The world’s leading manufacturer of remote-controlled demolition machines, Brokk, has enhanced its aftermarket service capabilities, including machine refurbishment and repair, with the addition of its new Demonstration and Service Center in St. Joseph, Missouri. The 10,000-square-foot center reduces lead times Brokk RepairRefurb 1on repair and refurbishment services, allowing the manufacturer to support customers’ existing product lines. Customers can repurpose older Brokk machines with complete overhaul options, increasing fleet value and maximizing inventory flexibility with an ideal blend of Brokk equipment for their operation. A team of technicians with more than 60 years of combined experience offers expert service and increased convenience for Brokk customers across the U.S. and Canada.

“How you support customers after a sale is what sets manufacturers apart,” said Lars Lindgren, president of Brokk Inc. “Whether it’s unexpected downtime or routine maintenance, we understand fast, convenient service options are vital to our customers’ success. To best support our customers, we’ve gathered the people and tools they need all in one centralized location.”

The St. Joseph facility includes a full-service shop with wash bay, workshop and welding station. A staff of four full-time technicians provides an array of service options from routine maintenance to repairs and refurbishments. The Demonstration and Service Center also houses an extensive inventory of Brokk machines, attachments and parts, as well as a number of hydrodemolition robots and products for sister company, Aquajet.
www.brokk.com

 LISA ANN MARCHESI 01Women are helping to pave the way to great things in construction.   

By Lisa-Ann Marchesi

The shifts in the construction industry over the past decade have been profound. Digital technologies aiding in the advancement of energy efficiency, sustainability and safety; monumental feats in design and building skyscrapers to staggering heights, once dreamed of as purely science fiction; and a discernible influx of women in the construction space altering the demographic make-up of the workforce. The changes are head-spinning.

 OVERTIME 1Overtime rules will impact the construction industry.

By Mary Beth Saylor

In 2014, President Obama issued a memorandum to the Department of Labor (DOL) to update and modernize the regulations governing the exemption of executive, administrative, and professional (EAP) employees from the minimum wage and overtime pay protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA or Act). The primary reasons for the change? Salary levels in the prior regulations were fixed, and there was not a mechanism for keeping them commensurate with the appropriate percentile of average wages today and into the future. Additionally, the change is expected to help accomplish one of the President's goals of ensuring workers are compensated fairly for their work.

Seeking growth domestically and beyond, Twining is bringing its world-class testing and verification services to clients in many segments of construction.

By Eric Slack

Twining has been setting standards since it was founded in 1898. From its origins as a company focused on agricultural soil testing, Twining is today a leading provider of materials testing and verification of code compliance services.

Twining has more than 200 cross-certified field personnel, a panel of nationally recognized experts who are authorities regarding their respective construction materials, and a network of sophisticated laboratories throughout California. It employs materials engineers and experts who understand construction materials and their application in the field, which allows the company to not only perform on projects with clients but to also work with regulatory agencies to play a role in improving existing regulations.

“As of the end of last year, we had about 300 employees and have five full-service laboratories in addition to our headquarters, where we do engineering and administrative work,” President Rob Ryan says. “Our core competencies now revolve around testing of structural materials and verification of compliance with construction documents.”

All Shapes and Sizes

The company’s current suite of services and offerings is extremely diverse. They include geotechnical engineering, applied research and materials engineering, flexible pavement engineering, construction special inspection and materials testing laboratories. Twining also offers stormwater services, roofing and waterproofing inspection, forensic evaluation and expert witness services, evaluation of existing structures, pavement evaluation and design, construction, quality assurance programs and onsite mobile laboratories.

This cadre of services has allowed Twining to work on projects of all types and sizes, from high-rise residential developments and freeway retaining walls to runway relocations and medical facilities. In fact, the company has provided sound engineering, testing and inspection for many of the region’s landmark projects.

“We work in all areas of construction other than single-family residential construction,” Ryan says. “Our projects include major institutional projects, civil projects, commercial projects, schools, hospitals, bridges, runways and freeways, as well as geotechnical engineering for foundation and pavement design. We test materials used for those in our labs.”

Twining’s longevity helps the company establish itself in the minds of current and prospective clients. The company generally finds that when anyone in its markets is looking for a proposal for the kinds of services Twining offers, it is usually on their list.

“When we are on projects we get to know the principals and look for information on what they have coming up,” Ryan says. “With agencies, developers and contractors, we know our services must be competitive. It helps to know client pain points so we can be clear about what we can offer.”

At the same time, the company takes an aggressive approach to marketing, networking at events and tradeshows and being active on social media as well as its company blog and website.

On the March

Always looking to drive the industry forward, Twining is heavily engaged with in-house research and partnerships with external industry innovators. This helps the company play a role in identifying emerging materials and new technologies, which in turn gives Twining a hand in crafting the guidelines and regulations that will become industry standards.

The company is also mindful of the trends that are impacting its markets. It reviews economic data to gain an understanding of factors such as where construction materials are being shipped and what sectors of the market are heating up or cooling down.

“For example, right now there are a lot of airport improvements and multi-use, multistory residential projects taking place in Los Angeles,” Ryan says. “There is a lot of money coming into southern California from Asian markets funding non-civil projects. At the same time, the civil market is staying fairly steady in places like the airports and the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. In the highway sector, there is a fair amount of work there, although that trend is diminishing and we are seeing more P3 projects with local self-help agencies.”

Thanks to its awareness of market conditions and willingness to drive its industry, Twining feels it can put forth an aggressive growth plan for itself. The company believes it will continue to grow organically in its traditional market, but it believes acquisitions and partnerships will be critical for the company to expand its presence around the country and the world.

“We have an M&A consultant and are looking at some opportunities,” Ryan says. “We are looking for expansion through diversification of services into complementary areas and through geographic expansion.”

As the company considers its M&A possibilities, enhancement of geographic footprint or service lines will be the main concern. It also wants to engage with companies that can positively impact its earnings right away.

“We are no looking for fixer-uppers,” Ryan says. “We are looking for profitable companies that we can enhance through our marketing expertise and skillset. We have looked at opportunities in a number of states and are actively engaged in looking for the right firms. Above all else, these companies must share our culture and give people free rein and opportunity to build their own empire. They must have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to grow and expand their footprint and capabilities.”

These ambitious plans should help Twining meet its revenue and earnings growth goals over the next few years. The company believes acquiring and internally adding service lines and personnel that complement its strengths will help the company expand, allowing it to stay at the forefront of concrete testing technology and non-destructive testing techniques as the market develops.

“In the end, we want to create opportunities for the enthusiastic and ambitious people in our company,” Ryan says. “The harder they work and utilize their imagination and creativity to achieve results, we want to be able to help them realize the best possible future that they can have by being here at Twining.”

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To create an effective work environment, acoustic professionals typically take a three-pronged approach that involves absorbing, blocking and covering noise. Because all three strategies are required to achieve the best results, they are collectively referred to as the “ABC Rule.”

Regional synergies are one of the strengths of the approach to retail, mixed-use and office development and acquisitions that is practiced by Ivanhoé Cambridge. “We’re very focused on building upon the established platforms that we have,” Executive Vice President of Development Paul Gleeson emphasizes. “By platform, I mean you successfully have all the disciplines associated with real estate.”

These include development, legal, leasing and operations management expertise. For international development in countries such as Brazil – where Ivanhoé Cambridge has been developing primarily retail properties along with some office space for more than 10 years – local expertise is crucial.

The public sector – whether at the federal, state, or municipal level – provides great sources of revenue for construction companies. However, as many construction executives have learned the hard way, there can always be a danger to participating in public projects. These projects often bring a unique set of headaches and require delicate relationship management. Not only must construction companies answer to their clients, but when public funds are involved, they end up answering to the general population as well.

All is well that ends well. When The Mustard Seed, a Calgary-based nonprofit organization that provides housing and other services to homeless people, proposed a development of affordable housing in Calgary in 2006, the surrounding community did not embrace the project. But by engaging the community and the neighbors in open and transparent communication – and establishing parameters for how employees and clients of The Mustard Seed would operate within the community – the charitable organization received approval from the city in 2009.

A diverse set of capabilities helps Wall Works USA Inc. maintain its position as one of the eastern seaboard’s top residential renovation companies. “Wall Works USA Inc. is a unique construction company, being that we are not a typical general contractor relying solely on a distribution base for materials, nor do we rely upon the typical contractor and subcontractor relationships to perform our contracts,” President and owner Stephen Hodgins says.

As a family owned company, R.E. Goodson Construction has a simpler operation than some general contractors, Office Project Manager James Goodson says. For instance, “We’re able to handle the day-to-day [matters] with the owner of the company,” he says. “[It’s] not an outside person, [but] an inside person that makes the decisions.”

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