Softwood lumber, often used for structural framing and decking, among other uses, may be seeing a price increase in the US in the near future. On Monday, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) has announced that they will be imposing tariffs of up to 24% on all softwood lumber imported from Canada.
"It has been a bad week for U.S.-Canada trade relations. Last Monday, it became apparent that Canada intends to effectively cut off the last dairy products being exported from the United States. Today, in a different matter, the Department of Commerce determined a need to impose countervailing duties of roughly one billion dollars on Canadian softwood lumber exports to us. This is not our idea of a properly functioning Free Trade Agreement,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in a statement.
According to the DOC, Canada imported around $5.66 billion worth of softwood lumber in 2016. The countervailing duties, which are imposed to counter apparent Canadian “subsidies,” are going to be established at different rates to different companies. The DOC released a fact sheet, which explains the subsidy rates:
“for Canfor Corporation, 20.26 percent; for J.D. Irving, Limited, 3.02 percent; for Resolute FP Canada, Ltd., 12.82 percent; for Tolko Marketing and Sales Ltd. and Tolko Industries Ltd., 19.50 percent; and, for West Fraser Mills, Ltd., 24.12 percent. Commerce established a preliminary subsidy rate of 19.88 percent for all other producers/exporters in Canada.”
While this tariff will surely be good news for US Lumber suppliers, Canada is unsurprisingly disgruntled by the decision. There’s been a longstanding dispute with regards to US and Canada lumber trade, because Canada’s lumber is largely owned by provincial governments, according to Bloomberg. This arrangement allows each province to establish their own prices, giving them the opportunity to subsidize the industry and effectively lowering the cost of the lumber that’s exported. US suppliers say the subsidies give Canadian lumber companies an unfair advantage. Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland have vowed to defend the Canadian softwood industry and sue, if needed.
All tariff rates are currently preliminary and a final countervailing duty determination is currently expected to be announced on September 7, 2017.
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.
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.