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In the acquisition, construction and renovation of residential, commercial and industrial property, indoor air quality is a growing concern for regulators at both the state and federal levels. While conventional environmental regulation has focused on outdoor air, soil and groundwater quality, there has been increased recognition that poor indoor air quality can adversely impact human health.

Over the past three years, many construction projects involving the country’s infrastructure were authorized under temporary legislative extensions. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) was signed into law by President Obama on July 6, and authorizes more than $100 billion in construction spending through Sept. 30, 2014. Its predecessor, the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA:LU), allocated nearly $244 billion over five years, and was extended through a subsequent series of nine extensions, the latest of which expired on June 30.

After several years of recession-induced hardship, the construction industry is off to a strong start in 2012. According to the U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, construction spending amounted to $238.5 billion in the first four months of the year, 7.3 percent above the $222.2 billion for the same period in 2011. The industry as a whole is on an upswing, with the number of jobs expected to grow 19 percent through the year 2018, compared with 11 percent growth projected for all industries combined.

One of the most dangerous jobs in the United States is construction work, as evidenced by the fact that thousands of workers are injured or killed each year in construction accidents.

Construction accidents occur when contractors take shortcuts to cut costs or to get a job done on time when weather or supplies cause an unwanted delay.

Even competent architects, engineers and other design professionals make mistakes. This is why there are professional liability policies.

These policies provide an additional layer of protection for those hiring design professionals. However, there are several unique aspects of professional liability policies that can limit the coverage – and monetary compensation – that is available.

The construction industry missed out when it came to Generation X, but cannot do so with the Millennial Generation. Through no fault of the industry, Gen X – born from 1965 to 1981 and currently 31 to 47 years of age – has not embraced construction as a career in the same percentages that prior generations did. Why?

A common question for construction companies is when to repair or replace failing equipment that may have some life left in it. Too often, this question arises at the time of equipment breakdown, when other matters are more pressing. The fleet manager and business owner make a decision based solely on the cost of the repair versus the cost of a new piece of the same equipment. They know there are additional factors to consider, there just isn’t enough time to address them.

When it opens later this year, the Bullitt Center in Seattle will take the ideas of sustainability and “green” building further than they have ever gone before for office buildings.

“This is designed to be the world’s first living office building, and the most efficient commercial building in the world,” says Casey Schu­chart, a project manager with Schuchart, the general contractor.

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