Tag Archives: construction projects

desert peaks awards

Arizona plans road projects with reduced funding

The Arizona Department of Transportation says it will be working with $350 million less as it maps out construction projects for the next five years.

The department says the decreased funding is due to stagnant revenue from gas and vehicle license taxes, and declining federal aid. Director John Halikowski says some tough decisions will have to be made about how to spend limited dollars.

The public can begin submitting comments on three scenarios Friday. One focuses on preserving the state’s highway system, another focuses on major projects, and the third is a combination of those two.

Public hearings are planned in Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff.

The State Transportation Board is expected to adopt a final plan to cover 2014 to 2018 at its June meeting in Pinetop-Lakeside.

Reviving the Construction Industry

Plan to Revive Construction Industry Unveiled

The Associated General Contractors of America released a new national plan today detailing measures to stimulate demand for construction. Officials said the plan was needed to reverse construction employment declines that have taken place in 317 out of 337 metro areas since January 2007, according to new data the association released today.

“Our goal is to rebuild a devastated construction market that has left millions jobless, littered cities with incomplete projects and sapped much needed revenue, commerce and customers out of our economy,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Considering the scope and impact of construction job losses, the last thing any of us can afford is a repeat of the past four years.”

The plan, called “Building a Stronger Future, A New Blueprint for Economic Growth,” outlines measures to help boost private sector demand for construction, help tackle a growing infrastructure maintenance backlog and reduce needless red tape and regulations. Sandherr said the association developed the plan to overcome the years-long construction downturn that has left over 2.2 million construction workers unemployed and the industry’s unemployment rate at 21.8 percent, more than twice the national average.

Sandherr released the plan and the new employment figures, during a visit to Phoenix,  which has lost more construction jobs – 91,400 – than any other metro area since the start of the construction downturn in January 2007, a 54 percent decline. Nationwide, 28 cities lost 50 percent or more of their construction jobs, including Boise, Idaho; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Medford, Ore.; and Merced, Calif., Sandherr noted.

The metro areas that lost the most construction jobs during the past four years, besides Phoenix, included Las Vegas (-61,900 jobs, -61 percent); Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (-57,700 jobs, -51 percent); the Atlanta area (-57,700 jobs, -42 percent); and the Los Angeles area (-56,200 jobs, -37 percent).

Lake Havasu City-Kingman (-65 percent, -4,200 jobs) and Bend, Ore. (-65 percent, -5,200 jobs) lost the highest percentage of construction jobs of any metro area. They were followed by St. George, Utah (-62 percent, -5,200 jobs); Las Vegas; and Naples, Fla. (-61 percent, -13,700 jobs).

Only 14 metro areas added construction jobs during the past four years, while employment levels were unchanged in another six. The five metro areas with the largest construction employment gains were all in Texas: Beaumont-Port Arthur (3,400 jobs, 21 percent); Longview (3,100 jobs, 26 percent); Midland (2,100 jobs, 15 percent); El Paso (1,900 jobs, 14 percent); and Odessa (1,800 jobs, 17 percent).

Pascagoula, Miss., experienced the highest percentage increase in construction employment (47 percent, 1,600 jobs) during the past four years. Other metro areas adding a high percentage of construction jobs included Longview; Beaumont-Port Arthur; Lawton, Okla. (20 percent, 300 jobs); and Odessa.

“In too many metro areas, the construction industry is a mere shadow of what it was just four years ago,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, who prepared the new employment analysis. “This new data should make it pretty clear that the sector’s revival is anything but guaranteed.”

Sandherr said the recovery plan emphasizes boosting private sector demand, which once accounted for 76 percent of all construction activity, but now accounts for only 60 percent. It calls for approving pending trade agreements to boost demand for manufacturing and shipping facilities, repealing the alternative minimum tax and making permanent the tax cuts that were first put in place in 2001 and 2003.

The plan also identifies new tax credits to encourage retail and restaurant upgrades, improve the efficiency of commercial buildings and help contractors invest in new, more efficient construction equipment. And it urges Congress and the Administration to finally end the double taxation of U.S-based businesses that succeed in international markets.

Sandherr noted the plan includes measures to tackle infrastructure problems that cost American businesses an estimated $100 billion a year due to delays and lost productivity. It calls for significant reforms to federal surface, aviation and waterways programs. And it urges federal officials to refocus on efforts that are clearly in the national interest, streamline the years-long federal review process, and find new ways to leverage private sector dollars.

Sandherr added that the plan also includes comprehensive measures to reduce costly, time consuming and needless regulatory burdens. It calls on Congress to pass legislation limiting major new regulations, reform the approval process for new highway and transit projects and oppose well-meaning labor and Buy American mandates that do little to create new jobs and a lot to add costs and delay work.

The plan also highlights the need to repeal a costly new mandate set to begin next year that requires governments at all levels to withhold three percent of the cost of virtually all major construction projects from contractors. “For an industry where most firms are lucky to make three percent in profit on a project, this new mandate will either put a lot of people out of work or needlessly inflate the cost of public construction,” Sandherr cautioned.

BIG Green Conference & Expo

Speaker: Loretta Hall ~ BIG Green Expo & Conference 2011

Loretta Hall, The Write Equation, Inc.

Loretta Hall, The Write Equation, Inc.

Loretta Hall, a writer who reports on architecture and construction projects, is certified as a green building technical professional.

Her book, Underground Buildings: More than Meets the Eye, describes the advantages and challenges of earth-integrated architecture by presenting more than 100 U.S. examples.

Her website, SubsurfaceBuildings.com, chronicles new projects and lists 650 civic and commercial examples in this country. She speaks about earth sheltering and environmental sustainability at regional and national meetings, including the American Institute of Architects’ national convention, the Traditional Building conference, and the National Building Museum lecture series.


Topic: Earth Sheltering for Sustainable Public Buildings: The seven major advantages and real & perceived challenges of earth sheltering.

Conference Speaker
Friday, April 15, 2011
10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Room 157

BIG Green Conference 2011


 

BIG Green Expo
Friday & Saturday
April 15th & 16th 2011
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

 



Recycled Plastic Used as Building Material

Recycled Plastic Bottles — Building Material For Classrooms

It’s all about the three Rs right? — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Laura Kutner certainly took this idea to a whole new level when she led the way in the construction of a school building in Guatemala, using discarded plastic bottles.

The inspiration came to her when she realized there was plastic trash everywhere yet classrooms had no walls. Why not use the resources available and create a solution?

Kutner, a Peace Corps volunteer, gathered the community of Granados — a village of 900 people — to collect more than 4,000 used plastic drink bottles. They then stuffed these bottles with other waste material and stacked them side by side, tied them with chicken wire and coated them with a cement-sand mix.

The Guatemalan group Pura Vida, inspired Kutner to the design. The group was using bottle-filled “eco-blocks” for construction projects.  With the help of local businesses, who donated labor and materials, and the Hug it Forward organization the project was successfully completed.

I’m no engineer but I was very impressed at this hands-on yet useful approach. This sustainable solution was a great gift to the children of the school. Not only did they recycle plastic bottles that would have otherwise littered the area, they received the biggest reward — a safe, stable building to learn in.

Read the full story here: www.oregonlive.com

Peace Corps
Pura Vida
Hug it Forward