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Buzzwords are a common challenge across the construction workforce continuum. While the exact definition of the term is rarely agreed upon, it is safe to assume that buzzwords are a series of overused and often ambiguous words or expressions seemingly meant to convey an important idea or concept in an engaging and often entertaining manner. Workplace buzzwords that set aside the normal rules and expectations of the English language in favor of obtuse expressions are neither helpful nor effective in engendering a safe jobsite.

As an industry, we must get beyond safety strategies and more importantly workplace traditions based on a “buzz” that cannot be operationalized effectively and as such cannot be measured in a reliable manner to create a strong culture and, in turn, climate of safety. We must stop using reactive approaches in our responses to safety and endeavor to create proactive approaches that reinforce policies and procedures that have a single goal: keeping the worker safe. 

Since 1975, World of Concrete has given masonry and concrete professionals a chance to network and see the latest products and machinery on the market Construction Today had the opportunity to ask show director Jackie James what attendees can expect from this year’s event, Feb. 1 through Feb. 5, in Las Vegas.

Construction Today: Why is World of Concrete a must-attend event? 

Jackie James: If you are in the concrete and/or masonry industry, this is the only annual international event focused on new products, technologies and educational offerings for the commercial and residential markets. And it’s the first show of the year, where exhibitors usually launch the newest products into the marketplace. It is also a place of community, where you can network and meet with like-minded individuals and share mutually beneficial ideas. 

While much of the national economy has improved since the depths of the Great Recession of 2007, many sectors across the U.S. have not been that fortunate – especially the construction industry, where new housing starts have been inconsistent from market to market. With these challenging business conditions coupled with rising tax rates and limited deduction options, builders need to do what they can to improve cash flow by effectively managing their tax burdens and leveraging any available tax incentives. Here are some tips to help construction managers navigate the choppy waters of the industry.

With construction in New York City at an all-time high, the New York County District Attorney’s office earlier this year announced what it termed a new Construction Fraud Task Force. In an Aug. 5 announcement, accompanied by a press conference by District Attorney Cyrus Vance, the office said the purpose of the task force was “to identify and prosecute citywide corruption and fraud in the construction industry.” 

Along with the announcement, the DA issued a press release regarding the task force’s first two prosecutions. Both indictments sprung from the same accident at a construction site in Manhattan where a worker died as a result of an earthen wall collapse. 

Recent trade shows and conferences are proof positive that the future of green building is innovation. Hundreds of companies filled massive exhibition halls, displaying cutting-edge building materials, lighting solutions and innovative materials and technologies that are improving building performance, energy efficiency and the comfort and health of building users. 

Some of the most intriguing products and services on display in 2015 were imagined and engineered by startups and smaller firms that, in some cases, are partnering with established enterprises to bring disruptive services and technologies to the traditionally conservative construction and building materials markets.

The sound that struck me most the first time I visited a jobsite was not the sound of tools — it was the sound of shouting. Something had deviated from the plan, triggering a very red, flustered project manager to verbally lash out at a particularly unfortunate contractor. 

More than 400 years ago, Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” captured this dynamic. The play’s protagonist needs to borrow money from a loan shark, who insists on an absurd agreement: If he cannot be paid back, he will carve a pound of flesh out of the protagonist’s chest.

Insurance seems like a necessary evil for most contractors. It’s the price of doing business, and a price that is frequently too high, especially in major metropolitan areas like New York City. Construction firms think they pay what insurers will charge simply because the market will bear it.

Insurers look at it from a different perspective. To them, insurance is an absolute necessity, an incredible system to deal with an uncertain world. The costs they impose should serve as a market-based incentive for risk businesses to act safer. If prices rise, that’s an indication of increased risk, and construction firms should start thinking about how they can be safer.

The popularity of Builder Board has been growing stronger throughout the remodeling and building industry due to its all-around performance and time-saving attributes. It’s light, liquid-resistant, flexible, defends against high-impact drops and is 100 percent breathable. Builder Board truly has become the standard in floor protection, saving industry professionals millions in costs every year. Still, there are always ways to improve performance and Surface Shields has done exactly that with its latest innovation: Builder Board Breathable Tape. 

For floors that require protection while still curing, a completely breathable system is needed. Yes, Builder Board is breathable, however, cure lines will form if the wrong tape is used to seam it together. This new breathable tape is formulated to allow vapors and moisture to escape, preventing stained lines from appearing on concrete and other curing floors. 

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