'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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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? 

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.

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.

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.

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. 

Although residential construction enjoys the relative availability of new construction funding, commercial and industrial lending is still hampered by an industry-wide fear of failure. 

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. 

 

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