Volume 39, Issue
11, November 2004
Construction Groups Look at Standardized Drug Testing
Construction workers on some union projects could be subjected to standardized drug tests in the future, if contractors have their way. The owner members of the Construction Users Roundtable, officials from four contractor groups and the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Department and the 15 general presidents of its member unions have held committee meetings to review this possibility and other ways of improving conditions on union projects.
Two committees have been formed to look at ways to improve safety performance, including standardized drug tests, and improve work force motivation and worker attitude. Drug use on projects is not as prevalent as it once was, reported an article in ENR, but officials are working toward a zero-tolerance policy.
In June, 2004, the group reached an agreement on one accord that looks at limiting extended overtime, reducing absenteeism and eliminating work disruptions. The parties involved are now working to implement those initiatives by educating their respective members and determining what further changes need to be made.
Glass-Reinforced Plastic Used in 9/11 Monument
A memorial to honor residents of Staten Island, N.Y., killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center was made possible due to a change from cast-in-place concrete to glass-reinforced plastic (GRP). The change in material allowed for controlled shop fabrication and brought the project in on a budget of $1.5 million, according to an article in Engineering News-Record.
The monument is made up of two mirror-image warped panels, roughly 38.5-foot squares. In addition to being more affordable, the GRP is one-tenth the weight of the proposed concrete wall. The glass-reinforced wall cost $900,000, according to the structural engineer, Weidlinger Associates.
The two panels are tilted nine degrees away from each other so that they frame the place the twin towers once stood across the New York Harbor. Nearly 300 9- by 11-inch granite plaques surround the memorial, with victim’s names and information listed. The memorial was dedicated on September 11, 2004.
PPG Plans Plant Expansion
According to an article in the Times Record News, PPG Industries Inc., based in Pittsburgh, is pushing for a 100,000-square foot expansion of its Wichita Falls, Texas, plant. The expansion would create space for a low-E coating line.
According to the article, at least 50 new jobs could be created through the $40 million expansion. The decision to approve the expansion hinges on the city council’s approval of several tax incentives. If approved, construction will start in the first quarter of 2005 and production at the plant could start in 2006.
DeWalt Examines Jobsite Security Problem
Baltimore-based DeWalt has announced the findings of its recent research study, which identifies jobsite security and the resulting loss of productivity as the number one concern among professional contractors and other construction end users. According to company information, these findings are supported by existing industry research and expose an estimated $1 billion in annual losses stemming from the lack of jobsite security.
According to the results of the study, tool theft, material theft and truck/van protection are the top three types of jobsite losses. For more than 60 percent of construction end users and jobsite security system purchasers surveyed, tool theft was the number one concern and had the greatest financial and economic impact. Replacement cost, lost time and decreased personal productivity were the top three reasons for jobsite security concerns.
The study also showed that less than 15 percent of jobsites have identified an effective alarm system or other solution.
Part of the problem can be attributed to the fact that very few jobsites are protected by security systems, according to the study. Those that are protected usually adopt residential systems, which are not designed to meet specific jobsite needs. Many contractors who purchase their own tools and equipment see the loss coming directly out of their own pockets and resulting losses lead to high costs for consumers.
GTECH Tower Design Changing
An illuminated 13-story GTECH Holdings Corp. tower is still in the design phase for the global information technology company’s new corporate headquarters in the West Greenwich area of Providence, R.I. The architecture firm of Spagnolo Gisness and Associates has faced mixed reviews from the city panel on the building that is slated to serve as a gateway into the city.
According to an article in the Providence Journal, the current design reveals a modern-looking building that includes an extensive amount of glass, a massive tower on one corner and a balcony overlooking Waterplace Park. The $88.5 million structure will be constructed on the corner of Francis Street and Memorial Boulevard and will be easily seen from the State House and parts of the East side of Providence.
The managing panel, which evaluates development in the Capital Center District, did like the tower, the two stories of glass along the sidewalk on the Francis Street side and a long, glass wall that curves along Waterplace Park. The members also gave their approval to the building, which has been described as having a less-than-traditional look. However, members of the managing panel have expressed concern over the color of the stone on the building, the types of windows proposed and the designing firm’s push to make the building seem as vertical and urban as possible. Some members expressed concern about the way the North side of the building would look when viewed from the State House.
Spagnolo said his firm would take the suggestions into consideration as they modify the designs for the next workshop
Key Communications Announces Debut of Mold Magazine
Key Communications Inc., of Stafford, Va., has announced that the first trade publication for the mold prevention and abatement industry, Mold & Moisture Management magazine, will present its debut issue at the beginning of the new year, January/February 2005.
Mold & Moisture Management magazine is a quarterly publication created to address industry needs concerning the rising influx in legal cases, building concerns and repairs required to solve the ever-increasing caseload within these fields.
“Preventative measures and remediation will be our main focus for those in the building industry, contractors and others. We are pleased to provide this much needed media regarding the issue of mold, which affects thousands everyday,” said Debra Levy, publisher of Mold & Moisture Management. “Presenting columns, newsworthy articles and pertinent editorial information for such a salient topic as mold is what Key Communications Inc. strives to produce with all of its publications. We’re looking forward to being the leading voice for the construction industry and builders aspect.”
Free subscriptions to qualified industry members are currently available online at www.moldmag.com as well as the initial premiere supplement, which was included in Door & Window Maker (DWM) magazine.
Info+ www.moldmag.com or call 540/720-5584.
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