Looking All Around

Cameras are being used in a myriad of ways in construction. Monitoring work progress on the jobsite and flying high over a tract to survey a new project are just a few. Fleet owners, with both truck and heavy equipment, are adopting cameras to survey the operation of the equipment and monitor operator behavior to prevent accidents and provide evidence in case of accidents.

It’s not only construction companies that can be liable for operator error and incidents caused by others. Companies across the commercial transportation industry, from long-haul trucking to field services to passenger transit, are at risk for high-cost incidents on the road, such as sideswiping and back-up collisions.


Post-COVID Risks and Rewards

The COVID-19 pandemic hit construction worldwide with cancelations, postponements, delays, and lockdowns just like every other industry. Now, many of the restrictions imposed in 2020 and 2021 are being abated, although the rise of variants such as Delta and Omicron may change that quickly.

According to a report from Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, Managing the new age of construction risk, the global construction market is set for a sustained period of strong growth post-COVID-19, driven by government spending on infrastructure and the transition to a net zero society. However, the switch to more sustainable buildings and infrastructure, the upscaling of clean energy facilities, and the adoption of modern building methods will transform the risk landscape, with radical changes in design, materials, and processes. These challenges add to stressed supply chains, shortages in materials and labor, and increased costs, all coming against the backdrop of years-long tight margins in the industry. 


Getting Ready

The infrastructure bill was just signed and already companies are getting in line to help. The U.S. federal government normally spends more than $20 billion annually on roads, bridges, dams, and other infrastructure projects with that number about to get much bigger with the bipartisan infrastructure bill being passed.

The FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) Office of FLH (Federal Lands Highway) operates in all 50 states and provides engineering and construction expertise that supports more than 500,000 miles of roadway, 8,500 bridges, 35,000 trails, and more than 400 transit systems for federally-owned transportation facilities. FLH delivers projects similar to the state DOTs (Dept. of Transportation) and local public agencies and undertakes many unique programs and projects that are geographically and environmentally complex. It sought to replace old construction management systems with a single-platform, interoperable solution that would offer seamless integration across the capital planning and management lifecycle, and support workers in the field with mobile capabilities.


Building America Through Loans

The economy has its ups and downs and level periods as well. The problem is anticipating which will be in effect when a project is ready to start. As interest rates fluctuate, making decisions on lending for major projects can hold back banks and create a funding shortfall. In many cases, especially since the signing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in November, government loans can save the day.

The U.S. DOT (Dept. of Transportation’s) Build America Bureau has provided direct TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) loans for many years. The Bureau was established as a “one-stop-shop” during the Obama Administration to help states and other sponsors carry out infrastructure projects. The Bureau offers credit programs, technical assistance, and best practices in project planning, financing, delivery, and operation. To date, the Bureau has provided more than $36.2 billion in financing through the TIFIA credit program, supporting more than $123.2 billion in infrastructure investment across the country.


Infrastructure Around the World

With the signing of the infrastructure bill by President Biden on November 15, attention will soon switch from “What’s in the bill?” to “How will those provisions be implemented?” While the U.S. infrastructure bill has gained the most recent press, there are other similar programs in other parts of the world that are “under the radar” in this country.


Analytics and Infrastructure

We all want to be able to predict the future. Knowing what is coming allows us to plan and prepare. But few of us have the clairvoyance necessary and, in the real world, we need assistance, usually from technology, to predicts anything beyond a few hours. For this reason, AI (artificial intelligence) and predictive analytics capabilities continue to gain market traction.

There is no longer a need to rely on human-based surveying and data processing, for example. AI Clearing, a provider of automated analytics for large-scale construction and infrastructure projects, launched AI Surveyor to empower construction industry stakeholders with near real-time business intelligence for large scale infrastructure projects.


‘Slow Down, You Move Too Fast’

“You gotta make the morning last.” When Simon and Garfunkel sang the 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) in 1966, the average speed limit on major highways, like the new Interstate system, was 55. Today, many areas have that and higher limits on surface streets. And drivers ignore the limit and go even faster on streets and highways.

Workers along those roads are in danger and safety must be a top-of-the-line concern. Work zone crashes are defined as taking place within the boundaries of a work zone or on an approach to or exit from a work zone due to activities, behaviors, or controls related to traffic moving through the boundaries of a work zone.  The National Safety Council reports that, in 2019, the last year where final figures are available, 842 people were killed and 39,100 people were injured in highway work zone crashes. Of the 842 fatalities 479 were in construction zones, 42 were in maintenance zones, and 14 were in a utility zone. Since 2010, work zone deaths have increased 44%.