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By: Kendall Jones on August 14th, 2020

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Construction Industry Weekly News Recap – August 14, 2020

Construction Industry News | COVID-19

Here’s a quick rundown of this week’s top news and happenings in the construction industry. Each week, we’ll take a look at some of the interesting local, regional, and national stories about construction to keep you better informed of the goings-on in the industry.

Plastic Roads Being Tested on Repaving Projects in California

TechniSoil Industrial, in Redding, California, is using recycled plastic bottles to repave roads, which the company claims are “sturdier, flatter, safer and more durable than those made with regular asphalt.” The process involves removing the top three inches of asphalt on an existing road, grinding it down, and then mixing it with TechniSoil’s G5 binder, made of liquefied plastic, which is then used to repave the road.

The California Department of Transportation just used it to replace three lanes on an 1,000-foot stretch of highway and the City of Los Angeles is planning to test it out in October, a test that was originally scheduled for March but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. – August 8, 2020 (USA Today)

DPR, Skanska, & Schneider Electric Sued Over VR Patent Infringement

Virtual Immersion Technologies, LLC has filed lawsuits against a number of construction companies, like DPR, Skanska, & Schneider Electric, claiming they infringed upon their patent for a virtual reality theater system. The lawsuits claim these companies have realized financial benefits and gained competitive advantages by using an “immersive, interactive virtual reality system in which there exists three-way communication among and between participants, live performers and the virtual reality environment.”

Virtual Immersion Technologies has filed suit against a growing number of companies including Ford, Lockheed Martin, as well filing and then dropping litigation against other construction companies like Gilbane, Jacobs Engineering, and Turner Construction. – August 11, 2020 (Construction Dive)

Fifteen New Positive COVID-19 Cases at SoFi Stadium Construction Site

Another 15 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified at the SoFi Stadium construction project in Inglewood, California, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Health. This brings the total number of confirmed cases at the construction site to 75 since late March. A majority of the cases have come from construction on the stadium and the adjacent entertainment venue being overseen by the joint venture Turner-AECOM Hunt where over 4,000 workers have been on-site. August 11, 2020 (Los Angeles Times)

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Pipeline Construction Spills 10,000 Gallons of Mud in Pennsylvania Lake

Construction work on Sunoco’s Mariner East pipeline project has caused around 10,000 gallons of drilling mud to spill into the creek and lake at Marsh Creek State Park in Chester County, Pennsylvania. August 11, 2020 The Department of Environmental Protection has shut down two drilling sites for the pipeline project pending an investigation. The lake is a source of drinking water for county residents, but it hasn’t been determined if the spill has impacted the water supplies. – August 11, 2020 (NPR)

Construction Backlogs Decrease in July

The July Construction Backlog Indicator from the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) shows that contractor backlogs have decreased from 8.1 months in June to 7.8 months in July. Compared to July 2019, backlogs are down a full month in the latest report. Construction industry leaders are feeling a decreased confidence in July for profit margins, sales, and staffing levels, per the ABC’s Construction Confidence Index. – August 11, 2020 (CONTRACTOR)

Contractors See Productivity Drop 17.9% Due to COVID-19 Health Checks & Protocols

A new study from the Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association’s (SMACNA) research arm, New Horizons Foundation, shows that its members have experienced a 17.9% drop in productivity since the coronavirus pandemic struck. Screening workers prior to beginning work resulted in a productivity loss of 8.7% and another 9.2% was lost for following protocols such as social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting tools, and using PPE. For the average project, this has resulted in a 7% financial loss and the average workers losing 85 minutes per eight-hour day. – August 11, 2020 (Construction Dive)

New Tech Developed to Conduct Building Inspections Remotely

Researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland have developed an online platform to conduct building inspections remotely. The new technology uses algorithms, image processing techniques, and virtual reality to monitor construction projects and create a 3D environment to eliminate the need for inspectors to visit jobsites in person. The researches who developed the platform also believe the technology will lead to fewer defect and rework as well as improve productivity and building quality. – August 9, 2020 (Evening Express)

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About Kendall Jones

Kendall Jones is the Editor in Chief at ConstructConnect. He has been writing about the construction industry for years, covering a wide range of topics from safety and technology to industry news and operating insights.