Construction firms will focus on standardizing prefabrication materials and processes as builds become more complex in 2021, Kenny Ingram writes. Other trends to watch include a growing emphasis on total asset lifecycle responsibility and the use of enterprise resource planning software alongside building information modeling.
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Changes to the Paycheck Protection Program's latest round include an eight- to 24-week window to use funds and a simpler forgiveness process for loans up to $150,000. Eligible expenses will expand to include property repairs and improvements and protective equipment for employees.
Architecture, engineering and construction companies can stay lean financially by focusing on tech investments at the enterprise scale, as opposed to stand-alone projects, according to a report from Deloitte. AEC firms can also remain competitive by billing indirectly for IT and by taking advantage of the budding market for smart retrofits.
Angela Scott-Briggs, an editor at TechBullion, takes a look at some of the construction materials on the horizon, including self-healing concrete and 3D printing. Other trends include modular construction and insulation materials made from mushrooms.
Career and technical education students at a West Virginia high school are eligible to earn safety certifications through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The OSHA training courses include lessons on workers' rights and worker safety.
Digital learning tools that use virtual reality and 3D simulations can keep HVAC trainees engaged while allowing for improved feedback on developing skills. VR environments also allow for training experiences that wouldn't be possible in regular classrooms and make it easier for other students to observe as one student performs an exercise, says Benjamin Middleton, national sales training manager for Goodman.
The Dubuque Community School District in Iowa is aiming to help students align their interests with their future careers via its "VERTEX Initiative." The program, which begins with an aptitude test in middle school, is aimed at helping students identify a career path by the time they graduate from high school, including by partnering with employers on apprenticeships and other opportunities.
Contractors are expecting lower demand, project delays and decreased productivity in 2021, according to an Associated General Contractors of America and Sage Construction and Real Estate survey. Fifty-nine percent of surveyed companies said they have experienced project delays and cancellations during the coronavirus pandemic.