There are some buildings that we take for granted because they’ve always been there, especially a unique structure like the Seattle Space Needle. It’s so iconic, that tourists seem to think it’s illegal NOT to take a picture of it when they visit Seattle. The 605 foot (184.41m) tall structure (to the tip of the antenna) houses a rotating restaurant on top and one of the best views of the city in its observation deck (520ft, 160m).
Completed in 1961, just in time for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle was actually the tallest building in the State of Washington until 1969. The entire construction process took just under 8 months.
Although it’s one of the most heavily photographed buildings in America today, very few photos of the actual construction process were ever discovered. For 50 years, historian George Gulacsik had thousands of pictures of the under construction structure stashed away in a closet and they were just recently found two years ago. Since then, the photos have been donated to the Seattle Public Library by his wife, Sally. The Library then converted the photographs to digital copies and made them all available for download online.
It’s truly incredible to have so many amazing pictures of how structures were built back in the early 60’s. Equally as amazing is how many processes look roughly the same, minus a few technological advances here and there. I can personally guarantee that there were far less smartphones on this job site than a typical one today. There’s even one picture of an excavator that looks very similar to the one an Indianapolis man has in his historical construction equipment collection.
We chose a handful of our personal favorites to share in this article, but you can check out the thousands of others in the gallery by clicking here. As you’ll see in the photos, other than hard hats, there’s virtually no safety equipment worn by the workers. Even so, there were no worker deaths during the entire project.
The first three months of the project were spent (unsurprisingly) excavating the site, pouring the foundation, constructing the core, and installing the Needle’s leg bases. The lot where the space needle was to sit was only 120 feet by 120 feet, so the foundation had to start 30 feet below grade. 467 concrete trucks were used to pour roughly 2,800 cubic yards of concrete for the foundation, which also included over 250 tons of steel rebar.
The first leg of the Space Needle was lifted into place on July 19, 1961, by Pacific Car and Foundry Derricks. Inspectors used x-ray equipment to make sure that all of the welds were properly installed at the end of the night. Most of the ironworkers on site made under $4.00 per day, which is roughly $31.74 in 2016 dollars, according to dollartimes.com. That’s an extremely small amount for the dangers of that job.
In October, the structure reached a height of 450 feet before the iconic “halo” was installed on top of the legs. Once the gas torch was installed at the Needle’s highest point on December 8, the workers installed an American flag on top and held a ceremony to commemorate the event. 6 days later, the flag was replaced with a Christmas tree by a man dressed as Santa Claus.
For more information about the construction of the Space Needle, you can even download George Gulascik’s notebook, in which he documented daily milestones of the project. That’s some serious dedication.
Sears' iconic brand, Craftsman, is leaving the mothership and being bought by Stanley Black & Decker for around $900 million. This announcement comes on the heals of Sears planning to close 150 Sears and Kmart stores nationwide this year. The deal for the 89-year-old Craftsman brand allows Stanley Black & Decker to manufacture and sell Craftsman products in non-Sears stores. Sears will also continue to sell the Craftsman brand in its dwindling retail stores.
The earth can be a sort of an unmarked time capsule in many areas. It holds secrets of the past, some of which were hoped to never be found, but others that people dream of finding. Almost every project requires excavation or demolition in some way, so keep your eyes peeled for the next great discovery!
Jobsite pressures, such as time crunches and monetary issues can quickly tempt otherwise good people into making some pretty poor decisions. There are also others who use their construction business as a front for other illegal activities. Many people were arrested for a variety of reasons in 2016 and the list below should serve as both a reminder and a warning for those considering making bad decisions.
In general, we don’t celebrate the good deeds and accomplishments of our friends, family, and co-workers enough. The fact is, there are plenty of people in this world who spend plenty of their hard earned time, money, blood, sweat, and tears making a difference in peoples’ lives. Many of those people happen to be construction workers and this 2016 countdown will hopefully serve as inspiration to our reader’s to go above and beyond and use your skills to enrich someone else’s life.
Many construction projects involve clearing heavily wooded and untouched areas, which can cause many complications, including interaction with unknown wildlife. It’s important for all companies to understand the impact their construction work can have on wildlife, not only to avoid costly issues with government regulations, but also be good stewards of the environment. Below are 12 stories from 2016 where construction projects interacted with wildlife and how each situation was handled.
Last year, a devastating crane collapse killed more than 100 people and injured more than 200 others in Mecca, located in Saudi Arabia. Reports indicated that, at the time of the collapse, the boom was erected approximately 620 feet (190m).
If you were out looking for elves, the first logical place you’d look would be the North Pole, but that may not actually be the easiest place to find them. According to a couple news stories from this year, elves can wreak some serious havoc on construction projects in Iceland, if they’re unhappy.
As the construction labor shortage rages on throughout the industry, there have been concerns of how overworked employees or undertrained staff may affect job site safety. Although there’s no definitive proof that this problem is causing an increase in construction deaths and injuries, recently released Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows trends pointing in the wrong direction.
2016 has been a tough year for people that live in ocean-near luxury high rise condos. The Millennium Tower in San Francisco, California, which is home to many of the city’s rich and famous residents, has found itself in the middle of several lawsuits after it was determined to have sunk around 16 inches since its opening in 2008. Now, it appears that it’s not the only luxury tower in America with foundation issues.
You did it again...you waited too long to start Christmas shopping. Have no fear, Construction Junkie's got you covered with more great gift ideas for the hard working person in your life. Better yet, if you're in the construction industry yourself, here's some gear you could use no matter what time of year!