Construction Backlogs Are Increasing

The Construction Backlog Indicator published by the Associated Builders & Contractors, Arlington, Va., for the second quarter of 2013 shows backlogs increasing 3.9% during the second quarter. Backlogs now stand at 8.2 months, up from 7.9 months for the first quarter. This uptick is a marked improvement over a low of 5.8 months, recorded during the fourth quarter of 2009.

The ABC's backlog indicator is up 6.6% from the second quarter of 2012. The CBI reflects the amount of commercial and industrial construction work under contract but not yet completed. "The CBI indicates a growing sense of confidence regarding the near-term outlook," says Anirban Basu, ABC's chief economist.

Retractable Roof Will Cover U.S. Open Stadium by 2017

Work will begin this fall, after the U.S. Open, on the installation of a retractable roof over the Arthur Ashe Stadium, completed in 1997. The $150-million project is part of a $550-million expansion and upgrade of the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Queens, N.Y., designed by the stadium's original architect, ROSSETTI (ENR 7/28/97 p. 28). The fabric-covered roof will have a 250-sq-ft opening in its retracted position. Set for an August 2017 completion, it will be supported by a system of steel trusses bearing on steel columns. Hunt Construction Group is the contractor. The 40-acre tennis center's expansion also includes a new 15,000-seat stadium. The entire redevelopment is set for completion in 2018.

AECOM and Ghafari Lose $300-Million Detroit Jail Project

The Wayne County Building Authority has cancelled its construction contracts with the firms building a $300-million jail in downtown Detroit. AECOM and Ghafari Associates were lead contractors on the jail, providing design, engineering and program-management services.

The firms signed off on more than $42 million in major changes without the approval of the building authority, according to published reports. The terms of the firms' contract required county approval for all major changes. These change orders were revealed in a recent audit that concluded the project was behind schedule and more than $90 million over budget but with little to show for the $120 million already spent. The Wayne County Building Authority is now reviewing three redevelopment proposals for the unfinished site.