Want to achieve a 50% boost in construction craft productivity? The Construction Industry Institute aims to fulfill this ambitious goal with a six-year craft-productivity research program. The first phase, focused on mechanical trades, was one of CII’s seven research projects wrapping up in 2009, according to CII Chairman John Dalton, who also is COO for Mustang Engineering, Houston. “The study gives us the benchmarking and metrics to check that craft construction productivity is properly planned and implemented.” Image + Source: Construction Industry Institute On a scale of one to 10, the study compared projects with higher and lower implementation of
The U.S. Army has named a new commander for the Corps of Engineers’ Gulf Region Division, headquartered in Baghdad. Brig. Gen. Kendall P. Cox, who heads the Corps’ Southwestern Division, will succeed Maj. Gen. Michael R. Eyre, who has led the Gulf Division since October 2008. Moving to the Dallas-based Southwestern Division is Brig. Gen. John R. McMahon, director, J-7, Engineering for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
The Senate Appropriations Committee on July 30 approved a measure that would create a new $700-million school-renovation program. The provision, sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), is part of a $730-billion fiscal 2010 spending bill for the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education departments. The measure would direct the Education Dept. to distribute grants to states to build or renovate public elementary and secondary schools. Priority would go to projects in areas that have high percentages of disadvantaged children or that plan to use green construction practices. The Labor-HHS-Education bill that the House passed on July 24 does not
The faltering Highway Trust Fund has won a reprieve, with final congressional approval July 30 of a $7-billion infusion from the general fund. It is the second bailout for the fund in less than a year. But the relief only will keep the trust fund’s highway account solvent through Sept. 30 or perhaps a little beyond. After lawmakers return from their August break, they quickly must find still more money to shore up the fund past that date. Oberstar pushing a six-year bill. The short-term fix “will at least get us through the August recess and make sure that contractors
The Dept. of Energy has asked USEC Inc. to withdraw its application for a loan guarantee to build an advanced-technology uranium- enrichment plant at the site of a former enrichment facility in Piketon, Ohio. However, DOE will give USEC the chance to reapply at a later date. The agency says it plans to defer review of the application until a series of specific technology and financial milestones have been met. USEC says it is committed to developing the plant. DOE also says it will spend an additional $150 million to $200 million to accelerate cleanup at the former uranium-enrichment plant
While a small group of moderate Senate Democrats tries to broker a filibuster-proof compromise on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), political observers remain skeptical about the bill’s prospects. Business groups dislike the heavily lobbied measure, while organized labor strongly supports it and appears unwilling to budge on key principles. But business groups and unions alike agree the Obama administration has created a sea change on labor issues, and some of EFCA’s objectives could be accomplished by another means: a much more union-friendly National Labor Relations Board. The White House has sent three nominations to the Senate to fill vacant
The House has passed a spending bill that would cut the Dept. of Labor’s fiscal 2010 budget by 6% from the 2009 level, to $13.3 billion. But the measure does provide DOL with funds for a new green-jobs program and for more enforcement staff at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The DOL spending is part of a $733-billion 2010 appropriations package, approved on July 24, which also funds the Health and Human Services and Education Departments. DOL’s portion of the bill includes $50 million for green jobs training, a new initiative for the department. The measure also provides $1.5
David Michaels, former assistant energy secretary for environment, safety and health, is President Obama’s choice to head the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the White House announced on July 28. Michaels is an epidemiologist and professor at George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health Services. He held the Dept. of Energy environment safety and health post from 1998 to 2001.
The number of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act highway and transit projects out to bid, under contract and under way, as well as their dollar value, is climbing, but actual outlays still are low. As of June 30, 5,079 ARRA road and transit projects, worth $16.7 billion, were out to bid, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said on July 27. Project total rose 24% from the May 31 level. ARRA highway outlays were $414 million as of July 21, the Transportation Dept. reported. Of projects out to bid, 3,553 contracts were signed, totaling $10.6 billion on June 30, up
Debate over detailed solutions to close the gap in funding the nation’s water infrastructure needs has begun. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced legislation on July 15 to establish a Clean Water Trust Fund for repairing and upgrading the nation's drinking-water and wastewater treatment systems. Photo: The Office of Earl Bluemenaur Blumenauer starts debate on water trust fund. The bill aims to amass $10 billion in annual funding through a mix of taxes on bottled beverages, corporate profits, pharmaceuticals and products typically disposed of in wastewater. Almost half the funds would be distributed as grants and loans through the existing Clean
A contractor in Liverpool is set to tear down the Churchill Way viaduct by the end of the year, one of the most dramatic consequences of a new U.K. inspection regime of post-tensioned concrete bridges that emerged from the rubble of collapses nearly 30 years ago.