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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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Best PracticesMore Like This

Large companies have no excuse for being unprepared to pursue claims or defend lawsuits, as they tend to have their own legal, IT and HR staffs and budgets. Many learn from experience that they absolutely must spend time on, and invest money in, information governance.

But small companies get sued too. Unlike many large firms, small companies ultimately may fail or succeed based on their ability to defend a lawsuit (or pursue claims). While it certainly is tough for small companies involved in relatively few legal challenges to rationalize spending money on policies for retaining records and planning for electronic discovery, they must do so or constantly live in fear that a single claim or lawsuit may lead to bankruptcy. Continue »

BookkeepingMore Like This

Mentioning tracking performance on a construction site usually results in some eye rolling. Mentioning tracking profitability, though, elicits a much different response.

Contactors must view tracking performance as being positively correlated to tracking profitability. Tracking performance on current work gives contractors a baseline against which to measure departures from the norm on future work when it becomes necessary to justify claims and change order requests. It also provides project managers with current information about production and costs, allowing them to take timely corrective action if necessary. Continue »

LegalMore Like This

On Sept. 21, 2012, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Joseph Sdao, a Long Island resident, had been found guilty and convicted on bribery charges. As a former project manager for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Sdao was accused of accepting bribes in connection with contracts for three playgrounds in the Bronx. In August, he pleaded guilty to the top charge of felony bribe-receiving in the second degree. Sdao had agreed to provide a contractor with copies of the engineer’s project estimates (a document not intended for distribution to bidders before they submitted their bids) in exchange for a kickback of a percentage of the contract price if the vendor was awarded the contract. Additionally, Sdao made a deal with the contractor’s employees to process the contractor’s requests for payments for overruns in exchange for bribes. Continue »

Fleet ManagementMore Like This

What’s the business case for providing company vehicles rather than reimbursing drivers who use their own vehicles? Improved cash flow, reduced operating costs, improved safety, enhanced driver morale and a more professional image. Each of these factors is significant independently; together, they make a compelling case for providing company vehicles. Continue »

Business DevelopmentMore Like This

Marketing is a creative process–more art than science. Wrestling with difficulties in work acquisition in recent years, some construction companies have reached out for assistance while others have attempted to carry out their programs in-house. A multitude of project lead resources are available, so either these resources don’t work, or construction firms do not know how to utilize them. Continue »

AccountingMore Like This

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued new, comprehensive guidance on a fundamental tax issue: Is an expenditure a current repair or supply deduction, or must it be capitalized and depreciated over many years? For the most part, the regulations—under discussion since 2004—are nearly complete, with only minor changes anticipated before they become final in 2013. They apply to virtually every business that incurs repair and maintenance costs and owns tangible property. Continue »

EthicsMore Like This

This is the first of a three-part series of articles that will address bribery schemes in the construction industry. Each article will discuss the different types of transactions involving bribery and methods of prevention and detection.

Wendell Walters, a former assistant commissioner at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, pleaded guilty in March 2012 to accepting $2.5 million in bribes. He was arrested in October 2011 on racketeering charges and accused of taking kickbacks from real estate developers in exchange for directing contracts exceeding $22 million to them. In his statement, Walters admitted to helping developers and contractors “get on the approval list” for city contracts in exchange for “cash payments and other benefits.” The Brooklyn U.S. attorney in this case also charged six developers with bribing Walters and demanding kickbacks from contractors. In addition, they have been accused of increasing invoice amounts to absorb the costs of the bribes.

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