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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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HealthcareMore Like This

Mergers, acquisitions, and other changes in ownership were complex before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Now, health care reform adds new factors to the financial equation that may be overlooked during the planning and due diligence phases of the merger or acquisition.

As companies plan for the next round of health care reform changes, they are learning the surprising ways in which reform affects  finances, especially when a major corporate change is a factor. Below are some examples of employee benefits situations to keep in mind when reviewing a potential change in ownership. Continue »

LeadershipMore Like This

Profiling leadership qualities is a healthy exercise, but winning candidates don’t always come with a prescribed list of attributes. In reality, identifying the traits of a great construction company leader is much more organic and evolutionary. Frequently, firms promote employees after they notice a few select traits that warrant taking a risk. Eight sketches here illustrate how the emergence of distinct traits can mesh with the timing of construction firms seeking new, transformational leaders.  Continue »

LegalMore Like This

Business owners from a wide array of industries celebrated early in May as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down a rule that would have required millions of employers to post the employee-rights poster from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The highly controversial poster rule has been the subject of intense debate since 2011 when it originally was proposed. Although the rule was supposed to go into effect in 2012, it has been delayed by numerous lawsuits. The most recent lawsuit was filed by The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), which succeeded in persuading the court that the Constitution prohibits federal agencies from creating rules in violation of federal statutes. Continue »

Economic OutlookMore Like This

Although Congress and President Obama squeezed out a deal in the early hours of the New Year, the country really only delayed approaching fiscal cliffs, not averted them. The agreement raised tax rates on individuals earning more than $400,000 a year, capped some deductions, extended unemployment benefits and certain personal and business tax credits, and let the payroll tax cut expire, among other measures. Continue »

Best PracticesMore Like This

With the construction industry slowly regaining momentum, joint ventures (JVs) are becoming an increasingly popular way for contractors to accelerate their recovery. Entering into a JV with another company can provide a contractor with access to a new market, building techniques or technology, or to additional financing or bonding capacity. In other instances, a JV partner might bring needed customer contacts, minority ownership qualification or other desirable attributes.

As advantageous as a JV might be, it also presents risks. In fact, entering into a JV is often compared to entering a marriage: The rewards can be great, but so can the heartaches if the partners are not well suited for each other. Continue »

OutlookMore Like This

FMI released its Construction Outlook for the first quarter of 2013. Although the strength of individual markets is shifting, the forecast for total construction-put-in-place for 2013 continues to show an increase of 8 percent over 2012 levels. The $918,897 million estimate is a solid improvement, but FMI does not expect to return to the days of annual construction above the trillion-dollar mark until 2015.

The star of the show is residential buildings with a 23 percent rise in single-family buildings. While much of business sector is still in wait-and-see mode, some industries are breaking the mold and planning for growth. Commercial, lodging and office construction are starting to pick up. Continue »

Best PracticesMore Like This

Hiring a new employee is supposed to be a long-term commitment. It’s a huge disappointment to go through the entire recruitment and training process with a new employee only to see them leave not long afterwards. The aging workforce is retiring or cutting down in work hours, and the need for replacements is increasing steadily. Younger employees are a sensible choice, but they often require training. Continue »

Best PracticesMore Like This

With the construction industry slowly regaining momentum, joint ventures (JVs) are becoming an increasingly popular way for contractors to accelerate their recovery. Entering into a JV with another company can provide a contractor with access to a new market, new building techniques or technology, or additional financing or bonding capacity. In other instances, a JV partner might bring needed customer contacts, minority ownership qualification or other desirable attributes.

As advantageous as a JV might be, it also presents risks. In fact, entering into a JV often is compared to entering a marriage: The rewards can be great, but so can the heartaches if the partners are not well suited for each other. Continue »

AccountingMore Like This

With the primary provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) set to take effect, many contractors are beginning to take a closer look at the law to determine whether they will be required to offer health insurance to their employees next year under the employer mandate.

However, another provision many contractors aren’t aware of could affect businesses starting this year. The PPACA includes a new Medicare surtax on unearned income that is intended to help fund the law’s provisions. Historically, the Medicare surtax has been levied on earned income only; now, unearned income may be subject to a payroll tax of 3.8 percent. Continue »

Business DevelopmentMore Like This

Cause marketing is big business. From pink ribbons on products to corporate hunger relief efforts, many for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations partner on mutually beneficial campaigns. In fact, corporate cause sponsorships were estimated at $1.73 billion in 2012, according to the IEG Sponsorship Report.

Many companies in the construction industry give little thought to cause marketing as they focus on holding their own through the tough recession. Even amid the uncertain recovery, construction companies should consider whether cause marketing could be a good move.  Continue »

OutlookMore Like This

Industry executives on the 2013 Architecture & Engineering (A&E) Market Outlook Panel Discussion at the Center for Architecture in New York shared their perspectives on the 2013 A&E Market Outlook Survey Results Report, a detailed report prepared by Grassi & Co. and Zetlin & De Chiara LLP that summarizes what a cross-section of A&E executives are seeing in the New York Metropolitan Region. Following are highlights of the findings and a discussion of trends that emerged from the data. Continue »