Construction Ready – Then and Now

In the summer of 2014, the workforce development program we have come to know as Construction Ready, began as a vision of The Home Depot and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank to revitalize communities in the Westside of Atlanta by creating career opportunities for some of the City’s disadvantaged residents. The vehicle through which this vision would be initially achieved, was construction of the state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Through a long-term relationship with the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA), HB NEXT was called upon to be the training partner for this joint venture, providing construction industry-recognized credentialing and certifications for the program’s selected participants. Through funding provided by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Mr. Blank’s generosity and unwavering commitment to improving the Westside communities, and, the City of Atlanta, was evident from the outset of this voyage.

Mr. Blank’s generosity, however, did not come without (some) expectations.

Construction Ready’s first location at Westside Works -which was established at the former E.R. Carter Elementary School on Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard in Atlanta- was challenged to graduate and place (100) trainees into full-time careers in construction.

This was a daunting challenge, indeed.

Like any project with lofty goals, there were doubts that this could everbe accomplished. Plenty of naysayers, before recognizing the impact that was quietly being made in this community, were quick to offer their opinions on the matter.

Well, as it turns out, the naysayers and doubters were sadly misinformed.

In expeditious fashion, Westside Works graduated and placed those 100 trainees into full-time employment in the construction industry. In fact, the success and evolution of the Westside Works program was so impressive, that it garnered the excitement of the Build Cobb Initiative in Cobb County, who brought the same training program to Smyrna, GA, to support construction of the Atlanta Braves’ new home, SunTrust Park.

Additionally, it resulted in the Blank Foundation’s continued interest in the program.

Westside Works just celebrated its 25thgroup of graduates this summer. Build Cobb just graduated their 16th.

As the Westside Works and Build Cobb locations continued their success with the Construction Ready program, two additional locations launched in in the Atlanta area, in 2016 and 2017, respectively:

The Center for Working Families, Inc, in the Georgia Hill community near Turner Field now known as Georgia State Stadium; and, Aerotropolis, near East Point, GA.

Fast forward to 2018, Construction Ready now has 4 locations actively operating in the Atlanta area, with additional locations in planning for 2019 and beyond. To date, the program has graduated (through all 4 locations) a total of 815trainees, with 776of them being hired into full-time jobs with several Atlanta-area construction companies. This program is proud to boast an ongoing job placement rate of over 95%. What’s more impressive, is that over 70% of the graduates from the Construction Ready program have maintained their positions with these companies for a year or better.

We are excited to be a part of this powerful and rewarding program; and, are looking forward to building towards the program’s continued success!

Scaffold Safety

Over our 20 years in business, HB NEXT has seen almost everything! We have seen that most construction workers are familiar with scaffolds, but a majority of workers are unfamiliar with the safety inspection that needs to be performed before working on scaffolds.  Below, you will find a comprehensive list of inspection practices and ‘must knows’ for using scaffolds.

Supported Scaffolds:

  • Inspection by competent person is required before each shift or any occurrence which could affect scaffold structural integrity.
  • Any part of damaged or weakened scaffold shall be repaired, replaced, or removed from service until repaired.
  • Legs, posts, frames, uprights shall rest on baseplates and mudsills (or other adequate firm foundation). Footings shall be level, sound, rigid and capable of supporting the loaded scaffold without settling or displacement.
  • Scaffolds and components shall not be loaded in excess of maximum intended loads or rated capacities, whichever is less.
  • If scaffold platforms are more than 2ft above or below a point of access, ladders, walkways, integral prefabricated access frames, personnel hoist, etc. shall be used.Crossbraces shall not be used as access.
  • Fall protection will be provided for employees at 10 ft or more.
  • Falling object protection for employees will be provided by the use of hardhats, as well as toeboards, screens, barricades, or canopies. You must wear hardhats 100% of the time.
  • Guys, ties, and braces shall be installed per manufacturer recommendation when scaffold reaches a 4:1 height to base width ratio, and must be installed at least at each end with a maximum interval of 30’.
  • Distance from power lines per OSHA standards (based on insulated/non-insulated lines and voltage) must be adhered to (minimum 10’ clearance).
  • Working on scaffolds in storms or high winds is prohibited unless determined safe by a competent person. Working on scaffolds covered in snow, ice, or other slippery material is prohibited except to remove.
  • Supported scaffold poles, legs, posts, frames, and uprights shall be plumb and braced to prevent swaying and displacement. Where uplift can occur, the frames shall be locked together vertically by pins or equivalent means.
  • Unstable objects shall not be used to support scaffolds or platform units.

Suspension Scaffolds:

  • Must be inspected by competent person prior to shift. Defective components shall be replaced.
  • Capacity must be its own weight plus 4 times maximum intended load.
  • Suspension rope must support 6 times maximum intended load when scaffold operated at rated load of hoist or 2 times rated load.
  • Fall protection will consist of PFAS and guardrails.
  • PFAS secured to separate anchorage than platform to create an independent life line.
  • Direct connections must support 4 times tipping point of scaffold at rated load or 1.5 times tipping moment at stall load of hoist whichever is greater.
  • Counterweights cannot be of flowable material and must be secured in place during use.
  • Tiebacks shall be equivalent in strength to the suspension ropes.
  • Tiebacks shall be secured to a structurally sound anchorage on the building or structure.

Aerial lifts:

  • Must meet ANSI requirements
  • Lift controls tested prior to use each day.
  • Only authorized personnel may operate.
  • Employees must stand firmly on floor of basket.
  • Harness and lanyard shall be attached to basket when working from aerial lift.


At HB NEXT, safety is our priority, and scaffolds are no exception.  Keep your personnel safe on the jobsite by creating a Safety Program or customized training program for your company.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact HB NEXT.