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Eighty percent of construction firms plan to expand headcount in 2015

Washington, D.C. — Eighty percent of construction firms plan to expand their payrolls in 2015 while only 7 percent expect to reduce headcounts, according to survey results released by the Associated General Contractors of America. The survey, conducted as part of Ready to Hire Again: The 2015 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook, indicates that most contractors are optimistic about the year ahead and ready to expand, but will have to cope with challenges including worker shortages and regulatory burdens.

Researchers call for changes in 50-year-old drinking water standards

Blacksburg, Va. — Changes in drinking water quality in the 21st Century are coming from a myriad of circumstances, and not all are for the best. Top contenders for why water-drinking quality might become suspect to the average consumer include California's drought conditions, the technology of fracking, and the nationwide aging infrastructure of rusty, degrading pipes.

More cranes in skyline mean more U.S. construction in 2015

Phoenix — Rider Levett Bucknall, an international property and construction consultant and industry leader in construction cost research, launched its inaugural edition of the North American RLB Crane Index. The new report measures construction activity in major cities across North America and predicts the health of the U.S. construction industry.

Amazon to build Indiana wind farm to supply datacenters

Seattle — Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company, announced that it has teamed with Pattern Energy Group LP (Pattern Development) to support the construction and operation of a 150 megawatt (MW) wind farm in Benton County, Ind., called the Amazon Web Services Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge). This new wind farm is expected to start generating approximately 500,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of wind power annually as early as January 2016 – or the equivalent of that used by approximately 46,000 US homes1 in a year.

ISO 14001 revision proceeds to final stage

Geneva, Switzerland — ISO 14001 on environmental management systems has progressed to Final Draft International Standard – the next stage in the ISO standard revision process – following approval of the latest draft by an impressive 92 percent at the end of 2014.

DOT announces $1.33 billion loan for Seattle-area light rail extension

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a $1.33 billion loan to Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit) for construction of the East Link Light Rail Extension Project. The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan will expand the popular Link system serving the Puget Sound region and help Sound Transit implement a voter approved regional capital improvement plan.

GBA updates free Limitation-of-Liability Case Index

Silver Spring, Md. — The Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA) published a new edition of Limitation-of-Liability Case Index, an important legal reference conveying in lay terms the results of 75 cases where the legality of limitation-of-liability provisions has been challenged in the courts, usually without success.

UC Davis student housing project earns LEED Platinum

Sacramento, Calif. — The University of California, Davis Tercero Student Housing Phase 3 facility recently earned LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its sustainable design features. Sundt Construction, Inc. was the design-build contractor for the dormitory complex, which was completed in fall 2014.

Administration announces programs to increase infrastructure investment

Washington, D.C. — The Obama Administration announced new steps that federal agencies are taking to bring private-sector capital and expertise to bear on improving our nation’s roads, bridges, and broadband networks. First, the Administration launched a new Water Finance Center at the Environmental Protection Agency and highlighting the progress of the Rural Opportunity Investment Initiative at the Department of Agriculture. The Administration also announced a new set of infrastructure tax proposals that will level the playing field for projects that combine public and private investment.

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