Carla Gallardo never thought she’d love a job in construction. She wanted to be an architect until her engineer father swayed her to civil engineering. Besides, no one in her family ever worked in construction, so Carla was coming into the industry blind.

Sort of. In 2008, a construction internship caught her eye while still in school at the University of Texas at El Paso. The internship, working with project engineers for over a thousand military housing units at Fort Bliss, began her career with Balfour Beatty Construction and later McCarthy Building Companies, where she works now.

Carla is one of many young female professionals entering the heavily male-dominated construction industry, which is one of the least gender-diverse industries. Women comprise 47 percent of the country’s workforce, but only nine percent of the construction industry.

Only three percent of women are employed in hands-on production roles, as opposed to administration, human resources, and marketing that make up the bulk of jobs in construction. (more…)

By Phil Crone
Executive Officer, Dallas Builders Association 

Craig Johnson had no idea who, if anyone, would turn up for Collin College’s first construction management course offerings. The newly hired instructor only had a few weeks to get the program up and running. Johnson expected around five students. He ended up with nearly 20.

These students enjoy a unique learning opportunity in the form of Collin College’s 340,000-square-foot technical campus, which recently broke ground in Allen. Once complete, the campus will include a 400-by-90-foot area exclusively dedicated to the construction trades.

Labs for plumbing, electrical, carpentry, and safety will be coupled with a 6,000-square-foot “build” lab, providing hands-on opportunities for students in all programs to work together on various projects. With a labor shortage hampering Dallas-Fort Worth’s construction industry to the tune of 25,000 to 35,000 missing workers, opportunities for graduates will be plentiful.

I recently met with these students while providing a guest lecture on the demands our fast-growing region is placing on the construction industry. I wish I was speaking to a stadium full of students who shared their interest. However, sharing an hour with them left me most excited about the quality of who is about to join our industry and optimistic that others will follow.

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Students from Skyline High School and several other campuses will take part in the Dallas Builders Show. (Courtesy Photos)

From Staff Reports

When it comes to skilled workers, Dallas and North Texas are feeling the pinch. To help generate interest in trade education, the Dallas Builders Association has partnered with Dallas ISD campuses, mentoring students and offering real-life experience through the building trades program. On Nov. 13, more than 100 Dallas ISD students, including the students from Skyline High School’s building trades program, will participate in the Dallas Builders Show.

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Dallas Builders Association

Students at Skyline High School’s construction trades program had the chance to meet with members of the Dallas Builders Association this month as part of the DBA’s initiative to work with Dallas ISD. (Photo courtesy Dallas Builders Association)

A few months ago, Dallas Builders Association president Michael Turner of Classic Urban Homes voiced a desire to address a need for more skilled workers by working with Dallas ISD to train and mentor students.

In February, Turner began to reach out. “We have builders that are willing to mentor high school kids,” he said then, calling the push to work with local schools “probably my biggest initiative.”

And in a few short months, Turner is beginning to see that come to fruition. In March, he and Dallas Builders Association executive officer Phil Crone met with Doug Palmer and Cody Seabolt, instructors with Skyline High School’s construction trades program. (more…)

The Dallas Builders Association would like to address the dire shortage of skilled workers by a potential innovative partnership with Dallas ISD.

The Dallas Builders Association would like to address the dire shortage of skilled workers by a potential innovative partnership with Dallas ISD.

If you’re building a new home, or are a builder, this will come as no shock to you: It’s taking longer to get the job done, and it’s more expensive.

In fact, at a recent annual meeting, National Association of Home Builders economist Robert Dietz said this shortage was actually holding home construction growth back.

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pirate playhouse 3Playhouses are some of the tiniest examples of good building and design. For the lead carpenter of Sardone Construction, a backyard playhouse was an opportunity to make his house fit the needs of the whole family – toddler pirates included.

Bryan McLain was given the challenge to design a pirate ship playhouse for his son’s third birthday party. McClain turned his son’s imagination into a real-life pirating adventure, in just three days time.

McLain is known for his Dallas home renovation work, and attention to continuing to hone his craft. After the completion of the pirate ship playhouse, and the smiles of the tiny partygoers, he is planning to create more unique playhouses.

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First prize in the ‘Sitting Pretty Porta Potty Screen Contest’ goes to All photos: Sardone Construction

First prize in the ‘Sitting Pretty Porta Potty Screen Contest’ goes to Brian Paletz, AIA. All photos: Sardone Construction

Last month, we told you about the “2015 Sitting Pretty Porta Potty Screen Contest,” created in response to Highland Park’s new rule that portable toilets be screened from the public’s view at residential construction sites.

The contest, sponsored by Sardone Construction and HPD Architecture, closed June 29 and the winners have been announced. Close to 30 people registered and 17 submitted designs.

To refresh your memory, the challenge was to create screens that were more attractive than the standard plywood construction, “to design a porta potty screen of your own. Something with a bit of flare! Maybe a little splash! A screen that says, “When ya gotta go, you might as well do it in style!”

Four winning entries showcase originality, splash, and practicality. The first-place design will be built by HPD and Sardone in the coming weeks.

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Highland Park constcution

An example of an acceptable portable toilet screen sent by Highland Park to contractors working in the town. All photos: Highland Park Building Inspection Department

Highland Park is implementing a new requirement that portable toilets be screened from the public’s view at residential construction sites. No one wants to pooh-pooh* the new rule, so instead, two Dallas companies are encouraging creativity and responding with humor.

Sardone Construction and HPD Architecture launched the “2015 Sitting Pretty Porta Potty Screen Contest” Monday. Here’s the challenge:

We are challenging you – our readers, friends, and colleagues – to design a porta potty screen of your own. Something with a bit of flare! Maybe a little splash! A screen that says, “When ya gotta go, you might as well do it in style!”

“When I got the email from Highland Park, they included a couple of pictures, examples [of screened portable toilets], and all I could think was, ‘We can do better than that!,” said Larry Paschall, architect and founding member of HPD Architecture. “Those plywood boxes aren’t necessarily going to look any better than the portable toilets. Why not see what people can come up with?”

In the email sent from the Highland Park Building Inspection Department to contractors, they wrote,”Our department is requesting the very best quality of screening that you can provide.” No one wants wasteful spending, but this contest might elicit some spectacular design options.

The town’s No. 1 and No. 2 concerns were that portable toilets are unsightly to the public and bothersome for neighbors.

“A typical construction area looks like a missile testing site and in the middle is a bright blue or bright orange porta potty that looks bad,” said Stephan Sardone, owner of Sardone Construction. “I was thinking how funny it would be if we had really ornately designed screens for these porta potties that fit their new rules.”

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