Oil Prices Loom Large on Alberta Government 2nd Quarter Update

Alberta government’s second quarter fiscal results show a strong first six months of the 2014-15 fiscal year; however, the on-going decline in oil prices suggests this is likely not to continue into the second half of the year.

The surplus for 2014-15 is now forecast at $933 million, down from $1.1 billion forecast at budget. The revenue forecast has been updated to $45.0 billion, $637 million higher than originally estimated at budget. Total expense is now forecast at $44.1 billion, up $791 million from budget.

The capital plan is providing $7.3 billion for Alberta’s infrastructure, a $673 million increase from budget, primarily for additional school projects.

The revised revenue forecast is based on $75 US per barrel for the remainder of the fiscal year. For the first six months, WTI averaged $100.08 but with the recent decline in energy prices is now forecast to average $88.88 for the fiscal year.

For further numbers and information please see the government press release here.

WCB Announces Drop of Premium Rate

The WCB announced that due to increased employer performance they are offering a six cent drop in the average industry premium rate in 2015, to $0.97 per $100 of insurable earnings.

The WCB will begin sharing individual rates with employers over the next few weeks, and wanted to ensure that employers have up-to-date information on what is happening in the workers’ compensation system.

Check out the WCB website for information on sector and industry rates, the factors that went in to establishing 2015 rates, and links to services that can help you improve your rate. If you are an employer, the WCB encourages you to sign up for Loss Control Reporting under myWCB to get a personalized rate statement in December.

If you have any questions please contact corporate.communications@wcb.ab.ca.

BIM in the Cloud

Cloud computing is a new phrase that has become all the rage in IT industries and in our private lives. Storing information on a central server that multiple people can access to collaborate or create something is becoming more common.

This method is now reaching the construction industry and may create a new way of doing business, getting jobs done quickly and sharing the information with various people and organizations speedily. There are a number of examples of these cloud driven BIM software.  Included here are a couple of examples of paid versions:

BIM Manager a part of Viewpoint For Project Collaboration is an easy to use browser-based application for BIM collaboration. BIM Manager enables you to integrate your construction data from multiple sources into a common model where you can collaboratively review, annotate and comment on large quantities of documents such as RFIs, submittals, schedules and other project related documents.

BIM 360 from AutoDesk is another construction management software which enables almost anytime, anywhere access to project data throughout the building construction lifecycle. BIM 360 empowers those in the field to better anticipate and act, and those in the back office to optimize and manage all aspects of construction performance.

The idea of taking a client through a build just using a web browser or creating real time changes from various locations across the world would certainly be of interest for construction managers and owners.