SBE News

Capitol Update 3/29/24

Baltimore bridge rebuild might take up to 15 years

The Biden administration has committed full federal funding to rebuild Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, but the project could take anywhere from two to 15 years to complete, according to experts. Rebuilding will require many steps, experts say, but the first order of business will be the massive task of clearing away wreckage and debris. Full Story: The Washington Post   The Baltimore Sun (tiered subscription model)  

Construction workers missing after Baltimore bridge falls

Multiple contractors were performing concrete deck repairs on Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge before a cargo ship collision caused it to collapse. It’s unclear how many people were on the bridge at the time, but as of 10:30 AM ET, six construction workers were missing. Full Story: USA Today   Engineering News-Record (tiered subscription model)

Skanska’s Q4 profits tumble 73% due to property market

As U.S. construction helped bolster the Swedish builder’s balance sheet, the states’ poor commercial property market and return-to-office rates had negative impacts.

California Releases Workplace Violence Prevention Guidance

California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) recently published guidance to assist employers in complying withSenate Bill 553 ahead of the law’s employer compliance date of July 1, 2024. SB 553 requires virtually all employers to develop, implement, and maintain an “effective” written workplace violence prevention plan (WVPP), train employees, and create and maintain extensive records regarding workplace violence. The guidance includes a model WVPP for general industry (non-healthcare settings), and fact sheets for employers and employees. Employers must customize the model WVPP for their specific workforce. Under the law, only certain healthcare facilities, employees teleworking from locations of their choice and not under the control of their employers, and places of employment with fewer than ten employees and not accessible to the public are exempt from the law’s requirements. Although Cal/OSHA is not required to adopt workplace violence standards until December 31, 2026, it may begin enforcing the law on July 1, 2024. Thus, employers must now take steps to draft, implement, and train employees on their WVPPs. Story

What Gen Z is looking for from construction work

Switching from one job to the next is now more frequent among Gen Z workers, one of the new factors the construction industry should take into account hiring and trying to retain the young. Lucy Barnard examines this and other factors, including Gen Z’s more aspirational outlook, expectations of training and their tech-friendly habits as digital natives. Full Story: Construction Briefing  

National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction scheduled for May

·     OSHA is gearing up for its 11th annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, scheduled for May 6-10, 2024.

·     OSHA describes its Safety Stand-Down as a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety.

·     The National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction focuses on fall hazards and was created to reinforce the importance of fall prevention.

·     To help employers prepare for this year’s event, OSHA has developed a page that answers frequently asked questions about how to conduct a Safety Stand-Down, who can participate, how to receive a certificate of participation, and other information.

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Big drop in office real estate values predicted

From its highest point over 18 months the value of commercial real estate is likely to fall 10% and end up 26% lower by the end of 2025, with offices taking the biggest hit, according to Moody’s Analytics. However, banks are expected to weather the downdraft, caused largely by the work-from-home movement and companies reducing office capacity or seeking lower-cost spaces. Full Story: CFO Dive

The data center boom isn’t going away any time soon

The surge in data center construction across the US shows no sign of letting up, and observers say customer demand should sustain or increase the boom. Sebastian Obando examines the landscape after a 46% year-over-year jump in center construction in the second half of 2023, with Google, Meta and Oracle leading the way and the Atlanta area seeing the biggest gain. Full Story: Construction Dive  

How machinery design plays a role in worksite safety

Construction equipment manufacturers have a major role to play in ensuring worksite safety with the design, transport and usage of their products. Connie Hardy, a surface preparation specialist at National Flooring Equipment, reviews protective practices and examples of how machinery can be designed for safe transit. Full Story: For Construction Pros

DOE backs industry decarbonization with $6B

Decarbonization efforts across 33 projects in 20 states will benefit from as much as $6 billion in funding newly announced by the US Department of Energy. The focus is on energy-intensive, hard-to-abate industries such as aluminum, iron, steel, cement and concrete. Full Story: The Construction Broadsheet

AECOM offers tips for high-speed rail projects

High-speed rail projects in the US may face challenges that other megaprojects don’t encounter, including lack of authority by transit agencies and long timelines that invite political interference. To overcome these and other difficulties, an AECOM report recommends seven best practices touching on funding alternatives, regional and international cooperation and other factors. Full Story: Construction Dive

Construction progressing on channel to Calif. lagoon

Crews are making progress on the largest construction project to date in Long Beach, Calif., but its completion has been pushed to early next year. Brian Addison takes a look at the $32.5 million project, which will connect the city’s Colorado Lagoon to Marine Stadium by creating a new tidal channel passing through Marina Vista Park. Full Story: Streetsblog