In today’s construction news, we will look into the income brought in by US-based construction OEMs that stays dangerously close to record levels. Meanwhile, the environmental examination gives the green light for the building of the Sentinel missile infrastructure. On the other hand, the launch of the ship marks an important milestone in the development of new oceanographic research vessels in the United States led by Oregon State University. On top of that, the Federal Aviation Administration has decided to implement a more environmentally friendly design for airport control towers across the United States.
US Construction Oems Maintain Record Yellow Table Revenue
International Construction’s Yellow Table’s top 50 construction OEMs earned US$230.6 billion, a record high.
US manufacturers have contributed to this increase. US OEMs made up 26% of Yellow Table revenue, up from 21% in the previous listing.
China-based OEMs dropped to 18% of venues. Due to stimulus investment, China’s equipment sales climbed in 2020 and 2021, despite the pandemic’s global downturn. The zero-Covid policy and the drying up of this hurt company in 2022.
The world’s top 50 OEMs generated US$230.6 billion in revenue, 0.4% less than last year’s record-breaking US$232.7 billion on the Yellow Table, reflecting the construction industry’s strength in 2022.
The top ten OEMs are changing. One manufacturer entered the top 10 last year, and five others either rose or fell. One new Yellow Table entry appeared last year.
International Construction’s May-June edition will feature the full Yellow Table of the world’s largest construction manufacturers. The issue archive has free Yellow Table editions.
Environmental Analysis Approves Sentinel Missile Infrastructure Installation
Robert Moriarty, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for Installations, signed the project’s environmental record of decision on May 19 to start Sentinel’s multibillion-dollar missile upgrading.
“This decision is the linchpin that gives us the authority to proceed with numerous construction activities supporting the Sentinel program,” said Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center Sentinel Infrastructure Division chief Ken Rogers. “The Sentinel National Environmental Policy Act team delivered this very important milestone on time, which allows the Sentinel program to move to the next step.”
The Air Force’s environmental, natural resource, and cultural analysis of the Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile programme appears in the ROD. The document details the Air Force’s plan to prevent, minimize, or mitigate environmental impacts as much as feasible during the project.
The Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s NEPA team worked with the AFNWC to analyze the decision’s environmental impact. The Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center oversees AFCEC.
Sentinel will replace the 50-year-old Minuteman III ICBM program. Modernizing the land-based leg of the nuclear triad spans thousands of miles and affects communities in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.
“The Sentinel project is a complex, dynamic, vast enterprise that will bring global stability to the US for years to come,” said Air Force Global Strike Command commander Gen. Thomas Bussiere. “We are grateful for the mission partners who have shepherded this phase of the process to completion and who are continuing work to ensure the success of the largest Department of Defense modernization program launched in 50 years.”
In 2019, Air Force crews collected data for three Sentinel environmental analysis components. The secretary’s decision required the cultural resource programmatic agreement, natural resource biological opinion, and environmental impact statement.
Nine public meetings and dozens of consultations with tribes, federal agencies, and other stakeholders informed each factor, evaluated and gave the Air Force visibility into public environmental concerns about the Sentinel. Russell Bartholomew, AFNWC, and Stephanie Newcomer, AFCEC, led the greatest NEPA environmental impact analysis.
Newcomer said community involvement fostered the teamwork needed to complete this step.
Newcomer said the initiative shows the Air Force is sensitive to mission needs and environmental concerns. “We wanted the public to see that we will minimize our environmental impact as much as possible while supporting our national security.”
Bartholomew said the Sentinel NEPA team’s commitment to the environment was evident throughout the four-plus years leading up to the signing, citing cultural resource experts living out of suitcases to complete more than 50 face-to-face tribal consultations that turned stakeholders into mission partners.
By starting stakeholder engagements early, the team created many opportunities to truly understand stakeholder concerns and, through further discussion and identification of mitigating actions, moved the conversation to a point where our mission partners were on board, Rogers said.
“I’ve never seen an EIS for a major action go so smoothly. Col. Chris Stoppel, AFCEC Nuclear Enterprise Division chief, said, “This team has done amazing things.”
After signing the Sentinel ROD, officials will approve and build the installation command center and material handling complex at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming later this year. Malmstrom AFB, Montana, will commence project activities in 2026, and Minot AFB, North Dakota, in 2029.
“So many people and organizations with unique ideas came together and made this happen,” Newcomer added. “We worked together for our country. This process has humbled me.”
Ship Launch Represents an Important Milestone in OSU-led Oceanographic Research Vessel Construction
Launched Thursday was the first of three new oceanographic research vessels to advance marine science along U.S. coasts.
Oregon State University and the U.S. National Science Foundation are building the ship R/V Taani to help scientists study critical issues like rapidly changing ocean conditions and human impacts on the marine environment.
The U.S. Academic Research Fleet will receive three virtually identical Regional Class Research Vessels from the $390 million grant-funded project. Bollinger Shipyards in Houma, Louisiana is building the ships six months apart. Oregon State University will run Newport-based Taani.
Tuba Özkan-Haller, dean of OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, which is leading the endeavor, said, “Seeing Taani in the water is a very special moment and signifies the promise of many scientific advances to come in the years ahead.” “We appreciate the National Science Foundation’s trust.”
Bollinger led the launch with Edison Chouest Offshore subsidiary LaShip. On May 18, a drydock floated Taani for the first time with a small throng on shore and thousands online.
Before launching, inspectors extensively investigated the ship’s interior for leaks after submerging it five feet. Two tugboats hauled the unpowered vessel back to Bollinger Shipyards. Construction and outfitting will keep it moored.
Launching the ship completes its major exterior work. To prepare the ship for its purpose, the shipbuilders will finalize wiring, equipment installation, operational testing, and sea trials.
“It has taken tremendous dedication and an extraordinary team of designers, shipbuilders, scientists, inspectors, technicians, and project and contract managers to bring Taani to life, but there is still much work to be done before the vessel is operational,” said OSU Distinguished Professor of Ocean Ecology and Biogeochemistry Clare Reimers, RCRV project scientist and co-principal investigator.
Taani, a Siletz word for offshore, honors Oregon’s Indigenous peoples and continues a university history of naming research vessels after regional Tribes and languages.
The East Coast Oceanographic Consortium, coordinated by the University of Rhode Island, will operate the second vessel, the R/V Narragansett Dawn. Gulf of Mexico-based R/V Gilbert R. Mason is the third vessel. The Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium and University of Southern Mississippi will lead the Gulf-Caribbean Oceanographic Consortium.
New technologies and other improvements on the 200-foot ships boost operational capability, safety, and ocean research. Each ship can carry 13 crew and 20 scientists for three-week sea trips.
“These are very technically advanced vessels and getting the many systems that scientists use to fit within the available internal space has been challenging,” said Demian Bailey, OSU’s lead investigator and RCRV program manager. “Building a ship like this is rare, and we want to make sure the ocean science community is well equipped for the next couple of decades.”
Taani should be finished in 2024. After that, the ship and its new OSU-based crew will spend several months learning to operate the vessel, training on safety protocols, and testing scientific tools, sensors, and equipment in the Gulf of Mexico before crossing the Panama Canal and returning to Newport. Taani’s initial research excursions are scheduled for 2025.
“The launch of the first RCRV, R/V Taani, is an exciting moment for the oceanographic research enterprise,” stated National Science Foundation Division of Ocean Sciences head Jim McManus. “It is fantastic to see this elegant new ship in the water, and we are eager to see the ground-breaking science.”
Oregon State University received a cooperative agreement from the National Science Foundation to design the RCRV in 2013 and grants to build the three ships. The COVID-19 pandemic, many Gulf Coast storms, notably category 4 storm Ida in 2021 that damaged the shipyard and Houma, and other issues delayed the project by roughly 10 years.
Oregon is helping Louisiana build the warships. A “transition to operations” team at OSU’s Corvallis warehouse is developing and testing scientific sensors and instrumentation, setting up the ships’ cyber infrastructure, and ordering tools, equipment, and supplies like spare propellers and galley equipment.
To accommodate Taani, Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport is renovating and upgrading the dock and causeway for $13 million. The 1960s-built dock will be replaced with a larger trestle and upgraded power.
“With a new ship and pier, and the hiring of several new ocean-going scientists, we will be ready to get to work once Taani arrives in Newport,” Reimers added. “Many are eager to use this ship. Taani and her crews will shape ocean science and education.”
The FAA Chooses Greener Airport Control Towers
The FAA chose a distinctive, sustainable design for new air traffic control towers to replace obsolete towers at more than 100 municipal and regional airports in the U.S.
New York’s Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) design satisfies sustainability standards and can vary tower height to fit each airport’s traffic and sightline needs while minimizing construction and operational expenses.
The company claims to have created a flexible and sustainable air traffic control tower. The design is inspired by I.M. Pei’s mid-century skyscrapers. PAU’s simplified model displays its structural, mechanical, and operational building systems with attractive shapes and exposed beams and columns.
The new air traffic control towers are standard but versatile, allowing for customizable colors and materials to suit each location. They use precast concrete and sustainable cross-laminated wood (CLT) for floors and walls and accommodate structural systems from 19.2 to 36.3 m (63 to 119 ft). This meets regional seismic and climate criteria.
Daylighting, comfort systems, and fresh air ventilation create a hygienic atmosphere for air traffic controllers. Materials and coatings are chosen for long-term upkeep.
PAU uses geothermal heating and cooling for renewable energy to enhance sustainability. High-recycled steel and metal products, low-embodied carbon construction materials, ultra-efficient water fixtures and equipment, advanced energy monitoring systems, high-performance facades with minimal thermal bridging, and all-electric building systems are other eco-friendly features.
PAU’s modular prototype emphasizes shop fabrication over on-site work for efficient construction. This minimizes tower carbon footprints.
“We are grateful and honored to design the nation’s next generation of air traffic control towers—a major component of U.S. transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg’s plan to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the U.S. aviation sector by 2050,” says PAU founding principal and creative director Vishaan Chakrabarti. “As a practice that finds great creative possibility within tight constraints, we are thrilled to accept this challenge to create beautiful, functional architecture that serves air traffic controllers across the country while enhancing safety and reliability for the traveling public.”
The FAA prefers common elements to decrease construction and operational costs while allowing the facility to be customized to local climate and location challenges like very high and very low temperatures, wet and dry conditions, and high winds.
The first 31 prospective airport control towers would replace towers past their design life. The FAA has allocated about $500 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for site appraisal, preparation, and early construction.
In 2024, groundbreaking may commence.
Summary of today’s construction news
Overall, we discussed the top 50 construction OEMs on the Yellow Table of International Construction brought in a record US$230.6 billion in revenue in 2017. This growth is partially attributable to American manufacturing. In the most recent listing, US OEMs accounted for 26% of Yellow Table revenue, up from 21%. Additionally, Sentinel’s multibillion-dollar missile upgrade was given the go light on May 19 when Air Force Installations Deputy Assistant Secretary Robert Moriarty signed the project’s environmental record of decision. Furthermore, the first of three new oceanographic research vessels designed to enhance marine science along U.S. coasts was launched on Thursday. The R/V Taani, co-funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and Oregon State University, will allow researchers to examine pressing problems at sea, such as the effects of climate change and human activity on marine ecosystems. Over and above that, more than 100 U.S. municipal and regional airports will be getting brand new air traffic control towers with a distinctive, environmentally friendly design according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The PAU design by New York’s Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) is environmentally friendly, adaptable to local airport traffic and sightline requirements, and cost-effective to build and maintain.