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March 15, 2013News for contractors and the construction industry

  Top Story 
  • Initial proposals received for $3.6B airport project in NYC
    Five prequalifying bids have been submitted to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for the $3.6 billion redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport's central terminal. The project, which includes construction of a new terminal and infrastructure, is expected to begin in early 2014. The Port Authority is reviewing the bids. Reuters (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Infrastructure & Project Focus 
  • Confusion, violation of SOP led to cracks in pontoons
    Two state engineers in Washington who didn't follow standard operating procedures are being blamed for the cracks in the concrete pontoons to be used for the State Route 520 floating bridge. In addition, an internal analysis of the cracking issue found that "a poorly implemented project-delivery process that combined design-build and conventional design-bid-build created confusion that opened the door to faulty design work." Engineering News-Record (3/14), KOMO-TV/KOMO-AM (Seattle) (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Wacker raises investment in Tenn. polysilicon plant to $2B
    Wacker Chemical has increased its investment for its plant under construction in Tennessee by $200 million, bringing the total investment up to $2 billion. Roughly 1,000 construction workers are on site building the massive facility that will produce more than 20,000 metric tons of polysilicon -- an essential component in making solar panels -- per year. Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tenn.) (3/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Work on Pittsburgh mixed-use project could start in July
    The Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority board in Pennsylvania plans to begin development of roads and utilities at the 28-acre site of the former Civic Arena in Pittsburgh as part of a $40 million mixed-use project being proposed by the Pittsburgh Penguins. The project will consist of "1,200 units of housing, 600,000 square feet of office space and 200,000 square feet of commercial development." The state will contribute $15 million for the infrastructure work. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (3/14), Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (3/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Economic Update 
  • Higher building-material prices challenge contractors
    An analysis of federal data by the Associated General Contractors of America shows that the cost of building materials rose in February and was up for 2013 compared with 2012. "For the second month in a row, contractors endured outsized price hikes ... In addition, soaring diesel prices mean contractors are paying more for fuel they buy and, via fuel surcharges, for the thousands of deliveries of materials and equipment required for construction projects," Chief Economist Ken Simonson said. American City Business Journals/Albuquerque, N.M. (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How a small general contractor survived the economic downturn
    Roger Hendrick Construction, which handles a diverse array of projects, managed to make it through the country's difficult economic times without resorting to layoffs. The Charlotte, N.C.-based business managed to stay afloat by taking on smaller projects and looking for work that was located outside its typical geographic area of operation. In addition, CEO Roger Hendrick networked with other entrepreneurs to gain new insights about the state of the industry. The Charlotte Observer (N.C.) (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Innovation & Green Building 
  • The roads of the future?
    This article presents two ideas for the roads of the future that use solar power and magnetic induction to energize transportation in the coming decades. The Solar Roadway was developed with the idea that a layer of concrete or asphalt used on regular roads could be replaced with "solar cells beneath a layer of glass." Installed on all U.S. roads and operating at just 15% efficiency, this could meet "more than four times our current electricity needs." Magnetic induction would be used in a system that keeps elecric buses charged wirelessly through power-transfer systems in the road. FastCoExist (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • USGBC launches assessment tools for green-building investors
    In response to the growing popularity of green building projects, the U.S. Green Building Council has unveiled two assessment tools that aim to aid investors in assessing the "sustainability and environmental friendliness" of real estate projects. The Green Building Information Gateway was released last fall, and the Green Real Estate Index will make its debut this fall. (Australia) (3/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Policy Watch 
  • IRS cracks down on employee misclassification
    The Internal Revenue Service is surprising entrepreneurs with audits of their payrolls in search of misclassified employees. The crackdown is part of a government effort to look for workers incorrectly classified as independent contractors as a way for employers to avoid withholding payroll and income taxes. Studies show that anywhere from 10% to 60% of small-business employees may be misclassified. The Wall Street Journal (3/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

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  Association News 
  • Construction materials prices increase in February and for the year
    Prices for construction materials jumped in February, driven by extreme increases in items used in new housing and nonresidential building renovations, according to an analysis of new federal figures released by AGC of America. Association officials said the increased materials prices are hitting contractors struggling to recover from a years-long downturn in construction demand. "For the second month in a row, contractors endured outsized price hikes for gypsum wallboard, lumber, and insulation materials," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the construction trade association. "In addition, soaring diesel prices mean contractors are paying more for fuel they buy and, via fuel surcharges, for the thousands of deliveries of materials and equipment required for construction projects." Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Better manage your prequalification data and process
    Make your subcontractor prequalification process more efficient and help mitigate the risk of subcontractor default with an industry-standard online prequalification tool -- sign up for one of these free informational webinars today. These webinars are being offered on Friday, March 15 and again on Friday, March 22. Learn more at LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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--George Eliot,
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