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Weekly Roundup: DOE fund for construction tech, Pelosi on infrastructure plan, & more

Weekly Roundup: DOE fund for construction tech, Pelosi on infrastructure plan, & more

May 20, 2019

Construction Insider is a weekly roundup of the latest news and insights in construction.

DOE sets multi-million budget for research on construction technology

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced a $33.5 million funding for research projects on advanced building construction technologies with particular focus on energy efficiency. US Department of Energy

  • American residential homes and commercial buildings are the biggest contributor to the nation’s total energy demand, tallying up to 40% of total energy consumption and 75% of electricity usage.
  • In an effort to reduce energy bills, the DOE is looking to fund early-stage research on building construction that will innovate techniques that address issues on envelopes, heating and cooling systems, ventilation, etc.
  • Research opportunities will revolve around three major areas: Building Retrofits to focus on increasing energy savings on existing buildings, New Construction Technologies to focus on innovative and energy efficient building designs, and Advanced Technology Integration to focus on assessing best practices and field testing of new construction techniques.

Pelosi optimistic about prospects of proposed infrastructure plan

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talked to construction industry group Transportation Construction Coalition on May 14 and proclaimed her confidence that the proposed infrastructure investment plan will push through. Engineering News Record

  • The infrastructure plan seeks to build highways, mass transit systems, water networks, as well as modernized power grids across the country. Pelosi stated that she will make sure that the projects funded under this initiative will not be questioned in court.
  • Pelosi confirmed that a follow-up meeting with President Donald Trump and other congressional representatives had been set. The options on how to fund this major infrastructure initiative will be discussed during the said meeting, according to Pelosi.
  • Pelosi also traced this envisioned public works proposal to other initiatives launched throughout history, including the Highway System in the 1950s and the transcontinental railroad in the 1860s.

Bidding for the construction of Trump’s border wall now down to 12 companies

A dozen companies have been chosen to bid for $5B worth of individual task orders concerning the construction of the wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico. Military Times

  • From 38 companies that submitted requests for the project, 12 companies have been selected and announced early May to start bidding for task orders that include the construction of border barriers, patrol and access roads, lights, access gates, and other improvements.
  • Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Bobby Petty said that the money to fund the individual task orders will be sourced from either the Defense Department or the Customs and Border Protection. The border construction project is set to span a five-year period until 2024.
  • Congressional Democrats have expressed dismay over Trump’s militarization of the immigrant debate and the involvement of military personnel in border law enforcement.