News & Opinion

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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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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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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Executive Insights

Four experts offer advice on what contractors need to know about construction disputes.
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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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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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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.
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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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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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'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.
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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. 
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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.
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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. 
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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. 

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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. 
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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. 
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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.
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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. 
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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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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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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. 
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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. 
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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.
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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. 
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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.
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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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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.
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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. 
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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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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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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. 
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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.  
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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. 
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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.
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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. 
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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). 
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‘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. 
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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.
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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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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.
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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. 
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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.
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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 >

Workers’ Comp Report Reveals Top Five Causes of Workplace Injuries

In the construction industry, strains and sprains were the most frequently reported injury (28 percent of the total), and they caused work­ers to miss an average of 57 workdays.
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Design-Build Gains Traction in Four States

Missouri, Alabama, Nebraska and New York advance design-build legislation. 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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OSHA Finalizes Electronic Recordkeeping Rule

Effective Aug. 10, companies in high-hazard industries (including construction) with at least 20 employees must electronically submit injury and illness information, which OSHA will then post on its website.
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Best Practices Can Make Contractors 720 Percent Safer

ABC's 2016 Safety Performance Report documents how proactive safety practices can dramatically reduce recordable incidents up to 86 percent, making the best-performing companies 720 percent safer than the industry average. 
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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 >

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 >

If Money Was No Object, What Technology Would You Like to Use at Work in the Next Couple of Years?

Sensors would be the perfect tool to track health and safety issues that might otherwise go unmentioned and unnoticed.  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 >

Bill Containing Local Hiring and PLA Requirements Stalls in Delaware

The Associated Builders and Contractors Delaware Chapter has spearheaded a campaign to educate the public on PLAs, citing the fact that 92 percent of Delaware’s private construction workforce does not belong to a union and effectively would be shut out of competing for projects funded by their own tax dollars. 
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What One or Two Purposeful Things Can Companies Do to Enhance the Diversity of Their Staff and Construction Industry Relationships?

The more the word gets out that a company is truly supportive of its diverse staff for career enhancement, the easier it becomes to create a diverse team.  Read More >

D.C. Appeals Court Rejects Davis-Bacon Expansion on Private Project

Affirming a U.S. District Court ruling from 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a decision that stops an unprecedented expansion of the Davis-Bacon Act onto the CityCenterDC project on the grounds that the District of Columbia was not a party to the construction contracts and that the project is not a “public work” because it is not publicly funded or government-owned or government-operated. 
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Severe Driving Incidents in Construction Exceed National Average

The heavy construction and engineering industry recorded the second most severe driving incidents for service-based vehicles—29 percent above the national average of 2.5 severe driving incidents per every 1,000 miles driven.
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Safety: A Near-Perfect Alignment Between Doing the Right Thing and Enhancing Profitability

Firms with better safety records are less exposed to lawsuits and claims for workers’ compensation. Trained workers are more likely to stay on the job. Better safety means fewer expenses to repair damaged equipment and reputation. And, safe companies eliminate the costs of investigation, potential workplace interruptions and impacts on morale.  
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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. 
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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. 
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.” 
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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. 
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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
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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. 

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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.
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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.
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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. 
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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. 
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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). 

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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.
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Canadian Study Highlights Efficacy of P3s; Model Law Published in U.S.

The performance-based incentives and accountability requirements built into public-private partnerships (P3s) result in high-quality projects being delivered more efficiently, cost-effectively and timely than traditional procurements, according to a report issued by a research team from Western University in London, Ontario. 
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Injury and Illness Reporting Goes Electronic

About a year after OSHA’s new injury and illness reporting requirements took effect, the agency launched a webpage where employers can electronically report cases. Employers now have three ways to report incidents: electronically through the new web portal, osha.gov/report; by phone, (800) 321- OSHA; or at the nearest OSHA Area Office. 
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Oversight Committee Favorably Marks Up Neutrality Legislation

The Government Neutrality in Contracting Act (H.R. 1671) would increase fair and open competition on federal and federally funded construction projects by preventing federal agencies from requiring contractors to sign project labor agreements as a condition of winning federal or federally assisted construction contracts.
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ICC Updates Building Code for Tornado-Prone Regions

The International Code Council (ICC) approved building code changes for tornado-prone regions requiring enhanced protection for new school buildings and additions on existing school campuses, as well as facilities where people regularly assemble, such as gymnasiums, theaters and community centers. 
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Price Increases Ahead for Drywall, Painting and Landscape Services

The price of plastering and drywall services is forecast to jump 7.7 percent in 2016. Additionally, prices for painting services are anticipated to increase 5.9 percent, and prices for landscape architecture and design services are expected to escalate 3.4 percent. 
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House Passes Resolution to Withdraw WOTUS Rule

Last November, the Senate voted to nullify the WOTUS rule, which would dramatically expand the scope of federal authority over water and land use across the country. 
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How do you make sure priorities set at the executive level are disseminated, understood and acted upon throughout the organization?

The goal deployment process drives accountability and ownership. Our objectives are tied to significant and measurable results. This strategy drives alignment across the company and focuses everyone on key objectives and projects that move the needle versus daily firefighting.  Read More >

Pro-Merit Shop Policies Advance in the States

In December 2015, ABC launched “Building America: The Merit Shop Scorecard,” which reviews and grades state-specific information significant to the success of the commercial and industrial merit shop construction industry.  Read More >

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. 
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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.
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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. 
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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.
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