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Thousands of injuries and accidents occur on construction sites yearly. Safety awareness is a critical factor in preventing accidents on the job site. Before beginning work on a project, every construction worker should be aware of what to watch out for.


1. Be Equipped

The proper clothing such as safety boots, helmets, and safety jackets should be worn on the job site. Foot injuries occur frequently so it is important that work boots are reinforced with steel tips and have slip resistant and puncture resistant soles. Wear gloves that have a good grip and always wear gloves when handling sharp objects or toxic substances. Wear protective equipment that is intended for a particular task such as safety glasses or goggles, protective clothing, footwear or headgear, safety harnesses or seat belts.


2. Fall Protection

Falls are the leading cause of fatalities in construction accounting for nearly 40% of worker deaths. Before going to a job site, become familiar with the procedures to follow to minimize hazards and prevent falls. Employers should provide training to all employees if they might be exposed to fall hazards. Topics of training should include the nature of fall hazards present on the site, proper erection, inspection and maintenance of fall protection systems, use of fall protection systems and personal fall arrest systems and the role employees play in safety monitoring and fall protection.


3. Getting On and Off of Equipment

The number one cause of injury to equipment operators, forklift drivers and truck drivers occurs when getting on and off of machines. Before getting onto equipment, check your gloves and boots and clean any mud or debris off of them. Use high grip gloves and use large size hand and foot holds when available. Avoid using toeholds or finger holds and engage your entire hand or foot when getting on or off. If no handholds are present, use a step ladder and never carry any objects when climbing. Lastly, never jump down from a machine, lower yourself in a controlled fashion.


4. Loading and Unloading Equipment

Maneuvering equipment into job sites where space is limited is difficult. Use spotters to guide trailers and machines into space and make sure people stay away when loading or unloading as machines have the potential to roll over. Check trailer decks for clearances and stability and use proper tie-down procedures. If compression is used, be careful opening handles; loads can shift and handles can spring open.


5. Toxic Substances

When dealing with hazardous or toxic substances on a job site, be aware what to do when coming in contact with these chemicals. Appropriate clothing should be worn while handling hazardous chemicals and spills should be cleaned up immediately. Check for written communication regarding all hazardous chemicals on site and become familiar with labeling which identifies these substances. Take training if available to ensure you are familiar with the proper handling instructions.  


What are some of your must-know safety tips? We would love to hear yours below! 

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Project managers are responsible for planning,coordinating, budgeting and supervising a project from start to finish. The construction world is competitive and cutting costs is sometimes necessary to keep a budget on track. Here are some suggestions to consider when looking at ways to cut costs.




1.Use Current Technology

Apps, programs and other software is changing every day and many of these advances can increase efficiency and effectiveness on a project. Whether it is keeping track of expenses or using software that improves the quality and speed of communication on the job site, project managers now have an opportunity be in touch with changes or delays that can affect productivity. Managers can now identify areas that are potential drains on finances and evaluate data frequently to ensure that work is being completed in a timely fashion.



2. Invest and Care For Tools

Spending money on tools that cost more initially may be worth it in the long run. Cheaper tools often need to be replaced more frequently and may cost more to operate. Before buying any tools, estimate the cost to use the tool and carefully assess possible expenses over the long term.


Maintaining tools will help them last longer and decrease repair and replacement costs. Every time a tool is used it should be brushed off or vacuumed, power cords need to be checked for frayed wire and loose screws and bolts should be tightened. Follow the instructions in each tools’ maintenance procedure manual and keep track on a schedule when the tools are due to be serviced.



3. Be Involved in All Stages of Planning

Involvement is one of the most effective ways to save money on a project. Poor planning can lead to delays and overruns. By being present for each planning stage, project managers can get insights into what is doable and what isn’t. Depending on expertise and experience, managers can contribute by sharing ideas around issues that are bound to arise on any project.



4. Waste Less Materials

Wasted materials can account for losses on a project. Overseeing what materials are purchased can keep costs under control or bring attention to options that may be a better choice. Measure and make cuts to reduce waste, calculate material requirements carefully, store, stock and cover all materials to prevent damage or theft and research disposal costs by comparing options.



5. Keep Track of Productivity

By paying attention to issues that may affect a crew, project managers can determine how different factors may influence productivity. Issues such as working overtime, poor morale, not enough workers for a particular job, hazardous workplaces or weather can all affect productivity. Catching issues early can potentially save a project money. Invest in a crew; keeping workers happy will benefit the project over the long run. Offer perks such as paid time off, company parties around holidays and paid lunches. Small gestures can contribute to employees happiness and will keep them motivated to do a good job.


Do you think we missed anything? Leave your ideas and comments below! We'd love to hear your opinion. 

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Some interesting projects are on their way to being completed this year….here are a few projects that are uniquely designed and constructed.



1. Acreage Pharms Phase 2 Marijuana Expansion


Located in West Central Alberta, Acreage Pharms is completing Phase 2 of construction which will establish a multiple room production facility. The project was originally planned to be 27,800 square feet, but was increased to 32,000 square feet. The facility will house nine 1,600 square feet flowering rooms which will optimize the environment to enable harvesting every two weeks. A storage vault and administrative and production offices will also be included in the plan. Once the Phase 2 project has been completed, the entire facility will be able to produce 5,000 kgs of cannabis per annum. The budget for the Phase 2 facility is approximately $6 million.



2. Aga Khan Garden


The University of Alberta Botanical Gardens (formerly the Devonian Botanical Gardens) located in Parkland County is expanding the well known attraction. The garden will be the most northerly Islamic garden in the world. The project was funded by a $25 million gift from the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims around the world. The five and a half hectare garden will hold more than 20,000 plants, a fountain, intricate granite and stone work and an amphitheater. The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2018.



3. Amazon Distribution Centre


Located in the Nose Creek Business Park within Rocky View County, Alberta, a one story 600,000 square foot warehouse is being built as a distribution facility for Amazon. As one of seven facilities located across Canada, the warehouse will create 750 jobs. The new centre is the size of approximately six city blocks and is budgeted to cost $66 million. It is expected to be open for business this year.



4. Artists Quarters


Arts Habitat Edmonton and Artists Urban Village partnered with the City of Edmonton to provide a facility for artists and art organizations. Located at the corner of 102A Avenue and 96 Street, the development will feature 60 residential units combining living and working spaces. The first four floors will house a theatre, dance studio, art gallery, offices and affordable studios for individuals and small groups. Environmental sustainability has been a focus in the design and construction of the facility and is budgeted to cost $63 million.



5. Aurora Sky


The first bays of the project were completed in 2017 and the final completion date is expected to be in mid 2018. The 800,000 square foot, high technology greenhouse is located on 30 acres of land in Leduc County next to the Edmonton International Airport. The facility is set to be a world leader in cannabis production as it will become the world’s largest capacity cannabis production facility. Using a Dutch closed-system design which gives precision over temperature, light, humidity and nutrients, it will be an advanced and extremely high tech operation. Plants will be retrieved by robotic cranes to reduce the risk of contamination and cameras will be tied to the cranes to ensure the plants are not experiencing stress. There will be no humans entering the greenhouse which will make the entire operation a one of a kind production facility. Budgeting costs are approximately $110 million.


 Are there any upcoming projects you're excited about in 2018? Let us know in the comments section below!

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In December 2017 Rogers Place was awarded LEED Silver Certification. LEED refers to facilities which have achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental design . LEED recognizes that sustainability should be at the heart of all buildings. Since 2004, there were over 2,800 LEED buildings certified in Canada and over 5,000 registered which gives Canada the second highest number of LEED projects anywhere in the world. It’s an accomplishment for the City of Edmonton and the Oilers Entertainment group as the award certifies that the building has achieved superior environmental performance and design in the systems for lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation. LEED certified buildings meet one of the highest standards in the world assessed by site development, water efficiency, energy efficiency, material selection, indoor air quality and innovation in design. In addition to embracing environmental building practices, the facility also engages in environmentally friendly practices in cleaning, food handling and public education.  Although the project focused on the design and construction of Rogers Place, adjacent facilities were also planned to meet the goals of developmental density, community connectivity and alternative transportation.


Thomas Mueller, the President and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council states: “Designing and building a facility of this magnitude to meet rigorous green building standards is an ambitious undertaking, but one with the potential to have a positive impact on visitors where they can see sustainability in action.” LEED certification also impacts the health and quality of life for the citizens of Edmonton as well as anyone visiting the city. In setting the standards for the future, the City of Edmonton has established a precedent for environmental preservation and sustainability which can be an example for future projects on a municipal, national and global level.


In an effort to expand the commitment to sustainability, The City of Edmonton established a sustainable building policy in May 2017. The City will strive to attain the highest LEED rating in all designs as a minimum requirement. The policy encourages design strategies such as high quality and well insulated windows, doors and walls with a goal of constructing buildings with a minimum of 40% more energy efficiency and 40% less greenhouse gas emissions. All buildings that are owned by the City will follow the practices of sustainable design and construction. New buildings will be constructed in a manner that considers future energy, carbon pricing and incorporates technologies such as solar ready roofs, energy storage, etc. that will lead to cost effectiveness in the future. Audits will be completed on existing buildings to ensure that energy efficient practices are implemented and planned for lifecycle replacement and operations. Similar attention will be given to the City’s acquisition of existing buildings, on city owned buildings leased to others, city leased buildings and city funded non-city buildings. 


Sustainability is crucial to the environment. Is there anything else we should be doing? Let us know in the comments below! 

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Owning your own equipment may seem like the most viable solution if you have a construction company. Owning your equipment is convenient and workers can become skilled at using the same equipment over a long period of time. How the equipment is used and whether it is a good time to sell or trade is a decision that is up to the contractor and having that control may be a bonus. Owning equipment also builds equity in a company and can be an important factor when finances, taxes, and deductions are being considered. Buying is always an option to consider over the long term, but renting definitely has some advantages; there is a lower initial investment, access to broader ranges of equipment and maintenance, and insurance, etc is handled by another party.The positive points in owning equipment are numerous, but there are upsides to renting that should be considered





When equipment is purchased as new, maintenance is not an issue, but over time all equipment needs to be serviced to keep it working properly. Repairs are an ongoing and costly expense.When equipment is rented, the rental company is usually responsible for fixing or replacing it. In addition, owners and operators do not have to have detailed knowledge of how every piece of machinery works. For a company, it is reassuring to know that all the equipment being used will function at its’ greatest capacity.





Having current equipment that includes up to date technology can be an advantage for a contractor. Renting equipment can be done through apps as well as in person and the entire rental process can be easily completed. Several pieces of equipment can be rented at one time and monitoring each piece becomes simple. In addition, existing and historical orders and invoices for each unit can be accessed quickly. New and emerging technologies and equipment can be “test driven” before the company makes a decision to incorporate a particular piece of machinery into their business. Contractors have the opportunity to be kept up to date with all new technology when it is newly introduced to the market and the company does not have to contend with equipment becoming obsolete.




3. Duration of Project

The length of the project is a factor to consider when making the decision to rent. Determining the usage ratio will help a company determine whether renting is a good option. A short-term job makes the use of equipment less frequent and having the exact piece of machinery required for a specific job may be factors that influence the overall cost-effectiveness of the project.



4. Storage

Industrial equipment can take up space. If equipment is rented, the problem of finding storage space is eliminated. Saving a company space and eliminating the need to devote valuable storage space to equipment that doesn’t get used much, makes renting a better option.



What are other benefits of renting equipment? Let us know below!

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Driving in winter weather is a reminder that our driving habits need to be adjusted. Winter road conditions can change quickly or become treacherous in a matter of hours. Blowing snow, black ice and poor visibility all contribute to the challenge of driving in Alberta in the winter. Remember these basic tips before you head out on the road.




1.Keep your car maintained

Top up fluids, check windshield wiper blades, hoses, antifreeze, tires, heater, and brakes to ensure your car is in good working order. Check that the center of your head falls into the proper position on your head restraint and always wear a seatbelt. Brush snow off of windows, side-view mirrors, headlights, taillights and license plates and keep your fuel tank more than half full. By keeping your fuel topped up, moisture problems can be avoided in your fuel line and a topped up gas tank will be an asset if you become stranded.



2. Drive cautiously

It cannot be emphasized enough….slow down; posted speed limits do not always apply to winter road conditions. If it is icy, snow-covered or there is blowing snow, adjust your speed to ensure that safety becomes a priority. It’s a good idea to plan your route ahead of time and always avoid using cruise control in the winter. Signal well in advance to alert other drivers that you are slowing down or changing lanes and always check rear view and side mirrors and shoulder check when changing lanes. Avoiding sudden moves is a good practice to adapt as slamming on the brakes can cause a loss of control. If your vehicle does begin to skid, take your foot off of the brakes and steer into the direction of the skid. Become familiar with how your braking system acts on ice so you know how to react if you do have to brake suddenly.



3. Keep an emergency road kit

A few things to keep in an emergency road kit include; a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, blanket, road map and compass, extra clothing, rags, sand, a flashlight and batteries, food, ice scraper and snow brush, waterproof matches and a candle in a tin, a shovel, booster cables and a cell phone. Be prepared for any kind of emergency and be assured that if you do become stranded, you will have the necessary tools for survival.



4. Be informed

Road conditions that result in black ice usually occur between +4°C and -4°C. Sometimes you cannot see black ice but be prepared to encounter it if temperatures fall into this range. Look well ahead and if the road or pavement looks shiny and black, slow down. Intersections, bridge decks, and ramps are often very icy so be cautious and adjust your speed when approaching these areas. When you see flashing lights, slow down; snowplows are equipped with the light to make them more visible.



5. Use winter tires

Winter tires are designed to handle cold, slippery conditions and offer far greater control than all season tires. They are made from a softer rubber which is more flexible and enables them to have a greater grip. The tread patterns on winter tires enhance traction on snow and ice by providing channels for draining water and expelling snow. They have deep sides which help cut through water and slush and prevent hydroplaning. Check the air pressure on your tires as changes in temperature will cause the air pressure in your tires to fluctuate. Winter tires can be identified by a snowflake symbol on the sidewalls; if you decide to use winter tires, check with your insurance company as many give discounts of up to 10% with the installation of winter tires.


Winter driving is tough. Do you have any tips or tricks for when you are out on the roads? Let us know below!


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Construction site theft has become an industry-wide problem as sites are often easy targets for thieves. Lack of proper security and poor loss prevention practices contribute to the rising problem of theft. It is common for job sites to be unsecured at nights and weekends, and equipment is a target because multiple pieces of equipment often share the same keys. In addition, thieves often target copper and metal supplies as they can get money for material that is untraceable. If theft occurs, stolen goods need to be replaced, insurance premiums increase, productivity is lost and new equipment has to be rented to keep the project on task. Here are some preventive measures that can be implemented to secure a job site.



1. Keep the job site well-lit

Thieves like to target construction sites which allow them to remain hidden. Having a construction site that is well-lit acts as a deterrent as it is impossible for would-be thieves to hide in dark corners or come and go unseen. Lighting can be installed for a relatively low cost and the advantages of proper lighting far outweigh any disadvantages. You can also add a digital wireless video system that can record continuously during off hours. Cameras can be programmed for motion activation in several locations on the site.



2.Keep records of all equipment

The identity of stolen equipment is easily swapped or wiped as most equipment has serial numbers and PINs that are non-standardized. It is crucial for companies to keep records of all equipment including make, model, PIN, serial numbers, and production and purchase dates. For an added security measure, keep photo files of equipment for identification purposes in case anything is stolen. If possible, store equipment in places where the likelihood of theft is lower and consider purchasing locks that are designed to immobilize controls or keep wheels from moving in a straight line. High tech options such as alarms, fuel and ignition cut off switches, and GPS tracking devices are also available for securing equipment or machinery.



3.Secure the site

Installing temporary fencing around the perimeter of the job site makes it more difficult for thieves to access the site. Portable fences are easy to configure, move, and transport and do not require changes to be made to the site. It’s a cost-effective solution that can be modified or changed as needed. The fencing also provides a good visual barrier for pedestrians or other people who may wander onto the job site.



4. Monitor job site access

Technology can provide help in establishing a detailed database of everyone that accesses the job site. Who is using which piece of machinery can be quickly identified and people can be tracked when they enter and leave the site. Do thorough background checks on employees to minimize the risk of convenience theft. For added security, provide one access point for entering or leaving the job site.



5.Secure handheld equipment

Ensure each piece of equipment goes into secure storage after use. Paint or engrave the tools so that if they are taken, they are easier to recover. Have clear instructions as to where the tools are supposed to be stored and don’t overstock the quantity of tools available.


Preventing theft is crucial for any business. How else would you secure your job site? Let us know in the comments below!

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Project management is an essential part of any successful construction project as managers have to be capable of adapting to the many facets of a project. They have to specify plans and objectives, maximize resource efficiency, implement operations and communicate with all parties involved in the project. There are many apps available that are helpful to a project manager so here are a few that are valuable additions to any construction project.


1. Jobber

The Jobber Construction Calculator is a 'must need' tool for anyone wanting to calculate data accurately and efficiently. It is capable of calculating various construction roles and can adapt to the many faces of the construction industry. The Jobber 6 can provide accurate calculations for builders, carpenters, engineers, tradespersons, draft persons, fabricators, shop employees, contractors, superintendents, architects, estimators, detailers, truss builders and bridge builders. It is not limited to these tasks only and accurate information can be accessed quickly and easily. The Jobber 6 has been described as “having the entire book of Smoley’s in the palm of your hand.”


2. ProCore

The Procore Project Management app helps manage multiple projects. It provides teams with the ability to access information by providing real-time updates and instantaneous tracking. Drawings are kept central to the project so that all team members can stay on the same page and important details are not missed. Submittals, RFI’s, punch lists, photos, timecards, bidding data and more provide everyone with all the information they need whenever they want.



3. PlanGrid

This app provides project managers with real-time access to plans, documents, daily reports and punch lists. It keeps all team members up to date with current project information and creates a connection between the field and the office. The company that designed PlanGrid estimates that managers can save approximately 6.5 hours per week by utilizing the app. The company also provides excellent customer support and offers a 21 day free trial. The app can be downloaded for Apple, Android or Windows.



4. CoConstruct

CoConstruct is described as a “smart and simplified home building and remodeling tool.” It helps build and execute projects and can handle various accounting needs. Some of the features of the CoConstruct app are its’ ability to facilitate selections and simplify bidding, introduce single entry estimates, track change orders time and expenses, provide access to punch lists and provide marketing strategies. The app can be made company specific to include company logos, names, images and contact information. This way clients can view an app that belongs to the company rather than a mobile interface. It is a cloud-hosted app, maintenance free and is open for integration and mobile usage.



5. BuildTools

Providing all the project management tools in real time, BuildTool’s app was created for contractors by contractors. The focus of the app is on communication management for custom projects. E-mails, documents, and photos related to a project can be accessed from anywhere. With the software being cloud-based, information can be easily uploaded to tablets and Smartphones. With features capable of managing custom projects and the vast amount of communication involved in a building project, it can provide information on communication, scheduling, budgeting, selections for clients, documents, order changes, service, bidding, and accounting.


Which of these apps do you use? Are there others that are just as beneficial? Let us know in the comments below!


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By now everyone should be aware of the changes imparted by OSHA in regards to record keeping and reporting. In the past, the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) has required employers with more than 10 employees to keep records of occupational injuries and illnesses. A final rule issued on May 11, 2016 now requires employers to electronically submit data to OSHA regarding injuries and illness. The number of submissions depends on the size and type of business involved; changes will be implemented over a two year period.

      All businesses with more than 10 (and less than 20) employees are still required to submit reports. The OSHA website outlines procedures to follow.

      Businesses with 20-249 employees are required to submit OSHA 300A logs starting July 1, 2017 and continue on July 1, 2018. After that, all reports are to be submitted on an annual basis starting on March 2, 2019.

      Businesses with 250 or more employees must submit OSHA 300, 301 and 300A logs starting July 1, 2017 and continue on July 1, 2018. Annual reports are to be submitted starting on March 2, 2019.


OSHA intends to post all the data online but will remove personal information before it is released publicly. The information will then become available on OSHA’s website, in a searchable database.  Some businesses will be exempt from filing and employers can check to see if their industry is affected by reviewing the OSHA website and identifying their industrial classification code. Industries are categorized by codes and are grouped according to types of businesses.


Preparation for Changes

  1. Train staff to understand the new regulations, how to access the appropriate information and forms and how to submit the information.
  2. Get access to forms at and ensure you are keeping records updated as required; specifically Form 300A, Form 300 and Form 301.
  3. When injuries occur, determine whether they need to be recording using the decision tree provided by OSHA. As injuries vary, it is important to determine which ones should be reported. As a general rule, OSHA has determined that in order for an illness to be recordable, it must be work-related and require treatment beyond first aid.
  4. Submit the report to OSHA.


With the new reporting methods, OSHA hopes to improve workplace safety by identifying, targeting and removing safety or health hazards. They are aware that the data will only be accurate if employees are free to report information without the fear of retaliation. Three provisions have been included in the revisions that will stop this from happening.

      Employers must inform employees of their right to report injuries and illnesses. The OSHA Job Safety and Health - It’s The Law poster should be posted on the job site for employees to access information.

      The procedure for reporting must be reasonable so as not to discourage employees from reporting.

      An employer may not retaliate against an employee for reporting their injuries or illnesses


How do you feel about the new record keeping rule? Let us know in the comments below!

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Debunking the Five Most Common Construction Industry Myths

There are many misconceptions about construction that have created strong ideas about the industry. The construction industry is full of talented, creative people who love the career path they have chosen. Beliefs are often hard to change, but looking at a few common myths that have impacted construction helps us to see the industry in a new light.



1. Construction is for people who can’t get other jobs

There are a wide variety of jobs available in construction, each one requiring specialized skills. Construction pays well and workers are compensated for overtime which doesn’t occur in many other professional careers. Many people find it satisfying to work with their hands and take pride in seeing their accomplishments when they see new bridges, roads, high rises, etc. that they have helped build.


2. Working in construction is dangerous

Safety standards and regulations have been revised and have significantly improved safety on job sites. Fatal work injuries have decreased as employers are dedicated to investing in resources which will ensure that their workers are safe. With the growth of technology, the advancements in tools and personal protection equipment, everything on site is approached with safety in mind. Many people are involved in assessing risks, creating effective risk management strategies and the awareness of the need for safety in all sectors has been established as a priority.


3.You can’t become successful in construction

The construction industry is huge and offers many opportunities. Like any other job, skills and a strong work ethic are components of creating a successful career. When you consider the fact that construction is a multi-billion dollar industry, it’s easy to see how endless opportunities exist for skilled workers. Advancement options are endless as workers can engage in further education and training. It also sets a strong foundation for anyone who wants to pursue the goals of starting up their own business.


4. Anyone can work in construction

Most construction workers are skilled tradesmen and others may have a college education. The industry is composed of jobs that require varied skill sets and opportunities exist in planning, building, and management. In addition, lots of workers love the fact that the jobs are typically Monday to Friday hours with holidays off. The majority of workers choose construction as a career and want to be there; it’s not a matter of being incapable of finding other employment.


5.Construction is simple

Construction is a complicated process and involves professionals such as engineers, architects, project managers and local authorities. All the players in the project must be in constant communication to ensure the job runs smoothly. With tools and technology changing the face of the industry, all the workers involved in a project are learning and adapting to the changes. Modern innovations encourage creativity and complex problem-solving skills that make the construction field a challenging career choice.  


What do you think? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below!

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The Impact Artificial Intelligence Could Have On the Construction Industry


Robotics is becoming more common on job sites; jobs such as bricklaying, welding and demolition are some areas the technology is being implemented. It is predicted that in the future robots and robotics technology will become more autonomous and intelligent through the use of AI. The benefits of such technology will minimize errors and omissions, improve safety and workflow and create more efficient timeframes. A quick overview of some of the areas AI is being used gives a glimpse into future possibilities for the construction industry.





With equipment capable of navigating its’ surroundings and being able to operate without human interaction, the face of the job site will be transformed. Drones and 3D scanners can survey job sites and transfer data which automatically simulates and creates construction plans. The data can then be transmitted to driverless earth moving vehicles which will automate excavation. Processes like staking and earth moving can be significantly expedited and the absence of the human error factor will prevent safety hazards and decrease accidents.





Data and Design

AI has the potential to reimagine how processes are done. Missing elements in building designs can be identified and knowledge shared across project teams in areas such as daily reports, schedules, weather forecasts and more. Large-scale projects are more likely to benefit from the increased sharing of data. The more data being shared equates to more accuracy on the construction site. As accuracy and efficiency increase over time, designs from the past can be leveraged by engineers and other professionals to improve the complexity and quality of the revised project design.





AI is being used to move towards a more streamlined and paperless industry. Information such as blueprints can be accessed and exchanged by all parties involved in the project. The hiring process will also benefit as employers can pick better candidates based on cumulative data about their experience. By relying on software platforms that utilize AI, companies can empower, engage and develop the talent they hire. It also allows for communication to occur on an international level. Forecasting and management will make it possible for companies to keep up with the latest construction trends as well as giving them insight into what their competitors are doing.




One of the overall goals of artificial intelligence is to develop computer algorithms that can improve automatically. Algorithms drive themselves but are often not able to fix themselves and, as a result, human interaction is necessary for problems to be identified and fixed. As the learning process expands between AI and the people using the technology, new ideas and solutions can be created. There is nothing mysterious or magical about AI. Software techniques (algorithms), products and services already exist that utilize the technology. By increasing levels of computing power, the opportunities for technological advances within the construction industry are huge. The technology is already valued at the present time and will continue to add value into the future.


What are your thoughts? Will there become a time when A.I. becomes a hindrance to the industry? Leave us your opinion below!

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The State of Alberta’s Economy Heading into Winter 2018


Reports suggest that Alberta has cleared the recession it was experiencing. According to a Bloomberg study taken in July 2017, factory sales climbed 18 percent, retail sales were up 9 percent, unemployment fell to 7.4 percent and average weekly wages rose 1.7 percent. The outlook has improved but it may take time to recover from the downturn. There are factors that need to be considered when assessing Alberta’s economic outlook.


Energy Prices


Alberta’s heavy oil exporters have benefited from OPEC cuts which focused on heavier types of crude oil. Drilling activity has been strong in 2017; rig counts and the number of meters drilled have doubled since 2016. With many oil sands projects moving into production, an overall growth of 300,000 barrels per day is predicted. The recent announcement that the $15 billion Energy East pipeline has been canceled is bound to have an effect on Alberta’s economy as well as the economy of the rest of Canada.


Housing and Construction


It is expected that the housing market will gradually strengthen in Alberta. Residential investment has improved in the province despite inventories of new and unsold homes remaining high. Alberta’s New Housing Price Index increased 0.5 percent and land prices went up 0.4 percent. While building permits decreased by 6.5 percent, residential permits increased by 9.3 percent. Commercial construction is expected to be weak as evidenced by the decrease in building permits.




Since hitting rock bottom in July 2016, the Alberta economy added 34,500 jobs and half of the jobs were added in 2017. An increase in full-time positions shifted the trend away from higher numbers of part-time positions. The employment rate has been approximately 7.8 percent in 2017 and is predicted to be 7.3 percent in 2018. There is speculation that the increase in the minimum wage will affect job and employment numbers as employers will have to adapt to the new changes.


While improvements in the economy may appear to be slight and growth is occurring gradually, there are factors which still have the potential to affect the economy.


  • Oil prices could remain weak if OPEC cuts are not sustained and/or US production continues to increase. Recent changes in provincial and federal policies including regulations on methane emissions, carbon pricing, and tax hikes have also created barriers for the energy sector.


  • Appreciation of the Canadian dollar could affect exports and revenue. With a pullback in commodity prices, declining oil prices and the sustained strength of the US dollar, what may lie ahead is increased volatility in the economy. It is probable that a weak loonie will be around for a while longer, however, even if the price of oil rises.


  • Rising interest rates could affect households with high debt ratios. According to an Ipsos poll, nearly 4 out 10 homeowners in Alberta said they would be faced with financial problems if their home value goes down while 6 in 10 Canadians rated their debt situation as less than good. Equifax Canada states that Albertans have the highest debt load in the country; if interest rates rise, many Albertans will feel the pinch.

What do you think? Is there something we missed? Let us know!

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The Process Behind the Walterdale Bridge Project


The construction of the Walterdale Bridge has gone through many ups and downs in addition to unexpected delays. Construction began in 2013 and was scheduled to be finished by the fall of 2015. The project was complex and several challenges delayed the opening of the bridge by two years. A brief look at the project from beginning to end gives an overview of the obstacles that were encountered.





In river berm construction was completed in March. Queen Elizabeth Park Road closed to traffic on July 15 and in August, heavy equipment was used to create new slope grades. Drainage pipes and utility relocations were installed. By September, grading and drainage were completed and 40 sheet pilings were installed on the south side of the river; nine drilled concrete piles were installed on the north side. Queen Elizabeth Park road re-opened for traffic on October 1 and in December, sheet pilings continued to be installed.



From February to December construction continued as scheduled. Walterdale Hill was closed until August. Pile driving was completed. Watertight cofferdams were excavated and backfilled in preparation for the construction of thrust blocks which would serve as foundations and anchors for the arches. Decorative streetlights were installed on Queen Elizabeth Park Road.






On April 8, the city announced the scheduled opening date was pushed back one year from fall 2015 to fall 2016. Delays were related to problems with the contractor’s scheduling. 42 steel arch structures were held up by the manufacturer in South Korea. As a result of the delays, the contractor faced penalties that started at $10,000 and increased to $17,000 per day by November. The first shipment of arch steel arrived in mid January. By October all the steel arches were on site and the North Saskatchewan River was dredged to prepare for the arches to be floated across the river.



In January the first of two major arch lifts took place and by April, the second arch lift was installed. Construction started on the bridge deck in July. The connection from river edge to river edge was finally completed and stringers held the bridge deck in place. Concrete, asphalt and waterproofing work could not be completed before the onset of winter and further delays occurred. Work was scheduled to resume the following spring.






Pieces of the shared use path began arriving on site in April. Installation and welding of sections were completed first and deck and railing work followed. On September 17 two of the three lanes of the bridge were opened to traffic. Crews continue to work on the north side of the bridge but some work could not be completed until the old Walterdale Bridge was officially closed.



The completion of the Walterdale Bridge was a challenging project but the city now has a unique signature bridge that will be able to stand the test of time. The new Walterdale Bridge will require less maintenance than the old steel deck bridge which required constant repairs due to welds breaking.



What is your opinion on the Walterdale Project? Mixed emotions? We would love to hear what you think!

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Disputes on the construction site are common. Disagreements and differences of opinion can occur between contractors, owners, and employees when goals, timeframes and budgets are shared between all parties. There are some approaches and skills that can minimize conflicts on any construction site.





1. Recognize there is a problem

It’s tempting to let conflicts resolve themselves, but choosing this approach usually means that the situation becomes worse over time. Small issues can quickly become big problems. Addressing conflict directly and working towards resolution will ensure that the project stays on task and lingering issues have a lesser chance of affecting long-term goals. Remember that conflict can lead to growth and change. New challenges can inspire creative ideas and solutions and can be a positive stimulus for an organization.


2. Get to the root of the problem Recognize there is a problem

A conflict between one or more parties can create problems for everyone working on a project. Misunderstandings are common and it is important to give everyone a chance to air their grievances. It then becomes easier to clarify underlying issues and uncover the root of the problem. Previous experiences, personality clashes, personal problems and points of principle can be underlying factors in a conflict and can affect personal and business interactions. Listen attentively to all parties and assess all opinions before deciding on a solution that meets everyone’s needs.




3. Be objective and willing to compromise

Approaching conflict from an objective perspective helps to direct focus onto the overall project goals rather than being influenced by individual points of view. Conflicts can become emotional and can escalate quickly when tempers flare. Opposing parties generally feel passionate about their opinions, and thoseideas can become more important than the overall project goals. It's not a matter of one party being right and the other wrong; compromise, cooperation, and collaboration are necessary components of creating a beneficial solution for everyone. Compromise often creates a win and lose agreement which gives all parties a bit of what they wanted, but not the entire outcome they had hoped for. Give those involved in the conflict an opportunity to express their opinions and without an overload of emotional input, find a workable solution for everyone. The negotiation process involves give and take in order to reach a mutual agreement.




4. Communicate clearly

One of the greatest skills that can assist in successful conflict resolution is effective communication. Active listening, assertive (not aggressive) behavior, empathy, accountability, and creativity are all aspects of effective communication skills. Be clear about expectations and “non-negotiables”. For example, discussing points that have been identified by building or safety standards are not

areas that should be open to dispute. Once a resolution has been reached, identify what issues may still exist. Provide detailed explanations for decisions that have been reached and ensure that all parties understand why the decisions were made. Follow up with all parties after the conflict has been resolved and remember that resolution does not necessarily mean a win-win situation for everyone. Be consistent with all communication and be proactive in identifying and addressing issues which may arise in the future.



Have you had any experience dealing with conflict? We want to hear your opinion! 

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Taurus prides itself on its ability to offer professional and quality services. With a team of approximately 500 skilled professionals, we are flexible and competent in responding to a wide variety of projects. In addition to our head office in Fort Saskatchewan, we have offices in Calgary, Fort McMurray and Saskatchewan. Following core values of accountability and commitment to clients, Taurus is a company that is focused on accomplishment and excellence in every facet of our business. Here are a few of the varied services Taurus offers.


Common Services

Working in the private and public sector, Taurus is capable of adapting to the needs of any project. From furniture assembly and office setups to general maintenance, we are skilled in areas such as:

  • Scaffolding setup and takedown

  • Construction of stairs, railings, sidewalks, barricades and storage sheds

  • Concrete cribbing and placement

  • 24-hour snow removal and site sanding

  • Rail-spur maintenance

  • Roadside assistance services, maintenance, fueling and washing of all-site equipment

  • Temporary water, air, gas and sewage installation


Parking Roads and Laydown

As specialists in road construction, Taurus has expanded from traditional road and pavement building into civil engineering, groundworks and infrastructure. No project is too big or too small.


Ground and Site Clearing

Providing services such as erosion control, ditch forming, regrading, granular surfacing or removal of organic fill, Taurus excels in all aspects of site preparation.


Environmental Remediation and Survey Testing

Dedicated to protecting the environment, projects are assessed by trained and qualified personnel. Every detail of a project is completed with a focus on avoiding any negative impact to the environment. Survey testing involves such things as soil compaction testing, site surveying and utility location services, hydro testing and temporary utility services maintenance.

Material Handling

We have specialized equipment and innovative technology which can meet the needs of any sized business.  Our services such as supplying manpower and speciality equipment, packing and hauling sea containers and preventative maintenance all meet industry standards and are focused on having a low impact on the environment.

Electrical and Mechanical

From high voltage maintenance to connection of power, security, telephone, Internet, gas, water and sewage, Taurus can accommodate the electrical and mechanical needs of any project.


Safety Services

Taurus places a high value on safety and can construct safety packages suited to each individual project. We are affiliated with CSO (Construction Safety Officers) and CRSP (Canadian Registered Safety Professionals). Our award-winning team is committed to the core values of accountability, quality services and commitment. Each job is assessed and completed with attention to the needs and safety of workers, the environment, and the community.

By investing in our clients and maintaining high standards, Taurus has become one of the most knowledgeable and trusted organizations in the construction industry. Please contact us for a full list of our services.

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Technology advances have been quite rapid and the construction industry is embracing many new trends. With the promise of more efficient, safer and cost-effective builds, companies that do not embrace new technologies are at risk of falling behind. The face of construction is changing all over the world and here are a few of the ways in which the changes are being implemented.


1. The Internet of Things

Technology can change the landscape of the building site. Wearables, drone surveying, and equipment have built-in technology that help managers cut costs and improve site operations. Decisions will be made based on real-time information whicontributesute to fewer mistakes made and better efficiency.


2. Virtual and Augmented Reality Technology

VR and AR allows construction teams to detect errors ahead of time. Worksite safety can be improved as managers and workers are able to view job conditions without being exposed to safety hazards. When combined, VR and AR technology can create a collaboration between project stakeholders before building begins.


3. Cloud Computing

Although the cloud is not new to industry tech trends, it can have a big impact on the construction industry. Storage and computing resources can be accessed by smartphones, tablets, etc. which makes it easy for workers, contractors, and clients to access design, permits and other documents. Information sharing has become more streamlined and gives workers in the field immediate access to pertinent information.


4. Thermal Imaging

Companies no longer need to rely on thermal imaging cameras as apps can now be purchased for smartphones. With thermal imaging technology, builders can locate moisture to pinpoint water leaks, identify electrical hot spots, diagnose air and roof leaks and plumbing clogs as well as identify structural defects.

5. Construction Exoskeletons

Designed to reduce the stress and strain of lifting heavy tools, exoskeletons help to ease the burden on workers. Unpowered exoskeletons use counterweights, metal tubing, and a harness to transfer the weight of a heavy tool into the ground.


6. Detailed 3D Modeling

Building Information Modeling is mostly associated with the design process, however, it can also be used before, after and during construction. The BIM model provides every aspect of a building by linking information such as photos, specifications or manuals which allows plans to be created quicker and within budget.


7. Prefabrication

In use for many years in the construction industry, new technologies and construction practices are making prefabrication more beneficial. Due to building information modeling, it is now possible to use prefabrication on larger and more complex projects. Work can be started offsite which contributes to a shorter construction schedule and creates cost savings. Weather does not have to be a factor when modules can be fabricated within factories or off-site.


8. Energy Saving Buildings

Energy saving building design and construction helps businesses to save energy and cut costs. With access to information provided through technology, construction teams can collaborate to design and create environmentally friendly buildings. By using energy efficient materials and technology, buildings can be up to 70% more energy efficient.


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Despite the economic slump in Alberta, many construction projects are still moving forward. Here are a few interesting projects that have been recently completed or are close to being operational.


1. Waterfront Trails, Sturgeon County

The federal and provincial governments were involved in the River Valley Alliance Capital Plan, a project focused on enhancing and improving public access to the North Saskatchewan River and river valley through the completion of multi-use trails. Thanks to the plan, more than 19 kilometers of primary and secondary trails now link Sturgeon County to Edmonton through the Lamoureux Trail and the Fort Augustus Trail.


2. Fort Hills Project, Fort Hills

Located 90 kilometers north of Fort McMurray, this sands mining project is operated by Suncor. The utilities plant is the final area to be completed and will be the last step in construction before production begins. 5,000 construction workers were employed during peak construction and approximately 1,600 permanent positions will be available when the mine and bitumen facility becomes fully operational. The project is 90% complete and when completed, will be able to process 110 million tonnes of oil sand per year yielding an average of 194,000 barrels of bitumen per day at full production. It is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2017.


3.12th Street S.E. Bridge Replacement, Calgary

The 12th Street Bridge spans the Bow River on the side of St. George’s Island. Due to its deteriorated condition, the bridge was in need of replacement. Originally constructed in 1908, the bridge was originally designed for horse and buggy traffic as well as pedestrians. The bridge deck has been completed and work will continue on roads leading to the bridge on the north and south sides. The new bridge was built 2.5 meters higher than the old bridge and as a result, roadways need to be built higher to meet the new bridge deck. The budget for the overall project was approximately $20 million.


4. Alberta Railway Terminal, Lamont

Construction of the $34 million project began in August 2016. Located in Lamont, the site provides great access between Edmonton and Winnipeg. The unique positioning of the terminal allows it to provide rail services to industries which need access to the world market; having a connection with both CP Rail and CN Rail certainly adds to the flexibility and appeal of the terminal. The service should be ready by October and offers sixteen storage yard tracks and five operating tracks.


5. Ivor Dent School, Edmonton

Located in the Rundle area of Edmonton, the replacement project was approved for funding in 2014. The project involved consolidating three existing schools: Rundle, R.J. Scott and Lawton Jr. High. By replacing schools that were underutilized, the innovative idea was geared towards building a school that provided education for Kindergarten through to Grade 12. Located at 11005 - 34 Street, the cost for the project was approximately $25 million.

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Wearable technology is becoming more common on job sites. In addition to personal protective equipment like hard hats, gloves, safety vests and work boots, construction wearables are now including biometric and environmental sensors, GPS trackers, Wi-Fi, voltage detectors and other technology that alerts workers to potential hazards.

Preventing Injuries

Creating the right environment on site is an essential component of a company’s success. The new field of wearables allows companies to provide safety for employees working in high risk areas. The capabilities of the various technologies can alert workers to dangerous situations; the risk could be as simple as identifying a ladder that is too far for a worker to reach, to reminding workers to use safety harnesses when they are working on scaffolds. These kind of reminders and alerts contribute to a decrease in injuries on site.




Utilizing wearables creates a safety check for individual works and also helps to support teams. If one team member takes a risk, the rest of the team may also be exposed to risks. Wearables ensure that every employee is protected and the responsibility for safety is in the hands of each worker.



In addition to preventing injuries, data from wearables can transfer information. Hard hats are being designed with special visors that allow project supervisors to access information from them. It is now possible to view changes occurring on a project rather than guessing what the results will be. Some hard hats with specialized visors can support 300 degree cameras and 3D imaging. The new hard hats are also capable of sending medical data that can inform a project manager if a worker is in danger of suffering from a medical episode.


Working at night or in the dark is unsafe as many accidents and injuries occur when visibility becomes an issue. The new Halo Light wraps around hard hats and provides light in all directions allowing workers to see and be seen for up to a quarter of a mile.The light contains a rechargeable battery which lasts up to twelve hours.


Safety vests are being designed with built in GPS badges that alert employees when they are entering a pre-defined danger zone. With employees constantly on the move on the job site, managers can identify potential issues and inefficiencies that contribute to optimal time management.




Safety glasses are now coming equipped with a camera that is wired to the internet which provides real time feedback. What is viewed by the worker on the site is communicated back to the manager. Communication becomes instantaneous and problems can be dealt with quickly and efficiently.


Although not specifically designed for the construction industry, the Myo wristband can be extremely beneficial on the job site. When a worker attaches the wristband to their arm, it can be used in conjunction with other technology (such as smart glasses) to communicate with co-workers, take pictures and mark off completed task lists.

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The challenge of keeping a project on schedule is a common problem within the construction industry. Factors such as weather, funding and labour and material shortages are areas that can be out of your control, however there are some ideas and suggestions that can contribute to keeping a project on time and on task.


1. Identify Delays and Blockers

A delay can occur when things don’t go according to plan. Many delays are unavoidable; bad weather is a good example of a delay that no one has any control over. Blockers differ in that they involve tasks that must be completed before other tasks can be started. Careful planning is essential in identifying possible delays and blockers in order to be aware of obstacles that may be likely to impact the timeline.


2. Overbooking the Crew

A manager who knows his or her crew’s capabilities can contribute to keeping a project on task. If too many projects are scheduled the crew is forced to rush to get everything done. The end result is that all of the projects end up being behind schedule. An informed and involved manager ensure these types of delays are avoided by being aware of realistic goals and timelines.



3. Keeping the Crew on Task

Hand in hand with knowing the capabilities of their crew, a manager also keep the crew on schedule. The amount of waste time that occurs on job sites causes projects to fall behind. Even a small amount of time per day adds up and can create delays in schedules. Keeping the crew focused and on task is an important part of effective time management. The schedule should be reviewed frequently so that potential delays are identified and corrective actions can be put in place. Managers should also set aside specific times for contacting subcontractors, reviewing work and ordering materials.


4. Assign Clear Roles and Responsibilities

Construction projects involve many types of personnel. From managers to employees, it is important that each party’s responsibilities are established. Identifying accountability is part of setting an effective project plan and timeline. It’s not simply what needs to be done that is a priority, it’s who will be responsible for doing it and when.


5. Schedule Contractors in Advance

Determine what contractors will be needed well ahead of time so that appointments can be made in advance. Architects, designers and other contractors are busy with other projects and it may take a long time to get quotes for their services. This is an important point to consider when creating a timeline and plan for a project.  Make sure you give yourself plenty of lead time and be prepared for each step of the process.


6. Maintain Clear Communication

Poor communication between parties can create big delays on a project. Problems must be identified, assessed and communicated between various parties to find a quick resolution. Everyone on board should have a clear idea when building activities are occurring and what the timeline is for completion of the project. By utilizing tablets, smartphones and construction software, communication can be improved substantially throughout the construction process.

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Lean construction is a method of production that is aimed at reducing materials, time and effort. In essence, it’s a method based on the philosophy that less is more. The outcome is geared towards maximizing the value and output of a project while minimizing wasteful aspects and time delays.There is no cookie cutter approach to lean construction, however there are a number of principles that can be implemented to achieve the desired results.


How It’s Different

To implement the practice of lean construction, it’s important to understand how it differs from standard construction practice. One of the primary differences is that every aspect of the construction process is aimed at maximizing performance for the customer. Current standard construction practices are generally aimed at mass production and the outcomes are usually less predictable. Lean construction operates like a well oiled machine when implemented properly and employees, distributors and managers can work cohesively throughout the entire project. Every job is allocated to a specific group which encourages all parties to work as one.


How to Integrate it Into Your Business

Companies must first look at the process of the project and correlate it to the customer’s input and ideas. Lean construction philosophy believes that it is essential to align the vision of the project with the customer’s so that all waste can be eliminated. Factors such as overproduction, excessive inventory, defects and incorrect processing are all examples of things which are not of value to the customer. To integrate the process simple steps can be followed:

  • Before the project begins, establish a plan of action

  • Identify and measure the causes of waste by research and communication between groups

  • Each project differs, but when problems or unpredictability occurs, deal with it quickly to correct the issue


The benefits of lean construction are numerous:

  • Using fewer materials reduces waste and costs

  • With careful planning, construction time is reduced

  • Focus and understanding increases safety and there are fewer job site accidents

  • Schedules are more predictable and reliable

  • Productivity, profits and customer satisfaction are increased

  • Workers experience increased job performance and decreased levels of stress




The overall goals of lean construction are beneficial, however there are some drawbacks:

  • In order to be effective in all areas of management the workers must diligently follow the plan. If there is a break in the plan, it cannot work.

  • Change may be difficult for management, workers and distributors

  • Management must be able to guide the workers efficiently

  • Training and education takes time and dedication

  • Cohesive teamwork is essential

  • Suppliers and distributors have to be notified of all changes and have a clear understanding of the goals and projected outcomes

Opportunities for Improvement

The ability to improve processes and eliminate waste is the core belief of the lean construction philosophy. Opportunities for improvement can be identified and subsequently applied to future projects. When projects are on time, on budget and have a high degree of satisfaction everyone benefits from the lean approach.

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