Have you heard? Construction employment rose to an eight-year high in October.
That’s right. According to the latest data, the construction industry added 11,000 jobs in October. This put October’s total construction employment level at over 6.67 million. That’s the highest level we’ve seen since December of 2008.
Breaking the numbers out, the residential sector saw an additional 4,500 jobs, while nonresidential construction rose by an impressive 6,700 workers nationwide.
Construction employment on a year-over-year measurement was a full 3 percent higher last month than it was during the same period last year. Average hourly earnings also rose by 3.2 percent, coming in around $28 per hour. That’s almost 10 percent higher than the pay scale average for other workers across the private sector.
But is this all a good thing? The Associated General Contractors (AGC) has put a spotlight on the dual nature of our industry. While private sector growth is strong, public sector spending is lagging badly. Local governments across the country are having a difficult time funding infrastructure and other public sector project spending.
Conversely, some argue that with the construction sector experiencing a shortage of qualified workers, any major bump in infrastructure spending may make the problem worse. Consider that the private sector has been draining the talent pool, and it isn’t hard to see where the problem is.
As a new administration takes office in a couple months, what the future brings for construction is anybody’s guess. Either way, you can rest assured we’ll be here to tell you all about it.
Whether it’s improving energy efficiency or softening the blow of climate change, organizations around the world are doing their best to meet the demands of a marketplace that increasingly has the planet’s welfare in mind. There’s no more evidence of this than in the construction industry, where companies are going out of their way to switch to more efficient, environmentally-conscious techniques.
When you talk about sustainable building, you are referring to analytical, data-driven approaches to construction problems. Whether you are working on a new building installation, an electrical upgrade or complex work on a boiler system, new techniques solve problems directly related to waste and inefficiency.
Some consider the word “holistic” an esoteric and hard-to-understand word. In fact, “holistic building” refers to a method that creates an integrated community space while respecting the needs of the surrounding environment.
In many cases, sustainable construction can be viewed as a way to light a fire under economic development. The fact is, green construction can impact a number of industries, from healthcare to manufacturing. Operating in “green buildings” provides companies — and their employees — with a positive sense of corporate social responsibility.
As the promise of greening towns and cities becomes a reality, green builders and entrepreneurs will have greater opportunities to make their mark on the construction world. Would you like to ensure you are at the forefront of that revolution? No problem. Give Slade a call.
As materials research continues its inexorable march into a hi-tech future, new principles are reshaping old methods. Take, for example, the new bendable concrete that researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have devised.
This advanced new material could reduce the time needed for road work by more than half, according to researchers. The method relies on a particular innovation: precast pavement slabs. A precast method provides efficient installation and sustainable manufacturing.
But how does it work? Consider that typical concrete is made up of cement, water, gravel and sand. Combined, this material forms a solid and strong block, but is hardly flexible.
Made with certain hard materials mixed with flexible polymer microfibers, the synthetic polymer fibers allow the concrete to retain its strength while also allowing it to flex under strain. This material also increases skid-resistance.
As with so many material breakthroughs, the key to this method was understanding how the different components interacted with each other at the microscopic level. The result? A substance as tough as a metal substrate and double the strength of traditional concrete under tension.
How soon before we see this advanced material as city roads? Don’t hold your breath. NTU will be scaling up testing over the next three years, with commercialization still at least five years away.
As a contractor, you’ve got lots of responsibility. Not only are you in charge of ensuring the structure you’re working on meets all codes and regulations, it also needs to be built out of sturdy materials, and foundations and walls must follow certain stipulations.
Just like the materials, foundation and construction play a role in structure of a home or building, so too do the surrounding areas. This includes the ground you’ll be breaking in, the water that runs through and near your building location, as well as any other minerals or elements that may be present in the soil without you knowing it.
Knowing what you’re working with is a great way to build confidence when preparing to invest in a build site.
For example, if you find out that chemicals like lead are present in the groundwater, you’ll probably want to build somewhere else. Why put the health of future workers or families at risk? At the same time, removing toxic chemicals can take months or even years. Isn’t it better to know this kind of information prior to a project starting, rather than later on down the road when you’re trying to meet a deadline?
Don’t start your next construction project without contacting the team here at Slade LLC first. We’ll work with you and your company to find a suitable build location. One that’s both beautiful and safe. Let’s get to work. Contact our team today!
The demand for commercial properties is on the rise throughout the country. As a result, land owners are looking for ways to boost the profitability of their land. They want to get the most out of their assets.
Often, undeveloped or underdeveloped land sits at the heart of densely built-up urban areas. Today’s investor won’t wait. People expect a return on their investment, which is where adaptive reuse and urban infill redevelopment concepts come into play.
These methods help to meet the needs of market demand for office space, while also serving as an attractive option for the investor. In many cities, prime downtown locations provide creative hot spots, brimming with historical significance and transit convenience.
These concepts don’t come without challenges, however. It isn’t easy to ensure that a space will meet modern, sustainable and well-constructed standards while serving the needs of all tenants within a dense urban environment. Still, adaptive reuse and infill redevelopment shines as an option.
Undeveloped and underdeveloped land – often referred to as “brownfields” – often act as a visual and economic drag on a surrounding area. There may be codes related to the historical authenticity of the community which make these developments a little more difficult to plan and execute. But in the end, adaptive reuse and infill projects allow for greater ROI, more economic development and few inherent challenges.
Slade offers Phase I, II, and III Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) as part of our general contracting services. Before buying property or commencing a building project, it is recommended to perform an environmental site assessment. This will detect any risks associated with contamination or hazardous waste, which can be very costly to remedy.
Standards for environmental site assessments are maintained by the American Society for Testing and Materials or ASTM. A Phase I assessment will review records, interview owners, occupants, neighbors and local government officials, and it includes an onsite inspection. The inspection is performed by an environmental expert who is well versed in all the related standards and regulations. The property is evaluated for contamination onsite or nearby so that any health risks can be identified.
A Phase II assessment will be performed if potential contaminants by hazardous materials are detected in Phase I. Samples will be laboratory tested to confirm the presence of any contaminants. This can include but is not limited to soil and water samples, subsurface soil testing, groundwater monitoring, geophysical testing for buried tanks or drums, and testing of any underground storage tanks. Testing may also be performed nearby to determine the scope and distribution of hazardous materials.
A Phase III ESA involves a cleanup or remediation process to treat significant groundwater or soil contamination. To do this, Slade creates and implements a project work plan. The most common type of Phase III cleanup involves soil excavation and removal of contamination to an appropriate facility. There are an incredible array of technologies and remedies available to treat a contaminated site. Slade will offer recommendations based on your budget and the characteristics of the damage.
Slade can take the headache out of environmental site characterization. What can be a confusing, expensive, and frustrating process doesn’t have to be. Our expertise, commitment to the environment, and dedication to your project will help you achieve your goals. Get in touch with us today and learn why performing an environmental site assessment is a wise plan.
You’ll find Slade’s primary office located in the beautiful city of Birmingham, Alabama. Back in 2006 we put our roots down in Birmingham and have been growing to suit our clients needs ever since. Slade is a general contracting firm specializing in environmental consulting, construction and urban planning. From our humble beginnings in Birmingham we’ve built our reputation one project at a time, expanding our operations to North Carolina, Texas and Georgia. But Birmingham will forever hold a special place in our hearts. To share our city with you we thought we’d share some budget-friendly ideas for a fun night on the town, a family outing or date night.
Birmingham on a budget
- Take a stroll through the Civil Rights District. Imagine and relive the scenes where headlines and history were made. You’ll find many signs, monuments and statues commemorating the brave struggles of an important era in our nation’s history.
- Pay a visit to Birmingham’s largest Farmers Market, the Pepper Place Market. Sample delicious local food and admire unique handmade arts and crafts every Saturday. Arrive early and hungry to savor the flavor of our city and caffeinate yourself with some quality coffee.
- Escape the city with a hike in Birmingham’s Red Mountain Park. Discover 12 miles of trails suited for hiking or biking, a sizable dog park and a peaceful forest to cultivate your zen. Make sure to stay for sunset; the views of the city are truly breathtaking. A true Birmingham local can point you in the right direction to the best sunset spot.
- Catch a flick at the Alabama Theater, a historically charming gem. You’ll find an eclectic offering of films and flicks that you might not discover at big, commercial theaters. Check their schedule often for fun Harry Potter marathons and holiday-themed movies.
Our passion for life in Birmingham runs deep. We love being a part of this city and we strive to make it a more beautiful, safe and wonderful place to live. If you need general contracting help for any project, big or small, we want to be there to help your dreams come true. Schedule a consultation with Slade today to build better in Birmingham.
Mission: At Slade we assist clients’ needs by leading the way with innovative, sustainable construction building techniques.
Established in 2006, Slade is a 100% minority, women-owned business specializing in environmental, construction, urban planning and geotechnical services. No project is too big or small for our experienced staff. Slade is based in Birmingham, Alabama with satellite offices in Charlotte, North Carolina, Dallas, Texas and Temple, Georgia.
With extensive experience in development and construction projects, Slade is also certified as a Green Building Professional through the National Home Builder’s Association, offering an incredible wealth of knowledge about environmentally conscious design and LEED certification.
Despite the diversity of services we offer, Slade is still a small business at heart, and we are responsive. We provide attention to details and are committed to creating a quality experience for our customers. We are credible, loyal and honest, which leads to many repeat customers and solid relationships. How can Slade help you on your next project?
Environmental Consulting: Our expertise lies in environmental consulting and Environmental Site Assessments. A site assessment is designed to detect any risks associated with contamination or hazardous waste, which can be very costly to remedy. This is an imperative consideration for building on a new site or investing in property.
Construction Material Testing: We provide testing for soil, asphalt, concrete, aggregate, rebar inspections, steel
inspections and more. We can assess the quality of your materials, giving you peace of mind.
Training Programs: We offer customized and comprehensive workplace training programs including, but not limited to, industrial training, workplace training and workshops about lead, asbestos, HAZMAT, etc.
Construction Management and General Construction: In partnership with our skilled urban planning personnel, we assist our clients in teaching them how to strategically develop land for a diverse commercial pursuits.
Facility Maintenance: We offer a great deal of experience in operations and facility maintenance.
Urban Planning: Our skilled urban planning personnel have assisted governmental agencies, private companies and health care professionals in the strategic development of land use and transportation planning.
Comprehensive Furniture Management Services: If your business, large or small, is moving, Slade offers complete furniture management services to successfully and efficiently ease the headache of relocating.
If you have a project, schedule a consultation with Slade today.
Building green simply makes good sense. Though the up-front costs may be a bit higher, the financial investment is well worth the future savings. There are incredible benefits for businesses (and homeowners) to consider building green when planning a new building project. The list of advantages is long and we at Slade would like to share a few of the reasons why you should consider going green for your next project.
- Lower operating costs
Green buildings typically utilize more energy efficient systems to both heat and cool structures. The long-term savings can be huge when added up over the lifetime of the building. The design of a green building will maximize cooling and heating to prevent unnecessary loss of cold or hot air, whatever the season. For example, LEED buildings will decrease energy costs by approximately 20% annually.
- Higher value
A green building is often a more attractive option at the point of sale or lease. New tenants or owners will often be more likely to rent or buy a green building based on the cost-savings of operation alone. Green buildings also produce far fewer emissions than traditional structures which also makes them desirable within the growing market of eco-conscious consumers. The popularity of green buildings is rising rapidly; in 2005 only 2% of non-residential buildings were built with green goals in mind. By 2012 that number had risen to 41%; growth in this sector is projected to continue trending upward.
- Environmental benefit
The reduced emissions associated with green buildings are a huge boon to preventing pollution and enhancing the air quality in cities. The enormous impact of buildings on the environment can drastically be reduced by incorporating energy efficient design.
- Reduced waste
Green buildings often utilize recycled or eco-friendly materials that reduce the footprint of construction. Using fewer resources and minimizing construction waste can divert up to 80 million tons of material from landfills.
- Lower water consumption
Buildings use about 14% of all drinking water in the USA. Green buildings reduce water use and increase efficiency by using more water-wise fixtures and appliances. This is far better for the environment and also lowers operating costs. Even if you don’t have any construction plans slated for the future, it’s relatively simple to retrofit old homes and buildings with more energy efficient fixtures and appliances. A green retrofit can pay for itself in as few as seven years. Slade can help with your project management and general contracting needs. We have a great deal of experience with both urban planning and green building, we would love the opportunity to make your green dreams come true.
Construction sites can be dangerous places. You’ve seen the ubiquitous chain link fences surrounded by NO TRESPASSING signs, the orange safety gear, and the yellow hard hats. The hazards plaguing construction sites are many, thanks to heavy machinery and the flurry of activity as crews work with tight timelines. But what you may not realize is that there are many unseen hazards and dangers lurking just below the surface of the site.
Investing in your site before building commences can save huge costs and prevent frustration down the line should you encounter a problem that could have been detected earlier. It’s worth the expense to thoroughly evaluate your site. Slade offers a full suite of construction material testing options to ensure that a site is suitable and safe. No project is too big or small for Slade to tackle. We are committed to seeing a project through from start to success. We’ve worked with an impressive list of clients that reaches from the EPA, to the Forest Service, to the City of Atlanta to the University of Alabama. We are eager to add more clients and safely completed jobs to our roster of projects.
To evaluate the safety of your construction site we offer the following services:
- Soil Testing
- Asphalt Testing
- Concrete Testing
- Aggregate testing
- Rebar Inspections
- Steel Inspections
- Non-destructive Testing
- Geotechnical Services
- Risk Assessment
- Solid and Hazardous Waste Management
- Groundwater and Soil Testing
Speaking of hazards, Slade also offers a host of training courses and specialized programs to train your crew for specific situations or workplace hazards. We offer customized workplace training and can cover everything from the threats posed by asbestos to lead, to proper protocol for HAZMAT and HAZWOPER. Visit our website to learn about the wide variety of services we offer for construction projects.
Slade is deeply concerned about sustainability and committed to decreasing the environmental impact of construction while creating more structures with sustainability in mind. Let us bring our innovative approach and vision to your next project. Schedule a consultation today.