In the second Obama administration, employers should expect to see a more active Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). From a regulatory perspective, rules that could impact many employers may be proposed or published in final form. From an enforcement perspective, employers should expect to see the same high level of OSHA enforcement. Continue »
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.
The American tax system allows for voluntary compliance and is regulated at all levels of government using the auditing process. Many state and local governments have tax discovery units that employ creative techniques to uncover businesses that are not filing specific tax returns (e.g., sales and use tax or gross receipts tax) in their jurisdictions. These businesses are then contacted and audited to determine if they have delinquent tax liabilities.
Being prepared for an unexpected call from the tax man can go a long way in reducing potential stress and helping the audit go smoothly. Most tax examinations are based on a random selection of tax filers. Recently, however, audits based on targeted industries or third-party information have been increasing, particularly at the state and local tax levels. Continue »
When an accident occurs on a jobsite, firefighters, emergency personnel and other first responders focus more on helping the injured than preserving valuable evidence. Meanwhile, field workers and supervisors are concerned with continuing to move the job forward. Continue »
Successful companies strive to use every tool possible to ensure their projects are safe, on schedule and within budget. New methods are developed and piloted each year in an effort to improve project execution and satisfy customer expectations. However, all too often safety programs are not updated regularly, and safety performance can result from luck rather than reproducible results. Continue »
Audits are a fact of life for businesses. A financial statement audit required by a bank or bonding company is a lot of work for a contractor’s accounting department and comes with an unwelcome fee. Contractors that understand and prepare for the audit can significantly reduce their stress level and possibly even reduce the audit fee. Continue »
The nation’s slowly dropping unemployment rate may be a sign that the economy is on the road to recovery. But surety executives still expect the next year to be tough for the construction industry as the impact of the recession and depleted backlogs continue to take a toll on contractors’ balance sheets. Continue »
During the next 10 years, coal-fired power plant operators will spend $80 billion to upgrade their existing power plants, according to the McIlvaine report “Fossil & Nuclear Power Generation: World Analysis & Forecast.”
The U.S. upgrade market will be driven by the following factors.
- Coal will again become the low-cost power option.
- Building new coal-fired power plants will be difficult.
- Automation will reduce operating costs.
- Environmental rules will require more air pollution control.
- Water quality issues will require cooling and treatment investments. Continue »
How does it feel to be changing an entire industry? That was construction industry members’ lasting impression after three mentally grueling days of exploring the intricacies of world-class safety performance during Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) inaugural STEP Plus Safety Excellence Academy held in April 2012.
“I learned more from this course than any other safety class I’ve taken,” says Skip Wolfford, president of David M. Wolfford & Son, Inc., an electrical contractor based in Culpeper, Va. “I’m a former EMT and instructor. With my credentials, I thought I knew it all about safety. This course proved me wrong—and thankfully so. Continue »
After several tough years of recession, forecasts put the construction industry on a slow upswing. Projected increases in commercial work should infuse communities with development projects and create more construction jobs than in past years. Continue »
With the globalization of the construction industry, one area many companies can more effectively budget for is their import and export operations for materials and equipment. Companies can save millions of dollars by ensuring adherence to environmental regulations and taking advantage of fluctuating currency rates, which often are unpredictable and difficult to understand. The challenge is to stay up to date on these complex and dynamic issues. Continue »
In some ways, 2012 was a replay of 2011. The economy had significant momentum coming into the year due to surging financial markets and ambitious consumers. In fact, the U.S. economy expanded 4.1 percent during the fourth quarter of 2011. Continue »
Some bond producers report the outlook for the construction industry has improved slightly compared to a year ago, but most believe the tough economy has not passed. Continue »