At the Birmingham Group, we strive to keep you up-to-date regarding current events and trends in commercial construction. From hurricanes inflating the cost of building materials to new laws being introduced by OSHA, here are a few noteworthy events that made the news recently.
Hurricanes Inflating Construction Costs
Regrettably, the price of gasoline isn’t the only thing negatively impacted when storms, like Hurricane Harvey and Irma, make landfall. These storms also leave a multitude of construction projects—both residential and commercial—destroyed in their wake. As the demand for certain building materials increases, so do the construction costs. From repairing caved-in roofs to replacing flooring ruined from the standing water, labor costs are also expected to rise since contractors typically bid more for these projects.
The Offsite Construction Boom
Since there are so many notable advantages regarding the offsite construction process which involves building away from the point of installation, a growing number of high-profile businesses are opting for it (see Marriott International). For instance, it’s considered a much safer process because the work takes place in a supervised factory on a single level. Additionally, the work can be closely monitored for quality and performed more consistently inside without the worry of potential weather delays.
OSHA’s New Silica Rule
Contractors should take notice of a new construction safety standard scheduled to take effect on 09/23/2017. The new rule seeks to limit the amount of silica dust that construction workers are exposed to. According to OSHA, “About 2.3 million workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in their workplaces, including 2 million construction workers who drill, cut, crush, or grind silica-containing materials such as concrete and stone, and 300,000 workers in general industry operations such as brick manufacturing, foundries, and hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Responsible employers have been protecting workers from harmful exposure to respirable crystalline silica for years, using widely-available equipment that controls dust with water or a vacuum system.” The rule’s key provisions include providing medical exams to highly exposed workers and requiring employers to use various controls such as water, ventilation and respirators to limit PEL exposure.
August Employment Numbers
In spite of a majority if firms struggling to find qualified workers, a workforce survey by the Associated General Contractors of America indicated that construction employment increased by 28,000 jobs in August 2017.
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