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16 World Events that Impacted Construction in 2016


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In the book of construction history, 2016 will go down as a complicated and impactful chapter. Let’s revisit the news that shocked us, impacted our jobsites, and kept us buzzing. 

Can you guess which event made the #1 spot?

#16 Zika Virus Both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlined procedures to educate and protect workers from Zika exposure while on the job.

#15 OSHA Silica rule After years of deliberation and attempts from industry groups to block the ruling, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a rule to protect workers from exposure to silica dust.

#14 ABC sues Department of Labor The Associated Builders and Contractors filed a legal challenge against the U.S. DOL's Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule. ABC claims the rule restricts open competition for federal contracts and creates costly regulations for SMBs.

#13 FAA Drone Rule The Federal Aviation Administration announced a set of rules for the commercial use of drones. This should streamline the process of applying for drone permits.

#12 Martian Concrete Engineers from Northwestern University developed Martian Concrete – a mix of Earth sulfur and Martian soil. This mix will allow the coming construction boom on another world. Construction of the first colony on Mars is estimated at $6 billion.

#11 XXXI Olympiad According to the Olympic Public Authority, a total of $7.07 billion was spent on building venues for the games. Three months after the Rio Olympics, the city is $31 billion in debt – highlighting a need for reform of Olympic construction financing.

#10 Dakota Access Pipeline Beginning April 1, Native Americans of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation protested a 1,172-mile oil pipeline. On December 4, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied an easement, effectively halting work on the pipeline.

#9 Italy Earthquake On October 30, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake rocked Central Italy. The death toll reached 299 people, throwing a spotlight on lax seismic regulations for historic Italian buildings.

#8 G20 vs Chinese Steel On September 4, the U.S. government and Group of 20 Conference alleged that China is illegally dumping cheap steel into foreign markets. As a result, we have seen a 4.1% dip in rebar futures contracts from last year. 

#7 Canadian Lumber Agreement The U.S. lumber industry alleged that Canadian producers are unloading lumber into U.S. markets at below market prices, hurting local lumber manufacturers and increasing the producer price index of softwood lumber.

#6 Paris Climate Agreements On September 3, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping submitted their plan to lower greenhouse emissions. This deal increases U.S. commitment to investing in energy efficient buildings to $220 billion by 2020.

#5 Hurricane Matthew From September 28 to October 10, this Category 5 cyclone devastated the U.S. Eastern seaboard. Wind and storm surges caused up to $6 billion worth of damage to approximately 1.5 million residential and commercial properties, according to CoreLogic.

#4 Brexit Almost overnight the pound lost 18 percent against the dollar as a result of the UK voting to leave the European Union. It has since bounced back but, remains unstable. Meanwhile, construction figures are down and infrastructure investment is erratic in the UK.

#3 OPEC In November, Saudi officials and OPEC agreed to limit oil production. As a result, energy and oil prices are likely to rise in the near future – bringing construction materials prices up with it.

#2 Crisis in Syria After five-plus years of fighting, Syria's war has killed at least 470,000 people and displaced over 12 million refugees. According to the World Bank, the reconstruction of Syria is estimated to be worth over $200 billion. 

#1 Donald Trump Elected as U.S. President If ratified, Trump’s infrastructure plan will kickstart $137 billion in tax breaks to private investors. The hope is that this will lower the cost of financing and spur $1 trillion worth of private investments into the repair of public infrastructure.

As we closeout 2016, we reflect on a year of ups and downs. We said hello to political shifts, goodbye to regulations, watched unspeakable loss, and witnessed the evolution of our industry’s future. Through it all, our industry achieved the greatest amount of growth in eight years.

Hard hats off to all who contributed. Cheers to a year of continued growth in 2017.