This month in construction industry news…
Awe-inspiring time-lapses of the Rio Olympic stadium transformations…
Quartz featured a dynamic visual summary of DigitalGlobe’s satellite imagery of the construction makeovers many Rio Olympic stadiums underwent in the last couple years. Take a look:
The Olympic Golf Course—the location of which is home to a menagerie of local animals like ground-nesting owls, monkeys, capybaras (the world’s largest rodent), and crocodiles—was created by
golf course designer Gil Hanse. Its controversial construction got going back in April of 2013 just south from Barra Park.
The stunning Beach Volleyball Arena is a temporary Olympic stadium on the world-famous Copacabana Beach. Construction required two metro lines’ extensions.
Corinthians Arena—originally built for the World Cup in 2014—is named after the Brazilian soccer club, hosts Olympic soccer tournaments, and can hold close to 50,000 attendees. It was built by the developer Odebrecht.
Home construction hits 6-month high in July for U.S…
Bolstered by a jump in home building in the Northeast in July, apartment construction made construction industry news as it reached the most robust pace in the last six months.
- Overall construction rates rose 2.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.21 million—up from 1.19 million in June, according to the Commerce Department—making this the highest level since February.
- Most of the gain came from an 8.3 percent acceleration in the construction of multi-family buildings, while construction of single-family houses edged up just 0.3 percent.
- Construction climbed 15.3 percent in the Northeast, versus smaller gains in the Midwest and South and the West’s slipping starts.
- Meanwhile, current housing starts are outpacing permits to build in the future. Authorized permits slipped 0.1 percent in July to an annual rate of 1.15 million.
- Americans are upgrading more and more to newly built single-family houses, in turn, ground breakings for houses have risen 10.6 percent year-to-date, but starts for apartment buildings have dipped thanks to grueling construction to accommodate a boom in renters.
- Housing starts remain under the 25-year average of roughly 1.3 million, despite rebounding from the Great Recession and housing crash.
- The combination of low mortgage rates along with the strong job market strengthens real estate, with sales of new homes at their strongest since early 2008 and existing homes selling at their best rate since early 2007.
Tucson lures Caterpillar relocation…
Caterpillar has addressed the challenges of a down market and low employment levels with a big move to grow and rebuild its Surface, Mining, and Technology Division in Tucson, Arizona. After state, county, and city-level officials’ impressive lobbying efforts, this deal could land 600 executive jobs in the downtown region over the next five years, with an estimated economic impact of $600 million.
“A big, big part of it was how willing the government was to work with us,” Tom Bluth said. “I came into it not sure what to expect. The way the state and local agencies approached us was best-in-class.”
The Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District voted unanimously to spend $52 million to bring Caterpillar Inc. to Tucson and to build its headquarters in “mining territory,” featuring an added perk of proximity to its Mexican facilities.
The Arizona Commerce Authority offered an additional $4 million in moving expenses, making the combined incentives one of the largest in recent state history.
As a side note, Vice President of Caterpillar Inc. Tom Bluth told the Arizona Daily Star that his team definitely anticipated the challenges of adjusting to Tucson and employees were able to attend webinars with officials from schools, hospitals, real estate, and even the mayor thanks to a “soft landing” package from Sun Corridor Inc.
“Webinars were very significant to our employees and the questions were open and often entertaining, like ‘About those scorpions …how big are the scorpions?'”
New York City’s Building Department Goes Digital
In an attempt to revamp New York City’s buildings and permitting approvals process, streamlining project reviews, and making code violations easier to track, the city’s Department of Buildings is evolving into a more user-friendly version of itself. A $29.6 million e-filing system named DOB Now is in the works, making the paper-based filing system of yesteryear—or 1989 to be exact—history.
Soon anyone, including the architects, engineers, and construction industry workers who do business with the DOB will be able to submit and track permits, make appointments, and check inspection statuses in real-time. The first phases will be rolled out in 2016 and 2017, and completion of the system should go into effect by 2018.
The program, DOB Now, will roll out in phases during 2016 and 2017, featuring DOB Now: Build, which currently allows applications for plumbing and sprinkler jobs to be filed online and DOB Now: Safety, which should go live in September as a resource for compliance filings related to façades, elevators, and boilers. Select companies will be able to test the system this summer, and by 2018, it is set to be the new go-to source for interactions with the DOB.
Chicago and Baltimore offer some variation of e-filing for building documents, but NYC’s program’s real-time tracking functionality for the large amount of construction activity in the region sets it apart.
ENR Announces California’s Best Projects of 2016…
ENR’s panel of nine industry judges—featuring architects, engineers, contractors, public and private owners, and subcontractors—reviewed 90 projects throughout California and Hawaii.
The projects evaluated were graded on the ability of the project team to overcome challenges, contribution to the industry and community, safety, and construction and design quality.
Come October, judges will designate their pick for Project of the Year from the Best Project-level winners listed below and two awards ceremonies will take place on October 4th and October 6th to honor these winners.
Best Project, Northern Calif.: San Francisco International Airport Replacement Airport Traffic Control Tower and Integrated Facility, located in San Francisco. Submitted by Hensel Phelps Construction Co.
Award of Merit, Hawaii: Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Forensic Identification Lab, located in Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam Pearl Harbor. Submitted by SmithGroupJJR
Best Project, Northern Calif.: Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, located in San Francisco. Submitted by Webcor Builders
Best Project, Southern Calif.: Scripps Clinic John R. Anderson V Medical Pavilion, located in San Diego. Submitted by McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
Best Project, Southern Calif.: California State University Channel Islands Sierra Hall, located in Camarillo. Submitted by Sundt Construction
Award of Merit, Northern Calif.: California State University, East Bay Warren Hall Replacement Building, located in Hayward. Submitted by Sundt Construction
Award of Merit, Southern Calif.: Los Angeles Valley College Monarch Center, located in Valley Glen. Submitted by McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
Best Project, Southern Calif.: Crossroads School Science Education & Research Facility, located in Santa Monica. Submitted by Morley Builders
Best Project, Southern Calif.: ALDI Regional Headquarters and Distribution Center, located in Moreno Valley. Submitted by Graycor Construction Company Inc.
Best Project, Northern Calif.: Bay Area Headquarters Authority Renovation & Seismic Upgrade, located in San Francisco. Submitted by McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
Award of Merit, Northern Calif.: San Francisco War Memorial Veterans Building Seismic Upgrade & Improvements, located in San Francisco. Submitted by Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Best Project, Southern Calif.: Biola University Blackstone Residence Hall, located in La Mirada. Submitted by Gensler
Award of Merit, Southern Calif.: Stormwater Basin and Treatment Wetlands Enhancement, located in Torrance. Submitted by CWE
Best Project, Northern Calif.: Transbay Transit Center Below Grade Concrete Package, located in San Francisco. Submitted by Shimmick Construction Co., Inc.
Best Project, Southern Calif.: San Diego Zoo Parking Structure, located in San Diego. Submitted by McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
Award of Merit, Southern Calif.: Petersen Automotive Museum, located in Los Angeles. Submitted by MATT Construction
Best Project, Southern Calif.: Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, located in Carlsbad. Submitted by Coapplicants: Mott MacDonald / Poseidon Water / Kiewit Shea Desalination