Research + Tech

Employers can use digital check-ins for efficient time tracking

When a construction company’s accounting department needs clarification regarding a worker’s timecard, time can be wasted as staff tries to get in touch with workers, and questions about timecards may cause employees to become defensive, according to

Kyle Peacock, CEO of San Francisco-based Peacock Construction, says prioritizing efficient time tracking can help save time and make timecard conversations easier.

Some construction companies are using QR code-based digital check-in apps because they offer greater accuracy for tracking hours worked and aligning time worked with specific projects. Digital check-in records can help employers spot trends in absenteeism or how quickly an apprentice is mastering a skill. These check-in records also can provide benchmarks regarding the average time it takes to complete certain tasks, which can help with future project bidding, and can provide evidence in claims and litigation.

When companies combine a digital check-in app’s data with the daily log, it can outline issues and offer insight into the information superintendents and general contractors must know to protect their companies and employees. Using such technology daily during an extended period of time can help identify monthly and annual trends.

Bulletin updates foreign lumber guidance

The North Carolina Department of Insurance has issued an updated bulletin providing guidance for identifying and using wood species imported from outside of North America. The department has administrative authority over North Carolina’s building code.

As explained in Professional Roofing’s September column “Considering substitutions,” NCDOI previously issued an alert warning European lumber may not meet the state’s residential building code requirements. The primary concern cited was the lower wood density or specific gravity of European lumber may affect the performance of fasteners, resulting in reduced resistance capacities.

The alert was issued as substitutions increasingly have become commonplace during ongoing shortages of building materials and products.

The bulletin is available at

Solar energy could account for 40% of U.S. electricity by 2035

On Sept. 8, the Biden administration released a report showing the U.S. can get 40% of its electricity from solar energy by 2035, according to

The Solar Futures Study outlines how solar energy can help decarbonize the U.S. power grid and help achieve a Biden administration goal of net-zero emissions in the electricity sector by 2035.

The report explains several steps the U.S. should take to achieve the 40% target, including installing 30 gigawatts per year of solar capacity between now and 2025 and 60 GW per year between 2025 and 2030. It also calls for implementing tools to expand transmission of solar energy, such as storage, microgrids and forecasting to help maintain the “reliability and performance of a renewable-dominant grid.”

The administration has been increasing efforts to expand renewable energy. In August, the Interior Department announced it would begin a process to ensure easier access to vast federal lands for solar and wind energy. Research firm Rystad Energy, Oslo, Norway, reports President Biden’s goal to decarbonize the power sector by 2035 would require an area bigger than the Netherlands for the solar industry alone.

The U.S. solar industry says the report emphasizes the need for “significant policy” support. More than 700 companies sent a letter to Congress in September seeking a long-term extension of a solar investment tax credit, which reportedly would “ease project financing challenges” and include standalone energy storage.



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