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AGC Celebrates BuildMO Week

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The AGC of Missouri kicked off BuildMO Week at PARIC’s 212 S. Meramec job site in Clayton on Monday. BuildMO Week celebrates the construction industry in Missouri. Additional events were held in Jefferson City and Springfield on October 11, and at the Construction Training Center in St. Louis on October 14.

Leonard Toenjes, president, AGC of Missouri, said 212 S. Meramec is a symbol of what construction means to the Missouri economy. By the time it is complete, it will have provided 250,000 hours of construction employment to area workers.

The 212 S. Meramec project is 382,666-square-foot, 26-story post-tension concrete high-rise building. When complete, it will be the largest multi-family, mixed-used building in Clayton. The $60 million tower will host retail space, a parking garage, 250 luxury apartments spread across the top 20 stories of the building, and a roof-top swimming pool.

Construction on the high-rise building began in October 2015, and completion is expected in June 2017.  During BuildMO Week, workers were pouring the 17th floor of the structure. Keith Wolkoff, president of PARIC, said that as of September 30, 2016, the 212 S. Meramec project had logged a total of 92,453 hours of work by laborers, carpenters, operators, ironworkers, electricians, sheet metal workers, plumbers, pipefitters, cement masons, sprinkler fitters, glaziers, tapers and roofers.

Keith Wolkoff
Keith Wolkoff

“Three years ago, the developer challenged us and our partners to deliver a best in class, mixed-use building with great amenities and a harmony of great design and marketability,” Wolkoff said. “We are very proud of the technology and innovation we’ve applied to this project to reach that goal, including BIM 3-D modeling to remove waste and robotic layout to eliminate re-work,” he said. “We brought BASF in as a consultant to develop a specialty concrete mix not used in St. Louis before to hit the (strength requirements) with less weight. BASF has worked on the majority of the tallest concrete building designs in the world.”

212 S. Meramec is a joint venture of PARIC and McHugh. Major subcontractors on the project include CECO Concrete Construction, concrete; Murphy Company, HVAC and plumbing engineer; Kaiser Electric, electrical engineer; and Fire Tech, fire protection engineer. The developer/owner is WORP/CA Clayton, LLC. Architect is HDA Architects and Alper Audi is structural engineer. Project investors include union pension funds and others.

Toenjes noted that construction is a major driver of Missouri’s economy, employing more than 116,200 persons throughout the state, with Missouri ranking 4th in the nation in one-month employment growth between July and August 2016.

In 2015, he said, Missouri construction contributed $11 billion (3.8 percent) of the state’s GDP of $293 billion. That same year, Missouri construction wages and salaries totaled $ $6.5 billion. In 2014, construction workers’ pay in Missouri averaged $54,400, 18 percent more than all private sector employees in the state. Missouri had 13,000 construction firms in 2014, of which 92 percent had fewer than 20 employees.

While celebrating what the construction industry has accomplished, Toenjes pointed to challenges ahead.  Employment has passed pre-recession figures and the industry is now facing a critical workforce shortage. “Every day we hear new reports of contractors turning down or delaying work because of the skilled worker shortage,” said Toenjes.

In the last six months, the AGC of Missouri launched a new web portal to connect contractors with unfilled jobs to people seeking work. “We never had to do that before,” he said

“When young people are contemplating a career choice, we hope they will consider construction,” he added. “Our industry can be a rewarding and challenging career choice. With new technologies, sustainable buildings, new construction methods and other innovations, we are looking to the best and brightest to join our industry. We need bodies, hands, and brains to keep building in Missouri. Come join us – there are jobs waiting!”

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