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ISSUE 2 | 2016


Demolishing Stereotypes: The Evolution of the Construction Industry Workforce

ISSUE 2 | 2016 1



Just as a sturdy building is held together by a strong framework, the success of an organization is built upon its individual constituents. At GBCA, it is inspiring to see our members come together, each bringing their unique experience and expertise to the table, to share information, learn best practices, and grow our industry. Equipped with this knowledge, our members are evolving in the ways they build and work. This means incorporating the latest technology, using cutting-edge techniques, making worksites safer, and successfully advocating for the advancement of our industry within the city of Philadelphia and our region. While it may be easy to recognize how this knowledge sharing influences our day-today work, it is important not to lose sight of the far-reaching impact of our collective efforts. These industry efforts have generated $13.6 billion in economic impact throughout the five-county region, including a $6.5 billion impact in Philadelphia, in the past three years alone. Commercial development has had an indelible effect on jobs, residency, tourism, and beyond, all of which is detailed in a new research report commissioned by the Association, which you can read more about in this issue of Construction Today. You, our members, are driving incredible positive growth and change in our local communities, and it is not going unnoticed.

As our industry grows, we, too, must grow and evolve as an association. We must seek new ways to connect with one another so we can continue to improve. But we can’t stop there. That’s why I am committed to strengthening GBCA’s relationships with outside organizations, related associations, and labor unions who share our similar goals. This focus is already making a difference, and through our mutual partnerships, we are bringing more to the table in advocacy meetings, and we are able to offer even more networking opportunities for like-minded industry professionals throughout the region. As we continue to support each other, the fruit of our efforts to build a strong future for the commercial construction industry will only multiply. We know we are more powerful when we are united, and never before have we stood more solidly together. Benjamin J. Connors, Esq. President General Building Contractors Association

ISSUE 2 | 2016 3

growth of women working in construction, which has greatly increased over the last several decades. In fact, on a national level, the amount of women working in our industry has grown more than 81 percent since the 1980s. GBCA members and staff share their observations and insights on the topic within this issue, and we also highlight the workforce development efforts of key organizations supporting the entry of women and minorities within our industry.

NOTES FROM THE PUBLISHER The long winter has finally come to an end. The rainy days are behind us and the warm, lush summer months are just ahead. It is at this time of year that I always think of renewal, regrowth, a fresh start. And just as the flowers and the trees are blooming with new growth, the construction industry in Philadelphia is booming and growing. Everywhere you look there seems to be a crane in the air. This is a true testament to a new economic shift and growth — and further evidences GBCA’s message that #ExcellenceisBuilding. As our industry grows and changes, so, too, does our workforce. Far from being considered strictly a “man’s job,” careers in construction are inclusive to all, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, and other factors. In this issue of Construction Today, we take a look at the 4 CONSTRUCTION TODAY

Given our issue’s focus on women in construction, we would be remiss not to celebrate the achievements of our own trailblazer. We are proud to spotlight GBCA chairman Emily Bittenbender as the recipient of the prestigious Paradigm Award from the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce earlier this year. Not only is Emily an exemplary businesswoman who is the personification of grit, she recognizes the great value of mentorship and is inspiring the next generation of leaders — female and male — across industries. Emily truly represents excellence in the city of Philadelphia and beyond. There are many critical components to building excellence, and for employers, ensuring the safety of a worksite and your employees is first and foremost. Coming off the heels of Philadelphia’s Construction Safety Week, which took place the first week of May, and with National Safety Month right around the corner in June, now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your current worksite safety programs and measures. In this issue, our contributors provide valuable — what could be lifesaving — tips for on-the-job safety, including how to conduct OSHA’s Safety Stand-Down. Of course, we are pleased to offer safety resources every day beyond those you’ll find in this publication. As seasons change, and our industry evolves, GBCA remains focused on providing you, our members, with what you need to grow as an organization and as a professional. From safety workshops to networking events to educational programs and more, we’re here to help you achieve excellence in all that you do.



CONTRIBUTING WRITERS William Adams / Donald Ashton / Benedicte Clouet / Katie M. Corrado / Elyse Crawford / Nicholas DeJesse / Dennis M. Dougherty / E. June Ellaway-Lunn / Erik Highland / Anne Liberto / Angela Louro / Andrea Mannino / Stephen Mullin / Melinda Patrician / Carrie Rathmann / Victoria K. Sicaras / Richard W. Sievert, Jr., Ph.D. / Lauren Tosti DESIGN Vault Communications ACCOUNTING Michelle Versace EDITORIAL OFFICE General Building Contractors Assn., Inc. 36 South 18th Street Philadelphia, PA 19103 P: 215-568-7015 F: 215-568-3115 PRINTING A-Lex Print & Promotion 1670 South Hanover Street Pottstown PA 19465 484-988-1156 Copyright: CONSTRUCTION TODAY® registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Copyright ©2004 by the General Building Contractors Association. All rights reserved. Submissions for editorial review should be sent to the editorial office address. Neither the publisher nor any individual associated with any branch of production, nor the advertisers will be liable for misprints or misinformation contained herein. PRINTED U.S.A.

General Building Contractors Association theGBCA


Lauren Tosti Director, Marketing & Communications General Building Contractors Association

Confined Space / High Angle Rescue Teams Occupational Safety and Industrial Hygiene Consulting Services Job Site Safety / Medical Staffing, Site Audits and Sampling

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Safety Program Development and Support Several Other Specialized Training Programs and Consultation Services Available

Toll Free: 855-5MEDTEX (855-563-3839) Email: Web:

ISSUE 2 | 2016 5

18 ON THE COVER 18 DEMOLISHING STEREOTYPES Exploring the evolution of the

construction workforce and the rise of women in construction

ISSUE 2 | 2016




10 CONTRACTOR’S CORNER Featuring Ed Szwarc, Skanska USA Building Inc.

14 THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION IN PHILADELPHIA Highlights of a new research study detailing the major influence of commercial construction

21 THE NEXT GENERATION OF WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION Recognizing the power of mentorship to transform our industry


22 WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A WOMAN IN CONSTRUCTION An opinion editorial by Anne Liberto 24 ACE MENTOR PROGRAM 2016 AWARDS Honoring Organization of the Year, Urban Project of the Year, and Suburban Project of the Year

28 PARTNERING FOR COMMUNITY IMPACT How Habitat for Humanity and the Unions make perfect partners

32 VIBRATION MITIGATION Scaffolding for ancient murals at the Penn Museum

34 TALK AMONGST YOURSELVES, APPLIANCES The future of smart, Internetconnected home appliances




38 BUILDING FOUNDATIONS FOR SAFETY S  potlight on HazTek Inc.’s Principal Consultant Michelle Paxton

40 OSHA’S NEW CONFINED SPACES IN CONSTRUCTION Understanding the law’s significant change to construction operations

42 BUILDING A CULTURE OF SAFETY Madison Concrete Construction’s

implementation of the Kairos Safety Commitment Model

EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 26 WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS BUILD Highlighting institutions and organizations supporting careers for women in construction

49 APPRENTICESHIPS BUILD CAREERS How professional training will shape our industry

value engineering course

Safety Stand-Down, and Philadelphia’s first Construction Safety Week


50 GBCA’S NEW SCHOLARSHIP Announcing a new scholarship fund through the AGC Education and Research Foundation


44 GBCA SAFETY UPDATE O  SHA turns 45, how to conduct a

12 EVENT PHOTOS Snapshots from the 2016 Annual

Meeting, Membership Dinner, and CLC Bowling



Director reflects on the dangerous reality of falls


ISSUE 2 | 2016 7






Director, Safety Services, GBCA

Marketing Director, Kieffer’s Appliances

Associate, Parker McCay

Director, Philadelphia Area Office, OSHA




Med-Tex Services, Inc.

Director of Marketing & Design, HazTek Inc.

Marketing Director, Superior Scaffold Services, Inc.

Director, Membership Development & Services, GBCA





Director, Education & Professional Development, GBCA

Director, AGC Education & Research Foundation

Director, Strategic Partnerships, Habitat for Humanity

AEC Editorial Specialist for Madison Concrete Construction

In the last issue, Foundation Structures was inadvertently omitted from the article on FMC Tower. We regret the error. Our members are always invited to contribute content for upcoming issues. Contact Lauren Tosti at or 215-568-7015.

RICHARD W. SIEVERT, JR., PH.D. Director, Value Engineering Studies and Workshop Programs, Drexel University College of Engineering


LAUREN TOSTI Director, Marketing & Communications, GBCA


Through an exclusive partnership, employees of GBCA member companies are eligible for a 10% tuition savings on Drexel’s online MS in Construction Management program, and many other exclusive partnership benefits with Drexel University Online.*

PARTN ERSH I P BEN EFITS IN CLU D E: 10-40% new student partner tuition savings on online degrees and certificates for you and your immediate family

Additional benefits for military servicemembers, veterans and their immediate family

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ONLINE.DREXEL.EDU/GBCA *GBCA-sponsored education courses are available to employees of the Active and Associate member companies, as well as companies that contribute to the GBCA-administered Industry Advancement Program (IAP). The GBCA education program is intended to provide continuing education opportunities for industry personnel. As of August 1, 2015, employees of Active and Associate members and IAP contributing companies are eligible for reimbursement up to $2,000.00 per pupil, per semester for any of the approved sponsored courses. The maximum tuition reimbursement for each student is $4,000.00 per calendar year. Limited space is available at each institution, and tuition reimbursement is at the discretion of GBCA. ISSUE 2 | 2016 9



TITLE Executive Vice President – General Manager

AGE 59

COMPANY, CITY Skanska USA Building Inc.


EDUCATION New Jersey Institute of Technology



FAMILY Wife Beth, and two adult sons, Chris and Tony

FIRST JOB Stock boy at A&P Supermarket

RANDOM FACT ABOUT YOURSELF Started my career as electrician

WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS MOTTO? People matter, safety matters, ethics matter.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST BECOME INTERESTED IN YOUR CAREER PATH? I knew I wanted to work in Construction as a young teenager. My grandfather was a plasterer and following him around and working around our house got me interested.


“ People matter, safety matters, ethics matter.



Most rewarding is winning work




Least rewarding is having to lay off people

Professional golfer



Not enough hours in a day

Golfing, fishing and reading



Focusing on the positive outlook

HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR COMPETITIVE EDGE IN TODAY’S MARKET? Hiring new Grads and keeping up on new technology to increase efficiency



Southern California



FAVORITE RESTAURANT? Gypsy’s, in Conshohocken

WHAT KIND OF CAR DO YOU DRIVE? Mercedes SUV and 2008 Corvette

Inspira Health System and Christiana Care Health System new hospital projects

DO YOU HAVE A LIFE MOTTO? IF SO, WHAT IS IT? Do what is right and work hard…the benefits will be yours.


WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST REGRET (PROFESSIONAL OR PERSONAL)? I don’t look back, I try to always look toward the future.

WHAT AWARD OR HONOR ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF? Being a father to two sons

ISSUE 2 | 2016 11

2016 ANNUAL MEETING The 126th GBCA Annual Meeting was once again held at the Union League of Philadelphia. Despite the inclement weather, the Annual Meeting was a packed house and completely sold out. Although weather conditions prohibited the keynote speaker, Dick Vermeil, from attending, the GBCA was lucky enough to welcome Joe Conklin for a very fun and energetic evening. Mike Stepnowski was given the honor of Distinguished Director, and Mayor Kenny attended the VIP reception to greet a number of our lucky members.


MEMBERSHIP DINNER On February 22, 2016, GBCA hosted 2016’s first Membership Dinner at the DownTown Club in historic Philadelphia. The members-only event featured cocktails and a full-course dinner. GBCA members enjoyed a presentation on IPD, Integrated Project Delivery, presented by nationally recognized IPD expert, Markku Allison, AIA.

CLC BOWLING The CLC networking event at North Bowl Lounge & Lanes took place on March 24, 2016. We welcomed 25 members of the Construction Leadership Council for drinks, tots, and bowling! Look out for the next networking event slated for July — Go Karts!

ISSUE 2 | 2016 13

The construction  industry  is  critical  to  the  continued  strength  and  growth  of  the  U.S economy.  Generating  more  than  $400  billion  per  year  and  employing  6.7  million   individuals,  this  sector  represents  a  sizeable  portion  of  the  country’s  gross  domesti product  (GDP).  Beyond  its  size,  it  also  plays  a  pivotal  role  in  the  economy  by   creating  and  upgrading  our  nation’s  commercial  building  stock  –  the  bedrock  for  ou economy’s  productivity.  As  the  economy  continues  to  go  through  fundamental   changes,  the  nature  of  the  construction  industry  had  to  adapt  to  the  new  demands  o the  market.  It  is  in  the  industry’s  capacity  to  innovate,  which  will  reside  in   tomorrow’s  GDP  gains.     After  being  heavily  hit  by  the  2008  recession,  the  construction  industry  is  a  gain   growing,  although  when  compared  with  where  the  economy  stood  prior  to  the   2008–2009  crisis,  it  is  worth  reflecting  on  how  far  the  construction  industry  has   come.  The  construction  sector  was  responsible  for  nearly  8%  of  the  national  GDP   before  the  crisis,  while  today  its  share  is  3.7%  (2015).  Over  the  last  several  years  th construction  sector  employment  has  seen  encouraging  growth,  creating  positive   prospects  for  further  improvements  and  increased  industry  strength  for  2016.  Even though  employment  has  not  returned  to  pre-­‐recession  levels,  a  number  of   by Benedicte Clouet, Andrea Mannino, Stephen Mullin, Econsult Solutions construction   workers   retrained  for  other  jobs  during  the  recession,  numbers  have   started  to  rise  (see  Figure  1).  Nationally  the  construction  sector  is  expected  to  be   The construction industry is critical to the continued strength slowdowns by ithe recession, andup   andemand   old commercial capital stock one  oand f  the  fastest   growing   ndustries.   Pent   due  to  construction   growth of the U.S. economy. Generating more than $400 billion per in aparticular driving the cneed for new,in  modern slowdowns   biny  tPhiladelphia he  recession,   nd  an  old  iscommercial   apital   stock   Philadelphia  in year and employing 6.7 million individuals, this sector represents particular  is  commercial driving  the  supply. need  for  new,  modern  commercial  supply.   a sizeable portion of the country’s gross domestic product   (GDP). Beyond its size, it also plays a pivotal role in the economy by   creating FIGURE 1



After being heavily hit by the 2008 recession, the construction industry is again growing, although when compared with where the economy stood prior to the 2008–2009 crisis, it is worth reflecting on how far the construction industry has come. The construction sector was responsible for nearly 8% of the national GDP before the crisis, while today its share is 3.7% (2015). Over the last several years the construction sector employment has seen encouraging growth, creating positive prospects for further improvements and increased industry strength for 2016. Even though employment has not returned to pre-recession levels, a number of construction workers retrained for other jobs during the recession, numbers have started to rise (see Figure 1). Nationally the construction sector is expected to be one of the fastest growing industries. Pent up demand due to construction


Employees (thousands)

and upgrading our nation’s commercial building stock – the bedrock for our economy’s productivity. As the economy continues to go through fundamental changes, the nature of the construction industry had to adapt to the new demands of the market. It is in the industry’s capacity to innovate, which will reside in tomorrow’s GDP gains.

80,000 70,000 60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Source:Source: U.S. Bureau Labor Statistic, Data Series Report (2016) Report (2016) U.S.ofBureau of Labor Statistic, Data Series

But  what  does  this  mean  for  the  construction  industry  in  the  Philadelphia  region?   General  Building  Contractors  Association  (GBCA)  recently  commissioned  Econsult   Solutions,  Inc.  (ESI),  a  Philadelphia-­‐based  economic  consulting  firm,  to  perform  an    



But what does this mean for the construction industry in the Philadelphia region? General Building Contractors Association (GBCA) recently commissioned Econsult Solutions, Inc. analysis of  the  current  state  of  the  construction  sector  in  the  local  and  regional   (ESI), a Philadelphia-based economic consulting firm, to perform an analysis of the current economy.   his  construction report  highlights   he  the multifaceted   economic   contributions   of  highlights the   state of Tthe sector tin local and regional economy. This report construction   i ndustry   t o   t he   e conomy   o f   P hiladelphia   a nd   P ennsylvania.   T he   the multifaceted economic contributions of the construction industry to the economy of construction   plays  a  central   ole  in  lifting  sector the  American   economy,   the   the Philadelphiasector   and Pennsylvania. Therconstruction plays a central role ainnd   lifting Philadelphia   and  Pennsylvania   economies   are   dependent  economies on  the  vitality   of  the   American economy, and the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania are dependent on sector.   the vitality of the sector.

Retail   construction   the   Philadelphia   etro  region   as  significantly   affected  by by  the the   Retail constructionin  in the Philadelphiammetro regionwwas significantly affected recession well the continuedshift   shiftto  to e-commerce.WWhile thennumber recession   as  as well   as  as by  by the   continued   e-­‐commerce.   hile  the   umber  oof f  nnew ew   retail projectshas   hasincreased   increased oover years, thethe   total square footage of retail retail   projects   ver  the the  past past  several several   years,   total   square   footage   of   completions was at a 10-year low in 2013 was even lower in 2014, although were slight retail   completions   was   at  a  10-­‐year   low  iand n  2013   and  w as  even   lower   in  2014,   increases in rent. By 2015, rents rebounded to2pre-recession levels. Several retail projects although   were   slight   increases   in  rent.  By   015,  rents  rebounded   to  large pre-­‐recession   are underway or have been announced Philadelphia region, and they will levels.   Several  large   retail   projects   are  uthroughout nderway  othe r  have   been  announced   play a considerable role in the forecasted in the square rfootage throughout   the  Philadelphia   region,   and  tdramatic hey  will  increase play  a  considerable   ole  in  tof he  retail completions and rents over the next five years (see Figure 2). These projects include the forecasted  dramatic  increase  in  the  square  footage  of  retail  completions  and  rents   Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia at Market East, East Market Development, the expansion over  the  next  five  years  (see  Figure  2).  These  projects  include  the  Fashion  Outlets  of   of the King of Prussia mall, and the new Granite Run mall re-development in Media, Philadelphia  at  Market  East,  East  Market  Development,  the  expansion  of  the  King  of   Pennsylvania. Together they will represent over $1.075 billion in new capital investment for Prussia   mall,  and  the  new  Granite  Run  mall  re-­‐development  in  Media,  Pennsylvania.   the region. Together  they  will  represent  over  $1.075  billion  in  new  capital  investment  for  the   region.     FIGURE 2   RETAIL COMPLETIONS AND EFFECTIVE RENT PSF

ABOUT THE RESEARCH STUDY New research from the economists at Econsult Solutions details the significant influence of commercial construction and


provides strong evidence that



800,000 700,000




500,000 400,000


300,000 200,000


quantifies the influence of the

Effective Rent PSF

Total new SF of retail

our city and region. The research



commercial construction industry from 2013 to 2015, using the most recent data available. The findings of the study, highlighted here, reveal meaningful


economic growth and positive



Source: REIS (2015)

Source: REIS (2015)

  In  PInhiladelphia,   as  as in  inother   illennials  aand nd  sseniors eniors  are are  driving driving  the the  recent Philadelphia, otherurban   urbancores,   cores,mmillennials construction boom,boom,   creating the need notfor   only residential development, recent   construction   creating   the  for need   not  multifamily only  multifamily   residential   but also newbtypes of n workspaces, amenities, retirement and hospital facilities. The development,   ut  also   ew  types  oflexible f  workspaces,   flexible   amenities,   retirement   and   changing and growing population, continued gains in efficiency and an environmentally hospital   facilities.   The  ccity hanging   and  growing   city   population,   continued   gains  in   conscious populous are blurring the lines between home, work and recreation, efficiency   and   an  environmentally   conscious   populous   are   blurring   the  lines   creating demand for new multifunctional developments. between   home,   work   and  recreation,   creating  demand  for  new  multifunctional   developments.    

GBCA members in transforming

This new demand is driving the push towards mixed-use developments, including office and multi-family apartment buildings with ground 2 floor retail, buildings with both a residential and either an office or hotel component, and developments that combine labs, offices, and university space (see Figure 3). The current investment strategy is not to invest in just one type of capital infrastructure, but instead to build the capital infrastructure for multiple uses: office, retail, hotels, institutional, housing, and recreation. A healthy diversity in a region’s commercial capital stock increases the region’s competitiveness for business and resident attraction.

change within Philadelphia and beyond city limits, resulting in part from the efforts of GBCA and its member companies. Having played a major role in laying this groundwork, the Association and its members remain committed to ensuring continued growth and a promising future for Philadelphia and the surrounding five-county region.

ISSUE 2 | 2016 15

Xxxxxxxxxxx | XXXXXXXX


Winter/Spring 2013 31

office and  multi-­‐family  apartment  buildings  with  ground  floor  retail,  buildings  with   both  a  residential  and  either  an  office  or  hotel  component,  and  developments  that   combine  labs,  offices,  and  university  space  (see  Figure  3).  The  current  investment   strategy  is  not  to  invest  in  just  one  type  of  capital  infrastructure,  but  instead  to  build   the  capital  infrastructure  for  multiple  uses:  office,  retail,  hotels,  institutional,   housing,  and  recreation.  A  healthy  diversity  in  a  region’s  commercial  capital  stock   increases  the  region’s  competitiveness  for  business  and  resident  attraction.     FIGURE 3 3 - N UMBER OF N EW C OMMERCIAL C ONSTRUCTION S TARTS IN THE F IVE -C OUNTY F IGURE NUMBER OF NEW COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION R EGION STARTS IN THE FIVE-COUNTY REGION BY TYPE BY YEAR BY T YPE BY Y EAR 900 800 700

Parking Garage


Retail 500





Medical & Institutions Commercial

200 100 0 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Source: Reed (2003-2013), CMD (2013-2015) Source: Reed (2003-2013), CMD (2013-2015)

The building industry goes beyond its share in the GDP and its The   building  industry  goes  beyond  its  share  in  the  GDP  and  its  importance  is   importance is connected to not only its size, but as well to its role connected  to  not  only  its  size,  but  as  well  to  its  role  in  economic  growth  and   in economic growth and development, especially at the local level. development,  especially  at  the  local  level.  The  physical  capital  stock  is  the   The physical capital stock is the foundation for economic growth; it foundation   for  economic  growth;  it  plays  a  central  role  in  the  economies  of  the  City   plays a central role in the economies of the City of Philadelphia, the of   P hiladelphia,   the  Fand ive-­‐County   Region,  and  ofthe   Commonwealth   Five-County Region, the Commonwealth Pennsylvania and of  Pennsylvania   not always and   c ontributes   t o   t he   c ompetitiveness   o f   n early   e very   o ther   industry  sIt’s ector.   For   clear how to build your contributes to the competitiveness of nearly every other industry business plan to withstand a changing example,   as  example, medicine  as continues   advance,  to modern   hospitals   sector. For medicineto   continues advance, modernare  needed  to   marketplace. effectively   treat   patients   and  give   comfort   to  and their   families.   r  retail  space  needs  to  Which projects should you hospitals are needed to effectively treat patients give comfortOto take on? How can you plan effectively be   brightly   lit,  Or engaging   and  needs allow  to for  be social   experiences.   Neither   their families. retail space brightly lit, engaging and of  these  can   for the future? And what assistance do happen   ithout  experiences. modernized   commercial   construction.   allow forwsocial Neither of these can happen without you need today to reach your future   modernized commercial construction. financial goals? Greater  efficiency  through  technological  innovation,  better  access  to  affordable   Greater efficiency through technological innovation, better access domestic   energy  resources   and  the  systematic   integration   of  design  in  construction   Toeet   plan your strategy, you need to affordable energy and the systematicBintegration have   opened  domestic new  doors   to  cresources onstruction   companies.   uildings  have  to  m the   an advisor who really knows the of design in construction have opened new doors to construction demands  for  resiliency,  sustainability,  integrated  user  experience,  and  ease  of   construction companies. Buildings haverecreation,   to meet the demands forNresiliency, transition   between   work,   and   home  life.   ew  systems  to  heat,   cool,  and  business...and knows you. Who can deliver tailored solutions sustainability, integrated user experience, and ease of transition that create opportunities, maximize between work, recreation, and home life. New3  systems to heat, cool, efficiency and help your bottom line.   and light spaces are necessary in a society where concerns about

What’s the best way to build success?

global warming and energy consumption are growing. New fabric materials, which are lighter, stronger, and often cheaper, have contributed to the development of new solutions for both the residential and commercial built environment. Green construction is also a major economic driver. Demand is growing for environmentally friendly building and construction materials and GBCA members are building the new efficient buildings that make Philadelphia’s metro-economy more competitive.

The construction industry, even with the recent global economic hardships, has persevered and found ways to grow and evolve to meet the new demands of its region. With several large multi-year construction developments under way and announced throughout the Philadelphia region and southeastern Pennsylvania, the industry continues to strengthen. Most importantly, the construction sector has shown that as always it is able to adjust to meet the commercial building needs of the region, allowing for the continuous growth and development of all other industries, and increasing the economic competitiveness of our region. n

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ISSUE 2 | 2016 17


DEMOLISHING STEREOTYPES: THE EVOLUTION OF THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY WORKFORCE by Lauren Tosti, Director, Marketing & Communications, GBCA Far gone are the days when the stereotypical profile of a construction worker actually held true. Today, there is not one single face of the industry. Construction professionals now reflect diversity in age, race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status, and with efforts underway to strengthen the industry by enhancing heterogeneity, it will become even more so in years to come. At a baseline level, contractors and suppliers are required to abide by Equal Opportunity Employment laws that ensure job opportunities are available to men and women from all walks of life alike. Beyond that, however, other factors are at play, shaping the makeup of today’s workforce. For one, the changing profile of the modern construction professional is undeniably affected by the national labor shortage plaguing the industry at large. With talent in short supply, demand has skyrocketed and encouraged new blood to join the ranks of the construction industry.

Alongside the ebbs and flows of the economic booms and recessions, in the past several decades, we have witnessed a constant: the demographic evolution of the construction workforce. Take, for example, the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), which dates back to 1953, when it was founded by 16 women working in the construction industry in Fort Worth, Texas. Today, it provides support and opportunities for thousands of women working in construction across the country. Breaking Down Stereotypes

How Opportunity Creates Diversity

On a national level, the industry is experiencing a substantial increase of women in its workforce. According to OSHA, in recent decades, the number of women employed in construction has grown more than 81 percent from 1985 to 2007. Even still, a decade later, women only make up 9.3 percent of the construction workforce across the board, finds the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the Associated General Contractors of America, there are currently more than 650,000 commercial construction employers that put more than 6 million employees to work across the U.S. And that figure is rapidly growing. Construction laborers are among the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ top occupations with the most projected job growth over the next 10 years. Within the Philadelphia region, each year, nearly 28,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly, are supported as a result of commercial construction projects — and that number will only rise as more development is underway.

This evolution is evident within GBCA membership and leadership, too. Amy Novak, project executive with Torcon, Inc., who has been with the company for 10 years and has worked in the Philadelphia market for the past two decades, says, “From an internship in college to now, I have continued to grow and enjoy that growth in the construction management industry. I often tell people that being a woman in this industry, although a minority position, has never been one of disadvantage. Over the last 20 years, we have seen the continued growth of women in the business from trades to management professionals, to women in high-ranking and

decision-making positions with our clients.” Novak and other women working in the industry continue to break down the stereotypes associated with the “typical” construction laborer or working professional — and any stigmas attached to female workers in general. “I have a very masculine mind. I don’t cry … I don’t gossip. I don’t complain. I take the bullets just like everybody else,” said Emily Bittenbender, GBCA’s current chair of the board of directors, in an interview earlier this year with The Philadelphia Inquirer. Bittenbender is GBCA’s first female chair of the board in the Association’s history. While many women are taking leadership roles within the industry at large, particularly on the owner and client side of the business — in health care, universities, and corporations — the increase of females taking executive or ownership roles on the trade side has still seemed very slow overall, notes Trish Harrington, director, business development, LF Driscoll Company, LLC, speaking in regards to her personal experience and perspective. “The accomplishments of Emily Bittenbender and more female representation in the actual hands-on trades is breaking through the traditional all-male workplace,” Harrington says. Having grown up in a family of mechanical contractors, she was exposed to the industry at an early age. She started her own firm at age 27, growing it to $15 million in sales when she sold it in 2005. “During that time frame I knew of only one female service mechanic and maybe three female ISSUE 2 | 2016 19

electricians, and other than administrative or sales roles, there were very few women, if any, in junior or senior executive roles.” Since then, Harrington says she has witnessed a change. “LF Driscoll has numerous female project managers, safety personnel, and estimators on staff — almost double that of a few years back.” Angela Louro, director of education and professional development at GBCA, says more women are expressing interest in careers in construction, particularly when it comes to GBCA’s tuition reimbursement program. As of the end of April 2016, nearly half (approximately 45 percent) of the students currently enrolled in the tuition reimbursement program are women, reflecting an increase among women of over 12 percent from 2015. Welcoming All into the Industry To continue on the path that women over the past several decades have begun to pave, the industry is working to ensure women, as well as minorities, have an integral presence within the construction workforce both today and in the future. Groups such as GBCA’s Construction Leadership Council, the Association’s young professionals group, are helping build the foundation for the future leadership of GBCA. But the exposure to careers in construction begins even earlier, and recruitment and mentoring programs are critical to ushering in a new, diverse generation. Louro notes that local programs, such as the NAWIC Chapter 145’s MAGIC Camp for girls in grades 7 to 12, and Sisters in the Brotherhood, part of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, are ramping up efforts to increase female high school students’ interest in the construction industry. Harrington adds, “The earlier we introduce our young girls to careers in construction, the better chance we have of equaling the playing field.” Once interest is sparked, mentorship offers a platform for education and career development. GBCA works closely with the ACE Mentor Program of Eastern Pennsylvania, which provides students from local high schools with opportunities to learn about potential careers in construction, architecture, and engineering. Approximately 65 percent of students in the program are minorities. 20 CONSTRUCTION TODAY

“Mentors are key components in industry developmental networks as they serve at the intersection of professional development and personal connection,” says Tiffany Millner, affiliate director, ACE Mentor Program of Eastern Pennsylvania. “The design and construction industry is in desperate need of more professionals taking the initiative and serving in this role — if for nothing more than business preservation.” Where We Are Going As the face of construction continues to evolve with time, so does the necessary skill set and expertise. While diversity is desired and encouraged, what matters most is educating and hiring workers with the best qualifications to get the job done.

Charlie Cook, president, R.S. Cook & Associates, and assistant clinical professor of construction management at the Drexel University College of Engineering, explains that technology is a driving factor in our changing workforce. “The trend in construction is for a smarter and more diverse workforce top to bottom,” he says. “The universal image of brawn and muddy boots is being replaced by brains and clean technology.” This trend certainly changes how we work, but who will perform the work in the years to come? All in all, an individual’s ability and willingness to bring professionalism, attention to detail, and diligence to a job — whether it is on a construction site or in an office — transcends gender, race, ethnicity, age, or other factors. n


THE NEXT GENERATION OF WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION by Elyse Crawford, Associate, Parker McCay I was raised in a small town on Boston’s south shore. A girl born in the mid-seventies, I came of age in a time where I heard that I could do anything, be anything, when I grew up. Society was realizing the power and untapped potential of women, and had begun opening the minds of the new generation of girls to the opportunities that lay ahead. And those opportunities were limitless. So why aren’t there more women around the construction board room table? Why is the female architect still mistaken for the decorator? And most significantly, why are construction sites still 99% male, a statistic only slightly better than the NFL? It may be that while society proclaims loudly that women have options, we don’t necessarily provide them with the opportunities to pursue those options. We tell our daughters that they can do anything, be anything, they choose…but pun intended, the path remains under construction. Notwithstanding the efforts being made, the construction industry is having trouble closing the gender gap despite its significant attempts to recruit and retain women. While the cause of the gender disparity is complex, the solution may lie in the proverbial village that raises each of us. Historically, the son of the village carpenter succeeded his father as the next generation’s carpenter. Not because of some genetic predisposition, but because the parent cultivates and inspires that interest in the child. We are drawn to what we are familiar with; we become interested because we are exposed to a particular path. Put another way, we succeed when we are mentored. My father happened to be a general contractor. As a young girl, I tagged along with him to jobsites and project meetings. At fifteen, my mother acquiesced and let me take a summer job operating the exterior lift of a six story building he was constructing (apparently OSHA was more lax in the 80’s). The consistent mentorship my father gave me sparked

a life-long passion for construction. As a child I was wide eyed at the buildings that were the tangible monuments to the success of his labor. My early exposure to the opportunities in construction made it a realistic endeavor for me; it never seemed otherwise. My father used to say building was in my blood, and my childhood was set against the backdrop of bricks, steel and concrete. I was exposed from a young age to all of the excitement, majesty and drama of helping to shape a skyline. I wasn’t born with a predisposition to construction; it wasn’t, as my father used to preach, ‘in my blood.’ My love of construction was cultivated though his mentorship. After college, upon settling in to my first full time job as a project manager, I started to notice there weren’t many other women around me. While I loved being on site, I missed the comradery of other women. Although there was no shortage of wellintentioned men to offer advice and teach me, there were no women to whom I felt connected. Mentorship could have added to the foundation of my construction career. Mentorship has the potential for more impact than any other single activity in jumpstarting the stagnant growth of women in construction. Giving young girls the option to be anything they want is not enough. As an industry, we need to cultivate the opportunities we can provide to women, not just give lip service to the options. Mentoring is vital, not only because of the knowledge and skills we can impart, but also because mentoring provides professional socialization and personal support that facilitates success in the field far beyond measure. Research shows that women who experience good mentoring also have a greater likelihood of securing long term employment positions, or greater potential for career advancement. Mentorship matters. There are volumes of research that bare out this premise. Mentorship

is the key to attracting women to the construction workforce. After a few years, I left project management to pursue law school because I had discovered an exceptional ability to negotiate claims, resolve disputes and reason out problematic issues. But I never lost the passion for construction that had been cultivated through my father’s mentorship and his efforts to expose me at a very young age to the industry he loved so much. Had there been a few more women around me to cultivate the comradery that naturally exists for men, mentors that resembled me and my perspective, construction management may have felt more like a natural fit. It is likely I would have found my way to the law anyway; but maybe a strong mentor in my early career years would have opened my eyes to opportunities that I otherwise would not have considered. It will take the village to encourage more women to enter construction, but it is an endeavor worth pursuing because the construction industry would benefit in immeasurable ways from the inclusion of women. Women bring unique strengths and skills to the profession, at all levels. The construction industry puts great effort into attracting women, but mentorship will be what reaps the most success. Specific mentoring steps can make the difference: (1) early mentorship that targets girls for internships and summer programs that involving building trades, design, engineering and management; (2) formal mentorship programs for women in the early career years; (3) transitioning those that were mentored into mentors themselves as they continue in their career; and (4) informal, organic mentoring of women, by women, because we benefit not just from being mentored but from mentoring others. Let women profit from the mutual benefits of the mentorship relationship, and you will change the landscape of the industry, the nature of the skyline and the future of construction. n ISSUE 2 | 2016 21

Yes, some of them, the trailblazers, had to kick down that door, but that is why they were trailblazers. These trailblazers really don’t want to talk about how they got here, they want to point to a building and talk about how that got here. It’s about the work, not gender.

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A WOMAN IN CONSTRUCTION: AN OPINION EDITORIAL by Anne Liberto, Director, Membership Development & Services, GBCA

I applaud the women in this industry. I applaud the men in this industry. You all work hard, you all take on great responsibility and risk, you are all masters of collaboration and you all take nothing, an empty lot, a forgotten building and make it something valuable to the community. You’re all gutsy people, regardless of anatomy. I look forward to the day when we are no longer surprised to meet a woman in the construction industry. Equality is when our surprise comes from witnessing the best and most innovative buildings emerging from the ground and not which gender built the building. I look forward to the day when we talk about the work of others in the industry without mentioning gender. I say it’s not as far off as people think. Me, I’m lucky to work in this industry. I have the privilege of meeting with contractors. n


“Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it.” – George Carlin

Isn’t equality based on not noting the difference? I have the privilege of meeting with the members of the GBCA. I truly enjoy hearing about their business successes, their concerns about the industry, and how being a member of the GBCA has benefited them. When I meet with the women that own and/or run a contracting business, I have the same conversations with them as I do with a man that owns and/or runs a contracting business. It is not about a woman being in this business. It’s about business women discussing their plans and industry issues. Margins, labor relations and safety mean the same to them as to a man. When will we get to a point where being WBE isn’t the only way we identify these companies? The quality of work these companies do is what matters. Being on time, on budget, and craftsmanship matters. We do not act surprised when we meet a female physician or attorney. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), 46% of all physicians in training and almost half of all medical school students are women and according to the American Bar Association, 48.7% of enrollees in law school were female in 20142015. We encounter female physicians and attorneys all the time. Do we talk about their gender or how well they handled the court or medical cases? In the construction industry, when do we talk about the work and not the gender? Now, I know there are more strides to be made and more work to be done to reach this equality of numbers. There are not 45% of contractors that are female like in the law and medical profession. Some of the women I have met in the construction industry, they are opening the doors so others can walk through to good-paying industry careers. 22 CONSTRUCTION TODAY


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2016 AWARDS The ACE Mentor Program of Eastern Pennsylvania hosted members of the architecture, construction, and engineering community Wednesday, May 11, 2016 for the 15th Annual Scholarship Breakfast and Awards Program. This year’s honorees include an organization shaping the education of future design and construction professionals and two projects. The ACE Mentor Program is a national non-profit organization that engages and encourages high school students to consider careers in design and construction through mentoring, scholarships, and grants. For information visit


Organization of the Year: Finishing Trades Institute of the Mid-Atlantic Region The Finishing Trades Institute of the Mid Atlantic Region (FTI) provides training for the apprentices and journeypersons of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council 21. DC 21 membership includes 4,200 individuals representing commercial painters, drywall finishers, glaziers and glass workers, industrial painters, and wall coverers. FTI has been registered with the Department of Labor since 1946 and in 2009, became North America’s first and only Department of Education accredited union training program. Education has always been at the forefront of FTI initiatives. Attaining full accreditation for its union apprenticeship program means each graduating apprentice receives a specialized associate degree and can continue the education process to earn bachelor’s or master’s degrees. FTI and ACE have an ongoing relationship. ACE students have attended the Architectural Glass Boot Camp, toured FTI’s 100,000-squarefoot training facility, participated in safety training, and developed a stronger understanding of the role of the trades. FTI is honored for its commitment to education and ongoing initiatives. ACE salutes FTI on its efforts to recruit and build a smarter, more diverse, and motivated workforce.

Urban Project of the Year: New College House at the University of Pennsylvania When it opens in Fall 2016, New College House will be the University of Pennsylvania’s first residential building specifically designed as a college house, Penn’s residential system that brings undergraduates, faculty, staff, and graduate students together in a shared community. Students will live, study, dine, and social in the facility, which includes suite-style living, private bedrooms, and a host of common areas. New College House will accommodate 344 residents who will share common kitchens, laundry rooms, seminar rooms, music practice rooms, plus a library, living room, media room, dining pavilion, and outdoor courtyard. The design incorporates mostly green ecoroofs, heat recovery systems, low water usage appliances, and other sustainability features. LEED Gold is anticipated.

Suburban Project of the Year: King of Prussia Mall Expansion The 2.7-million-square-foot King of Prussia Mall is the nation’s second largest shopping mall. Opened in 1963, and today owned by Simon Property Group, Inc., the mall includes more dedicated retail space – over 400 stores – than any other shopping center. An ambitious expansion project will connect the existing independent court and plaza sections of the mall, which were previously divided by parking. When it is completed in August 2016, the King of Prussia Mall expansion will offer 70 new retailers and a 155,000-square-foot elevated link that allows shoppers to traverse the entire length of the mall without having to exist the facility. An upscale dining pavilion, customer lounge, and new parking deck are components of the project. The main corridor will include floor-to-ceiling windows, seating areas with device-charging stations, a concierge-level guest services counter, and other amenities. The new parking garage will incorporate space-location technology. Construction was undertaken in phases to keep the mall open and operational during the expansion. Both the New College House and King of Prussia Mall Expansion were previous ACE Mentor student design projects. ACE congratulates all of the professionals who have engaged ACE and executed these significant regional projects. n

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WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS BUILD by Angela Louro, Director, Education & Professional Development, GBCA

As the industry continues to rebound from a severe downturn more than eight years ago, many GBCA member firms are adding new talent to their teams, both in the office and in the field. As Equal Opportunity Program (EOP) requirements continue to increase, GBCA and its member firms are committed to workforce development and supporting diversity and inclusion. In this edition of Construction Today, we are highlighting women and minorities thriving in our industry, building lucrative careers, and paving the way for the future of our industry. Below are high schools, colleges and universities, organizations, and groups that are supporting growth and learning for women who look to build careers in the construction industry. YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter High School, Building Trades Training Program YouthBuild Philly, a second-chance program for former high school dropouts, helps young adults ages 18-21 earn their high school diploma while also learning job skills, and prepares them for employment and 26 CONSTRUCTION TODAY

postsecondary education. The school’s student body is 83% African American and 7% Latino. The school’s construction training program offers tracks in several specialties including deconstruction, advanced construction, and green building. Students in the program renovate formerly abandoned homes to become affordable housing for first-time homebuyers, and graduate with certifications in construction skills and occupational safety. Women make up 30 percent of the students in construction training. “The chance to rebuild a home is powerful experience for our students,” says Simran Sidhu, YouthBuild Philly’s executive director. “Our construction projects are a lasting testament to students’ resilience, their growth, and the difference that they can make in the world. The houses that our students work on become a metaphor for their journey as they build a better, more stable future for themselves.” “YouthBuild is all about challenging yourself, seeing your true potential, and pushing beyond the low opinions or limiting expectations of

others. For many of our young women, signing up for construction training is a way of breaking away from the past and embracing new challenges head-on. This was so life-changing for our 2014 salutatorian that she wore her hard hat during her graduation speech! We’re delighted when we see young women pursuing internships in solar installation and training programs for municipal jobs after YouthBuild.” Sisters in the Brotherhood, Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters The Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters (NRCC) recognizes the need to build a strong, qualified and diverse workforce amid a changing economy and rapid technological innovation. In 2014, the international division of United Brotherhood of Carpenters union chose the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, representing union carpenters in NJ, NY, DE, PA and MD, to pilot its Sisters in the Brotherhood (SIB) initiative. The program’s goal: increase the ranks of women in the carpentry trades from an average of about 2% to 10% of the total UBC union population within five years. A major part of the pilot program includes a unique approach to marketing that incorporates key education initiatives about the kinds of unique skills that make up professional carpentry. A key aspect of the marketing approach that guides the program, says Sue Schultz, a carpenter with the NRCC who heads the SIB program, is that it helps women – who normally wouldn’t visualize themselves on jobsites as construction professionals – put themselves in the picture. “So we make sure our marketing materials include images of ‘real life’ carpenter women who have achieved success in the construction industry,” says Schultz, who is also a Council Representative to the NRCC. “Our posters, brochures and other visuals depict this. We put these materials in state employment agencies, schools – everywhere. With younger women, our approach is multifaceted, and our focus is on young women in different stages of their education.” In addition, SIB partners with community organizations, such as the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development (, focusing on outreach about the SIB program’s Apprenticeship and PreApprenticeship programs. “The approach has to be multi-faceted for different grades, such as taking 8th or 9th-graders to tour training centers,” Schultz adds. “As young people approach graduation, we explain the importance of math courses and physical fitness along with other opportunities in the industry.” The SIB program has taken a comprehensive approach to recruiting more capable women into the carpentry trades, but perhaps, more critical, is working on retention of the recruits. “That’s a big part of our program,” adds Schultz. “We could bring in 1000 new members but if we don’t keep them, we haven’t gained anything.” South Philadelphia High School, Career and Technical Education, the School District of Philadelphia The mission of the Office of Career and Technical Education (CTE) is to deliver the highest quality CTE programs that provide students with the opportunity to acquire challenging academic and technical skills, and thus, be prepared for the high-skill, high-wage, and highpriority occupations of a competitive 21st century global economy. South Philadelphia High School is one of several CTE schools with a program focusing in carpentry. “South Philadelphia High School continues to encourage all students, especially females to explore all

options regarding vocational classes, even traditionally male dominated programs such as Carpentry,” says Paul Koval, Carpentry teacher. “The Carpentry program, since its start at Bok Technical High and its move to Southern, has always had females enrolled in the program and actively participating. There is true camaraderie in my program since students are often forced to work in small groups or with partners just as it would be in the field, this allows females to feel included and part of the team right away. I can honestly say that in my opinion any student who is willing to pick up a hammer and engage in the building process is instantly accepted and given respect, regardless of gender, just as it should be!” MAGIC Camp, NAWIC Chapter 145 The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC)’s Philadelphia chapter, Chapter 145, holds annually a camp for girls interested in careers in Construction. MAGIC Camp, which stands for Mentoring A Girl In Construction, is a free, week-long day camp for 7th to 12th grade girls to introduce them to a potential career in the construction industry. This year’s MAGIC Camp will be held June 27 - July 1, 2016. Many young girls are unaware of the possibility of a rewarding and financially beneficial career in the construction trades or related fields. MAGIC is designed to give them real hands-on experience. NAWIC continues to partner with several of the local trade unions to make this experience possible for young girls in Philadelphia. “Preparing our future leaders for careers in construction, especially young women in non-traditional fields, is something I am passionate about. MAGIC stands for “Mentoring a Girl in Construction,” and this camp gives girls real world exposure to the construction trades as they are making decisions about their careers. I support the camp because I get to make a direct impact on their lives and, as a result, on our industry as a whole.” – Fern Gookin, Director of Sustainability, Revolution Recovery The Philadelphia Chapter hosted the inaugural Camp for the midAtlantic Region in 2009 and has held four camps since then. 2016 will be NAWIC’s fifth camp. “I became familiar with NAWIC last year when 5 of our students from the Workshop School attended the camp. They had an amazing experience. Each year NAWIC works with the building trades unions so the girls can get hands-on experience and exposure to career possibilities. Last year the girls spent time with the Roofers Union, with concrete finishers, and more.” – Ann Cohen, The Workshop School Construction Management Program, College of Engineering, Drexel University Drexel University’s Construction Management program, run by Dr. Christine Fiori, provides women interested in the industry an opportunity to pursue either a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree, both in class and online. With 7 women currently enrolled in their program, active recruitment efforts are ongoing to promote the degree program including high school outreach projects, partnership with the ACE Mentoring Program, as well as engaging with the NAWIC MAGIC camp. Drexel has many successful female graduates who continue to contribute to our construction community locally, including women like Denise Tankle, who graduated top of her class in 2015 and works for Turner Construction Co. This year, three members of Drexel’s first place winning Commercial Competition Team were women – Glenna Visco, Elizabeth Passmore, and Julia Colyar. All three women will be graduating this year and entering the industry. n

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+ PARTNERING FOR COMMUNITY IMPACT by Carrie Rathmann, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Habitat for Humanity Everyone talks about “partnerships”. But at Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia we genuinely rely on building robust and sustained partnerships. Partnerships ensure we best utilize every dollar so we can help more families achieve the stability, strength and self-reliance to take advantage of other life opportunities. This fall, Habitat started a partnership with District Council 21, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. District Council 21 represents over 4,500 members in the finishing trades including the Painters, Drywall Finishers, Wall Coverers, Glaziers and Glass Workers. Under the direction of Chuck Murtha, the Business Representative for the Drywall Finishers Local 1955 apprentices have been working on Habitat construction sites. The apprentices come out to tape, coat and finish the interior drywall of Habitat homes built for our ownership program. For the program, “partner families” (participants) each work 350 hours of sweat equity on Habitat construction sites, in our ReStore and engaged in homeownership educational classes. Sweat equity is completed in lieu of a down payment on the home. In turn, partner families earn a zero-interest 30-year mortgage. Homes are affordable to purchase, operate and maintain. Production costs must be kept low to keep the homes truly affordable. Partner families are all making between 30-60% of Philadelphia’s Area Median Income – or about $23,000-$45,000 for a family of four. To keep costs to a minimum, Habitat mainly utilizes volunteer labor to supplement its own employees. Most often this labor is carried out by general volunteers under the direction of Habitat staff. But whenever possible, Habitat works to engage the trades and professional contractors. Contributions from the construction industry – like that of the Drywall Finishers apprentices – help Habitat redirect precious financial resources to other projects to assist more families. They also save the organization time and ensure the quality of the work. This help from District Council 21 is no exception.


Over the winter, second, third and fourth year apprentices assisted in the completion of three homes. In each instance, four to six apprentices and a supervisor came out for up to five days to complete the drywall finishing. The homes completed are part of Habitat’s Hope Village development on 1900 Turner Street in North Philadelphia. This is the same project where the Carpenters Union Local 1073 and Dale Corporation generously framed two homes this past August. Like all professional volunteer engagement, the apprentice’s assistance is a huge boon for Habitat. The quality of the apprentices work reflects the intense training they receive at the Finishing Trades Institute facility on Horning Road in Philadelphia, along with the high quality standards of the organized trades. The efficiency of the team allowed Habitat to expedite interior completion – which translates into dollars saved. “The guys were great. They came out and knocked out each room – and the finished product was beautiful. It took so much less time to get the job done. The homeowners were each so excited when they saw their homes finished – and the guys all had a great attitude and seemed happy to be there,” says Kevin Crowley, Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia site supervisor. This is just the start of what both Habitat and the Drywall Finishers Local 1955 expect to become an institutionalized and ongoing partnership. Dave Santangelo, Apprenticeship Coordinator for the apprentices explains that engaging in Habitat projects serves a dual purpose for the Finishers. Apprentices gain additional field experience working on Habitat homes and at the same time projects provide an opportunity for union outreach in often under-tapped communities. Most importantly, the apprentices’ investment of time and talent impacts the lives of vulnerable families ready to build on the foundation that stable and affordable homeowners provides. Habitat and the Unions make perfect partners. In addition to the obvious construction synergy, at their core, both organizations help people help themselves. Habitat by assisting families obtain stable and affordable housing, and the unions through workforce development and ensuring that workers in the construction trades earn fair and livable wages. Additionally, District Council 21’s C.O.R.E. program, Community Organizing for Real Economics, is a perfect fit for collaboration with Habitat. The C.O.R.E. program was created to help people in communities build lasting relationships with District Council 21 members and apprentices. Matthew Cortez, who handles business development for District Council 21 and manages the C.O.R.E. program says, “We value our relationship with Habitat for Humanity tremendously, because we feel our missions are aligned, and believe that working together we can create a greater positive impact in our neighborhoods.” This partnership, along with that of Carpenters Local 1073 and Dale Corporation, create opportunities to impact Philadelphia’s more vulnerable communities – the ones outside the central core of our booming downtown. Partnerships between organized labor and affordable housing programs like Habitat – if brought to scale – could begin to tackle housing needs here in Philadelphia. If you or your company are interested in getting involved with Habitat you can contact Carrie Rathmann, Director of Strategic Partnerships, at 215-765-6000 x28 or For more information, visit Habitat’s website at n

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VALUE ENGINEERING Value Engineering courses offer students the opportunity to apply the method to “real life” projects that they select from current business situations.

by Richard W. Sievert, Jr., Ph.D., Director and Lead Facilitator of the Value Engineering Studies and Workshop Programs, Drexel University In today’s global marketplace, there is an increased demand for more efficient and effective ways to satisfy customer and stakeholder needs. Increasing competition, decreasing revenues and resources, emerging technologies, government regulations, and changing markets force businesses to routinely reevaluate the functions they perform and reallocate resources to survive. Organizations need a structured team method to create new ways to satisfy requirements within resource constraints and expedite consensus decisions which are necessary to exploit changes as profitable business opportunities. Value engineering provides the way. What is Value Engineering? Value engineering is a systematic multidisciplinary team method to improve the value of projects, products, processes, facilities and real estate assets by analyzing and improving the relationship between the cost and worth of their functions. Value can be increased by improving the functions or reducing the costs. The value engineering method was invented at General Electric Company during World War II to find alternatives for materials and parts that were unavailable, or only available at inflated prices, because of rationing during the war. Also called value analysis or value management, value engineering evolved and has a wide range of application possibilities today. The method is applied to analyze and improve the return on investment from design and construction projects, facility operations and maintenance, energy conservation and sustainability initiatives, 30 CONSTRUCTION TODAY

manufactured products and production processes, business services and administrative procedures, and software development projects. Value engineering can be applied to challenge the status quo, generate ideas, and create a plan to fulfill any need that can be expressed in terms of functions and related costs. Value engineering is applicable to both growth-oriented and cost reduction initiatives. It is a powerful method for improving financial performance and marketability of projects selected for study. Learn While Doing Value Engineering courses offer students the opportunity to apply the method to “real life” projects that they select from current business situations. This results in a high return on investment potential for organizations that sponsor value study projects and course participants. A typical value study involves a multi-disciplined team with experience and expertise relevant to the project selected for study. Depending on the scope, complexity, budget and potential cost savings, a team could study a complete project, product, process, service, or a section of it. Increase Your Professional Value These courses also prepare students to pass SAVE International’s Value Methodology Associate Exam (formerly Associate Value Specialist exam) and become certified as a Value Methodology Associate.

The Value Methodology Associate certification recognizes recipients who completed a SAVE International approved basic training workshop and acquired fundamental knowledge in value engineering and value enhancing techniques. It also recognizes the recipient’s ability to participate in and help facilitate value engineering workshops. Achieving the certification demonstrates that the recipients have a mindset and a method for making money, saving money, and conserving precious resources. Value Engineering Curriculum Value engineering courses should include the basic foundation of the value engineering method and a “real life” project that follows the six-phase value engineering method job plan. Value Engineering Job Plan Phases Phase 1: Information Gathering • Define the problem. • Collect data. • Select operation, product, service, facility, property, or project for study. • Conduct customer attitude survey. • Create cost model. Phase 2: Function Analysis • Identify and classify functions. • Prepare a FAST diagram. • Allocate costs to functions. • Apply Pareto’s Law of Distribution. • Identify value mismatches.

• Select high-cost functions for value improvement. Phase 3: Creativity • Apply group-think dynamics. • Generate alternative solutions. • Conduct brainstorming session. Phase 4: Evaluation • Evaluate ideas. • Evaluate the functions. • Estimate cost of alternative solutions. • Apply life-cycle cost analysis. Phase 5: Development • Refine ideas. • Develop the best alternatives. • Develop proposals for consideration by management. Phase 6: Presentation • Prepare a presentation. • Present recommendations for consideration by management. Value Engineering at Drexel University Drexel University offers a value engineering certification preparation course, customized applied value research studies, and workshops for individuals and organizations in private industry and government. For more information, please contact the Drexel University College of Engineering’s Department of Construction Management, at 215-895-5996. n

Constructive Solutions







1700 Market Suite 3100 1700 Market Street, Street, Suite 3100

Philadelphia, PA Philadelphia, PA19103 19103 T 215 563 2400 F 215 563 2870

ISSUE 2 | 2016 31

Penn Museum

VIBRATION MITIGATION SCAFFOLDING FOR 14TH AND 15TH CENTURY BUDDHIST MURALS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA MUSEUM OF ARCHAEOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY By Erik Highland, Marketing Director, Superior Scaffold Services, Inc. It’s not often that we get a call for scaffolding one project right next to another, but that’s just the case here. We are currently providing scaffolding and shoring all over the demolition of Penn Tower for the new Patient Pavilion at the hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. But the unique thing about this job isn’t just that it’s located directly behind Penn Tower at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, but it’s that we were called in to provide scaffolding services for restoration crews to Penn Tower dismantle two giant 16-foottall, 14th/15th century Chinese Buddhist wall murals from a Ming Dynasty monastery. These murals were reported to have come from Guangshengsi Monastery in southern Shanxi Province, China.


Dismantling the mural at the Penn Museum

And what’s even crazier is that they are being moved because of the demolition of the building right next door. Yes, you heard right. These giant murals are just two of thousands priceless artifacts that are being moved so the vibrations from the heavy equipment next door doesn’t damage them. They, among others, are being moved into storage for safe keeping while the old building comes down and the

new hospital complex goes up. It seems that the old Penn Tower and the Museum are in such close proximity and share the bedrock and they are particularly worried about the vibrations when crews start digging down for the footers.

trees, but given the size of the opening and the limited room behind the mural, we went with 6-footers. We also added 6-foot steel and wood plank, giving crews access to the entire elevation of the mural. And on top of everything, we had to be super careful to not touch or damage the mural in any way. We specialize in working with delicate historic buildings and structures and this was no different. We’ve done sensitive work in the Museum before helping install 1,700-yearold Roman Mosaic tiles exhibit.

One of the 14th/15th century Chinese Buddhist murals

Vibration specialists have been called in and monitoring sensors have been placed throughout the museum to keep a vigilant eye. Senior conservator, Lynn Grant, and her team of specialists have had a giant task on their hands. So, you see, this job isn’t as massive in size as the Penn Tower demolition but it’s just as important. These murals were brought into the Museum in the early 20th century in pieces and then assembled onto a type of scaffolding themselves to keep them in place. When the murals were taken off of the monastery walls, they were assembled into larger panels and backed with plaster and wood for support. These larger panels are the separate segments Estimator Pat McAndrew about to open visible today. We had to the 2-by-2-foot access port provide scaffolding behind the murals so crews could get access to detach each panel one by one and move them into storage. And although it seems straight ahead, there isn’t much room back there AND we could only get the scaffold through a tiny trap door at the base of the mural.

Specialist Emily Brown applies a dilute adhesive to secure unstable paint on the surface

But before crews can remove the panels, conservation specialists like Emily Brown have to stabilize the ancient mud and paint. The murals are painted on a mud surface and follow a basic mudground-paint construction pattern. Essentially, there are two different mud layers under these Buddhist murals. But I won’t get into too much detail; these conservators are the experts. Founded in 1887, the museum first opened at its present site in 1899. It houses some of the world’s great archaeology treasures encapsulating and illustrating the early cultures of ancient Babylonia, Egypt, China and Native America, dating from as far back as 2600 B.C. Superior Scaffold was proud to lend a hand with these ancient artifacts — and to help make way for the new patient pavilion next door. It just goes to show how no job is too big or small for us. We pride ourselves on our ability to work with delicate objects and structures. We hope that the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and its vast collection of artifacts are all safe and sound and not affected by the demolition next door. This is a tremendous Museum and should be seen by everyone in the Philadelphia area. n

Estimator Pat McAndrew had to open the 2-by-2-foot access port. And it was through that access way that our crew had to hand in and assemble this scaffold. Originally we were thinking standard 9-foot

ISSUE 2 | 2016 33



HOW THE INTERNET OF THINGS WILL SHAPE OUR FUTURE AT HOME by Katie M. Corrado, Marketing Director, Kieffer’s Appliances In January 2015 Samsung CEO B.K. Yoon made a bold statement. He announced at the CES tech trade show in Las Vegas that by 2020, 90% of Samsung devices will be connected, meaning that they’d communicate between the internet and other devices, and with consumers. This year, he introduced a milestone new refrigerator that allows family members to communicate with it and each other, find recipes based on the food inside, and even monitor the cooktop and oven remotely during cooking. Many other manufacturers are quickly following suit, and utilizing technology that communicates with smartphones to effectively communicate with the consumer. We live in times of unprecedented technology change. Just 34 years ago, Carnegie Mellon students designed a Coca Cola vending machine to be “smart” enough to order its own refills; by 2019, it’s estimated that almost 50 billion devices will be “smart” enough to do something humble like that, and so much more. “A long-heralded ecosystem, the Internet of Things, is galloping onto the horizon, and the new technological paradigms in our home appliance realm guarantee to change life as we know it.” Imagine a brave new world where your talkative appliances can actually communicate with each other, and you, to prevent a disaster. It can start with your home thermostat. Most of us have the programmable technology that allows us to set a timer, leave for work, and not spend money heating our empty home, which is obviously wise. But there’s wise and there’s smart; smart thermostats will be able to share temperature data with the smoke alarm and other connections, and steps can be taken automatically without human intervention in the case of a disaster, like a fire. The thermostat will confirm a sharp temperature increase and communicate with the gas intake valve, which will turn itself off to prevent an explosion. Home lighting systems are told to switch to a brightness suitability setting for seeing through smoke, and your phone starts lighting up with alerts that something is amiss at home. Suddenly, driving into your neighborhood to see your house burning down turns into being given a window of time to prevent a disaster, thanks to some smart, loquacious appliances. The above scenario represents an extreme, big picture example; let’s drill down to day to day living circumstances. Besides helping to run damage control in the case of disaster, our everyday home appliances are joining the cloud chatter. Of course, some “smart” features have existed for years in the home appliance space. The kitchen has long been a fertile ground for connectivity; CEO Yoon wasn’t inventing the wheel this year, since connected refrigerators have been showing up at trade shows for years. Until now, however, their most exciting functionality was sending

The first “smart” appliance: a connected vending machine that could communicate its temperature and when it was low on inventory.

an alert about product expirations, or maybe some touchscreen capability on the outside of the doors. The difference now is the chatter factor; the appliances are actively communicating back and forth with other appliances and people to streamline processes, increase efficiency and add an extra layer of convenience, safety and quality to our lives. Sounds ingenious, right? For manufacturers, the technology is easier to install than meets the eye. Our in-home Wi-Fi networks and smartphones enable the sensors and actuators to work together. We’ve been dreaming of smart homes for decades, and a lucky few have even been living in them. But before the Internet of Things, that meant custom installers hardwiring proprietary, costly systems. In the age of the smartphone, almost everyone has their own supercomputer with a flawless touchscreen interface right in their pocket or even on their wrist, so the rest of the system can be simple and economical for the manufacturer to implement. The intricate expertise is conducted by the companion app. Other smart home appliances offer a wide spectrum of conveniences and services to enhance your quality of life. Imagine going to the grocery store and simply glancing at your smartphone or smartwatch to actually see the interior of your fridge, thanks to strategically placed interior cameras. Or, imagine putting Thanksgiving dinner in the oven and enjoying time with your family outside or in another room, while checking on the turkey from your watch. Smart washing machines and dryers allow you to start a cycle with the tap of your phone or watch, and then let you know when the laundry is done. So what does this mean for our industry? Maybe not a huge and immediate impact for now, but for the future, the Internet of Things is an ecosystem that will become a permanent fixture in our work and lives. As with many new digital innovations, younger and affluent consumers will be the earliest adopters of smart home appliances. According to Nielsen, interest in this technology is similar between home owners and renters, since owners are more affluent and have the discretionary means to purchase new technology, and renters tend to be younger and more open to technological advances in the home. And based on a Digital Trends survey, ownership of smart home appliances is expected to outpace other smart technology, like wearables and fitness trackers. To learn more about smart and connected home appliances, please contact us at Kieffer’s Appliances. Our 15,000 square foot showroom in suburban Philadelphia is home to some of the latest connected appliances, and we’d love to work with you and show you how they work so you’re able to educate your customers. Check us out at! n ISSUE 2 | 2016 35


by Nicholas DeJesse, Director, Philadelphia Area Office, OSHA As a longtime field investigator for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, I’ve seen the aftermath of tragedies caused by falls. Each case is painful, but a few stand out for their heartbreak. Last year, my team and I were called in to a Pennsylvania construction site where three-story apartments were going up. The fall had been captured on closed circuit video: A 27-year-old worker was being lifted onto the roof by the long arm of a rough terrain forklift when the wobbly platform he stood upon suddenly tipped over, throwing him 40 feet to the ground. It was his first day on the job. The fall caused spinal injuries so severe it’s likely he will never walk again. Even now, a year later, he needs help holding a cup of water. His story hit our team hard because he is so young, and his injuries


could have been prevented so easily. We couldn’t help but think, “What will his future be like? What if he was a member of my family?” Even worse, his story is just one of thousands. Falls are completely preventable with proper training and equipment, yet they are still the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry. In 2014 alone, 647 workers were killed from falls in the United States and many more were injured. Our work inspires us to do everything possible to prevent falls. One way we bring attention to fall hazards is through the National Safety Stand-Down, a weeklong observance during which employers at construction sites and other venues pause during the workday and dedicate time to fall prevention training. This year’s events ran May 2-6. Any day we can prevent an injury or death is a good day. Find an event in your area and join us in standing down for safe work. n

It’s about lives.

Safety is not a priority – because priorities change. Safety is a core value. Every construction site has its own unique safety and health hazards related to location, environment, and the type of work being performed. HazTek has managed worksite safety and health for many of the nation’s largest and most respected construction management firms and general contractors. Our experts are skilled in recognizing potential worksite hazards and highly effective in planning and implementing proactive measures. Since every project is different in complexity, HazTek will match the right experience to your job, enabling you to manage costs while we manage health and safety. Selecting HazTek is the safest decision that you can make.



“There is a true sense of teamwork and community here. Safety is not about the individual. Safety is about the whole team.”

by E. June Ellaway-Lunn, Director of Marketing & Design, HazTek Inc. This is the safety mantra and motivating factor for Michele Paxton, a Philadelphiabased safety professional, employed as a Principal Consultant for HazTek Inc., a leading provider of comprehensive safety management services, specializing in construction, pharmaceutical, and industrial safety. Paxton has been building a culture of safety over the last 16 years through her rigorous discipline of observing, asking questions, and conducting research on each and every job. She recognizes that there is the need for knowledge, which is at the core, but there is also a need for instinct, accountability, dedication, and emotion to be successful in the field. A Path to Safety Paxton’s education began at Temple University, where her degree in Criminal Justice helped her to develop a sharp sense of procedures, analysis, and critical thinking, as well as a deeper understanding of public safety. But it was while she was working for Merck and Company, Inc., that a chance conversation 38 CONSTRUCTION TODAY

compelled her to attend Saint Joseph’s University, earning a Master of Science degree in Environmental Protection and Public Safety Management. As diverse as these directions were, they helped to shape Paxton’s broader realization that what happens “out there” – whether in the general public or in the field – affects every person and every family. “I always knew I wanted to make a difference and help people,” says Paxton. “Like everyone else, I want to accomplish the ultimate goal – for everyone to go home in the same condition as they had showed up in the morning.” Paxton’s first break was in 2004 as Safety Director for Ray Angelini, Inc., a commercial electrical construction company in Sewell, NJ, where she managed field safety for over 150 electricians and electrical apprentices across all five of the company’s divisions. Paxton went on to work in structural steel erection and fabrication for Samuel Grossi & Sons, Inc. in Bensalem, PA, from 2006 to 2013, where she learned that there is more to safety than reciting standards and

regulations from a book. She wanted to excel, so she decided her best choice was to seek out the experts and learn from them. “To best protect the individuals in the field, it is imperative to know their operations,” Paxton advises. “To plan safety for each job site you must involve the Field Superintendents, Field Foreman, and the men and women who are working in the field, because without their skills, expertise, and input, you can’t find the best way to protect the team.” Adds Paxton, “These relationships need to be solid or the trust isn’t there.” Paxton’s experiences led her to HazTek Inc., a national safety management company, headquartered in Medford, NJ, that employs over 140 full-time safety professionals to provide field support, consultation, and safety training to the construction and heavy industrial sectors. HazTek Inc.’s broad range of clients and diverse workforce helped to make Paxton’s choice to join their team of safety experts an easy one. “I wanted the ability to

help in more than just one trade,” Paxton states. “I wanted to continue to educate myself about other types of construction work and have the opportunity to apply that knowledge.” Surveying the Field When asked what it is like for females in the field, Paxton is optimistic. “I see more female safety professionals now, which is fantastic. Women can contribute significantly and bring unique perspectives to the construction industry as a whole.” She emphasizes that we have to start educating women at a young age and teaching them from the ground up to build confidence in their abilities. When Paxton first started out, she found very few women in the industry, at least where she was based in South Jersey. “At first, it was tough to fit into the culture. There was the initial feeling I had of not connecting with the others,” Paxton recalls. “I began to feel like I didn’t know anything about what I was doing… I learned that it’s

good to grow a thick skin.”

Motivating Factors

Paxton credits her colleagues for helping her to gain confidence in the field. “I could not have asked to work with a better group of skilled and professional men than the Philadelphia Local 401 Ironworkers,” Paxton says. “I had tremendous support from the 401 Union Hall and their apprentice and training coordinator.”

Everybody here has an area of general expertise, which I love,” says Paxton of HazTek Inc. “Anywhere you turn you can find someone who can share that expertise and that is very motivating to me. There is a true sense of teamwork and community here. Safety is not about the individual. Safety is about the whole team.”

Paxton encourages other women to seek their own leaders and be open to what they have to teach. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something… and if you don’t know something, find someone who is an expert and have them educate you about the subject.”

Paxton often asks herself, “What am I doing to help others in the field?” It is critical that what she is doing benefits the industry and her first priority is always the men and women in the field. “I know, too well, the destructive effects of safety issues,” reflects Paxton. “Injured workers, severe illnesses, fatalities… if one person suffers, it extends to so many others, to so many families.” Paxton continues, “I see how hard these men and women work in all kinds of adverse conditions and I can only hope that I have some small part in helping them to stay safe and healthy.” n

Paxton’s also advises others to step back and look around, “Ask yourself if you’re being effective. Are you helping people? Are people safe?” Adds Paxton, “You have to be self-aware, willing to learn, and willing to do the work. You can’t jump in as a vice president if you’ve never even been a manager.”

TODAY’S LABORER APPRENTICE Your Skilled Workforce Tomorrow...

To learn how our Apprentices can help your company contact James Harper, Jr. at 610.524.0404, e-mail jharper.e& LABORERS’ DISTRICT COUNCIL Education and Training/ Apprenticeship School 500 Lancaster Pike, Exton, PA 19341

ISSUE 2 | 2016 39

OSHA’S NEW CONFINED SPACES FOR CONSTRUCTION by Dennis M. Dougherty, MS, MBA, CHST, President and CEO, Med-Tex Services, Inc. The new standard for confined spaces in construction became effective August 3, 2015. An organization’s estimators, project managers, safety professionals and management to the front line trades person should be aware of this significant change to construction operations. This new standard may impact every phase of a project. Employers engaged in construction where known spaces are located or will occur as a result of construction have obligations under this standard to perform certain activities and to protect their workers. This also applies to fixed facilities where confined spaces are located and may perform work that is categorized as construction work.

3. Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy. A permit-required confined space (permit space) means a confined space that has one or more of the following characteristics: 1. Contains or has a potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere 2. Contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an entrant 3. Has an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor which slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section 4. Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard.

Specifically, the preamble clarification reads, “all employers engaged in construction have a duty to ensure that their employees do not enter a confined space except in accordance with the requirements of this standard, and the presence of a confined space on the worksite triggers this duty rather than the type of work the employer is performing.”

Confined spaces may include areas such as: bins, boilers, tanks, pits (such as those for elevators, escalators, valves or pumps), sewers (such as storm drains, those for electrical, communication or other utilities), transformer vaults, heating, ventilation and air-condition ducts (HVAC), water mains, precast concrete, enclosed beams, pre-formed manhole units, crawl spaces and more.

By definition, a confined space means a space that: 1. Is large enough and so configured that an employee can bodily enter it; 2. Has limited or restricted means for entry and exit; and

At quick glance, the new construction confined space regulation includes five key differences from the existing general industry standard, 29 CFR 1910.146:


1. Impact of Multi-Employer Information Sharing 2. The need for a Competent Person for Evaluation of Spaces 3. C  ontinuous Monitoring for Atmospheric Hazards 4. Continuous Monitoring for Engulfment Hazards 5. Permit Considerations and Suspension Employers, now specifically identified in the standard to recognize the multi-employer worksite, include: host facilities, controlling contractors and entry employers. These employers will need to participate in identifying and evaluating confined spaces and their associated hazards. The assignment of information sharing and coordination of work apply to certain employers that, “regardless of whether their employees are authorized to enter a confined space, have information on a confined space, or are engaged in activities that could, either alone or in conjunction with activities inside the space, endanger employees working inside a confined space. ” Hazards in confined spaces may include: atmospheric, health or physical hazards related to the space or work process. Additional concerns may include, but are not limited to: fall exposures, noise, vibration, illumination, temperature extremes, hazardous energy, slips, trips or biological concerns. A written program encompassing the elements of this standard are now required for all employers whose employees will be entering a confined space. Procedures for safe entry, identifying appropriate equipment, properly training employees on the hazards as well a s associated precautions, related job descriptions and emergency procedures are highlights of this requirement. The intent of this standard is to protect employees from confined space hazards on construction sites where there may be a lack of history to such spaces and on dynamic job-site conditions that change frequently or when transient workers may flow in and out of work place activities. The new standard assigns information exchange obligations to all employers at a location based on the multi-employer workplace policy. Information pertaining to the confined spaces including: location, hazards or potential hazards and any previous precautions taken are examples of what has to be communicated up and down stream to and from various employers on site.



CONFINED SPACE SUPPORT SPECIALISTS s Training s Attendant & Rescue Services s Program Development s Equipment Sales, Service and Rental WEB: EMAIL: TOLL FREE: 855-5MEDTEX (855-563-3839)

Lastly, emergency procedures must be appropriately planned. Employers must: evaluate rescue personnel’s ability to respond in a timely manner (hazards identified in the permit space shall determine “timeliness”) and evaluate the rescuers ability to provide adequate and effective rescue services. Employers must also have a mechanism in place for a rescue provider to notify the employer if the service becomes unavailable for rescue. In addition to evaluation and selection criteria, rescue teams or services must be informed of hazards they may confront if called to perform a rescue on the site. Access to locations and spaces should be provided to develop appropriate rescue plans or practice rescue operations. Any employer whose employees have been designated to perform confined space rescue must take measures such as providing employees with appropriate personal protective equipment and training to perform assigned rescue duties. Employers shall train affected employees in first aid/CPR and ensure that employees practice making similar rescues at least every twelve months. There are several resources for more information, including the designated pages for confined spaces on OSHA’s website. n ISSUE 2 | 2016 41


The Madison Concrete crew convenes for a safety meeting with Jim Dolente Sr., chairman of the board, center. Holding preplanned, weekly safety meetings is a good way to keep safety top of mind.

by Victoria K. Sicaras, AEC Editorial Specialist for Madison Concrete Construction In 2014, one out of every five worker fatalities occurred on construction sites, most often from falls, electrocution, being struck by an object, and getting caught in or between objects or equipment. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, eliminating those four fatal hazards would save 508 workers’ lives in America every year. In Philadelphia, Madison Concrete Construction has higher ambitions. The construction company is working to eliminate injuries of any kind, at any given job. Madison has partnered with its insurance provider, The Graham Company, to implement the Kairos Safety Commitment Model. The insurance broker launched the safety program in June 2015 to help clients in high-risk industries construct of culture of safety that aims for zero accidents and zero injuries. “Safety has been one of our cornerstones during our entire existence, but we approached it job by job, superintendent by superintendent,” says Jim Dolente Sr., chairman of the board at Madison Concrete. “The Kairos safety program takes safety beyond mere compliance to something all-encompassing that requires buy-in from every employee.


It’s about coming together as a collective whole, so all employees are committed.”” The program goes beyond traditional safety meetings to incorporate safety procedures into a company’s culture, so that they become a natural part of daily activities. This is done through (1) teamwork, (2) a learning and growing environment, and (3) proactive versus reactive modeling. Participation is expected at every level of the organization, from executive staff to field workers. However, the program is implemented from the top down so managers can verbalize the message of safety to staff and lead by example. “We’ve teamed up with a leading behavioral psychologist in the development of this process and identified sustainable and effective means to improve the safety performance of organizations,” says Mark Troxell, vice president of safety services with The Graham Company. “By taking employees through the learning and practical application of the Kairos Safety Commitment Model, we can facilitate a culture change that will improve an organization’s safety performance. More importantly, we can create an employee base that truly understands what it means to commit to working safely.”

Assessing Safety Practices The first step involved Madison leadership meeting with Graham staff several times to gain a thorough understanding of the program. Shortly after those meetings, Graham surveyed all Madison employees about safety procedures. Approximately 215 employees answered more than 40 multiple-choice questions, which helped identify companywide strengths as well as areas that need improvement. Collaborative, Optimal Teamwork Next, Madison formed a 30-person team that includes staff members from all levels: executive managers, project managers, superintendents, foremen, journeymen and other field staff. This team meets once a month, in the beginning to learn about the program and later for training. During meetings, the team breaks into two groups to separately tackle safety issues and then come back together to share solutions. “They’ve met twice so far, which has generated a lot of open discussion about what we’re good at and where we can improve,” says Dolente. “They’ll meet three more times before we implement companywide and in the field.” Teamwork is an important element of the Kairos program. According to The Graham Company, optimal teamwork not only means staff members on all levels work collaboratively to solve an issue, but also includes: • Frequent briefings and debriefings with all staff when investigating a reported concern. • An assessment of team dynamics and any team-building activities needed to move forward in building a culture of safety. A Learning and Growing Environment The number of safety risks can be high in construction, but when companies address risk from within a culture of safety, they can take measures to prevent undesired outcomes. The Graham Company advises that, to learn from incidents, the evaluating team must first determine if an incident was caused by error, poor judgment, or disregard for standards. The answer can lead to more effective protocols or even to “peer checks” that ensure co-workers are mutually responsible for compliance with all safety standards.

“We also are asking everyone to tell us why we should be safe—who are we being safe for? Whether the answer is a spouse, child or another family member, we want employees to have reasons besides themselves, so they can have a higher motivation for safety,” says Dolente. Measuring Success It is critical to set benchmarks and tools to measure the effectiveness of your company’s safety culture over time. Here are a few indicators that your culture is working: • Increase in timeliness of employee incident reports (prompt reporting means employees are not hesitant to make a report, and supervisors are responsive) • Decreased workers’ compensation costs • Increase in employees reporting risks (before they become incidents) • Increased employee satisfaction • Increased employee retention. Madison Concrete Construction plans to implement the Kairos safety program companywide. “Our 30-member team is still working on action plans to achieve our goal of zero injuries,” says Dolente. “Our ultimate goal, of course, is to continue to make safety an intrinsic part of what we do and who we are.” For more on Madison Concrete Construction and The Graham Company, visit and n conStruction Federal contracting labor & employment commercial litigation real eState

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Predictive Modeling The Kairos program trains employees and supervisors to change their focus to be more predictive or proactive when responding to risks. With a predictive focus, failure to follow safety protocols is handled in the same manner, regardless of whether there is an adverse outcome or not. Proactive approaches may include employees reporting potential risks or taking immediate action to eliminate risks they see. In addition, the organization should proactively ensure the culture of safety by: • Detailing compliance with safety procedures in job descriptions • Reviewing safety procedures during onboarding of new employees • Highlighting safety procedures during monthly/annual safety training • Measuring compliance with procedures during the 90-day and annual review processes.

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ISSUE 2 | 2016 43

GBCA SAFETY UPDATE By Donald Ashton, Director, Safety Services, GBCA OSHA Turns 45! On December 29th, 1970 President Richard Nixon signed into law the Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act. This law codified, at a federal level, safety rules and regulations written to protect the lives and health of over 50 million American workers. On April 28th, 1971 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) formally came into being. As of April 28th, 2016 OSHA celebrates its 45th year. OSHA’s role in worker safety has changed over the years. From what was predominately an organization geared towards compliance and citations/corrective actions, OSHA is focusing more on proactive steps to assist employers in performing work safely. One major event, started in 2014, is the National Fall Prevention Stand-Down. The purpose of OSHA’s National Fall Prevention Stand-Down is to raise awareness of preventing fall hazards in construction. 44 CONSTRUCTION TODAY

Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers, accounting for 337 of the 874 construction fatalities recorded in 2014 (BLS preliminary data). These deaths were preventable. Fall prevention safety standards were among the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards, during fiscal year 2014.

residential construction contractors, sub- and independent contractors, highway construction companies, general industry employers, the U.S. Military, other government participants, unions, employer’s trade associations, institutes, worker interest organizations, and safety equipment manufacturers.

2016 Stand-Down Goals

OSHA is partnering with key groups to assist with this effort, including the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), OSHA approved State Plans, State consultation programs, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), the National Safety Council, the National Construction Safety Executives (NCSE), the U.S. Air Force, and the OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Centers.

Last year’s Stand-Down was a tremendous success, reaching more than 2.5 million workers. This year, OSHA’s goal is to reach 5 million workers. If we meet this goal, we will have touched more than half of the construction workers in the country. Who Can Participate? Anyone who wants to prevent falls in the workplace can participate in the Stand-Down. In past years, participants included commercial construction companies of all sizes,


What is a Safety Stand-Down? A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. This Stand-Down focuses on “Fall Hazards” and reinforcing the importance of “Fall Prevention”. How to Conduct a Safety Stand-Down Companies can conduct a Safety Stand-Down by taking a break to have a toolbox talk or another safety activity such as conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans, or discussing job specific hazards. Managers are encouraged to plan a stand-down that works best for their workplace. See Suggestions to Prepare for a Successful “Stand-Down” and Highlights

from the Past Stand-Downs. OSHA also hosts an Events page with events that are free and open to the public to help employers and workers find events in your area.

improve future initiatives like this, please email Also share your Stand-Down story on social media, with the hashtag: #StandDown4Safety.

Certificate of Participation

If you plan to host a free event that is open to the public, see OSHA’s Events page for more information and to contact your Regional Stand-Down Coordinator.

Employers will be able to provide feedback about their Stand-Down and download a Certificate of Participation signed by Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez following the Stand-Down. The Certificate Page is now active as of May 2, 2016. Share Your Story With Us If you want to share information with OSHA on your Safety Stand-Down, Fall Prevention Programs or suggestions on how we can

The GBCA fully supports this initiative and stands ready to assist its members in conducting stand-down events at their businesses or job sites. For further information or assistance please contact Don Ashton, Director of Safety Services at 215-568-7015 or by e-mail at n

GBCA leaders and members of the Safety Committee at City Hall


The City of Philadelphia passed a resolution in City Council recognizing and observing May 2 through May 6, 2016 as Construction Safety Week. The GBCA Safety Committee endorsed this measure to coincide with the second annual U.S. Industry Safety Week and OSHA’s National Fall Protection Stand-down. Construction Safety Week is designed to thank workers for supporting safety and recognizing their efforts to be injury free, and to increase awareness of the importance of being committed to safety by inspiring the sharing of best practices and working together to strengthen the construction industry’s safety culture. n

ISSUE 2 | 2016 45


Being safe means being alert — all the time Even in familiar surroundings, we need to constantly be looking for dangers around us throughout our day. Keeping an eye out for hazards can help you identify and avoid them before an injury occurs. Looking at the world through this safety lens can help you protect yourself and those around you.

Watch Where You’re Going Distracted walking is on the rise for people of all ages. With so many things competing for our attention, safety needs to be a priority. • Check your emails and send your texts before you start walking • Duck into a doorway or move off to the side to make a call, send a text or answer emails • Never cross the street while using an electronic device and make sure you can hear traffic and sounds around you • Scan ahead for cracks on the ground, spills or changes in elevation

Protect the Older Adults in Your Life Falls are a leading cause of death for older adults. There are changes we can make to protect ourselves at any age. • Use non-skid mats or appliques in the bath and shower • Install grab bars in the tub, shower and near the toilet, and railings on the stairs • Provide adequate lighting in every room and stairway • Place nightlights in the kitchen, bathroom and hallways

• Keep often-used items like clothing and food easily accessible to avoid using stools or ladders • If necessary, provide older adults with personal walking devices such as canes or walkers

Protect the Children in Your Life More than a third of child injuries and deaths happen at home. Parents or guardians should be on the lookout for potential sources of injury. According to the CDC, most incidents occur where there is: • Water: in the bathroom, kitchen, swimming pools or hot tubs • Heat or flame: in the kitchen, fireplace or at a barbeque grill • Toxic substance: under the kitchen sink, in the medicine cabinet, in the garage or garden shed, in a purse or other place where medications are stored • Potential for a fall: on stairs, slippery floors, from high windows or from tipping furniture

Take Safety With You Wherever you are, consider the hazards unique to the location. A fun outing could turn stressful quickly if you are injured. • Going to a ballgame? Watch for foul balls! • Heading to a concert? Consider ear plugs, and check for cables that may run along floors. • Visiting somewhere new? Designate a meeting place in case you get separated. • Whether in your home or visiting others, be aware that seemingly harmless electronic devices (remote controls, keyless entry devices, toys, watches and more) may contain coin lithium batteries or “button batteries” which can cause serious injury or death if swallowed.



Since 2000, more than 11,000 people have been seriously injured because of distracted walking. Source: Injury Facts 2015




Have a secured non-slip rug or mat in entryways to keep debris and moisture from causing someone to slip, trip or fall.

National Safety Council | 1121 Spring Lake Drive | Itasca, IL 60143 |


900008545 0216 © 2016 National Safety Council


The roads belong to us all: Let’s make safe choices The nation’s roadways are a place of constant risk, with millions of vehicles moving alongside one another. Since it’s impossible to control the choices of everyone on the road, we need to be defensive drivers. Getting behind the wheel is a time for patience and focus – qualities that can help you avoid a collision should someone else make a bad decision.

Be Distraction-free Thousands of crashes have involved distracted driving. Anything that prevents a driver from being able to safely operate the vehicle should be avoided. • Never use a cell phone behind the wheel, even hands-free • Pre-set your navigation system and music playlists before driving

Avoid Impairment An average of one alcohol-impaired driving fatality occurs every 53 minutes in the U.S. But impairment can also include being under the influence of drugs – both legal and illegal. • Designate an alcohol and drug-free driver or arrange alternate transportation • Check the side effects of your medications before getting behind the wheel

Check Your Speed Speeding was a factor in 28 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2014. Speeding reduces the amount of time a driver has to react in a dangerous situation to avoid a crash.

• Always allow adequate time to get to your destination • Adjust your speed for weather conditions – in certain situations the legal speed limit may be too fast

Rest Up Our lives are busy and sometimes we try to fit in too much. This can be very dangerous behind the wheel if we don’t get enough rest. Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep a day, while teens need 9-10 hours. • Create a regular sleep pattern so you can get plenty of rest • On long trips, take regular breaks to avoid fatigue

Help Teens and Children Driving is a complex skill that demands judgment and experience, which can take years to acquire. Teen drivers need as much experience as possible, and parents should help provide that by driving with their teens on a regular basis. Do not allow teens to drive with their friends. A single young passenger can increase a teen driver’s fatal crash risk 44 percent. The safety of child passengers is the responsibility of the driver, and requirements change as kids grow. • Make certain child safety seats are properly installed, that children are correctly secured and that the seats are appropriate to the child’s height, weight and developmental level • Regardless of age, make sure all passengers are correctly belted before setting off



In an average year, speeding is involved in 27 traffic deaths every day during June, July and August. Source: NSC Analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2014




Many vehicles are coming equipped with advanced safety technologies, but to be effective you need to know how to use them. Visit to learn more.

National Safety Council | 1121 Spring Lake Drive | Itasca, IL 60143 |

900008546 0216 © 2016 National Safety Council

ISSUE 2 | 2016 47


Celebrate National Safety Month this June “National Safety Month is just 4 weeks, 30 days, 720 hours, 43,200 minutes… but just one second can save a life. Whether you’re a parent practicing a home fire drill or a Safety Manager leading a safety committee meeting, you save lives. NSM affords us the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the work we do with the support of a leader in safety advocacy, the National Safety Council.” -Jamie Feinberg, Vice President – Risk Control, Captive Resources LLC

We all face a variety of risks throughout our lives. The fact is, unintentional injuries have recently risen to the 4th leading cause of death in the U.S., but we can work together to reverse this trend. National Safety Month is a time to highlight leading causes of preventable injury and death on a national scale, so we can keep more people safe. With more than 75 percent of all unintentional injuries occurring in the home and community, this year’s National Safety Month theme – SafeForLife – emphasizes the importance of safety both on and off the job. The Council will be sharing a variety of free resources*, including posters and tip sheets, on the following weekly topics: • • • •

Week 1: Stand Ready to Respond Week 2: Be Healthy Week 3: Watch Out for Dangers Week 4: Share Roads Safely

Get Your Workers Excited About Safety Use a little bit of creativity to engage all your workers in safety this June. These ideas should help get you started:

*NSC members get even more materials to promote National Safety Month, including checklists, quizzes and 5-minute safety talks. Join today at

• • • • • • • •

Show our NSM video at the start of a safety meeting to kick off the month Distribute the downloadable NSM materials and attend our webinars Create bulletin boards or newsletter entries based off of the weekly themes Hold a safety trivia contest with prizes each week Conduct the free employee safety perception survey available at Ask employees to go on walks in teams around your facility to identify hazards Throw a safety fair or celebratory luncheon Share posts on your social media channels using #Safe4Life and participate in our Facebook contest • Show you care about the safety of your co-workers and families by making a donation to support NSC We hope you’ll join us this June in equipping your workers with tools they need to keep themselves, their families and friends safe for a lifetime.

National Safety Council 1121 SPRING LAKE DRIVE ITASCA, IL 60143-3201 (800) 723-3643

Learn more at 900008526 0216 © 2016 National Safety Council


APPRENTICESHIPS BUILD CAREERS ACROSS THE NATION, educators, employers and elected leaders are speaking collectively to encourage and support apprenticeship programs. In fact, according to a White House news release, 87 percent of apprentices find employment after completing their program, and their average starting wage is above $50,000. Many colleges are now offering credit toward a degree for completing an apprenticeship program. In the Philadelphia building trades, joint apprenticeship committees, consisting of both management and labor, work together by developing and administering local apprenticeship training programs. Apprenticeship and training opportunities in the construction industry are available every year with the electricians, steamfitters, bricklayers, plumbers, operating engineers and many more. Apprentices in the various training programs earn prevailing wages, health care and pension benefits during their training. The building-trades programs are joint labor-managementadministered programs, which are privately financed with minimum qualification requirements for applicants to be accepted. Each year these programs spend millions of dollars in training and hundreds of thousands of man hours, both on the job and in the classroom. When apprentices finish their training, they receive certificates of completion of apprenticeship. In Pennsylvania they are issued by the state apprenticeship agencies or, in those states not having such an agency, by the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training in accordance with its recommended standards. Several weeks ago I attended an event where the speaker, Marco Rubio, explained to the crowd that as our economy continues to grow, there is a necessity for creating more workers in the skilled trades. Sen. Rubio’s speech to the crowd explained a vision for expanding the middle class in this country by respecting the skills and earning potential of a trained welder, versus that of someone earning a four-year degree in philosophy. The construction industry needs professional training in order to complete new commercial buildings, schools, roads, bridges and industrial facilities. The apprenticeship and training model of the building-trades programs delivers the professional training and creates secure middle-class jobs in a turbulent labor market. The programs lead the way for a new generation of workers to the construction industry. William Adams IBEW Local Union 654 President Boothwyn, Pa.

BECOME A FUTURE LEADER! The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) was established to fulfill the need to cultivate the next generation of leaders in the construction industry as well as the association both at the local and national levels. What do you get when you join the CLC? Membership in the CLC is a win-win-win situation. GBCA wins by being able to fulfill its mission of assisting and educating its members to the max. CLC member companies are the biggest winners of all. CLC committee membership is free per company, they get to assign as many of their employees as they wish to participate at the low cost CLC events and training. One important key to surviving in today’s economic climate is having a well educated staff that is confident that the company they work for cares about them. Knowledge is power — strength, ability, and potential. Service - Education - Networking - Leadership It is critical that the young professionals of the membership within the GBCA develop into the future leaders of our industry, community and our association. Through education, networking, and service each member of the CLC will grow to understand that construction starts with building relationships. Our goal is to develop the future leadership of GBCA that will continue to construct an industry that becomes safer and more productive. Mission Statement The CLC is group of young construction professionals (ages 40 and younger) who are committed to maintaining, improving and promoting the construction industry and our association through education, networking and service. The CLC will promote the mission of the GBCA while building the future foundation for our association, industry and leadership. Get Involved If you would like more information or would like to join the CLC please contact Lauren Tosti, Director of Marketing & Communications, n

ISSUE 2 | 2016 49

GBCA’S NEW SCHOLARSHIP by Angela Louro, Director, Education and Professional Development, GBCA and Melinda Patrician, Director, AGC Education & Research Foundation, Associated General Contractors of America The General Building Contractors Association (GBCA) is excited to announce that the chapter has created the newest national scholarship fund through the AGC Education and Research Foundation (AGCERF). The GBCA Scholarship will add to the opportunities specific to students from the Philadelphia area and will be awarded for the first time in 2017. B. Scott Holloway, President & CEO of Josam Company, along with his family has for many years endowed two scholarship funds, the Caswell F. Holloway Jr. and Marie B. Holloway Scholarship and the Karen and Scott Holloway Scholarship. Scott is a long-time GBCA member and Board of Directors seat holder, as well as a member of the AGCERF Board of Directors, is happy to see the opportunities expand for area students. “Our family has enthusiastically supported construction management and engineering scholarships through the foundation for over ten years,” Holloway said. “We could not be happier to see the opportunities expand for students in our area.” While the GBCA scholarship is specific to our geographic area, it is not the only opportunity for students in the area served by GBCA. Other scholarships through the Foundation include general funds, so that no deserving student is unable to find financial aid. The 2016 recipients, awarded at AGC’s 97th National Convention in San Antonio, Texas included Nicole Feng, a senior at Temple University, who was awarded a scholarship through AGC Service Supply and Specialty Contractors Fund; Abigail Sandherr, a junior at Temple University who received the Karen and Scott Holloway Scholarship; Travis Shoemaker, a sophomore at Lafayette College who received the Consulting Constructors’ Council Scholarship; and Laura Worley, a junior at Drexel University who received the AGC of America Scholarship. This year, four GBCA members: Charlie Cook, William Denmark, David LaRosa and Phil Radomski, participated in the interview process which helped the AGCERF Committee select award recipients. Through endowments made by AGC members and supporters, as well as AGC Chapters, the AGC Education and Research Foundation is able to give over 100 undergraduate and graduate scholarships each year to deserving students. Since 1970, AGCERF has awarded over 4,000 scholarships totaling $11 million. Scholarship candidates are evaluated for their academic success, their commitment to the industry through participation in campus professional organizations, summer or parttime work in the construction industry, and their goals for the future. The scholarship application period opens each year on July 1 and runs until November 1. GBCA encourages local students and member company employees pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in construction management to apply for 2017 scholarships starting on July 1, 2016.


Karen and Scott Holloway

Applications can be found at Applicants are evaluated through a rigorous process that includes faculty and employer evaluations, reviews by AGC contractors, and, finally, an interview with a contractor in their area. n

“We are very excited to announce the GBCA scholarship fund for 2017. GBCA is looking forward to providing another avenue of support for local students studying construction management who continue to provide a pipeline of knowledgeable and well trained employees for our member companies.” – Benjamin J. Connors, President, General Building Contractors Association




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Tague Lumber See our ad on the back cover.

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Excellence is Building. As one of America’s oldest trade associations, General Building Contractors Association is more than just a proven advocate and industry leader for safety and education. The men and women who work for our member organizations are the best trained, most skilled and most trusted

Best practices. Better buildings.

construction professionals in the industry. Stated simply, GBCA is — The Standard of Building Excellence.

Become a member. Learn what we’re doing. See what we’ve accomplished. Build your future.





ISSUE 2 | 2016 51

What? When? Where?

Tague’s There!

560 East High Street • Philadelphia, PA 19144


Construction Today - Issue 2  

As our industry grows and changes, so, too, does our workforce. Far from being considered strictly a “man’s job,” careers in construction a...

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