Newswire

The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has selected 20 projects—for highway, bridge, port and rail improvements—to share $856 million in the latest round of its highly competitive INFRA grant program. The department picked the winners for this year’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America funding from a wide field. Announcing the 2019 selections on July 25 at DOT headquarters, Secretary Elaine Chao said that almost 200 applications were submitted, seeking a total of $9.8 billion.

Florida legislators may have to tighten spending because of a combination of a “winded” economy and previous financial decisions. State economists this week drew up new estimates that predict the state will take in about $867 million less in revenue over two years than earlier anticipated. The new forecast was drawn up Wednesday, the same day that the stock market tanked amid worries that a recession could be looming.

Almost 80 percent of the 156 contractors surveyed for the 2017 FMI/BIMForum Prefabrication Survey reported that prefabrication has changed a great deal in the past six years. In fact, use of prefabricated, volumetric or modular components has almost tripled since 2010, with 35 percent of contractors reporting the use of off-site, built components in 2016.

Rebuilding Together, the leading national nonprofit organization providing critical home repairs and revitalizing our communities today announced the election of two members to its national board of directors. Letitia (“Tish”) King, communications consultant for the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University and Bob Miller, Chairman, Owner of The Schulte Group, and former South Florida AGC Chapter President were elected unanimously to the organization’s governing body.

In recent Unified Agendas, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have indicated their intention to review and amend the 2008 Compensatory Mitigation Rule.  AGC supports this effort, because challenges in implementing the Mitigation Rule can further complicate and delay the permitting process for infrastructure projects.  AGC is compiling industry concerns with the Mitigation Rule for the agencies to consider while they prepare a proposal to amend the rule.  Ultimately, AGC seeks to streamline the review process for approving new mitigation banks and in-lieu fee programs -- leading to greater availability of credits for infrastructure projects. 

Sudden swings in trade policy in the past two years have caused two types of problems for contractors. Many firms have been hit by unexpected increases in materials costs and in some cases, delivery delays. An impact that is harder to measure but may ultimately be more serious is postponement, or cancellation, of projects by owners that have lost export markets or face higher input costs.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) EPA recently finalized a rule to reduce the dust-lead hazard levels on floors and window sills – from 40 micrograms (µg) of lead in dust per square foot (ft2) and 250 µg/ft2 to 10 µg/ft2 and 100 µg/ft2, respectively.  The new standards take effect Jan. 6, 2020.  These standards apply to most pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities (COF), such as day care centers and kindergarten facilities.  Apart from COFs, no other public and commercial buildings are covered by this rule.

Just as unforeseen site conditions can test a contractor’s problem-solving skills, unexpected events can test a construction employer’s crisis-management readiness. Crises can hit at any time, and individuals involved in human resources are usually — and rightly — on the front lines of working with a company’s management team to address the challenges that any present.

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