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
Over the past few years, it has been abundantly clear that many contractors have their choice of work and not enough resources to handle all of the opportunities. That abundance commonly leads to the labor field being able to bounce between companies for quick wage increases, leaving company owners and management struggling to keep fully staffed with qualified people.
Louisiana, home of jazz music, gumbo, and next door neighbor to #20 Texas, is the first one on our list to reach the teens in the rankings. America’s most swamp heavy state benefits from a low cost of living, 5.4% below the national average, according to MERIC.
You may have been sitting in your house or office one day and noticed the distinct sound of a bird hitting the window. It’s pretty common, as it’s estimated that as many as 988 million birds die in the US each year by colliding into glass. The new arena that will house the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks has incorporated some design elements that will reduce the amount of birds killed by the massive structure, allowing it to be dubbed the “World’s Most Bird Friendly Sports Arena.”
The construction industry ranks first in total suicides and second in suicide rate compared to all other industries in the United States, according to a 2016 study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). This sad fact led more than 75 industry groups to form an alliance to combat the epidemic in 2016. Some of the members recently met in in Washington DC to help construction companies to better address mental health issues among their workers.
Texas is the second largest state in the entire country by land area, trailing only Alaska. It’s significant land mass and relatively low population density help the state have a very low cost of living, according to MERIC, at 9.4% below average. That allowed Texas to drop over 12 spots in our ranking.
Just over a year ago, in September of 2017, Hurricane Irma blew through Miami, Florida, bringing extremely high speed wind with it. The wind caused 3 cranes to collapse in southern Florida, 2 in downtown Miami and 1 more in Ft. Lauderdale. Interesting video of the dismantling of one of the failed cranes was shared on Youtube.
In September of 2017, OSHA’s new standard on exposure to respirable crystalline silica went into effect in the construction industry. The rule lowered the allowable exposure to the harmful substance to 50 micrograms per cubic meter, a measurement that we’re all familiar with [/sarcasm]. After a full year of enforcement, OSHA is considering making a change to the rule.
Connecticut is a relatively small state with a very high population density, ranking 48th in total area and 4th in density. The state also has a very high cost of living, at 16.5% above the national average, according to MERIC.
Kentucky, home of horse racing and bourbon distilleries, lands at number 22 on our countdown. The state’s relatively low cost of living, at around 6.7% below national average according to MERIC, helped it drop around 11 spots after adjustment.