From the monthly archives: November 2017

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'November 2017'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

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Silica Update: OSHA Issues Interim Enforcement Guidance

  On Oct. 19, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas Galassi issued a memorandum on Interim Enforcement Guidance for the Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction Standard. The memo provides interim enforcement guidance to Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) for enforcing the standard, stating: “Effective Oct. 23, 2017, OSHA will fully enforce all appropriate provisions of the Silica in Construction Standard. This memorandum will serve as interim enforcement guidance while the standard's companion compliance directive is proceeding through the review process. It will expire when the compliance directive becomes effective and available to the field.”

Bonding as an Empowerment Tool

It’s a fact: Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. And surety bonding is the lifeblood of any successful contractor, regardless of size.  

Another fact: Construction is risky business. Contractors often face a myriad of challenges during the life cycle of a construction project. 

Massachusetts and California Nab Top Spots on Energy Efficiency Scorecard

  Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, Vermont and Oregon landed in the top five spots on the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s 2017 scorecard, which assesses states’ utility programs, transportation policies, building energy code compliance, government-led efficiency initiatives, appliance and equipment standards, and heat and power policies. Idaho, Florida and Virginia were the three most improved states. For more information, visit aceee.org/state-policy/scorecard.

Retaining Construction's Greatest Asset

As the industry struggles to improve its reputation among the younger generation, many tactics can be used to foster a company culture that improves employee retention. Offer attractive benefits packages. Provide access to training and education. Keep communication with leadership clear and comfortable. Focus on safety. Encourage employees to become active in their communities. And, don’t be afraid to have a little bit of fun.

The Power of Partnership: Choosing the Best Surety Agent for the Job

  Thanks to several years of favorable industry-wide results, there is plenty of capacity in the surety marketplace. Carriers and agents are aggressively competing for contractors’ business. Most companies have probably received numerous solicitations from agents and brokers near and far, via the internet, promising larger programs, better terms and lower rates. 

In today’s soft market environment, practically any licensed insurance agent can help a firm obtain bonding. It is a buyer’s market right now and a great opportunity for contractors to establish their first bond line or reevaluate their current situation.

Don’t Overlook Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b) in Civil Construction Cases

Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b) is significantly underutilized in civil construction cases. Ordinarily thought of as a criminal evidentiary statute, Rule 404(b) excludes evidence of a person’s character or actions as proof that the person acted in conformity with that character attribute. However, there are exceptions to the rule, such as prior knowledge, motive or lack of mistake. Though seldom used in construction cases, these and other exceptions allow savvy counsel to include evidence that might not ordinarily be admitted in a civil construction case. 

How to Handle Higher Project Volume Without Overextending the Business

  Higher project volume—whether it’s more projects of the same size or the same number of projects at an increased size—can place stress on any contractor. The starting point for handling that stress is the business plan, which should be prepared and continually updated. Accordingly, contractors that decide to increase project volume should only consider doing so after careful planning.

Keep in mind, the business plan for well-run organizations incorporates the five Ms: money, machine, material, manpower and methodology. 

Filling the Surety Industry's Generation Gap

Word of the construction industry’s labor shortage is being heard loud and clear: Two-thirds of U.S. contractors are having a hard time finding qualified workers and possess a virtually nonexistent backfill of young talent entering the industry. But what about the surety professionals working behind the scenes? Are they facing the same challenges?

Building the Contemporary Coliseum

When owners and operators of a professional franchise lobby a community for a new or updated stadium or arena, they frequently argue that construction and operation of the facility will boost the local economy. On the surface, that makes sense. Arenas and stadiums are expensive to construct and they have a propensity to attract large numbers of visitors with disposable income, including from other communities. That fuels spending, hotel stays, job creation and tax revenues.
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Industry Changes Push AEC Firms Toward Proactive Recruitment
When it comes to recruitment, the AEC industry is grappling with an already...

Gauging the Swing of the Republican Pendulum
As suddenly as the window of opportunity blew open for Republicans by the winds...

Q: What does it mean for your company to be employee-owned?
Employee ownership allows Choate to share long-term success with our employees...

Service Above Self
Two years ago, Gary Neal—an engineer and project manager with MEC Contractors...

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