Our monthly “What’s Trending in Construction” blog has been a big hit with our readers, so we’re back again with our March edition! For those of you who are here for the first time, welcome.
Here at Gadzoom, we pride ourselves on staying on top of the latest industry news. As part of that process, we like to take our five favorite articles each month and share them with our audience.
Without further ado, here’s what’s trending in March:
Tesla Ordered to Halt Work on German Factory Amid Anger Over Chopping Down Trees
A new article out of CNBC (@CNBCi) discusses a few bumps in the road that Tesla is having as it attempts to build its new “Gigafactory” in Germany. The electric car manufacturer is still in talks with government agencies regarding getting the planning documents squared away, but already received preliminary permission to clear 92 hectares of forest land.
The Berlin-based environmental protection activist group, Green League Brandenburg, has filed a petition to stop the feeling immediately, as the whole project would take just three days to clear land for construction. The courts recognized their filing and asked Tesla to halt all operations on the new plant until both sides have a chance to present their arguments in court. So far, Tesla has promised to plant an area three times larger than the factory with new trees.
Experts: Surprise Inspections No Cure-All For Construction Violations
Forbes (@Forbes) recently covered the topic of surprise inspections on job sites and their impact on construction violations. The location at the center of this controversy is none other than New York City, which has been seeing its biggest boom in construction in years. With it, has come a dramatic rise in construction-related injuries.
According to the article, “there were an average 10.5 safety violations per 100,000 square feet of New York City construction sites. Of the risks observed, 30.1% were fall protection violations, 13.8% fire hazards, and 8.4% personal protection of bodily injury-related hazards.” To combat this, city officials have made a concerted effort to increase supervision on construction sites. Experts are saying that it may be too little too late, however, as a reactive approach isn’t the same as a proactive one.
Coronavirus Impacts Could Have Ripple Effect on U.S. Construction Industry
With no end in sight for the Coronavirus, ConstructionDive (@ConstructDive) predicts that the impact may be felt much closer to home than first anticipated. As Chinese factories continue to shut down production due to the major quarantine efforts taking place across the country, it may spell hardship for American construction companies who rely on foreign-made goods.
China is the single largest supplier of building products, accounting for 30% of all U.S. building product imports. The article goes on to say that the fallout from the coronavirus “could mean higher material costs and potentially slower project completions.” This could mean a big disruption to the U.S. construction supply chain if production doesn’t ramp back up soon.
The New Construction Approach That Helped P&G Build Their “Plant of the Future”
Also by Forbes (@Forbes), comes an article about global consumer products giant Procter & Gamble, and how their new approach to green construction has fueled the development of their “plan of the future.” In recent years, P&G has seen increased competition, which has forced them to find new ways to cut operational costs. In 2015, they further embraced this effort with their decision to halt plans for three new factories and instead consolidate their efforts by creating one “mega factory,” which will employ upwards of 1,800 people with five plants in one site.
They placed a priority on building this factory as quickly and efficiently as possible, with the main goal being a reduction in building material and waste products, both of which are major contributors to environmental issues. According to P&G’s now-retired former Associate Director Mike Staun, their vision was a huge success. “We wound up with a better design and a better, faster build,” he said. “Safety and quality were improved, and we calculated that we delivered a 15% reduction in cost through waste elimination and a 30% improvement in our construction schedule. We had a better, faster startup, and we have better ongoing operations now too.”
DHS Waives Procurement Regs for Border Wall Construction
In another article by ConstructionDive (@ConstructDive), we learn about the current border wall efforts that are taking place along the U.S. border with Mexico, and the efforts by the government to expedite the construction process. As we all know, regulatory bodies and associated regulations often constitute one of the biggest delays to a construction project. The federal government recently announced that it would waive procurement regulations for contractors working on certain parts of the border wall project so that the timeline can be sped up.
According to Chad Wolf, Acting Director of Homeland Security, “Construction work covered by the waiver includes access roads to and around the designated projects; earthwork, excavation; site preparation; installation and maintenance of barriers; drainage and erosion controls; and safety and security features.” Normally, procurement regulations are set forth to protect taxpayers and make sure they get the best value for the project. Waving these regulations means that the cost of the project will go up, traded for the prospect of speedier construction.
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