On Aug. 10, 2021, the U.S. Senate voted 69-30 to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684), bipartisan legislation to invest in the nation’s infrastructure, including funding for roads and bridges, rail, transit, ports, airports, electric grid, water systems, broadband, and other priorities. The legislation provides $944 billion in total spending over five years, totaling $550 billion in new spending.

The supply chain for all industries has been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. From raw material through finished product, each step along the way has been impacted by labor shortages caused by the illness or fear of the illness—or lockdowns created by the coronavirus—and delivery slowdowns.

Many companies are adding to their portfolio through mergers and acquisition to strengthen their position in the market when the economy finally returns to its pre-pandemic levels. Recently, Investment firm Thoma Bravo acquired Command Alkon, a provider of comprehensive supply chain technology solutions for heavy building materials. Then, months later, Command Alkon acquired the logistics software business from Trimble.

There are few places in the world that provoke goosebumps just from hearing the name and among them, Siberia is perhaps the worst. Not just from the cold weather, although there are six months of below-zero temperatures on average. There is also the memory of the Stalin-era Gulag, the prison camps and forced labor in that cold. Siberia and the north of Russia in general, brings out the feeling of despair and chill not often felt by Americans and others from around the world.

Everything related to emissions, climate change, and clean air and water are back in the news. California—it can be assumed that other states will follow—is issuing mandates regarding the future sale of electric and hydrogen vehicles and the minimizing of fossil fueled vehicles in the state. Construction, which has been a source of emissions problems for decades, is slowly accepting the mantle of leadership in preventing the predicted impact of emissions on the climate.

For example, Lafarge Canada Inc., Svante Inc., and Total S.A. have reached a major milestone in Project CO2MENT, a partnership to capture industrial levels of CO2 emissions from a cement plant. The multi-phase project is celebrating the completion of Phase II, construction to have the technology to capture and filter the CO2 from the flue gas. This is a crucial component to achieve the next stage of capturing CO2 flow at the Lafarge Richmond Cement facility in British Columbia. Lafarge has been on the leading edge of sustainability and the environment.

In Finland, where forests are literally everywhere, using wood for buildings makes sense. Research there showed that materials like concrete and steel had a larger “environmental footprint” than wood. This fact hasn’t been overlooked by the organization that represent the concrete and cement segment.

The (PCA) Portland Cement Assn., representing cement manufacturers in the United States, has initiated an industry-wide project to reduce carbon emissions and further address the impacts of climate change. Members will continue to drive down the carbon intensity of their operations and products, and PCA is developing a roadmap, due by the end of 2021, to facilitate its member companies achieving carbon neutrality across the concrete value chain by 2050.

Since the 2016 election campaign, the status of the infrastructure in the U.S. has been used as a wedge issue. Both major parties talk about it, the President talks about it—remember the almost annual “Infrastructure Week?”—and the press talks about it, but nothing has been done about it. Yet.

The House of Representatives, under the Democratic majority, has been debating H.R. 2, “Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act” better known as the “INVEST in America Act.” The Senate has been moving to committee a similar bill by the Republican majority.

Building Information Modeling, otherwise known as BIM, has been growing in value over the decades and many segments of the construction industry have taken advantage of its inherent digital analysis and presentation. German BIM developer Allplan, a division of Nemetschek Group, has released its latest version, Allplan Bridge 2020, for parametric modeling and structural analysis of bridges.
Allplan Bridge is a fully integrated 4D BIM solution that uses a common parametric model for both structural analysis, design, and detailing. It forms the basis for BIM in bridge construction to improve the planning process both in terms of time and quality. For a limited time, Allplan Bridge 2020 is being offered for a free trial.

Robotics have a mixed history in construction. Some work, especially in prefabricated building offsite, while others have not been successful, particularly when used onsite. Mobility and the need for stability make onsite work, weather, and location dependent, more so than more traditional methods. However, that may be changing as more equipment companies are exploring the use of robotic technology and applying it to construction.

Number six in sales among chicken-oriented shops and number 30 overall in the fast food sales list, Church’s Chicken has been busy adding new items to their menu and new stores to its locations.