October 2017 (3) September 2017 (17) August 2017 (29)

    Trump Administration Lays Foundation for Infrastructure Plan

    This is an exciting time for construction industry stakeholders, as America’s infrastructure may see its first major overhaul in decades. President Trump’s agenda requires bold bipartisan action from the federal government to reduce regulatory burdens and provide pathways for private sector engagement and investment. The construction industry has a tremendous opportunity to author transformative policies that break the inadequate status quo. 
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    Navigating Renewable Energy Project Agreements

    Successful negotiation of engineering and construction agreements in the renewable sector depends on the unique characteristics of each proposed project, as well as the thorough assessment and allocation of risks. 
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    Leverage Valuable Data to Build Better, Faster and Leaner

    The real value of data is making it work. Contractors can amass a mountain of usable information, but valuable insight is lost without a system in place to turn that data into action. The great news is the construction industry now has the tools to mine the data that help contractors build smarter. 
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    Four Tips to Make Sure Drones Don’t Leave You High and Dry

    A decent amount of red tape comes with the adoption of drones in the workplace, so here is what construction owners and contractors can do to avoid putting their companies and crews at risk.
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    Building a Team by Building the Community

    Many organizations have the ability to show support through monetary donations, but Elzinga & Volkers involves each of its more than 200 employees—not just leadership—in the giving process.  Read More >

    The Power of Prefabrication to Generate Efficiencies and Cost Savings

    Prefabrication no longer means “looks like all the others.” Today, the power of prefabrication exhibits how design technology and manufacturing can work together to improve the industry while still producing unique and visually appealing structures.
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    Social Media Land Mines: Employer Responsibilities and Employee Rights

    Social media law is a relatively new area for companies active in the construction industry, and the laws around this topic, much like the networks themselves, are evolving at a rapid pace. Legal counsel should be poised to help businesses efficiently develop a social media policy and be available to provide advice on content before it’s posted, should there be any concerns on the subject. 
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    Tire Tech: Look Past the Price Tag to the Total Cost of Ownership

    Because tires are critical to operation performance, construction executives should take the long view when making purchasing decisions. Rather than focusing on the price tag, consider the factors that contribute to the total cost of ownership: application, innovation and functionality. 
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    Smart Buildings Market Prepares to Take Off

    The global smart buildings market is continuing to grow, with a new report from Zion Market Research projecting its value to increase from $7 billion in 2014 to $36 billion in 2020, growing at a compound annual rate of 30 percent.
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    Gender Diversity in Architecture Shows Improvement

    The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) recorded an increase in gender diversity of licensure candidates and newly licensed architects for the first time since it began collecting demographic data. In 2016, women made up 36 percent of newly licensed architects, versus 34 percent in 2015.
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    Study: BIM Use Picking Up Steam for Infrastructure Projects

    The use of BIM for infrastructure projects is on the rise, with 52 percent of horizontal construction companies surveyed reporting that they used the technology on more than half of their projects, according to a SmartMarket report from Dodge Data & Analytics.
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    Baby Boomers Redefine Senior Living

    Similar to retail developers, senior living housing developers focus on creating an appealing experience for their customers. Out are the sterile, utilitarian institutions of old, and in are senior living facilities that cater to baby boomers who are demanding more than the previous generation. 
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    IoT Is the Next Frontier for Drone Data

    AEC firms are building on what wearable device-loving fitness enthusiasts have known for years: that measurement increases effectiveness, whether it’s steps walked and hours slept or cubic yards of earth moved. The construction industry is perfectly positioned to take IoT one step further and combine it with drone data to track and optimize operations for complete visibility into everything happening on the jobsite. 

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    How do you see technology disrupting the construction industry, for better or worse?

    The Boston Consulting Group reported that full-scale digitalization in nonresidential construction will lead to annual global cost savings of up to $1.2 trillion in the engineering and construction phases. Think about the impact that kind of savings could have on our industry—one that has been plagued by low margins and high risk for far too long.
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    The Graying of America

    Senior housing—be it assisted or independent living—is no longer a one-size-fits-all facility. Many communities are now sporting more contemporary designs and featuring modern furnishings that incorporate technology.
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    A User’s Perspective on Health Care Trends

    Darrell O. Simpson, senior vice president of development at The Sanders Trust, Birmingham, Ala., offers candid feedback o health care segments, workforce concerns, and the benefits of collaboration, BIM and prefabrication. 
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    A New Continuum of Care

    The health care industry’s shift from treating sickness to supporting preventive wellness is starting to take shape on the construction front—and the geographic scope of services is broadening as well. Recognizing this new continuum of care, medical providers are busy building or expanding outpatient clinics, freestanding primary care facilities, specialty cancer centers and rehabilitation hospitals. With those services spider-webbing into the community, main hospital campuses are undergoing renovations to meet standards for private rooms and adapt spaces to accommodate the remaining patients who need serious care.
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    Executive Insights

    Get expert answers to questions on business intelligence, processing payroll data, security breaches, 4-D and 5-D BIM, IoT, big data, artificial intelligence, drones and more.
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    IPD: A Commitment to Teamwork

    When used properly, BIM facilitates the type of collaboration in programming, analysis, budgeting, design development, permitting, bidding, fabrication and construction that is at the core of IPD. The goal of IPD is to have all of the key participants working together from day one to create a single, shared point of responsibility for the project and to minimize or eliminate the unanticipated circumstances and disputes that can throw a job into disarray.
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    Data and Technology Will Fuel the Megacities of the Future

    In connected 2050 cities, all kinds of infrastructure—energy, water, transportation, buildings and governance—will “talk” to each other to prioritize needs, optimize performance, minimize energy use, and make life more enjoyable and productive for the people who live in and travel between cities.
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    Be Proactive About Crafting a Company Drone Policy

    Construction firms should expect the drone compliance topic to develop rapidly, as other agencies may provide supplementary rules to address the impact of unmanned aircraft on the areas they regulate. It is important for contractors and their attorneys to stay up to speed on current developments to ensure that they are managing their risks effectively. 
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    AIA’s New Insurance and Bonding Exhibit Creates Flexibility

    To keep up with legal and practice developments, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has put together a comprehensive set of revisions to its 2017 owner-​contractor agreements. The single most significant 2017 revision to the A201 Family is the creation of an Insurance and Bonds Exhibit to accompany the key owner-contractor agreements.
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    Components of a Quality Project Safety Culture

    By making safety a key component of every project right from the start, companies can save lives and reduce injuries while keeping skilled workers on the job and projects on track. To reduce injuries, companies should build a robust corporate safety culture in coordination with their insurers and risk engineering consultants. The following steps can help enhance that safety culture. 
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    Construction Companies Are Uniquely Poised to Maximize Drones’ Potential

    Commercial drones are just beginning to take off in the United States. Construction firms of all sizes have been quick to identify dozens of use cases that have made old processes faster, cheaper, safer and simpler—as well as create entirely new revenue streams.
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    Three Reasons Contractors Should Finance Software Investments

    Software investments can (and should) be financed, just like heavy equipment such as bulldozers, cranes, trenchers and dump trucks. Even if a firm can afford to purchase its software systems upfront, financing is the smart choice for three main reasons. 
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    For Sustainable, Renewable Construction Materials: The Future Is CLT

    Cross laminated timber is gaining recognition, and it won’t be long before this product is accepted as a common building material that delivers great results.
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    The Future Is Now for Digital Project Management and Compliance Processes

    Daily reporting and monitoring software can help firms cut costs, reduce the possibility of litigation and eliminate time-consuming travel from site to site.
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    It’s the End of BIM as You Know It—Are You Ready for Connected BIM?

    When you combine sensor and GPS technologies with 3-D modeling in the cloud, you no longer have mere raw data. There’s now a real-time connection between a physical construction site and its digital twin in the cloud—unlocking an infinite number of opportunities for efficiency and project management.
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    P3s: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

    With government officials’ increasing understanding of the P3 structure, the narrowing difference in financing cost thanks to federal programs, and a focus on life cycle costs and risk transfer, governments across the country are beginning to look to P3s as a way to deliver on promises of infrastructure investment. Many governments are in the process of evaluating public-private partnerships in meaningful ways, conducting rigorous analyses to determine whether a P3 is the prudent way to procure a project. 

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July 2017 (28)

    A New Delivery Method for Construction Management Education

    In school, skills and subjects tend to be taught in “buckets.” Later, graduates arrive at a jobsite and everything they learned from the buckets—estimating, safety, scheduling, accounting and so on—need to be combined into a heavy duty mixer. How often is the estimate discussed without the schedule or budget? Everything intertwines and mixes together. As such, schools need to align education with the real world and account for the learning styles of newer generations. 
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    The Hospitality Market Heats Up

    With the summer months in full swing, so is the 2017 travel season. Warm weather, long days and the kids off school mean families all over the country are in the midst of their summer adventures. Considering the current geopolitical state, economic forecasters are cautiously observing what the 2017 travel season will mean for the hospitality industry.
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    Mid-year economic Forecast: Momentum Meets Intrigue

    If economic performance reflected consumer and business ebullience, the United States would be in the midst of a historic boom. As an example, a recent Small Business Economic Trends survey from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) indicates that business confidence is at the 97th percentile, meaning business confidence is only this high 3 percent of the time. According to NFIB, “small business owners remain optimistic about the future of the economy and the direction of consumer confidence. We are encouraged by signs that optimism is translated into economic activity, such as capital investment and job creation.”
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    Is Your Jobsite Smart Enough?

    There’s a lot for contractors to be excited about on the technology front: drones, BIM, mobile apps, sensors, wearables, telematics, smart tools, video documentation, robotics, 3-D printing, laser scanning, generative design and much, much more. But the prospect of all the analytics, alerts and automation can quickly turn overwhelming without a firm strategy and capable IT staff in place. The trick is finding the sweet spot between doing what’s right for the company and not falling too far behind competitors—all while heeding employees’ appetite for change and making sure the technology is actually suited for construction environments.
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    ABC Members Invest $200,000 in Military Families

    "Honor their sacrifice. Educate their legacy.” That motto has inspired Folds of Honor since 2007, when Major Dan Rooney started the foundation as a means of providing educational scholarships to spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service members.
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    What hobby or pastime inspires you most when you are not at work?

    "All too often, a hectic day at work leads to rushing home to take care of household tasks and spend time with family before starting over the next day. When I get a chance to press pause and enjoy some free time, I enjoy golfing, cooking out with friends and family, and attending sporting events and movies. 

    But one thing stands out as my favorite and most inspiring pastime: I love to build, renovate and improve. It may seem like a crazy concept for someone in the construction industry to spend his free time building, but as a project manager, I spend very little time doing hands-on construction work."

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    Metal Buildings: Green Made Easy

    Metal buildings are an easy, cost-effective choice when going green, thanks to their efficient use of materials and labor and the steel’s high quantity of recycled content. However, documenting their savings and efficiency while keeping up with various sustainability codes and rating systems is an ever-changing and difficult task.
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    Don't Just Check the Compliance Box

    A monumental shift is taking place in the construction industry regarding training operators in the safe use of equipment. While OSHA acknowledges that training is an essential part of every employer’s safety and health program, the degree to which that is currently required depends on the complexity of the environment and the actual work equipment being used. 
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    Retiring? Consider an Employee Stock Ownership Plan

    While employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) function to reward employees with an ownership stake in the business they helped build, they can also offer tax advantages as an ownership-transition vehicle. Yet only about 11 percent of construction companies had ESOPs in 2016, according to research by the National Center for Employee Ownership. Further research shows that companies that set up an ESOP tend to increase annual sales, employment and productivity an average of 2.5 percent.
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    Why Construction Companies are Using GPS Tracking - and What Workers Think About It

    More than a third of 1,000 U.S. employees in an independent survey say they have been tracked by GPS on the job. For workers in the construction industry, that number shouldn’t come as a surprise.

    Large-scale (and even some not-so-large-scale) construction projects require a lot of workers and vehicles to transport tools and materials. Add multiple jobsites to that equation, and those workers and vehicles multiply too. With so many moving parts (literally), many construction companies are turning to GPS tracking software for help.
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    Negligence Claim Proves Designers Can Be Held Directly Liable to Subcontractors

    Is it reasonable for a subcontractor bidding on a design-build project to assume that the designer has followed the owner’s requirements in preparing the preliminary design documents? The answer is yes, according to a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which affirmed a jury verdict from the District Court. The ruling was in favor of two paving subcontractors against the project engineer, Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. 
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    Negotiating a Contract: Clauses, Changes and Delays

    Beginning with a sound construction contract can have a significant impact on a firm’s profit, loss, reputation and overall ability to manage a project. 

    Risk shifting is the contracting norm, and attorneys across the country scrutinize contract clauses when deciding which client will prevail. In the sterile vacuum of negotiation, the owner and contractor presumably reached an understanding of the meaning of the contract terms. However, once a dispute arises that impacts costs or project milestones, the meeting of the minds becomes cloudy. 
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    There Is Pervasive Non-compliance With the IBC for Fire-rated HVAC Assemblies

    A recent multi-state market analysis has revealed that industry standard horizontal HVAC fire-rated duct assemblies are not in compliance with requirements of the International Building Code (IBC).  

    Widely used in multi-story and commercial structures of all types, horizontal HVAC fire-rated duct assemblies serve a basic purpose: to manage hot gases for a period of time during a fire so occupants and first responders are safe. Specifically, these fire-rated duct systems must be rated for two hours or more. 
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    Reduce the Stress of Implementing ASC 606

    There is no time to waste in beginning the implementation process for the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) new revenue recognition standard, Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 606. Companies will find differences in some of the methods of recognizing revenue in the future, so taking a proactive approach to ASC 606 can help reduce the stress of implementation.
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    Exploring Self-funded Health Care Plans

    While it’s important to keep up with the news surrounding legislation to repeal and replace The Affordable Care Act, many contractors would be well served to consider another insurance strategy right now: partially self-funded health insurance plans. The bottom line is that the company is going to pay for a lot of employees’ medical care, so it’s important for staff to be mindful of costs because they drive premiums. This conversation alone—that employers and employees shoulder the cost of care together, and that both must be better stewards of those assets—can be a major driver of reduced costs. Aligning the interests of employees and their employers is critical in all aspects of profitability and success. 
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    Service Relationship Management Keeps the Connected Jobsite Running

    The construction industry has become increasingly reliant upon connected data through the industrial internet of things (IIoT). The Association of Equipment Management Professionals has even produced an ISO-certified data schema for exchanging worksite data from connected assets independent of manufacturer.
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    Achieve a Well-oiled Machine With Modern Materials Management

    Construction projects are often compared to manufacturing assembly line operations—insomuch that they are nothing alike. The typical construction project has so many moving pieces being assembled in unique ways and in varied locations, making no two projects exactly the same.
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    Top Five Predictions for the Future of Construction Telematics

    For more than 10 years, the construction industry has been consumed by the potential of the data-driven jobsite. For the equipment industry in particular, one of the hottest topics has been telematics.

    With telematics, project managers can keep track of not only what equipment is on a jobsite, but also how each piece is functioning. Such information can improve efficiency, reduce costs and boost profits.
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    The Why and How of Computing POC

    The percentage of completion (POC) calculation has traditionally been considered the best recognition of progress toward completion of a contract. The POC can be computed with factors other than costs, such as labor hours or labor costs or machine hours. Also, the costs can be total contract costs or a specific limited type of costs, such as direct costs only. 
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    Executive Insights

    "Contractors must up their game when it comes to cybersecurity’s role in protecting them from financial fraud. Ransomware became the tool of choice for a $1 billion crime with the recent attack through WannaCry/ WannaCrypt. This exploitation impacted more than 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries. Additionally, with the proliferation of the internet of things, cloud storage and electronic banking, the risks of wire fraud and cyber breach continue to rise."
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    Atlanta and Chicago Make Renewable Energy Pledges

    The Atlanta City Council unanimously approved a pledge to commit the city to reaching 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. Municipal buildings must reach that goal by 2025. Atlanta is now the largest Southeastern city with a 100 percent clean energy goal, followed by St. Petersburg, Fla., according to Sierra Club. 

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    Petition Calls For Mandatory Drug Testing of NYC Construction Workers

    The Associated Builders and Contractors Empire State Chapter has petitioned the New York City Council to implement mandatory drug and alcohol testing for all city construction workers—noting in a letter to City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and City Council Member Jumaane Williams that drug testing is commonly required in industries that are less dangerous than construction. While ABC insists the drug testing measure would increase safety, building trade unions have long opposed mandatory testing and said there’s no reason to believe that drugs and alcohol have played a role in the increased incidences of injuries and deaths during the last few years.
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    Report Examines Construction Industry Wage Gap

    A recent report from Abodo found construction and extraction was one of only two of the nation’s five fastest-growing occupations in which women earn as much as or more than men—and even then, it’s only in a specific set of cities. In terms of wage parity, women in the construction and extraction industry earn 88 cents for every dollar earned by men. For first-line supervisors, women earn 89.6 percent of what men earn, and about 85.1 percent as inspectors. For the more hands-on jobs, female laborers earn 96.7 percent of what men earn, and nearly 113 percent as helpers for construction trades.
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    Study: PLA Mandates Inflate Ohio School Construction Costs 13 Percent

    A new study released by the Beacon Hill Institute found that Ohio schools built under government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) cost 13 percent more than schools that were bid and constructed through fair and open competition, free from PLA requirements. The study looked at 88 schools built in Ohio since 2000 and found that those built under a PLA mandate cost $23.12 more per square foot than projects built without PLA mandates. 
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    DOL to Reward Employers for Hiring Veterans

    As directed by the HIRE Vets Act President Trump recently signed, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is establishing a program to reward employers who hire veterans and who support the veteran community. Gold and Platinum HIRE Vets Medallion awards will be available for large employers, and similar awards will be created for small and mid-sized employers. Criteria for receiving these awards include the percentage of employees who are veterans; percentage of veteran employees who are retained; establishment of veterans’ assistance and training programs; employment of dedicated human resources professionals for veterans; and income and tuition support for veterans.
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    Apprenticeship and CTE Policies Begin to Take Shape

    President Donald Trump signed an executive order that will allow industries to build innovative workforce development systems that address glaring skills gaps. With the construction industry currently facing a workforce shortage of as many as 500,000 jobs, Associated Builders and Contractors says this action is an important first step to allow more entryways into becoming a construction professional. Full implementation of Executive Order 13801 will require further rulemaking. 
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    Open Competition Bills Enacted in Florida And Missouri

    Missouri and Florida became the 23rd and 24th states to take action to ensure fair and open competition in government procurement of construction services. Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) signed SB 182 into law to ensure controversial project labor agreements cannot be mandated by the government on state, state-assisted and local construction projects.
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    How Not to Sweat Summertime Heat Stress

    As those who’ve worked in the construction industry for years can attest, the often excessive exposure to heat during the summer months in many parts of the United States can cause a wide variety of illnesses associated with heat stress, ranging from heat rashes and heat exhaustion to heat cramps and heat stroke. Thousands of workers report suffering occupational heat-related illnesses each year, dozens of which result in fatalities. Of those fatalities, 40 percent occur in the construction industry. 
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June 2017 (3)

    Job Planning and Risk Assessment Under NFPA 70E 2018

    While there are guidelines and requirements in place to help prevent electrical accidents, there is still a lot of room for error and oversight during the course of a busy workday. According to OSHA data, there are 30,000 arcs and 7,000 burn injuries per year, and more than 2,000 people are admitted to the hospital with severe arc flash burns annually.
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    Open Data Makes Sustainable Structures More Achievable

    The demand for sustainability and efficiency associated with new construction and renovation projects is higher than ever, as monthly energy costs constitute an ever-increasing percentage of total building life cycle expenses due to rising utility rates. As a result, sustainable construction practices promoting net-zero building designs have become a prevalent industry objective. However, peak sustainability is rarely accomplished due to the high costs and a lack of resources available in the early stages of design and planning.  
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    Conflict in Court Over Income Recognition for Construction Contractors

    The 9th Circuit Court’s review of how construction contractors should recognize income had a somewhat surprising outcome. The key question being considered was: When should developers recognize income under the completed contract method? Is it when the entire project is complete, is it on percentage of completion, or is it upon the sale of each individual home sold?  

    Shea Homes, which used the completed contract method to account for its planned development communities, claimed that final completion and acceptance under Reg. 1.460-1(c)(3) did not occur until the last road was paved and the final bond
    was released. However, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) contended that final completion took place upon the sale of each home.
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May 2017 (24)

    Strong Prospects

    What happens when 20 million people are expected to move to Texas in the next 30 years? Local contractors and college construction programs get busy. 

    Already last year, 20,000 homes were built in the greater Austin area to accommodate the anticipated population influx, which is estimated to require the construction of 50 percent more residential units than the current stock
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    BREEAM Breaks Into the U.S. Market

    The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) has been an integral part of the worldwide green building industry for many years, yet it only broke into the U.S. marketplace last October. The journey began 97 years ago, when the Building Research Establishment (BRE) was founded as an academic and science-based government organization in the United Kingdom. It has since been privatized and created the first green building standard, BREEAM, in 1990. All green building rating systems have their roots in BREEAM, including LEED. Today, nearly 3 million buildings have been registered and more than 500,000 have been certified under BREEAM.
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    Staying SHARP on Safety

    M&D Mechanical, Decatur, Ala., has more than 100 years of experience serving clients in the industrial, institutional and government sectors. During its legacy, the leadership team has certainly learned a thing or two about exceeding clients’ and employees’ expectations for safety on the jobsite. In December, the company achieved OSHA’s SHARP status—an elite ranking for small businesses that maintain exemplary injury and illness prevention programs. 
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    How Millennials Have Shaped the Construction Industry—for Better and for Worse

    Last year marked a milestone for the country’s youngest generation of workers, commonly known as millennials: They overtook baby boomers as the largest workforce segment in America. Employers should be ecstatic that elevated rates of retirement are positioned to be offset by an influx of younger, energetic, tech-savvy workers ready to stimulate productivity. 
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    Executive Insights

    Four experts offer advice on what contractors need to know about construction disputes.
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    Farewell John Hancock: The Emerging Use of Digital Signatures

    The law of electronic signatures primarily derives from two statutes: the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act 2000 (ESIGN), which governs at the federal level, and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), which governs each state (except New York, Illinois and Washington). Both laws establish that electronic signatures are legal with only a few exceptions.
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    Decision Opens the Door to Joint Employer Liability for Contractors

    On Jan. 25, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals dealt a significant blow to the traditional contractor-subcontractor relationship. In finding that a contractor and subcontractor could be considered “joint employers” of the subcontractor’s workers for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the court’s decision has opened a Pandora’s Box of potential wage and hour issues, including claims for overtime pay against contractors and higher-tier subcontractors from the employees of lower-tier subcontractors.
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    What are your best time management tips?

    "My best time management skill is keeping up with email daily. If I am able to get through all emails from the day and respond with an answer or delegate to someone else, I find that I avoid issues becoming an emergency. I attempt to minimize the amount of items that I add to my to-do list and provide a quick response to avoid leaving too many items unanswered."
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    Celebrating 30 Years With 30 Acts of Kindness

    VCC has given more than $2 million to charities across the country since being founded in Little Rock, Ark., in 1987. The company’s more than 340 employees share a commitment to a family-oriented culture and to building world-class facilities, but it’s their dedication to service that they feel truly sets them apart.
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    Prepare for Changes to Aerial Work Platform Regulations

    Canadian and U.S. regulations for the safe use of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs), ANSI A92 and CSA B254, are being updated in an effort to better align with international standards (ISO 16368). While the current ANSI and CSA standards are product specific (i.e., there is a standard for each type of MEWP), the new revisions will be subject matter-based standards (i.e., safe use, training and design). 
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    Before Employees Leave, Protect Your Assets

    Construction companies that cater to the demands unique to each type of employee will find an edge in the employment marketplace. 
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    NAIOP Announces 2016’s Top 10 States for Commercial Development

    Office, industrial, warehouse and retail real estate development supported 6.25 million American jobs and contributed $861 billion to U.S. GDP in 2016, according to an annual study by NAIOP. The top 10 states for commercial development, beginning with the highest construction value, were New York, Texas, California, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Only New York, Texas and Florida remained in the same position as 2015. 

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    NYC Construction Workforce Trending Younger, More Diverse

    While New York City’s construction industry continues to be dominated by male residents of the five boroughs, a New York Building Congress analysis of Census Bureau data has found that the city’s construction workforce has become younger and more diverse.
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    Commercial Drone Usage Could Soar to 1.6 Million by 2021

    In its 2017-2027 Aerospace Forecast, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicted that commercial drone use will reach 442,000 units by 2021 as a base estimate, but could rise as high as 1.6 million in its high estimate. Prior to the FAA licensing drone operators, certified pilots were the only individuals authorized to operate commercial drones and companies needed to secure an exemption for any use, often making operations expensive and cumbersome. 
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    Survey Finds Growing Appetite for P3 Projects

    In the next three years, 85 percent of public sector respondents to Husch Blackwell’s third annual Public-Private Partnership (P3) Conference Survey stated they are planning for multiple P3 projects. On the private side, 93 percent of respondents from AEC and financial firms affirmed the same.
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    Majority of Florida Contractors Plan to Hire in 2017

    Eighty-eight percent of Florida construction firms plan to increase hiring during the next six months and 84 percent anticipate experiencing more difficulty finding appropriately skilled labor, according to a report released by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Florida. The inaugural Florida Contractor Confidence Index (CCI) showed a statewide reading of 81 for improving sales, indicating the typical Florida contractor expects to be much busier in 2017.
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    OSHA Delays Compliance Dates for Silica and Beryllium Exposure Regulations

    In response to industry pressure, OSHA has delayed the compliance date for its new respirable crystalline silica exposure standard by 90 days until Sept. 23. The final rule lowers the permissible exposure limit (PEL) from the current standard of 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an eight-hour day. It was originally planned to take effect on June 23, with limited exceptions. 
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    Arkansas Repeals State Prevailing Wage Law

    On April 7, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) signed a bill repealing the state’s prevailing wage law. The Arkansas House of Representatives approved the legislation (SB 601/Act 1068) by a vote of 70-24 after it passed the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 28-5. 
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    Back in Session

    After years of stagnation, construction of K-12 schools is finally ramping back up in many districts across the country. In fact, institutional construction is expected to increase 10 percent this year to $118.5 billion, according to Dodge Data and Analytics’ 2017 Dodge Construction Outlook. This number largely is driven by the education sector, which comprises more than 40 percent of the institutional market. 
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    The Power of the Congressional Review Act

    For more than a decade, it was common for elected officials on Capitol Hill to say, “the Congressional Review Act (CRA) has only ever been successful once.” However, under the Trump administration, the rarely used CRA has successfully overturned eight overreaching Obama-era regulations. Passed in 1996, the CRA allows new regulations to be overturned by Congress through a joint resolution of disapproval.
    Read More >

    What Merit Shop Contractors Should Expect From the Trump Administration

    While controversies over the first nominee for Secretary of Labor slowed implementation of the Trump administration’s labor agenda during the first 100 days of the president’s term, construction industry leaders are already seeing a sharp contrast with the anti-business agenda of the Obama administration, as federal labor agencies have begun to review and in some cases retract burdensome regulations imposed by previous officials. 
    Read More >

    Avoiding the Big Spend: Tracking and Caring for Rental Equipment

    Sometimes, renting equipment makes perfect sense. In this still-tight credit environment, some lenders aren't willing to finance a large piece of equipment, or an outright purchase might not add up financially if the equipment is only needed for a short duration. For contractors on a budget, rental companies usually have the latest models in their inventories, a luxury that is out of reach for many smaller firms. Plus, renting equipment is convenient, with the duty of maintenance, set up and transportation being someone else's problem. 

    Nevertheless, there are still ways contractors can end up paying more than they planned for that rented backhoe or core driller. The good news is that there are strategies to prevent that extra spend. 
    Read More >

    ABC Craft Instructor of the Year Brings Field Experience to the Classroom

    By all accounts, Roger Thompson is one of the industry’s best at funneling his 32 years of experience in the electrical field into the minds of first-year apprentices. They’re listening, they’re learning and they appreciate the care he shows for their careers.
    Read More >

    ICE Is Coming for Undocumented Workers: How to Prevent Corporate Frostbite

    Undocumented workers and the businesses that knowingly or unknowingly employ them are coming under the microscope. Just looking at recent headlines, the president has implemented two immigration bans, is challenging so-called “Sanctuary Cities” that do not help federal immigration enforcement, has instructed government agencies to become more aggressive in enforcing immigration laws and is already reviewing proposals to strengthen the border wall. Plus, the E-Verify program for verifying worker status is likely to become mandatory.
    Read More >
April 2017 (22)

    Taking the Risks out of Project Profitability With BIM

    High risk, low margin. This all too familiar description of the construction industry is at the heart of contractors’ laser focus on bottom line profitability and overcoming the variables that can (and often do) go awry.

    The proof of that challenge is in the numbers. According to KPMG’s “Climbing the Curve, 2015 Global Construction Project Owner’s Survey,” just a quarter of construction projects in the last three years came within 10 percent of their original deadlines. And Turner and Townsend’s 2016 International Construction Market Survey found that the average global construction project margin fell from an already low 6.3 percent in 2015 to 6.1 percent.

    No matter the size of the project or the timeline, there has always been a harsh reality: Expect the unexpected. But what if you could remove more of the surprises and reduce risk—all with increased profits? 
    Read More >

    State-Level GOP Dominance Yields Advancements in Pro-Merit Shop Policies

    Throughout the remarkable 2016 election cycle, the political media generated impressive ratings by bombarding voters with sensational and hyper-focused coverage of the contentious and divisive race for the White House and a handful of competitive U.S. Senate races. After the dust settled and voters elected a GOP-controlled Congress and White House, it became clear the media failed to give enough attention to one of the most important storylines in American politics: the GOP’s domination of Democrats in state government. 

    State government policy is likely to impact America’s voters, businesses and the economy as much—or more than—anything coming out of Washington in 2017.  

    The GOP now controls the most legislative seats since the founding of the party—helping to advance free enterprise-focused policies supported by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and the merit shop contracting community. 
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    How do you tap into employees’ most valuable talents and talk to them about career advancement?

    "One of our company’s greatest strengths is that it is employee owned. Our more than 85 shareholders come from every level, which means we have people on every job who have a personal stake in its success.

    We also empower our employees, many of whom have been with us for more than 25 years, at the project level by implementing a flat organizational chart and giving them more control in the decision-making process. This approach has saved our clients millions of dollars."
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    Wired for Success

    When Adam Ruff was promoted to field supervisor at Price Electric, Robins, Iowa, last year, he set some personal goals to help develop the company’s next crop of leaders, improve operational efficiencies and have a positive influence over a larger group of people. He can place a definitive checkmark next to that last goal now that he has been named Associated Builders andContractors’ (ABC) 2017 Craft Professional of the Year. Ruff received the award in front of hundreds of contractors, apprentices and their families at ABC’s Workforce Week, held in March in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
    Read More >

    Regain Control With Weather Monitoring

    While weather is completely out of a contractor’s control, advances in technology have allowed inclement conditions to be better predicted—increasing worker safety, improving productivity and driving profitability. In an industry that is always on the go, companies adopting innovative technology early on can create more effective and efficient workplaces and jobsites. 

    Both skilled and unskilled workers engage in a number of activities that put them at risk of injury and expose them to serious hazards even before factoring in dangerous weather conditions. Safety incidents or onsite injuries should never be a factor in finishing a project on time. When working outdoors, supervisors should continuously monitor weather conditions to keep their crews safe. 
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    Resolving Disputes and Negotiating Contracts Without Breaking the Bank

    Legal services are notoriously expensive, yet they are necessary to protect companies and their owners, assert legal rights, recover payment for construction services and defend against meritless claims. Attorneys are especially useful in developing and negotiating contracts and significant change orders, setting up corporate structures to minimize and maintain risk, resolving disputes through compromise or litigating them to judgment. From a construction executive’s viewpoint, legal services are like any other service: They must be managed with the goal of obtaining the most value for the lowest cost.
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    Reduce Risk Through Planning, Collaboration and Brainstorming

    Properly managing risk in the construction industry can have a major impact on project cost, schedule and resource use, potentially offering significant savings, according to a new Dodge Data & Analytics study. 

    Produced in partnership with Alliant and supported by e-Builder and Procore, the “Managing Risk in the Construction Industry SmartMarket Report” reveals the top construction risks, their impact on the industry and the benefits associated with using specific risk evaluation and mitigation strategies. One clear finding that emerges from this data is that the industry’s growing focus on collaboration and integration may be an important step toward reducing construction risk.
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    Qualifying for and Pursuing The R&D Tax Credit

    When the topic of research and development (R&D) tax credits is discussed, chemists with lab beakers typically come to mind. In reality, it’s more accurate to envision construction superintendents and engineers in hardhats on a jobsite. More construction companies are taking advantage of the credit than ever before and are realizing substantial savings in the process. 

    Recent changes in applicable law have allowed construction companies, engineering firms and architectural firms to reap the benefits of R&D incentives that come in the form of a federal tax credit to offset tax liabilities dollar for dollar. In addition to the federal credit, most states have R&D tax credits of their own. The combination of these incentives can provide major savings for qualifying companies.
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    Meet the Competitors

    Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) 30th annual National Craft Championships (NCC), held March 1-2 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., raises the profile of careers in construction and highlights the $1.1 billion that ABC member companies spend annually on workforce development. Each year, the competition draws some of the nation’s most talented craft professionals and highlights the important role that skilled craft training plays in the construction industry.
    Read More >

    Reduce Lien Exposure With Anti-Assignment Clauses

    Property owners, general contractors, subcontractors and materials providers must understand their rights and obligations with respect to construction liens in order to avoid delays in finalizing a project (from the perspective of the property owner) or to avoid forfeiting lien rights (from the perspective of the subcontractor).
    Read More >

    Fischer Proposes New Federal Highway Plan

    Sen. Deb Fischer's (R-Neb.) new highway funding plan would dedicate more than $107 billion over a five-year period from Customs and Border Patrol fees and revenue collected on freight cargo and passengers to the Highway Trust Fund—helping to secure its solvency while providing greater flexibility for states to speed up their construction programs.
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    Global Entertainment Venues Embrace LEED

    The U.S. Green Building Council released its “LEED in Motion: Venues” report, which highlights the green strategies and savings of more than 30 LEED-certified convention centers, sports venues, performing arts centers, community centers and public assembly spaces.
    Read More >

    'Volks' Rule Overturned

    President Trump signed a resolution into law eliminating the Obama administration’s “Volks” rule. Congress passed the resolution through the Congressional Review Act, preventing future administrations from promulgating a similar rule.
    Read More >

    New CO2-Eating Concrete Takes Less Energy to Produce

    An engineering and materials science professor at Rutgers University has created an eco-friendly, lightweight concrete using reactive hydrothermal liquid-phase densification (rHLPD), a process that models the generative design behavior of shellfish, to create organic ceramics while submerged in water. 
    Read More >

    NY-NJ Port Authority Approves $32B Infrastructure Spending Plan

    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey approved a $32.2 billion capital plan that will fund infrastructure projects in both states for the next 10 years. Authority officials predict the approved program will result in a $56 billion economic boon for the area and create $20 billion in wages. 
    Read More >

    Congress, States Consider Legislation to Prevent PLA Mandates

    On March 14, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) introduced the Fair and Open Competition Act (S. 622) to prevent federal agencies and recipients of federal funding from requiring contractors to sign controversial project labor agreements (PLAs) as a condition of winning federal or federally assisted construction contracts. Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) introduced a companion bill (H.R. 1552) in the U.S. House of Representatives that was reported favorably out of committee March 28.
    Read More >

    Find the Hidden Equity in Heavy Equipment

    To have long-term success in the construction business, a company needs to ride the ups and the downs and navigate the surprises that present themselves on an all-too-regular basis. The business cycle can be “feast or famine,” and neither is good. So how does one stay financially prepared for every bump in the road? 
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    Three Ways After-Sales Service Aids Construction Efficiency and Profitability

    Time is money in the construction business. Any equipment downtime can be troublesome and costly. Plus, projects can take a serious hit for each day that a revenue-generating piece of machinery is out of service waiting for a replacement part. 

    As such, construction equipment manufacturers must find new ways to optimize their businesses and avoid downtime, especially as competition grows from third-party parts vendors such as Amazon. After-sales service (i.e., the service delivered
    after the initial sale of a new product) is often viewed as a margin and revenue opportunity, but having a well-oiled after-sales service operation—especially for heavy equipment manufacturers—can have a real impact on productivity and be a differentiator for brands and dealers in the space.
    Read More >

    Bringing Health Care to Retail Centers

    With hospital stays becoming more expensive, the federal government reducing the services it will reimburse, hospitals nationwide consolidating and fewer people traveling long distances for care, the physical spaces needed to deliver health care are changing rapidly.

    For the construction industry, this means builders and developers have the opportunity to repurpose former hospital structures and develop ambulatory care centers, outpatient centers and medical malls. This trend can be seen across the country, and it shows no signs of abating.
    Read More >

    Crowdsourcing a Charitable Beneficiary

    In March, Faith Technologies, Menasha, Wis., gave $5,000 to the Boys & Girls Club with a little help from its social media community. Customers, partners and employees from across the country voted in an online poll to determine which of the four nonprofit organizations designated by Faith Technologies’ Giving Committee would receive the donation. The Boys and Girls Club won with 46 percent of the votes, followed by the American Heart Association with 35 percent of the votes; the remaining votes went to Earth Share and Junior Achievement.
    Read More >

    Capital Infusion: How to Optimize Forthcoming Construction Lending

    Many areas of the United States are seeing a resurgence in construction starts, but the question remains whether any restart of the economy will be sustainable. The lending industry has been heavily regulated since the Great Recession, and construction loans are not exempt from the regulation and oversight, which tends to chill enthusiasm for new lending. 
    Read More >

    A Contractor’s State Tax Planning Checklist

    Between federal laws, the taxing jurisdictions of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and countless local jurisdictions, contractors and construction companies face unique tax challenges. However, with minimal planning and a proactive approach, unwanted tax consequences can be avoided. 

    Considering that tax reform was a priority of the new administration’s campaign, economists believe substantial changes will be made this year to corporate and personal income tax rates. Given the likelihood of reform, it is important to consider the potential tax changes in relation to the business’ legal formation (e.g., Corporation, LLC, etc.), which could yield benefits given the expected decreases to the corporate and individual tax rates. 
    Read More >
March 2017 (41)

    Three Ways for Contractors to Mitigate Risk and Lower Insurance Premiums

    Many business executives believe insurance brokers have control over the quotes they provide, but that’s not the case. Insurance carriers control the price, and they provide the best rates to companies that proactively manage their risk. The less risky a contractor appears, the fewer claims it’s likely to have and the “safer” the company looks. Therefore, the lower the premium they are likely to get.

    Here are three ways general contractors can mitigate risk and make their companies more desirable to insurance carriers.
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    What is your proudest safety moment?

    "M. Davis & Sons is a fifth generation construction company that builds, installs and maintains corporate plants and facilities for national and international companies. M. Davis began as a tinsmith shop in 1870 and has evolved into a company that services Fortune 500 companies. 

    Our mission statement says it all: To provide quality services to our clients while providing satisfaction, security and a safe workplace for our team. At the end of the day, we want our team members to return to their families."
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    Dissecting the House Tax Blueprint

    In June 2016, as part of Speaker Paul Ryan’s “Better Way” initiative, the House Ways and Means Committee rolled out its “Blueprint” for tax reform. This broad overview outlined Republicans’ talking points for the campaign trail and the anticipated showdown with the Clinton White House, if not a Democratic Senate majority. 

    After a false start with the ill-fated Camp Draft, expectations were tempered for legislative action. The topline items read as a veritable wish list of pro-growth provisions that were hailed by tax coalitions and trade groups alike. The tradeoffs were largely ignored, with any prospective pushback muted by dismal electoral expectations. After an initial burst of coverage, the Blueprint receded as Congress left town, leaving all eyes trained on an increasingly surreal presidential race. 
    Read More >

    Build a New Approach to Female Construction Leaders

    If you’re expecting another article about breaking through the concrete ceiling or why women need to keep up the fight, prepare to be disappointed. While it’s necessary to appreciate all the women who have paved the way in the construction industry and the workforce overall, it’s not a good idea for today’s female leaders to focus on the struggle. 

    A positive emphasis on the power women already possess makes better business sense. Several recent studies indicate that increasing the number of women in executive leadership and board roles can increase profitability. One report from Grant Thorton LLP suggests that male-only boards in the United States, United Kingdom and India are incurring an opportunity cost, measured in lower returns, of a whopping $655 billion.
    Read More >

    Safety Leadership at All Levels

    Nobody wants a jobsite incident to occur, but how a contractor responds to a worst case scenario is part of what separates it on the safety spectrum. 

    Fisher Contracting Company, Midland, Mich., which performs civil infrastructure projects across Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee, can attest. On a job last year, a scaffold wall bracket failed, causing an employee to fall to a lower level and suffer rib injuries. Upon review, Fisher Contracting determined the relatively new employee didn’t feel comfortable mentioning he was unsatisfied with the condition of the rented scaffold equipment.
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    Risk Management in a 24-Hour Society

    Builders and developers can’t escape scrutiny when confronted with government investigations, workplace accidents, dissatisfied customers and employee complaints.

    Reputation in the construction field is a crucial business quality. It’s paramount to ensure a sufficient risk management strategy is in place, and enhanced media exposure means non-traditional risk management actions are needed to prepare for and respond to challenges.
    Read More >

    (Re)Constructing the Retail Sector

    It has been a long time since the words “growth” and “retail” have been used in the same sentence in construction circles. In fact, for more than five years, commercial construction has either risen (or fallen) due to the indirect challenges of weak consumer spending, as well as changes in where, when, how and on what consumers spend their hard-earned dollars. 

    Now, the numbers are showing that retail construction is enjoying a renaissance as consumers loosen the purse strings and regain confidence in the economy. And while department store closings remain the Achilles’ heel for malls, according to JLL, a financial and professional services firm that specializes in commercial real estate services and investment management, there appears to be ample demand for the new use of that space.
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    DOE Launches Program to Make Zero-Energy Schools More Mainstream

    Zero Energy School Accelerator program to develop zero energy designs that are cost-competitive for construction in the education sector and in local communities across the nation.
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    Trump Administration Targets 50 U.S. Infrastructure Projects Worth Over $137B

    The Trump administration has compiled a preliminary list of 50 high-priority “emergency and national security” infrastructure projects valued at more than $137 billion and has solicited the nation’s governors for input. 

    Read More >

    Report Offers Intelligence on Managing Risk in The Construction Industry

    A new SmartMarket Report from Dodge Data & Analytics, “Managing Risk in the Construction Industry,” reveals essential intelligence on the risks faced by building owners, general contractors and trade contractors and the benefits achieved from specific risk evaluation and mitigation practices.

    The study demonstrates how collaboration between building owners, general contractors and subcontractors can aid in keeping construction project costs under control, result in a timely delivery and enhance the safety environment.
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    Gauging the Impact of OSHA's Crane Operator Requirements

    In this spotlight on crane safety, Construction Executive interviewed Hank Dutton, Travelers’ senior technical specialist for construction and risk control, on the impact of OSHA’s new certification requirements for crane operators.
    Read More >

    Five Reasons for Contractors to Consider Environmental Insurance

    Construction companies rarely consider that they may end up in court for performing work that damaged the environment, but it happens more frequently than contractors may think.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that construction contractors have a significantly high potential for contributing to environmental damages. The agency considers general contractors, subcontractors, engineers and architects as suspect when it comes to environmental pollution and the resulting damages pollution causes. Yet, some contractors do not recognize the significant risk of environmental claims.
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    Legislation Introduced To Repeal Davis-Bacon Act

    Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has introduced legislation, H.R. 743, in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act. The bill now awaits passage by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

    ABC has long supported full repeal of the archaic 85-year old Davis-Bacon Act. The prevailing wages from the law are administered through an unscientific and fundamentally flawed survey process by the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the Davis-Bacon Act will raise federal construction costs by $13 billion between 2018 and 2026. 
    Read More >

    Executive Insights

    Nine experts offer advice on what contractors need to know about obtaining additional insured coverage, how to keep from overextending in the potential burst of construction activity under the Trump administration, insights on contractors purchasing surety bonds directly, trends in owner expectations for design-build projects and the benefits of the surety bonding prequalification process. 
    Read More >

    Wisconsin Senate Approves Bill to End PLA Requirements

    State senators in Madison, Wis., recently approved a bill preventing local governments from requiring contractors to work with unions on taxpayer-funded building projects. Republicans who control the Legislature contend ending the use of project labor agreements (PLAs), which establish wages and other conditions for certain projects, will protect taxpayers. The bill, which passed on a 19-13 vote, now heads to the state Assembly.
    Read More >

    7,300 Wishes and Counting

    When Mike Ryan, president of LandTek Group, Amityville, N.Y., hired Marty Lyons as his director of sales and marketing in 2000, he got more than a former All-American defensive football player for the University of Alabama and No. 1 draft choice for the New York Jets. He got an award-winning philanthropist who has been channeling his desire to help terminally ill children since 1982 by granting wishes through the Marty Lyons Foundation.
    Read More >

    Congress Votes to Permanently Block ‘Blacklisting’ Rule

    Congress has passed legislation (H.J. Res. 37) that will block implementation of the Obama administration’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order 13673, commonly referred to as “blacklisting,” through the Congressional Review Act. The House approved H.J. Res. 37 with a bipartisan vote of 236-187 and the Senate passed the measure by a vote of 49-48.
    Read More >

    Trump Orders Review of WOTUS Rule

    President Trump signed an executive order that directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to reconsider the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule issued in May 2015. The controversial rule, which dramatically expands the scope of federal authority over water and land use across the country, has generated fierce opposition from a variety of industries, including construction. The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals placed a nationwide stay on the WOTUS rule on Oct. 9, 2015. 
    Read More >

    Clearing the Air: OSHA’s New Construction Silica Standard

    In March 2016, OSHA issued its long-anticipated final rule on respirable crystalline silica with two separate standards, one for the construction industry and the other for general industry plus maritime. The effective date was June 23, 2016; construction must be in full compliance by September 23, 2017, and general industry and maritime by June 23, 2018.

    As the clock continues to tick down to September 23, now is the time for contractors to begin planning their compliance approach. The requirements of the silica standard apply to all occupational exposures to airborne respirable crystalline silica in the construction industry, except where employee exposure would remain very low. 
    Read More >

    A Potential Gap in Indemnity Coverage

    Commercial contracts in the construction industry generally contain indemnity provisions in which one party (the indemnitor) agrees to assume the liability of the other party (the indemnitee) as a result of personal injury or property damage. Historically, one party indemnifies the other regardless of fault—meaning the indemnitor assumes liability for all damage to its own property and people, regardless of who caused the damage. To the extent allowed under state law, this obligation also can include indemnity for damage caused by the sole negligence of the indemnitee.  
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    2017 Insurance Market Forecast

    The insurance industry’s surplus is currently at an all-time high—increasing nearly 50 percent in the last seven years—which means rates have begun to decline. Although most underwriters are trying to hold the line on rate, it is anticipated that pricing on preferred accounts will continue its modest downward trend. 
    Read More >

    Tracking Fuel to the Piece of Construction Equipment

    Heavy highway construction is equipment intensive, and along with that comes the use of a lot of fuel. Considering fuel’s variable and high cost, it’s logical to track it closely, yet many heavy highway companies fail to do so. Is a specific loader using more fuel than it should? Is an employee filling up his personal car as he leaves the yard at the end of the day? Proper fuel tracking can answer these questions and many more. 
    Read More >

    Cutting Through the Complexity Of Strategic Risk Management

    Considering its inherent complexity, enterprise-wide scope and financial significance, strategic risk is an executive-level issue at its core. It’s so vital that five of the world’s leading finance and accounting organizations developed a consortium to build an integrated framework for enterprise risk-related decision-making. 
    Read More >

    Employment Agreements Mitigate Construction Litigation Concerns

    Employers often only require employees serving in a management position to execute employment agreements with provisions largely focused on competition, disclosure and solicitation. However, a more expansive use of employment agreements should be considered, particularly given the increased resort to litigation by all levels of employees utilizing the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  

    The FLSA essentially requires employers to properly compensate non-exempt employees for their actual hours worked at a regular rate for their first 40 hours worked during each week, as well as at an overtime rate of time and a half for every hour worked beyond the initial 40. With vastly increasing regularity, employees have been initiating litigation against employers in an effort to recover additional compensation for overtime hours. Employers utilizing a job bonus system for compensation, with or without an hourly rate of compensation, are particularly targeted, as are employers that fail to collect or maintain accurate time records. 
    Read More >

    Iron Assets Are Known; It's Time for Digital Resources

    The third week of 2017 was busy for shareholders in the heavy construction equipment industry, with financial institutions and asset management groups cutting down their stakes in the shares of leading manufacturing companies. Despite the rollercoaster ride, Wall Street expects some attractive profit figures by the end of the last quarter of the 2016-2017 financial year. The optimism is tied to the profit tracking of financial releases for the prominent vendors in the industry. 
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    A Tip of the 'HAT'

    When Michelle Jones, an instrumentation engineer with Hargrove Engineers + Constructors, Mobile, Ala., heard about an 11 year-old girl named Emma Pablo with limited mobility due to cerebral palsy, she was inspired to help—and that inspiration quickly spread throughout the company. 

    With President and CEO Ralph Hargrove’s blessing, Jones reached out to fellow engineers and designers who would share her vision for building something that would enrich Emma’s life and give her access to the tools she needed to learn to move around in space and control her environment.
    Read More >

    Capitalize on the Most Valuable Data from Fleet Telematics

    Whether operating dump trucks or pickup trucks, most companies with a fleet of more than 25 vehicles have at least entertained the idea of installing telematics devices to help reduce operational costs and improve safety. However, many companies are not realizing the potential risk-reduction benefit because they are not focused on the appropriate measures to improve driver behaviors, especially hard braking.
    Read More >

    Beyond the Bank: Manage Cash Flow with Equipment Financing

    Equipment is the backbone of business across industries—imagine a moving company without a truck, a bakery without an oven or a demolition contractor without a bulldozer—but purchasing equipment out of pocket is expensive. The significant upfront cost of a dump truck, HVAC or security system, or commercial refrigeration unit can have a severe, negative effect on cash flow, particularly for companies in early growth stages or those looking to expand. 
    Read More >

    Open Source Tool Seeks to Drive Emissions Reduction

    A new open source tool that will help construction companies identify and reduce carbon emissions is currently being pilot tested by U.K.-based developer Costain and the University of Edinburgh Business School, with funding from Volvo’s Construction Climate Challenge. The Carbon Infrastructure Transformation Tool (CITT) project sprung from the need to solve two key problems facing the construction industry: high greenhouse gas emissions and the fragmented nature of supply chains.
    Read More >

    House Passes Legislation to Block ‘Blacklisting’ Rule

    In February, the U.S. House of representatives passed H.J. Res. 37 to block implementation of Executive Order 13673, known as the “blacklisting” rule, through the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Implementation of the rule was temporarily blocked on Oct. 24, 2016, when a U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of Texas granted a preliminary injunction against the reporting provisions of the rule, which were scheduled to take effect Oct. 25, 2016.
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    Where the Heart Is

    From the outside, the headquarters of hth companies, inc., Union, Mo., looks like a humble construction office—a two-story, tan-colored structure, set back a bit from a country road, with trucks parked outside, a side entrance for the warehouse, an awning bearing the company logo and a light dusting of snow on the front stoop.

    But peek inside—where a warm welcome reveals the heart and soul of the company—and it’s evident why Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) selected this family-owned mechanical contracting firm at its 2016 Contractor of the Year. The award is about the employees and their sincere dedication to the betterment of the construction industry. 
    Read More >

    Survey Underscores Expected HVACR Business Growth

    Eighty-six percent of 1,400 global HVACR manufacturers surveyed by ASHRAE Journal at AHR Expo expect their sales to grow in the coming year. When asked to rate 2017 business prospects, 98 percent indicated a positive outlook. Additionally, 86 percent of HVACR manufacturers said they expected their business to increase in 2017, and 57 percent indicated their sales had increased from 2015 to 2016.
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    What’s the best advice a fellow member of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) has given you, and how has it impacted your business?

    Having been part of ABC for many years, we’ve gained many relationships with member firms around the country. One instance of help from another ABC firm stands out as a great example of the generosity of our members. I was working on a job with a small electrical contractor that was unprepared for the rigorous job-specific safety program of a large sophisticated project. It was a growing company, but the in-house training was very basic. The contractor’s ability to create its portion of the site-specific safety plan was weak, as was the level of its employees’ understanding of safety.
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    Final Rule Revises EEO Framework for National Apprenticeship Act

    The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration issued a final rule updating the equal employment opportunity regulations that impact the National Apprenticeship Act of 1937. Current regulations prohibit discrimination in registered apprenticeship programs on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin and sex. An amendment to 29 CFR Part 30 updates the equal employment opportunity standards to include age (40 or older), genetic information, sexual orientation and disability among the protected base.
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    Kentucky and Missouri Become Right to Work States

    Kentucky and Missouri recently passed legislation that prevents workers from being required to join a labor union in order to accept or maintain a job, making them the 27th and 28th Right to Work states, respectively.
    Read More >

    USGBC Announces Top 10 Countries For LEED

    China took first place on the U.S. Green Building Council’s list of the Top 10 Countries for LEED, which highlights countries outside the United States that are making significant strides in sustainable building design, construction and market transformation. China moved up one spot from second place last year, with 34.62 million gross square meters of certified LEED space. Canada, India, Brazil and the Republic of Korea rounded out the top five countries on the list, followed by Taiwan, Germany, Turkey, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates.
    Read More >

    OSHA Issues Recommended Practices for Safety Programs

    OSHA recently issued “Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs in Construction,” a document intended to help small and medium contractors that may not have safety and health specialists on staff to create proactive safety programs. The recommendations are purely advisory and do not change any existing obligations tied to OSHA standards or create new legal obligations.
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    Building a Relationship-Based Career

    When Brooke Wenger started at Triad Engineering, Inc., Hagerstown, Md., as a marketing coordinator nearly a decade ago, she was terrified of going to networking events. She let nerves and the fear of not knowing anyone get to her, not to mention the idea of having to talk in front of a crowd. 

    Today, as Triad Engineering’s more seasoned director of business development, Wenger spends the vast majority of her time out of the office attending meetings and events, serving on committees, following up on project leads and building relationships with potential business partners.
    Read More >

    Equip Construction Managers to Minimize Safety Risks

    Construction managers help shoulder the responsibility of safety, ensuring the appropriate measures have been integrated into all aspects of the construction process while combatting the pressures of time, labor, cost, scope and quality. With the advent of new technologies, in addition to the right partners and resources, construction managers are more equipped than ever to tackle safety and minimize risk exposure.
    Read More >

    Advocacy Opportunity: Bring Lawmakers Onsite

    The beginning of the 115th Congress presents a valuable opportunity for members of Associated Builders and Contractors to participate in grassroots advocacy efforts and make their voices heard by lawmakers on Capitol Hill. One way construction businesses can do this is by hosting a lawmaker at a jobsite or training facility in their community.
    Read More >

    The Solution to the Construction Staffing Shortage Isn’t Just Money

    The vast majority of contractors are having a hard time finding workers, including project managers. While offering competitive salaries is important, it’s not the key to staying properly staffed. Relatively few people leave because of salary; they leave because of a lack of engagement. Productive employees who are given support and authority and are encouraged to be entrepreneurial stay with their employer.  
    Read More >
February 2017 (2)

    The Impact of New Tools on Construction Productivity

    Construction has never moved at the same technological pace as other industries. However, the old way of doing things is broken. Workers are using outdated tools, both powered and hand-operated, and companies are losing millions of dollars in productivity and shelling out big bucks in recordkeeping, claims processing and workers' compensation premiums. Using some of the most common types of construction tools can result in painful and potentially debilitating injuries referred to as work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). 

    Read More >

    Construction Executive Launches Free Mobile App

    Construction Executive is introducing a free mobile app for Apple, Android and Kindle devices. Read current and past issues of the magazine in a high-quality digital format. Simply search for "Construction Executive Mag" in your app store. Read More >
January 2017 (25)

    Study Reveals Less Volatility in Remodeling Market

    In comparing new construction and commercial remodels during the course of the Great Recession, BuildFax found additions, remodels and alterations dipped 9.7 percent at their lowest point (versus pre-crisis levels), while new construction permits plunged 43 percent between 2008 and 2011.
    Read More >

    New Guide Touts Quiet Hotel Construction

    A new Quiet Room® Guide is available to help architects, developers and construction professionals understand the Quiet Room® label, as well as related certification requirements, the latest methods for acoustic insulation of hotel rooms and the savings that can be realized by investing in soundproofing during the construction phase. 
    Read More >

    Injunction Blocks Overtime Rule

    Responding to a legal challenge filed by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and a coalition of business groups, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction blocking the U.S. Department of Labor’s final overtime rule from taking effect Dec. 1. 
    Read More >

    Trench Fatalities Doubled Last Year

    Twenty-three workers were killed in trench collapses in 2016, according to OSHA, compared to 11 in 2015. Trench collapses are rarely survivable, as 1 cubic yard of soil can weigh up to 3,000 pounds.
    Read More >

    Court Blocks 'Persuader' Rule

    In mind-November, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas found the U.S. Department of Labor’s “persuader rule” to be unlawful and blocked it from taking effect.
    Read More >

    Report Examines DNA Of Construction Entrepreneurs

    Sixty-two percent of construction small business owners have seen increases in revenue and 64 percent have seen profits increase, according to Hiscox’s eighth annual DNA of an Entrepreneur report.
    Read More >

    Merit Shop Scorecard Grades State Construction Policies

    Louisiana, Virginia and North Carolina earned the top three rankings in Associated Builders and Contractors’ latest update to “Building America: The Merit Shop Scorecard."
    Read More >

    What’s One Thing Your Company Wants to Achieve or Do Differently This Year?

    In 2017, we will focus on the development and strategic execution of these new efforts, as well as targeted and strategic marketing efforts based on our vertical markets and areas of expertise.
    Read More >

    The Unexpected Benefits of Project Management Software

    The proliferation of project management software and services is nothing less than overwhelming. Even the companies that have established a base level of use of project management software continue to be challenged by whether advancements have overtaken the usefulness of existing systems to suggest an overhaul or implementation of a new system.
    Read More >

    It’s Time to Talk About Occupational Fraud

    Safeguarding assets from fraud is an important objective for every company. It will take an all-hands-on-deck approach to be successful, and it starts at the top.  
    Read More >

    Curb Discovery Costs With a Tailored Arbitration Clause

    Arbitration is premised on using arbitrators with knowledge of the subject matter to conduct more efficient proceedings. A lot of the uncertainty and expense can be eliminated with a well-crafted arbitration clause.  

    Read More >

    Working Backward From a Budget With Target Value Design

    When construction firms help owners get the absolute most out of every dollar of their investment, they can not only win the work, but also earn a client for life. Rather than letting design drive the budget, which often results in the need to “value engineer” later in the process, target value design is an approach in which the budget drives design decisions, occurring very early in preconstruction. 
    Read More >

    Industry Game-Changers

    Typically, disruption in the workplace is counterintuitive to productivity. But in terms of creating innovative ways to manage people, processes and technology, the concept of “disruption” isn’t such a bad thing for the construction industry. Change is stirring whether contractors are ready for it or not, and firms that have adopted new ways of managing scheduling and workflows are seeing stellar results—earning the accolades of repeat projects for key clients, as well as happy project partners.
    Read More >

    Five Tips for Getting the Business Intelligence Dashboard You Want

    Select a business intelligence solution that acts like Switzerland: willing to work with any data source out of the box. 
    Read More >

    Internal Controls Prevent Construction Losses

    Internal controls stem from the idea that no one individual should have complete control over a given transaction process and that there should be proper segregation of duties among individuals involved in every process. By spreading responsibilities among employees, companies can mitigate the risk of fraud. Practically speaking, this means separating the preparation, recording and approval of a transaction among multiple people.
    Read More >

    Emerging Drone Applications in Heavy/Highway Construction

    From bid preparation through project development, completion and maintenance, drones offer ways to speed results and reduce costs on heavy/highway construction projects.
    Read More >

    Embrace New Technology Platforms to Improve Business Operations

    Contractors that keep pace with changing technology will be better positioned to analyze and improve job performance, speed up routine processes on the jobsite, attract and retain the next generation of talent, enhance owner and client relationships, and better manage the inevitable changes that occur throughout the life cycle of a job. While there are many benefits, the construction industry in particular needs to be mindful that changing ingrained processes also will require investment, time and momentum to implement.  
    Read More >

    Optimism Rises for Near-Term Infrastructure Spending

    Stepping away from campaign promises and political conjecture, 2017 should be a decent year for the transportation
    construction market, with the best years for spending growth still ahead. 
    Read More >

    Construction Cameras Offer New Dimensions in Project Oversight

    Recent improvements in hardware, software and technical services have helped construction cameras gain currency as a must-have tool for documenting project progress, boosting worker performance, minimizing errors, improving communication and enhancing stakeholder relationships.
    Read More >

    Heartfelt Giving at Its Finest

    As a member of the Jacksonville Beach, Fla., community for the past 11 years, FaverGray does more than build award-winning student housing, apartment, senior living and hospitality projects. It gives back to local nonprofits in a heartfelt way—one of the reasons the company has earned Associated Builders and Contractors’ Accredited Quality Contractor designation. 
    Read More >

    2017 Tech Predictions

    When Star Trek™ debuted 50 years ago, who would have thought the technology employed on the Starship Enterprise would one day be used on construction jobsites. Crew members carried a communicator, which looked much like yesterday’s flip phones. The Combadge was a wearable communication device, and Lt. Uhura wore a wireless Bluetooth-like earpiece. When Captain Kirk asked a question or gave a command, the computer responded remarkably like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. The Replicator produced food, tools and other objects, much like today’s 3-D printers. The ship was a model of operational efficiency many construction firms strive to achieve.
    Read More >

    A Win-Win Vision

    Today, Goodrich occupies the office of the president at Gaylor Electric, a position he has held since 2014. The office itself tells quite a story: It is covered floor to ceiling in pictures, plaques and memorabilia highlighting everything from Indiana sports teams to company and family achievements, past Republican presidents and a love for ABC. This year, his passion for merit shop construction is widening in scope as ABC’s national chairman. 
    Read More >

    A Diverse Workforce, Built on Merit

    In this spotlight on entrepreneurship and diversity, Construction Executive interviewed industry leader Larry Lopez, president and CEO of Green JobWorks, a Baltimore-based staffing company that provides both skilled and general labor to clients in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. As the new chair of Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) Diversity Committee, Lopez imparts his wisdom on what it means to be a minority business owner in a rapidly changing industry, and the path he envisions for small and emerging contractors to succeed. 
    Read More >

    Trump Administration Promises Regulatory Relief

    In November, Democrats netted a total of six seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and two seats in the U.S. Senate, falling short of the predictions of many political experts. Additionally, more than 200 candidates endorsed by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) in the House and 21 in the Senate were elected or re-elected, reflecting a better than 90 percent candidate success rate for those ABC endorsed. 
    Read More >

    Rigging Supplies: New Model Speeds Delivery and Selection

    Frequently, purchasing rigging equipment is left to the last minute, either because it is an afterthought or because it is unclear what specifications the rigging requires for the job. To help make construction professionals more competitive, proactive rigging suppliers are offering a more responsive purchasing model. 

    Read More >
December 2016 (1)

    Revised I-9 Form Now Available; Required by Jan. 22

    The Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have released a revised I-9 Form that employers must use beginning Jan. 22, 2017, to verify all new hires' employment eligibility, including U.S. citizens and non-citizens. Employers who fail to use the new form on or after Jan. 22 may be subject to penalties.
    Read More >
November 2016 (39)

    Look Inward to Solve the Management Shortage

    Most construction companies already have a pool of talented employees who can be trained on the ins and outs of what it means to be a construction manager. Effective training and mentoring programs need to be in place to properly retain standout employees and help them rise within the company, and that’s where some companies encounter difficulties. 
    Read More >

    Why Do You Want to Work in the Construction Industry?

    I believe the construction industry will allow me to financially support myself while giving me a balance of time with my family. I also enjoy the idea of traveling for work and meeting new people and seeing different parts of the country. 
    Read More >

    Mitigate Risk by Managing Information

    Modern building and infrastructure projects generate a lot of data, and it’s only going to keep growing. In 2004, a large project generated roughly 100 gigabytes of data; today, that stat has risen to 6.5 terabytes of data. Because building and infrastructure projects live and die by project information, many risks are associated with properly managing it. 
    Read More >

    DPR Uses Its Office As a Sustainable Example for Clients

    DPR took a building that had been vacant for more than seven years and transformed into an office that is not only energy-efficient and seeking LEED-CI v4.0 Platinum certification, but also ensures the well-being of employees. 

    Read More >

    Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late to Understand Protective E&O Policies

    Protective E&O is an essential insurance policy where perceived concerns about the amount and adequacy of the design firm’s professional liability insurance can be questioned in relationship to the complexity and size of the project. Brokers and insureds need to be aware of several seemingly innocuous clauses contained in many of these policies.
    Read More >

    LEED Liability: Construction Contract Concerns for Green Building Projects

    Despite the continuous narrative tied to green building, construction contracts have simply not kept pace, and most form contracts or standard clauses do not address contractual issues specific to sustainable projects. 
    Read More >

    New Training Curricula Offered for Workforce Development and Mentoring

    NCCER has released two new training programs in response to the industry’s labor shortage and corresponding need for workforce development professionals and industry mentors.
    Read More >

    Proposed Death Tax Increase Targets Family-Owned Businesses

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury issued proposed regulations targeting the valuation practices of family-owned businesses that would lead to dramatically higher estate and gift taxes by eliminating the use of discounts currently permitted.
    Read More >

    Medical and Benefits Costs Are Top Concerns

    Fifty-six percent of construction businesses surveyed for the 2016 Travelers Risk Index report they worry most about medical cost inflation and legal liability, followed by rising employee benefits costs and broad economic uncertainty. Rounding out the top eight construction business concerns are attracting and retaining talent, employee safety and workplace violence, legal and regulatory compliance, and cyber risk and data breaches.
    Read More >

    Moderate Gains in Construction Spending Expected Through 2017

    As the industry enters a more mature phase of its expansion, the 2017 Dodge Construction Outlook forecasts total U.S. construction starts will advance 5 percent to $713 billion, following gains of 11 percent in 2015 and an estimated 1 percent in2016.
    Read More >

    Rethinking Health Care Construction

    Outpatient and walk-in urgent care facilities are far less costly for organizations to construct than larger medical buildings and hospitals; therefore, these facilities are popping up in retail spaces and are most likely on short-term leases that do not require a large commitment from the organization. The increase in the number of outpatient facilities also reverts back to patient satisfaction: Patients are more comfortable seeing their doctors at an outpatient facility. 
    Read More >

    Pave It Forward

    In September, The PHILLIPS School in Annandale, Va., debuted $150,000 worth of repairs to its entrance, bus lanes and sidewalks as a result of the Heavy Construction Contractors Association’s annual “Pave It Forward!” charitable giving program.
    Read More >

    Bipartisan Federal Legislation Is a Potential Boon for P3s

    For construction companies active in the public-private partnership (P3) or design-build arena, the bipartisan Public Buildings Renewal Act (S. 3177/H.R. 5361) represents a fountain of new work opportunities building or rehabilitating many outdated and dilapidated government-owned facilities—such as public schools, post offices, prisons, courthouses and libraries—that need to be replaced. 
    Read More >

    Teaching the Art of Preservation

    “We need to enable people to protect and preserve their histories through meaningful hands-on work. More people are coming into this field because it’s very satisfying to work on cultural preservation projects.” 
    Read More >

    Blending the Old With the New

    For those that take on the onerous and challenging work of renovating and restoring historic buildings, it is more than just a job. It’s a labor of love. At the heart of this movement is an upsurge in the desire to move near downtown areas to be close to work and home, particularly among today’s younger generation. The result is that historical buildings—brick and granite, and all the charm to match—are in high demand. This bodes well for construction companies that garner much of their revenue from preserving buildings that are a testament to the nation’s past.
    Read More >

    2017 Regional Construction Outlook

    The first half of 2016 was disappointingly slow, but signs of improvement for the second half have appeared. Employment continues to grow at a slow, but steady, pace. The overall outlook is for continued, albeit slow, expansion in the economy and the construction industry.
    Read More >

    2017 Construction Outlook

    For now, it’s tempting to maintain a somewhat pessimistic outlook. A combination of debt accumulation and low interest rates appears to have taken asset prices above levels supported by economic fundamentals. This renders the macro-economy and that of the nation’s nonresidential construction sector somewhat vulnerable to asset price adjustments.  
    Read More >

    A Professional Contractor’s Guide to Rotary Tools

    The latest generation of rotary tools has the speed, power and features to go from the workshop to the jobsite. Rotary tools accept dozens of different accessories for working virtually any building material, including wood, drywall, metal, plastic, tile, glass and stone, to name a few. These compact tools are ideal for use in extremely tight spaces and cramped quarters. 
    Read More >

    Delivering Efficient Thermal Control of Concrete Curing

    Benefits delivered by hydronic heating range from ensuring durability and crack-free surfaces to avoiding shrinkage and spallingin severe weather conditions. Contractors have a very efficient way to resolve their job-specific curing requirements when partnered with engineers that can provide hydronic heating expertise. 
    Read More >

    How Does Safety Impact Surety Bonding?

    When safety issues become a factor in a contractor’s ability to finish a project, the surety starts to question what other issues might be out there that could have a negative impact on the contractor’s ability to complete the project.
    Read More >

    Create More Reasons for Workers to Stay

    Stimulating training opportunities, advancement accelerated to match the abilities of the worker and a “voice” in important decisions seem to be the most important expectations of the modern talent pool. It’s essential for the construction sector to focus on creating an exciting, modern image of itself as a profession of “building important things,” and more specifically one that piques the interest of tech-oriented candidates. 
    Read More >

    Surety’s Impact on Emerging Trends in Public Construction

    Given the choice of security requirements, the surety market continues to provide the product with the best combined benefit for contractors and their obligee in today’s evolving construction and surety markets. 
    Read More >

    Preliminary Injunction Granted Against ‘Blacklisting’ Final Rule

    On Oct. 24, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that prevents the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council from implementing the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces final rule, commonly referred to as the blacklisting rule, which was scheduled to go into effect on Oct. 25.
    Read More >

    Model-Based Estimating Taps Benefits of BIM

    When used to drive estimating best practices, 5-D BIM provides unprecedented efficiency, along with the flexibility and accuracy to turn around big estimates quickly, inform better decision-making and drive cost predictability. More importantly, 5-D BIM saves estimators time by avoiding tedious takeoff exercises and allows them to focus on more critical factors, such as risk mitigation and owner and subcontractor relationship management. 
    Read More >

    Surety Industry Advocates for Inclusion of Bonds on Federal and State P3s

    Even though procurement methods have evolved—including the use of P3s—construction remains a risky business, making the protections that surety bonds provide for taxpayers’ investments and the payment guarantees for subcontractors and suppliers just as relevant and important in P3s. 
    Read More >

    How Do the Employee Benefits You Offer Aid Retention and Curb Turnover?

    We could have the best programs in place, but if our employees can’t navigate the plan, it hurts them and our bottom line. Our internal benefits team provides education, claim assistance and even billing negotiations. 
    Read More >

    Unlock Hidden Savings With Building Analytics

    Today’s savvy facility executives should take the appropriate measures to connect disparate energy systems, leverage intelligent building analytics capabilities and bring in trusted partners to help guarantee that all opportunities to cut energy consumption are being addressed.
    Read More >

    Surety Bonds, LOCs and Parental Guarantees: What’s the Difference?

    To address the security need, owners and contractors can be faced with a choice between traditional surety bonds and letters of credit (LOC). Additionally, parental guarantees are often included as a supplement or substitute for the security. These alternatives have unique implications that should be considered by contractors and owners when choosing the best path.
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    Sureties Hungry for Business Across Market Sizes

    Construction Executive surveyed top leaders in the surety bonding industry to create a big-picture view of the current state of the market. Overall, the news is positive for contractors. Experts say construction and surety market cycles have been strong, creating increased competition. 
    Read More >

    Preparing for the First Contractor-Surety Meeting

    Successful contractors spend time and effort establishing their first surety company relationship. Contractors that want faster answers and the benefit of the doubt from their surety in a delicate situation will always welcome face-to-face visits with their professional agent and underwriter. 
    Read More >

    Inside the Mind of a Surety Bond Underwriter

    It is truly amazing how much risk contractors take on a daily basis for a seemingly modest return. Likewise, for the surety underwriter—which is, in fact, guaranteeing the contractor’s work—a tremendous amount of trust is involved.
    Read More >

    Finding the Source

    The country has yet to highlight its aging water infrastructure as a national issue. Beyond basic water and wastewater construction needs due to regional population growth, many specific water sectors must be addressed. These include drought-stricken areas in the West, especially California, and the ever-shrinking and flood-prone Louisiana coastline.
    Read More >

    Executive Insights

    Eighteen surety experts offer advice on how contractors can take their bonding capacity to the next level, how character impacts bondability, the cash management techniques contractors should employ to be successful as the economy recovers, and the bonding implications as the government promotes joint ventures as a way for small businesses to participate in federal projects.

    Read More >

    The Need Is Obvious; The Political Will Is Not

    P3s are the only conceivable financial solution to America’s infrastructure deficits.  
    Read More >

    Fighting Hunger One Can at a Time

    In the past five years, Dixon Hughes Goodman (DHG), a public accounting firm with more than 2,000 employees in 12 states, has donated nearly 3.8 million pounds of food to hunger relief organizations through its Count the Cans initiative. This year alone, the firm donated 593,464 pounds of food and 12,020 pounds of pet food. 
    Read More >

    The Impact of Succession Planning on the Surety Relationship

    When evaluating a succession plan from the perspective of the surety, executives should focus on maintaining technical and operational excellence, surety relationships, projected cash flows and its strong financial position.
    Read More >

    Beyond the Basics: Three Overlooked Bonds to Keep Projects on Task and on Target

    There are numerous types of bonds to consider depending on the size and scope of a project. Don't forget about wage and welfare bonds, transactional commercial surety bonds and subdivision/completion bonds.
    Read More >

    An Overly Soft Credit Environment Can Adversely Affect Small Contractors

    Fast bond products or “quick issue” bonds have sped up the process of obtaining a bond for smaller projects. Quick turnaround and minimal underwriting—sometimes solely based on credit score—allow for speedy answers when time is of the essence. That’s the upside. The downside of this softer credit-based underwriting is that the relationship-building and counseling process can suffer. 
    Read More >

    A Heavy Lift

    Strategic planning is the name of the game for port authorities. Across the United States, long-range investments are earmarked for new or expanded terminals, berths, piers, storage buildings and cranes; plus dredging, facility rehabilitations, security upgrades, and related transit infrastructure and warehouses. 
    Read More >
October 2016 (2) September 2016 (17)

    Three Onerous Contract Provisions to Avoid

    Contractors must carefully read and study contracts before signing them. While this may seem obvious, it is surprising how often project participants sign agreements containing clauses that a party did not read, did not understand or did not take seriously.
    Read More >

    Greater Michigan Construction Academy Expands Training as Nation’s First ACCET-Accredited Vocational Program

    The ABC-affiliated Greater Michigan Construction Academy has been able to expand its reach since being accredited as an institution of higher education by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training in April 2015. GMCA is the first vocational school in the country to achieve this designation.
    Read More >

    Career Pathways

    Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is working to address the industry’s worker shortage through more than 800 apprenticeship, craft training and safety training programs set up by its chapters around the country. Read on for examples of some recent initiatives supported by ABC chapters and member companies that are reaching out to students and adults from all walks of life. 
    Read More >

    Crafting a Strategy for Benefits Management

    Construction leaders should evaluate the medical and non-medical benefits they offer and spend some quality time with their workforce to get clarity on desired benefits choices. Enrollment season is not far away, making it a great time to reassess the company’s benefits package, fill any benefits gaps, and educate the workforce to ultimately increase loyalty and commitment and create happy and productive employees. 
    Read More >

    High Stakes Call for Industry Involvement

    Getting involved in the political process is essential for ABC members and their employees. The stakes are high this November, and teamwork will be necessary to ensure candidates who support free enterprise and open competition are sent to Washington, D.C., next year. 
    Read More >

    Where Do You Go to Find and Recruit the Next Generation of Skilled Craft Workers?

    D.R.B. joined Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) in 1992 and hires the majority of employees through ABC’s electrical apprenticeship program. We feel the combination of education and on-the-job training is an excellent resource for the next generation of skilled craft workers.  
    Read More >

    LEED in Motion: Industrial Facilities

    Today, there are more than 1,755 LEED-certified industrial facilities worldwide, comprising more than 496 million total square feet, according to the LEED in Motion: Industrial Facilities report. And that number is expected to increase significantly: There are currently more than 2,710 registered industrial facilities totaling nearly 737 million square feet.
    Read More >

    Extreme Makeover: Landscape Edition

    This summer, Ruppert Landscape infused the energizing, positive impact of plants and flowers into The Children’s Homein Catonsville, Md., in partnership with the ABC2 News-WMAR Baltimore “Built Upon a Dream” community service project. 
    Read More >

    Property Leasing Vs. Owning: What Makes Sense for Your Business?

    Leasing versus buying is a choice that can significantly change a firm’s future cash flow, tax strategy and net equity on the balance sheet. Both approaches have pros and cons, and it is important to understand the potential impacts of each option before making a decision.
    Read More >

    The Five Biggest Mistakes Companies Make When Adopting Technology

    As construction companies look to adopt new technology, they ought to keep the human factor in mind. Involving the team, setting and enforcing expectations, and doing so swiftly and fully are what will allow a company to succeed. 
    Read More >

    Report Explores Economic Impacts of Commercial Real Estate

    The NAIOP Research Foundation forecasts accelerated construction spending, with gains in fixed investment in office, retail, health care and distribution facilities being partially offset by cutbacks in energy-related construction expenditures. 
    Read More >

    D.C. Law Expands Access to Solar Power

    D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser signed into law the Renewable Portfolio Standard Expansion Act of 2016, which seeks to help mitigate the effects of climate change in the district, as well as keep D.C. on track to meet its sustainability goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent and ensure renewables make up at least 50 percent of its energy supply by 2032.
    Read More >

    USACE Embarks on First P3

    Construction of the 36-mile flood diversion project, which has been in the works for eight years, will be performed under a public-private partnership—the first ever in conjunction with the USACE. 
    Read More >

    Illinois Governor Vetoes Bill Tying Prevailing Wage to Union Contracts

    Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) vetoed Senate Bill 2964, which would have significantly changed the prevailing wage calculation process by tying wage rates to union collective bargaining agreements, on the grounds it discounted the wage rates of those who chose not to join a union (the majority of the construction workforce). 
    Read More >

    ‘Blacklisting’ Final Rule Takes Effect

    Under the new “blacklisting” rule, effective Oct. 25, federal contractors and subcontractors are required to disclose any violations of 14 federal labor laws and OSHA-approved state plans to an Agency Labor Compliance Advisor (ALCA). ALCA will perform an assessment of the violations and make a recommendation to the contracting officer about whether a federal contractor is responsible enough to be awarded a contract covered by this rule. 
    Read More >

    Construction Economists Forecast Continued Growth

    Nonresidential construction spending growth will continue into the next year with an estimated increase in the range of 3 percent to 4 percent.
    Read More >

    What Type of Roof Matches Your Climate?

    Whether a contractor’s clients are in the mountains with lots of snow or in a dry and warmer climate, their roofing material needs to protect them and their assets from harsh weather. Different climates call for different roofing materials and roofing solutions.
    Read More >
August 2016 (20)

    Paving the Way for Female Leaders

    There are key things male-dominated industries like construction can do to address the gender imbalance, provide advancement opportunities for female talent and drive a more diverse workforce. The need to do so is more critical than some realize. 
    Read More >

    New Overtime Rule Raises Exemption Threshold to $47,476

    The Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act (S. 2707/H.R. 4773) has been proposed to require the DOL to examine the impact on stakeholders, including the public sector, before implementing any changes to the exemptions. The employer community is expected to redouble its efforts in support of this legislation and other solutions. 
    Read More >

    Smart Sensors’ Role in the Digital Ceiling

    In view of the ongoing transformation of the building automation industry, spearheaded by the IoT revolution, the lighting system is considered to be the most suitable infrastructure to carry on the smart building mission. A digital ceiling that uses smart sensors incorporated into lighting fixtures creates an affordable and scalable option for system providers, building owners and facility managers. 
    Read More >

    Scaling Safety Resources With Cloud-Based JHA Tools

    Cloud-based JHA tools are gaining ground in helping construction companies scale limited safety resources. Through the use of wireless smart devices, subscribers to cloud-based JHA tools can develop and manage a company’s entire library of JHAs from the hood of a truck at the construction site or from their desk anywhere in the world. 
    Read More >

    Technology, Insurance and Personnel Drive Safe Auto Programs

    In the following Q&A Travelers offers insight on recruiting qualified commercial drivers and integrating them into a company’s safety culture, as well as the impact of telematics on construction fleets and the insurance products needed to limit financial liability.
    Read More >

    PMIS: Revolutionizing Owner-Contractor Relationships

    Facility owners have historically been left out of the construction project management technology game, as most platforms and tools focused on innovations for contractors, architects and engineers. That trend is changing with the rise and expansion of project management information systems (PMIS) designed specifically for owners. Even so, PMIS usage among owners and contractors has room to improve to facilitate better project execution.
    Read More >

    S&B'S Women's Training Program Makes Strides

    In 2015, S&B created a pilot program that provided accelerated, accredited training for female pipefitters. Today the Women’s Training Program is a full-fledged collaboration among S&B, United Way THRIVE and Texas Workforce Solutions, with each organization bringing something special to the training program.
    Read More >

    No Bounds to Success

    Women business leaders at ABC and throughout the industry will agree, there is no one path to the top. 
    Read More >

    New P3 Resources Available

    Public agencies developing infrastructure projects now have access to a guide that emphasizes factors local policymakers should consider before entering into a public-private partnership (P3). Additionally, a new study is available that focuses on comprehensive development agreements, which often are associated with toll road P3s.
    Read More >

    Industrial Redevelopment Is Prime in NYC and Charlotte

    New York is the top city for redevelopment potential of environmentally distressed industrial sites, according to Arcadis’ Urban Land Restoration Index. Rounding out the top 10 are Charlotte, N.C.; Denver; Nashville, Tenn.; San Francisco; Pittsburgh; Chicago; Miami; Portland, Ore.; and Los Angeles. 
    Read More >

    OSHA Delays Enforcement of Anti-Retaliation Provisions in Electronic Reporting Rule

    OSHA has delayed enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions in its electronic injury reporting final rule from Aug. 10 to Nov. 1. Just days before the announcement, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), TEXO and a coalition of stakeholders filed a lawsuit challenging the rule’s anti-retaliation provisions, which will limit some forms of post-accident drug testing and safety incentive programs by deeming them to be unlawfully retaliatory.
    Read More >

    Imagine, Design, Print: The Jobsite of the Future

    Having a deep understanding of the supply chain is critical to the success of modular construction projects. A surge in work that incorporates advanced fabrication technologies will radically change the entire industry in the near future.
    Read More >

    Forecasting IT Trends in Construction

    With the promise of IoT, mobile, cloud and other emerging technologies, contracting companies cannot slow their pursuit of technology. In fact, construction companies are going to be faced with more options, greater demand, increased complexity and higher costs. 
    Read More >

    Cyber-Phishing With New Lures

    If the wire transfer has been initiated by an approved company employee, there is not much chance of recovering the funds. The bank is not held liable as long as it follows the proper protocols. Once the fraud is discovered, contact the bank’s fraud department immediately and direct it to stop the payment and freeze the recipient account. Typically, the funds are cleared out within hours of the transfer, so acting fast is imperative.

    Read More >

    Capitalizing on Market Intelligence

    In construction, contractors build their strategy on market data that illustrates trends, shifts and projections. This intelligence can lead to tactics for taking advantage of a certain market using the flexibilities of being open shop, plus utilizing technology onsite to ensure profitability and success. 
    Read More >

    Beyond Gaming: Virtual Reality Benefits Construction

    VR in computer modeling has transformed early design meetings to allow users to “experience” the built environment before actually building the space. Clients can easily visualize their room or building and gain confidence in the project’s design. This accelerates both the speed and quality of decisions, reduces design times and eliminates changes during construction. When this kind of progress is made early on in the design phase, owners realize significant cost savings.
    Read More >

    Veterans Deserve Quality Homes From the Inside Out

    CertainTeed is the exclusive provider of roofing, insulation and gypsum products for Homes for Our Troops projects across the United States. Earlier this year, the company added vinyl siding, polymer siding, housewrap and exterior trim to the portfolio of products it donates so veterans have even more options.  Read More >

    What Type of Leadership Is Needed to Sustain a Family-Owned Business Through Economic Changes and Generational Differences?

    As leadership in successful companies is passed from generation to generation, the foundational principles that made the company great must be maintained. However, it is critical that those who may have been a part of the early establishment be willing to yield to strengths and innovative insights brought by new talent.  Read More >

    Embrace the Future Through Succession Planning

    When preparing a business and its employees for the transition to new ownership, consider the future in a positive light and leave the company in a spot in which it can continue to prosper.  Read More >

    Construction Executive to Host Twitter Chat Aug. 16

    Join Construction Executive (@ConstructionMag) in a live Twitter chat on Tuesday, Aug. 16 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. (EST) to learn about and share expertise on the topic of workplace safety. Follow the hashtag #HRTailgate to engage in a discussion on how organizations can create a safety-conscious culture, how companies keep employees abreast of safety requirements, the safety challenges that are top of mind in the construction industry, and more.
    Read More >
July 2016 (23) June 2016 (3)

    Assignment Issues Implicated in Contract Clauses

    In theory, the purpose of an anti-assignment clause is to protect a party’s right to choose who it works for. Most industry professionals believe such a clause prevents assignment and conduct their affairs accordingly. If the goal is to actually prevent an assignment while a contract is executory, the clause needs to specifically state that any assignment in violation of the agreement is void and unenforceable.
    Read More >

    Agencies Consider Updating Regulations Governing Human Trafficking and the Audit Process

    As these changes unfold during the coming months, construction companies performing government contracts should keep an eye on further guidance from the government regarding anti-human trafficking regulations and updates to current cost accounting methods. Interested parties should ensure that their internal procedures can be easily brought into compliance with the new requirements. 
    Read More >

    Six Ways to Stay Politically Active

    The election season is an exciting time of year with many possibilities for interactions with federal, state and local elected officials. It is vital for employers and employees to take advantage of this opportunity for political engagement and help serve as the voice of the merit shop before the general election takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 8.  Read More >
May 2016 (19) April 2016 (25)

    Building a Positive Cash Flow Floorplan

    Building a cash flow system from the ground up starts by following a management floorplan. The biggest challenge is not aligning the core principals, but rather keeping up with these recommendations over time. Setting up a strong system will benefit the business in the long and short term.
    Read More >

    The Best Kept Secret for Financing Construction Projects

    Most companies face the question of how to best meet the need for long-term financing for capital projects. As it turns out, owners—often along with their contractor partners—can utilize bond financing for land acquisition, construction and even equipping a wide range of improvements.
    Read More >

    A Big Week for Engagement and Advocacy

    ABC's Legislative Week, June 20-24 in Washington, D.C., is extremely important this year as the association works to keep a merit shop-friendly congressional majority and elect a president who will protect contractors from burdensome regulations. 
    Read More >

    Dispute Review Boards: An ADR Technique That Works

    The use of dispute review boards serves to minimize the acrimony that occurs through more conventional dispute resolution. It should be considered for major construction projects, beyond public-private partnerships and infrastructure. 
    Read More >

    Protecting and Preserving Payment Rights Can Lead to a Healthier Bottom Line

    Experience tells the prudent contractor that certain processes can increase the likelihood of protecting and preserving payment rights. Payment issues and concerns typically arise during three construction phases: pre-, during and post-performance. 
    Read More >

    Immigration Pitfalls for Employers to Avoid

    Immigration-related civil fines for companies reached a record high of nearly $16 million in 2013. Worse yet, employers can be subject to criminal penalties, including prison time, should the government find they engaged in a pattern or practice of hiring, recruiting or referring (for a fee) unauthorized aliens. In addition to routinely performing in-house audits every six months, and before and after any significant business changes, the following guidelines should help employers navigate the uncertain immigration landscape.
    Read More >

    NCCER Compiles Average Salaries for 31 Trades

    Average annual salaries for craft professionals ranged from just over $47,000 to nearly $89,000—not including overtime, per diem, bonuses or other incentives—according to NCCER’s 2015 Construction Craft Salary Survey. 
    Read More >

    Industry Groups Challenge OSHA’s Final Silica Rule in Court

    Employers covered by OSHA’s final rule on occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica have until June 23, 2017, to comply with the new construction standard, except for requirements for laboratory evaluation of exposure samples, which begin on June 23, 2018.  Eight construction industry organizations have filed a petition for review of the final rule with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
    Read More >

    Safety: It's Everyone's Responsibility

    “Contractors cannot be afraid of investing in the training and PPE required to do the job safely. Spending a couple thousand dollars here and there for training is nothing compared to paying that tenfold when you have an incident. Safety is good for business as it relates to efficiency and the bottom line, but also as it relates to the goal that every person on the jobsite leaves in the same or better condition as when they arrived.”
    Read More >

    How to Achieve a Safety Data Analytics Advantage

    Data use plans are an effective way of driving leadership engagement. They are easy to build, easy to engage with, and provide a roadmap to action using analytics as the driver. Start small and get some early wins; then expand, start scaling the analytics pyramid and go for a true analytics competitive advantage. 
    Read More >

    Put More Muscle in Your RFPs

    The goal of any RFP is to provide contractors and consultants with the necessary parameters to understand the scope of the project, such as square footage, cost and estimated number of components, but flexible enough to give contractors some latitude to differentiate themselves from their competitors. 
    Read More >

    Executive Order Targets Seismic Safety in Federal Buildings

    President Obama signed an executive order that creates a Federal Earthquake Risk Management Standard requiring new, leased and regulated federal buildings to meet seismic safety provisions outlined in the International Building Code and the International Residential Code.
    Read More >

    Senate Committee Advances Federal Design-Build Reform Bill

    The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee issued a report to the full chamber recommending further consideration of a bill (S. 1526) sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) that would modify criteria for the use of design-build selection procedures for civilian and defense contracts for the design and construction of a public building.
    Read More >

    Joint Lawsuit Filed Against DOL’s ‘Persuader’ Rule

    ABC filed a joint lawsuit with ABC of Arkansas and a coalition of stakeholders in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas challenging the Department of Labor’s final “persuader” rule, which will significantly broaden the reporting requirements for employers, attorneys, trade associations and other third-party advisors by redefining what is meant by labor relations “advice.” 
    Read More >

    Exceeding Expectations

    In any industry or company, the poor actions of a few can overshadow the good work of the majority. To combat this in the construction industry requires consistency, dedication and a commitment to getting the job done right the first time. Just take it from McGann Construction and Trunnell Electric, two contractors that have built a reputation for consistently producing high-quality work. 
    Read More >

    Results You Can Expect If You Follow ABC’s ‘Roadmap to World-Class Safety’

    If I told you that your company could be 720 percent safer than the industry average, would you be interested? If I told you that you might be able to reduce your DART rate by up to 93 percent by deploying a specific set of processes, would you be interested?

    Read More >

    What Should Contractors Know About Resiliency and How It Will Impact the Way They Build and Renovate in the Coming Years?

    Aligning building performance expectations with community resilience is essential for continuity of service during and after a disaster and for the service life of a building; thus, development decisions, building science and construction methodologies will evolve to reflect consumer expectations.  
    Read More >

    Achieving a 4-D Breakthrough in Construction Safety Planning

    Construction company leaders who already have implemented the recommended safety standards and accident prevention strategies will need a breakthrough in safety planning that surpasses existing best practices. The desired breakthrough can be achieved by adding a whole new dimension to the current planning methods, one that enables everyone on the project to easily understand exactly what will be happening ahead of time. 4-D safety planning does exactly that.
    Read More >

    A Good Deed for Good Friday

    This past March, Rio Grande Fence Co. donated and installed 560 linear feet of chain link fencing to surround the athletic field at the Global Outreach Developments International (G.O.D. Int’l) headquarters in the underserved Hopewell neighborhood of Old Hickory, Tenn. 
    Read More >

    Senior Housing Market on Verge of Peaking

    Senior housing occupancy is at its highest level since 2007, and 2015 was a record year for sales and institutional transactions, according to the recent CBRE Senior Housing Investor Survey & Market Outlook. The survey of U.S. senior housing investors, developers and brokers revealed 48 percent of respondents expect no change in cap rates during the next 12-month period, while 31 percent expect an increase in cap rates.
    Read More >

    Study Examines 33 Indicators of a Safety Culture

    A new SmartMarket Report from Dodge Data & Analytics takes a close look at 33 indicators of a safety culture in the construction industry, including measures of management commitment to safety and health, worker involvement in jobsite safety, company communications on safety and the degree to which safety is treated as a fundamental company value. 
    Read More >

    Global Gypsum Market to Reach $3.8 Billion in Next Decade

    The gypsum market, which is currently valued at $1.49 billion, is forecast to grow at a compound annual rate of 9.9 percent to reach nearly $2.4 billion by 2018 and $3.8 billion by 2026
    Read More >

    EEOC Seeks More Data on Employees’ Pay and Hours Worked

    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is considering public comments on a proposed a rule that would expand the data collected from certain employers on the Employer Information Report (EEO-1), effective Sept. 30, 2017. Under the proposed rule, federal contractors and private employers with 100 or more employees would have to report pay data and hours worked on the EEO-1 in addition to the existing reporting requirements. 

    Read More >

    OSHA and DOJ Double-Team Employers

    On Dec. 17, 2015, OSHA and the Department of Justice (DOJ) agreed to “double team” employers to investigate and prosecute worker endangerment violations. While the agencies have worked together in the past, this is now a formal arrangement that employers should be very concerned about. While facing OSHA is bad enough, it’s a walk in the park compared to tangling with the DOJ. 
    Read More >

    Website Highlights Chemistry’s Role in Green Building Materials

    The American Chemistry Council (ACC) launched a new website, buildingwithchemistry.org, that provides architects, materials specifiers, interior designers, and other building and construction professionals with tools and information about green building codes and standards, materials selection, and the role of chemistry in developing innovative, sustainable building materials.
    Read More >
March 2016 (14)

    How to Comply With Federal Employment Discrimination Regulations

    In legal terms, Executive Order 11246 expressly prohibits federal contractors and federally assisted construction contractors and subcontractors that conduct more than $10,000 in government business in one year from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin. The executive order also requires government contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that equal opportunity is provided in all aspects of their employment.
    Read More >

    Four Factors Influencing the Equipment Rental Market

    In the near term, several factors are influencing contractors’ and equipment distributors’ levels of confidence for the year ahead: federal highway funding, bonus depreciation, rising interest rates and Tier IV equipment. Read More >

    Systems and Processes: Best Practices in Near-Miss Tracking and Substance Abuse Programs

    The systems and processes a company employs as part of its overall safety and health program are the physical representations of a company’s leadership commitment and safety culture. They are designed, first and foremost, to identify the conditions that lead to incidents and remove or limit the exposure through elimination, engineering controls or workarounds. Two of the most important processes are reporting near-misses and implementing proactive substance abuse programs. 
    Read More >

    Generate Laser-Focused Estimates Using BIM

    With progressive BIM technology, construction professionals reduce project errors and generate upwards of 50 percent time savings during estimation periods. 
    Read More >

    Philanthropy as a Strategic Initiative

    Meyer Najem is proud of the fact it builds more than buildings; it builds relationships. And a big part of that is building relationships with the community surrounding its headquarters in Fishers, Ind. 
    Read More >

    Illinois Tops USGBC’s State LEED Rankings

    Illinois is the top state for LEED, with 161 certified projects totaling 3.43 square feet certified per person, according to the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) latest ranking of the top 10 states for LEED.
    Read More >

    The Millennials Are Here, and More Are Coming

    Technology that renders the worker more productive may allow for increased flex time, engender more interest in the work and support higher retention. That technology also may produce greater precision, fewer delays and bolster recruitment of highly capable young workers who seek to be in an ultra-modern environment. But this technology also may prove expensive, which means that well-capitalized construction firms have the advantage over time.  Read More >

    AEC Pros Weigh in on Emerging Technologies

    AEC professionals expect the IoT to improve equipment management, give clear indicators of a project delay and pinpoint the reason behind a delay. And they believe big data has the potential to facilitate well-informed decision-making on a consistent basis and improve urban planning decisions. 
    Read More >

    Built to Last

    Some companies—like some building materials—stand the test of time. David Allen Company, Raleigh, N.C., is one those companies, and it’s fitting that the company masterfully installs some of the construction industry’s most durable and appealing materials around: granite, marble, tile and terrazzo.
    Read More >

    On a Clear Path

    Shon Smith may have taken a roundabout way to the construction industry, but now that’s he’s here, his path is clear: take on more leadership responsibilities and create opportunities for others to succeed. 
    Read More >

    How Do You Use Benchmarking to Improve Company Performance?

    Our focus has always been on profitability, not revenue. Benchmarking against our peers drives us to be a leaner, more efficient organization. 
    Read More >

    Business Interruption Is No. 1 Global Risk

    Business and supply chain interruption (BI) is the top risk for businesses globally for the fourth consecutive year. Rounding out the top three global business risks are market developments (i.e., market volatility or stagnation and intensified competition) and cyber incidents (i.e., cyber crime, data breaches and technical failures). 

    Read More >

    On the ‘PATH’ to Better Tax Policy

    With the passage of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015, Congress has significantly curtailed business tax uncertainty while putting “extenders” on a path to extinction.  Read More >

    West Virginia Enacts Right to Work Law and Repeals Prevailing Wage

    The West Virginia legislature voted 18-16 in the Senate and 54-43 in the House of Delegates to override Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s (D) veto of the West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act, making West Virginia the nation’s 26th Right to Work state. The legislature also voted along partisan lines to override Gov. Tomblin’s veto of a law eliminating the state’s prevailing wage on public construction projects.
    Read More >
February 2016 (23) January 2016 (23)

    Expect Higher Maximum OSHA Fines This Year

    Under a provision in the Bipartisan Budget Act, fines for workplace safety violations are set to surge by as much as 82 percent starting Aug. 1. The one-time catch-up increase is intended to bring OSHA fines, as well as fines by the worker safety agencies in State Plan states, in line with inflation for the first time in 25 years. 
    Read More >

    Scorecard Identifies How State Policies Impact Business Growth

    Arizona, Louisiana and Virginia earned high-performing grades in Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) new “Merit Shop Scorecard” for creating an environment where merit shop contractors are well positioned to succeed. Conversely, New Mexico, Alaska and New York received poor overall rankings by earning a D or F grade.
    Read More >

    Pennsylvania Closes Labor Dispute Crime Loophole

    Upon signing Act 59 of 2015 into law, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) officially eliminated loopholes in the Pennsylvania Crimes Code that allowed stalking, harassment and threats of weapons of mass destruction during labor disputes. 
    Read More >

    China Eclipses U.S. in Value of Built Assets

    The U.S.-built asset stock was largely unchanged during the past two years, while China has invested $33 trillion in its built assets since 2000—a total exceeding all other economies combined.
    Read More >

    Green Seal Expands Standard for Architectural Coatings

    The new Green Seal standard offers greater flexibility for the assessment of VOCs. It also addresses stains and finishes for wood and metal; ensures that certified paints, coatings, stains and sealers deliver satisfactory performance; and restricts a comprehensive list of harmful chemicals. 
    Read More >

    EEOC Issues Proposed Rule on Wellness Programs

    The EEOC is considering public comments to a proposed rule under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act that would authorize employers with wellness programs as part of their group health plans to offer limited financial or other incentives in exchange for an employee’s spouse providing information about his or her health status information. 
    Read More >

    Technology Helps Address Working Capital Challenges

    The combination of payment delays and uncertain timing creates cash flow and working capital challenges that can limit subcontractors’ growth and create financial strain. Technology has a role to play in solving this problem by helping fundamentally alter the flow of funds in construction payments to address subcontractors’ working capital woes.
    Read More >

    What Are Some of the Lessons You’ve Learned From Expanding Your Business Into a New Geographical Area?

    Three key lessons we have learned are the value of relationships, the importance of understanding the local market and that our objective for being in the new market must be clear.
    Read More >

    Tips for Choosing a Project Management App

    As more mobile devices enter the jobsite, forward-thinking project managers are finding that they no longer have to waste valuable time running back and forth from the site to the office to the trailer to repeatedly update, print, and distribute plans and documents that are vital to a project’s success. Managing the project, and all of the paperwork that comes along with it, can be done on a mobile device with the right application.
    Read More >

    Planning for a Successful Business Partnership

    A successful partnership needs more than a great underlying business idea. It needs to be ushered into the world by partners with chemistry, and it should be built from the ground up to anticipate and withstand the issues it will inevitably face.  
    Read More >

    The Future Looks Bright for Connected Buildings

    Businesses have only scratched the surface in seeing how they can harness the power of connected building technologies. And while it remains to be seen just how quickly these solutions will be adopted, one thing is for sure: The future looks bright.  
    Read More >

    Mobility: The Right Tool for the Job

    In the construction industry, mobility can be leveraged in four ways: at the desk, on the go, walking the site and with the team. Ultimately, mobility is a convenience factor that must be weighed against power (i.e., choosing the right tool to maximize productivity). 
    Read More >

    3-D Printing in the United States and Abroad

    Whether or to what extent 3-D printing will displace conventional methods of construction delivery is anyone’s guess. What is not known presently are the challenges presented by 3-D printing. People have recognized the promise, but until more of these projects are developed and occupied, the shortfalls cannot be fully understood.  
    Read More >

    How the Owner’s Perspective on Technology Is Changing Project Life Cycles

    Owners are beginning to understand the value of taking the lead in determining the platform and technology they require to be used by all project participants. The reason is the very significant return on their investment. 
    Read More >

    A Balanced, Employee-Driven Way to Give

    The mission of Deacon Corp. has long included a commitment to “support our communities,” so 10 years ago the West Coast contractor formalized its charitable giving by creating a foundation to more evenly allocate funds from year to year and among its offices in Washington, Oregon and California. 
    Read More >

    Drone Use Creates Project Opportunities and Risks

    While the only current way to use drones legally on a construction site is to receive a Section 333 exemption—or to hire a company that has one—the process should become more straightforward later this year or whenever the final FAA rules are adopted. At that time, drones likely will become more common on construction sites as more companies embrace the technology. 
    Read More >

    Leadership Commitment to New Hire and Site-Specific Orientations

    Safety professionals have always assumed there is a direct correlation between the effective, proper use of leading indicator processes and lower lagging indicator statistics, such as Total Recordable Incidence Rate (TRIR); Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART) Rate; and Experience Modification Rate (EMR), but until recently the assumptions could not be validated because there was no consistent, statistically accurate data source from which to establish the correlation. 
    Read More >

    What’s Next for Temporary Modular Buildings?

    The trend toward more flexible interior and exterior walls to continue, and modular buildings will become smarter in terms of their ability to have an ongoing line of communication between the user and provider for maintenance and customer service via a smart panel or other device.
    Read More >

    Moving Work Offsite

    Modularization isn’t the right strategy for every industrial project, but as petrochemical companies, power plants and manufacturing facilities demand new ways to cope with labor rates, weather, safety risks and site constraints, its appeal continues to grow.
    Read More >

    Top Tech Leaders Share Predictions for 2016 and Beyond

    Construction companies large and small that are not already on the technology bandwagon need to climb aboard as 2016 brings more work, longer backlogs and a continued shortage of skilled labor. Construction Executive assembled a panel of experts to identify technologies to keep contractors working smarter and efficiently in 2016 and beyond. 
    Read More >

    Born to Lead

    Be intentional. This is David Chapin’s mantra for leadership in all walks of life. Whether he’s helping run the family business, coaching his son’s baseball team, volunteering for his church—or stepping up to the role of 2016 national chairman of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)—he believes everything worth doing should be guided by a plan and a greater purpose.  
    Read More >

    2016 Election Look-Ahead

    In the coming months, the bulk of national political attention will pivot from state-centric battles to the race to determine who will succeed Obama as the 45th president of the United States. However, what may be lost in the din of a presidential contest are the fierce campaigns emerging for control of the Senate and House of Representatives, both of which carry comparable degrees of intrigue and importance. 
    Read More >

    Editorial and Advertising Opportunities for 2016

    View our 2016 Editorial Calendar for more details on scheduled feature articles, columns and special sections; plus guidelines for submitting contributed content. Also, check out our 2016 Media Kit for comprehensive circulation information
    Read More >
December 2015 (13) November 2015 (9)

    Rugged Devices Boast Lower Failure Rates

    Non-rugged mobile devices fail more than three times as often as rugged devices in business environments, and rugged devices average 46 percent lower total cost of ownership, according to a new study from Kyocera Communications Inc. 
    Read More >

    California Implements Energy Benchmarking Law

    California Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 802 into law, implementing the state’s commercial building benchmarking program and expanding it to cover large multifamily housing. 
    Read More >

    Online Directory Launched for Wood Reuse

    The American Wood  Council and Canadian Wood Council have partnered with the Building Materials Reuse Association to develop an online North American directory (reusewood.org) outlining reuse and recycling options for wood and wood products. 
    Read More >

    Field and Fleet Personnel Value Mobile Tech

    Seventy percent of field and fleet management personnel expect budget increases for mobile technology during the next five years as they focus on the strategic priorities of revenue generation, operational efficiency and operating costs, according to Zebra Technologies Corporation’s 2015 Field Operations Vision Study. 
    Read More >

    IRS Curtails Automatic Extensions for W-2 Forms

    Under recently proposed and temporary regulations, the ability to file for an automatic W-2 filing extension will be eliminated on Dec. 31, 2016. Instead, a single 30-day extension will be available by application for the 2017 filing season and later. 
    Read More >

    House Approves Bipartisan Permitting Bill

    The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Responsibility and Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act (H.R. 349), which would streamline the process for developers trying to obtain environmental permits and approvals for their projects. The bill also would establish concepts, definitions and best practices to ensure the federal review and permitting process is efficient and transparent. 
    Read More >

    Demand for HVACR Workers Exceeds Supply

    Three new reports from the HVACR Workforce Development Foundation estimate 115,000 heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) technicians will be needed by 2022 to fill jobs due to retirements and anticipated growth in the industry, yet only 21,000 students graduated from post-secondary HVACR programs in 2015. 
    Read More >

    Construction Starts to Rise 6 Percent in 2016

    Nonresidential building starts are forecasted to rise 9 percent. The non-building sector should retreat 14 percent following strong gains in 2015 that resulted from the completion of liquefied natural gas terminals in the Gulf Coast. 
    Read More >

    Construction Executive Hosts First Webinar on Business Development

    This one-hour webinar provided insights for owners, executives, estimators, project managers and business development professionals on how to develop a market strategy, leverage a company’s strengths, build systematic business development processes, win more business and ensure customer satisfaction. 
    Read More >
October 2015 (26) September 2015 (14)

    A Welder's Perspective

    Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) New Orleans/Bayou Chapter is working hard to recruit and train apprentices in the area. Recently, one of its welding graduates, 19-year-old Robert Dragg, was hired immediately by Turner Industries with a six-figure income. Here’s his story, in his own words.
    Read More >

    ACA Deadlines Loom Large for Small Employers

    For smaller contractors—those with fewer than 100 full-time employees and full time equivalents (FTEs)—the flood of information about the ACA can be overwhelming. Many business owners are unsure exactly which provisions (if any) apply and when they take effect. While contractors of this size are aware of the law and want to comply, many don’t know what questions to ask when it comes to understanding how the ACA might affect them. 
    Read More >

    Now Is the Time to Dig Into the Hotel Industry

    There’s never been a better time to be in the hotel industry. It has been driving economic growth for four consecutive years and is responsible for 1.8 million jobs in communities across the country. Better yet, the hotel industry contributes billions of dollars to local, state and federal coffers. Last year alone, it generated $163 billion in tax revenue. 
    Read More >

    Advancing the Construction Workforce

    When it comes to shifting an outdated mindset that construction is a dead-end or undesirable job choice, money talks. So do the real-life examples of young tradesmen and professionals who’ve rapidly accelerated their long-term job security by choosing to enter apprenticeship programs such as those offered by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) in partnership with local contractors that invest time and dollars into training.
    Read More >

    How to Handle Wage Garnishment Orders

    Construction executives have many issues to consider when it comes to payroll. With personal and student loan debts on the rise, contractors’ accounting departments need to add the potential liability for wage garnishment to their list of worries.
    Read More >

    Applying Scalable Prefabrication to Industrial Construction Work

    Companies that have adopted a prefabrication philosophy have had to change their culture from the traditional model of relying on the skilled trades to do all the work to an industrialized construction model. In this new environment, the question is no longer, “what can we prefabricate?” It’s “what can’t we prefabricate?”
    Read More >

    To BIM or Not to BIM: Looking at It From the Owner’s Perspective

    Facility owners and even many AEC firms perceive BIM as a tool that increases the cost of a project. This perception is exacerbated by the fact that training staff on this emerging and evolving technology, and its processes and tools, requires additional financial investment. 
    Read More >

    Rebranding Construction to Attract a Talented Workforce

    Many of America’s best and brightest students do not consider construction when contemplating their respective career paths. The dearth of workers entering the industry has construction executives and stakeholders very concerned about productivity and profits. The construction industry skilled workforce falls short of demand by almost 1.8 million positions, based on the latest estimates by the U.S. Department of Labor
    Read More >

    Where Are the Female Engineers?

    How can engineering and construction companies build a diverse workforce, regardless of gender? The answer for many firms is to adapt conventional business practices to better balance work-life situations, recognize employee contributions and introduce transparent career paths. C-level executives and senior employees are getting involved more directly with their employees through one-on-one interaction. 
    Read More >

    Answering the Call for Help

    An old cell phone can be turned into free minutes for soldiers to call home. That’s the message the Arizona Builders Alliance sent to its members earlier this year, and they responded by collecting 1,015 phones—equivalent to 507 hours (30,450 minutes) of calling time for overseas military members. 

    Read More >

    Ten Best Practices for Negotiating EPC Contracts

    Because projects and contracts differ, project participants should avoid the somewhat natural tendency to rely too heavily on a form contract or past agreement. They should develop language and strategies for negotiating important provisions that may provoke debate, such as the EPC contractor’s standard of performance, payment terms, changes, delay damages and consequential damages. A party that enters into negotiations without having prepared will be at a significant disadvantage.
    Read More >

    Ease Student Debt

    More than $1.2 trillion in loan debt is owed by students or former students—often resulting in young professionals beginning their careers with one financial hand tied behind their back. 
    Read More >

    How Has Competing in ABC’s National Craft Championships Helped Improve Your Job Performance?

    Competing in a different environment under a strict time restraint helps you learn to adjust to unfamiliar work conditions and perform well under stress. When you compete, you are offered limited time and resources to complete your task. This helps you learn to prioritize job tasks and make the best of the supplies on hand. 
    Read More >

    A Place to Build a Career

    A renewed commitment to providing quality training facilities is taking shape across the country. Read on for more examples of ABC chapters that have invested in new buildings within the past year to support all levels of professional development.

    Read More >
August 2015 (23) July 2015 (24) June 2015 (32) May 2015 (6)

    Passion & Pride

    ABC's National Craft Championships was first held in 1987 as a way to celebrate craft training—and considering the standing ovations from the crowd of attendees and the enthusiasm displayed by the competitors, it’s clear the event is still doing its part to demonstrate the pride of the merit shop and the passion generated by a career in construction. 
    Read More >

    Employer Liability for Cell Phone Use

    Cell phone usage is a distraction while driving, but so are a lot of other things. So why are employers worried? In the past few years, cell phone usage has been an issue in several lawsuits, and employers are being held responsible if a worker causes an accident while talking on the phone. 
    Read More >

    Spray Polyurethane Foam: The Swiss Army Knife of Building Code Compliance

    With its ability to increase energy efficiency, meet or beat sustainability goals, and form a highly effective heat, air, and moisture control layer, SPF is a proven asset to any contractor’s code compliance efforts. By matching the needs of the structure with the performance of SPF, almost any new or existing commercial building can benefit from SPF.
    Read More >

    Six Payment Challenges Up and Down the Contracting Chain

    Careful negotiation of construction contracts will reveal payment challenges facing each party in the construction chain. 
    Read More >

    How to Conduct a Successful ‘Safety Week’

    May 3-9 marked the second annual U.S. Safety Week, an event spearheaded by more than 40 U.S. and global construction firms comprising the Construction Industry Safety Initiative and the Incident and Injury-Free Forum to inspire everyone to be safety leaders. Their mission is to increase awareness of the importance of being committed to safety every day, inspire industry members to share best practices, conduct onsite safety awareness activities and recognize workers’ efforts to be injury-free.
    Read More >

    An Owner’s Breakdown of a Safety Stand-Down

    One of Air Products’ corporate KPIs involves doing a quarterly safety stand-down. The idea is to bring members of the ownership team—people involved in procurement, manpower planning, etc.—together with the contractor’s senior leadership, superintendents, project managers and safety officers to forestall incidents that tend to occur on construction projects. 
    Read More >
April 2015 (19)

    Practical and Legal Considerations of 3-D Printing Technology

    The idea that buildings can be “printed” with relatively minimal labor is intoxicating and has attracted the attention of many engineering and construction leaders. But with any new technological advancement, there are practical and legal issues to consider.
    Read More >

    Executive Insights

    The primary benefit of giving workers access to job cost information in the field, whether collecting data or consuming reports, is to promote better decision-making. The closer that data collection—of time, equipment, production units and more—occurs to the actual event, the more accurate it is. 
    Read More >

    Take an Auditor’s-Eye View of Your Construction Business

    Just as auditors are well served by brushing up before they begin a job, construction owners, contractors and any in-house accounting or bookkeeping personnel would do well to study the IRS’s Construction ATG. The introductory chapters that tell how the construction sector is structured and how contractors and subcontractors interact may seem elementary, but the subsequent content should be required reading to stay in line with the tax laws and understand issues that could cause problems.
    Read More >

    Personalizing Safety

    For the most successful construction businesses, safety is part philosophy, part practicality. Read on for examples of how three companies—a family-owned general contractor in the South, an electrical and instrumentation specialist in the Midwest and a small design-builder in the Mid-Atlantic—have developed strong safety cultures that encourage buy-in from both employees and subcontractors.
    Read More >

    Don’t Neglect Buy-Sell Agreements Funded by Life Insurance

    Contractors commonly use life insurance as a funding mechanism for buy-sell planning and insuring key employees. Because death is a common trigger in a buy-sell agreement, life insurance, when used as the funding mechanism for the agreement, provides the immediate liquidity to fund the buyout when the need arises. 
    Read More >

    Getting a Handle on the Complex Water and Wastewater Sectors

    The water and wastewater sector is conservative and risk-adverse. The vast majority of CWSs and POTWs are municipally owned and must follow typical government procurement procedures and policies. 
    Read More >

    Falling Oil Prices Won’t Stop the South’s Momentum

    While it is tempting to fixate on energy production, more important economic dynamics are at work. At the top of the list is demographics. The South is home to several of the most rapidly growing states in terms of population. 
    Read More >

    Training Apprentices to Give Back

    At the Northern California Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), training the workforce doesn’t just mean classroom learning and on-the-job instruction—it means diving into the community to teach apprentices the importance of giving back.
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    Stopping Jobsite Theft With Remote Interactive Surveillance

    The biggest challenge contractors face when devising a theft and vandalism prevention strategy is determining how to secure their assets without having power, lighting or Internet service onsite. It’s one thing to provide surveillance technology on fixed equipment storage facilities and lots, but construction sites—particularly road building projects—are inherently temporary in nature.
    Read More >

    Driving Profitability in a Thriving Economy

    Businesses must find ways to differentiate themselves to get the upper hand. For many contractors, private work can translate into more negotiated work, which brings higher margins compared to most public works projects.  
    Read More >

    How has participating in ABC’s ‘STEP’ program changed your safety culture and performance?

    ABC’s STEP program has reinforced our company’s positive safety culture. In the past, only management evaluated our safety practices. Now, the ABC Safety Committee has given us an outside, third-party perspective. 
    Read More >

    Reducing Labor Waste With Short Interval Scheduling

    Labor waste is a negative term from both workers’ and managers’ perspectives. They agree waste should not exist, but they define it differently. One method to bridge this gap is short interval scheduling.
    Read More >

    Winning Work: Quit Chasing The Wrong Leads

    Effective contractors apply stringent qualification processes to both customers and opportunities, even though the qualifications may be modified by market conditions. Consequently, these contractors invest more time on the right opportunities and the right customers. They spend time with the customers where the contractor has been able to influence the decision-making process and communicate value.
    Read More >

    It’s Time to Capitalize on Merit Shop Support in Congress

    On June 25, contractors from across the United States will arrive in Washington, D.C., for face-to-face meetings with congressional members on both sides of the Capitol. Due in part to the tireless grassroots and political efforts of members of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), the nation’s voters elected a merit shop-friendly congressional majority in November.  
    Read More >

    Illinois Creates New Diversity Reporting Rules

    Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signed an executive order requiring labor groups, contractors and subcontractors working on state projects to report the number of minorities and veterans participating in their training programs. 
    Read More >

    SBA Proposes Rules For Mentor-Protégé Program

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) issued proposed rules that would establish a government-wide mentor-protégé program for all small business types, including participants in the HUBZone, Women-Owned Small Business and Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business programs. 
    Read More >

    ‘Ambush’ Election Rule Takes Effect

    Under the final rule, the amount of time between when a union files a representation petition and an election takes place will be dramatically reduced from the current average of 38 days. The shortened time period for union elections will place a premium on employers’ rapid response to union organizing activity. 
    Read More >

    State Lawmakers Seek Prevailing Wage Reform

    Republicans in Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin are waging battles to remove or reform their states’ prevailing wage laws for workers on public projects, while legislators in Indiana, Nevada and West Virginia recently passed reforms. 
    Read More >

    Powering the Smart Jobsite

    With labor costs making up almost 40 percent of total project costs, it is critical for contractors to have visibility into personnel on the jobsite—when and where they need it in order to make timely decisions and assess needs and requirements.
    Read More >
March 2015 (33)

    Wisconsin Enacts Right to Work Law

    In March, Wisconsin became the 25th state to enact a Right to Work law, allowing all workers in the state to have a job without being forced to pay dues or fees to a labor union. Read More >

    Craft Professionals' Wages on the Rise

    Wages for craft professionals continue to rise due to growing demand for skilled craft professionals, according to NCCER’s 2014 Craft Professional Wage Survey. Wages in the survey represent average annual salaries for individual craft areas—not including overtime, per diem, bonuses or other incentives. Read More >

    USGBC Ranks Top 10 States for LEED

    The top 10 states for LEED based on per-capita square footage are Illinois (3.31), Colorado (3.15), Maryland (2.7), Virginia (2.33), Massachusetts (2.2), Hawaii (1.95), California (1.87), Georgia (1.83), Minnesota (1.79), and Arizona and New York (tied at 1.74). Read More >

    FAA Issues Proposed Rules for Commercial Drone Use

    Under the proposed rules, operators will be required to pass a written proficiency test and pay approximately $200 in fees, but they will not be required to obtain a pilot’s license. The drones must fly less than 100 miles per hour and stay below an altitude of 500 feet, or approximately 40 stories. The drones also would be required to stay within the pilot’s eyesight and to be flown during daylight. Read More >

    A Fresh Start in 'Devon's Den'

    In the wake of tragedy, it’s amazing to see what a community can accomplish. For Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) New Orleans/Bayou Chapter, working together to help a paralyzed football player live more comfortably showed that contractors often invest in their communities on a highly personal level. Read More >

    Groundhog Day for Congressional Tax Reform Efforts

    While contractors should not hold their breath for a flatter, fairer and simpler tax system, the work of this Congress will absolutely move them toward that goal. In the end, it is undoubtedly better to wait on a comprehensive overhaul that rejuvenates the economy than settle for reform in name only. Read More >

    Moving Parts

    After a long slump, manufacturing is back, and that means a surge in construction to catch up on a backlog of projects that major owners—Nissan and Caterpillar to name a few—have had on their wish lists for years. Read More >

    A Contractor's Guide to Captive Insurance

    At its most basic level, captive insurance is a form of self-insurance that provides significant benefits to businesses with unique and high levels of risk. While captives aren’t right for every business, they can be appropriate for many contractors. After all, few industries are exposed to as much risk and workers’ compensation claims as construction. Read More >

    The Benefits of Rental Equipment Protection

    Participating in a rental equipment protection or loss damage waiver program through a licensed insurance carrier is the best way to protect rental equipment. Insuring equipment with a licensed carrier can simplify rentals and ensures compliance with necessary legal exposure. Read More >

    The E-Mod Is Changing More Than Usual This Year

    Twenty years ago, the average workers’ compensation claim was $2,500. Today, it exceeds $9,000. As medical and indemnity costs have risen, more claims are in the excess layer of the e-mod calculation, causing all e-mods to increase over time. Because of increasing claim costs, the NCCI has decided to increase the split point to $10,000, with additional increases planned during the next few years.   Read More >

    21st Century Energy Infrastructure: Opportunities and Obstacles

    Updating midstream and downstream infrastructure—pipelines, storage, processing, rail and marine components—is essential for ensuring the efficient movement of oil and natural gas to refineries and on to consumers and businesses. Read More >

    The Middle States' Middling Recovery

    It may seem like the Middle States should be booming, particularly from the perspective of construction spending. After all, U.S. industrial production has been surging, demand for food is continuously growing, energy production has been on the rise, consumer spending and the Internet economy are creating demand for distribution services, banks are flush with capital and the world remains hungry for cutting-edge innovations in the life sciences. But demographics and other factors help explain why forceful economic recovery has yet to develop in a region with such promise. Read More >

    Putting the 2015 Insurance Market Outlook Into Perspective

    Insurance is one of the largest costs for many companies. Read on for some perspective on where the insurance industry stands today and how the current financial situation and underwriting objectives will affect businesses in 2015.  

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    What Lessons Can Contractors Take Away From a Recent Insurance Claim You've Encountered?

    A recent workers’ compensation claim involving a crushed pinkie finger was a great example of how valuable a vigorous return-to-work program can be. Read More >

    Achieving World-Class Safety: Staying At the Top With Continual Evaluation

    All too often, companies that enter into a sustained period of outstanding, world-class safety performance become complacent. After they’ve gone 1 million manhours without an injury, what’s left to achieve? Unfortunately, complacency breeds regression. Read More >

    Strategies for Avoiding Multi-Employer Liability

    A growing number of jurisdictions are agreeing with OSHA’s view that more than one employer can be liable for workplace deficiencies when they share control and responsibility for worker safety. Read More >

    Build a Competitive Advantage With Workforce Management Technology

    Workforce management can serve as a cost-effective solution to control labor costs, minimize compliance risks and maximize employee productivity. In turn, this adds up where it matters most: better top-line revenues and bottom-line results. Read More >

    COI Tracking Software Automates a Risky, Time-Consuming Process

    The cost of uninsured claims and lawsuits due to lapsed insurance or the incorrect endorsement could have a damaging financial impact on a contractor’s bottom line. If a company is collecting certificates of insurance (COIs) simply to confirm they have been received, there is no guarantee that all of the contractual requirements have been met. Tracking and managing certificates of insurance to confirm all limits, endorsements and requirements are in place allows a company to transfer costly claims and exposures to the appropriate party. Read More >

    Attract Millennials by Telling New Construction Stories

    For the young person who has grown up with video games, smartphones and other gadgets, high-tech is cool tech, and construction is perceived as low-tech, dirty and dull. Many of these perceptions are erroneous, as modern construction can be as challenging and as engaging a profession as a young person might aspire to, but without action, the construction industry faces a grim workforce. What’s a business owner to do? Read More >

    Five Ways to Develop and Retain Young Professionals

    It’s no secret that companies are facing generational gaps within their workforce, inside and outside of the construction industry. It is  important to understand this challenge and promote ways for young professionals to continue developing into high-performing employees and leaders. Retaining the younger generation entering the workforce can be done effectively and without making a large financial investment. Read More >

    Reducing the Cost and Time Impact of RFIs

    RFIs do not have to be such a time-consuming and expensive part of construction. With the right tools, software and implementation, RFI processes can be streamlined and their associated costs can be lowered.   Read More >

    Ongoing Challenges to State and Local Labor Policies

    State and local governments throughout the country have taken a number of actions within the last five years to change construction labor policy. Some of these changes have expanded opportunities for merit shop contractors to compete for projects, while others have served to limit competition from contractors that are not signatories to collective bargaining agreements. One thing many of these new statutes and ordinances have in common is exposure to legal challenges from those  unhappy with the changes. Read More >

    Labor Regulators Continue to Pursue Anti-Business Agenda

    The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued the most sweeping changes to its union election procedures in more than 50 years. These changes are designed to dramatically speed up elections and will clearly work to the advantage of union organizers. Also expected soon is a new standard for “joint employer” status and a new “blacklisting” regulation from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), as well as significant anti-business changes to rules governing overtime exemptions for “white collar” employees. Read More >

    I’ve Been Sued! Now What?

    For most contractors, regardless of size, litigation is an unfortunate fact of life. The key to effectively dealing with litigation is to understand the process, know what the company should and should not do, and make certain it is aligned with the right attorney, insurance broker and insurance company. Read More >

    When to Account for Job Costs Versus Fixed Assets

    Construction company owners and financial executives face one issue every day: when to account for job costs as costs associated with a particular job versus as fixed assets. Because most contractors use the percentage-of-completion method in recognizing revenue and monitor the progress of jobs based on actual costs incurred, the accumulation of job costs is critical. 
    Read More >

    Silicon Valley Powers the West’s Emerging Construction Boom

    While construction projects attached to companies like Facebook, Google and Apple capture headlines, construction is hardly relegated to tech giants. During the past year, businesses throughout Silicon Valley have been driving up demand for new office space as they expand in the context of flourishing capital markets and improving demand for new products. Read More >

    Cities and Properties to Watch for Real Estate Investment

    The industrial sector is rated as the most promising property type for investment and development potential this year. Supply has yet to meet demand, which has been rising since 2010. The apartment sector ranks second, with moderately priced units generating far more interest than high-end units. Hotels are rated third, as prospects for liquidity in the hospitality sector are expected to shape up nicely in 2015. Read More >

    A Proven Formula for Success

    2014 marked Brasfield & Gorrie’s 50th anniversary, and the company made it count by refining its core values and purpose statement to show a sincere commitment to all the things that take a contractor from good to great: safety, quality, innovation, teamwork, diversity and community service. The firm also kicked off or completed some impressive projects, including the new Atlanta Braves ballpark, College Football Hall of Fame and MetLife’s corporate headquarters. In honor of these achievements and contributions to the construction industry—plus a longstanding commitment to the merit shop philosophy—Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) named Brasfield & Gorrie its 2014 Contractor of the Year. Read More >

    Tech Transitions

    For contractors small and large, technology is inseparable from doing business. From the moment a worker arrives on the jobsite, he’s relying on handheld devices and mobile tablets for communication, intuitive software and PDFs for updating project details and relaying them to the whole project team, voice command apps for reporting conflicts and safety issues, and cameras for envisioning the entire project along the way. The future will call for not just one piece of essential technology, but rather, several pieces—all leading construction teams closer to true collaboration and the ability to work from a universal “bible” of information. Read More >

    Maximizing Processes: Putting the Core Value of Safety Into Action

    Once a company has established a total commitment to a zero-incident jobsite, where both leaders and employees believe every accident is preventable, the next step toward achieving world-class safety lies in the methods employed to identify and prevent hazards. This is where the rubber meets the road—the core value of safety in action. Read More >

    Changing the Face of Men's Health

    Over the course of 30 days, members of the Pennsylvania construction industry committed to giving back to their communities one moustache at a time by supporting the Movember Foundation. The organization has raised more than $550 million to date and funded more than 800 programs in 21 countries to help save and improve the lives of men affected by prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health issues. Read More >

    A Well-Informed Public: The Best Defense Against Bad Government Policies

    Bad government policies hurt good people. But many people simply don’t understand how or why and blame the wrong people when it happens. A well-informed public is the best defense against these policies. That is the cornerstone of a new partnership between Job Creators Network (JCN) and Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Read More >

    How Do You Deal With Technology Overload Personally and Within Your Company?

    There will always be challenges in keeping up with technology. Our goal is not to create “paralysis through analysis,” but rather focus on the need and then find the appropriate solution. Read More >
February 2015 (17)