New Construction Mobile App by Dewalt For All Trades

A new mobile app launched on May 2 by the toolmaker DeWalt lets contractors and tradespeople perform hundreds of calculations in the field, with instant feedback to show how the calculation was performed.

The free DeWalt Mobile Pro app for the iPhone, iPod or iPad has five basic calculations as well as the option of adding “packs” for hundreds of trade-specific calculations and reference materials at various costs.

The basic app includes a construction calculator for solving complex jobsite math, such as estimating the quantity of brick-mortar ties, the sand and cement needed for a structure with multiple walls, and gables and sloped elevations, says Greg Clayton, vice president of Delmar Cengage Learning, one of the app’s co-creators with DeWalt. The app also shows a running history of recent calculations and has a customizable list of favorite calculations. The results can be e-mailed.

Mobile Pro is distinguished from other construction apps by the add-on packs, Clayton claims. Packs for plumbing, electrical, HVAC, landscaping and finished materials will be released in the next three months, but five packs are out now at costs ranging from $2 to $10; they include carpentry, concrete, business and finance, sitework and construction math, which has numerous templates for calculations.

Bobby Person, Delmar executive editor, says the templates cut “the danger of errors” by reducing data entry, since formulas and other data embedded in the system are accessible via a pull-down menu, with options such as stairs, wall openings or roof underlayment.

Ben McKenzie, owner of McKenzie Property Management, Charleston, S.C., says the app is especially handy for area and volume conversion when calculating materials. “When you put in new drywall, it lets you choose the gypsum board size and calculates the total number of sheets for the room area,” he says. “It’s not always exact, since you sometimes have oddball cuts and pieces, but it gets you in the ballpark so you can start rolling without exact drawings.”

Florida In Bottom 10

As the U.S. Labor Department prepares to announce July’s unemployment rates on Friday, a different rate has been configured that could give a more realistic look at the job picture in Florida.
It is called the underemployment rate, and the Sunshine State is in the bottom 10 in the country with a whopping 17 percent, compared to a 9.2 percent unemployment rate, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The underemployment rate measures not just the unemployed, but also the involuntarily part-time workers who want full-time jobs. The states with the largest underemployment rate — or U-6 rate — are, not surprisingly, Nevada and California, which were hit hardest by the building bust. Their rates are 22.1 percent and 20.3 percent, respectively.

The United States’ U-6 average is 15.3 percent, while the unemployment rate across the country is 8.5 percent.

Legislative Update – Florida Construction – Adapted Builders Notice



Support Expansion of Public Private Partnerships (P-3s) (HB 337 Williams/SB 576 Bennett) for projects into local government, education, and special districts. P-3’s have been successfully implemented in transportation projects like the Miami Tunnel and we think there’s great opportunity in other areas of government. Both the house and senate bills have passed their initial committee of reference.

PECO Funding: Increasing enrollment in colleges and universities and an aging infrastructure justify the PECO expenditures. All the projects have matching funds which are leveraged to complete the construction projects. This issue will also be part of the Appropriations Bill. The revenue stream for most school construction is from a tax on telephone lands lines and utilities. Both revenue streams have decreased dramatically in the last three years and much less money is available for school construction. FSA will be working with the universities and school districts to gain adequate funding for school construction. The chance for funding for school maintenance and construction projects is remote.

Construction Lien Bills (HB 897 Moraitis/SB 1202 Bogdanoff): The perennial lien bill is generating as much opposition as support. Interested parties are communicating to see if a consensus can be reached. A construction lien bill is filed every year. It’s too early to determine if consensus can be reached. Sponsors normally do not schedule the bills for hearings until the parties can agree on language. Larry Leiby has been actively involved in reviewing the bills and several changes have been made at his request. Both the house and senate bills have been heard in two committees and have one committee to go before each bill reaches the floor.

Destination Resorts HB 487 Fresen/SB 710 Bogdanoff): The bills are controversial, but the senate bill has passed its first committee and the House has conducted a workshop where no votes were taken on the issue. The bills provide that three destination resorts could be built in Miami/Dade and Broward Counties with an investment of $6 billion dollars. It is expected that over 75,000 construction jobs would be generated. The house bill was brought up for a vote in its first House committee, but there were not sufficient votes to pass it in the committee, so the sponsor temporarily postponed action on the bill. That means it’s probably dead for the Session.

Workers Compensation (HB 511/SB 668 Hays): These bills prohibit exorbitant mark-ups for medication sold by treating physicians in their offices. The Office of Regulation estimates that 3% of the almost 9% 2012 premium increase can be attributed to this problem. Each bill has passed its initial committee of reference, but is controversial. The doctors will not give up that revenue source without a fight. Both the house and senate bills have passed their initial committees.

Unemployment Compensation Bills (HB 7027 Holder/SB 1416 Bogdanoff): The State of Florida borrowed several million dollars from the federal government when the lengthy downturn in the economy depleted the UC Reserves. The funds will be repaid under a formula passed last year. The bills extend the payment period and decrease the amount paid on the debt. The business community supports this delay. The house bill passed all its committees and was voted on favorably on the House Floor on Friday. The senate bill has passed its initial committee and has two more committees before it reaches the floor.

Local Government Self-Performance (HB 825 McBurney/SB 1186 Hays): These bills address an on-going problem with local governments self-performing on the construction of capital projects. The commercial contractor associations (ABC, AGC, FTBA and UUCA) are working together to get his bill passed. No action on either bill at this time.

Building Code Bills (HB 651 Davis/SB 704 Bennett) is the glitch building code bill for the Session. Both bills have passed two committees and each has one more committee to go before reaching the floor for a vote. Another building code bill allows voluntary electronic filing of construction plans (HB 387 Ahern/SB 600 Bennett.) The house bill passed on Friday, February 3 and the senate bill is ready for a floor vote.

Copper Theft Bills (HB 885 Ford/SB 540 Smith & HB 1323 Drake/SB 1324 Norman): Theft from job sites continues to be a problem. A bill passed a couple of years ago to decrease the chance of theft on jobsites. These bills strengthen the regulation on pawn brokers. SB 540 has passed two of its three committees and HB 885 has passed the first committee of reference. HB 1323 and SB 1324 have each passed the first of its three committees of reference.

Wage Theft Ordinances (HB 609 Goodson/SB 862 Simmons): A couple of counties have passed local wage theft ordinances. These bills pre-empt local ordinances in favor of a statewide law. The bill passed the House last year and died in the Senate. This year, the house bill has passed two of its three committees of reference. The senate bill passed its first committee of three references.

APPLYING OSHA TO PUBLIC EMPLOYEES (HB 1179 Taylor/SB 1148 Lynn): It probably comes as a huge surprise that public employees are not protected by OSHA. Two Daytona Beach city employees were killed and a third severely injured in an explosion five years ago. The taskforce recommended that public employees be covered by OSHA. A bill was filed for two years and never passed. No activity.

Immigration Bills with E-Verify (HB 1315 Harrell/SB 1638 Altman): Commercial Contractors have used the E-Verify program on federal jobs since the 4th quarter of 2009. As long as the requirement to use E-Verify is applied to everyone, has a safe harbor from suit if E-Verify is utilized, and reasonable fines, Contractors are OK with E-Verify. I don’t think there is much support for dealing with any E-Verify bills this Session, so the bills will be closely monitored. No activity.

Richard Watson

Legislative Counsel
Builders Notice Corporation