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Keep up-to-date with what's happening at Taurus Projects Inc, construction news in the region and local community news and events.

 

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.

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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

Benefits

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

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Drawbacks

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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Technology is advancing and there are now some great software apps available to help with construction management. In the past, the construction industry was slow to adopt technology partly due to the complexity of the industry. Apps are now becoming more common because of their ability to contribute to the efficiency of a project.

 

1. Big Blue Pixel - Photo Measures

With this app, contractors can work with remote clients by accessing photos taken to obtain exact measurements and dimensions. It ensures that all items fit perfectly in any given location.

www.bigbluepixel.com

 

2. Clock Shark

Preparing time sheets is a thing of the past with this app; it has automated time tracking features enabled by GPS, works across multiple platforms and devices and syncs with Quick Books for payments processing.

www.clockshark.com

 

3. Magic Plan

Users of this app can come up with accurate floor plans using the camera on iPhones or iPads. It can also be adapted to Android and IOS platforms. Having the ability to create and export 3D floor views saves time and money by shortening the floor plan development process.

www.floorplanner.com

 

4. Proposify

This mobile optimized software enables the user to create professional proposals to win projects. With countless templates and customizable default settings, it gets a job done faster and facilitates better collaboration between teams.

www.proposify.biz

 

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5. Truckfast

This specialized app helps to streamline data and information received from a fleet of trucks Powered by GPS, it allows for real time information and updates for better accountability and transparency on jobs.

www.truckfast.com

 

6. Site Diary

Mobile Site Diary replaces the existing paper site diary. By using this app, a time period of one hour per day can be saved. All team members can receive synchronized information instantaneously.

www.mobilesitediary.com

 

7. Fieldwire

The entire field team from contractors to foremen can stay connected by using this app. Everyone can view drawings, blueprints, work schedules and task management lists while in the field.

www.fieldwire.com

 

8. Fall Safety Pro

Available for iPhones and Android devices,  the app detects falls by using a cell phone’s built in accelerometer. If the app detects a fall, an alarm alerts emergency contacts by emails, text and voice messaging while providing a location through GPS.

www.fallsafetyapp.com

 

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9. Tool Tracker

Tools and equipment are important assets to any construction business. By placing barcodes on tools and equipment and scanning the information into the app, it is possible to see which tools are being used or need maintenance. Up to 10,000 tools can be tracked and assigned to specific job sites.

www.tooltrackerapp.com

 

10. Construction Return on Investment Calculator

This app is the perfect tool to use while at the bidding stage. The calculator projects factors such as amount and timing of assets including cash use, cash coming in, and gross profit dollars. This enables the user to set an accurate bid and improve cash flow. The app is currently available through Apple.

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Canada’s construction industry has been involved with infrastructure projects and energy projects which will have a lasting impact on the lifestyle of many Canadians. With such massive growth taking place in the country, it’s good to look back at some of the projects that have been completed and are continuing to develop..

 

1. Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Project

Over 50 years ago, Newfoundland and Labrador began exploring the potential of harnessing the power of the Churchill River. A generating station was built in 1971 and in 2010, an agreement was made to go ahead with the development of a 825 MW hydro project at Muskrat Falls. The project is expected to be completed in 2019 and the projected cost is $6.2 billion.

 

2. Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station

In 2005, New Brunswick announced plans to refurbish the nuclear facility four years later. Problems with the installation of special calandria tubes during the initial phase of construction delayed the project. Issues with finances further contributed to delays but it was eventually reconnected to the grid on November 23, 2012. The final refurbishment cost was $3.3 billion.

 

3. GTA Transit Expansion

Several components are involved in the overall expansion of the transit system in Toronto; the Scarborough Crosstown LRT, the Spadina subway expansion, the Union Station revitalization and the Air Rail Link. The projects involve funding from all levels of government and total costs are projected to be $11.77 billion with final completion dates between 2020 and 2030

 

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4. Bruce A Nuclear Generating Station

Located in Kincardine, Ontario, the project involved refurbishing and carrying out major maintenance on a plant which opened in 1977 and went out of service in 1995. There are 8 units between the Bruce A and Bruce B plants. The goal is to operate all of the units until 2043. The approximate cost was $4.25 billion.

 

5. Alberta Clipper Project

Construction of an oil pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior Wisconsin is owned and operated by Enbridge. The pipeline was placed into service on April 1, 2010. Enbridge applied for an expansion in 2013 and increased service in July 2015. The cost is estimated at $2 billion.

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6. Canada Line

A 19.5 kilometer north-south rapid transit line running from Vancouver, Richmond City Centre and the Vancouver International Airport was opened on August 17, 2009. It is the third rapid transit line built in the Sky Train Metro system and provides service for approximately 137,000 people daily. The estimated cost for construction was $2 billion.

 

7. Keephills 3 Generating Plant

Located 70 kilometers west of Edmonton and 5 kilometers south of Wabaumun Lake, the project was started in 2011. Keephills 2 was completed in 2008 and involved a pilot test project of mercury control technology. Keephills 3 was built to continue the dedication to sustainable energy. It is one of Canada’s largest and cleanest coal fired facility with low CO2 emissions. The project cost approximately $1.6 billion.

 

8. Romaine Complex A Renewable Energy Project

Construction began in 2009 in Havre-Saint-Pierre, Quebec on the shores of the Riviere Romaine. It includes four hydro generating stations which increase the generating capacity of Quebec’s energy needs. Construction continues with a projected completion date of 2020. The projected cost of the project is $6.5 billion.

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9. Edmonton International Airport Expansion

The project involved expanding the Terminal building and renovating the combined office and air traffic control tower. The first phase was completed in 2009 with the building of six new gates. The living wall located in the airport is the first of any airport in North America and is a symbol of sustainable design.  Costs are estimated at $1.8 billion.

 

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10. Niagara Tunnel Project

Located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, the tunnel diverts an additional 500 cubic meters of water per second. It is the largest tunnel ever built in North America and was officially placed in service on March 21, 2013. The tunnel was bored under the City of Niagara Falls and is able to provide energy for approximately 160,000 homes. The cost is estimated at $1.6 billion; the tunnel is expected to have a 90 year life span.

 

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With city buildings becoming taller and taller, points of view vary as to which material is the best to use in the construction of these large buildings. How do steel and concrete stack up against each other and how do you choose which one is best? We’ll let you decide after looking at some of the pros and cons of each.

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Concrete

  • Concrete offers protection against debris and high winds up to 200 miles per hour. With a core typically encased in 2-foot thick concrete, it is also fairly fireproof. Cast in place concrete offers resistance to explosions on impact and can endure very high temperatures for a long period of time.

  • With the cost of construction materials increasing, concrete can be more expensive initially but the return on the investment is greater. Insurance companies recognize the benefits of the increased safety of cast-in-place reinforced concrete and companies can save up to 25% annually on the cost of property insurance.

  • Buildings made of concrete can almost always be built faster. Developers can finish jobs quickly and move onto the next project. As a general rule, on a 2-day cycle, up to 20,000 square feet can be poured per day.

  • Concrete is usually a product that can be locally sourced and can be transported to building sites easily. At the end of its life, concrete can be crushed and recycled but the recycled material cannot be used for new building construction.

  • Using concrete allows for very thick floors which create better sound insulation.

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Steel

  • One benefit of steel construction is that it is easily fireproofed with a variety of spray on or attached materials. Although steel can soften and melt at extremely high temperatures, the addition of fireproofing increases its ability to sustain greater temperatures.The added fireproofing prevents damage to surrounding materials.

  • Steel can be recycled and the majority of construction that takes place uses recycled steel. Due to its magnetic properties steel can be easily separated from other debris. The energy used to produce recycled steel is one-third less than what is required to produce steel from iron ore. Steel tends to be environmentally friendly for other reasons; there is little to no construction waste, less need for maintenance or repair and it is flexible when it is used to adapt a structure for a different use.

  • Steel has the highest strength to weight ratio of any construction material. Creating long open spaces in a design are possible. Prefabrication allows for shorter on site construction and safely allows other trades to work in structures that have just been erected. Prefabrication can also compress the steel erection portion of a project by 40-50%.

  • Steel allows for an accelerated schedule due to advancements in building information, design, detail and fabrication.

It’s evident that there are pros and cons for using either material on a construction project. Ultimately it depends on the type of project that is being built and what the plans are for future development. Making an informed choice takes planning and careful consideration!

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Statistics for 2017 indicate that some of the most in demand jobs happen to be in the construction industry. Having the right south after skills and experience in a trade increases job prospects and opportunities. According to the Canadian Construction Association, the construction sector of the Canadian economy employs 1.37 million Canadians and is responsible for nearly $119 billion in economic activity. With that in mind, here are some jobs that are presently in demand and are likely to remain so in the future.

 

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1. Electricians

Licensed electricians are highly sought after in commercial, industrial and residential areas. Entirely responsible for laying out, assembling, installing, testing and repairing electrical wiring, fixtures and control devices, an electrician’s skills are essential to every construction project. Starting a business is another option that creates the opportunity to branch out in other directions.

 

2. Hydropower Experts

Hydropower represents one of the most natural conversions of the earth’s resources into energy and creates 63% of the electrical supply in Canada. As Canada is a world leader in the hydropower industry and with an increasing demand for clean energy, more jobs will become available in this area. Jobs include mechanical, electrical, structural and civil engineering as well as a variety of trades. With more than 500 hydroelectric power plants in Canada, there is the potential for a variety of work.

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3. Miners and Oil and Gas Drillers

Despite the economic downturn, skilled miners, oil and gas drillers and other occupations related to this industry are still in demand. 6,700 wells are forecast to be drilled across Canada this year with Alberta leading the way. There is also a demand for crush proof sand that is used to help extract shale from oil and gas and more drilling rigs are being set up as a result of this cost saving process.

 

4. Health and Safety Trainers and Educators

A construction job site can be a dangerous place to work. The amount of injuries that construction workers sustain are proof of that. Having proper health and safety training for workers is a key component in maintaining a highly efficient job site. Days lost due to injuries  can compromise the successful completion of a project. Staff who are well trained about the use of equipment, proper protective clothing, safety monitoring and emergency response are a valuable asset to any organization.

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5.Construction/Project Managers

A construction manager’s duties are varied. From overseeing contractors to hiring and firing workers, a good manager has to have a wide set of skills. Creating schedules, ensuring safety standards and maintaining communication between various people on the job site is the responsibility of the manager and every company knows that the outcome of a project is directly affected by the capability of the project manager. This job will continue to be in demand as construction projects continue to increase.

 

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With the recent experience of the Ft. McMurray wildfire, it is easy to see why diligent fire safety and awareness should be critical for every job site. A wildfire can spread instantaneously and the devastation it leaves behind is tragic. Reviewing fire safety on the jobsite is critical during the summer months when the threat of fires and wildfires are high. Here are some techniques and practices to keep in mind on the job site this summer.

 

1.  Fire Safety Planning

Prior to construction, fire safety risk assessments should be completed. This will lead to the implementation of proper methods and processes which will minimize or contain potential fire hazards. Being aware of ignition sources ensures that potential hazardous waste materials are stored, disposed of and kept at a safe distance from any source of danger. Display contact numbers for fire emergency services where they are visible and can be easily accessed. After the assessment is complete, follow a regular inspection program that can be reviewed and updated as the construction/demolition progresses.

 

2. Training

Ensure that workers are trained and educated about fire safety. Having regular safety meetings or fire drills helps workers to become familiar with what procedures to follow in the event of a fire. Maintaining a clean job site free from debris, having identified access routes and making firefighting equipment accessible are the kind of information workers should be familiar with. Assign people to be fire wardens and ensure the various trades are all represented. Give instructions on what procedures to follow if an alarm is sounded and identify a meeting point where workers can gather in the event of an emergency.

 

3. Safety of Electrical Systems and Equipment

Have Journeymen electricians install and maintain all electrical systems and equipment. Faulty wiring, overloaded outlets and blown circuits are fire risks that can be identified by electricians and repaired. Using the right cords for a job and ensuring the cords don’t become tangled are simple rules to follow for any workers using equipment on a job site. Electrical equipment such as portable devices and electrical cords should be regularly maintained and inspected as part of a day to day routine. Temporary wiring can be removed when it is no longer needed.

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4. Smoking

Discarded cigarettes can easily start a fire on a job site. Combustible and flammable materials must be kept in containers for disposal. Smoking should be allowed only in designated areas and all workers can be reminded about the danger of tossing cigarette butts away carelessly. One ember can start a fire near the jobsite or can be responsible for starting a massive forest fire.

 

5. Waste Disposal

Materials such as wood, drywall, rags and paper should be disposed of in receptacles designed for construction waste. Having a pile of garbage on a site is a hazard and one spark combined with a dry, windy environment can be the right combination for a fire to start. Ensure that containers and/or storage areas have proper signage and are locked and vented.

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All great things deserve sequels. If you haven’t noticed, we’re all about safety. But it’s been awhile since we’ve shown you the other side of the coin; that is, what happens when safety goes horribly wrong, so this week, we felt it best to show you some things seen around the Internet we’ve found ourselves waving a finger or two and chuckling at. If you need a quick refresher, you can check out parts one, two, three and four here. Otherwise, commence facepalming.

 

1. Clearly, Norwegian hardhats are all the rage on European job sites everywhere.

 

 

 

2) When you need that extra little bit of height and only someone’s flat back will get you there.

 

3) Who signed off on this?



 

4) When you’re stranded with no ladders around and have to improvise.

 

5) Safety visors and hard helmets have nothing against the powerful technology of a well-cleaned Tupperware.

 

What did you think of these safety fails? Anything we forgot to include? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!  

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Taurus is a forward looking company that has excelled in the construction industry. Looking at some of our past accomplishments illustrates why we are so respected within the industry. We work hard to meet deadlines while staying within budget and their experienced personnel provide the highest quality of work. Every project receives the same level of commitment and service as Taurus prides itself on our core values of integrity, hard work, accountability experience and safety.

 

When the company started in 2006, we were providing site grading for the RV Superstore located in Sherwood Park, Alberta. In 2007, we provided underground utilities for BA Energy in Fort Saskatchewan. A year later, we partnered with Lockerbie and Hole and in 2009 we extended our services outside of Alberta when we worked on the Consumers Cooperatives Refineries in Regina, Saskatchewan. In 2012 and 2013, we partnered with Bechtel, the Northwest Redwater Partnership and SNC, Lavalin on projects ranging from common services and civil works to yard management and various field work. It was only three years ago when we completed a project for the City of Leduc installing underground utilities.

 

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Many of our projects have shaped the face of Western Canada. The Northwest Redwater Partnership is one of the most significant energy projects Alberta has seen for many years and we take pride in our contribution to bettering the community for future generations. One of our more recent projects was the Eastern Alberta Transmission Line. The $1.8 billion project saw the installation of the first long distance HVDC lines in Canada to be completed since 1986. Taurus was involved in unloading and reloading materials in three separate yards that spanned 485 kilometers; we met and exceeded those goals despite battling challenges such as ground conditions and weather and environmental guidelines. Some additional partnerships that Taurus has been involved with include: the County of Whitecourt, ATCO Electric, Shell Canada, Jacobs Industrial Services, McAsphalt Industries Limited, Air Products Canada Ltd., International Union of Operating Engineers, Horton CBI, Bantrel Canada Co. and TWD Technologies.

 

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During our years of operation, we have received several awards including Manufacture/Industry of the Year and Heavy Civil Contractor of the Year. We have also been shortlisted for Canada’s Safest Employer. Placing a high value on the health and safety of our clients, employees, subcontractors and visitors, we work to integrate health, safety and environmental considerations into all decisions we make. In addition, Taurus ensures that all the work we complete complies with all applicable safety, health, security and environmental laws and regulations. Working directly with customers, contractors and suppliers all of the HSE standards are achieved. Risks such as driving, working with pressure, working at heights, working with electricity and hazardous chemicals are all assessed and appropriate safe practices are implemented and adhered to. This attention to detail has helped to make Taurus a company that can be respected and trusted as a leader in their field.

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Creating and submitting a good resume is an important step in getting hired. There are key points that pertain to working in the construction industry that will get a reader’s attention. General knowledge, dedication, interest in labour work and physical abilities are all points that can be included in a resume. Here are some other points to consider when crafting the perfect resume for the construction industry.

 

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Use a Format

 

Divide your resume into sections. The format does not really have any effect on the strength of the resume, however it provides a structure that addresses all the necessary information. The person reading the resume will be able to find information quickly and easily. These four headings will give an overall view of your experience and credentials.

 

  • Objective: The first heading shows why you are applying for the position. Educate yourself about the job requirements and state why you are a good candidate for the job. Focus on what you can give the company, not what the company can do for you. You need to convince the manager that you have what it takes to work in the position you are applying for.

  • Core Competence: The second heading gives you the opportunity to show who you are. Expand on any knowledge, skills, abilities, talents and experiences that will explain why you are right for the job.

  • Work Experience: The third heading is pretty straightforward; state responsibilities and duties you have performed in previous jobs and outline your work history. The content of this section should give the employer the understanding that you have the experience to get the job done.

  • Professional Qualifications: The final heading will provide information about your credentials. List educational qualifications and all construction-related training programs.

 

Entry Level or Experienced?

 

If you do not have a lot of construction experience, you will be gearing your resume towards an entry level position. Describe your work abilities and use phrases such as “fast learner” or “pays attention to detail.” Use keywords such as “general labour” or “construction labour” so that the manager will know that you are willing to do jobs that do not require specific skills. There are many jobs on a construction site such as cleaning or unloading trucks that can give you a start in the industry. List things such as voluntary experience or showcase things such as math skills or the ability to work with people.

 

An experienced professional resume should contain a number of different jobs performed and all specialized training or certifications. List points such as qualifications with organizations such as OSHA or unions that are trade specific. The intent is to get hired to a specific job that either utilizes your skills or gives you the opportunity to acquire new skills.

 

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Be truthful about your background and skills. Filling in gaps to make a resume look better can be challenged if a background check is completed and brings your resume into question. A well written, concise and visually appealing resume geared towards the job’s requirements will get noticed. There is no need to embellish the facts; an honest, straightforward approach is always the best.

 

Some sites to consider if you are looking for a construction job:

 

www.workopolis.com

www.monster.ca

https://alis.alberta.ca

https://ca.indeed.com

 

 

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The days are getting hotter and higher temperatures can mean heat-related illnesses on the construction site. Construction workers are at high risk for heat exhaustion and heatstroke thanks to the strenuous nature of the job and prolonged exposure to the heat. Here are some important tips to help you beat the heat this summer.

 

1. Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water and avoid pop and energy drinks. You should be drinking fluids every 15-20 minutes; coconut water and sport drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade are great for restoring electrolytes like sodium and potassium, necessary because they carry glucose and other nutrients to cells. When electrolyte levels get too low, people can experience cramps and dizziness.

 

2. Dress properly

Wear light colored, loose fitted clothing. A natural fiber such as cotton is a good choice or moisture wicking clothing is even better. Moisture wicking clothing helps to draw sweat off your body and allows you to cool down quicker.

 

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3. Put on plenty of sunscreen

Sunburn can occur even on the cloudiest of days. When you work outside, make sure to wear a sweatproof or waterproof sunscreen that can stay on for extended periods of time. It’s also a good idea to wear a hat with a wide brim, nape protection and wrap around sun visors. This will provide you with the maximum amount of protection.

 

4. Find shade

Take breaks in shaded areas and whenever possible, plan jobs to avoid direct sunlight. If possible, schedule work for the morning hours when it is cooler.

 

5. Eat for the heat

Avoid high fat foods such as french fries and hamburgers. Eating light, nutritious meals is a better choice. Eating small snacks throughout the day helps to maintain high energy levels and make sure to include foods such as bananas, almonds, apricots and avocados which are high in potassium.

 

6. Pay attention to the heat index

On a busy job site, it’s easy to lose sight of climbing temperatures. The heat index combines air temperature and humidity to determine an apparent temperature a.k.a what it actually feels like outside. If the humidity is high, the body loses the ability to cool itself and low humidity increases sweat evaporation which can lead to dehydration.

 

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7. Rest

Don’t be afraid to admit the heat is too much to handle! If you feel like you need to take five, find a cool area and go for a short break. Overexerting yourself and not being aware of your body’s signals can quickly lead to heat exhaustion or worse, heatstroke.

 

8. Know the signs

Heat stress, heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke can all occur on a construction site. Symptoms can occur quickly so pay attention if you experience any of the following: nausea and vomiting, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, hot flushed skin, rapid or slow heart rate, decreased sweating, muscle aches or cramps and shortness of breath. If the symptoms are not alleviated by moving to a shady or air-conditioned area and administering fluids, seek medical assistance.

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Summer in Edmonton is typically busy with various construction projects. Favorable weather gives rise to building and road construction. The city is undergoing such a rapid transformation, it is often difficult to keep up with the location of the projects underway. Here are a few projects that are on the horizon this summer.


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Blatchford Redevelopment

 

The construction of the Blatchford site has begun; the vision for the community located on the site of the former municipal airport will be green and energy efficient. Streets which are designed for walking and cycling, energy efficient buildings and community gardens will establish the entire community as one which is conscientious and sustainable. The first part of the project includes the installation of storm, sanitary and water servicing as well as piping for the district energy sharing system. After the deep utilities have been installed, construction crews can begin work on the stormwater pond for the geo-exchange. This is a renewable energy source which is part of the energy sharing system being built into the project. Architecturally designed buildings will not go up until next year, but it’s exciting to see how the project will unfold.

 

Valley Line LRT Southeast

 

Located between 102 Street downtown and Mill Woods Town Centre, the line currently under construction will be 13 kilometers in length. Planning to open to the public by 2020, the line will feature:

  • 11 street level stops

  • An elevated station with a 1,400 Park and Ride facility and a full transit centre located in the Wagner industrial area

  • The new Tawatina Bridge across the river

  • A short tunnel from the north face of the River Valley through to the Quarters redevelopment

  • An interchange point at Churchill Square to access the existing Metro and Capital LRT lines

 

41 Avenue - Chapelle Way to Desrochers Drive

 

Existing roads are being upgraded to accommodate growth and increased traffic flows. The road will be removed and replaced with two urban lanes. The new lanes will be aligned to allow for future development; the goal is to eventually complete a six lane arterial roadway. Over the summer the road will be closed entirely and is expected to re-open on October 31, 2017.

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Raymond Block

 

Located on Whyte Avenue and 104 Street, the Raymond Block is named after the Raymond Hotel which was located on the site in the early 1900’s. The completed project will include a six story mixed use building with a two story commercial podium and 95 residential apartments above. Overall, the building will be over 130,000 square feet.


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Stanley A Milner Library Renovation

 

The 50 year old public library will undergo extensive renovations involving asbestos removal, mechanical and electrical upgrades and a new exterior with floor to ceiling second floor windows. The estimated cost for the renovation will be around $62.5 million. During construction, the library has moved to a temporary location in Enterprise Square. Over 20,000 books were moved to accommodate the renovation and it is expected that it will take up to three years to complete. By 2020, the library will re-open the doors to the public.

 

 

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Since starting operations in 2006, Taurus has prided itself in the quality of service we provide. Our head office is located in Fort Saskatchewan which makes them accessible to most of Western Canada’s industrial plants, sites and major projects. We also have offices in Calgary, Fort McMurray, Saskatchewan and hope to expand to other locations in the future.  Our management teams have a combined history of over 100 years in construction which gives them experience in a variety of disciplines. With integrity and team collaboration, the company is committed to following best practices and safety procedures to ensure that all of our clients are satisfied with the work they complete. We are quite capable of providing a wide variety of services on any project. Here are some of the many services Taurus provides.

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  • Soil and compaction testing through accredited labs

  • Site surveying and utility locator service

  • Hydro testing of lines and vessels

  • High voltage preventive maintenance

  • Temporary utility installation and maintenance

  • Site clearing and preparation

  • Large earthworks

  • Deep underground utilities

  • Retaining and holding ponds

  • Erosion control

  • Connection of power, security, telephone, internet, gas, water and sewage for site trailers

  • Preparation of temporary and permanent roads

  • Dust control

  • Supply and installation of environmental bridges, Texas gates and rig mats

  • Erection and dismantling of scaffolding

  • Material handling

  • Snow removal and sanding

  • Warehousing

  • Electrical plug-in service at parking areas

  • Mobilization, maintenance and demobilization of temporary buildings

The extent of the services we provide is expansive and in addition to the quality of work we complete, we are also committed to core values which serve as the foundation for their commitment to excellence. Operating as a sustainable business with a focus on the environment, Taurus is aware of the impact a company may have upon future generations. They have site specific WHMIS/TDG trained personnel and follow a qualified environmental assessment service. We are fully prepared to provide emergency services for issues such as spill response and containment. Completing all projects with the least amount of negative impact to the environment is a goal that parallels we values.

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Taurus continues to improve in all areas. Commitment to providing quality services is based on implementing and maintaining values such as collaboration, accountability, leadership, integrity, empowerment, safety and quality. All projects are approached with the same degree of diligence and efficiency.

With a team of almost 500 skilled professionals dedicated to the goal of offering quality services, Taurus has completed many successful projects and has an extensive history of achievements. Many of our customers have commented on our exceptional service and solid teamwork. With memberships in a wide variety of associations, Taurus’s reputation and high standard of work has allowed us to maintain good working relationships with all of our partners. We have become one of the most trusted organizations in the Western Canadian construction industry and will continue to engage in the community with high standards of excellence.

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The construction industry is at high risk for eye injuries due to the nature of the work involved. The US Bureau of Labour reported that 70% of eye injuries were the result of falling objects or sparks striking the eye, with nearly three-fifths of workers stating that the objects were smaller than a pinhead. It has been noted that three out of five workers were not wearing eye protection at the time of their accident or were wearing the wrong kind of eye protection. Injuries can result in a permanent loss of vision so it’s important to identify some common hazards that can occur on a job site.

 

Eye protection is needed when these potential eye hazards are present on a work site:

 

1. Projectiles (such as dust, concrete, metal, wood and other particles)

Safety glasses with side protection are recommended as small things such as splinters, broken glass or dust can cause quite a bit of damage to the eye. It’s advisable to wear the glasses when using machinery that creates debris and dust.

2. Chemicals

Safety goggles form a special seal against the face to keep contaminants out. They usually have ventilation slats to help prevent misting. They can be worn over safety glasses or prescription eyeglasses.

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3. Hazardous radiation

Requires special safety purpose glasses, goggles or face shields that are designed for a specific task.

Eye protection should be fitted to each individual and adjusted to provide the appropriate coverage. The goggles, glasses or face shields should fit comfortably while allowing for sufficient peripheral vision. The importance of comfortable eye protection cannot be emphasized enough – workers will not wear eye protection if it is bothersome. If protective eyewear is worn throughout the day, comfort enhancing features such as cushioned brows, gel nosepieces or padded nose bridges, vented frames, flexible or ratcheted temples and lenses with adjustable angles will make a tremendous difference.

Training workers how and when to use eye and face protection is a crucial part of a safety program. Implementing eye safety policies and communicating this to workers is a key component to successful safety practices. Instruct workers when to wear eye safety protection, and explain how and where they can obtain the eyewear.  Tell them how to get replacements and show them how to take proper care of the equipment.

 

If an injury does occur on the job site, several steps can be taken in case of an emergency:

Chemicals in the eye

Flush the eye with water for at least 15 minutes. If necessary, remove contact lenses before flushing. Don’t neutralize the chemical with other substances and don’t bandage the eye. Seek medical attention after flushing.

Particles in the eye

Do not rub the eye. You can irrigate the eye with an artificial tear solution or lift the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower eyelid to remove the particle. If the particle does not wash out, keep the eye closed and seek medical attention.

Blows to the eye

Gently apply a cold compress (such as crushed ice in a bag) to the eye without putting pressure on the eye. If there is severe pain or reduced vision, seek immediate medical attention.

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Cuts and punctures

Do not wash or attempt to remove an object that is stuck in the eye. Cover the eye with a shield...even the bottom of a paper cup will do. Seek medical help.

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Smartphones and tablets have become part of everyday life and their presence is increasing on construction sites. With the help of mobile devices, project managers, architects and other workers can actively manage all processes and information involved with their projects. Using mobile technology is a sound financial decision as it saves money and increases productivity thereby allowing companies to stay competitive in the market. By using mobile apps, contractors can complete a wide range of functions such as project management, invitations to bid, building information modeling (BIM), accounting, customer relationship management and estimating. Here are some benefits to introducing and using mobile technology in your construction business.

 

1. Better communication and fewer errors

Mobility improves communication as employees on a jobsite can share data and pictures. Field staff and office staff can stay connected and updated with the most current information. By using mobile apps, the need for paper files is eliminated. Papers aren’t lost and equipment is less likely to go missing. The need for reworks decreases as errors that lead to reworks are reduced. A team is able to collaborate efficiently through the use of digital technology and costs are lowered.

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2. Greater efficiency

Everyone can work together on the same sources of information no matter where they are located. Some of the top uses for mobile technology include accessing customer and job information, drawings, schedules, photos and documents, daily field reports, job cost and project reports. Opportunities exist for foremen and project managers to request repairs or new equipment and project delays can be avoided. Work can be delegated and changes can be made immediately. All information related to a project can be uploaded to a document management system which puts everyone on the same page.

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3. Real time analytics

Gone are the days when reports were created after the daily job was finished. Foremen can use real time reporting to keep track of their teams, field conditions and project costs. Managers can predict problems and/or corrections and immediate action can be taken. If data is collected in an organized fashion, problems can be addressed by having the right people complete a job.

 

4. Preventing mishandling

Construction companies often suffer losses due to mishandling or robbery on construction sites. When no one is on site in the evenings or weekends or when the site is located in a remote area, supplies like copper and aluminum are targets for thieves. Mobile surveillance can assist in recovering misplaced or stolen items and a job site can be monitored easily from a smartphone or tablet.

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5. Integrates with existing systems

Mobile apps are easily integrated into systems like payroll, sales, logistics and supply chain management. Expanding the role of technology on the jobsite allows a company to experience the benefits of technology on all levels of operation.

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Spring in Edmonton is synonymous with pothole season. As we are busy manoeuvring to avoid vehicle damage, it may help to consider what driving is like in other parts of the world. Here are some places that are considered to be the most dangerous roads in the world.

 

1. The North Yungas Road, Bolivia

Known as the “Road of Death” as 200 to 300 travellers are killed annually on this road. On one side, the road is solid rock while the other side has a 2,000 foot abyss. The road itself is only 12 feet wide with many sections unpaved and without guardrails. Add frequent mudslides and tumbling rocks, and the road becomes even more treacherous.

 

2. Kabul-Jalalabad Road, Afghanistan

This 143 kilometre stretch of road snakes right through Taliban territory. It’s not only this fact that makes the road dangerous; the two-lane road runs along 600 meter high cliffs and mostly consists of gravel.

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3. James Dalton Highway, Alaska

The Dalton Highway is 667 kilometres long and begins north of Fairbanks, ending at Deadhorse near the Arctic Ocean and the Prudhoe Bay oilfields. The potholes along this road are more like craters and strong winds constantly throw rocks at vehicles. The highway is one of the most isolated in the world as there are only three towns located along the distance. With temperatures reaching -62C, it is extremely dangerous to get stranded here.

 

4. Karakoram Highway, Pakistan

This highway is the highest paved highway in the world and is regarded as one of the world’s hardest alpine climbs. It connects China and Pakistan across the Karakoram mountain range where the elevation reaches 4,693 metres above sea level. Prone to landslides and floods, the road is extremely dangerous.

 

5. Guoliang Tunnel, China

This tunnel is curved along the side of a mountain and continues through it. It’s 1.2 kilometres long, 5 meters tall and 4 meters wide. Thirteen villagers took five years to build the tunnel road. The road surface and tunnel walls are very rough due to the primitive tools that were used to build it. It is exceptionally dangerous in wet conditions.



6. The Zoji La Pass, India

Located on the Indian National Highway 1D between Srinagar and Leh, the pass has an elevation of 3,528 meters. It is considered to be extremely risky as storms can make the road impassable. High winds and heavy snowfalls make it impassable in the winter, but summer doesn’t make driving any easier. Narrow roads and sheer drops into an abyss make this a daunting journey in any season.

 

7. Skippers Canyon Road, New Zealand

This winding road cut in the middle of a sheer cliff face requires a special permit to drive it. It is a very narrow and difficult road to maneuver. The gravel road is 26.5 kilometres long and is one of two roads in the country where rental car insurance is not honoured if driven on.

 

8. Los Caracoles Pass, Chile

This road is snow covered for most of the year. Running between Chile and Argentina, it is well maintained which helps to reduce the number of accidents. The road ascends extremely steep slopes and consists of many sharp turns. Without barriers for safety, the road has an elevation of 3,176 meters.

 

9. The Stelvio Pass, Italy

At 2.757 meters, this is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps. It is considered to be one of the most scenic drives in the world, but certain sections should only be driven by experienced drivers. Due to more than 48 hairpin bends, the road becomes very narrow at some points and has some very steep inclines.

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10. Sichuan-Tibet Highway, China

This road has a record of over 7,500 deaths for every 100,000 drivers. Due to rock slides, avalanches and poor weather, it is particularly dangerous during the rainy season. The road is 2,142 kilometres long and has many sharp mountainside hairpins. It makes 99 switchbacks along a 38 kilometre stretch and is a treacherous journey for even an experienced driver.

 

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Alberta’s economy has been in a downturn since 2014 when oil prices started to fall. The unemployment rate increased and the construction industry was hit hard with job losses. Statistics Canada noted that in November 2016, employment fell by 13,000 while unemployment increased by over 11,000.

There is hope on the horizon for 2017 and beyond as economists predict a modest improvement in the economy. Economic growth will finally re-emerge in the province, however it is important to keep things in perspective. Growth rates will probably be around 2.8%, signifying a slow and steady growth. Evidence can be observed in money being spent; as the economy has begun to stabilize, Albertans have started to spend money again. The provincial government is also making a commitment to increase their spending which keeps the economy moving forward. The government’s five-year, 34.8 billion dollar capital plan includes funding for roads and bridges, building and maintaining schools and funding for municipal infrastructure projects. This work will have an impact on the construction industry in particular. In a province struggling to regain its footing, the construction industry will need infrastructure spending to increase on both provincial and federal levels.

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Alberta will probably continue to face challenges, but investment continues on a global level. Companies are spending money where there is opportunity. For example, Inter Pipeline Ltd., Pembina Pipeline Corporation and ATCO Power have projects valued (in total) at 9 billion dollars which translates to 6,000 jobs. Alberta is viewed as a low-cost source of energy and feedstocks that are leveraged by the chemical industry to produce chemicals and plastics. Alberta has re-joined the list of location options in making competitive chemicals investment and has the potential to be a key player in the market. Industrial project construction such as carbon capture and storage upgrading of bitumen and petrochemical processing are all evidence of growth within the energy sector. Jobs and capital investment in the energy sector will build the construction industry and the economy for the future.

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New home construction has been on the decline, but home builders are calling for a modest rebound in 2017. Population growth has declined in Alberta due to outmigration to other provinces, directly affecting the need for housing.  Construction of multi family housing is expected to decline, but the number of new family homes being built is expected to increase. Recovery will probably be gradual but we can expect a rise of up to 9% overall in new home construction. Builders continue to be cautious but are waiting to see how rapidly the energy sector recovers. With the approval of the Keystone Pipeline project, the hope is that businesses affected by the economic slump will start to see the promise of the future.

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Many factors contribute to low productivity on a construction site. Lack of investment in education and safety, issues with equipment and material handling, focusing on results while ignoring the process and not measuring productivity all affect outcomes. Long periods of waiting, accidents, materials waste and theft and redoing completed work are other factors that can decrease productivity. By improving management practices, a construction company can increase productivity and performance. Here are some simple suggestions to follow.

 

1. Training

Providing training for all employees is essential for implementing sound management practices. Supervisors have the most impact on workers, therefore it is beneficial to provide supervisors with productivity related training. They need to learn how to analyze and work with the steps and processes of projects so they can maintain a clear vision of how to effectively achieve the desired goals.

 

2. Hire a good foreman

A foreman keeps workers on track, helps when needed and reports to management. The foreman can make or break a project and should have experience in labour and management practices.

 

3. Analyze the process

Measure key factors and set goals and benchmarks. Look at each step of the project and decide what needs to be accomplished. Organize work areas so that the project can proceed efficiently.

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4. Use technology

Gradually introduce new equipment and software that can increase productivity. There is a wide variety of software available for planning and scheduling. Take advantage of training for workers that will help to build momentum and increase performance.

 

5. Know when to implement changes

Introducing and implementing new processes at key times helps with transition and change. Positive times for transitions include when the days get longer in spring, moving to a new job site, at the start of a new phase and when there are changes within the team.

 

6. Planning and scheduling

One of the biggest issues in construction is resource unavailability. Equipment and materials may be unavailable or in transition, or it may be difficult to find skilled workers. Keeping track of scheduling can assist in determining realistic timeframes.

 

7. Extended overtime

The impact of extended overtime on construction productivity has been studied for over 40 years and some significant outcomes of these studies should be noted. Worker fatigue, increased accidents, absenteeism and high turnover are all factors that can affect productivity. Consider scheduling options that can reduce extended overtime.

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8. Keep the site clean and clear of clutter

When job sites are cluttered and disorganized, productivity decreases. A clean and clear site keeps workers organized and able to complete tasks more efficiently.

 

9. Implement best practice policies

Creating a culture of high productivity relies on effective safety practices, training, planning and clear accountability. Companies that implement best practices have a reduced number of accidents on their projects.

10. Improve meetings

Meetings are an essential component of any business. Ensure that meetings have a purpose and follow a specific plan. Keep the agenda to points that relate to tasks completed and goals for the future.

 

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Despite a general slowing down in Canada’s economy, the construction industry does not appear to have been negatively affected. Construction has been cited as one of the fastest growing industries in Canada and although cycles fluctuate, it continues to be profitable for both entrepreneurs and investors. According to Forbes magazine, five of the fastest growing industries in the US are affiliated with the construction industry. Construction spending has been growing which has influenced the overall economy in a positive way. It’s a similar situation in Canada. The Construction Sector Council forecasts that Canada will be in need of approximately 320,000 workers between now and 2020; that translates to a need for 100,000 jobs due to expansion demands.

So what is it that is driving the recent boom in the construction industry?  One factor that appears to be making a difference is the rising use of technology and the fact that technology has developed in a way that is useful to the construction industry. Gone are the days where project managers, superintendents and foremen were given complex programs that didn’t work for them. Solutions intended to save time and money involved more work and created new problems.

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With the accessibility of companies like Plan Grid, users will be able to track and sync changes to construction drawings in the field with a smartphone or tablet. Project management tools, drones and predictive data analytics have all contributed to changing the face of the construction business. Couple that with the fact that most people are familiar with the technology available on smartphones or tablets and apps are now more user-friendly and accessible to almost everyone working in the field. As younger workers enter the industry, the demand for technology will continue to rise as it will be viewed as a way to increase efficiency and set higher standards.

Another factor that is contributing to the boom in the industry is the demand for environmentally friendly construction. Sustainable, energy efficient projects are on the rise. IBISWorld projects estimate 23% annual growth in the green building industry. Partnered with a focus on building communities, entrepreneurs are committed to seeing the benefits firsthand.

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Investment in construction will continue to appeal to investors. The industry is vast and incorporates a variety of jobs. There are many jobs that will continue to be necessary and automation will not affect the long-term need for workers. Each project is unique and the process of beginning and finishing projects constantly changes. It’s impossible to ignore the impact the construction industry has and it will continue to thrive as demand grows. For investors, entrepreneurs, employers and employees, the industry will continue to offer exciting opportunities and possibilities for specialization which will make it easier for companies to create a niche in the industry. Competition will continue to be a factor construction companies will have to deal with, but specialization will lessen the pressure to provide a vast array of services.

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Spring weather is known to be unpredictable. It can snow or rain and the next day we can experience a heat wave. Job conditions for workers can be dangerous as the weather can create unsafe working conditions. Here are a few safety tips to be aware of when working on a construction site in the spring.

 

1. Make sure your clothing is appropriate for the weather. Long pants, safety goggles and slip resistant boots are essential when working around machinery. Waterproof clothing is an essential if the weather is rainy. If the weather is warm, wear long sleeves, a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from sunburn. Don’t forget to use sunscreen or insect repellent if necessary. Stay hydrated when it is hot outside and take breaks in shaded areas to minimize exposure to the sun.

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2. Rain can make conditions slippery. To avoid slipping, wipe off mud from gloves and boots before stepping onto equipment. Keep in mind that the dangers of slipping on mud exceeds those of slipping on wet surfaces.

 

3.The instability of the ground in spring weather makes it difficult to maneuver. When operating machinery, be aware that it has the potential to injure someone if it slides down a slope. Workers operating machines should always wear seatbelts.

 

4. Moisture loosens hard ground and makes excavating dangerous. If excavation is taking place, there is a higher chance of the earth caving in when the ground is unstable. Use a trench box to support the sides of the excavation and dig the hole so that the sides are properly sloped for the soil type.

 

5. During heavy rains or thunderstorms, it is often better to wait out the storm. Flash flooding can occur with heavy rain and high winds. Lightning which accompanies thunderstorms can be extremely dangerous for workers on equipment located high above the ground. Waiting for the weather to change is advisable as the safety risk to workers can be extreme.

 

6. Be aware of the effects of cold stress on workers. Cold stress can occur when temperatures are as high as 10 degrees Celsius with the addition of wind and rain. Five factors contribute to cold stress:

  • naturally or artificially cold environments

  • wind

  • wet clothing from water or sweat

  • cold water immersion

  • fatigue

Prolonged exposure can lead to hypothermia and workers can experience symptoms long before the situation becomes critical. It is important for workers to wear layers with an outer layer of waterproof gear. Provide shelters and space heaters if necessary and train workers to recognize the symptoms of cold stress.

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7. Avoid working a little too quickly in bad weather. Accidents can happen fast. Workers should work slowly and methodically to decrease their chances of accident and injury. Keeping a clean work site also contributes to minimizing accidents and is an important part in keeping a worksite safe.

 

8. Visibility is critical to a safe work environment. Safety goggles should be wiped with anti-fogging spray before going outside. Keep the workspace illuminated if clouds or fog are present. When visibility is poor, workers should wear bright reflective outerwear especially in areas with vehicle traffic.

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Technology is rapidly changing and advancing. The construction industry is not excluded from new innovative and creative ideas fueled by the ever-changing technology sector. Here are some trends that will enable the construction industry to utilize technology’s vision and efficiency.

 

1. Labour tracking

Labour tracking can enable contractors to cut costs and improve efficiency. Wearables can track workers in the field and ensure they are aware and protected from potential injuries. On the job site, equipment sensors will be able to monitor whether machinery is in need of repair and provides managers with the information they need to effectively control their fleets.

 

2. Virtual and augmented reality technology (VR/AR)

Being able to visualize what a project will look like when completed will provide construction companies with a way to explain the building process to their clients. By utilizing reality technology, collaboration can occur between project stakeholders before building begins. During the building process, it will now be possible to do virtual walkthroughs on any project, and VR and AR will allow construction teams to detect errors ahead of time and avoid costly mistakes. Job site safety will also benefit from this technology as managers and workers will be able to view jobsite conditions without subjecting workers to safety hazards.

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3. Building and Information Modeling (BIM)

Mainly associated with the design process, 3D building information modeling can be used before and after the construction process. Descriptions are available for every aspect of the build and information related to photos, specifications and manuals can be linked to objects in the model. It is a new form of information processing and collaboration which uses data embedded within a model. Because it is not a single piece of software it can create models separately, which allows for access to a combined view of the entire project. Workers will be able to determine which tools will be needed to complete a project and better plans will produce quick results and will keep the project on budget.

 

4. Drones

Unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred to as drones, can assist in conducting site surveys and help track a project’s progress in real time. Aerial photos, maps, 3D images and other sensor data can be turned into structural models, topographical maps and volumetric measurements. Data can be collected faster than human surveyors and provides an efficient method for cutting costs, avoiding delays and addressing any potential issues.

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5. Smart Buildings

Sensors, microchips and other devices will be able to collect data and manage a building’s function. Heating, ventilation, lighting, security and other home systems will be able to be monitored by business owners, managers and homeowners to reduce energy usage and minimize environmental impacts. In conjunction with energy-saving designs and construction, it will be possible to produce commercial buildings that are up to 70% more energy efficient.

 

6. Mobile Apps

Apps are available for everything from time tracking to project management. Anyone with access to a cell phone or tablet can find information on any topic. Communicating and sharing information will be quicker and more effective.

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