More than 1,500 people attended the first-ever AECBuildTech Conference and Expo on April 30 to May 2 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The conference was organized by BNP Media, the parent company of ENR.

ENR produced a general contracting specialization session at the conference that drew attendees from trade contractors to GCs and building technologists. Steve Jones, senior director of industry insights at Dodge Data & Analytics, and Antony Wood, CEO of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Humanity, gave keynote speeches about construction technology and how it is changing the process of building design.

A recurring theme throughout ENR’s general contractor event was how data is changing construction delivery, including everything from contractor-developed software tools to prefabrication of assemblies and bathroom pods on a major convention center hotel project. Other topics included how telematics are changing jobsites and how data is being used in recruiting to combat the worker shortage.



General contractor James McHugh Construction and developer Magellan Development Group recently celebrated the topping-out of Vista Tower, which overlooks Millennium Park in Chicago. McHugh’s crew placed the final beam April 26, bringing the structure to its full height of 1,191 ft, the highest point in construction in Chicago since Trump International Hotel & Tower reached its full height of 1,388 ft in August 2008. The $1-billion, Studio Gang-designed Vista Tower is planned to be the city’s third-tallest building and is on schedule to finish in 2020. Construction began in 2016.



The Mechanical Contractors Association of Chicago and the Chicagoland Associated General Contractors of America held their annual Tech Day event April 4 at Pipefitters Local 597’s 200,000-sq-ft training facility in Mokena, Ill. MCA of Chicago represents 400 union contractors in northern Illinois and northwest Indiana.