Construction experts remain optimistic in the strength of the industry, according to a new report, despite the first quarter of 2016 being marked by a decline in confidence levels.Timetric’s Construction Confidence Report concluded that the industry’s current confidence levels have declined from 61.5 points in Q4 2015 to 61.2 points in Q1 2016, following a downward trend that started in 2014.Even though this is the fifth successive quarter of decline, the score remains above the 50-point mark which indicates a positive outlook regarding growth prospects — and the industry is optimistic regarding growth expectations for the next six months.Danny Richards, leading economist at Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center (CIC), recognises the positive findings, but states that the decline has had an impact in construction companies. “Although still optimistic over the potential for growth, the decline in the Current Confidence Index suggests that the level of optimism is weakening, and that it is becoming more challenging to win contracts,” he said.<iframe src="https://timetric.com/c/MBEPE5U/chart/" style="width:500px;height:350px;border:0;" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>
Otis China has announced the construction of a new 270m-high elevator test tower as part of a new global R&D facility in Shanghai.Anticipated to be the world’s tallest above-ground test tower, it has been designed to be flexible and easily adaptable to the testing of new components and systems as they evolve.The project will support the development of new technologies for use in elevators for different market segments in order to deliver high efficiency, small footprints, industry-leading safety, comfort and convenience for passengers, says Otis.Otis’ president Philippe Delpech said: “Building our new test tower and R&D Center in Shanghai underscores our continuous commitment to satisfy customers in China and around the world.“As the industry leader that introduced safe elevator technology, this is a strong example of how we are investing to accelerate innovation and technology development for our next generation elevators and service.”The new facilities, part of a network of research facilities and test towers set to spread across four continents, are expected to be operational by the end of 2018.Otis has supplied lifts for iconic high buildings around the world, including the 828m Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest building; the 599m Ping’An Financial Center in Shenzhen, one of the highest buildings in China when completed this year; the 555m Lotte World Tower in Seoul, the tallest in South Korea; the 553m CN Tower in Toronto, the highest in North America; and the 324m Eiffel Tower, Paris’ iconic symbol.
Wind farm infrastructure and communications delivery specialist Vysiion has secured a contract to support the installation of a 108km fibre link for the £1.3bn Rampion wind farm development.UK-based construction services firm Carillion is serving as the main contractor for the onshore connection, a project that will include the installation of cable over a distance of about 26km from landfall near Shoreham-on-Sea to Bolney, West Sussex.Under the contract, Vysiion will support Carillion’s delivery and will supply splice and test the 108km cable link from the onshore substation at Bolney to the beachhead.The wind farm is expected to provide enough energy to power about 300,000 homes annually, with a target capacity of 400MW. Vysiion infrastructure sales manager Michael Grimshaw said: “The Rampion wind farm project contract is another example of how the team at Vysiion is able to support the infrastructure requirements of the UK’s wind power industry.“Throughout the UK and on a number of on-going wind farm developments Vysiion’s fibre, communications and infrastructure expertise is proving to be both an additive and assured element of the construction.”
UK-based oil and gas services company Wood Group has won two new contracts, worth more than $140M, to provide technical services and expertise to an oil firm in Iraq.Under the three-year contracts, Wood Group PSN (WGPSN) — one of the group’s three businesses — will offer brownfield front-end engineering design, detailed engineering, project management, procurement services, system completion and commissioning support for operations and start-up on a significant onshore asset in southern Iraq.Both contracts, set to create over 100 new jobs in the region, will be executed from southern Iraq and Dubai, where WGPSN opened an office in 2015. WGPSN's eastern region managing director David Buchan said: “These two significant contract wins demonstrate Wood Group’s commitment to working closely with key clients to extend our operations in Iraq, where we see a growth market that complements our broad service capabilities, international knowledge and strong expertise. “Establishing an office in Dubai and a base in Iraq reflects our intention to build lasting customer relationships and focus on the development of our Iraqi workforce and supply chain partnerships.”
Flatiron Construction and AECOM have been provisionally selected by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDoT) to design and construct the $215M C-470 Tolled Express Lanes Segment 1 project in the Denver metro area.The CDoT named the companies as the ‘Apparent Selected Proposer’ for the 12-mile project, which will involve the addition of two tolled express lanes on westbound C-470 from I-25 to Colorado Boulevard, along with the reconstruction of part of the existing pavement.It will include the addition of auxiliary lanes at selected locations, the replacement of bridges over the South Platte River and the widening of existing bridges throughout the project area.The development will also involve safety and operational improvements along C-470 between I-25 and Quebec by adding direct-connect ramps and grade separations for the multi-use trail.Flatiron will lead the fully integrated design and construction team, AECOM will provide construction and design services for the project expected to commence construction work in mid-2016. The lanes are set to be complete in early 2019.
US-based Jacobs Engineering Group has won a contract to deliver engineering services for the expansion of Mitsubishi’s polyester film plant in Greenville County, South Carolina. Mitsubishi Polyester Film, a subsidiary of Japan-based Mitsubishi Plastics, offers a range of polyester films for the industrial, packaging, imaging and electrical markets.Pursuant to the contract, Jacobs will provide engineering services for the $100m project, which includes the installation of a polyester film production line that is expected to combine high level technology with production efficiency.Jacobs’ senior vice president specialty chemicals Andrew Berryman said: “We are excited Mitsubishi chose Jacobs to invest in its existing facility. Our team is committed to delivering a safe, innovative project to support Mitsubishi’s customers and markets around the world.”The project is set to be complete by late 2017.
US-based Arrow Capital and the University of Ilorin have finalised arrangements for the construction of a $2.3bn solar power plant at the university in Nigeria.
Airport construction projects remain at a high with a total global investment of $638.7bn, according to a new report. The Global Airport Construction Projects report, from Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center (CIC), concludes that even though a financial crisis has been ravaging the global economy since 2008-09, air passenger traffic has been growing at an average pace of 5% annually.Airport construction activity has been growing fast in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East & Africa regions, which have now surpassed other global regions with total planned investment in airport mega-projects of $224.1bn and $172bn respectively.In the Asia-Pacific region, China has been leading the airport construction activity with investment of $47.8bn, followed by Vietnam with projects worth $28.7bn. Due to the increase in flights to China, where Beijing Capital International Airport is the world’s second busiest airport, the $11.3bn Beijing Daxing International Airport is expected to be complete in 2025. Conversely, India’s value of airport projects is low when compared with countries in the same region.The demand in Middle East and Africa is high, with Dubai home to the world’s busiest international airport and Saudi Arabia requiring more capacity to cater the millions of visitors each year. Al Maktoum International Airport is a new airport project that will be part of Dubai World Central, providing a planned capacity of 220M passengers to the UAE.The highest-value project is the $36.2bn Istanbul New Airport development in Turkey, and the highest value pipeline project part of the planned $29.1bn Heathrow Expansion belongs to the UK, although the government has not yet given green light to the project, according to projects tracked by the CIC.Neil Martin, manager at Timetric’s CIC, said: “Global airport projects’ activity follows economic growth in the markets of Asia-Pacific and the Middle East & Africa. Both regions are registering new projects and the expansion of existing airports to service their growing economies and populations. Similarly, the developed markets of North America and Europe largely show expansion or renovation of existing airports such as London’s Heathrow and O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. “Although South and Central America is lagging behind for value of projects, there is huge potential for the upgrade of its airports infrastructure, with the new US$14 billion Mexico City project potentially providing a model for the region.”* The Global Airport Construction Projects report from Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center provides market analysis, information and insights on over 550 large-scale live airport construction projects globally. In addition, the report also details airport construction investment in each of the five major global regions, as tracked by Timetric’s Construction analyst team. The projects are at various stages of development, from the ones that have been announced to those in execution. Read more on the report here.
NextDecade has submitted an application to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for authorisation to site, construct and operate the Rio Grande liquefied natural gas (LGN) facility and the Rio Bravo Pipeline system.Rio Grande LNG is a proposed 27Mtpa LNG export facility near Brownsville, Texas and the Rio Bravo Pipeline is a 137-mile pipeline system that will provide the facility with its feed gas. NextDecade said that this action represents the most significant milestone to date in the development of Rio Grande LNG, placing the project in an excellent position to sign offtake agreements and declare Final Investment Decision (FID) in 2017.The project is expected to create between 4,000–6,000 construction jobs, and over 200 permanent jobs, representing a potential investment of up to $20bn.NextDecade’s CEO Kathleen Eisbrenner said: “After a productive pre-filing with the FERC and extensive consultation and cooperation with the reviewing agencies and local communities, we are proud to have achieved this major accomplishment.“Despite recent low oil and gas prices, we have found robust appetite for US LNG on a long-term basis all around the world. This interest reaffirms the price competitiveness of US LNG for customers looking to diversify their gas supply on a global level.”The FERC approval is expected to be received by the end of the first quarter of 2017 and the company expects to begin exporting LNG from Rio Grande LNG by the end of 2020.
Pennsylvania's SugarHouse Casino has completed the $164M casino expansion project.Designed by Cope Linder Architects, the project increased SugarHouse’s facility from 10,000 sq m to 24,000 sq m, excluding the new seven-storey parking garage of about 56,000 sq m. The new parking garage offers 1,500 new spaces for guests, with direct elevator access to the casino floor.The project also includes additional restaurants and a 2,800 sq m event centre.The expansion project created 500 new full-time jobs, raising the number of current employees to 1,700.
The state government of Victoria has approved a new master plan to transform the former Melbourne Convention Centre site on Spencer Street, Australia.Plans to transform the under-used site include a $200M three-tower development and feature three apartment buildings ranging from 27–34 levels, with 1,060 apartments, retail space, and spaces for 451 cars and 160 bicycles.While portions of the former Melbourne Convention Centre are being demolished to make way for the development, the 13-level Crown Plaza Hotel, which overlooks the Yarra River, will remain as it is.Minister for Planning Richard Wynne said: “This is a good development in a prime location near Southern Cross Station, trams and public space along the Yarra River which will provide more housing at the gateway between the CBD and Docklands.“This master plan shows how we can deliver more housing in under-used parts of the city while increasing the amount of parks and open space for the public.”
Fortum Värme has opened its new biomass-fired combined heat and power plant (CHP) in Värtan, Stockholm.The company, owned by Fortum and the city of Stockholm, will use forest residues and wood waste to produce district heat for nearly 200,000 households, requiring about 12,000 cb m of wood chips per day.The €500M project, launched in 2013, will eliminate 126,000t of emissions annually in the Stockholm area.Fortum’s president and CEO Pekka Lundmark said: “High emissions and low efficiency of heating, cooling and electricity production are typical problems in growing urban areas.“Together with the city of Stockholm, we are taking steps towards a circular economy by utilising biomass, waste and recovered heat from data centres in energy production.“Biomass is a renewable, largely local and carbon-neutral energy source. Its use increases the share of domestic energy resources particularly in Northern Europe, and it is an important building block of a sustainable energy system and bio economy.”
US-based KP Engineering has won a $100M contract from Targa Terminals, a subsidiary of Targa Resources, to build a 35,000 bpd crude and condensate splitter and an associated tank farm in Texas.The project is a result of more than two years of process study and project development work and will be located at Targa’s storage and marine terminal facility in Channelview.KP Engineering chairman and CEO Brandon Steele said: “We are very blessed to continue to win major projects, such as this opportunity to execute another midstream project for Targa — one of our most valued clients — and we are humbled that they selected us for this job.“We are able to maintain our competitive edge and create exceptional value because we employ some of the finest professionals in our industry. Their character, honor and work ethic is what makes our company great and allows KPE to deliver cost effective, quality EPC solutions.”
Hitachi displayed three new excavators and a wheel loader at Bauma in April. The new ZX19-5 mini excavator, to be used on construction projects, is designed to be user-friendly. According to the manufacturer, the Zaxis-5 model offers high levels of performance, stability and easy maintenance. The boom cylinder, in the new excavator, has been moved on top of the boom to protect from potential damage, making it more efficient when working on narrow spaces, as its front minimum turning radius is smaller. A new folding travel pedal can now be used instead of the hand lever, improving the operation speed. Other improvements include the placing of the hydraulic hose inside the boom and the addition of a new blade, capable of making digging more precisely.There is also more space between the operator and the front window and more legroom in the cab. The cab has a new design that features a large LCD monitor located on the right-hand side, displaying the vital technical data, including the machine’s status and settings and a drinks holder for easy access to refreshments. Security has been improved, with an optional theft deterrent system that requires a four-digit number to unlock before the engine can be switched on.Hitachi also showcased the ZX300LCN-6 super long front medium excavator. The excavator has a six-cylinder 186kw stage IV-compliant engine, with the highest output in its class, and offers 14% higher productivity in PWR mode. Delivering lower fuel costs, the machine was specially designed for earthmoving on dredging, bank maintenance and slope finishing projects. The excavator also features a reconfigured lower roller that ensures mud falls out easily, an expansion tank that cools the engine parts, and enlarged track guards.The tilting rotator and tilting bucket modes are also included within its attachment support system.The new ZX490LCH-6 large excavator was designed to meet the demands of large-scale construction projects, set to offer a high level of durability without compromising efficiency. It features a boom reinforced with thicker plates and an undercarriage consisting of robust components such as track link, master pin, idler pedestal and bracket and upper roller bracket. The large excavator also incorporates an in-cab console, made of weather-resistant AES-grade resin that prevents UV rays damage, and sealant to eliminate any heat deterioration. These ensure the machine’s long-term cooling and low-noise performance.This excavator is able to save up to 5% fuel in eco mode with the same productivity as previous models, due to the use of HIOS IIIB technology. The after-treatment device helps the machine produce fewer emissions and to have a quiet performance. Furthermore, attachments to carry on different tasks can be easily fitted to the versatile machine that uses the attachment replacement support system.Also launched in Munich was the ZW370-6 wheel loader. With enhanced performance and low fuel consumption, the machine employs a new EU Stage IV-compliant engine that does not require a diesel particulate filter, which reduces maintenance costs.The wheel-loader has a 360° panoramic view from the spacious cab and a rear-view camera, visible on the multifunctional LCD monitor. Less noise can be heard within the cab thanks to an improved sound isolation. A smooth operation is ensured by the optional Joystick Steering System, which enables operators to reach high levels of productivity with effortless steering, it is said.There are also two types of lift arm available that customers can choose, depending on the required application.
Man showcased the D38 engine in the TGX series and the new light hypoid tandem axle at Bauma.The combination of the D38 engine with the TGX series is used for heavy-duty traction operation and for the transportation of heavy loads while going at high speeds, with engine power over 500HP.In a construction site, for example, a low loader trailer with heavy construction machines that need to be pulled can be moved up to a gross train weight (GTW) of 120t easily by the TCX D38. The two-stage turbochargers make the six-cylinder in-line engine with 15,256ccm displacement reach a nominal torque of 2700Nm at 930rpm.Also launched in Munich, the new light hypoid tandem axle for payload-sensitive transport tasks has a weight advantage of 180kg, according to the company, when compared with the hypoid axles currently used, meaning that it is possible to transport 180kg more concrete or water. It has a gross combination weight of 60t.With the tandem axle, the fuel used is slightly lower, offering additional ground clearance of about four centimeters, achieving the N3G approval.In addition, the Germany-based mechanical engineering company announced at the trade show an extension to its range of drive configuration in the TGS and TGX series, with the D20 and D26 engines and presented the updates made to its entire TGS and TGX series engine portfolio for IAA 2014.
German-based Wirtgen Group unveiled a great number of brand-new machines at Bauma in April.Wirtgen Group is comprised of Wirtgen, Vögele, Hamm, Kleemann and Benninghoven, five traditional brands operating in the construction machinery sector.Wirtgen exhibited two new machines for road rehabilitation, a mobile rear loader on wheels, the W120 Ri, and a front loader, the most powerful model in the new compact class, the W150 CFi. The SP 64i and the TCM 180i, used for concrete paving, were also world firsts at the show. Innovations by Vögele included two new models from its Super series, the tracked paver Super 1600-3i and the wheeled paver super 1603-3i; the Super 1800-3i with SprayJet module—the ErgoPlus operating concept for the paving of thin courses— and the new InLine Pave train with innovative “Dash 3” features for the construction of compact asphalt pavements in the special class. The 10ft pavers for the American market were also a first at Bauma.Hamm, specialized in road roller, has presented its new pivot-steered DV+ series of tandem rollers, featuring the Easy Drive operating concept that permits a simple and intuitive operation, along with the new rubber-wheeled roller GRW 180i.As a newly member of Wirtgen Group, Benninghoven, has showcased its new MBA 2000 mobile asphalt mixing plant with five-fold screening as a standard in the trade show. Another of the company’s premiere included the GKL Silent with new technology that allows work to continue at night or beyond regular working hours without generating unwanted noise.
The Bauma trade show in Munich was the chosen venue for the European debut of Iveco’s Eurocargo 4x4. Having won the title of ‘International Truck of the Year 2016’, the 4x4 truck was designed for demanding off-road conditions, set to be a good acquisition on a construction site. The truck’s weight can vary from 11.5 to 15t, with different HP variants. As the only Euro VI medium range vehicle, says Iveco, it meets the emissions standards with a single anti-emission system — the hi-SCR system with passive diesel particulate filter.The Eurocargo is protected for off-road driving, as it features steel bumpers, retractable access step, specific radiator guard and a front towing jaw. For easy gear it has six-speed manual gearboxes featuring a servoshift system. A day or sleeper cab with standard roof is also available.The New Daily 4x4 was also launched in Munich. The vehicle can be used for off-road works, for all tracks and all conditions. One of its key strengths, according to Iveco, is the C-section ladder frame chassis, enabling an easy body customization and guaranteeing robust performance in every work.It runs a four-cylinder, three-litre F1C Euro VI heavy-duty common rail engine that develops a maximum power of 170HP (125 kW) with a maximum torque of 400Nm. The New Daily is available in two versions, a single cab with two wheelbases and a crew cab with a 3,400 mm wheelbase, which can transport a crew of seven people.
Deutz presented a new three-cylinder diesel engine and two gas engines at Bauma.The manufacturer is expanding its portfolio in the lower power output range with a new three-cylinder variant of the TCD 2.9 four-cylinder engine. Named TCD 2.2, the new engine is set to generate 22-56KW and constitutes a further option for low-load applications in the material handling and compact construction equipment field.Additionally, Deutz showcased at the trade show two liquefied petroleum gas versions of the newly-presented TCD 2.2 and the TCD 2.9 engines. The G 2.2 and G 2.9 are particularly suitable for the forklift trucks used inside buildings, as they produce fewer emissions. The gas variants generate 26-54KW and meet EU Stage V.A new water-cooled five-litre cubic capacity four-cylinder in-line engine project, the TCD 5.0 was also on show. This compact diesel engine includes a turbocharger and charge air cooling. It generates 100-150KW and produces more power from a smaller cubic capacity, running more efficiently and with less fuel consumption.Deutz also highlighted its “Stage V ready” product range — the four-cylinder TCD 2.9, 3.6, the 4.1 engines and the six-cylinder TCD 6.1 and 7.8.
Chinese construction equipment company Sany exhibited its full range of excavators for the first time last month at Bauma.Sany’s excavators have been specifically designed for the European market, with the initial introduction in Munich. The company’s main attractions included the SY16, SY35 and SY50 mini excavators with zero tail swing, the new-wheeled excavator SY155W, the wheel loader SW405 and the small and medium hydraulic excavators.All products are equipped with multifunctional auxiliary hydraulics to support shear, hammer, thumb and other attachments. Engines are Tier 4 compliant, and EGR and DOC exhaust aftertreatment equipped to reduce exhaust emissions.In addition, the DOMCS intelligent control system adjusts the main hydraulic pump output so it uses all the available engine power, thereby reducing fuel consumption.The SRC 550 rough terrain crane and a different range of road construction machinery were also showcased at the show.
Tatra’s new Phoenix Euro 6 truck had its world premiere at the recent Bauma trade show.The brand-new vehicle features a 10x10 all-wheel-drive and rear steering axle. It combines the PACCAR MX-13 Euro 6 engine with an output of 510 horsepower, 7-speed automatic Allison transmission, all-wheel-drive air-suspended Tatra chassis with hub reduction gears and an optional central tyre inflation system, which provides the vehicle with enhanced traction for operation on the most difficult terrain.Tatra’s other attractions at the show included a mobile Phoenix Euro 6 concrete mixer with an all-wheel drive and the Liebherr HTM 604 superstructure that can cope with traffic on local roads and endure the challenging conditions of construction sites. Everyone at the trade show also had the opportunity to test not only the construction vehicles, but also the Dakar racing special, Tatra 815.