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    Construction NewsBRIEFS! 11-22-2011

    The late-October ice storm should finally force Connecticut to put utility lines underground, according to a UConn professor of geology in an opinion-editorial in the Hartford Courant. There may be drawbacks, such as cost and concerns for background radiation but, the op-ed states, “if we succeed, it will be a dream come true, a world where the lights stay on when the wind blows, slushy snow accumulates, freezing rain crystallizes and when [a] tree simply dies a natural death.” Additionally, Robert B. Hickey, chairman of the Construction Institute, in “Bold Steps Necessary For Secure Power”, says that undergrounding, if based on life cycle cost analysis, would provide a reasonable dividend.

    Difficulties in obtaining financing are delaying many otherwise viable projects and therefore holding back a recovery in construction, according to Stalled Construction Projects and Financing Problems: An Agenda to Keep Construction of America’s Buildings and Infrastructure Going, a recent report from the American Institute of Architects and McGraw-Hill Construction. About 21% of stalled construction projects are delayed primarily because of a lack of financing. The key source for holding back job creation in the United States is a lack of financing, “especially to the design and construction sector, which accounts for $1 in $9 of U.S. gross domestic product,” said Kermit Baker, AIA chief economist.

    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in response to an employer’s request, recently issued a non-binding opinion letter that provides insight into the Commission’s current enforcement position regarding protections for job applicants with arrest or conviction records under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The letter suggests that the Commission will continue to treat arrests and convictions differently and will closely review the employer’s policy with regard to how long convictions are disqualifying and whether the underlying criminal conduct is related to the job duties for the position in question.

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