The saga continues in one of the biggest construction stories of 2016, the sinking and tilting Millennium Tower of San Francisco. When we last updated readers in December, satellite images from the European Space Agency had not only confirmed that the tower has sunken considerably, but that it also hasn’t stopped sinking yet. Meanwhile, residents living in the tower are worried about their safety and the value of their homes.
According to the San Francisco Gate, the Department of Building Inspection has recently completed their inspection of the tower and they have found that even though there are signs of strain on the electrical systems and the building’s foundation system, the Millennium Tower is still safe to occupy. The inspector’s report specifically called out “evidence of water intrusion” affecting the electrical system on the fifth level basement, but the systems were still “working adequately.”
The Department of Building Inspection told the SF Gate that multiple permits have been pulled in order to fix many of the issues found during a December 2, 2016 inspection and the recent January 11, 2017 inspection.
While this is good news for the developer of the property, the residents aren’t completely satisfied. They’re awaiting results of the geotechnical study ordered by the homeowner’s association before getting excited about any good news. Jerry Dodson, a resident of the building and attorney who represents some of the homeowners in a lawsuit, said “The building is continuing to sink and tilt at a rate of 2 inches per year, according to the European Space Agency,” which examined the building from orbit. “This will quickly overstress the building and take its toll on the plumbing and utility systems if it hasn't already.”
As the results of independent studies and inspections are being determined, there are still many questions surrounding how the necessary repairs will be paid for. According to Bloomberg, the developer has an insurance policy that will cover $100 million of construction defects or damages caused by settlement. Other entities involved with the project, such as the architect and general contractor also hold an additional $50 million to $100 million in insurance. Even if repairs cost less than the insurance policies cover, it’s not even a sure thing that the insurance companies will even cover the issues this building is facing. The worst case scenario for the homeowners is that they may need to shell out additional cash in order to complete the repairs.
Full Story: Sinking Millennium Tower safe to live in, city report concludes | SF Gate
Full Story: Who Will Pay for San Francisco's $750 Million Tilting Tower? | Bloomberg
Construction Safety is talked about constantly. There are many construction companies that take it very seriously. There are also many that don’t. All will say it’s their top priority.
So what can a city do that’s facing regular worker deaths and increases in workplace injuries? New York City has decided to require extensive safety training for all of the 185,000 construction workers in the city.
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.
Masonry workers, specifically brick and block masons, have been around for centuries and are one of the construction industries oldest professions. Before blocks were prefabricated and purchased, masons had to cut the material by hand before placing. Recently, robotic brick and block placing robots have threatened to take some jobs away from human masons, but that technology is still a long way away from making a huge impact on the profession
The immense technological growth the construction industry has seen in the past decade has been a refreshing change, to say the least. Fax machines, large filing cabinets, and redundant work are slowly becoming a thing of the past. More importantly, software developers are actually paying attention to the construction industry, making our lives collectively easier, while giving us more data to make better decisions. Bluebeam, maker of one of the industry’s favorite construction document software, has recently announced a wireless digital sensor specifically for under construction buildings.
Portable toilets are the setting for many pranks around a construction site, but I never thought there could be something worse than just getting stuck in one. Turns out I was extremely wrong, because a worker in New Orleans was run over by a dump truck while using the port-a-john.
Electricians are very essential to every single construction project, but it's also one of the most dangerous jobs in the construction industry, According to OSHA, electrocutions cause almost 9% of all construction related deaths, making it one of the group's Fatal Four. Generally, an electrician in the United States falls under 1 of 3 categories: apprentice, journeyman, and master, but this data compiles all of those levels into one category. It's also important to note that utility line installers are not included in this category.
At last week’s National Safety Council Congress & Expo, OSHA’s deputy director of Directorare of Enforcement Programs, Patrick Kapust, announced their 10 most frequesntly cited safety violations for their fiscal year 2017, reports the National Safety Council.
Smaller heavy construction equipment is the most likely to be stolen on a jobsite, but most of the time the thieves try to sell the equipment for money. On rare occasions, the thief just takes the machine out on the town for a joy ride and leading the police on some pretty frustrating pursuits. Early last year, a man in Florida stole a backhoe and lead police on a wild 3 hour chase as the hammer attachment drug along the asphalt throwing sparks the whole way. Just last week, police dash cam footage showed an 18 year old backing over a police cruiser, with an officer still inside, and then leading several other officers on a slow chase.
The Seattle Space Needle is not a normal building, which makes it a unique project to try to renovate. The iconic building is set to receive a $100 million renovation dubbed the Century Project that promises much better views thanks to new floor to ceiling exterior glazing. To prepare for the project, construction crews recently hoisted a 28.000 pound ring of scaffold to the tower’s Tophouse, around 400 feet in the air.
In our weekly quest to analyze each individual construction profession by state, we’ll examine carpentry. The two previous professions we examined were general construction laborers, followed by heavy equipment operators. You can also see the full list of all past and future professions by clicking here.