Monthly Archives: December 2011

‘Skanta’ visits local kids

More than 100 Vashon Island kids got Christmas presents thanks to some busy elves at Skanska’s Seattle office.

Spearheaded by Skanska’s Community Involvement Committee, the contractor donated new toys through the Vashon Kiwanis Club.

Next, Skanska teamed with Fred Meyer and the AGC of Washington to donate about $10,000 worth of meals to 200 students of Seattle Vocational Institute. The meals included a 10-pound turkey, can of beans and a box of stuffing. Leftovers were taken by Farestart to bolster local food banks.
Jolly good, Skanska, AGC and Freddy’s!

PCL fights hunger with $10K donation

Here’s some more holiday cheer: PCL Construction Services’ Seattle office donated $5,000 each to the Food Lifeline and Northwest Harvest food banks.
The local donation is part of a national effort by the contractor to fight hunger. If you add in donations from 13 other PCL district locations across the country, the total hits $140,000.
PCL says it has funded food banks for the last three years because buying in bulk can yield 5 to 15 pounds of food for every dollar donated. The total donated over three years is $438,000, providing about 1.3 million meals to those in need.
Cheers to PCL!

Sound Transit Releases PLA Study

The long awaited Sound Transit PLA study has been released.  The study, which has been under review for months, was released in response to a public records request by the Laborer’s Union. Sound Transit had wanted to review the study with its officers prior to release.

According to Sound Transit, the study shows the PLA Program of Projects achieved most of its objectives except for apprenticeship utilization and clearly documents the issues contractors and the unions had with the PLA program.

It also provides lessons learned should the Sound Transit Board want to go forward with a PLA for the Sound Transit Phase 2 projects. The Board will begin discussion of that question next year. For more information and to view the report, click here.

Changes to Seattle’s WMBE Plan

The City of Seattle has revised its WMBE requirements in response to issues raised by contractors at an AGC-hosted workshop.

The revised plan removes the dual-elements used to determine marketplace availability. Instead, the City will utilize past performance alone. The new form reflects this change.

Further, the City has adjusted the point system to more clearly favor the two main features of the plan, aspirational goals and WMBE commitments. Other changes include posting the results of the WMBE Inclusion Plan scores on Ebid for each applicable project, right alongside the Bid results and ensuring that the Past Performance Category applicable to the project (for example, Roadways, Facilities, etc) is clearly stated within the Bid Ad and the Bid Specifications.

The new version can be found on the City’s website.

A little bad turns into a lot of good

The bad: Some D-bags earlier this month stole about $4,000 worth of tools from Habitat for Humanity of East King County.
The tools were stored at Habitat’s La Fortuna construction site in Renton. The thieves cut the padlock on the jobsite gate and then drilled through a lock on a storage container to get to the tools, which included three circular saws, six nail guns, a drill and other items. They even took several spools of copper wire.
Volunteers said it had taken them several years to build up the tool supply and their productivity was threatened by the burglary.
The good: The construction industry, Bank of America and others stepped up to donate more than $15,000 in cash and $4,000 worth of tools. BofA and The Mosaic Co. each donated $4,000 while other donations came from Complete Concrete, PCL Construction, Genie Industries and Schnitzer Steel.
“It’s like the final scene from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ ” said Habitat EKC Executive Director Tom Granger in a statement. “Thanks to the community’s generosity we will be able to replace all the tools that were stolen and we will put in a security system to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
That’s right.

Check your Genie lifts before going up
















Genie has issued a safety bulletin regarding instability in some of the GS-2669, GS-3369 and GS-4069 models. Serial numbers of the affected units range from GS6911-101 to GS6912-412.

Some of the machines in the serial range may have been manufactured incorrectly, including assembly of the hydraulic circuit in the oscillation system; and installation of axle pivot pins that are out of specifications.

Call Genie’s service department at (800) 536-1800 for more information.

Good News on Workers’ Comp and UI Rates

Good news today with regard to both workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance.

Governor Gregoire announced there will be no overall increase in workers’ compensation insurance premiums next year (however construction firms will see a smaller-than-proposed increase, depending on a firm’s risk classification).  She also announced significant reductions in unemployment insurance taxes.

While there will not be an overall rate increase for workers’ comp, most construction firms, because they are among the higher rate classifications, will see a small increase (but much smaller than originally proposed).  The average increase for construction categories is three percent, and ranges from a 14 percent increase for wallboard installation to a four percent decrease for construction estimators.

Click here for the rate tables for all classifications.

In addition, the Governor announced significant reduction in unemployment insurance taxes for 2012.  The average rate reduction would be 13 percent, for about $207 million in savings overall, with a smaller reduction for most construction firms.  About 88 percent of businesses will pay less than they do now.

The 13 percent average drop translates into a decrease in rates from 2.45 percent in 2011 to 2.12 percent in 2012.  Class 1 (lowest rate class) rates will decrease 71 percent, from 0.49 percent in 2011 to 0.14 percent next year.

Class 40 (highest rate class, which includes many construction firms) will decline from 6 percent this year to 5.82 percent in 2012.