News & Opinion

Bringing Balance Back to the NLRB

Although its purpose is to interpret the National Labor Relations Act in a fair and impartial way, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has suffered through nearly a decade of unprecedented partisan legal decisions that have the chance to reshape the entire American workforce. 
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IRS Increases Health FSA Limit for 2018

The IRS has increased the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) dollar limit on employee salary reduction contributions to $2,650 for taxable years beginning in 2018. Revenue Procedure 2017-58 also includes annual inflation numbers for 2018 for a number of other tax provisions.
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Waste Rating System Unveiled for Businesses

Companies and facilities have an updated tool to define, pursue and achieve their zero waste goals through project certification and professional credentialing. The TRUE Zero Waste rating system helps organizations understand how materials flow through their facilities, as well as set benchmarks, track performance, educate employees and identify opportunities for products to be reused. TRUE-certified projects—of which there are 88 around the world—meet a minimum of 90 percent waste diversion for 12 months from landfills, incinerators or the environment. 
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Optimism Reported Among Mechanical Contractors

As mechanical contractors exceed the $25 million revenue threshold, their optimistic business outlook strengthens, according to the 2018 Mechanical Contracting Industry Outlook, sponsored by Jonas Construction Software. Seventy-two percent of the 169 mechanical contractors surveyed in all revenue categories foresee an increase in job and service rates, and 81 percent predict an uptick in sales volume. 
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Thwarting the Worst of Hurricane Irma

Insurance companies, homebuilders, and city and county officials are still assessing residential and commercial building damage after Hurricane Irma tore through South Florida on Sept 10, but in general, the stricter building codes enforced after Hurricane Andrew did their job. 
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Q: How do you use social media to engage with employees, clients, project partners and your community? What’s the value?

To engage with other construction professionals, or even potential new team members, we share industry news and highlight construction awards and expertise. Because of the personal nature of Facebook, we use it to post about community involvement and company events, interact with team members and share project updates. On Twitter, we focus on engaging content that speaks to a variety of audiences about Forrester’s expertise and core values. We also use Twitter and Facebook to support our client and philanthropic partners in their missions, which is very valuable for relationship building.
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Residential Green Building Continues to Gain Traction

At least one-third of single-family and multifamily builders say green building represents more than 60 percent of their portfolio, according to a new SmartMarket Brief from Dodge Data & Analytics in partnership with the National Association of Home Builders. Within that group, nearly 30 percent of multifamily builders are “dedicated” to green building, meaning it comprises more than 90 percent of their portfolio. 
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Oklahoma Will Be Home to Largest U.S. Wind Farm

Work is under way on the 2,000-megawatt Wind Catcher facility in the Oklahoma panhandle—set to be the largest wind farm in the United States and the second biggest in the world. It will generate electricity for more than 1 million customers in the South Central United States via 800 turbines. 
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State Prevailing Wage Repealed in Wisconsin

A two-year, $76 billion budget that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed in late September calls for the immediate repeal of the state’s prevailing wage law. An earlier version of the budget included a provision to sunset the prevailing wage law in September 2018, but Walker vetoed it.
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Rising Above

In the days and weeks after Hurricane Harvey’s cataclysmic late August landfall, the resilience of the south Texas construction community and the area that it serves was put to the ultimate test. The largest storm to hit the United States since 2005, Harvey slammed into Rockport, Texas, as a Category 4 hurricane, and then it dumped more than 40 inches of rain as it meandered across southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana. 
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Appointments Made to Apprenticeship Task Force

U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta has appointed a group of people hailing from a wide range of American companies and trade, industry and educational groups to the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion. Among the appointees is Associated Builders and Contractors President and CEO Michael Bellaman. 
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2018 Regional Construction Outlook

Starting in 2012, the construction sector generally has turned in stronger growth than the overall economy. However, that growth has not been evenly distributed within the industry. Residential construction has had the strongest rebound, with notable differences. Multifamily construction has fully recovered, while single-family construction, although improving, struggles with starts still well below the nation’s long-term needs. The outlook is for multifamily construction to continue roughly around its current level and for single- family construction to slowly grow. The South and West will be the main beneficiaries of the improvement in single-family construction. 
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2018 Construction Economic Forecast: Confidence Is the Key

Last year, the U.S. economy only managed 1.5 percent growth. It then expanded just 1.2 percent during 2017’s initial quarter on an annualized basis, the latest in a string of weak first quarters. In other words, for more than a year, the U.S. economy has been consistently growing at less than 2 percent.

That changed, at least temporarily, during the second quarter of 2017. Based on revised estimates from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. economy expanded 3 percent on an annualized basis from April through June. As has been the case for several years, much of the progress was driven by growth in consumer outlays. Government spending, by contrast, continues to contribute little, if anything, to the current pace of economic expansion. In fact, based on construction data, investment in a number of publicly financed infrastructure categories has been in decline, including spending on dams and levies, highways and streets, and water systems.  
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Bradley Named 'Law Firm of the Year' by U.S. News

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) member Bradley was recently named the nation’s “Law Firm of the Year” for Construction Law in the 2018 “Best Lawyers” edition of U.S. News.One law firm is selected from each legal practice area as the “Law Firm of the Year.”
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Check Out These Upcoming BuiltWorlds Events

BuiltWorlds, a media partner of Construction Executive, is a community and network that believes in innovation through collaboration to push the built industry forward. Through its events, ecosystem, and supporting video and written content, BuiltWorlds provides tools, knowledge, inspiration and connections to grow careers, companies and the industry.
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Silica Update: OSHA Issues Interim Enforcement Guidance

On Oct. 19, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas Galassi issued a memorandum on Interim Enforcement Guidance for the Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction Standard. The memo provides interim enforcement guidance to Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) for enforcing the standard, stating: “Effective Oct. 23, 2017, OSHA will fully enforce all appropriate provisions of the Silica in Construction Standard. This memorandum will serve as interim enforcement guidance while the standard's companion compliance directive is proceeding through the review process. It will expire when the compliance directive becomes effective and available to the field.”
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Massachusetts and California Nab Top Spots on Energy Efficiency Scorecard

Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, Vermont and Oregon landed in the top five spots on the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s 2017 scorecard, which assesses states’ utility programs, transportation policies, building energy code compliance, government-led efficiency initiatives, appliance and equipment standards, and heat and power policies. Idaho, Florida and Virginia were the three most improved states. For more information, visit aceee.org/state-policy/scorecard.
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A Capitol Hill and State Legislative Update

During his campaign for the presidency, one of Donald Trump’s key initiatives was a $1 trillion 10-year infrastructure spending package with funding from private investors and the federal government. Specifically, financing from private investments would secure public-private partnership (P3s) agreements to help address the nation’s infrastructure problems.

President Trump recently has moved away from P3s by questioning their effectiveness, and the administration’s focus for the remainder of 2017 will be on tax reform. As such, all signs seem to point to the unveiling of an infrastructure plan in early 2018. 
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Executive Insights

Get expert answers to questions on construction bonding, surety, risk management, dispute resolution and more.
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Gauging the Swing of the Republican Pendulum

As suddenly as the window of opportunity blew open for Republicans by the winds of change last November with the election of President Trump, some fear that a string of GOP congressional special elections are evidence—although limited in nature—that the party’s opportunity to enact its agenda may be winnowing already, if not positioning itself to slam shut. 

Republicans not only have control over both Houses of Congress in Washington, but also have control of 34 governor’s mansions—up from 31 in 2016 and the high-water mark since President Warren G. Harding used a radio for the first time in the White House (and only four shy of the threshold to amend the Constitution on a party-line vote). 
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Q: What does it mean for your company to be employee-owned?

Employee ownership allows Choate to share long-term success with our employees while also remaining an independent, internally operated company—keeping the business “in the family” and complementing our core values and mission. And while employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) are not for every company, Choate was a good candidate for this type of ownership because it has zero long-term debt. 
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Construction Fleets Poised to Expand

Teletrac Navman’s new Telematics Benchmark Report found more than half of global construction firms will be expanding their fleet size during the next year as a result of increased demand for services and the need to replace older machines. More than 80 percent of organizations already are using telematics or plan to do so in the next year, citing equipment tracking as the most common use, followed by tracking speed and hours driven. More than half of respondents using telematics have seen reduced fuel costs up to 40 percent, and almost one-third have had fewer accidents. 
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Crane Operator Requirement Delayed Another Year

OSHA’s mandatory crane operator certification requirement, which was supposed to take effect this month after an initial implementation date of 2014, has been delayed again until November 2018. The latest extension stems from President Trump’s directive that federal agencies review pending regulations.
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Survey Gives Insight on Architecture and Engineering Firms’ HR Practices

Forty-two percent of all responding firms did not have a full-time HR department, and 81 percent of respondents said that the person in charge of HR functions participates in the firm’s annual business planning process. 
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Baton Rouge Leads U.S. Cities in Construction and Extraction Jobs

When it comes to construction and extraction (C&E) job opportunities, Baton Rouge, La., is the place to be. However, when looking at the cost of living, C&E workers in second-place Detroit got a bigger bang for their buck.

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U.S. Transportation Market Set to End 2017 on High Note

Airports and ports should continue to experience strong activity through the end of 2017, with increased traffic driving related construction spending on upgrades and expansions. Toll roads will see a more modest boost in revenue due to toll increases and will continue to face resistance from anti-toll groups. 
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Who’s someone you look up to, and how do you model him or her in your leadership?

"We strive to exemplify the values my grandfather modeled in our dealings with clients, subcontractors and with each other. They guide us in our partnerships and recruitment efforts and are part of every job description."
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Balfour Beatty: Construction Sites Will Be Human-free by 2050

Robots are already in use on the jobsite, filling roles from overhead photography and surveying to worker and equipment tracking, and even site access and security. Technology on the horizon includes teams of remotely controlled machines that can work together efficiently. 
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The Quiet Progress of Career Education

To truly give all Americans access to flexible, safe and high-quality career education programs like those offered by ABC’s chapters, member companies and training partners, lawmakers and construction advocates must make meaningful progress to address the skills gap and build the workforce of tomorrow. 
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Save Local Business Act Would Rein in ‘Joint Employer’ Standard

The Save Local Business Act, sponsored by Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) with the bipartisan support of 29 co-sponsors, would restore the language used to determine when one business should be considered responsible for the labor practices of another, protecting businesses from unnecessary involvement in labor negotiations and disputes involving workplaces in which they do not have direct control.
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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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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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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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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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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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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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