That’s right, I said “sedge.” That’s the name for a group of cranes (the bird kind)…you can look it up.
My AGC colleague Sean Lewis shot the video below from our offices on Lake Union. He counts 18 construction cranes on the city skyline, a pretty high number for our informal “crane index”. Back in the heyday of 2007, there were 22. By 2010 there were, oh, zero. But now we’re all the way back up to 18. Our crane index is backed up by some recent, and actual, economic data: Construction employment in Washington State grew 5.5% in the last year — one of the largest increases in the nation, as reported by AGC of America. Plus, the Census Bureau recently announced that Seattle is the fastest growing big city in the country.
It’s great to see this sedge; long may it roost in Washington State!
In case you missed it: Starting June 12, 2014, if a contractor files an Affidavit of Wages Paid and they are exempt from having to pay prevailing wages, they do not have to pay the filing fee. The fee exemption applies to both online filing and paper forms.
All contractors and all subcontractors on public works (construction, reconstruction, maintenance, replacement or repair performed at a cost to state or local government agencies) must file Intent and Affidavit forms that normally require a $40 filing fee each. A new Affidavit filing fee exemption applies to contractors performing public works contracts without any prevailing wage eligible employees:
a. Sole owners and their spouses (i.e. owner operators);
b. Any partner who owns 30% or more of a partnership;
c. The President, V.P. and Treasurer of a corporation if each one owns 30% or more;
d. Contractors and subcontractors working under the federal Housing Act of 1937 exemption;
e. Contractors who have no eligible employees (usually because all contract work was subcontracted.)
On June 12, the U.S. Small Business Administration issued an interim final rule that increases a number of construction industry small business size standards to account for inflation since 2008.
The size standard for Commercial and Institutional Building Construction (NAICS Code 236220), as well as many of the Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction size standards (NAICS Subsector 237), will increase from $33.5 million to $36.5 million. The size standard for Specialty Trade Contractors under NAICS Subsector 238 will increase from $14 million to $15 million. To review the changes to construction small business thresholds, see page 33657 of the rule.
The SBA estimates that “this rule will enable approximately 8,500 firms in industries and subindustries to gain small business status.” The interim rule takes effect on July 14, 2014.
According to L&I, falls account for the highest number of deaths among construction workers nationally and more than half of all worker hospitalizations across all industries in Washington state.
L&I wants to reduce that and has teamed with OSHA to create Safety Stand-Down week — a voluntary event that encourages employers to talk with employees about fall hazards and hammer home the importance of fall prevention. The program runs this week.
“Preventable falls — whether from rooftops, ladders or slips and trips — cause many disabling injuries and a number of deaths in our state each year,” said Anne Soiza, assistant director of L&I’s division of occupational safety and health, in a release. “We hope that every employer in the state will set aside time during the Stand-Down to focus on fall prevention.”
To get the ball rolling, L&I has come up with a series of slightly humorous one-minute videos called Eye on Safety. They can be found at www.EyeOnSafety.info. Below is one on walkway obstruction.