Being a construction worker is truly satisfying, because at the end of the project you have a tangible product you can admire for all your hard work. You get up early, you work long hours in less than ideal conditions, and you sweat a lot. But, even though many find it satisfying, the main reason we work is for money.
In a report published in December of 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) analyzed the median pay of 19 different construction jobs that only require a high school diploma or equivalent, like a GED. Based on their findings, it appears that construction workers, overall are much better off than most industries, as the median pay for those in the construction industry in general was $41,380 in May of 2014 versus $35,540 for all other occupations. That equals a 16.4% yearly salary premium more than non-construction workers.
Let’s get to the top 10 list:
10. Solar Voltaic Installers
2014 median pay: $40,020
Job description: install solar panels on roofs or other structures. As solar panels begin to get stronger, lighter, and cheaper, we can expect this technology to become more popular.
2014 median pay: $40,820
Job description: generally, carpenters frame and finish structures, such as doorframes, stairways, rafters, among others.
8. Construction Equipment Operators
2014 median pay: $42,900
Job description: drive heavy construction equipment, such as loaders, dozers, and excavators. Construction equipment can be very dangerous to operate, so it’s important to be very well trained and stay aware of your surroundings.
7. Sheet Metal Workers
2014 median pay: $45,070
Job description: fabricate and/or install products made from thin metal sheets, such as HVAC duct work.
2014 median pay: $48,520
Job description: install structural steel and other reinforcing steel
5. Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters
2014 median pay: $50,660
Job description: install the piping for waste, water, gas and vent lines.
2014 median pay: $51,110
Job description: install and repair electrical systems, including lighting, controls, communication wiring.
3. Construction and Building Inspectors
2014 median pay: $56,040
Job description: examine and verify that application building codes are being followed on specific construction job sites
2014 median pay: $59,860
Job description: install and repair boilers and other systems that hold liquids or gases.
1. Elevator Installers and Repairers
2014 median pay: $78,620
Job description: install and repair elevators. Far and away the highest paid of all construction trades.
The BLS also included 9 other construction jobs and their median salaries:
19. Construction Laborer and Helper: $30,190
18. Roofers: $35,760
17. Painters, Construction, and Maintenance: $35,950
16. Flooring Installers and Tile and Marble Setters: $37,380
15. Insulation Workers: $37,790
14. Glaziers: $38,410
13. Hazardous Materials Removal Workers: $38,520
12. Masonry Workers: $38,720
11. Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers and Tapers: $38,97
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There’s no doubt that drones are the hot technology item for the construction industry. They allow you inspect your overall site more quickly, take aerial photos for marketing and documentation, measure tonnage and volume of on-site stockpiles, and even monitor employee productivity. Now, one company has designed a drone that can safely inspect structures for damage and detect cracks as small as .0039 inches wide (.1mm), when fitted with an HD camera.
Not all demolition videos can be implosions and that’s OK, because each type of demolition is its own art form. Sometimes contractors are bound by the constraints of the job, especially when located in an area with a large concentration of pedestrians and other public areas. That was the case for the construction site of the future One Vanderbilt Tower in New York City, which just completed the demolition of five different buildings covering an entire city block.
The number one goal on every construction site should be that all workers make it home safe at the end of the day. The sad reality is that hundreds of construction workers are killed on the job site every year. Last year, contractors were working on an indoor activity center for a high school in Argyle, Texas, when the 30 foot tall structure quickly collapsed, killing one man in the process.
Construction work can be a workout in and of itself many times. The hours are long, the tools and materials are heavy, but that’s not stopping a young worker in central China from adding some additional exercises to his daily routine.
2016 has been a big year for OSHA, as the organization has raised the cost of fines for safety violations for the first time since 1990. Made, effective in August, fines were raised 78%, making the cost of a serious violation $12,471. The construction industry is by far the most affected by OSHA regulations, as it accounted for 43.3% of all citations, 52.92% of all inspections, and 44.16% of all penalties assessed from October 2015 to September 2016. Of all specific types of contractors, roofing contractors account for the largest quantity of citations (6,924), following by framing contractors (3,810), and masonry contractors (2,501).
“They don’t build ‘em like they used to,” as people love to say. That phrase could definitely be applicable to the 93 year old Broadway Bridge in Little Rock, Arkansas, that refused to fall even after it was lined with explosives. This certainly isn’t the first time a demolition has failed and it’s probably not the last.
Dubai has held the record for world’s tallest building since the opening of the Burj Khalifa in 2010. The gigantic tower, which houses office, residential, retail, and hotel space spread over 163 floors stands 2,717 feet (828m) in the air. It was an impressive feat, once in which Dubai and the United Arab Emirates pride themselves on, but in a few short years, its crown will be passed to a new record holder.
One thing’s for sure about Milwaukee Tool, they aren’t satisfied with putting the same tools out year after year. They’re constantly improving age old classics and leading in the innovation of new tool solutions. Their latest announcement is a variation on their extremely popular line of M18 tools.
The weight of dirt is serious business and the force it provides should not be underestimated. Depending on the moisture content, soil can weigh around 2,000 pounds per cubic yard. Many construction workers die each year from trench collapses due to improper shoring and benching techniques, but weight and force calculations are also extremely important in the design and construction of retaining walls.
Habitat for Humanity is one of the construction industry’s favorite volunteer organization and for good reason. Over the past 40 years, the non-profit builder has helped construct, rehabilitate, or preserve over 800,000 affordable houses for families in need. It’s truly an area that construction workers throughout the world can showcase their skills and donate their time, in order to give back to their community.