News briefs

January 01, 2006 |
  • Portland art museum sues its architect. The Portland (Ore.) Art Museum has filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against Boston-based Ann Beha Architects, the firm that designed the renovation of the museum this year. The complaint says that inadequate designs by Beha's firm resulted in "additional construction costs and delays and unanticipated expenses to the Museum." The firm's principal, Ann Beha, said the lawsuit violated an agreement with the museum to settle disputes by mediation. The general contractor, Portland's Hoffman Construction Co., was not named as a defendant in the filing.

  • Green building report on reconstructing New Orleans available online. The New Orleans Principles, a 27-page report from the Gulf Coast Reconstruction Charettes, contains the recommendations of more than 160 industry professionals from the Gulf Coast and throughout North America who attended a three-day charrette November 9–11 in conjunction with the U.S. Green Building Council's Greenbuild conference in Atlanta. To download the report, visit:

  • Developers face a towering problem: not enough cranes. Nothing is in tighter supply right now than tower cranes, without which a skyscraper can't get off the ground. Normally, tower cranes are available on a few months' notice. Now they need to be booked a year in advance.

  • Dear Santa: Send us carpenters, estimators, and other skilled hands. Some 250,000 trained jobs go unfilled each year in the U.S. construction industry. Demand for skilled workers has tripled since 1950, from 20% of the total 6.3 million work force, to 65% in 2000. Fewer than 500,000 are in registered training, and the average craftsman is 47 years old, says the Associated General Contractors of America.

  • First new high-rise in almost 20 years planned for downtown Pittsburgh. PNC Financial Services Group will build downtown Pittsburgh's first skyscraper more than 24 stories in height in nearly two decades. The project is part of a $170 million complex seen as a first step in transforming the Steel City's downtown. The 25- to 30-story tower, named Three PNC Plaza, will feature a luxury hotel of 150 or more rooms, about 30 top-floor condominiums, and 360,000 sf of office space. Reed Smith, a local law firm, is the anchor tenant.

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