homeWelcome, sign in or click here to subscribe.login

1999 Construction & Equipment Forecast

special issues index
[1999 Construction & Equipment Forecast]
March 8, 1999

The Puget Sound construction market continued to thrive in 1998. As you'll read in our annual Consturction Industry Survey, the real estate boom that began in the mid-90s continues to bring local contractors plenty of work to keep busy. And while some say that the frenetic pace of building is beginning to ebb, one of the biggest problems in the coming year is still finding enough labor to get projects finished.

Construction worker

This year's Construction & Equipment Forecast also looks at other business issues facing contractors today. In a story about the "rough" image some have of construction workers, Gerald Baron looks at some of the negative views some people have about contractors and offers a few suggestions on cleaning things up. And in "Risky Business: why so many contractors fail", John Schaufelberger examines the most common business mistakes construction firms make.

The '99 Construction Forecast also features a few of the more interesting projects in the area. Among them, the UW Tacoma branch campus and the "elevator without a building" at King Street Center.

You can find more interesting projects in our coverage of the 1999 AGC of Washington Safety and Construction Excellence Awards, which profile both interesting projects and some of the area's most successful contractors.

The DJC assembled these and other stories to give our readers a comprehensive look at the construction industry today, where it's been and most importantly, where it's going in the coming year. We hope our readers find it useful.

- Maude Scott, Editor


1999 Construction Industry Survey
Construction's image problem: fixing it is harder than you think
What do high schoolers really think about construction workers? Why are kids so reluctant to consider construction a career, particularly considering the wide variety of jobs available, the career path offered, and the remarkably high pay compared to so many other professions?
Risky business: why so many contractors fail
Construction is a risky business, and construction managers often lack the necessary business management skills to survive. While good cost estimating, project planning and scheduling, and project management skills are essential for success in construction, so are good business planning and management skills.
Safeco Field's 12 scoreboards should be a big hit
When the Mariners take to Safeco Field for the first time on July 15, the team will be outnumbered. Not by the opposing San Diego Padres, but by the stadiums dozen scoreboards.
Contractors face another tough year finding labor
The construction labor market in the Central Puget Sound region will continue to tighten this year but conditions should ease up heading into next year, according to labor and construction industry experts.
National construction outlook: no growth
The United States economy has downshifted, but is moving ahead nicely. Non-farm jobs increased by 2.2 million in 1998, with 300,000 of those jobs added after the summer upset in the stock market.
Diversity: new realities for construction companies
The United States Census Bureau reports that from 1960 to 1990, Americas minority population climbed from 15 to 24 percent, and recent evidence also confirms that the 1990 Census may have underestimated the number of minorities living in the U.S. By 2010, one-third of the population will be minorities.
Local firms struggle with labor shortage
Last year, the predicted labor shortage struck fear in the hearts of one of business' toughest breeds - construction contractors. Many turned away work point blank, or raised prices to discourage it, because conventional wisdom was that large projects under construction would suck up every available body.
UW Tacoma preserves and transforms a neighborhood
The University of Washington Tacoma continues to grow, building a 21st century future on a 19th century foundation.
Novel elevator design gives King Street Center a lift
For developers, contractors and engineers, there's nothing like an aggressive construction schedule to create challenges and opportunities for innovation.
Allocating risk: Advice for the `astute' contractor
The hold harmless/indemnity provisions contained in construction subcontracts prompt more questions of legal counsel than any other single subcontract provision. Indemnity clauses take many forms but they have the general purpose of allocating the risk by personal injury and property damage on construction projects. A clear exposition on the subject is found in State v. P. B. M. C., Inc.
Some tips on how to handle bid disputes
Dog eat dog is a phrase that is often used to describe the construction industry. Shrinking profit margins and increased competition are a fact of life for most contractors. Against that backdrop, it is no wonder that bid protests and disputes have been and continue to be an all too familiar piece of the public bidding puzzle.
Using personal protection equipment poses risks
Rising costs for workers compensation and general liability are prompting employers in many industries to reexamine their workplace safety practices. Significant bottom line benefits can be achieved by employers who are diligent not only in identifying and evaluating risks, but also in exploring alternatives for creating safe work environments.
There's a hidden tax savings in your fixed assets
The Puget Sound area is currently experiencing tremendous growth in the construction industry. Business owners are expanding manufacturing facilities, remodeling leasehold improvements and building new office structures. All too often businesses secure financing, finalize agreements and complete construction before consulting with their tax specialist.
Soil freezing gets a warm reception here
If youve ever tried to dig a hole in the ground after an extended period of sub-freezing weather, you know how tough frozen soil is. It has nearly the strength of concrete and nothing passes through it not water, chemicals or hazardous materials.
Seattle tunnel builders face sand, gravel and `bull's liver'
Joe Gildner has a boring job. So why does he consider it a challenge? Because he's the project engineer for a pair of tunnels Sound Transit will bore beneath Beacon Hill and Portage Bay as part of its light-rail system.
No easy solutions to construction labor shortage
Used to be the construction industry was just looking for a few good men. Those days are gone. Now the industry needs lots of men and women. The long-predicted labor shortage is here, with a vengeance. Its not a result of the current economic boom, its not local, and its not going away in our lifetime.
Getting your project built during a boom
Today's development market is filled with obstacles rapidly rising land costs, environmental mandates, growth management regulations and huge entitlement costs to name a few. The last thing developers and contractors need on top of these is a labor shortage.
Managing change reduces stress and increases success
Lately, does it seem like something in your company always needs to be in a state of change just to keep pace in the construction rat race? Are your profits dwindling, even with those new computer technologies touted to improve productivity? Are your people burned out? Too much change at once can be unhealthy.
Equipment.com? The world is changing for machinery dealers
The market drivers that affect all consumer products are influencing the heavy equipment market more than we ever imagined.
Western Power gets into rental market
Western Power & Equipments annual revenues have grown from $30 million six years ago to a projected $200 million for this year.
1999 AGC of Washington Safety and Construciton Excellence Awards
Nine construction projects and six safety programs submitted by AGC of Washington member companies were honored for excellence at the 14th annual Safety and Construction Excellence Awards banquet.

djc home | top | special issues index

Email or user name:
Forgot password? Click here.