They mean that literally, not figuratively. This was a site with a lot of wood lying around.
I've lived in Tokyo for 23 years, and I've seen a lot of buildings go up and down as this is a city that doesn't value age so much as newness (fortunately for us, that means earthquake-resistant structures). Construction workers are ever-present in my life with rarely a day going by in which I don't see, feel, hear, or smell something being built or torn down. Last week, I was walking past a huge line of workers sitting on the sidewalk eating their lunch and it occurred to me that, despite copious experience with such men, I have never seen nor heard one of them make a rude comment to a passing lady.
The construction workers in Japan are, by and large, civilized and well-manner and therefore do not hoot or carry on around women and I will miss that.