Ramrod Key in Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma in 2017.

10.15.2018 #fuelme | Hurricane rebuilding in Fla., Foster kids recruited into trades, Tariffs hike costs, Cyberattackers target construction

Here’s a quick glance around the web, bringing you a taste of the news you need to know this week.


Tariffs are most likely driving up construction costs.

While it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly is affecting construction materials costs and to what extent, materials costs have been rising steadily since new tariffs were imposed on commonly used raw materials like steel and lumber. Costs are already up about 3 percent annually, says attorney Andrew Starrels, a land use and environmental specialist at Holland & Knight LLP, and may start rising at a faster clip. Starrels predicts that the housing market will be hardest hit. Longer term, he sees larger commercial jobs being reassessed because of cost.

Recruiting foster children into construction?

We thought we’d heard it all in terms of the difficulty construction is having now with filling its rosters, and the areas it is looking to for help, such as recruiting veterans and women, and recruiting from trade schools. But Joel Galassini of Cemex USA told Forbes that companies are also reaching out to foster children who are nearing 18. It makes sense in some ways: most of these kids will have no means of paying for college—so they’re being made aware of a viable career option other than low-wage work or the military.

Construction falls prey to phishing emails using DocuSign as lure.

Construction was one of the five industries to receive the most alerts from eSentire about potential cyberattacks last quarter, according to a new report by the detection and response provider. Construction, marketing and education also experienced the largest number of phishing attacks—e.g., when an email purports to be completing a transaction for a service rendered to you but is actually just an imposter trying to gather your data. Most of the attacks construction fell prey to involved DocuSign—so construction office workers beware.

How will Florida meet the demands of rebuilding from Michael?

Yet another state has been leveled by yet another punishing hurricane (well, North and South Carolina were more soaked than leveled, but destruction is destruction). The Florida Panhandle has major rebuilding to come. In the past, Governor Rick Scott has loosened regulations on contractors, allowing GCs to perform roofing for a limited time post-devastation, while former Gov. Jeb Bush one year allowed out-of-state roofing contractors to perform work in Florida, as long as they complied by the state’s insurance requirements. We’ll see what Scott says this time.

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