Holding the distinction of having the world’s tallest building is a coveted milestone for designers, builders, and countries alike, but no one has been able to top the 2,722 foot tall Burj Khalifa yet, since it opened in early 2010. The 2nd tallest tower in the world, the Shanghai Tower, opened 5 years later and stands 2,073 feet tall. Just recently, two more gigantic buildings opened their doors, taking over the 4th and 5th spots on the list for tallest in the world, pushing America’s One World Trade Center into 6th place.
The first to open was the 1,965 foot tall (599m) Ping An Finance Center in Shenzhen China. Designed by supertall building experts Kohn Pederson Fox, the building features 100 floors of office space, as well as a central atrium with retail and restaurants.
Although the Ping An did not break the record for being the world’s tallest, it still holds the record for largest stainless steel facade. Over 1,700 tons of 316L stainless steel was used for the exterior, which Building Design + Construction explained was due to its corrosion resistance against harsh coastal atmosphere of Shenzhen.
Shortly after the Ping An opened up, the Lotte World Tower in Seoul, South Korea officially became the new 5th tallest tower in the world. At 1,819 feet tall, it trails the Ping An by just a little over 100 feet and was also designed by Kohn Pederson Fox.
Like the Ping An, the Lotte also holds a few records of its own, including having the world’s highest glass-bottomed observation deck, the world’s highest swimming pool, and the world’s fastest elevator, according to Building Design + Construction. The observation deck is located on the 118th floor, which 1,640 feet in the air. The swimming pool is stationed way up on the 85th floor and the elevator can take passengers to the top of the building from the ground floor in around 60 seconds.
In August of 2016, it was discovered that a luxury high rise condominium complex in San Francisco, which houses several celebrities, was sinking and leaning considerably. The 58-story Millennium Tower contains home that range in value of anywhere from $1.6 million to $10 million. Since the discovery, fingers have been pointed in all directions and several lawsuits have been filed.
In January of this year, tragedy struck a Florida construction company when 3 construction workers died while working underground below a newly paved road. After the first worker entered the hole and collapsed after entering the confined space through a manhole, the second went in to rescue him and also collapsed, followed by the third. After a post-incident investigation, OSHA has released their findings, as well as several fines.
In late June, OSHA pushed the enforcement of their 2016 rule which will require employers to electronically submit injury and illness reports from July 1, 2017 to December 1, 2017. At that time it was unknown when the administration would launch the platform to submit the data online, but that has now been decided.
Caterpillar is not resting on what made it successful in the past anymore and probably for good reason. The equipment manufacturing giant recently bought Yard Club, a heavy construction equipment sharing company, looking to take advantage of the recently popularized sharing economy. Earlier this month, Caterpillar invested $2 million in Fastbrick Robotics, an Australian robotic technology company.
Just last November, a massive Five-Alarm fire rocked a multi-story residential building that was almost 80% complete at the time, completely destroying the project. This month, yet another multi-story residential tower that was almost complete caught fire, making it the 5th in 5 year to suffer the same fate. At least 3 of the previous 3 fires have been ruled as arson but, up to this point, no arrests for any of the previous arsons have been made.
In January of 2017, OSHA released a final rule which greatly reduced the allowable exposure to beryllium, a mineral that can cause deadly lung disease. While not as commonly encountered in the construction industry as other substances that cause terrible lung diseases, like crystalline silica and asbestos, beryllium is linked to a disease called chronic beryllium disease, which kills around 100 people each year. It’s commonly found in coal slag, which is used for sandblasting. According to the New York Times, OSHA estimates that 11,500 construction workers would be affected by OSHA’s reduced exposure limit.
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In a year that OSHA can’t seem to enforce any new rules, it appears to have found a way to remove a rule from its books. As announced last week, OSHA has removed monorail hoists from Subpart CC – Cranes and Derricks in Construction. Employers are still required to follow other OSHA regulations regarding the hoists, but this rule should help clear up some inconsistencies.
Since the beginning of the year, OSHA has had a pretty hard time enforcing any of its new rules due to delays. The silica dust exposure rule was delayed 90 to September 23, the crane certification rule is facing yet another possible delay, and now the electronic injury reporting rule is facing another delay.
Just before 11 am on Monday morning, 6/26, firefighters were called to an under-construction residential building in Queens, New York after concrete scaffolding and formwork collapsed during a pour.