Author: Constructech Editors

Time to think powerless tools. And for good reason. During the month of March alone, the price of gasoline has been rising steadily and by March 7, the U.S. had hit an average gasoline price of $4.17 per gallon, far surpassing an all-time high, and even higher in small cities that lack competition, according to the AAA. And as the month is coming to a close gasoline prices have continued to rise surpassing record highs. The first thought is to save gas on transportation, but the second is to look to gas-powered equipment in use on and off jobsites that…

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Today’s challenging global landscape is weighing on an already competitive construction market. As a result, commercial contractors have accelerated their adoption of technologies to protect and grow marketshare, differentiate project delivery, and “future proof” their businesses against what is likely to be more tumultuous times ahead. In order to achieve their objectives, contractors require reliable, secure, and scalable systems that deliver data-driven decision-making and collaboration between jobsites, backoffices, and third-party vendors. With the right ERP (enterprise resource planning) software solutions in place, their goals are quickly becoming realized. Business Intelligence, Business Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence What used to sound like…

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The image of a large truck going down the highway with no one in the cab was once a science fiction staple—usually in a horror movie. Today, it is becoming more of a reality, although there is often a human in the cab, just in case. But in the rough world of quarrying, where few vehicles are working at any time, the idea of autonomous trucks is taking hold. BTA (Bell Trucks of America), Houston is known for providing North America best-in-class articulated dump trucks and tracked carrier products, service and support via a network of national dealers. The company…

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According to McKinsey, subsidies—for capital expenditure on chargers, installation, and power distribution, as well as ongoing costs for operation—can help draw EV charging to areas where it is most needed. Such subsidies can make it economically viable to build chargers in areas where long-term profitability can outweigh short-term costs. Some governments, such as New York City’s, are funding installation costs to build chargers in high-demand areas; others, such as Germany’s, are sponsoring an entire network to be operated by private companies. A successful effort will require modeling of demand, grid capacity, and other factors to determine priorities for investment. As…

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As ConEd likes to say, “Dig we must.” And if you are going to dig, especially in an urban area, better find out what’s under the surface. If you follow normal procedure, you call 8-1-1 and the utility will send out someone to check, often with ground penetrating radar. In Pasco County Florida, that 8-1-1 call might be answered by responders from Find It First Locating Service. The service, in business since 1994, has the “Sunshine 8-1-1 Call Before You Dig” contract with the Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative, a contract awarded originally to Find It First’s owner, Marie Mancuso. Recently,…

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Environmental concerns often drive innovation and technology advances. As an example, consumer demand for new products in new packages has been one factor in the proliferation of plastics in many different formulae. As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notes, plastic is everywhere: In our home, office, school — and ocean. Among the top 10 kinds of trash picked up during the 2017 Intl Coastal Cleanup were food wrappers, beverage bottles, grocery bags, straws, and take out containers, all made of plastic. While it’s tough to say exactly how much plastic is in the ocean, scientists think about eight million metric tons of plastic entered…

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The so-called “gig economy” took off with Uber and Lyft drivers working freelance and getting referrals from an app on smartphones. Need a ride? Home delivery of dinner? An app will locate you and the nearest driver and match you up. But what if a ride—or food delivery—isn’t your immediate problem? If you are on a new construction jobsite, wondering where your nearest supply store might be, an app that can arrange delivery of additional material or tools might be a good thing. Well, someone thought of that app. In Benton Harbor, Michigan, startup Sitedropp is recruiting customers, suppliers, and…

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The GCCA (Global Cement and Concrete Assn.) might be a little biased when it claims that concrete is the most used human-made material on the planet with 14 billion cubic meters produced every year for use in everything from roads to bridges, tunnels to homes, and hydropower installations to flood defenses. But then again, it’s hard to deny that concrete is used a lot to build our world. And there is no bias in saying that concrete is an essential element of construction, with no other material widely available equaling its resilience, strength, and wide availability. However, the downside is that…

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Where will the entry-level workers come from to bring construction employment back to historic levels? Apprenticeship programs and community colleges are part of the equation. Construction-oriented specialty schools is another potential source. Construction companies and suppliers alike are vested in getting employment back up so there are enough workers to handle the upcoming construction economic improvement. The Do School is a nonprofit organization in North Carolina that focuses on building economic mobility in underserved sectors of the city. It pioneered an innovative approach to skills training in the construction industry, providing it for marginalized residents of low-wealth neighborhoods. Do School’s…

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If you are a general contractor with projects underway, you probably don’t need to be told that prices for construction materials have gone up and available supplies in many cases have decreased. Prices of construction materials jumped more than 20% from January 2021 to January 2022, according to an analysis by the AGC (Associated General Contractors of America of government data. The association recently posted a new edition of its Construction Inflation Alert, a report to inform project owners, officials, and others about the challenges volatile materials costs, supply chain disruptions, and labor shortages posed for construction firms. The producer price index for inputs to…

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