Limestone has been utilised throughout the ages and is a popular material within building and construction. We take a look at famous American buildings made out of limestone which still remain today and are iconic within America.
The Pentagon, United States
At 6,500,000 square feet, the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia is the world’s largest office building and serves as the headquarters for the United States Department of Defense.
Designed by American architect George Bergstrom and constructed by contractor John McShain, reinforced concrete was implemented alongside Indiana limestone for the building’s exterior as a result of the lack of steel from the Second World War.
Rebuilt after September 11 2001, the building now houses over 23,000 employees and is one of the most famous buildings within America.
The Lincoln Memorial, United States
Constructed to honour Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, the Lincoln Memorial was built between 1914 and 1922. Designed by architect Henry Bacon and incorporating classical features, the build also has a statue of Lincoln within the interior, constructed by Daniel Chester French.
Interior walls and columns are made from Indiana limestone, beside marble and granite which have been utilized to represent different areas within the United States.
The area is still a tourist attraction and has become listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1966.
The Empire State Building, New York
The iconic Empire State Building, situated in Manhattan, New York is the fifth tallest skyscraper in America and has been a National Historic Landmark since 1986. Completed in 1931, it has become the tallest building to obtain the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design after an extensive $550 million renovation in 2010.
Designed by William F. Lamb from Shreve Lamb and Harmon, Indiana limestone has been incorporated into the build, in addition to art deco influences.
Reaching a height of 443.092 metres, the building incorporates over 1,000 businesses and over 21,000 employees, alongside 73 elevators and observation decks. The construction is now the second largest single office space within America.
Washington National Cathedral, United States
Built from Indiana limestone, the Washington National Cathedral took over 80 years to build, but is now the sixth largest cathedral in the world. Completed in 1990, the cathedral incorporates Gothic architectural styles, with over 400 gargoyles, stained glass windows, ornate carvings and pointed arches within its design.
The cathedral is also the burial place for Helen Keller, Woodrow Wilson and Architects Henry Vaughan and Philip Frohman.
Global construction firm Bechtel partnered with New York City-based construction safety technology company Human Condition Safety to offer the latter's new virtual reality (VR) immersion safety training.
VR technology will be piloted in conjunction with training modules for workforce education at the Bechtel Innovation Center in Houston. HCS's SafeScan program allows users to repeatedly simulate dangerous or intensive procedures.
Usage data from training can be collected and combined with geographic information, safety histories and regulatory requirements to optimize future training and real-world safety programs and practices.
Just behind the design and development set in employing VR are construction safety teams, who have experienced an upshot in leveraging realistic simulations to train workers in dealing with hazardous environments or intensive maneuvers — including high-risk tasks like crane operations — without actually exposing them or their surroundings to danger.
In addition to training, VR offers construction safety professionals the ability to visually communicate job site hazards to management and design teams throughout the construction cycle. Tools from tablets and mobile phones to wearable visors provide a 3-D, 360-degree view of work environments to members of the project team regardless of their location.
Health threats like Ebola, swine flu (H1N1), SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and bird flu have all taken a turn at terrifying the world's population, each pushing those likely to be exposed to establish unique safety measures. Now, the newest health scare has emerged in the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
The spread of Zika in South and Central America collided with the summer media blitz for the recent Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, turning an outbreak into a full-fledged panic. Once medical workers began to suspect a connection between the virus and babies born with microcephaly, a neurological disorder, women were cautioned about traveling to Brazil, and a group of 150 health professionals even called for the Olympics to be postponed. Additionally, outdoor workers were determined to be exceptionally vulnerable to mosquitos carrying the disease and were also encouraged to take preventative measures.
The facts of the Zika virus and steps to protect employees
Zika, which is carried by the Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito, is neither a worldwide threat nor is it something with which most Americans need to concern themselves. So far, the virus has only been detected in South and Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, some Pacific islands and two areas in South Florida. Just this week, authorities downgraded the Zika threat for one of those locations in Florida when no new cases were reported after three mosquito incubation cycles.
However, Miami-based construction company IBT Group is keeping its guard up regarding the virus threat. "Mosquitoes don't carry a passport," said Daniel Toledano, IBT managing director. He said the company makes sure that workers in any area with a risk of exposure are taking the proper measures as recommended by the CDC and OSHA. Those recommendations include:
Eliminating any sources of standing water on the site, as this is where mosquitoes breed
Implementing a weekly cleaning of anything that holds water
Wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks in an effort to minimize exposed skin
Applying an EPA-registered insect repellent daily
Spraying outdoor areas with insect spray
Treating clothing with permethrin or buying pre-treated clothing
When employees suspect they have contracted Zika, the CDC recommends they take a blood or urine test. The virus often presents itself with mild symptoms of fever, rash, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and headache. No vaccine for the virus has been released yet.
A familiar threat for workers in the field
The CDC recommendations are common-sense measures, according to Toledano, who also oversees large infrastructure projects in Central and South America, where the Zika threat can be so severe that the company takes the temperature of employees at certain job sites twice a day. However, he said, workers are no different whether they are in Brazil or in Florida in that they need to be reminded daily of required protection procedures.
In addition, Toledano said mosquitoes can also carry dengue and chikungunya, diseases that construction crews in Latin America have been fighting for decades. "They understand the risk associated with it because they have been exposed to mosquito bites their whole lives," he said. "That's why we have strong security officers to make sure recommendations are enforced." Safety procedures are particularly important, he said, on remote construction sites where workers share sharing sleeping quarters.
How to educate employees about potential risks
Eddie Martinez, director of safety for Munilla Construction Management in Miami, said the company employs 300 workers in the South Florida region, so preventing Zika exposure is a full-time task. Although the company is not currently working in any locations that have been identified by the CDC as a Zika risk, Martinez said the firm has ongoing work in the Everglades and other mosquito-prone areas.
As a result, the company has initiated a proactive Zika prevention program. The company holds morning safety "toolbox talks" once a week to update and educate employees on the virus, which Martinez calls a "Zika recap." MCM also issues mosquito repellent to all employees and requires them to use it.
Martinez said that if an MCM employee suspects he or she has been infected with Zika, the company would simply follow OSHA and CDC guidelines, just as it would for any other safety or health issue. Similar to IBT, Martinez said MCM has a strict safety policy, and all employees must comply. "We're taking precautions because we can't just wait for an outbreak," he said.
It's critical that the Zika information pipeline is dependable. "Most of the people get their information from social media," Martinez said. "Those people are not experts. We go directly to the CDC to educate our employees."
There's also another motive for IBT to keep its employees Zika-free: the goal of creating a safe workplace. "For us, security in construction is security for our workers. If workers feel protected, then we attract the best employees," Martinez said.
WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 1—Nonresidential construction
spending fell 0.9 percent from August to September 2016, according to analysis
of U.S. Census Bureau data released today by Associated Builders and
Contractors (ABC). Nonresidential spending totaled $690.5 billion on a
seasonally adjusted, annualized basis for the month, 0.7 percent below
September 2015’s figure.
The government revised the August nonresidential construction spending estimate
from $686.6 billion to $696.6 billion; otherwise September spending would have
risen on a month-over-month basis. Eleven of 16 nonresidential
construction subsectors experienced monthly declines.
“Since late 2015, the level of nonresidential construction spending in America
has been effectively flat,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.
“Undoubtedly, soft U.S. economic growth has had an impact on nonresidential
construction spending growth. For several quarters prior to the third quarter
of 2016, U.S. economic growth hovered around 1 percent.
“However, public policy has also played a large part in shaping trends in
nonresidential construction,” said Basu. “A number of primarily publicly
financed construction segments have experienced declines in spending over the
past year, including sewage and waste disposal (-18.8%), water supply (-13.7%),
public safety (-13%) and transportation (-11.3%). Meanwhile, the level of
construction spending in office, lodging and commercial segments is up on a
year-over-year basis, though spending in the office and commercial categories
was down on a month-over-month basis and lodging-related construction was
“It is conceivable that uncertainty regarding federal, state and local
elections is negatively impacting state and local government infrastructure
spending,” said Basu. “That uncertainty causes projects to be shelved.
However, it is also possible that governments are shifting resources away from
capital spending and toward other priorities, including surging Medicaid
expenditures, rising compensation costs and underfunded pensions.
“Private spending growth in a number of categories softened a bit in September,
perhaps because commercial real estate lenders have become increasingly
concerned about potential overbuilding in certain segments and geographies,”
warned Basu. “The implication is that nonresidential construction spending
growth may not accelerate anytime soon, though there is some hope that the
period following the elections will usher forth a period of renewed spending
WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 31—September not seasonally adjusted
(NSA) construction unemployment rates improved in 32 states
and the nation on a year-over-year basis, according to analysis released today
by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The national NSA construction
unemployment rate of 5.2 percent was 0.3 percent lower than a year ago,
according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
This was the lowest September construction unemployment rate since 2000, when
it was 4.6 percent. BLS data also reported that the industry employed 208,000
more people than in September 2015.
“September 2016 marks the sixth year of uninterrupted monthly year-over-year
rate decreases in the national construction unemployment rate that began in
October 2010,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist
of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “These
industry-specific unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted, so it is
important to note states’ performance on a year-ago basis. The year-over-year
improvement in the national unemployment rate as well as in the rates of 32
states demonstrates the steady improvement in the construction job market over
the past year.”
Like August, the historical pattern for change in the national NSA construction
unemployment rate from the month before is ambiguous. Starting in 2000, when
the BLS data for this series begins, through 2015, the change in the September
rate from August has fallen eight times, risen seven times and been unchanged
once. This year’s September increase of 0.1 percent adds an eighth year that
the rate has risen from August.
The states with the lowest estimated NSA construction
unemployment rates in order from lowest rate to highest they were:
2. South Dakota
3. Idaho and North Dakota (tie)
The states with the highest NSA construction unemployment
rates in order from lowest to highest rates were:
48. Rhode Island
49. New Mexico
50. Alaska Fromt ABC
There are so many new technological advances affecting the metal roofing industry; here’s highlighting a few that are increasing metal roofing companies productivity
Weather technological devices, using cell phone apps, the newest software, flying unmanned airplanes—drones—are just a few of the technological devices that are affecting the metal roofing industry. And, they sure are making a huge difference when it comes to metal roofers getting the job done more efficiently and effectively.
Productivity and efficiency is the lifeline of any metal roofing company. How it increases and continues to flow efficiently takes different kinds of measures from company to company.
Drones Making Metal Roofing Easier & Safer
Another way metal roofers are making their jobs more efficient to increase their production are by using unmanned aircraft—drones—to fly over roofs and help them inspect roofs, saving significant time it may take a roofer to manually go up there.
Luke Hansen, of White Castle Roofing, in Lincoln, Nebraska, began using drones about three years ago to speed up roof inspections and estimates. He states that it’s not only quicker, but it’s also safer for the roofing crew.
“Drones are insanely cool. We started to use drones about three years ago. We thought that they’d be really expensive; they aren’t,” Hansen said. “You can get an awesome drone for about $500 so we thought we’d make the investment.”
White Castle Roofing owns two drones. Both DJIs—the Phantom 2 and the Phantom 4. “You can get into the newer ones, more expensive ones; there are a lot of different kinds and they are fun to try out,” Hansen said.
“Roofing is extremely dangerous. Whether it’s huge steeples on a church, or just really tall buildings. At first, we started to use them because we thought they’d be a means where you don’t have to walk on a roof. They are extremely helpful and safer. The thing with drones though, is that you eventually crash them. You think that you are better maneuvering them than what you really are.”
Examples of how they have used them include: on high apartment complexes; many church steeples; inspections; and they have just flown the drones up to see what kind of problems and damage the roof may have, to get an initial idea of what all will need to be done. “They give you a great view of the roof, you can get super close and it’s a great alternative to going up there yourself and it’s a really fast way to see what kind of situation you are dealing with,” he says.
“There’s also a huge marketing aspect to using them, such as getting great marketing material. For example, you can send the drone up to get high-resolution photos of projects and video while the work is being done,” Hansen said. “And, once a project is completed, you can get really cool video and photography.”
White Castle Roofing still uses their drones from time to time, and Hansen says that they “assess the situation and if they don’t want to walk on the roof, it’s a great way to get super close. You can get perfect, crisp HD video, you can find out how many shingles are missing and it’s so much cheaper than renting a crane,” he said. “And, it’s so much faster vs. getting the crane in place and going up there.”
Although they don’t use drones as much as they have in the past in recent years, he said that it will be interesting to see the regulations once they take full affect. “Before we further invest in more drones, we are waiting it out to see what the state regulations are going to be like. Regardless, regulations are going to be strict when they are finalized. Even now, you need to register your drone with the FAA, you’ll need to take tests; there will be requirements. We’re waiting to see what the requirements are going to be before we get really serious in investing in newer equipment for it.”
Drones Soon To Be Regulated
Just recently, Anthony Tilton, lawyer with Trent Cotney, P.A., a firm dedicated to representing the construction industry, gave a seminar titled “The Use and Application of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) in the Roofing Industry,” at the Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractor’s Association (FRSA) expo in Orlando, Florida.
In his seminar he addressed how everyday, more and more roofing contractors within the industry continue to choose unmanned aircraft systems to perform estimates, capture marketing images and inspect roofing surfaces.
“As this technology continues to expand, both the Federal and State governments will move to implement regulations and control over this rapidly evolving technology,” Tilton said.
“You have to take into consideration both the benefits of drone technology vs. the risks of liability,” he said.
Some of the benefits that Tilton discussed include:
• Safer and faster estimates;
• Management of customer expectations with real-time photographs and videos of installation;
• Imaging provides instantaneous estimates;
• Programs available to compute material needs;
• High-quality images indicate potential areas in need of repair;
• Marketing; and
• Accurate surveys of elevations and roof slope, etc.
Tilton stressed throughout the seminar that the laws are always changing and if you pursue to use drones, you should keep up with the laws and regulations, depending on the state you live in.
“As the technology becomes more and more prevalent, laws will become more important. Anything that we can do to keep roofers safe, the better,” Tilton says.
If you or your company has questions about drone regulation or the construction industry in general, feel free to contact Tilton at his Tallahassee, Florida, office at 850-213-1297 or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ADP Research Institute and Moody's Analytics produced the September report using ADP's payroll database of 411,000 customers and 24 million workers.
In its September 2016 National Employment Report, payroll services company ADP said that its U.S. private non-farm clients added 154,000 jobs in September, with 11,000 of those positions in the construction industry.
Construction rebounded after three months of declining employment numbers, more than making up for the total loss of 10,000 positions during that period.
According to the most recent Associated General Contractors of America report, August construction employment grew in only 61% of 358 markets year over year and decreased in 76, the weakest performance in three years. The agency holds this statistic up as further proof that contractors are still having a hard time finding skilled workers. While the number of available jobs is at a 10-year-high, AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson said that means the dip in hires has more to do with a lack of available workers than a shortage of work.
In another September report, the AGC said that employment growth stalled between July and August, echoing the ADP results that showed a monthly loss of 2,000 to 3,000 positions for June, July and August. The AGC said infrastructure contractors and construction firms in depressed markets couldn't find enough work, while companies that perform a significant volume of private commercial work or that are located in booming areas of the country couldn't find enough skilled workers to hire.
The AGC has been banging the drum about the labor shortage for quite some time, and the association promotes its Workforce Development Plan as a way to tackle the problem. The plan focuses on career development at the secondary and post-secondary education levels as a way to fill the construction pipeline, not only to meet current demand but also to fill the gap as aging construction workers prepare to retire in the coming years.