What we once considered normal no longer exists. The COVID-19 pandemic which has gripped the globe is requiring cancellations, postponements, closures, quarantines which present mounting quagmires to society as we know it.
PDCA has compiled legal resources from some of the PDCA Member law firms which have developed online guidance for employers and businesses. These law firms work extensively in construction, contracts and employment law. Business owners, human resources officers and families can find useful information within the links below. The current state of affairs around the world presents everyone a lot of uncertainty. Hopefully the provided legal documentation can help you understand some of the changing laws, grasp legal complexities that might relate to your business or simply give you definitions to some of the terminology that is regularly used in news reports that continue to bring coverage of the COVID-19 health crisis.
- Benesch Law (international): COVID-19 Publications
- Issue highlights: Families First Coronavirus Relief Act, revenue protection plan
- Carlson Dash, serving Illinois and Wisconsin: Coronavirus in Construction: What to Do Now to Plan for Beyond the Outbreak
- Jimmerson Birr serving Florida: 'Mitigating Commercial Losses from Reaction to the Coronavirus'
- Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr P.C. serving Texas: COVID-19 Business Response Team
- Issue highlights: insurance concerns, leasing, immigration changes
- Seyfarth Shaw LLP (international): COVID-19 Resource Center
- Issue highlights: emergency childcare, government construction contractors, high deductable health plans
Over the past few weeks, we have all seen an impact within our communities and across the nation due to the potential presence of COVID-19. As this situation evolves, all of us are assessing how to best keep ourselves and those around us healthy and safe.
Our thoughts continue to be with you during this challenging time and we're here to help. Like most Americans, many of our colleagues' lives have been impacted by the important precautions and measures taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
To better assist you during this time, we want to remind you that we have tools that will allow you to interact with the staff of PDCA virtually, such as chat, app and our website, as well as, contacting our office by phone.
At its meeting held March 18, 2020, the PDCA Executive Committee took the extraordinary step to cancel the 23rd PDCA Annual Conference that was scheduled to be held May 6-9, 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona. Based on current Centers for Disease Control guidelines this measure was taken to help reduce the risk that a participant in the Annual Conference would be exposed to the Coronavirus.
Additionally, here are several links that might be of assistance to you:
Meeting the needs of our members is what we do every day. Please rest assured that even during these trying times that will require a "new" approach, we will continue to meet your needs with confidence, care, and commitment. Finally, we will work hard to keep all PDCA members updated as our work practices evolve during this challenging time. You can look for these updates via email, social media, and our web site at www.piledrivers.org.
Thank you for your continued support. Let's all be sure to wash our hands thoroughly!
Orlando, FL (March 13, 2020): PDCA, in collaboration with Pile Dynamics, Inc., presents DFDTA to practitioners in deep foundations. It is a multi-faceted, technical conference which begins with a one-day seminar titled Deep Foundation Integrity Testing and Wave Equation Analysis followed by a two-day workshop titled High Strain Dynamic Foundation Testing. At the conclusion of the seminar, attendees can opt to take the Dynamic Measurement and Analysis Proficiency Test, a 90-minute, multiple-choice exam that covers the theory of Wave Mechanics, Case Method (PDA) equations, data quality assessment, data interpretation and basic CAPWAP analysis.
The first of the two 2020 DFDTA events took place March 11 - 13, 2020 in Orlando, FL. Twenty five different companies from throughout the world sent employees to gain the valuable, technical training. Six PDCA Member companies including Braun Intertec, Fugro USA Land, Inc., Geostructural Engineering, Gerhart Cole, Insight Group and Terracon, sent staff for the three day seminar. Garland Likins and Ryan Allin of Pile Dynamics, Inc. conducted all programming.
The highly anticipated, 2020 CONEXPO-CON/AGG has come and gone. As it is billed, it was a major industry event attracting more than 100,000 men and women from all over the world who work in the construction industry. PDCA Members were present at the event, both as exhibitors and as attendees. Here are a few of the Members and other industry partners who were caught on camera during the March 10-13 event in Las Vegas, NV:
Career Story on Dylan André, Patriot Deep Foundations
By: Jess Campbell
Dylan André is a lover of the outdoors, so it makes sense that he would get into a job that allows him to work outside. With a degree in construction management from Louisiana State University, André has worked in construction since graduating in 2012, but is new to the deep foundations industry.
"I didn't get to work in deep foundations until I came to work for my current company, Patriot Deep Foundations, which was only about a year and a half ago. So, I'm pretty fresh," he said. "But I absolutely love it."
Coming to work for Patriot may have been an easy decision for André, but that doesn't mean there wasn't any hesitation. Patriot had just formed their deep foundations division and André was very up front about his lack of knowledge. Yet his boss, Patriot Deep Foundations president Kevin Gourgues, encouraged André to take the leap.
"It was scary to say yes to the deep foundations opportunity," said André. "I said to Kevin, 'Man, I don't know anything about this.' And Kevin said, 'Look, you ain' got a thing to worry about. You sit next to me and I'll lead you to the promised land. I'll teach you everything I know and you'll learn from the people around you.' And that's exactly how it's been the last year and a half."
It's clear that André is grateful for every learning opportunity that comes his way, no matter who it's coming from. As project manager and estimator, he works with many different types of people. But he's always willing and open to learning from everyone, which he feels is an important aspect of being successful at the work he does.
"I don't look at it like there's a hierarchy and the superintendents that I work with work for me. Those guys know way more than I will probably ever know. It's been fun learning the ropes from people who have years of experience and know what they're doing." Continued, read the remainder of the story in PileDriver magazine.
Workplace safety in a cannibas revolution
By: Bob Morgan, Esq. and Rick Kalson, Esq., Benesch Law
Photo credit: openrangestock/123RF
There are now 33 states that have legalized medical cannabis and 10 that have legalized recreational cannabis, with more soon to come. Many of these state's laws have employer protections for safety-sensitive jobs, and generally allow an employer broad discretion to enact and implement zero-tolerance policies. For example, Arizona allows employers to discipline an employee for possessing or using marijuana on company premises or during work time, even if that employee is authorized to use medical cannabis (A.R.S. Sec. 36-2814(B)). However, note some contradictory caselaw in states such as Rhode Island (See Callaghan v. Darlington Fabrics, C.A. No. P.C. 2014-6680, where an employer was found to have violated the state medical cannabis law for failing to hire a job applicant that had a medical cannabis card and stated she could not pass a drug test) and Connecticut (Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Company, LLC, 2018 WL 4224075, at 1, D. Conn. Sept. 5, 2018, where an employer was found to have violated the state medical cannabis law when refusing to hire a medical cannabis patient who tested positive on a pre-employment drug test).
Notably, the vast majority of cases have ruled in favor of employer discretion regarding whether to discipline or terminate medical cannabis users. Even when anti-discrimination provisions were implicated, courts have consistently left open the possibility for an employer to take action against medical cannabis users in safety-sensitive positions (See Barbuto v. Advantage Sales and Marketing, LLC, SJC 12226; July 17, 2017).
On its face, these decisions make sense. There are some industries where workplace drug testing is increasingly rare such as in the technology sector where millennial workers are more in-demand and others where the employer approaches cannabis as a substance scientifically less harmful than alcohol or more dangerous drugs. Yet, safety-sensitive positions such as construction sites, medical facilities and large warehouses will always require more stringent workplace standards.
Read more in PileDriver magazine...
By: Brian Fraley, Fraley Construction Marketing
So you want to capture high quality photographs, but you lack the budget for a professional photographer or high-quality camera equipment? There has arguably never been a better time for amateurs to capture decent shots because of that little high-powered gadget in their pocket, the smartphone.
While the importance of high-quality photographs has not faded, it's better to capture an acceptable photo of your work in progress than to have no photo at all. The following will serve as a foundation for aspiring smartphone construction photographers.
1. Buy a smartphone with a quality camera
When it's time to buy a smartphone, make sure the camera functionality and photo resolution are among the criteria you consider. Today's smartphone cameras are competing with actual cameras when it comes to quality. In fact, Samsung has an ultra-high 64Mp to 108Mp smartphone sensor, which has a resolution equivalent to that of a high-end DSLR camera.
2. Adjust the settings
You're not aiming to become a professional photographer and the smartphone doesn't have as many settings as a traditional camera, so your best bet is to use the auto setting, which is usually the default. The only settings you might consider changing are High Definition Resolution (HDR) and flash. One of the benefits of digital photography is that you can compare shots using each setting right on the jobsite.
3. Get closer to the subject
One of the most common problems with construction photos is that the shot is taken from too far away. Zooming in with the smartphone is as simple as touching the screen with two fingertips and sliding them away from each other. Reverse the motion to zoom out. Getting closer to the subject can also help you to overcome lighting challenges.
4. Experiment with lighting
Lighting can be tough on construction sites, especially when you're down inside of a deep excavation. There are some situations where you simply can't get good photographs without supplemental lighting. The best you can do is to take your shots in the best lit portion of the site. You might also alternate between flash and no flash to see which delivers the best photos.
5. Edit your shots for perfection
One of the best things about digital photography compared to traditional photography is that you can edit your images. There are dozens of software brands on the market, but most will find the Photos app in Microsoft Windows 10 to be a perfect option. You can easily straighten, crop and lighten the photo to improve your results. For a quick fix, you can use the option "Enhance Your Photo" under Filters.
Read more in PileDriver magazine...
Minneapolis, MN (February 28, 2020): PDCA Members participated in the 2020 GeoCongress, an annual event from the American Society of Civil Engineers. It is designed to promote the geotechnical profession and enhance the career development of practitioners. The 2020 GeoCongress took place February 25-28 at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Minneapolis, MN. It offered a large variety of educational and professional development sessions as well as opportunties for attendees to enjoy activities unique to Minnesota. Dave Christian who is an Olympic Gold Medalist from the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" U.S. Hockey Team gave a keynote speech and afterwards signed autographs and stood for photos with several admirers such as Van Komerka of GRL Engineers. Also, Silas Nichols of the Federal Highway Administration demonstrated new virtual reality technology that is presently used in the field on geotechnical building projects. Evening fun was available to attendees; there was a Prince Party celebrating the late musician from Minneapolis and a group block at an NCAA Men's Hockey game between the University of Minnesota and the University of Michigan.
In 2021, the PDCA Annual Conference, the ASCE GeoCongress, the DFI Annual Conference and the ADSC Annual Conference all combine into the International Foundation Congress and Equipment Expo or IFCEE. That will take place in May in Dallas, TX. The GeoCongress set aside a promotional booth for IFCEE 2021 and the parties involved in the planning and coordination took the opportunity to work on the forthcoming, major industry event.
PDCA Members who call the Twin-Cities home were also on hand at the event to participate in various capacities. American Engineering Testing, Inc. brought several staff members, including Katie Zadrozny who co-presented at the break out session on ASCE's governmental relations operations and the production of the Infrastructure Report Card. Contractors Atlas Foundation Company and Veit & Company exhibited as did engineering affilate Braun Intertec.
Other PDCA Members who participated as event sponsors and exhibitors included Atlas Pipe Piles, DuroTerra, Equipment Corporation of America, Fugro Loadtest, Giken, Goettle, Golder, GRL Engineers/Pile Dynamics Inc., Keller, Nucor Skyline and Terracon.
- Coronavirus Safety Best Practices
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- NCCCO Discusses Certification for Pile Driving Rig Operators
- A Pile of News - September 2020
- Meet the New Chair of PDCA's Safety & Environmental Committee
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- Announcing Virtual DICEP 2020
- PileDriver Magazine: Advocacy, Revisions to 1810 of the IBC
- New Chair Seated for PDCA Contracts and Risk Committee