May 16, 2020

Australian Construction Sector Continues to Grow in July

Australian Construction
Australian Performance of Construct
Admin
2 min
Despite growth, the mining decline continues to make conditions tough for some contractors
Australias construction sector continued to grow in July, with the Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association Australian Performance of Cons...

Australia’s construction sector continued to grow in July, with the Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association Australian Performance of Construction Index (Australian PCI) increasing by 0.8 points to 52.6 points (seasonally adjusted).

The represented industry-wide expansion for a second consecutive month, with July’s activity growing at a slightly faster pace than that of June, and was the Australian PCI’s strongest monthly performance since the 55.2 points registered in November 2013.

Conditions in July were supported by a welcome strengthening in activity and an upturn in employment, which expanded for the first time in eight months. New orders also continued to grow, although the rate of increase moderated in the month.

Growth was recorded across three of the four construction industry sectors, (namely house building, apartment building and commercial. Engineering was the exception). Commercial construction recovered strongly after three months of contraction to reach its highest level in six and a half years, rising 8.5 points to 55.9.

The report found this to be consistent with the recent uplift in non-residential building approvals.

The apartment building sector also recorded renewed growth, house building continued to expand, although its rate of growth moderated from the five-month high level reached in the previous month.

In contrast, engineering construction returned to negative territory, down 1.2 points to 44.1 after expanding in June.

Construction employment expanded in July, ending seven consecutive months of contraction in workforce numbers. The employment sub-index registered 51.3 in July, a rise of 3.9 points from the previous month.

Businesses reported an improvement in tender opportunities this month, with many securing new work. House and apartment builders indicated relatively solid customer enquiries and sales, despite some easing in the month. However, the operating environment remains tough for many construction businesses with subdued public sector building activity and a decline in mining-related construction activity still being cited as key negative influences on activity.

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Jun 24, 2021

Skanska invests $225m in Houston office project

Skanska
offices
Sustainability
Drones
Dominic Ellis
2 min
Skanska plans to build a 28-floor office tower in Houston as its London office receives WELL Platinum sustainability ranking and drone trials are underway

Skanska is investing US$225m in an office development project, 1550 on the Green in Houston, with construction expected to begin in June and scheduled to be completed in 2024.

The construction contract is worth US$125M, which will be included in the Q2 order bookings. International law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has signed a 15-year lease for about 30 percent of the building.

Located at 1550 Lamar Street, adjacent to Discovery Green, in downtown Houston, Skanska plans to develop and build a 28-floor, 34,800 square meter office tower.

1550 on the Green will be the first part of a three-block master plan by Skanska, which will transform the parcels into a distinguished district known as Discovery West and consist of 3.5 acres of mixed-use development full of restaurants, retail and lush green space. The project will target LEED and WiredScore Platinum certifications.

Since 2009, Skanska has invested a total of US$2.8 billion in commercial and multi-family projects, creating more than 1 million square meters of sustainable and community focused developments in select U.S. markets. Skanska USA had sales of SEK66 billion in 2020 with 7,600 employees in its operations.

Skanska’s flagship London office has set the standard in sustainable workspaces by becoming the first in the UK to achieve WELL Platinum under the new v2 pilot scheme.

The accreditation from the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) was awarded through the v2 pilot, the newest version of the WELL Building Standard. It looks at all building features and management processes – from air and water quality to lighting, acoustics, nutrition, thermal comfort and mental wellbeing. It’s widely recognised as the industry yardstick for measuring how workspaces can contribute to the wellbeing of occupants.

The offices – which span three floors of the newly developed 51 Moorgate – contain floor-to-ceiling windows for extensive natural light, dedicated wellbeing and quiet spaces, as well as stringent air and water quality monitoring, among a range of other features that have helped earn the standard.

The company has also been exploring drone flights for use in industrial environments.

Peter Cater, Development Manager, said it was invited to carry out trials because of its use and knowledge of drone capability. "The trials have benefited everyone involved: sees.ai get to test their equipment and remote use of the drones and we get access to accurate, real-time data on our construction activities which benefits us and our customer, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation."

“Projects like this – at the forefront of innovation – go to show what an exciting industry construction is to be involved in. We are always looking for innovative ways of working, ways to be more sustainable so we can find better solutions for our customers. These trials are just one small part of our digital transformation journey.”

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