Earthwork Industry News Roundup: February 2020

To keep you updated this month, we’re sharing a roundup covering news and trends in the construction, mining, aggregates, and waste management industries. 

March is right around the corner (we can’t believe it either), and it’s time to start thinking about how you want to change things up next quarter.

A new quarter is the perfect time to introduce processes, adjust old ones, and abandon workflows that aren’t working. But first, let’s get up-to-speed on what’s happening in earthwork right now and what it means for your business. 

Although we’re seeing an uptick in the number of construction building permits issued—up 20.2 percent since last year—the skilled labor shortage persists and sourcing the work for these new projects is an ongoing challenge. 

There’s good news though: there’s new technology on the market that worksites can use to empower the resources they do have. By digitizing, you can help your existing team accomplish more with less, while you source added talent. 

Forbes suggests that the top tech trend to watch in 2020 is AI-powered worksites. With automation, construction sites can reduce manual processes and free up bandwidth they can reassign to other objectives. 

Without further ado, let’s dive into the latest and greatest this February.

Survey: Public safety sector is embracing drones

From Robotics Business Review 

“ATLANTA – Almost 30% of public safety professionals surveyed by the International Wireless Communications Expo reported they are currently using drones in their operations. The responses were part of an overall industry insights report about the industry’s use of critical communications ahead of the IWCE event in late March in Las Vegas.

The survey was sent to system users from the first responders, public safety, transportation, utilities, oil & gas, education, real estate/construction, as well as others allied to the industry, including consultants. . . .”

Addressing the construction labor shortage with technology and scale

from Construction Dive

“Back in 2012, Forbes reported that jobs in the skilled trades were the most difficult to fill in the United States. 

Fast forward to 2020 and the problem persists and is actually exasperated by a historically low economy-wide and construction specific unemployment rate. Across the nation, construction companies are struggling to find skilled craft workers for their projects. . . .”

Housing Supply Sees Huge Drop, But Latest Construction Numbers Offer Silver Lining

from Forbes

“Overall housing supply dropped 11% last month, but according to the Census Bureau’s latest construction numbers, builders are finally stepping in to help.

Today’s New Residential Construction Report shows that single-family building permits were up 6.4% in January and 20.2% . . .”

Bill Gates-Led Fund Invests in Making Lithium Mining More Sustainable

from Bloomberg Green 

“Breakthrough Energy Ventures, helmed by Bill Gates, and MIT’s The Engine fund are leading an investment round of $20 million for Lilac Solutions, a U.S. startup aimed at making the extraction of lithium less water-intensive and more sustainable.

As the world looks to cut carbon emissions, people are increasingly turning to lithium-ion batteries for solutions such as powering electric vehicles or storing renewable energy. While there’s enough lithium available to meet today’s demand. . .”

 from Forbes

“The traditionally staid supply chain and logistics industry will speed up its drive to digitize, turning to autonomous drones, robotics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics to ensure faster deliveries at lower rates. Classic logistics heavyweights Deutsche Post’s DHL and C.H. Robinson are pouring millions of dollars into such technology. Oracle and SAP, which already do supply chain work, likely will make acquisitions in the area to improve. . . .”

Surveyors tackling resurvey of Mason-Dixon Line

from Tribune Live 

“A group of surveyors from Pennsylvania and Maryland starting this year plan to create a new record of what might be America’s most famous border: the Mason-Dixon Line.

Members of both states’ surveyor societies will help survey the 196-mile border stretching from Delaware to the southeastern tip of Fayette County, where Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia meet, said Richard A. Ortt Jr., director of the Maryland Department of Geological Survey, which is overseeing the project.

“It’s more of a reconnaissance survey,” Ortt said, noting it won’t lead to any changes . . . .”

Construction Trends Report 2020

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