Monthly Archives: January 2013

Are we headed back into recession? 4th Qtr GDP isn’t good news!

Does recent economic data signal a return to weakness in the economy or even the beginning of another downturn, before we’ve had much of an uptick? To read what ABC’s economist, Anirban Basu, has to say, keep reading….

Despite a decline in the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the last quarter of 2012, the Bureau of Economic Analysis Jan. 30 reported nonresidential fixed investment increased 8.4 percent for the fourth quarter as investment in equipment and software jumped 12.4 percent, which outweighed a 1.1 percent decline in investment in structures. For the year, nonresidential fixed investment increased 7.7 percent, with investment in structures up 9.6 percent and investment in equipment and software up 6.9 percent. Residential fixed investment increased 15.3 percent in the fourth quarter following a 13.5 percent increase in the third quarter. Annually, residential fixed investment increased 11.9 percent over 2011.

“Fourth quarter GDP is not only disappointing, it reveals how much damage was done to the economy by the ongoing slowing of much of the balance of the global economy and fiscal cliff fears,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

“Much of the economic momentum generated during the initial nine months of the year dissipated during the fourth quarter as investors, business decision-makers, consumers and others paused in anticipation of a resolution to fiscal issues such as automatic sequestration, the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the fate of the payroll tax cut,” Basu said.

“While some of this uncertainty is behind us, confidence among key economic decision-makers continues to be compromised by impending federal spending cuts associated with automatic sequestration, a scheduled end to the federal budget continuing resolution in late March, and debt ceiling discussions to take place later this year,” remarked Basu. “For construction contractors and others, this means that the first several months of 2013 will remain too soft to produce an environment consistent with more robust nonresidential construction recovery.

“Based on the clues supplied in today’s GDP release, construction industry stakeholders can expect construction spending data to also reflect ongoing weakness in momentum,” said Basu. Stakeholders also can expect plentiful discussion in the days to come regarding whether or not last year’s fourth quarter represents the beginning of the next economic downturn.”

Inslee — still in campaign mode

I wasn’t really counting on it, being a bit jaded, but I had hoped that Gov. Inslee’s opening speech would have a little more substance now that he is duly elected and moved into the second floor of the Capitol. His campaign speeches were feel good, no specifics, green energy, yay for innovation pablum aimed at potential voters. I thought that since he has no executive experience and served with little distinction in his years in Congress and probably knows way more about THAT Washington than THIS Washington, we might be in trouble. Let’s hear specifically how you are going to unleash the economy, lessen the stranglehold of regulation and urge job creators to create. Let’s talk real-life job creation. I truly hope I am wrong. We need to worry about the economy first, Jay! Let’s get specific.

Touching The Sky — How Long Did The Tallest Buildings In The World Take To Make?

The following post is from Jason Kane:

Following a task through to completion is the common denominator of all successful people. The effort required to construct some of the great buildings of the world is best described as excruciating. The following is a list of the five tallest buildings completed and currently under construction:

Shanghai World Financial Center
This award winning structure has a distinctive trapezoid aperture. Designed by the American architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox, it is located in the Pudong district of Shanghai, China. Construction began August of 1997 and it reached is height of 1,614 feet on September 14, 2007. The office building has 101 floors and opened to the public August 28, 2008. The cost of construction was $1.20 billion.

Taipei 101
Located in Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan, this structure held the rank of world’s tallest from 2004 to 2010. It stands 1,670 feet tall and houses 101 floors. Construction began in January 1999. It reached its current height on October 17, 2003. It houses office space, restaurants, stores, a library, fitness center and meeting facilities. It opened to the public in December 2004 and cost $1.80 billion to build.

Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel
Like the name says, this combination hotel and residential building houses a four-faced clock atop the Faimont hotel. Located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, it stands 1,972 feet tall to the top of its spire. The highest of its 120 floors is 1,833 feet. Construction began in 2004 and it was completed in 2012.

Burj Khalifa
Located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, this building holds 17 records. It has remained the world’s tallest structure at 2,722 feet since its completion in 2010. It also houses the world’s fastest elevators, highest nightclub, highest restaurant and the most floors of any other building with 163. Construction started in January 2004. Floor area is estimated at 3,331,100 sq ft and it cost $1.5 billion.

Sky City
Construction is underway on a 220 floor building in the city of Changsha, China. It will be about 30 feet taller than Burj Khalifa. The plan is to complete the 2749-foot tower in 90 days. If completed as planned by the the end of March 2013, it will be an engineering accomplishment beyond all others. That is a rise rate of thirty feet per day. Broad Group Construction Company says they will finish the project at a cost of $1,500 per square meter compared to the $15,000 per square meter cost of Burj Khalifa by using prefab technology. Broad Group has quieted skeptics before by constructing a 30 story hotel in 15 days.

Jason Kane writes about construction sites and construction safety equipment like lanyards and ladder safety systems.