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Weekly Grind: Overtime Buried and T3 Makes Construction History


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Judge Blocks Feds’ Overtime Rule Affecting 4.2 Million

Heeding calls from Associated Builders and Contractors, National Association of Home Builders, and other trade groups, a Texas judge has ordered a temporary stay on the federal government’s new overtime rule, which would have made 4 million more construction workers eligible for overtime pay. The feds can appeal the judge’s stay, but it’s believed the incoming administration will allow the rule to disappear.

Proposed 50-Acre Office Complex Makes Bold Statement. About Underwear.

Under Armour’s sprawling new modernist business campus near Baltimore will look like a city unto itself. The parking lot alone will be 120 feet tall and 800 feet wide. The project is up for review by the city’s design panel, whose first question is likely to be this: “You’re paying for this with underwear sales?”

Austria's Murinsel Bridge: Show-Off Over Untroubled Water

In 2003 Graz, Austria was crowned the European City of Culture. The title went straight to the old town’s head—and its infrastructure. Note for instance the quaint little footbridge they put across the picturesque, burbling Mur River. And good luck finding your way through it to the opposite bank.

Concrete Spiral Staircase More Interesting than it Sounds 

Back in 2013, this thing was the talk of the Boston Design Biennial. Now the spiral stairway structure, called “Helix” (who woulda guessed?), is being revisited in the chic pages of hipster architecture site archdaily.com. The big deal? Brittle, non-reinforced concrete is studiously avoided in cantilevered works like this, but Matter Design figured out a way to redistribute the loads and make it work.

Futuristic NYC Gehry Building Dripping Futuristic Chemical Globs

A beautiful glass and steel modernist office tower in the Chelsea district of Manhattan is making a name for itself, but likely not the name its designer hoped for. Famed Architect Frank Gehry designed the curvaceous showpiece building, which opened for business in 2007 and is owned by entertainment giant Barry Diller. It seems the sealant around the double-glazed window panes has begun dissolving, resulting in the formation of weird bubbles and blobs. Window glazers Permasteelisa have so far ignored the resulting legal action.

Largest Mass Timber Building in U.S. Opens

Minneapolis’ T3 Building (Timber, Technology, Transit) is now the largest mass wood building in America, continuing wood’s resurgence as a prime, large-structure building material. Even the curation of the wood is forward-thinking, with most of the building’s lumber having come from trees in the Pacific Northwest region killed by the mountain pine beetle.

Living Wall Tech Makes Very Visible Debut in Old London

Designer ARUP and Swedish “living wall” specialists Green Fortune have teamed to cover an historic old building in London with foliage. A special scaffolding that fronts the building has been hung with leafy and flowering plants designed to reduce the area’s air and noise pollution by 20% and 10 decibels, respectively. “Dear, did you remember to water the building this morning?”

Brooklyn Residential Tower Now Tallest Prefab in the World

“461 Dean” is now officially the tallest modular building in the world. “Modular” describes a construction process that features the fitting together of less expensively produced pre-made sections. All eyes are on 461 Dean as a model of modular success. Such buildings are expected to play a large role in the affordable urban housing issue here in the U.S.

Read This Before You Purchase That Construction Drone

400 feet, 100 MPH, $500—there are a handful of rules and numbers you ought to know before you consider buying that project drone. Add in the inevitable liability insurance premiums, and it’s not a given this exciting new tool will be worth the expense or hassle. Aww, but it’s so cool!!

Carbon-Villain Concrete Gets Good-Guy Makeover

It’s long been known that concrete production accounts for a staggering 5% of the world’s greenhouse gases. What wasn’t known until now is that the stuff breathes back in about 43% of the carbon it produces. Sorry we’ve been so mean, concrete!

ANSI’s New Nail Gun Rules Disappoint Safety Advocates

In updating their 2002 nail gun rules, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has again failed to require the 40 year-old Sequential Trigger technology on these tools, basically allowing these nail-driving machines to be activated by contact with a surface; the prime cause of accidental discharge injuries. That has some construction safety advocates upset.

Bye-Bye, Guard Rails and Body Belts: OSHA’s New Fall Prevention Flexibility 

OSHA fall protection rules, whose violations number 6,929 so far this year, have just been relaxed a little. The updated rules give more discretion to employers to decide which systems are best in given settings.


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