October 2019 Trends
Eighty Percent of Contractors Report Difficulty Finding Qualified Craft Workers to Hire
Eighty percent of construction firms report they are having difficulty filling hourly craft positions that represent the bulk of the construction workforce, according to the results of an industry-wide survey released by Autodesk and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Association officials said the industry was taking a range of steps to address the situation but also called on federal officials to take steps to assist those industry efforts.
“Workforce shortages remain one of the single-most significant threats to the construction industry,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC’s CEO. “However, construction labor shortages are a challenge that can be fixed, and this association will continue to do everything in its power to make sure that happens.”
All regions of the country are experiencing similarly severe craft-worker shortages, with 83 percent of contractors in the West and South reporting difficulty filling hourly craft positions, almost identical to the 81 percent rate in the Midwest and 75 percent rate in the Northeast.
Visit bit.ly/2oQzYVWto see the national survey results, analysis of the data, and regional and state-by-state results.
USDOT Overhauls Century-Old Rule
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration published an updated federal rule to give states more flexibility and choice in which products or services can be used on federally funded highway projects. The change is intended to improve safety and increase efficiency while saving taxpayer dollars.
The rule updates an outdated federal requirement that restricts the ability of states to use patented or proprietary technology in their federal-aid highway projects.
“This final rule promotes innovation by empowering states to choose which state-of-the-art materials, tools, and products best meet their needs for the construction and upkeep of America’s transportation infrastructure,” said Federal Highway Administrator Nicole R. Nason.
Prior to this change, federal regulations prohibited state contracting agencies from using federal funds to acquire patented or proprietary materials, products or services, except under certain limited circumstances.
The new rule will take effect on Oct. 28, 2019, and can be viewed online at federalregister.gov.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Structural Engineering Institute (SEI), the Council of American Structural Engineers (CASE) and the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations announced a collaboration within the structural engineering profession: “Joint Vision for the Future of Structural Engineering.”
According to the “Joint Vision,” “structural engineers are widely recognized as making key contributions to the advancement of society on a national and global scale. Increasing complexity, computer automation, onerous contractual requirements and global interconnectivity are among the trends that are fundamentally changing the practice of structural engineering. The challenge is to foresee the impacts of these trends in a way that reinforces and expands the critical role of structural engineers in improving the safety and well-being of all.”
For more information, visit bit.ly/350ki38.
Report: Cost of Congestion to Hit $200 Billion in 2025
The cost of gridlock was $166 billion in 2017 and is projected to reach $200 billion in 2025, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s “2019 Urban Mobility Report.” Proposed solutions run the usual gamut and include more roads, more transit options and better use of land.
Read the full report at bit.ly/31LUCp4.
After decades of incremental progress in several key categories, Reason Foundation’s “24th Annual Highway Report” finds the nation’s highway conditions are deteriorating, especially in a group of problem-plagued states struggling to repair deficient bridges, maintain interstate pavement and reduce urban traffic congestion.
“We see some improvement on structurally deficient bridges, but pavement conditions on rural and urban highways are declining, the rise in traffic fatalities is worrying, and we aren’t making needed progress on traffic congestion in our major cities,” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the report and assistant director of transportation at Reason Foundation.
The report, based on data that states submitted to the federal government, ranks each state’s highway system in 13 categories, including traffic fatalities, pavement condition, congestion, spending per mile, administrative costs and more. This edition of the Annual Highway Report uses state-submitted highway data from 2016, the most-recent year with complete figures currently available, along with traffic congestion and bridge data from 2017.
The full report can be read at bit.ly/30KlPXC.
Energy Transition Accelerating Across Countries Worldwide
The “2019 World Energy Trilemma Index,” created by the World Energy Council in partnership with global consultancy Oliver Wyman, provides an objective rating of national energy policy and performance across three dimensions: Energy Security, Energy Equity and the Environmental Sustainability of Energy Systems.
New to this year’s index is an analysis of historic trends, which will give policy makers an opportunity to track their policy performance over time. The new World Energy Trilemma methodology includes indexation and scalability.
The online tool and index can be found at trilemma.worldenergy.org.
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