It’s not a secret that nominal lumber dimensions aren’t their actual dimensions. A 4x4 hasn’t measured 4 inches by 4 inches since the 1950’s, when standard lumber sizes and moisture contents were established by the US government. Prior to that, it was common for wood to be sourced locally and installed “green,” meaning it was not kiln dried prior to purchase. When lumber began to be shipped to different regions throughout the country by rail, it became clear that a national standard for dimensions would be necessary. According to a very interesting 1964 report from the US Department of Agriculture, the actual dimensions of lumber were derived by a combination of after-kiln shrinkage, saw blade width, and other factors in order to reach a consensus from lumber distributors.
For over 60 years, nominal lumber dimensions have been used in lieu of actual dimensions for lumber. That fact hasn’t stopped 2 class action suits, one for Menards and one for Home Depot, from being filed by an Illinois law firm over the size discrepancy, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The firm claims that customers have been receiving 23% less product than what has been “advertised and represented” for 4x4s and the practices cause “substantial injury to consumers.”
The suit claims that the companies should clearly mark that the sizes stated are nominal and not actual sizes and it’s unreasonable for an “average consumer” to know that. The firm claims that 2 separate plaintiffs felt they were wronged by Menards and 1 other felt he was wronged by Home Depot after measuring the lumber they purchased.
The retailers are obviously not buying the claim, citing government approved industry standards and claiming that the size differences are common knowledge.
Full story: Whacked with a 4x4: Menards, Home Depot face lawsuits over descriptions of lumber size | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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.