Day: August 2, 2022

Construction Industry

Dodge economist: Recession may be ‘fairly short’

Dive Brief:

  • New York City-based data consortium Dodge Construction Network revealed a new quarterly report on Tuesday morning that’s focused on the state of the construction industry in the broader economy.
  • The new report details the economic turmoil gripping the construction industry, caused by sky-high inflation and rising interest rates.
  • It’s not all bad news: The report notes that the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will be a vehicle for significant investment into the nonresidential construction industry, and will create opportunities for contractors to gain work.

Dive Insight:

Richard Branch, the chief economist for Dodge Construction Network, said the industry could see a recession like the one in 2001, which lasted less than a year. Normally, Branch told Construction Dive, before an economic downturn the housing market begins to flail as a signal to the rest of the industry. 

However, Branch emphasized that because of high contractor backlog and money funneled to builders from the infrastructure act, the market for civil builders will be different as these jobs and funds act as a buffer from some of the downsides of a recession.

“I do think, because of the nature of how this recession would play out, it would probably be fairly short,” Branch said.

Strong markets

Certain geographic markets are demonstrating growth, such as Virginia, Texas and Arizona, while construction is weaker in the Great Lakes area and in the Northeast. Branch said that the Southwest was gaining ground due to strong demographic growth and less expensive real estate.

Strong sectors include data centers, which have boomed in places like Henrico County, Virginia, along with broadband internet infrastructure. The $65 billion set aside for broadband growth in the infrastructure act will likely trigger evolution in technology that contractors in rural areas can use, the report said. 


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Technology Business

Business and technology park planned for Columbia

A big economic development project is coming to Columbia, Lancaster County.The McGinness Innovation Park on Manor Street was one of the winning applications for state money. “This could mean everything to Columbia,” Mayor Leo Lutz said.The borough bought more than 50 acres of property that was once McGinness airfield for nearly $1.5 million.”This is huge for Columbia. This is the last biggest piece of undeveloped, developable land here in Columbia Borough,” borough manager Mark Stivers said.Community leaders had a plan in mind, and it took teamwork to put it all together.The Economic Development Company of Lancaster County applied for and won more than $8 million in grants and loans to build the park.”It will be redeveloped into commercial businesses that will be generating tax revenue for the borough,” organization president Lisa Riggs said.Since the land was home to an airfield, the vision is for the focus to remain on transportation. The innovation park will be developed into a hub for drone technology.”The catalyst for all of this has been the idea of a drone technology center where the use of drones can be advanced here in Pennsylvania. This would be a training center, to research and development, to learn how to do it, to learn how to fly long-distance and hopefully we can attract some other businesses,” Stivers said.It’s also expected to create 114 jobs.State Sen. Ryan Aument (R-36) helped push the project across the finish line.”We’re seeing a resurgence. I think this is going to spur further resurgence in Columbia,” he said.It will take at least another year before the groundbreaking, and it could be at least five years before businesses could move in.Eighteen acres will be set aside for a park.

A big economic development project is coming to Columbia, Lancaster County.

The McGinness Innovation

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Computer Forensics

How are forensics used by police to match bullets to guns?

Engraved on every bullet is a story about the gun that fired it.

In a bunker under a police forensic facility, a ballistics officer aims a sawn-off shotgun down a firing range. It’s one of the hundreds of sawn-offs seized or handed over to police every year.

“Firing!” yells Leading Senior Constable Steve Batten. He squeezes the trigger and 50 metal pellets exit the barrel, spraying outwards and burying themselves in a pile of sand. The shockwave is intense. The scent of gunpowder fills the room. Batten holds up a blackened shell.

Leading Senior Constable Steve Batten reaches for a shotgun shell at the police firing range.

Leading Senior Constable Steve Batten reaches for a shotgun shell at the police firing range.Credit:Scott McNaughton

There are about 3.5 million registered firearms in Australia and about a quarter of a million illicit ones. Sawn-off shotguns are now criminals’ weapons of choice in drive-by shootings. In small towns, crooks cruise around looking for trucks parked in driveways that bear the bumper stickers of gun makers like Winchester or Remington – revealing the likely contents of the car owner’s gun safe.

When crooks come back to crack the safe, if they find a shotgun they’ll often cut down the barrel and handle, both illegal modifications. In this way, a hunting tool becomes an urban weapon that can be tucked into a belt and quickly withdrawn.

But the shotgun shell cooling in Batten’s hand could be a crook’s undoing. If police match it to a shell from a crime scene, they’ll know that the shotgun Batten just fired is the very gun used in that crime.

This year in Victoria there have been seven fatal shootings and 11 non-fatal. In 32 homicide investigations for the year, those involving firearms account for less than 22 per cent. In NSW

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