Modular building makes a lot of sense: build repetitive structures in a controlled, factory-like setting and transport to the project site and assemble. It should be a more efficient and less expensive way to construct a building, but the truth is, it’s a lot harder than it looks. There’s also no written standard for doing it.
Contractors and developers in Brooklyn, New York figured out how difficult modular construction can be the hard way when they began developing 461 Dean Street, the world’s tallest modular building, starting in December of 2012. Originally scheduled to be complete by the end of 2014, it was not actually finished until late 2016 after a series of issues, including water leaks.
According to the Urban Developer, a partnership between Monash University, the Victorian Government, Engineers Australia and other industry groups have developed the world’s first building code for modular construction. The Victorian Modular Code of Construction Handbook, as it’s called, will attempt to address quality control and improve safety.
The Handbook was sent out in May of 2017 for public comment and the final document has only been released to a small number of people so far, through hard copy and USB. A new edition is scheduled to be released in 2018 and the group prefabAUS will be updating the document, as needed, in the future.
Although it won’t immediately affect American construction projects, it could certainly be used as a guide or a learning document that could be adapted to American standards. It’s important for law makers and code reviewers from around the world to take notice of how other countries are handling new and developing construction techniques.
Full story: The World’s First Building Code For Modular Construction Created In Victoria | The Urban Developer
Virginia, which averages a just slightly higher than average cost of living, is next on our countdown at #31. The state is all over the board when it comes to profession by profession breakdown, with several rankings in the 40s, 30s, 20s, and teens. Their lone profession to be ranked in the top 10 is construction managers, who have an average hourly wage of $51.46, after adjustment, which is good for 6th highest in the country.
New Mexico, our nation's 47th state, lands at #32 on our continued state-by-state countdown. After adjusting for the state's lower cost of living (5.9% lower than national average), New Mexico jumped roughly 8 spots on the list. There were 3 construction professions ranked in the top 10 versus all other states, including solar panel installers, reinforcing iron and rebar workers, and welders.
Last Monday, a 13-story building in Miami Beach was in the process of being manually demolished when the building suddenly came crashing down, some of it horizontally, and critically injured 1 of the demolition contractor’s project managers. There have been some developments in the story that we would like to update you on.
I promised myself that I wasn't going to mention potatoes, so I won't. That doesn't count. Coming in at #33 in our countdown is the state of Idaho, often referred to as the "Gem State." Boosted by their relatively low cost of living at 8.7% below the national average, Idaho jumped 11 spots after adjustment.
There are a ton of songs about the city of New York, but that unfortunately doesn't help the state in our countdown. Despite having the 4th highest cost of living, at 31.6% higher than the national average (according to MERIC), New York did still manage to land a few construction professions in the top 10, like crane operators, roofers, and concrete finishers, even after adjusting the numbers.
For the third year in a row, Seattle, Washington has the most construction cranes in their city’s skyline, a clear sign that the west coast city is still in a major growth period. Around Christmas 2016, the first year Seattle lead the most cranes race, the city put on an awesome lights show and shared an impressive video of the cranes lighting up the skyline, which you can watch here.
If not for having the lowest cost of living in the country, according to the MERIC data, MIssissippi would be in contention for the lowest ranking on our list. However, having a 14.5% lower than the national average boosted the state up 15 spots to #35 after adjustment.
OSHA's new crystalline silica dust exposure regulations officially went into effect on September 23, 2017. Over the past 10 months, there has been plenty of confusion about the lung disease causing material. In the first 6 months after the effective date, OSHA's inspectors yielded 116 violations across the country.
Vermont is one of the few states in the Northeast that doesn't have a ridiculously high cost of living, according to MERIC, at only 2.9% higher than the national average. That helped Vermont rank higher than many others in the Northeast in this list, but it's lower than average adjusted hourly rates for the construction industry still kept it on the bottom half of the list overall.