Business

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. 
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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. 
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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.
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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. 
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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. 
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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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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.
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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.
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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.
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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."
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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.
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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.  
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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. 
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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.
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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. 
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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.
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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.
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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. 
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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. 

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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. 
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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. 
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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. 
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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.
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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.


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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.
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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.
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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. 
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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. 
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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.
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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. 
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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. 
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No Bounds to Success

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

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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. 
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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 >

Court Blocks DOL’s Final Persuader Rule

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a nationwide injunction blocking the U.S. Department of Labor from implementing the final persuader rule, keeping it from taking effect July 1. 
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Succession Planning and Ownership Transfer: Do It Right the First Time

Many U.S. construction industry leaders are approaching the age of 60 and above, with a recent study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers concluding that 33 percent of all construction firms will be transitioned during the next five years. While construction firm owners have vast knowledge in their trade niche, most have limited experience in the sale and divestiture of their own business interests. 
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Spending Stabilizes at Elevated Level; Supply Constraints Become More Apparent

While nonresidential construction spending growth struggles to maintain momentum, the balance of 2016 should prove a rewarding period for many construction companies. America’s consumer-led economic recovery remains in place, and construction backlog remains at elevated levels.  Read More >

Intelligent Machines

Construction equipment manufacturers are at the ready with a fleet of technology-rich machines that will revolutionize how contractors work.  Read More >

Executive Insights

Financial, legal and technology experts explain ACA requirements, the benefits and security of cloud-based accounting systems, the pros and cons of ESOPs, and the benefits of requiring funds control. Read More >

All Contractors Will Be Affected by the New Lease Standard

All construction contractors’ assets and liabilities will be affected by the new guidance to some degree, depending on the company’s circumstances. Contractors that have significant fleet leasing activity are likely to feel the change more than contractors with less leasing activity.  Read More >

Come in Ahead of Schedule: It’s Time to Think About ASC 606

Companies tackling ASC 606  head on will gently glide into the implementation phase in a few years. Those that don’t likely will experience varying degrees of turbulence.  Read More >

The Value of an Annual Partnering Meeting

The results of the partnering meeting, as it becomes an annual tradition, will prove to be valuable throughout the year, and help to provide a big-picture view of the construction business that otherwise would not be possible.  Read More >

Three Financial Red Flags to Monitor

A steadfast financial management process fosters teamwork, accountability, communication among departments, and continual learning and improvement so the same mistakes aren’t duplicated.  Read More >

Four Questions to Ask to Identify Accounting Inaccuracies in a Contract Schedule

Construction business leaders should ask four questions when reviewing a contract schedule for accuracy.  Read More >
 

A Tip of the 'HAT'
When Michelle Jones, an instrumentation engineer with Hargrove Engineers + ...

Building a Relationship-Based Career
When Brooke Wenger started at Triad Engineering, Inc., Hagerstown, Md., as a...

Equip Construction Managers to Minimize Safety Risks
Construction managers help shoulder the responsibility of safety, ensuring the...

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