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Infrastructure Monthly July 10

Infrastructure Monthly July 10

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INFRASTRUCTURE MONTHLY

JULY 2010

I nfrastructure M o n t h l y

Published by: The Right Hire Matt Plotkin, President 310-844-7481 Mattp@therighthireinc.com www.therighthireinc.com
PAGE 1 LEVEES KEEP US ABOVE WATER But when they break, they drown cities PAGE 2 NEWSLETTER INFORMATION The Right Hire is proud to publish Infrastructure Monthly, dedicated to the Construction and Civil Engineering industries PAGE 2 CALTRANS ALLOCATES NEARLY $900 MILLION FOR PROJECTS A breakdown of the major projects in each region PAGE 3 THE RIGHT HIRE SURVEY/ INDUSTRY TRENDS Introducing a new section on trends as reported by companies across the infrastructure industry PAGE 3 BUILDING HURRICANE RESISTANT BUILDINGS Especially important now that hurricane season is upon us PAGE 4 SOLAR POWER DOES IT AGAIN Water heating is being revolutionized by solar power

When The Levees Break Destruction Occurs
By Matt Plotkin President, The Right Hire All across the country, in cities like Des Moines, Nashville and New Orleans, and even in California, citizens are experiencing disaster in a way that could have easily been prevented. Our levees are breaking like twigs, causing massive floods on our streets, in our homes and damaging local businesses and taking lives. Sure, water levels are rising but that doesn't mean that the Army Corps of Engineers has been doing all it can to fix the problem. Or maybe it's due to a lack of funding, which in turn has cost us billions of dollars in damages from floods. In 2005, prior to the levees breaking a second time in 2008, it was estimated that $10 million dollars worth of improvements were needed to fix the levee. However, the money was never allocated and in 2008, the levee broke again, causing significant damage to the Des Moines area. Now, in 2010, a broken levee is causing a fresh round of destruction in Iowa, causing devastation to many homes and buildings. Imagine how much damage could have been prevented had they used the $10 million to fix the levees. Instead, billions of our taxpayer dollars are going towards fixing what should have been prevented in the first place, for a mere $10 million. In 2004, a levee broke in the San Joaquin region of California, causing floods and threatening the drinking water for over 20 million people in the area. FEMA stepped up after the fact to provide just over 7 million dollars to prevent further damages, but why do we have to have an

emergency before we fix what could have been preventable in the first place? Many officials have taken a see no evil hear no evil approach to the broken levees our country relies so heavily on. However, once the water starts to rise, the levees become no match for the rising tides and suddenly the same officials who have turned a blind eye to the problem are now scurrying around trying to be heroes. But with the American Red Cross having already spent all the money in their disaster relief fund, and then having to borrow money to help flood victims, the question must be asked, why are we constantly behind the ball when it comes to fixing our levees? How many people must drown, how many homes must be ruined, how much havoc must be reached before we wake up and fix the problem? A spokesman for the Army Corp of Engineers claims there was no way of knowing the levees would break. Yet they keep breaking over and over again; it sounds like the Army Corp of Engineers is playing defense. If they can't do the job, it's time to put a top construction company in place to solve the problem. Maybe then, we’ll get a company that’s held accountable when something goes wrong, one that doesn’t play defense but rather goes on the offensive to fix our broken levees. This is a fixable problem, but one that isn’t going to go away in time if nothing is done. We need a better system to monitor and fix our broken levees, because with the water level rising in rivers like the Mississippi, we don’t have another choice. Or else it’ll be time to either learn to swim down the boulevard or buy a raft.

INFRASTRUCTURE MONTHLY

JULY 2010

THE RIGHT HIRE PRESENTS: INFRASTRUCTURE MONTHLY By: Matt Plotkin
Welcome to the latest issue of Infrastructure Monthly, provided and created by The Right Hire. Each month, you can expect a mix of Civil Engineering and Construction articles, along with business tips and ideas, industry trends, and the latest alternative energy news. In every issue, this newsletter will aim to inform and educate its readers on the latest infrastructure news. The Right Hire is a recruiting firm focused in the infrastructure fields of Construction and Civil Engineering. We have worked with companies of all sizes to find the top talent on the market today. Contact us today to find out how we can help streamline your recruiting process.

$897 MILLION ALLOCATED TO EXPAND STATE’S ECONOMY AND IMPROVE TRANSPORTATION Sacramento – The California Transportation Commission (CTC) has allocated $897 million to 170 transportation projects statewide, including $157 million from Proposition 1B, a transportation bond approved by voters in 2006, and $49 million from President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). The remaining $691 million in allocations came from assorted transportation accounts funded by state and federal dollars. “The Recovery Act and Proposition 1B are paying for vital transportation projects that help relieve traffic congestion and improve the quality of life for all Californians,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Investing in our infrastructure is strengthening our economy and creating jobs throughout the state at a time when we need them most.” Since its passage, approximately $5.9 billion in Proposition 1B funding has been allocated. California has obligated nearly $2.5 billion from the Recovery Act to 931 highway, local street, and job training transportation projects statewide.

Highlights of the project allocations include: Los Angeles - $16.6 million in Recovery Act funding to help repave and repair 112 lane miles of pavement on Interstate 5 near Castaic. Kern County - $20 million from the Recovery Act to help replace 42 lanes miles of pavement on Interstate 5 near Buttonwillow. San Mateo County - $30 million in Proposition 1B funding to provide grade separation of an existing at-grade rail crossing in San Bruno. This will reduce the potential for accidents and decrease emissions from vehicles waiting for trains to pass by. San Bernardino County - $45 million from Proposition 1B for a rail grade separation project along the Alameda Corridor East in Ontario. “From one end of the state to the other, transportation projects are providing good paying jobs and improving mobility for people and businesses in California,” said Caltrans Director Cindy McKim. The CTC also approved two projects for Caltrans’ design-build demonstration program: the Devore Interchange

Project in San Bernardino County and the State Route 180 Braided Ramps Project in Fresno. Design-build is a project delivery method that combines design and construction into one contract. Faster project delivery occurs because design and construction take place concurrently. Caltrans anticipates both projects will be completed at least two years earlier using design-build. The expedited construction schedule will bring thousand of jobs to San Bernardino County and Fresno sooner than expected. The Devore interchange (Interstate 15/215) is the second greatest bottleneck for goods movement in the country. The annual cost of traffic delays at the interchange is almost $4 million and is expected to increase to almost $80 million a year by 2040. The $369 million Devore project will dramatically improve goods movement and enhance traffic safety. The Braided Ramps Project, located between State Routes 41 and 168 in Fresno, will ease congestion and improve safety for motorists by eliminating many merging and transition conflicts along a series of interlocking freeways, making it easier for motorists to travel throughout Fresno.

INFRASTRUCTURE MONTHLY

JULY 2010

The Right Hire Introduces Market Trends as Reported by Companies Around the Industry By Matt Plotkin President, The Right Hire
I sincerely hope you've been enjoying Infrastructure Monthly. Every month we do our best to provide an informative collection of articles to educate our audience. As a recruiter and business owner, I try to keep my finger on the pulse of what's coming in the months ahead. Lately, I've noticed an uptick in jobs within the Construction and Civil Engineering fields. It seems after months of job losses, there arguably are better times ahead. In addition to writing pulitzer prize winning articles, in the next couple of months I'm going to start a new section about industry trends. As much as I talk to people in the industry everyday, both to companies and interviewing top talent, one man alone cannot gage the entire industry as a whole. I'm asking for your assistance in this task, and have put together a survey that will help us to better understand what's next for this industry. After all, knowledge is power and that’s what we strive to give to you. The first rounds of surveys have gone out, and we are analyzing them to discover the trends that have been occurring in the market. We appreciate all the responses we have received and will be publishing the first round of trends starting next month. Thank you again to everyone that has been participating, and we ask everyone who receives the survey this month to take a minute and reply for the benefit of the infrastructure industry.

Building to Withstand Hurricanes
ScienceDaily (June 22, 2010) — Rima Taher, an expert in the design of low-rise buildings for extreme winds and hurricane, hopes her phone won't ring much this hurricane season. It's already been busy with requests for information about best building design and construction practices to reduce wind pressures on building surfaces. In the aftermath of the January earthquake in Haiti, Taher, a civil and structural engineer at the NJIT College of Architecture and Design, prepared a document for Architecture for Humanity about best building practices for hurricane and earthquake-prone areas. It's posted on the organization's Haiti Reconstruction website and still circulates in Haiti. More recently, she cooperated with wind researchers at Tokyo Polytechnic University, Japan, to develop and translate from French a brochure for UNESCO to help Haitians prepare for the upcoming hurricane season. UNESCO will distribute the brochure in Haiti. In 2007 Taher's article about the design of low-rise buildings for extreme wind events appeared in the Journal of Architectural Engineering of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Another article on improved building practices for hurricanes appeared in Caribbean Construction Magazine in July of 2009. "Certain home shapes and roof types can make a big difference," is a common refrain in all her work. Her recommendations include the following. • Design buildings with square, hexagonal or even octagonal floor plans with roofs of multiple slopes such

• •

as a four-sloped hip roof. These roofs perform better under wind forces than the gable roofs with two slopes. Gable roofs are common only because they are cheaper to build. Research and testing demonstrate that a 30degree roof slope will have the best results. Wind forces on a roof tend to uplift it. "This explains why roofs blow off during extreme wind events," Taher said. To combat uplift, she advises connecting roofs to walls strongly with nails, not staples. Stapled roofs were banned in Florida after Hurricane Andrew. The use of hurricane clips is recommended. The choice of roofing is important. Different roofing systems perform differently under hurricane conditions. In tile roofs, loose tiles often become wind-borne debris threatening other structures. Aim for strong connections between the structure and foundation. Structural failure-- one structural element triggering the collapse of another -- can be progressive. Hurricane shutters can protect glazing from wind-borne debris. Various designs are available. Roof overhangs are subject to wind uplift forces which could trigger a roof failure. In the design of the hurricane-resistant home, the length of these overhangs should be limited to about 20 inches. The design of the researched cyclonic home includes simple systems to reduce the local wind stresses at the roof's lower edges such as a notched frieze or a horizontal grid. Install the latter at the level of the gutters along the homes' perimeter. An elevated structure on an open foundation reduces the risk of damage from flooding and storm-driven water. All foundation piles must be strengthened by bracing and should penetrate deep enough into the soil to reduce the risk of scour.

INFRASTRUCTURE MONTHLY

JULY 2010

Savings heat up with solar-powered water heaters
  (ARA) - More homeowners are deciding solar power is the right thing to do - for the sake of the environment and their wallets. New technologies make it easier than ever to use the sun to heat water in our homes. And Congress is helping make going green a cash-smart move too, by extending the federal solar tax credit another eight years. Thanks to the tax credit program, you can recoup 30 percent of the total installed cost of a solar water heating system. "It's a great time to switch to solar power for your water heating needs," says Jim Cika, a solar water heating expert with VELUX America. But before you buy a solar water heater, do your homework, he urges, learn about the technologies available and review just how solar-friendly your home can be. "Homeowners need to factor in geographic location, orientation of the roof for solar collectors, costs and tax incentives and rebates that may be available to arrive at an economically sensible and environmentally-sensitive decision," Cika says. While a solar water heating system usually costs more to purchase and install than a conventional water heating system, it can reduce energy costs in the long run and is much kinder to the planet. Cika says that the cost of an installed ENERGY STAR qualified system from his company will vary depending upon the volume of heated water required in a home. A packaged system consisting of one, two or three rooftop solar collector panels will usually be installed along with a 60, 80 or 120-gallon solar storage tank. An average installation is projected to cost $6,500 to $11,000, with some complex installations running as much as $12,000. Systems are available for gas, electric and boiler markets throughout the U.S., Cika says. "On average," he says, "if you install a solar water heater, your water heating bills should drop 50 to 80 percent - not an insignificant sum when you consider that the Department of Energy says that water heating can

account for 14 to 25 percent of the energy consumed in our homes."

According to Cika, in the construction of a new home, where the cost of the system is rolled into the mortgage, homeowners can save more on their monthly energy bills than the increase in their house payment. "Solar water heating provides a positive cash flow from the day of move in," he says, "effectively giving an immediate payback." "In the case of an installation in an existing home in an area that has both federal and state rebates and incentives," he says, "the payback can vary from three to seven years." Two primary solar technologies are available in the market right now: solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal. The photovoltaic process uses the sun to generate electricity and solar thermal uses the sun to heat water. Solar thermal often is the technology of choice for homeowners for a number of reasons. Kevin Hughes, a writer for GreenBuildingElements.com, who installed a solar thermal system in his San Francisco home, explains why. "I prefer solar thermal, specifically solar hot water, a much older technology. It is much cheaper to install, much more efficient and has a much faster payback," he says. For homeowners considering an installation, the Internet offers a number of websites that can be helpful with an analysis and then with locating products and installers. Findsolar.com and nabcep.org list certified installers by state. Solar-rating.org lists certified solar equipment manufacturers and certified installers for VELUX units are listed at veluxusa.com. Eere.energy.gov/consumer includes a link to a calculator for initial cost, annual operating costs and determining payback, as well as a consumer's guide to solar thermal, while nrel.gov offers a consumer's guide to photovoltaic. Federal and state tax credit information, by geographic area, is available at dsireusa.org.

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