Tag Archive for 'infrastructure'

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Emerging Practice of Prevention through Design and Technology Advances Poised to Help Improve Construction Safety  Latest Dodge study reveals a new arsenal of tools to help increase construction safety onsite.

Note:  Dodge has just released its newest SmartMarketReport on Safety Management in the Construction Industry, produced in partnership with The Center for Construction Research and Training and United Rentals. The study reveals the engagement with and impact of two critical trends for improving construction safety: technologies used on job sites and the practice of Prevention through Design (PtD).

A new study  reveals the engagement with and impact of two critical trends for improving construction safety—technologies used on jobsites, and the practice of Prevention through Design (PtD). The study, conducted in partnership with the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) and United Rentals and published in the Safety Management in the Construction Industry 2017 SmartMarket Report, is the third in a series of studies that demonstrate the financial and project benefits that contractors reap from their safety investments. It also shows the impact that new technologies being deployed onsite, from building information modeling (BIM) to drones to wearable devices, have on improving safety. Finally, it suggests that active consideration of safety during building design, known formally as Prevention through Design (PtD) is still an emerging practice, but one well-positioned for wider acceptance in the design and construction industry. The full report is available for free download here.

The findings from the study on the benefits of safety investments, along with previous studies conducted in 2012 and 2015, show that investment in safety has a positive impact on project budgets, schedules, quality, and on business factors such as a contractor’s standing in the industry or ability to contract new work. And these impacts can be substantial: contractors reporting positive impacts on average see a nearly 5 percent reduction in the project schedule and a 4 percent reduction in project costs.

“Consistently, contractors have reported that they receive project and business benefits from safety, even across dramatically different construction markets, such as the ones in 2012 and 2017,” says Steve Jones, senior director, industry insights research at Dodge Data & Analytics. “Safety investments clearly pay off in measurable ways and in ways that are harder to quantify, but that still have a major impact on a contractor’s business.”

The study followed up on the 2012 and 2015 findings on leading indicators of a positive safety culture and climate on job sites. For instance, safety & health training for supervisors and workers, one of the eight indicators, is up from 2015, while recognizing the importance of good communication, another of the indicators, is down.  “This survey helps us track what is happening in the industry relative to each leading indicator.  These findings are extremely useful in identifying needs and opportunities for improvement,” says Chris Cain, executive director, CPWR.

The study examined the degree to which contractors are deploying technologies that can help improve job site safety, a concept that was also examined in 2012. Different technologies were explored, including BIM, mobile tools and emerging technologies like drones and wearable devices. The findings reveal the ways in which technology is already helping to improve safety and how it is likely to do so in the future.  

  • Over two-thirds of contractors who use BIM (69 percent) state that it has a positive impact on project safety, a 27-point increase over those who reported that in 2012.
  • Over half of those reporting that positive impact attributes it to using BIM to identify potential site hazards before construction begins, to conduct clash detection, to support prefabrication and to create 3D images.
  • Smartphone use is nearly ubiquitous onsite, and tablet use is widespread and growing. This allows for use of mobile tools like cameras to be used by 85 percent of all contractors on site. The documentation of site condition and work progress is fundamental to many safety efforts.
  • Nearly half of contractors (42 percent) also employ safety inspection checklist apps, but the use of mobile tools for safety training (35 percent) and to access safety and health websites (28 percent) is less common.
  • Almost one-quarter of contractors (21 percent) use drones to promote safety onsite for functions such as reality capture that allow for digital analysis of existing conditions, and almost three-quarters of them (70 percent) believe that these have a positive impact on safety.
  • While wearable devices like badges with coded electronic information and smart helmets are only being used by 13 percent of contractors currently, 82 percent of those who use them report a positive impact on safety. This suggests that as these technologies become more widely known and more affordable, their potential for improving job site safety increases. 

“Technology is drastically improving job site safety, providing tangible results in protecting workers and firms alike,” says Jim Dorris, United Rentals’ vice president of environmental, health and safety. “Evolving data platforms, tools, and service capabilities will deliver innovative new safety solutions, and United Rentals is excited about the emerging roadmap to safer projects of all types.”

Another emerging trend explored in the study is PtD: the effort to help improve construction safety by actively considering safety issues during design, from the schematic stage forward. The study included an architect survey on this issue, which found that while few architects were aware of the formal name for this process before taking the survey, the use of key PtD practices occurred at least to some degree.

  • Most architects (83 percent) report that they have worked with GCs and key trades before the completion of schematic design to identify opportunities for prefabrication.
  • Roughly two-thirds are either reviewing the design during schematic for safety during building operations/maintenance (68 percent) or use a lifecycle safety approach to improve safety during building operations (66 percent).
  • However, only about half of architects (51 percent) do similar reviews to optimize construction safety.

The biggest barrier to wider use of PtD among architects is concern about taking on construction liability, reported by 79 percent, followed by lack of client interest at 63 percent. Correspondingly, most architects (81 percent) would be influenced by requests from their clients to take this approach, and over two thirds (68 percent) would be influenced by insurance incentives. With global studies linking between 22 percent and 63 percent of workplace fatalities to design-related factors, getting owners on board with demanding this approach, providing liability coverage for architects seeking to practice it and getting insurance companies to reward them appear to be powerful ways to enhance the safety records of buildings.

“The survey findings confirm two things we have been hearing for years,” says Cain. “Owners drive construction safety and health, and architects are reluctant to implement PtD solutions without client pressure. By ensuring the entire team, starting with the owner/client, focuses on preventing job site hazards, we will continue to see improvements in worker injuries, illnesses, and fatality rates.”

About Dodge Data & Analytics: Dodge Data & Analytics is North America’s leading provider of analytics and software-based workflow integration solutions for the construction industry. Building product manufacturers, architects, engineers, contractors, and service providers leverage Dodge to identify and pursue unseen growth opportunities and execute those opportunities for enhanced business performance. Whether it’s on a local, regional or national level, we make the hidden obvious, empowering our clients to better understand their markets, uncover key relationships, size growth opportunities, and pursue those opportunities with success. Our construction project information is the most comprehensive and verified in the industry. We are leveraging our 100-year-old legacy of continuous innovation to help the industry meet the building challenges of the future. To learn more, visit www.construction.com.

About CPWR: The Center for Construction Research and Training [CPWR] is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in the construction industry through research, training, and service programs, and currently serves as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) National Construction Center and the research and training arm of NABTU.  In this capacity, CPWR works to reduce or eliminate occupational safety and health hazards faced by construction workers through safety and health research and the development of a broad array of training programs. For more information please go to www.cpwr.com.

 About United Rentals: United Rentals, Inc. is the largest equipment rental company in the world. The company has an integrated network of 1,019 rental locations in 49 states and every Canadian province. The company’s approximately 15,000 employees serve construction and industrial customers, utilities, municipalities, homeowners, and others. The company offers approximately 3,300 classes of equipment for rent with a total original cost of $11.6 billion. United Rentals is a member of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, the Barron’s 400 Index and the Russell 3000 Index® and is headquartered in Stamford, Conn. Additional information about United Rentals is available at www.unitedrentals.com.

 

ARTBA Foundation Announces Key 2018 Scholarship, Awards & Recognition Program Deadline

 
 The American Road & Transportation Builders Association Transportation Development Foundation (ARTBA-TDF) has announced key deadlines for its 2018 scholarship, awards and recognition programs. They include:

Lanford Family Highway Worker Memorial Scholarship Program
Established in 1999, this first-of-its-kind scholarship fund provides post-high school financial assistance to the children of highway workers killed or permanently disabled on the job. More than 125 scholarships have been awarded to worthy students.

Application deadline: April 6.

Helping Hand Awards
The awards recognize businesses with extraordinary programs—outside the scope of normal business operations—that demonstrably benefit and help improve the quality of life in the community where they are based or conduct business.

Nomination deadline: April 10.

Transportation Development Hall of Fame
The Hall of Fame recognizes individuals or families from the public and private sectors who have made extraordinary contributions to U.S. transportation development over their lifetime and demonstrated exceptional leadership.  Nominations are considered in two categories:

  • Transportation Design & Construction Industry Innovators: Honors the men and women who discovered or created a “game-changing” product or process that significantly advanced transportation design, construction and/or safety.
  • Transportation Design & Construction Industry Leaders (Individuals or Families): Honors men, women and families who have made significant contributions—beyond just having successful businesses or careers—that have notably helped advance the interests and image of the transportation design, construction and safety industry.

Nomination deadline: April 20.

Application and nomination forms can be found at www.artbatdf.org. Please contact ARTBA’s Eileen Houlihan with questions: ehoulihan@artba.org.

Established in 1985, the ARTBA Foundation is a 501(c) 3 tax-exempt entity designed to “promote research, education and public awareness” about the impacts of transportation investment. The Foundation supports an array of initiatives, including educational scholarships, awards, professional development academies, a transportation project safety certification program, roadway work zone safety and training, special economic reports and an exhibition on transportation at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Females Dominating in a Male-Dominated Industry

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  EPA’s public hearing in Charleston, WV, on its proposed decision to revoke the Clean Power Plan was an interesting session, for many reasons.  Some people slammed EPA for holding the hearing in Charleston, calling it disingenuous because it presented a kind of false hope to people forced to cling to a coal-based economy.  One attorney from Charleston said EPA’s move was pandering and condescending to WV citizens.  On the other hand, many others didn’t see it as quite so two-dimensional, pointing out that in the last year or so the State’s broader economy has been growing, not just because of greater clarity around coal but because the state’s industries depend on low-cost energy, whether that’s sourced from coal or not.  EPA as a presence stayed largely in the background.  Hearing officers were from various EPA Regional offices.  Hats off to EPA’s public affairs team which did a great job keeping a difficult process on track and on time.
* It’s no secret that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is a lightning rod for every environmental extreme under the ozone-making sun.  Still, Pruitt did an outstanding job in his initial appearance before the US House Energy and Commerce Committee last week.  Pruitt was unflappable in the face of some bizarre comments stitched together into questions by some of the Ds on the Committee, or more likely by a staff person. It appeared that for many Reps it was the first time they had seen the “question;” they couldn’t read it out loud without having to stop, repeat, go back a few words, stutter and then finally make it to where someone must have inserted a period.  Then they expected a rational “answer.”  Pruitt didn’t use any notes, yet referenced a wide range of EPA programs, including specific examples of individual cases and decisions on specific events.  Some big issues for Pruitt: making decisions, not letting open issues dither – he referenced, as an example, the West Lake Super Fund case in St. Louis – involving 8000 tons of Manhattan Project uranium, mixed with solid waste – unresolved for 27 years.  It won’t remain that way for another 27 years.
*  DOE published a Federal Register notice seeking comments and information to evaluate the potential advantages and disadvantages of additional flexibilities in the Department’s U.S Appliance and Equipment Energy Conservation Standards program. Changes could include market-based approaches like those used to set average efficiency standards, “feebate” programs, or other approaches that may reduce compliance costs and/or increase consumer choice while preserving or enhancing appliance efficiency. DOE requests comments on possible program design and insights on possible economic efficiency gains, impacts on consumer and manufacturer costs and on energy savings, and suggestions for a pilot product category and/or phase-in of revisions across the ECS program. As a concept, this has been in the works for a while at DOE.  Comments are due by February 26.
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DEWALT® Celebrates Tough Trades

DEWALT® celebrates trades this holiday season. Starting today, DEWALT will give away tools for a variety of trades on its DEWALT Instagram page.

The #ToughTrades giveaway is dedicated to the people who are employed in woodworking, electrical and plumbing, and mechanical industries, concrete and masonry professionals, metalworkers, and general contractors. DEWALT is committed to providing these professionals with products that deliver the performance they need to get tough jobs done each and every day.

Between December 4, 2017, and December 14, 2017, DEWALT will post clues on its Instagram page @DEWALTTOUGH. Followers can guess what’s in each prize and then come back and see the reveal. A new prize will be posted every other day.

Today’s #ToughTrade is Metalworking. DEWALT packed a TOUGHSYSTEM® Mobile Storage box for professional metalworkers. The first clue is, when you need corded grinding power, go cordless. The second clue is, this Type-1 mini hub was big news this year.

Six winners will be selected via random drawings during #ToughTrades giveaway. All the action starts today, December 4, 2017, at 9:00 am EST on Instagram @DEWALTTOUGH.

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DEWALT Tough Trades Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. See Official Rules for the entry period of each Sweepstakes. You must be age 18+ and a legal resident of USA (50 states or D.C.) to enter. Employees (and their immediate families and members of the same household, related or not) of DEWALT and its affiliates are not eligible to enter. Each Sweepstakes will award 1 prize to 1 winner. Odds of winning a prize depend on the number of eligible entries received for each Sweepstakes. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. Void where prohibited.