Industry Buzz-Breaking News and Trends for Construction Contractors
FMI First Quarter Outlook Sees Signs of New Life
In its first quarter 2014 outlook, industry consultant FMI predicts commercial construction will rise 7% to $52.6 billion—its highest mark since 2008—buoyed by rising consumer spending and non-store sales. But FMI cautions that "contractor pricing will continue to be a challenge." The office building market is "finally getting some traction," says FMI, with "fundamentals slowly improving." It sees 6% annual growth by 2017. Residential work will grow but at a slower pace, with "continued tapering in the long-range forecast," FMI says. The firm says the power sector will increase 5% to $91.2 billion, rising to 9% in 2017 and 2018. --Debra K. Rubin
Movers and Shakers
Timothy J. Regan is named president and CEO of The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., Baltimore, succeeding Willard Hackerman, who died Feb. 10 at age 95. Hackerman led the firm for 59 years (ENR 2/24-3/3 p. 24). Regan was executive vice president since 2009.
Countywide Mechanical Systems, a Santee, Calif., unit of MMC Corp., has named Paul Duke president. He was president of Comfort Systems, San Diego. Steve Johnson moves up to executive vice president of GEM Inc., an Ohio specialty contractor that is a unit of The Rudolph-Libbe Cos.
Batson-Cook Construction, Atlanta, has elevated David Barksdale to chief operating officer. He was senior vice president and general manager. T.A. Loving, Goldsboro, N.C., has promoted Michael Richter to president from building division senior vice president.
Granite Construction, Watsonville, Calif., has hired Joseph M. Mazzulo as senior vice president of business processes, a newly created position. He was formerly vice president of global process excellence at Staples Inc.
Jim Wickenheiser has joined Corvias Group, an East Greenwich, R.I., real estate and construction management firm as senior vice president. He was senior vice president and director of lodging for Lend Lease Public Private Partnerships LLC.
Foulger-Pratt Contracting, Rockville, Md., has promoted David Uffelman to president. He replaces John Barron, who has left the firm.
Drifting Barge Penalty
New York State officials said on March 31 they will withhold up to $1 million per month in progress payments to Tappan Zee Constructors LLC due to repeated incidents of construction barges at the $3.9-billion Tappan Zee Bridge site coming unmoored and drifting down the Hudson River near New York City. One material-laden barge drifted three miles before it was recovered. A TZC spokeswoman said April 1 that a probe into the incident found "high winds and rough seas caused two 3-inch lines from the mooring buoy to the barge to fail from severe abrasion and high heat created from friction." TZC, a joint venture of Fluor, American Bridge, Granite Construction and Traylor Bros., is changing the way project barges are secured, including switching to stronger mooring lines with abrasion-resistant sleeves. --Jeffrey Rubenstone
Runway Rutting Liability
Philadelphia's controller is at odds with a local contractor and the city's Division of Aviation over a 2009 taxiway repaving project at the Philadelphia International Airport. In a March 14 letter, the controller said A.P. Construction, Philadelphia, did not use the asphalt specified in its contract for a taxiway, which now is rutting and a safety concern. The city also won't release a $65,000 payment to the firm. A.P. Construction has filed a complaint against the city, seeking payment plus 10% interest, but did not comment further to ENR. Airport officials disagree with the controller over whether the contractor is responsible for the runway problems. --Bruce Buckley