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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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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