Concrete, the construction industry’s building material of choice for hundreds of years, is an extremely tough and durable product. Being such a rigid product, concrete has inherently poor tensile strength, which is its ability to withstand being stretched, as opposed to compressing. This poor tensile strength leads to cracking, which eventually leads to failure. Scientists have been racing to discover the cure to concrete’s cracking problem for years, most notably Henk Jonkers’ bio-concrete, which uses microorganisms to “heal” cracked concrete.
The newest challengers to the material’s flexibility problem are a group of scientists from Nanyung Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. The team calls their product “ConFlexPave” and it not only bends under pressure, unlike concrete, it’s also thinner and maybe even stronger than its traditional brethren.
Construction work is serious stuff, injuries happen all the time and safety awareness is key. That being said, an occasional prank is a fun way to bring some levity to the job site, especially when you get a great reaction from your coworker. Last year, we shared a video of a couple construction workers pranking an unsuspecting newcomer by making him swing a sledge hammer in a circle for several minutes to test a seismic reading, which you can watch here.
The video below is from carpenter Jason Wolfe, who tricks his cowoker, Tyler, into think he had shot a staple straight though his finger.
3.1 miles of bridge does not equal 3.1 miles of on grade highway. In fact, it’s not even close. In order to build the new New York Bridge, which is replacing the existing Tappan Zee bridge that crosses the Hudson River, 14 miles of main span cables, 50 miles of foundation pilings, 300 thousand cubic yards of concrete, and 220 million pounds of steel are needed to complete the structure. Oh, it’s also going to take another 2 years to build, on top of the 3 they’ve already been working on it.
We have a lot of safety rules in construction and it’s practically impossible to monitor your job site for compliance of every single rule. To complicate matters, many rules are based upon exposure limits, especially when airborne particles are involved. OSHA recently reduced the allowable exposure limit of silica dust, which is found in concrete, stone, and brick, before additional PPE or engineering controls are required. This rule change has caused a lot of grief among construction industry groups, who called the rule technologically infeasible, because what contractor is really set up to measure when 50 micrograms of silica dust per cubic meter of air is actually reached?
Twitter, the social media site that people seem to either love or hate, has made people more aware of their surroundings and can be a soundboard for controversy. For some companies, Twitter is used for a large part of their customer service program, responding to complaints within the 160 character limit. Now, it seems, contractors could potentially have a powerful watchdog looking over their shoulder, as long as the tweets land in the right hands.
Billions of dollars are spent by cities and countries to prepare for summer and winter Olympics. Many stadiums, housing and other infrastructure are built to not only be able to handle the games, but also the enormous amount of people that will eventually inhabit the city for a few weeks. But, that’s just it, it’s only for a few weeks. What happens after the games are over and there’s no longer a need for an International Broadcast Center or a handball venue? In the past, the answer has been to let the area rot away and be a hotbed of vandalism, but Rio has taken a different approach.
If positioned the right way, paper is known to give some pretty mean paper cuts, so say to the office tethered thrill seekers of the world. Try to cut wood by running a sheet of paper against it, however, and you’ll end up a mangled piece of paper. But, perhaps we’ve been using paper the wrong way all along. Maybe it’s a metaphor for life, put an object or a person in the wrong situation and get poor results, but put them in the right situation and you’ll reap the rewards.
Remember when all phones did was make calls? Me either. Smartphones are becoming more and more powerful by the day, they’re already cameras, note takers, and thermal imaging cameras, but now they can add x-ray vision sensors to the list.
In March 2013, Flintlock Construction was building a hotel at a Manhattan construction site known as the 325 Project. OSHA inspectors visited the site and delivered three separate scaffolding violations that added up to a total of $249,920 in OSHA fines. Flintlock Construction immediately filed an appeal and that appeal was heard in July 2015.