Komatsu PC490LCi-11 excavator

Getting to grade faster:
Contractor eliminates overcutting with Komatsu excavator

When Randy Ellis and his wife, Trisha, prepared to build a home on the family’s ranch, he was shocked at the price to purchase 300 loads of dirt for the pad. Instead of paying for the material, Ellis bought a dump truck and a rubber-tire backhoe, dug a pond on his property and used the dirt for the house pad. While he didn’t realize it at the time, this was the origin of what today is a successful earthwork andRead More

Southern Transport relies on Komatsu intelligent Machine Control Dozers.

‘Our brand of choice’: Contractor shares keys to high production, cost savings

Good decisions are often directly tied to profitability and prosperity. Justin Lott, Co-owner/Senior Vice President of Southern Transport & Equipment, LLC, learned that lesson after completing fire school. “I had my sights set on being a firefighter, but I had to finish EMT training as well,” recalled Lott. “The summer after I graduated, I took a job working for an oil-field company to make some money. I quickly realized that type of work paid much better than I was projectedRead More

Shaking hands in office

In a tight labor market consider rehiring former employees

by Ranger Kidwell-Ross The largest complaint that I hear from most contractors is their inability to get good workers. That situation hasn’t improved with the current low unemployment rate, combined with what is fast becoming a shortage of immigrant personnel. One source you may not have considered are your former employees, often called “boomerang” workers. This is yet another reason to maintain a cordial relationship with employees when they leave for what they perceive as a better opportunity. Why notRead More

African American Construction Worker Carrying plywood

Are women the answer to construction’s labor shortage?

While a majority (79 percent) of construction firms are planning to expand their payrolls this year, nearly an equal percentage are concerned about their ability to hire qualified workers, according to survey results by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and Sage Construction and Real Estate. “With overall unemployment now at the lowest level in nearly 50 years, contractors are having an ever harder time finding workers with or without construction experience,” said Ken Simonson, ACG’s Chief Economist. “AverageRead More

welder with prism rainbow reflection

New Path to Skilled-Trade Jobs

Thanks to budget cuts and a growing emphasis on preparing teens to enter four-year colleges or universities, many trade-related programs have been reduced or cut completely from the public school system. This has shrunk the pool of qualified workers who can trade their caps and gowns for hard hats and steel toes upon graduation. One strategy delivering positive results is to tailor education that fits the prevailing college-bound mindset of today’s students. Such programs allow young people to have theRead More

Virtual design with building information modeling saves taxpayer dollars

by Jim Lynch, Vice President, Autodesk Construction Products Group No longer the infrastructure envy of the world, many of the United States’ roads, bridges and tunnels are crumbling and in need of substantial maintenance or replacement. Compounding these challenges are the pressures of increased urbanization and population growth, which will place added stress on already strained systems. So, while the Beltway banter continues about addressing infrastructure funding, we can no longer focus solely on the amount of spending, but ratherRead More

Young Adult holding blueprints.

Investing in the future: Partnering with education

by Katrina Kersch             The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce states, “The business community is the number one consumer of the public education system and therefore must be an involved and engaged stakeholder in the education of America’s children.”             It is not unusual to hear employers talk about partnerships with education as having no real return on investment (ROI). I have personally heard the following statements from employers: “I attended three career fairs and sawRead More

How advanced technology is shaping tomorrow’s jobsites

            Technological revolutions don’t happen overnight. Instead, they typically resemble the progression of a jobsite; one area is built, connected to another, tied to a third and so on. Once a project nears completion, the full picture finally begins to emerge. When looking at the future of technology in the construction industry, that picture is starting to come into focus.             While other industries may receive more mainstream attention for exciting advances, construction has already experienced its share of revolutionaryRead More

Road construction

Mobile technology aims for safer highway work zones

More than half (54 percent) of highway contractors reported that motor vehicles had crashed into their construction zones during the past year, according to the results of a highway work zone study conducted in 2018 by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). In response, association officials have launched a new mobile advertising campaign that urges drivers who pass through work zones to slow down and be alert. Forty eight percent of contractors who reported crashes on jobsites said driversRead More

Worker in PPE cutting steel beam

Creating a safety culture:
Focus on more than just recording zero incidents

by Bob Fitzgerald, Sr. Risk Control Consultant at Willis Towers Watson Great news! Your project achieved a safety milestone with zero OSHA-recordable injuries. Mission accomplished, right? Not entirely. Most safety practitioners insist that there is always room for improvement with safety practices and procedures. While the OSHA Recordable Incidence Rate (RIR) is a common and important metric for many organizations, some industry groups rank this indicator too high. Avoiding OSHA-recordable injuries is always a good thing, but claiming victory basedRead More