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Due to housing shortage in South Africa, Entrepreneurs are making massive proceeds by buying Reconstruction and Development Programme(RDP) houses; flattening them to the ground and building blocks of flats soaring  above adjacent houses and backyard shacks in Dunoon township near Milnerton.

The safety of the multi-storey residencial houses ruling the township skyline is being subjected to questions by inhabitants.

Some RDP houses are being extended into a chain of single room flats off a middle corridor with communal baths. In some instances a single storey is added on the top to make more rooms.

One capitalist has set a new style. After buying an RDP house, he bulldozes it and is constructing a four-storey block of flats to lease it is the first four-storey apartment block in the town.

Plot dweller Erick Mzingile, whose shack is in the backyard of an RDP house adjacent  to the multi-storey apartment building, said he was stunned to see the elevation of the building.

Mzingile said the building creates a high risk to tenants should a fire break out. “We don’t know if it will stand harsh weather. We didn’t see building inspectors. We just saw it taking form,” he said.

Efforts to get in touch with the entrepreneur were unproductive.

Ward 104 councilor Lubabalo Makeleni said while he supported property investment in the town, “investors should prioritize the safety and security of our citizens and not be gluttonous by taking advantage of our community”. He blamed the City of Cape of failing to regulate “unlawful building structures in our region. Instead they center on well off suburbs”.

Makeleni said the lack of housing prospects led to the escalating of multi-storey blocks of flats.

“Our people are frantic for housing and prepared to pay any sum towards rental without checking their safety and security,” he said.

The demand for housing has also led to RDP house prices rising. “Within a year the price of RDP houses leaped from R120,000 to R200,000, which is absurd to our community as most purchasers are foreigners and white people,” Makeleni said. 

this news occured and was reported as at Feb 1,2017

 

 

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Rwanda unveils new housing project

 

Rwanda Development Bank (BRD) has unveiled a housing project, which promises to ease the shortage of affordable housing in the country.

The housing project dubbed the ‘Ndera Affordable Housing project’ follows a 2016 partnership agreement between BRD and Moroccan real estate developer, Palmeraie Development Group when King Mohammed VI of Morocco paid a visit to Rwanda.

During the first phase of the project, 1759 housing units will be developed, with the cheapest property under the project valued at US $31,000. The project is also a shift from the traditional bungalow style to moderately-sized two and three bedroom apartment blocks.

 

The first phase will cost an estimate of US $35 million and will be implemented under a joint venture by BRD and Palmeraie Development Group with equity injections in the ratios of 25:75, respectively.

The Chief Executive Officer of BRD, Eric Rutabana said the project targets Rwandans who earn a monthly income of between US $227 and US $1,360. He said targeting this income bracket was informed by studies and analyses, which showed that the current real estate market rates often locks them out.

However, the beneficiaries will be required to pay monthly installments not exceeding 40 per cent of their net monthly income.

Also Read: Parkwood Housing project gets underway in South Africa

Raised real estate concerns

The real estate project comes at a time when there have been widespread concerns of fast real estate valuation and prices which a section of stakeholders say is a result of market forces of demand and supply as well as cost of inputs.

A section of Rwandans are also wary of housing project models following instances where they have turned out somewhat fraudulent leading to unending court cases.

However, Rutabana said that they were well aware of the concerns; hence not requiring deposits until the housing units were complete. “In this project we are not taking any deposits from potential homeowners until the project is complete,” he said.

The only requirement is that potential home owners provide evidence that they have their contributions ready or can secure mortgages from other financiers. This could see an increase in demand of mortgage products among local financial institutions.

“We are hoping that this model could help raise confidence in the local real estate market and be replicated in the future to reduce exploitation of the market as has happened in the past,” he said.

 House shortage

A previous a study by the City of Kigali, the Ministry of Infrastructure, and the European Union showed that Kigali could face a housing deficit of 344,000 homes by 2020.

Presently, between 800 and 1,000 housing units are constructed in Kigali annually, the majority targeting high-income earners, leaving the majority of city dwellers without decent housing options.

To address the housing shortage, the city needs to build at least 31,000 housing units annually, according to the study. Low and middle-income earners were found to make up about two-thirds of all new housing demand.

 
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Construction is underway on a five-story parking garage at Charleston International Airport. (Rendering/Provided)

Construction is underway on a five-story parking garage at Charleston International Airport. (Rendering/Provided)

Charleston International Airport will more than double its parking capacity with a new five-story, 3,000-space parking deck, set to open in fall 2020.

Site prep is underway on the western part of the airport’s main surface lot to make room for the new structure. It will sit near the existing three-story parking deck, which was built in 2005 and has 1,268 spaces.

Rental car companies will occupy the entire first floor of the new garage — relocating from a surface lot next to the airport — leaving the second through fifth floors for passengers, said Britton Corbin, Charleston County Aviation Authority’s engineering director. Roy Anderson Corp. of Gulfport, Miss., and LS3P of Charleston are leading construction.

The second parking garage is part of the aviation authority’s overall plan to restructure and expand parking offerings at the airport to accommodate the growing number of passengers traveling through Charleston each year. The airport handled a record 4.1 million passengers in 2018.

“The growth has really been the key factor,” said Hernan Pena, the authority’s deputy executive director and chief operating officer. “The demand for parking has increased.”

The surface lot, which sits behind the original parking garage, had to be restructured to make room for the new parking deck. The recently completed work involved adding more spaces to make up for those lost to construction and reconfiguring the parking spaces to face the airport. Passengers will walk through covered walkways in the garages to access the terminal.

The airport will have 6,583 spaces between its two parking garages and the main surface lots once construction finishes.

The authority also doubled the capacity of the cell phone lot to 80 spaces and added 200 spaces to the remote parking lot. A free shuttle service runs between the remote lot and the terminal.

The overall parking expansion project costs around $100 million. Construction is funded through bonds and airport revenue.

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Samwoh chief executive officer Eric Soh (right) handing Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat a sample of recycled material in the Samwoh Innovation Centre at Samwoh Eco-Green Building.

amwoh chief executive officer Eric Soh (right) handing Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat a sample of recycled material in the Samwoh Innovation Centre at Samwoh Eco-Green Building.PHOTO: SAMWOH CORPORATION

The first step in developing sustainable construction material using local waste was taken yesterday, with the signing of an agreement that will include its use in the building of the new headquarters of a local construction company.

The agreement between JTC Corporation and Samwoh Corporation will see recycled materials processed from construction and industrial waste, like sedimentary rocks excavated from Jurong Rock Caverns, being used to erect the four-storey building near Kranji Reservoir.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat, who witnessed the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between JTC and Samwoh, told The Straits Times he is confident Singapore can play a key role in sustainable technology.

The Government will continue to provide opportunities for companies to test-bed new concepts, he said, adding that such eco-friendly projects need to be commercially sustainable as well.

"With the right methods, using recycled materials and adopting eco-friendly measures need not incur higher costs," Mr Chee said.

"Samwoh's commitment to sustainable construction in its very own building is a great example that it can be done."

 
 

The company's current headquarters, the Samwoh Eco-Green Building, is a testament to sustainability as it is the first building in Southeast Asia that was constructed entirely with recycled concrete aggregates, said its spokesman.

SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION

With the right methods, using recycled materials and adopting eco-friendly measures need not incur higher costs... Samwoh's commitment to sustainable construction in its very own building is a great example that it can be done.

SENIOR MINISTER OF STATE FOR TRADE AND INDUSTRY CHEE HONG TAT

The new headquarters, to be called Samwoh Smart Hub, is slated to be completed by next year.

It will adopt state-of-the-art technologies to bring down its energy consumption.

Also, about 30 per cent of its area will be dedicated to greenery that will blend in with Singapore's park connector outside its compound and add to the plant life surrounding the reservoir, its spokesman added.

The company said it will be the first positive energy industrial building here that will produce 20 to 30 per cent more energy than it uses. The excess energy will be used in an upcoming asphalt plant to be built by the company, a market leader in the production of the sticky, black and viscous material commonly used in building roads.

The MOU will also allow JTC and Samwoh to explore and collaborate on research and development (R&D) in such areas as digital technologies and automated solutions to improve productivity and maintenance. Additionally, they will share resources such as equipment, laboratories and manpower to help defray the high costs of R&D.

To improve productivity, they will work towards developing smart machines and equipment to build higher-quality and more reliable roads at lower cost.

Samwoh noted in a statement that the sedimentary rocks being used to build its smart hub are prevalent in the geological formation of Singapore and a common byproduct from underground developments.

The collaboration will, among other things, increase the applications and commercial value of these rocks, it added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 26, 2019, with the headline 'Construction firm's HQ to be built from recycled waste'. Print Edition | Subscribe
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Sanral has agreed to engage with contractors about delay penalties imposed on them after projects were halted. Photo: Supplied
PRETORIA - The SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) has agreed to engage with contractors about delay penalties imposed on them after projects were halted because of problems with the “construction mafia”.

Skhumbuzo Macozoma, the chief executive of Sanral, confirmed this in response to a request from SA Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec) chief executive Webster Mfebe at the forum's annual conference.

Mfebe said Safcec members believed Sanral should be lenient because this was an emerging trend beyond the control of both Sanral and the contractors where the state security apparatus had virtually failed.

He said Safcec members had been charged penalties of R40million upwards for projects that were delayed.

Mfebe said Safcec had urged its members to get court interdicts against the groups involved but stressed that construction sites had become “a war zone” and construction companies have had to hire security companies “with big guns” to prevent project disruptions.

The “business forums” or “construction mafia” demand 30percent of the contract to be given to them, irrespective of other arrangements the main contractor had with sub-contractors.

Macozoma said this was a real problem and Sanral was equally concerned, adding he had instructed his team to get involved very early when they had project disruptions so the project did not stand too long so they had “these acrimonious engagements around claims”.

He said in certain cases they had instructed the Sanral team to be open to engagements where things like penalties could be held in abeyance if there was a justified motivation why projects had come to a standstill and it was not the fault of the contractor.

He stressed that if Sanral relieved the contractor of all obligations that related to the repercussions resulting from the delay, Sanral would still have to pay and it was in their interests to address these problems together.

Macozoma added that when getting to the root cause of why projects had been stopped, the fundamental mistake made was that they had not gone down to cultivate the local area to receive the project when it commenced before the tender award.

“As a result, when we come in, people do not understand what we are there to do. They see foreign equipment coming into their jurisdiction and they reject it. We need to get community participation and stakeholder engagement right for us to avoid these problems before they begin,” he said.

Macozoma said all criminal activities that sought to destabilise the construction sector must be condemned.

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This article is part of Construction Dive's 50 States of Construction series, in which we talk with industry leaders about the business conditions in their markets.

To characterize Rhode Island’s construction climate as lukewarm is to not be paying attention. Building activity had been worn down by years of lackluster activity and further damaged by the Great Recession. But now, spurred on by a Democratic governor intent on building a robust economic base, the smallest state has seen plenty of new projects and is recovering in a big way.

There are bound to be some growing pains related to all this new construction, like the entry of open-shop contractors into a strong union labor market and worries about whether Gov. Gina M. Raimondo's strategy of offering incentives to get companies to invest in the state will pay off.

But so far, it’s working. There are 40 projects that have received incentives under Raimondo's economic development program, said Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce, Stefan Pryor, the first person to hold that position. This “mini-boom” is being driven by the 30 companies that have either moved to the state or that have expanded operations in the state during the last three years. 

In June, General Dynamics’ Electric Boat broke ground on a $792 million expansion of its submarine-building facilities in North Kingstown, and drug manufacturing company Amgen started construction on its $200 million biotech manufacturing plant in West Greenwich. Rubius Therapeutics followed suit in September and broke ground on a $155 million manufacturing plant in Smithfield, as did Infinity Meat Solutions, which began building a $100 million protein packaging facility, also in North Kingstown. 

In addition, Raimondo has launched a 10-year, $4.7 billion program called RhodeWorks, fueled by a toll for tractor trailer trucks, which focuses on the state's structurally deficient bridges and other infrastructure in need of repair. So far, according to Pryor, the program has preserved or reconstructed 191 bridges for an investment of nearly $219 million in 52 projects; paved 100 miles of roadway for $81 million in 29 projects; completed five alternative transportation projects for just under $22 million; finished 31 traffic projects for an investment of around $30 million and spent $500,000 on stormwater infrastructure. ​

Pryor said the state is seeing a healthy mix of all types of construction and is ready for more. 

CONSTRUCTION DIVE: What is the biggest issue facing Rhode Island’s construction industry right now?

PRYOR: Getting the word out about our momentum and our success. There are shovels in the ground and cranes in the sky all over Rhode Island.

Gov. Raimondo has had a huge hand in that development. What actions did she take to make that growth happen?

PRYOR: There were welled up, bottled up, development projects (prior to Raimondo taking office in 2015), but, from a regulatory perspective, things were not happening, or there was a dose of financing necessary to fill the gap and make the project pencil out. Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce, Stefan Pryor

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Safcec has sent an SOS to government and demanded urgent intervention to halt the so-called “construction mafia”. File Photo: IOL

PRETORIA – The Association of South African Quantity Surveyors on Friday added its voice to growing concerns over the so-called construction mafia, calling on the government to intervene to protect projects, investor confidence and the safety of professionals.

The association’s Yunus Bayat warned that the continuing hijacking of billions of rands worth of projects in the sector would undermine confidence and destabilise the industry.

Bayat said construction projects worth more than R25 billion had been violently disrupted and halted by armed groups such as the notorious Delangokubona Business Forum.

“The gangs demanded to be part of the project and burned the properties to the ground. The pictures of the scene look like footage from a war zone,” Bayat said. “Again, police were called, but they only arrived hours later and said that the issue had to be handed over to the Paarl police station. Contractors, female engineers, and other staff had to run for their lives into the veld. The response from the South African police simply isn’t good enough anymore."

The concerns come just days after the SA Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec) sent an SOS to the government for urgent intervention in halting a series of attacks on projects by AK-47 wielding thugs who are part of the so-called “construction mafia”.

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A Hayward construction company owner was convicted by a federal jury in Oakland of engaging in the forced labor of undocumented workers he recruited from Mexico.

Job Torres Hernandez, 38, was found guilty of one count of obtaining forced labor and a second count of harboring and concealing undocumented immigrants for financial gain.

He will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White on June 25 and could face up to 20 years in prison on the forced labor conviction and 10 years on the harboring conviction.

U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Abraham Simmons said evidence at the 10-day trial showed that Torres recruited workers from Mexico, paid them far less than what he promised, kept them in squalid conditions and threatened them or their family members if they complained.

The evidence showed that Torres housed dozens of workers in a warehouse in Hayward and other properties, with limited access to showers and toilets, and at times kept the properties locked, according to Simmons.

Simmons said witnesses testified that Torres told the workers that if they reported him to authorities, he would harm them physically, have associates in Mexico harm their families and have them deported.

After Torres was arrested and charged in August 2017, prosecutors said that seven people were recovered from the warehouse during a search.

Torres had been free on bail, but was ordered into custody by White immediately after the conviction.

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Italy's former prime minister doesn't approve of the current government's newly inked partnership with China, calling the decision "unwise" during a conversation with CNBC Monday.

"Politically, geopolitically, I deem (it) really unwise from the Italian government to take such a decision without coordination with the European Union and our allies," Paolo Gentiloni, who served as prime minister from 2016 to 2018, told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe."

"Europe is showing its divisions toward China, and this is not something that will strengthen our position even on trade."

 

The Italian government stirred up fresh controversy over the weekend as it officially agreed to join China's massive Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), becoming the first EU and Group of 7 country to do so.

Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Rome saw a total of 29 deals signed, altogether worth 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion). They were focused on agricultural, finance and energy sectors, and opened up new access to the Chinese market for major Italian energy and engineering firms.

Gentiloni, who himself visited China in 2017 to discuss the Belt and Road initiative with Beijing's leadership, echoed the analyses of many observers who described the deals signed as largely symbolic and not an economic paradigm shift for Italy.

"The agreements signed in Italy are not so relevant from an economic point of view," he said.

"We will not change the mood of our economy with these agreements, and my guess is that perhaps we will not even change the balance of trade between Italy and China, which is unfortunately a balance of deficit on the Italian side."

But politically, he stressed, "I am worried that we are not showing EU unity, and for this reason I think that the MOU (memorandum of understanding) that was signed from the Italian government was not a wise decision."

Gentiloni is a founding member of Italy's Democratic party, whose stances are largely described as a social democratic, center-left and Europeanist. Italy is currently led by a euroskeptic coalition whose largest parties are the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement and the right-wing Lega party.

'Italy is not an African country'

Western critics warn of Chinese debt traps and describe the initiative as a ploy to expand geopolitical and strategic influence, while Beijing pursues links to Europe and Africa via South Asia and the Middle East to expedite and increase the export of Chinese goods.

German foreign minister Heiko Maas criticized Italy's decision on Sunday, telling local media: "If some countries believe that they can do clever business with the Chinese, then they will be surprised when they wake up and find themselves dependent."

Still, in defense of his country, Gentiloni dismissed concerns that Italy would become economically beholden to China in the way that some African and South Asian nations have.

"Italy is not an African country … We will not have a Chinese invasion after these agreements," he said, pointing out that Italy has less Chinese inward investment than the U.K. or Germany.

"We have to be very cautious especially in issues connected to security, telecommunications, but I don't think these agreements economically will change much in the framework we have."

Indeed, Italy is not an African country — it has a higher debt-to-GDP ratio and far lower growth than most countries on the African continent. Its economy dipped into recession at the end of last year, and the deadly collapse of its Genoa Bridge last August cast a stark spotlight on its dire need for infrastructure investment.

China and 5G: Avoiding 'dangerous situations'

Gentiloni stressed caution toward China when it comes to sensitive sectors like telecommunications, an issue dominating headlines recently amid the U.S. government's global campaign against Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. Washington says Huawei's role in building 5G internet infrastructure around the world is a security threat and will allow the Chinese government to spy on users, a claim Beijing rejects.

"I think we have to be very cautious and careful, exactly in this subject," the former prime minister said.

"Strategic infrastructure and telecommunication infrastructure, and this means now 5G ... We have a very modern infrastructure for mobile phones in our country, we don't particularly need foreign investment, and in any case we have a law — the golden power law — that allows the Italian government to avoid any form of control in our telecoms infrastructure."

Italy's "golden power" legislation refers to state powers designed to protect strategic industries, which it says it plans to extend to 5G technologies. This would entail requiring Italian companies in both the private and public sectors to declare to the government any 5G technology purchased from non-European countries.

"I hope that the new government will use these means, these tools, to avoid dangerous situations," he added.

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The outlook for Malaysia's construction sector looks promising in 2017, particularly for infrastructure construction players, given the slew of government projects

 

PETALING JAYA: The construction sector outlook for 2017 seems promising, particularly for infrastructure construction players, given the slew of government projects.

A head of research said ongoing projects like the Mass Rapid Transit 2 (MRT2), Tun Razak Exchange and Petronas’ Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (Rapid) project site in Pengerang will largely contribute to the order books of infrastructure construction players for the year.

“Property construction activities are not going to be as buoyant. This is due to the property development cycle, which will continue to be soft this year,” he said.

Apart from ongoing projects, the construction sector holds more upside in light of the 12.8 billion ringgit (US$2.85 billion) Sabah portion of Pan Borneo Highway as well as the upcoming High Speed Rail (HSR) projects.

According to an Affin Hwang Capital sector report, three packages from the Sabah portion of the Pan Borneo Highway have been awarded, with the remaining packages targeted to be awarded by end-2017.

The award deadline of end-2017 is to ensure the project can be completed by March 2021.

Warisan Tarang-UEM Group-MMC Corp joint venture company, Borneo Highway PDP Sdn Bhd, was appointed as the project delivery partner or the Pan Borneo Highway Sabah project in April 2016.

“Construction contract awards for Pan Borneo Highway Sabah will benefit contractors with established track records and precast concrete product manufacturers in Sabah.

“Potential beneficiaries are Suria Capital Holdings Bhd-Gabungan AQRS Bhd JV and WCT Holdings Bhd, which are bidding for the project,” said Affin Hwang Capital.

In addition, there are more major property development projects planned in Sabah, such as the redevelopment of Kota Kinabalu (KK) Port with an estimated gross development value of over 5 billion ringgit.

The redevelopment of KK Port, which includes the Sabah International Convention Centre, comprising One Jesselton, Jesselton Quay, and KK Convention City which are developed by the Suria-Gabungan AQRS JV, SBC Corp Bhd-Suria JV and Mah Sing Group Bhd respectively.

Affin Hwang Capital also reported that Suria planned to acquire 28.9 acres at KK Port for about 350 million ringgit to develop an international cruise terminal as part of the integrated mixed development project.

Currently, SP Setia is developing the 2.2 billion ringgit Aeropod project in Tanjung Aru while the state is developing the 4 billion ringgit Tanjung Aru Eco Development.

Under the 11th Malaysia Plan 2016-2020, a key focus for Sabah’s development is to invest in infrastructure to improve connectivity within the state and international linkages.

Besides Pan Borneo Highway Sabah, there is a planned 311 million ringgit Kota Kinabalu Bus Rapid Transit project.

As part of the Sabah Development Corridor, there are plans to build a new KK Airport, light rail transit system in KK, new railway lines to connect the north and east coasts of Sabah as well as upgrading of Lahad Datu Airport.

Meanwhile, CIMB Research opined that the KL-Singapore HSR theme remains relevant to rail players, such as Gamuda, IJM Corp and WCT, though the joint tender for the HSR system will only commence in the fourth quarter of this year.

“The decision on who to award the rail system to will be made by end-2018. It remains to be seen if the timeline will also cover the civil works tender. Apart from a joint tender for cross-border HSR operations, Malaysia will also put up its own tender for a domestic operator to run the domestic service within its borders,” said CIMB Research.

The project time frame set in the bilateral agreement signed recently continues to put 2026 as the targeted completion date.

This suggests an unchanged eight-year construction time frame, assuming that construction of the project commences in 2018.

A majority of 335km of the rail system will be in Malaysia, while 15km will lie in Singapore.

Photos

No photos has been attached.

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A Pennsylvania congressman is introducing two bills to boost skilled labor for the nation’s employee-starved construction industry, using a combination of apprenticeships, job-training, tax credits and temporary visas to foreign workers to help builders meet the demand for work.

According to a press release by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, the Workforce for an Expanding Economy Act and the Workforce Tax Credit Act represent a new attempt to create an immigration visa system for less-skilled workers to do year-round, non-farm work. Both the employer and the laborer would have to be approved by the federal government, and the workers could only work for an approved employer at the approved location.

The Workforce Tax Credit Act would encourage charitable donations for community-based apprenticeship initiatives, career and technical education, workforce development and K-12 educational preparedness by offering donors a tax credit.

Eighty percent of construction firms report they are having a hard time filling hourly craft positions that represent the bulk of the construction workforce, according to the results of an industry-wide survey by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

New Jersey’s construction industry is struggling through its own skilled employee shortage, despite paying good wages and requiring little college-level education.

According to the New Jersey Department of Labor, three-quarters of construction and utility occupations require only a high school degree or less, yet the average wage of $72,980 beats the statewide average of by more than $10,000 per year.

In 2016, employers in the construction and utilities cluster paid over $12.1 billion in total wages, or 5.8 percent of private sector wages paid statewide.

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