Jim Kollaer's blog

According to the NBC Nightly News, a recent report by the global search firm ManpowerGroup shows that skilled labor jobs are the hardest to fill both in the US and around the globe.  Projections, as we have discussed, show that the supply will shrink for the foreseeable future as the demand increases in the current construction recovery.

While that is good news for the existing workers looking for jobs around the US and the globe, owners, contractors and subcontractors will be scrambling to keep their top folks and frantically searching for additional workers.  That will likely put pressure on labor rates and construction costs as well.

According to the NBC report:

“Four in 10 American employers are struggling to fill open positions, according to the annual Talent Shortage Survey by human resources firm Manpower.

For the fifth consecutive year, the jobs that are hardest to fill fall into the category of skilled trades, which covers manufacturing, construction and other positions that require professional training or apprenticeship.   Read more » about Forty Percent of Firms Report Trouble Filling Skilled Labor Jobs

This week of June 2-6 has been designated National Fall Prevention Safety Stand-Down week by OSHA to help prevent injuries and deaths due to falls on the job.

According to the Department of Labor blog site and OSHA statistics, there were 806 lives lost in construction in 2012 and 300 of them were due to falls on the job.

The current plan is for as many as 25,000 businesses to host “stand-downs” and educational events for over 1 million workers.  These events and the safety standards taught in the “stand-downs” will definitely save workers lives across the entire country.  During the “stand-down” on the construction sites, the companies will describe fall hazards and show ways to prevent those reportable falls on the job sites.

Please urge your companies and your team members to participate in this important OSHA event.  It could save your life.   Read more » about National Safety Stand-Down

The future of the next phase of construction for the proposed headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, DC has once again become a political football, according to a recent article in the Washington Post.  The project originally proposed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks was intended to consolidate the departments that are now housed in over 50 buildings around the capitol area into one location.  During the period following the attacks and subsequent disasters, teams were required to move from one facility to another to coordinate, and that was not workable, according to the Post article.   Read more » about Homeland Security Headquarters Completion Revised to 2026

The Associated General Contractors of America is working through its local chapters to find ways to address the catch-22 of older workers retiring while fewer graduating students are entering the industry.  AGC is starting chartered schools to teach interested kids about the construction industry.

They have partnered to establish charter schools such as the ACE Leadership High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico; OBC Academy for Architecture, Construction and Engineering in Portland, Oregon; Construction Careers Center in St. Louis, Missouri; and Academy of Career Education in Sparks, Nevada.

Recently, AGC economist Ken Simonson spoke to the Denver Chapter of AGC.  In pointing out the looming shortages, he pointed to the recently published AGC report Preparing the Next Generation of Skilled Construction Workers: a Workforce Development Plan for the 21st Century.  The plan outlines what federal, state and local officials can do to create construction training programs and fill the pipeline for jobs.

An article in the Denver Business Journal by Cathy Proctor outlines some key points from the AGC report:   Read more » about Solving the Skilled Worker Shortage in Construction

If you are a skilled crafts worker in the construction industry, boy do we have good news for you.  Ken Simonson, chief economist for AGC America, recently spoke to the Denver AGC at the Denver Union Station about the looming labor shortages in the construction industry.  Cathy Proctor, a reporter for the Denver Business Journal, reported on the Simonson speech in which he said, “Two-thirds of the nation’s construction firms say they are having trouble finding people.”  Additionally he went on to say, “About 79 percent of the firms say they expect construction worker shortages will continue or get worse in 2014.”

In Colorado, one of the top 10 metros, there will be a need to add another 5,000 construction workers this year alone according to Michael Gifford, the president and CEO of AGC Colorado.

That bodes well for those looking for construction jobs, but Simonson said again as he has in his other speeches that during the recession, the industry lost over 800,000 jobs and workers.   Read more » about Denver and the Rest of the Country Having Labor Pains

Get ready for “Infinite Data” (as opposed to “Big Data”) of the Internet of Things in the construction industry.

I read an interesting blog in the April edition of the Headworks International newsletter written by Paul Doherty, CEO of the Digit Group.  The article points to the major shift and disruption in the Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) industry today.  Doherty, whose client list reads like a global 500, talks about the global movement toward the Internet of Things where things communicate with each other, and the construction world and our lives are inextricably changed forever.  (Check out the new Audi and Mercedes radar, collision avoidance, hands-off parking, and car-to-car communications systems.)   Read more » about You Might Have Missed Big Data Already!

Another industry group is entering the private exchange game to deal with the complexities of the Affordable Care Act.  The Wichita Business Journal has noted that the Associated General Contractors of America and Willis North America, the global risk advisor, are developing a private exchange to offer defined contribution plans to companies in the industry who are working to comply with the fluid requirements of the ACA or Obamacare.

According to the announcement, “The AGC Alternative”, as it is currently named, will offer its members health benefits or employees at a lower cost, and they will incur less administrative costs as well.   Read more » about AGC and Willis Team to Provide a Private Exchange to Deal with Obamacare

Software Advice has released the results of their 2014 buyer review for construction software.  An article written by Janna Finch, Managing Editor of Software Advice, points out some interesting results.

  • Seventy-eight percent (78%) of buyers (in the Construction industry) have no deployment preference, whereas most buyers in other industries tend to prefer cloud-based systems.
  • The most frequently cited reason for buying new (construction) software is increased efficiency or productivity, with 28 percent of the sample saying they hoped to achieve this benefit.

  Read more » about Construction Software Usage Growing

If so, here is an opportunity for you to hear the outlook from some of the leading economists in the industry.  Reed Construction Data is presenting an online conference that features one of our Construction Citizen authors, Ken Simonson, the chief economist for the AGC.

On Thursday, April 17, from 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. EDT, Ken will join Kermit Baker of the AIA and Bernard Markstein of Reed Construction Data for their semiannual insight into the outlook for 2014 construction.  At the end of the presentation, the economists will answer questions from the audience.   Read more » about Wondering About the Outlook for 2014 Construction?

We have been writing about the critical need for controlling security on your jobsite to prevent possible injuries, to track materials, to avoid tool theft, and in the case of the new One World Trade Center building, to protect the construction sites from falling prey to possible terrorism.  This issue is front page again.

CBS New York reported that the newly appointed head of security at the One WTC construction site, former FBI field agent David Velazquez, is taking the fall for recent the security breaches even though the first reported one took place before he had taken over his position.
The Velazquez resignation came on the heels of the disclosure that on September 30 of last year, four thrill-seeking BASE jumpers entered the site through a hole in the security fence, climbed the 104 stories to the top of the building, and then jumped in a stunt that would make GoPro proud.

This major breach was not disclosed until six months after it happened and only after a second breach by teenager Justin Casquejo, age 16, of Weehawken, NJ just a week ago.   Read more » about One World Trade Center Security Breached Again


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