A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Reshaping the Construction Industry

The January edition of The Red Bulletin has an article about men who build bamboo construction scaffolding in Hong Kong.  The article talks about the “whys and how” of using bamboo scaffolding to build structures that reach over 250 meters or 820 feet into the sky.  The spidermen who do this work are known as “Taap Pang,” Cantonese for bamboo scaffolder.The advantages of bamboo scaffolding include the fact that they are light weight, recyclable, and found in most Asian climes.  The poles are selected for their size and strength, and are held in place with long plastic ties.  The spidermen are very skilled and in demand in Hong Kong and other major cities where scaffolding is needed.There is a growing shortage of skilled spidermen.  Even though there are around 4,000 active spidermen, only 50-60 candidates have entered the craft in the last year.  The training is extensive and candidates are taught the art of the selection and erection of the poles to create the spider web for the construction crews.  
Jim Kollaer's picture
January 16, 2012
The Construction Citizen series about the presentation of two possible scenarios for what Houston might be like 30 years from now continues.  In this video containing the last of the “exit interviews” which the Construction Citizen team gathered following the 2040 Scenarios Event, attendees offered their first impressions and thoughts about the presentation and the discussion that October evening.  The first scenario presented was “Learning to Live” and was given the color green as a way to identify it from the second scenario, which was “Playing to Win” and which was identified with the color blue.
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
January 12, 2012
The National Public Radio debate show Intelligence Squared U.S. recently aired a deliberation on whether or not “Too Many Kids Are Going To College”.  Held in Chicago on...
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
January 10, 2012
Loren Steffy, in his Sunday column for the Houston Chronicle, spells out the impact of payroll fraud and worker misclassification on the US deficit.  He says that two things are happening that are symptomatic of the situation.First, by misclassifying workers as independent contractors or 1099 workers, the employers in the construction industry and in other labor intensive industries like hospitality and food service are not paying the taxes or benefits on the workers they hire.  Steffy states:“For every $1,000 employers pay in wages, they are supposed to collect from employees $14.40 for Medicare and $42 for Social Security.  In addition, employers are supposed to contribute $62 themselves to Social Security, another $14.50 for Medicare and $25
Jim Kollaer's picture
January 09, 2012
Following an event at the offices of Marek Brothers Systems at which Houston professionals were introduced to two possible scenarios for the city’s future, some of the attendees offered their first impressions and thoughts about the presentation and the discussion.  In the video below, you can listen to parts of three conversations which took place as the attendees were leaving for the evening.First you will see Donna Rybiski of the Center for Houston’s Future interviewing Bonnie McLoud and Kent Wiseman.  Donna asked them
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
January 05, 2012
Drywall and plaster contractor BakerTriangle is a company that runs their business with integrity and pays their employees responsibly.  They are one of the companies in the...
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
January 04, 2012
If you read my post about the Construction Education Foundation of North Texas, you might recall I recognized this organization as a pocket of excellence. In this post I would like inform you about a program that could provide a foundation for pockets of excellence across the country.Their website explains the mission:  “Build Your Future is an NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) program that is being enhanced to support the Choose Construction Initiative (CCI), which is a collaborative grassroots
Katrina Kersch's picture
January 03, 2012
California’s Department of Industrial Relations, the Employment Development Department, Contractor's State Licensing Board, Board of Equalization, the Bureau of Automotive Repair...
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
December 29, 2011
On July 13, Construction Citizen shared a story first reported by Dallas/Fort Worth television station WFAA about misclassification of workers on a school construction project.  Last week, the same WFAA reporter submitted an update to the story.The original story featured a subcontractor who lost the bid for work on Mansfield Independent School District’s Center for the Performing Arts to a competitor who does not pay payroll taxes, unemployment tax, or workers’ compensation insurance.  Following the investigation and airing of the story, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) charged Mireles, the subcontractor who was hired for the project but did not pay those taxes, for
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
December 27, 2011
As previously reported in the Construction Citizen series about the 2040 Scenarios event, the evening included a discussion between the group of industry leaders who attended...
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
December 22, 2011