7 Major Trends That Will Impact the Construction Industry

construction-industry

The construction industry is always changing and evolving. Every year new trends appear within the industry, from technological advancements to a stronger focus on sustainability. If you run a construction company and you want to make sure you stay ahead of the game, it can be useful to be aware of emerging trends that could prepare you for the future.

After all, many of the trends make construction work easier and more efficient, so if you aren’t aware of them, you may find it hard to keep up with your competitors. While it can be difficult to know which trends will be more popular than others, there are a few important trends already starting to emerge. Here are seven major trends that will impact the construction industry over the next year.

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1. More Technological Integration

Technology is one of the main factors pushing change in nearly every industry, but in some ways, the construction industry has managed to partially avoid this. However, recent advancements have resulted in technology that is specifically suited to construction; with more drone usage and 3D printing than ever before, it is likely the construction industry will embrace both these forms of technology.

After all, both will make construction work safer and easier; drones can be used to ensure materials are placed exactly how they should be, and 3D printing can be used to make sure every material is the perfect size. Self-driving vehicles may also become more popular within the construction industry, as well as mobile and cloud applications that make the whole construction process more straightforward.

Another form of technology that people can expect to see more of is Building Information Modeling (BIM). BIM will make the collaboration aspect of construction easier. Most construction projects require tens (or even hundreds) of people to come up with essential aspects of the plan, but it can be difficult for all these people to stay in communication.

Many construction companies are already starting to use BIM technology, and it isn’t hard to see why. There are lots of benefits to using BIM; it makes resource management easier, it helps people to stay in touch throughout the project, and it enables enhanced collaboration. In fact, the National BIM report of 2017 by the NBS found that people are having a very positive response to the technology. The report found that nearly 80% of the participants believe BIM is the future of project management, and a further 60% believe the technology has the ability to make projects more time efficient.

2. Increase in Prefabrication and Modular Construction Projects

Prefabrication and modular construction have both become more popular over the last year or so, and it isn’t hard to see why. Both trends are energy efficient and cost-effective, which is ideal at a time when most material prices are rising, or high already! This popularity is likely to increase even more over the next few months, especially for construction companies looking to cut overall costs. And with the help of effective hot melt adhesives and the overall ease of design, the actual construction of the homes is quite quick. So, you can expect to see a lot more permanent modular buildings in the future, as well as pop-up buildings and prefabricated homes.

3. Additional Focus on Sustainability

Increasingly, people are focused on sustainability, so the most successful companies are also focusing on sustainability. This is a terrific way to appeal to the Millennials, and of course, it is also much better for the world as a whole. For this reason, it is very likely that most, if not all, construction companies will place a strong focus on sustainability. While it is still important to find the best product for the job, it is likely managers will look for products that have a focus on ecological benefits, such as living walls that provide an area with fresh oxygen.

4. Improved Safety Procedures

Most people understand construction isn’t the safest job in the world, especially when compared with an office job. After all, the industry suffers far more workplace accidents and fatalities, and this knowledge has resulted in an increased level of scrutiny on the industry. This scrutiny has resulted in the development of technology designed to make construction sites safer. New mobile apps and computer programmers make it easier for employees to adhere to safety measurements when they are working.

5. A Rise in the Popularity of Project Management Software

Many industries are now embracing project management software, and this includes the construction industry. Project management software has been improved significantly over the last few years, and now there are lots of specialized programs to suit different jobs; from designing a building to running a construction site.

The software provides construction companies with three major advantages; transparency, accountability, and efficiency. As many people will be using the same software, it is easier for people to understand their role, which could also help to make construction sites safer.

Currently, project management software offers real-time communication, trackability, and a project overview. This could result in an increase in IT spending within the construction industry, which is interesting since most construction managers only spend around 2% of their budget on IT.

6. Slow Growth

While the demand for construction is likely to continue growing, the growth will be slower than many people expect. This is due to limited spending in both residential and non-residential sectors, which could result in an increase in competition.

7. Rising Material Costs

The last few years have seen rising material costs within the construction industry, and sadly this trend is sticking around. Due to the rising cost of skilled labor and supplies, construction companies have been forced to fork out more if they want to keep the company going – and prices are expected to stay just as high in 2018. This is why many construction companies are looking for ways to cut overall costs – and if you are doing this, one of the best things you can do is embrace new construction technologies that can make your workforce more efficient. It can also be useful to bulk buy materials to lower costs.

The overall outlook for construction is positive. The construction industry is an essential part of any successful city, although rising costs can make it harder for smaller companies to compete. However modern technologies are set to make the world of construction safer, more efficient, and more effective, which could help to lower overall costs.

Article by Casey Heigl read original article here and more articles by her here

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

Netherlands Builds the First Road Made from 100% Plastic

Plastic-Road

Three industry giants are joining forces to make the PlasticRoad, a road made of 100% recycled plastic from the ocean, becomes a reality. KWS, in collaboration with Wavin and Total combined their knowledge, experience, and resources to build the first road made from 100% recycled plastic

The ‘cycle’ path to the PlasticRoad

The first pilot project will be a 30-meter-long cycle path made of hollow prefabricated elements enabling water drainage and laying down of cables and pipes. The PlasticRoad partners KWS, Wavin and Total have worked extensively on the development and testing of the concept to validate and optimize performance such as the load bearing capacity of the modular elements, the appropriate blends of recycled plastic and the three-dimensional design of the road itself. In addition, research focused on the reduced environmental impact has been carried out. The positive results achieved to date support moving forward to make the first pilot project reality.

After an extensive period of design, testing and development, we are delighted that the PlasticRoad is becoming a reality. Together with the municipality of Zwolle and the province of Overijssel, we as PlasticRoad partners are taking steps towards a more sustainable world with this first PlasticRoad cycle path.
Anne Koudstaal and Simon Jorritsma , inventors of the PlasticRoad and KWS employees
The brainchild

The PlasticRoad concept was conceived by VolkerWessels’ enterprise, KWS, the largest road construction company in the Netherlands. After observing the road network build and maintenance related issues faced by urban areas the idea of a road made from 100% recycled plastic waste from the ocean made

Plastic Road 2

 complete sense. To accomplish this sustainable feat and develop a PlasticRoad prototype, three industry giants (KWS, Wavin and Total) have joined forces. Wavin, who is a world leader in recycled plastic pipe systems, along with oil and gas company Total, provide the perfect combination of knowledge, expertise and experience to align with KWS in this ground-breaking endeavour.
Why the PlasticRoad ?

A few facts….

  • Around 8 million metric tonnes end up in the oceans each year
  • 54% of plastic is still incinerated or dumped into landfills today
  • only 14% of plastic waste is currently recycled

(Ellen MacArthur fondation: The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics)

With the PlasticRoad, we will bring plastic waste back into the chain, thus reducing the environmental impacts of building and maintaining a road. The concept of PlasticRoad is completely in sync with environmental initiatives like Cradle to Cradle (C2C) and The Ocean Cleanup. Plastic from the ocean is recycled and made into prefabricated road parts that can be installed in one piece – making the installation easy, quick and lightweight. It also alleviate the continuous issues linked to asphalt and paved roads: erosion, weeds, potholes, surface flooding, surface heating, noise.

The PlasticRoad is:

  • prefabricated with hollow space for drainage pipes, cabling and flood water attenuation
  • 70% faster to install than traditional road surfaces
  • expected to last 3 times longer than traditional paved roads
  • half the construction cost

There are an estimated 40 million kilometres of road worldwide (Science Advances: Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made). The potential of the recycling and re-use of plastic in roads is huge.

This is a really solid way of reusing plastic.

Katinka Von Der Lippe , INDEX Award Jury Member and Strategic Designer & Manager at Eker Design Hydrolift

Next steps for the PlasticRoad

Wavin is excited to be an integral part of this project and delighted to be working alongside KWS and Total. We will certainly keep you posted with the results of the installation.

In the UK, we are leading the debate on what the future of drainage could be, as we know that more can be done to tackle urban drainage and flood issues. Wavin recently developed three concepts with a team of graduate engineers. Watch the concepts they came up with:

Here’s to a greener future for road technology and urban drainage management!
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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

Construction Industry Draws $1.3 Billion in Venture Capital

Ventire-Captital-in-Construction

In a bid to digitize building trades, investors have already bet big on the transformative power of new startups

Move over meal deliveries and mobility startups: The construction industry has become a new focal point for venture capital funds and tech investment.

Investment in AEC firms—architecture, engineering, and construction—have blossomed in the last few years, as a once low-tech, staid industry begins to feel the full impact of digital technology, especially when it comes to collaboration software, worksite monitoring, safety, and new design tools.

Tech Investment

Tech investment in construction has grown rapidly in the past decade—in 2008, global investment totaled $4.5 million across two deals—led by growing number of more active and specialized venture capital investors. According to data from CB Insights, the industry saw $882.3 million in investment last year across 103 deals, and has already bested that in 2018, racking up $1.38 billion across 61 deals.

While this year’s considerable investment is mostly due to a handful of sizable venture capital investments in companies such as Katerra, the Silicon Valley construction startup that received $865 million in a funding round that included the SoftBank Vision Fund, these mammoth deals only show the potential many see in these types of companies.

venture-capital-diggerFrom Low Tech to High Tech

“Construction is one of the least digitized industries, so many startups are seizing the opportunity to build technology that would increase efficiency within this market,” says Michael Wholey, an intelligence analyst for CB Insights. “As a result, funding and deal activity in the construction technology space has been increasing steadily over the past few years.”

Kaustubh Pandya, a principal at Brick & Mortar Ventures, a three-year-old San Francisco-based investment fund focused on AEC companies, says the technology to digitize buildings, including affordable sensors and better mobile technology, has the potential to make an industry known for long time frames and flexible deadlines more efficient.

According to a recent Crunchbase article, a number of startups are on the rise, including Rhumbix, which raised $20 million in venture capital investments for its mobile platform for the construction craft workforce, and Procore, which has built a cloud-based construction management software application and raised $229 million.

While there’s a desire to expand and diversify tech investment—”the world doesn’t need another general fund, there are plenty out there,” says Pandya—the size and scope of the construction and design field offers plenty of opportunities. A report from global consulting firm McKinsey found numerous areas for improvement and investment, especially in the realms of field productivity and site-performance management.

One of the main reasons investors see great potential is the relatively low growth in productivity in the building trades, relative to other industries. The McKinsey analysis found that construction labor productivity averaged 1 percent growth annually over the last two decades, compared to the 3 to 4 percent average found in other industries. If new technologies could help close that gap, that would add an estimated $1.6 trillion to the industry’s annual output.

Read original article here.

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

Aerial Work Platform an Overview of Safety Practices

aerial-work-platform

Aerial Work Platforms (AWP’s) are generally used for temporary, flexible access purposes such as maintenance and construction work or by firefighters for emergency access, which distinguishes them from permanent access equipment such as elevators. They are designed to lift limited weights — usually less than a ton, although some have a higher safe working load (SWL)) – distinguishing them from most types of cranes. They are usually capable of being set up and operated by a single person.

Aerial devices were once exclusively operated by hydraulic pistons, powered by diesel or gasoline motors on the base unit. Lightweight electrically powered units are gaining popularity for window-cleaning or other maintenance operations, especially indoors and in isolated courtyards, where heavier hydraulic equipment cannot be used. Aerial devices are the closest in appearance to a crane- consisting of a number of jointed sections, which can be controlled to extend the lift in a number of different directions, which can often include “up and over” applications.800px-Hebebuehne_Scissorlift

The majority of manufacturers and operators have strict safety criteria for the operation of Aerial Work Platforms. In some countries, a licence and/or insurance is required to operate some types of Aerial Work Platforms. Most protocols advocate training every operator, whether mandated or not. Most operators also prescribe a range of pre-usage checks of the unit, and manufacturers recommend regular maintenance schedules.

Work platforms are fitted with safety or guard rails around the platform itself to contain operators and passengers. This is supplemented in most models by a restraining point, designed to secure a harness or fall arrester. Some work platforms also have a lip around the floor of the platform itself to avoid tools or supplies being accidentally kicked off the platform. Some protocols require all equipment to be attached to the structure by individual lanyards.

Extreme caution must be taken when using AWPs in the vicinity of overhead power lines, as electrocution may result if the lift comes in contact with energized wiring. Non-conductive materials, such as fiberglass, may be used to reduce this hazard.

AWPs often come equipped with a variety of tilt sensors. The most commonly activated sensor (especially with two people on a lift), will cause the machine to refuse to raise the platform beyond a certain height. Sensors within the machine detect that weight on the platform is off balance to such a point as to risk a possible tip-over if the platform is raised further. Another sensor will refuse to extend the platform if the machine is on a significant incline. Some models of Aerial Work Platforms additionally feature counterweights, which extend in order to offset the danger of tipping the machine inherent in extending items like booms or bridges. Some lifts are also fitted with sensors which will prevent operation if the weight on the platform exceeds the safe working load.

As with most dangerous mechanical devices, all AWPs are fitted with an emergency stop button or buttons for use in the event of a malfunction or danger. Best practice dictates fitting of emergency stop buttons on the platform and at the base as a minimum. Other safety features include automatic self-checking of the AWP’s working parts, including a voltmeter that detects if the lift has insufficient power to complete its tasks and preventing operation if supply voltage is insufficient. Some AWPs provide manual lowering levers at the base of the machine, allowing operators to lower the platform to the ground in the event of a power or control failure or deliberate use of the machine, e.g., by unauthorized persons.

Read more about Aerial Work Platforms here

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

Toronto – More cranes than NYC and LA Combined

reflected-crane

Toronto has more tower cranes decorating its skyline than New York City and Los Angeles combined.

This summer, real estate consultant Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) released its third quarter crane index. The report is generated by counting cranes in major cities throughout the United States and Canada.

Cranes in Toronto

For the third consecutive crane index, Toronto has the highest number of cranes of all the cities surveyed with 97, an increase of nine cranes compared to the last count by the consulting firm.

The Toronto construction market continues to be led by the residential sector, which makes up more than 86 per cent of the total crane count, according to RLB. Other active construction sectors include mixed-use and commercial developments, followed by education, healthcare and hospitality.

The crane count in Toronto is expected to continue to climb, as the city will see a boost in infrastructure spending. More than 400 high-rise projects have been proposed, adding to the city’s crane count.

In New York City, RLB counted 20 cranes, a small increase compared to the previous count of 18. The increase is attributable to new projects breaking ground at a steady pace; the current count shows 11 cranes on mixed-use development sites, three in transportation projects and three in the commercial sector.

cranes-toronto
The view of Toronto from a Comedil 250 tower crane. The crane is one of 97 tower cranes operating in the city this summer. Photo by Adam Chiarot

In Los Angeles, the crane count held from January 2018. While 22 of LA’s 36 cranes are in use for mixed-use projects, there are several projects in other sectors that are shaping the skyline. Several infrastructure projects, including three bridges, and a new concourse at LAX, are underway. As well, cultural projects like the new Lucas Museum and a $40 million facelift for the city’s music centre, will boost LA’s crane count.

Seattle in second

Seattle placed second in the crane count, with 65 cranes city-wide, 20 more than the previous survey. Cranes are erected in Seattle for a variety of uses, including 27 cranes for mixed-use, 17 for residential projects and 11 for commercial applications.

The crane count in Calgary has grown from the 22 crane installations to 26. An increase in employment and new infrastructure projects, including a ring road and a light-rail line, help boost the city’s strong residential sector.

With two-thirds of the city’s construction activity is in multifamily buildings, with 6,500 units currently being built, 18 cranes are dedicated to the residential sector. As well, the Calgary Cancer Center, a $1.4 billion healthcare facility, will add jobs and services to the city. Other major projects include 500,000 to 1 million square-foot warehouses and two community recreation centers.

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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLR, Hercules Machining & Millwright Services, Spartan Industrial Marine, Stellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

Crane Work Wraps Up at New Winnipeg Towers

Crane Winnipeg
Huge Liebherr mobile crane may have been tallest ever seen in city
In May, the skyline of downtown Winnipeg was changed significantly with the removal of the last tower crane on site at True North Square. Phase 1 of the project, involving Tower 1 at 242 Hargrave and Tower 2 at 225 Carlton, began in January 2016. The substantial construction effort required significant crane work, with construction handled by PCL Constructors Canada Inc. and the dismantling subcontracted to Sterling Crane.

“Tower 1 topped off its structural building form in December 2017, reaching its final height of 17 storeys, and subsequently its tower crane was removed in January 2018,” says True North Real Estate Development president Jim Ludlow. “Tower 2 topped off in March 2018 at 25 storeys and its tower crane was removed in May 2018. These milestones have had a visible impact on the skyline of downtown Winnipeg, so they have been very exciting and rewarding to observe as we progress towards a new cityscape.”PCL project manager David Enns says his company was responsible for the cast-in-place concrete structure on both towers. This involved supplying the concrete, the placing of concrete and rebar, form work, concrete pumping, and the installation of precast stairs and landings, and other material handling. For much of the heavy lifting, PCL utilized two cranes – a Liebherr 316 ECB12 and a Liebherr 316 ECH12.

“They were the best choices mostly because of the overlapping coverage,” Enns explains. “When we sized them, we made sure that it could accommodate the form work systems that we wanted to use. It was based on them working in conjunction with each other with the overlap in height and the jacking sequences, including how they would tie into the structure in order to be efficient.”

The way the cranes were staged required them to be tied into the structure, once the structure progressed past a certain height. When PCL began work on Tower 1, the timing of the construction of Tower 2 was not yet known for certain. In order to ensure that there was sufficient coverage for the full site, both tower cranes were tied to Tower 1.

“Both were top climbing tower cranes,” Enns says. “The biggest reason for that is because of the limited real estate that we had. We couldn’t afford to bring in big mobile cranes every time we needed to jack the cranes up as the structures progressed. They were able to climb themselves up, and then when we were done, they had the ability to climb themselves down prior to full dismantle.”

Preparation for the selection of tower cranes involved a detailed review to ensure the cranes had the right capacities to accommodate the required lifts and the size of the flyer cables, core forms and gang forms. They also had to reinforce the foundation walls around the tower cranes to prepare for the mobile crane load imposed on the structure during the dismantling of the tower cranes.

Crane-Winnipeg“It’s pretty common to see tower cranes with a couple of precast piles under the foundation, but for our tower cranes, our foundations were cast-in-place concrete raft slabs, with four caissons a piece to support them because they were freestanding fairly high right off the bat,” says Enns.

The key challenge for this job was limited space – city roads and the St. Mary’s Church bound PCL on three sides. With limited room to maneuver or stage materials, there was a constant focus on scheduling and sequencing to make sure that they had material delivered as needed.

“Otherwise, not only would the site get overrun, but the tower cranes would be so booked up that we couldn’t keep them focused on the high-priority activities,” Enns says. “They’d just be stuck moving non-critical material around all day and night.”

On both towers, Sterling Crane was subcontracted to dismantle PCL’s tower cranes following the construction.

Scott Baraschuk, branch manager for Sterling Crane in Winnipeg says that the dismantling was a very straight forward operation, however it did require the use of a very large mobile crane.

“Whatever they need, we’ll handle for them,” Baraschuk says. “In this scenario, it was the dismantling – to provide a mobile crane to dismantle their tower crane; just to provide a means of hoisting everything down. This particular one was the Liebherr LTM 1500 8.1. When we erected these towers a few years ago, the intent was to down climb the tower back to roughly 150 feet for dismantling. We now have the LTM 1500 available so I suggested we look at taking the tower at full height. This reduced the dismantle time by several days and eliminated the need to climb the tower crane down.”

The Liebherr LTM 1500 8.1 was utilized for the dismantling operations on both towers, however, it was used in two different configurations for each tower. During the dismantling for Tower 2, the crane was configured in a way that made it one of the tallest cranes ever seen in the Winnipeg skyline. Media coverage of the project claimed it was the single tallest crane ever used in the city, but Baraschuk can’t confirm that.

“I can’t say for certain, but it is certainly a contender,” he says. “It had roughly 380 feet of tip height in this configuration.”

It was an easy choice to use the Liebherr LTM 1500 for Tower 1, since it was locally available and easily capable of performing the job. Tower 2 had the same demands, but the flexibility of the 276-ft. telescopic boom was an added benefit given the site restrictions and their setup.

“We were able to maintain our setup into one city block, avoiding the closure of an intersection to build a long luffing jib. This resulted in significant time and cost savings to the customer.” Baraschuk says. “The biggest challenge is site congestion with a crane this large. When working in a downtown setting, you have got a lot of obstacles – you have public safety to be concerned about and numerous underground utilities as well.”

“We pride ourselves on having a fleet with industry leading technology and we have purchased a number of these units to capture new markets and niche jobs where you need a certain type and size of crane to perform,” adds Jeff Chernish, director of business development for Sterling Crane. “We provide efficient customer solutions similar in nature throughout Canada and we appreciate the visibility that this has brought us in Winnipeg.”

Tower 1 at 242 Hargrave Street is quickly approaching substantial completion, scheduled for the end of June 2018. It is comprised of retail and office space, and construction crews are currently focused on lobby finishes, amenity floor finishes, and mechanical, electrical, and elevator commissioning.

Tower 2 at 225 Carlton Street is scheduled to be completed a year from now. It contains some retail and office space but is predominantly comprised of residential rental suites. Construction teams are currently installing a high-performance glass curtain wall, after which internal finishes in the lobby and suites will become the focus, with an aim to welcome residents next spring.

Phase 2 of the project is a hotel and condominium complex being developed by Sutton Place Hotel & Residences. They aim to break ground this summer and be complete in 2020 or 2021.

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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLR, Hercules Machining & Millwright Services, Spartan Industrial Marine, Stellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

Skyscrapers – A History of Early High Rise Construction

Early-Skyscrapers

The early skyscrapers were a range of tall, commercial buildings built between 1884 and 1939, predominantly in the American cities of New York City and Chicago. Cities in the United States were traditionally made up of low-rise buildings, but significant economic growth after the Civil War and increasingly intensive use of urban land encouraged the development of taller buildings beginning in the 1870s. Technological improvements enabled the construction of fireproofed iron-framed structures with deep foundations, equipped with new inventions such as the elevator and electric lighting. These made it both technically and commercially viable to build a new class of taller buildings, the first of which, Chicago’s 138-foot (42 m) tall Home Insurance Building, opened in 1885. Their numbers grew rapidly, and by 1888 they were being labelled skyscrapers.

Chicago initially led the way in skyscraper design, with many constructed in the center of the financial district during the late 1880s and early 1890s. Sometimes termed the products of the Chicago school of architecture, these skyscrapers attempted to balance aesthetic concerns with practical commercial design, producing large, square palazzo-styled buildings hosting shops and restaurants on the ground level and containing rentable offices on the upper floors. In contrast, New York’s skyscrapers were frequently narrower towers which, more eclectic in style, were often criticized for their lack of elegance. In 1892, Chicago banned the construction of new skyscrapers taller than 150 feet (46 m), leaving the development of taller buildings to New York.

A new wave of skyscraper construction emerged in the first decade of the 20th century. The demand for new office space to hold America’s expanding workforce of white-collar staff continued to grow. Engineering developments made it easier to build and live in yet taller buildings. Chicago built new skyscrapers in its existing style, while New York experimented further with tower design. Iconic buildings such as the Flatiron were followed by the 612-foot (187 m) tall Singer Tower, the 700-foot (210 m) Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower and the 792-foot (241 m) Woolworth Building. Though these skyscrapers were commercial successes, criticism mounted as they broke up the ordered city skyline and plunged neighboring streets and buildings into perpetual shadow. Combined with an economic downturn, this led to the introduction of zoning restraints in New York in 1916.

In the interwar years, skyscrapers spread to nearly all major U.S. cities, while a handful were built in other Western countries. The economic boom of the 1920s and extensive real estate speculation encouraged a wave of new skyscraper projects in New York and Chicago. New York City’s 1916 Zoning Resolution helped shape the Art Deco or “set-back” style of skyscrapers, leading to structures that focused on volume and striking silhouettes, often richly decorated. Skyscraper heights continued to grow, with the Chrysler and the Empire State Building each claiming new records, reaching 1,046 feet (319 m) and 1,250 feet (380 m) respectively. With the onset of the Great Depression, the real estate market collapsed, and new builds stuttered to a halt. Popular and academic culture embraced the skyscraper through films, photography, literature and ballet, seeing the buildings as either positive symbols of modernity and science, or alternatively examples of the ills of modern life and society. Skyscraper projects after World War II typically rejected the designs of the early skyscrapers, instead embracing the international style; many older skyscrapers were redesigned to suit contemporary tastes or even demolished—such as the Singer Tower, once the world’s tallest skyscraper.

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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLR, Hercules Machining & Millwright Services, Spartan Industrial Marine, Stellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.