Roofing contractors adopt all U.S. Ronald McDonald houses
In April 2017, the Roofing Alliance began supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities® to help families with critically ill or injured children stay near the hospitals treating their children. Ronald McDonald houses provide private sleeping rooms, meals and opportunities for families to interact as they go through difficult times. NRCA Chairman of the Board-elect Rod Petrick, former president of the Roofing Alliance and owner of Ridgeworth Roofing Co. Inc., Frankfort, Ill., led the initiative for roofing contractors to adopt all 165 Ronald McDonald houses in the U.S. with the goal of companies inspecting, repairing, maintaining and replacing the adopted roofs.
RMHC appreciates its partnership with and support from the roofing industry.
“We are grateful to our tremendous partners at the Roofing Alliance and astounded by the collaboration of the industry to support 165 Houses across the country,” says Sheila Musolino, president and CEO of RMHC. “On behalf of the entire RMHC system and the children and families we serve, we thank you for your immense support.”
Median age of U.S. construction workers increases to 42
A National Association of Home Builders analysis of the most recent 2017 American Community Survey data reveals the median age of U.S. construction workers has increased to 42, according to www.forconstructionpros.com.
The median age is one year older than a typical worker in the national labor force and an increase from the median age of 41 when 2015 American Community Survey data was analyzed in 2017. Aging construction workers and the labor shortage continue to be significant challenges facing the construction industry.
The median age of construction workers varies throughout the U.S. States with the oldest median age of construction workers—45 years old—are Connecticut, Maine and New Hampshire. The median age is 44 in Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Wyoming. Construction workers are younger on average in the central U.S.; half of all construction workers in Utah are younger than 38, and in Nebraska and Texas, half are younger than 39.
The American Community Survey data also enables analysis of median age by occupation. Construction occupations with younger workers include helpers, roofing professionals and fence erectors. Older workers tend to hold managerial positions, such as inspectors, construction supervisors and construction managers.
UK pledges to reach net-zero emissions by 2050
The United Kingdom recently promised to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, a plan more ambitious than its original Climate Change Act from 2008 which pledged to reduce emissions by 80%. Prime Minister Theresa May said net-zero is a necessary step for the U.K., a moral duty and a strategy to improve public health and reduce health care costs.
The U.K. is the first G7 country to propose carbon neutrality, and environmentalists hope the U.K.’s plan will encourage other countries to increase their Paris Agreement emission reduction commitments.
According to May, the U.K.’s economy can continue growing as the country transitions to renewable energy.
“We have made huge progress in growing our economy and the jobs market while slashing emissions,” she says.
Net-zero on a national level will mean all homes, transportation, farming and industries will not consume more energy than the U.K. can generate through renewable energy. For certain cases where this is impossible, companies and industries will have to purchase carbon offsets.
The plan reportedly must include actions such as significant investment in the renewable-energy industry; reductions in meat consumption and flying; and a complete shift to electric cars, LED light bulbs and hydrogen gas heating.
Illinois governor signs $45 billion construction bill
On June 28, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law Rebuild Illinois, a bipartisan plan that will provide $45 billion for state construction projects and construction-related programs.
Rebuild Illinois primarily will be paid for by recent gas and cigarette tax increases and revenue generated by significant expansion of state gambling laws. The plan consists of House Bill 62 that identifies projects that will receive funding, including $33.2 billion for transportation projects; $4.4 billion to renovate or build new state facilities; $3.5 billion for education projects; $1.8 billion for projects and programs that spur economic development, such as museums and libraries, apprenticeships and minority-owned business initiatives; $1 billion for environmental and conservation projects; $465 million for health care and human services projects; and $420 million for broadband expansion.
The plan will be funded in part by new taxes during the next six years, including increasing the motor fuel tax from 19 cents to 38 cents and increasing the special fuels tax on diesel fuel, liquefied natural gas and propane from 2.5 cents to 7.5 cents.
An expansion of legalized gambling in Illinois also is expected to provide hundreds of millions of dollars to fund construction projects and generate thousands of new jobs. Other boosts to the construction industry via the new gambling law are tax breaks for data center owners that make an investment of $250 million or more in Illinois, as well as establishment of the Illinois Works Jobs Program Act. Provisions of the Illinois Works Jobs Program Act include creating a pre-apprenticeship program to increase the number of people joining the state’s construction industry; an apprenticeship program that lawmakers hope will provide 10% of the labor on public works projects; and a bid-credit program intended to encourage contractors to hire a more diverse group of employees.
Ten states make up 60% of U.S. construction project pipeline
A recent report from industry data and analytics provider GlobalData shows 10 states account for nearly 60% of the total U.S. construction project pipeline valued at $3.7 trillion, according to www.forconstructionpros.com.
“Project Insight—Construction in Key US States” is based on data from more than 11,000 tracked large-scale country-wide construction projects. The report reveals California, Texas and New York are the states with the highest value of construction projects in the pipeline. Florida, Louisiana, Virginia, Washington, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Georgia round out the top 10. California has the largest number and value of projects in the U.S. construction project pipeline, with 1,302 projects worth $524.6 billion; infrastructure projects and mixed-use developments represent a combined 56% of California’s total pipeline value.
“The construction of mixed-use developments is booming across many U.S. states, with the building of American city centers and suburbs coming to resemble one another due to changing demands from consumers and homebuyers,” says Dariana Tani, economist for GlobalData. “This is particularly the case for states such as Florida, California and New York. In Florida, the construction of mixed-use properties is growing faster than any other U.S. state, with five of the top 10 largest construction projects in Florida being mixed-use construction projects.
“The tech industry also is creating new demand to build more residential and commercial buildings, as well as transport infrastructure to accommodate the influx of workers,” Tani continues. “Big tech companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon are encouraging significant investment. Among the most notable projects in the pipeline are Facebook’s $850 million Willow Campus Mixed-Use Development in San Francisco, Google’s $800 million Residential Development in Mountain View and Microsoft’s $1 billion Redmond Headquarters Redevelopment.”
Minnesota wage theft law takes effect
On July 1, a new state law designed to curb wage theft took effect in Minnesota. The law strengthens consequences for employers that fail to pay employees, according to www.duluthnewstribune.com.
Minnesota employers now are required to keep certain employment documents and present them to the Department of Labor and Industry upon request; an employer failing to do so could receive up to a $5,000 fine.
The law also strengthens consequences for employers engaged in wage theft. An employer found guilty of stealing wages could now face up to 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
In addition, the law requires employers to provide written employment terms; prohibits an employer from retaliating against employees who complain to the state or assert their rights; and gives the government greater authority and access to documents and workplaces for investigations.
The Department of Labor and Industry is boosting enforcement; the number of investigators soon will reach 14 people. Commissioner Nancy Leppink says the increased numbers will help the agency conduct workplace inspections; identify the businesses and industries most likely to engage in wage theft; and follow up with tens of thousands of people who submit wage-theft complaints.
“Right now, the majority of the resources are being spent responding to complaints,” Leppink says. “These additional resources will allow the department to be more proactive in conducting inspections and to be more able to devote its resources to sectors where we know we have problems.”