are having obtaining lots and labor relative to past cycles.
  •  The lack of new construction is apparent in prospective buyer traffic, which remains below past highs. Builders have far fewer model homes today than they did in the past and little finished inventory, making for difficult comparison with prior cycles.

AEM Poll: Rural-Urban Agreement on Need for Infrastructure Investment

An overwhelming majority of Americans in urban, suburban and rural communities believe that investing in infrastructure will improve the U.S. economy according to a new poll released Tuesday by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers(AEM).

While infrastructure needs differ in different parts of the country, the new survey shows that adults strongly support modernizing U.S. infrastructure and believe that investments will create jobs and improve their quality of life.

“The findings underscore the fact that infrastructure connects rural and urban America – both literally and physically,” said AEM president Dennis Slater. “America’s infrastructure was once the envy of the world, but after years of underinvestment, our infrastructure and connectivity between rural and urban America have deteriorated considerably. This is one of the areas rural and urban Americans agree on today – that we must modernize and rebuild our infrastructure to reclaim the infrastructure advantage we once had.”

The national poll identified a number of key findings, including

  • An overwhelming majority (89 percent) of all adults believe that investments in infrastructure will strengthen the U.S. economy, including eighty-six (86) percent of urban and eighty-nine (89) percent of rural Americans.
  • More than eight out of every ten adults (82 percent) agree that investments in infrastructure will increase the number of jobs in their communities, with eighty-four (84) percent of suburban, eighty-two (82) percent of urban and eighty (80) percent of rural Americans sharing this belief.
  • Americans across the country agree that investments in infrastructure will improve their quality of life (81 percent). This sentiment is equally strong in suburbs or towns (82 percent), cities (80 percent) and rural America (79 percent).

Read the full polling memo here.

“It is time for Congress and the administration to listen to the American people and rebuild our infrastructure, spur economic growth and accelerate job creation as a result,” said Kip Eideberg, AEM vice president of public affairs and advocacy.

Respondents also identified transportation, construction and manufacturing as the top industries poised to benefit most from increased infrastructure investment. Thirty (30) percent of all Americans pointed to manufacturing as one of the three primary beneficiaries of increased spending on infrastructure, a figure that rises among Midwesterners (34 percent) and rural Americans (34 percent).

The poll also found that a third of Americans (33 percent) believe that investing in broadband and wireless connectivity would most likely benefit their ability to access educational and workforce training resources.

The findings support recommendations made in a recently released report by AEM called The U.S. Infrastructure Advantage (TM). The report emphasizes the importance of the United States reclaiming its infrastructure advantage in order to maintain its global economic dominance. The report also highlights several areas in which infrastructure, such as surface transportation and broadband, provide critical links between urban and rural communities and economies.

About the Survey

AEM conducted the poll in partnership with YouGov through its online omnibus survey. The survey was fielded to 3,481 U.S. adults, including 667 adults who self-identify as living in a rural area. Figures have been weighted and are representative of all American adults (18+). Fieldwork was conducted between July 26 and July 28, 2017.

ABC Reports: Construction Input Prices Plod Higher, Energy Prices Down

Construction input prices increased0.3 percent in July and are up 3 percent on a year-over-year basis, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) analysis of data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonresidential construction input prices were in line with overall industry dynamics, increasing 0.3 percent for the month and 2.7 percent for the year.

Eight of 11 key construction input prices rose in July. Among the inputs experiencing declines in prices were crude petroleum (down 8 percent) and natural gas (down 7 percent). Natural gas prices have fallen during four of the past six months.

“Perhaps the most astonishing aspect of U.S. economic performance in recent years has been the general lack of inflation,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Despite recently completing eight years of economic recovery and hurtling towards full employment, the Federal Reserve’s most intensely scrutinized measure of inflation remains well below 2 percent. Even worker compensation has not risen rapidly, despite indications by construction firms, trucking enterprises, hotel operators and manufacturers of large-scale shortfalls in human capital. America is presently home to 6.2 million job openings and 7 million unemployed, which means that there is nearly one job for every person looking for one.

“The lack of inflation helps explain many things, including low interest rates, rising levels of consumer indebtedness, rising home prices, high multiples on corporate earnings and elevated commercial real estate values. In other words,” said Basu, “the reasonably strong performance of the U.S. economy and the phenomenal performance of financial markets is largely traceable to surprisingly low inflation.

“It is in this context that today’s report is so important,” said Basu. “Inflationary pressures are certainly apparent in today’s report. True, one should not make too much out of a single month of data. Moreover, one cannot make the claim that today’s release is consistent with anything approaching rampant inflation.

“However, in certain input categories, the rise in prices has been noteworthy,” said Basu. “For instance, steel mill products, iron and steel and softwood lumber have each experienced price increases of around 10 percent over the past 12 months. With energy prices stabilizing recently, the construction producer price index is likely to exhibit faster growth during the months ahead. Many contractors continue to report elevated backlog, and other leading nonresidential construction indicators remain positive. This implies growing demand for materials in America. With the global economy firming and with the dollar having weakened a bit recently, the implication is that materials prices will continue to rise during the months ahead along with compensation costs. These dynamics are likely to place additional pressure on construction industry profit margins.

Visit ABC Construction Economics for the Construction Backlog Indicator, Construction Confidence Index and state unemployment reports, plus analysis of spending, employment, GDP and the Producer Price Index.

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national construction industry trade association established in 1950 that represents more than 21,000 members.

Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 70 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit us at abc.org.