Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Parsons Brinckerhoff and several partners have won a $140 million contract from Denver officials to design and build a 2.3-mile extension to the city's light-rail line. Design work will begin this fall, and construction should start in 2016 and take three years to complete.
ThyssenKrupp has invented an elevator that uses the same magnetic levitation technology it has employed in maglev train design. To test the new elevator, the company is building a 761-foot concrete tower that recently topped out in Germany. The tower will contain 12 elevator shafts, three of which will test the new elevator technology.
The construction sector added jobs in 180 of 358 metro areas between June 2014 and June 2015, according to AGC. However, 127 areas lost jobs, and 51 metros saw no change. "It is hard for construction firms to invest in new employees if they don't know what business conditions will be like for the rest of the year," said Ken Simonson, AGC's chief economist. "Many transportation construction firms will be reluctant to expand their headcount until Washington puts in places a long-term highway and transit funding measure."
Politicians and others are talking again about the possible Gateway rail-tunnels project under the Hudson River after recent delays on the rail line in New Jersey. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie nixed a similar project in 2011, but now he, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx plan to talk about the tunnels, considered vital for the Northeast Corridor. The project could cost $16 billion and, as always, the debate is over who will fund it.
Owners of publicly accessible properties that don't meet recent regulations can be made to retrofit them at substantial costs. Recently, courts have dismissed claims by owners and developers for reimbursement from designers for retrofitting costs required to meet new guidelines, indicating that owners will be on the hook when it comes to meeting new and future regulations. Owners and developers can limit their risk by assigning responsibility to design professionals to comply with the Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
Certified public accountants who specialize in construction can help satisfy the financial statement requirements of sureties and banks, leading to improved surety capacity, explains Ivan Petko. Furthermore, these CPAs can help contractors improve their credit scores, regulate cash flow and scale their business growth in a safe and secure manner. The ability of a construction CPA to help contractors handle tax liabilities can help them show higher cash flows to sureties as well.
An Engineering News-Record survey indicates that many contractors are avoiding deals with red flags such as excessive liability insurance requirements and "pay-if-paid" clauses. Be careful you're not, as one Houston contractor said on the survey, insuring someone else's sole negligence. Meanwhile, survey results also showed that contractors are avoiding the risk associated with consequential damages while embracing capped damages, which engineer and attorney Fredric Plotnick called "a contractor's best friend."
A new software application by startup Kwipped allows companies to both supply and rent heavy construction equipment. The platform is free and lets any business be part of the construction equipment market. "By using an online sharing economy model, general contractors can move equipment sourcing to the top of the supply chain and ensure they're paying fair market rates for equipment," said Robin Salter, the company's chief marketing officer.
Economic uncertainty underscores a need to raise the U.S. debt limit, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says in a letter to Congress. The government can probably meet financial obligations until Oct. 30 by continuing "extraordinary measures" implemented in March, Lew says.
The Federal Reserve's policymaking committee has issued a cautiously optimistic report that says moderate economic growth is producing "solid job gains and declining unemployment." The tone suggests the central bank is close to raising its benchmark interest rate, possibly as early as mid-September. The Federal Open Market Committee has unanimously voted to keep interest rates close to zero a little longer.