Welcome to the latest edition of MobileTime, a blog about the issues affecting mobile time tracking and the Construction Industry in general. Our goal for this blog is to provide useful, helpful information presented in a concise format to our customers and all others who might benefit. Today's article will feature select news topics regarding new innovations for the construction industry.
How genetic engineering of bacteria can be used to repair concrete – 9/29/11
“It seems that a team of students at a British university has used genetic modification to develop a way to repair fine cracks. Their achievement holds the promise of prolonged life for concrete structures and a reduction impact that they will have on the environment over the life of the structures. ”
Long-life bridges using NRC's new concrete technology – 9/19/11
“Preliminary predictions indicate that the service life of bridge decks could be extended by a factor of four, and associated life cycle costs reduced by a factor of three, compared to decks made with conventional normal strength concrete. This would constitute a significant contribution to sustainability in bridge technology.”
Willmott Dixon tests latest low carbon innovations – 9/20/11
“Willmott Dixon is putting to the test two new energy savings systems that are at the cutting edge of low carbon technology.”
“The builder, which is now one of the industry’s leading promoters of low carbon solutions, is harvesting footfall energy and using new transparent photovoltaic glazing to generate free electricity.”
Modular Home Industry Leading In Construction Innovations – 9/9/11
“As time progressed and the modular construction industry enhanced, improved and developed new materials, equipment, fasteners and methods, the gap between the standards closed. Today, many types of fast, yet durable methods of construction that were once only used in modular construction are not regularly used in conventional construction.”
Given all the construction industry's problems brought on by the struggling national economy, innovations that may lead to cheaper, better, and more efficient construction should be well received.
Welcome to the latest edition of MobileTime, a blog about the issues affecting mobile time tracking and the construction industry in general. Our goal for this blog is to provide useful, helpful information presented in a concise format to our customers and all others who might benefit. Today's article will feature select news topics regarding the construction industry as a whole.
Lack of Confidence Pervasive In Construction – 9/20/11
The most recent ENR Construction Industry Confidence Index survey which included responses from 664 executives of large construction and design firms, showed a large ratings drop from the prior two quarters of 2011. The rating has fallen from a 3/31/11 high of 51, to 46 as of the end of June, to the current low mark of 37 as of the end of the third quarter. The new rating reflects the increasing pessimism in the forecasts of the survey group.
The use of a Chinese firm to build sections of the new San Francisco Bay Bridge sparks much controversy – 7/12/11
The State of California estimates it will save $500 million by outsourcing this work, but at what cost to the local, state, and federal economies at a time of high unemployment? In addition, what are the implications for future infrastructure projects?
Latest Developments In The Government’s Complaint Against Boeing
House Passes Legislation to Ban NLRB from ordering any employer to shut down plants or relocate work – 9/15/11
Boeing internal documents released bringing into question motives for opening of new plant in Charleston, SC. – 9/24/11
National Science Foundation Researchers Call For More Stringent Building Standards To Prevent Future Damages From Tornadoes and Hurricanes – 8/8/11
Research into the massive damage caused by this past spring’s tornadoes results in findings that call for better design standards as well as improved local building codes and inspections. The Joplin, MO tornado in June of 2011 killed over 150 people and caused an estimated $3 billion in damages.
Have you ever considered how the evolution of a software product might be subject to a phenomenon similar to Darwin’s Natural Selection component of his Theory of Evolution? Although a software application is not subject to random genetic mutations, it is subject to adding supplemental value to its software, and if not enough value is added, the application may not survive, especially given the highly competitive environment we operate in.
In 2002, mJobTime arose from the needs of a single customer desiring to find a better way to track the time spent by her crews in the field. Her goals were fairly modest, the ability to track the hours worked by her field employees, what jobs they worked on, and the tasks they performed, all done in a wireless format. With those directives, so was born mJobTime, a single-user mobile time tracking application designed to run on Palm Pilots. However, at that time and for some time thereafter, this customer remained our only customer.
Eventually, we began to add other customers, but they needed more. In software, you must continuously and consistently add more and more programming mutations, otherwise known as new features, in order to prosper and survive. That brings on the dilemma mentioned earlier – trying to determine which features will add value to the product versus those that will add value to the customer. In doing so, you don’t always make the right decisions. Sometimes, features that you are absolutely certain will be widely accepted will have very limited application. Sometimes the process will work in just the opposite manner.
Since those humble beginnings, mJobTime has evolved tremendously. We have switched from a single user application to an enterprise environment capable of supporting multiple companies within one organizational umbrella. We now work on many platforms and devices including Windows OS, BlackBerry OS, Windows Mobile OS, Windows Phone 7, iPhones, iPads, Androids, time clocks, and biometric devices.
It is impossible to begin to list all the new functionality, but among the more important items added are:
- Equipment time tracking
- Daily logs
- Production items
- Daily quantities
- Multiple time entry methods including real-time, after-the-fact, daily, and weekly
- Shift maintenance
- Overtime processing
- Break processing
- Multi-level approvals
We have been fortunate to survive and prosper in such a competitive environment in addition to selling to an industry that has suffered tremendously in recent times. We also know that future survival is contingent on continuing to be innovative and responsive to the needs of the market we serve. In other words, survival of the fittest!
Last night, before Congress and the nation, President Obama laid out a plan for creating jobs and restoring vitality to the American economy. The plan includes a $447 billion package of tax cuts and spending initiatives that the Administration believes will provide the impetus for job creation and overall economic growth.
Let take a look at what has been proposed:
|Expansion and extension of the one-year payroll tax cut
|Unemployment insurance and jobs programs
|Aid to states and local governments($80 billion)
| To keep teachers, firefighters and police officers in their jobs
| To modernize schools and community colleges
To rehabilitate and refurbish vacant and foreclosed homes
| To help low-income youths and adult workers
How does break down between individuals and business?
|Employee payroll tax holiday
|Unemployment insurance and jobs program
|To keep teachers, firefighters and police officers in their jobs
|To help low-income youths and adult workers
| Total for individuals
|Payroll tax holiday for small businesses
|Accelerated depreciation of business assets
|Aid to states and local governments
|National Infrastructure Bank
| Total for business
How you feel about this deal will probably be determined by your political swaying’s, but the majority of the economists interviewed in this article seem to believe that the benefits of this pending legislation will be anywhere from minimal to meaningful.
With the unemployment rate for the construction industry still hovering around 13.5%, it is obvious that job creation in the industry is badly needed. But with a highly partisan atmosphere in Congress, what is the realistic chance that this proposed legislation will be passed? What is your take on the American Jobs Act?
Welcome to the latest edition of MobileTime, a blog about the issues affecting mobile time tracking and the construction industry in general. Our goal for this blog is to provide useful, helpful information presented in a concise format to our customers and all others who might benefit. Today's article looks at the national infrastructure bank legislation currently proposed in Congress.
Now that the debt crisis issue is finally over with (at least for a while), our nation’s leaders, both Democratic and Republican, have turned their attention to the more pressing problem of creating jobs for this very tepid economy. The Administration has hinted that they would like to make a National Infrastructure Bank a big part of their jobs package. How will this work? What will be the source of funding? And finally, who will be the customers of a National Infrastructure Bank?
Currently, there are 2 proposals in Congress.
In the Senate, John Kerry (D- Mass.) introduced a bill in March of 2011 to create an independent, nonprofit bank that would leverage private investment into infrastructure projects. The bill has 8 co-sponsors from both parties. The bill would require $10 billion in start-up money from the government to get the first loans going and cover administrative costs. The bank would be a wholly-owned government corporation, run by a chief executive officer and managed by a board of directors, independent of any federal agency and self-sustaining after the initial expense. Public-private partnerships, corporations and state and local governments would be eligible for the loans. Projects to be considered under this bill would have to have a cost of at least $100 million ($25 million for rural infrastructure projects). Project selection would be based on an analysis of costs, benefits, and loan repayment sources such as tolls or fees. Supporters of this bill think the revenue stream for payback of the loans will allow the projects to stand on their own, and by doing so, be good enough to attract private-sector funding.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has sponsored a bill in the House that would create a wholly-owned government corporation named the National Infrastructure Development Bank with $25 billion in initial capital. It would also be set-up very similarly to the Senate version with a chief executive officer and a board of directors. Unlike Kerry’s bill, there are no specific size limits on projects which will focuse on transportation, environmental, energy, and telecommunications projects.
The concept of an infrastructure bank is supported by most Democrats and by two parties who are usually on opposite ends of the negotiating table – the U. S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO. There are many others who question the effectiveness of this device to quickly create a large number of jobs in a short period arguing that most projects are not “shovel-ready”. Republicans are solidly against the idea with Speaker of the House John Boehner calling it "more of the same failed 'stimulus' spending".
The likelihood of passage of such legislation will probably come down to a few main factors:
- Whether Congress has a change of heart and determines that job creation is a more important factor than reducing the deficit,
- The perceived ability of such a bank to approve projects that will quickly provide a large number of jobs, mostly in construction where they are desperately needed,
- The perceived ability of the individual projects to create revenue streams sufficient to pay the debt
Rep. Rosa DeLauro noted that China invests 9 percent of its GDP in infrastructure, while India invests 5 percent. The figure for the United States, she said, is less than 2 percent.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in February that a national infrastructure bank would focus on three specific industries - construction, manufacturing, and retail trade. There seems to be a pretty wide consensus that our nation’s infrastructure is in disrepair, but given the current political climate, the chances for passage of the aforementioned legislation appear very slim.