Construction Blogs

“Good News”: Nonresidential Project Planning Rises, Says Dodge

September saw an uptick in planned nonresidential building projects, despite concerns about Covid-19, pricing and the political stalemate in Washington over the infrastructure bill.

The Dodge Momentum Index posted an 11% gain over August to 164.9, and a 30% increase over last September.

“The gain in the Momentum Index and its components in September is certainly good news and a sign that owners and developers are looking past the current concerns over pricing, Delta and politics and are moving forward with projects to meet demand,” says a news release from the Dodge Construction Network, which issues the monthly index.

The index’s commercial planning component rose by 13%, and the institutional component rose 8% over August.


The Dodge Momentum Index increases in September.Dodge Construction NetworkDodge says planning for nonresidential building projects began to recover early this year, but they declined during summer due to higher material prices and shortages in supplies and labor.

September’s turnaround saw a broad-based increase in project planning, with the exception of the health care sector, which has seen a drop in projects planned in the past several months, Dodge says.

When compared to September 2020, last month’s overall index increased 30%, with commercial up 32% and institutional up 25%.

Dodge believes that more ups and downs are ahead for the index. “Month-to-month volatility in the data is likely to remain for some time.”

Dodge Momentum Index over time
The Dodge Momentum Index’s peaks and valleys since 2004.Dodge Construction NetworkSeptember’s increase was driven by 17 projects costing more than $100 million each. Those projects include the $500 million “The Star” office building in Los Angeles; a $250 million office project in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and a two-phase lab facility in Boston that totals $675 million.

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Construction Services

Philadelphia Contractor Wins Equipment World’s 2021 Safety Award

Concrete Cutting Systems of Pennsylvania has been named the winner of the 2021 Safety Award, presented annually as part of Equipment World’s Contractor of the Year Award program.

David Nevrotski started Concrete Cutting Systems in 1995 in the basement of his house in Philadelphia. Today, it is an $11 million to $13 million company with 75 employees, including a branch office in Pittsburgh. Along with being the safety award winner, Nevrotski is one of 12 Constractor of the Year finalists for 2021. The awards were presented September 25 at a ceremony at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas. Presenting the safety award was Hiro Tongu, marketing manager at Caterpillar, a sponsor of the Contractor of the Year program for 21 years.

Specializing in difficult concrete cutting and drilling projects – with blades as large as 66 inches in diameter – the company makes safety a top priority so its workers go home each day injury-free.

Despite the dangers of the job, the company has experienced no lost-time injuries, no OSHA violations and has an experience modification rate of .73.

All of its workers have been certified to meet stringent federal silica dust requirements that took effect in recent years. All workers also have OSHA 10 certification, and many are cetified to OSHA 30.

Concrete Cutting regularly brings in a safety consultant to perform training. It also offers employees CPR instruction. Every month, a company-mandated stand down occurs to discuss  various safety topics.

Workers are also encouraged to bring up any concerns or suggest improvements. The company has offered incentives for workers who follow safety practices.

Often working at night on road projects, their trucks can be seen from far away by motorists, with lights underneath, on top and a strobe on the back. The company demands that the prime contractor have an attenuator truck on the jobsite and that when possible Jersey barriers and other safety structures are in place. Their workers can also be seen wearing lighted hard hats for additional protection.

“We try to get as much of the newest and best safety equipment out there,” Nevrotski says.

During the pandemic, the company policy was one person per truck. Each truck was also sanitized every day after returning to the office. Employees were provided masks, hand sanitizer and followed social distancing practices.

“They are extremely safety oriented,” says Mark Bastian, senior vice president of CTX Infrastructure. “We do work for natural gas utilities, which have some of the more stringent safety requirements. We have never had an issue with using them as one of our subs on the jobs.”

Adds another contractor client, Bryan Fleming of James J. Anderson Construction, “Their safety practice is one of the best around in the industry.”

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Construction Management

“Minimum Swing with Maximum Space”: JCB’s New 245XR Excavator

JCB has expanded its X Series of excavators with the reduced tailswing 28-ton 245XR while maintaining the lineup’s spacious cab.

Between 2018 and 2019, JCB rolled out five X Series excavators. But Tim Burnhope, chief innovation and growth officer, said there was still something missing in the line. As infrastructure needs and funding have grown, more contractors are finding themselves on tighter jobsites.

“We needed to complement our existing conventional tailswing models with a reduced tailswing model, a machine that could [operate] safely in urban settings, on utilities jobsites and on road construction projects,” Burnhope says.

That led JCB to develop the 5-foot 8-inch tailswing model, which has 40% less tail swing than its sister model the 220X. At 28 tons, the 245XR weighs 2 tons more than the 220X. JCB says it gave the 245XR an extra 2 tons of counterweight, and it recessed the counterweight to protect the rear end from impact damage.


JCB designed the reduced-tailswing 245XR excavator for such tasks as roadwork beside traffic.JCBThe next challenge was to reduce tail swing without sacrificing any space for the series’ standard Command Plus cab. JCB reports that the operator station is the same size as the 220X at 39 inches wide and 100 cubic feet of volume, delivering what it calls “minimum swing with maximum space.”  

To achieve the same performance, the company developed what it calls its strongest ever boom. The standard boom is composed of one piece for strength and lighter weight, according to Burnhope. A triple-articulated boom is optional.

A dipper-arm choice of 94 or 118 inches is offered. Dig reach with the mono boom is 31 feet and dig depth is 22 feet. The turntable rated at 26 tons is designed to increase digging force while distributing the force throughout the undercarriage, says Adrian Hall, heavy excavators product general manager.

The 245XR is equipped with heavy-duty track pads of 600 to 900 millimeters for “exceptional stability,” Burnhope says. A dozer blade is optional.

JCB 245XR excavator reduced tail swing
The JCB 245XR excavator’s dig reach with the mono boom is 31 feet and dig depth is 22 feet.JCBThe new excavator – along with all of the five other models in the X Series – gets a new JCB Stage V engine. Stage V is the new European emissions standard. The 245XR runs on a 172-horsepower JCB 448 diesel engine. Stage V and Tier 4 Finals emissions standards are achieved by selective catalytic reduction, diesel particulate filter and diesel oxidation catalyst.

Burnhope says the new engine does not require exhaust gas recirculation. He also says the new engine burns cleaner than the former diesel engine on the 220X, but delivers the same amount of torque of 708 foot-pounds. It also consumes 5% less fuel than the former Tier 4 motor, he says.

The engines now also feature auto-stop and auto-idle as standard to reduce fuel consumption and emissions when not in use.

JCB designed the excavator’s hydraulics for precise, smooth movement. The system features the latest Kawasaki pumps and Kayaba main control valve. The diameter of the hydraulic hose has been increased to improve hydraulic flow for increased performance and efficiency, Burnhope says.

JCB 245XR excavator reduced tail swing cab
JCB kept the same Command Plus cab on its other five X Series excavators on the reduced-tailswing 245XR.JCBThe full-size Command Plus cab is equipped with a variety of seat choices, including one with built-in heating and cooling and electric lumbar support. Standard cab features include rear and side cameras, heating and air, and Bluetooth integrated into the 7-inch control screen. The cab has double cushion viscous mounts to reduce vibration, and interior noise to 69 decibels. The joystick and switch controls are mounted to the seat and move with the operator.

JCB also placed the 245XR’s main service points in one ground-level compartment that is accessed by a large swing door. The company increased service intervals to 2,000 hours for air and hydraulic filters, and to 500 hours for engine oil.

Quick Specs

Max bucket capacity – 1.63 cubic yardsMax operating weight – 60,184 poundsHorsepower – 172Tail swing – 5 feet 8 inchesTravel speed – 1.99 to 3.54 mphMax digging reach (mono boom) – 32 feet 1 inchMax digging depth (mono boom) – 21 feet 9 inches

 

 

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