Daily Dirt

Alabama Non-Residential Construction UP!

German steel manufacturer ThyssenKrupp announced that construction of its $4 billion steel mill in Calvert, Alabama, is on schedule. Governor Bob Riley of Alabama (R) says there are currently 2,000 construction workers at the facility and the number could reach 10,000 later this year. The company had previously announced plans to delay production at the plant because of the global recession. However, company officials now say that they plan no delay in the construction of the mill. The plant, scheduled to begin operations next year, will employ more than 2,700 steel workers at full operation. It will serve industries including automotive, packaging, construction, electrical and utility, in addition to serving manufacturers of appliances, precision machinery and engineered products. .
The Birmingham Business Journal reported that non-building contracts, which includes work on infrastructure, airports and utilities, rose 6 percent to $132.2 million for the month in Alabama.
Statewide, contracts for commercial construction increased by 49 percent to $319.3 million for the month.

Contracts for future nonresidential construction rose to $63.9 million in January in the Birmingham area, compared to $41.3 million in January of last year. Contracts for future nonresidential construction rose to $63.9 million in January in the Birmingham area, compared to $41.3 million in January of last year.

On the gloomy side, residential contracts fell 28 percent for the Birmingham area to $31.5 million from $44 million a year ago and statewide residential contracts fell 32 percent to $214.9 million.

Block Kids

The Block Kids Building Program is a national competition that introduces children to the construction industry as a viable career choice. The Las Vegas Chapter of National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) sponsors the local competition with the Las Vegas area Boys and Girls Clubs and invites up to 70 children to participate.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, February 21, 2009 at the Donald Reynolds Boys & Girls Club at 2980 East Robindale Road in Henderson.

The competition, open to students in grades 1-6, challenges them to build various structures using interlocking blocks, string, foil and rock. The projects are judged by area architects, engineers, general contractors and other experts in the construction industry. Students have the opportunity to explain their project in detail, ask questions of the experts and receive encouragement for their efforts.

While the judges score and tally the entries, the children can decorate their own hardhats, play in a jumpy house, ride on a high-lift, get their picture taken and autographed by a local race car driver and enjoy the lunch provided by NAWIC and its sponsors. The first, second and third place winners receive trophies and construction related building projects to work on with their families.The grand prize winner advances to the regional competition, and one semi-finalist from each region is entered in the national program. National prizes are awarded to the top three projects.
Construction Workers Hold Candlelight Vigil In Las Vegas

Out of money and out of options, construction workers gathered by candlelight, looking to a higher power to pull them out of a financial hole. It’s a type of candlelight vigil never before seen: workers praying for jobs. They were men and women out of work and struggling to make ends meet – hoping to be saved by a new City Hall.

“We need jobs, we need jobs and we have faith in the fact that through prayer and coming together we’ll get jobs,” laborer William Arnold says.

“Build it and they will come” is the message from construction workers in Las Vegas who are increasingly desperate to stay employed. And what they’re fighting for is the much talked-about plan for a new City Hall. It got the green light from the City Council. Now, workers are making sure the project follows through, despite objections from the culinary union that says the potential $267 million price is too high.

Construction workers, in favor of the project, came out with candles Thursday night. They began what they promise will be a nightly vigil until the project gets off the ground.

Members of the Las Vegas Building and Construction Trades will hold candlelight vigils at the site of the proposed new Las Vegas City Hall at Main Street and Lewis every night from 6 pm until midnight until the project breaks ground.

“This project is vital to revitalizing our economy and providing badly needed jobs for many out of work Las Vegans,” said Tommy White, head of the Laborers Union Local 872. “We’re committed to making sure it becomes a reality as quickly as possible.”

Union officials estimate the project and others that are part of the City of Las Vegas’ downtown redevelopment plan could generate 13,000 jobs.

Greg Sitek

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