HOBART │ Safety and construction excellence in Northwest Indiana was recognized Thursday at Avalon Manor.
Organized by the Construction Advancement Foundation and the Northwest Indiana Business Roundtable, the annual Construction Awards Banquet honors companies that exhibit superior achievement in a variety of categories.
“This is a chance for the construction industry to recognize the efforts of those contractors and at the same time try to recognize the educational training program of the individuals who are up and coming into those programs,” said Shawn Kelly, president of CAF, which represents more than 500 union contractors.
Kelly said training is critical to the future of the union construction industry.
“We’re developing our brand new Construction Safety Institute that will really enhance what this is all about – the promotion and the continuing training and education of the people on the importance of safety,” he said. “It’s a one-of-a-kind training facility that will not only do classroom training but will provide hands-on training for safety from everything from scaffolding to confined space training.”
Kelly said a new trend in the construction industry moving into place is how municipalities fund their projects – municipalities that have needs but no money. It involves financed design-build opportunities where teams come in and finance, design and construct, for example, a government center such as a police station.
“These teams can come in and would actually finance design build in which they would then do this at their risk and the municipality would in essence lease back the facility on a lease-to-own basis,” he said. “So this is a good way for municipalities to potentially in time get the facilities they need in a little more creative manner. Everybody’s looking for ways to raise the money we need to serve our citizens. We see this as a growing potential and a growing trend. It really looks very promising.”
As far as the local construction industry, Kelly said the economy has improved and there are more projects that are bidding.
“And there is obviously more competition for that project,” he said. “I’ve seen more owner/clients releasing projects that have been in planning now than there was last year. There is a positive outlook for the future.”