Columns

 OP COMMERCIAL 01By Marion McKnight

Green roofs are all the rage with new commercial buildings, but the new “hot” – make that “cool” – color in roofing is blue. And it’s not just about keeping things cool, although that’s a big part of it; it’s also about storm water management.

 If you know what a green roof is, you can probably guess what a blue roof is: instead of being planted with vegetation, a blue roof captures rainwater and either releases it slowly or retains it for other uses. It’s essentially the engineered cousin of setting a bunch of pots in your backyard to catch rainwater.

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 OP EMERGING TECHNOLOGY 01

By Mike Winn

The construction industry is poised to be the largest market for commercial drones. That’s according to a recent report by Goldman Sachs, which estimates drone spending by construction companies to reach $11.1 billion in the next five years. This estimate is based off the already strong demand for drone technology by the construction industry. According to IHS Global Insight, construction productivity in many areas has worsened over the past decade, and the IHS Herold Global Projects Database estimates that large infrastructure, mining, oil and gas projects on average cost 80 percent more than budgeted and run 20 months behind schedule. Drones are a tool to turn that tide, and are already proving a scalable return on investment.

 OP NY NJ FOCUS 01By Jonathan Leavens and Anthony Lehnen

U.S. companies have been concerned about their environmental liability exposures for more than 30 years.

Since the passage of the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act/Superfund 1980 (CERCLA), companies that purchase or lease property can be exposed to liabilities for contamination that they did not cause. They can also face other liabilities, such as third-party claims from nearby property owners for property damage or cleanup or third-party bodily injury claims from residents.

Because of these exposures, companies should always perform environmental due diligence during property transactions.

 INDUSTRIAL 1By Eric Miller

Judging by the number of lenders looking to extend credit to construction companies in the current market, you might think the industry is at or near the top of a cyclical peak. Of course, those in the trade know that is not necessarily the case. Last year’s bottom-barrel oil prices brought the energy industry lower and took related sectors along with it. In addition, some say China pushed steel prices lower to sell its excess supply to global markets, hurting domestic producers. And sluggish growth in overseas economies contributed to cool demand for construction equipment. 

 COMMERCIAL 1By Rebecca Stone

Increasingly, today’s resort visitors are arriving in multi-generational groups. This is a trend that’s affecting how resorts are being planned, constructed and retrofitted. As families more frequently travel with grandparents, parents and children in tow, designers and developers are inspired to consider each generation’s interests and make a point of developing resorts with spaces that target different age groups while still allowing families to spend their vacation time together. Appealing to these diverse groups is a critical part of capturing the biggest return on investment in the current resort construction market. Currently, this trend is creating demand for larger “legacy properties” – a vacation home that serves everyone and will remain in the family for multiple generations.

 OVERTIME 1Overtime rules will impact the construction industry.

By Mary Beth Saylor

In 2014, President Obama issued a memorandum to the Department of Labor (DOL) to update and modernize the regulations governing the exemption of executive, administrative and professional (EAP) employees from the minimum wage and overtime pay protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA or Act). The primary reasons for the change? Salary levels in the prior regulations were fixed, and there was not a mechanism for keeping them commensurate with the appropriate percentile of average wages today and into the future. Additionally, the change is expected to help accomplish one of the President's goals of ensuring workers are compensated fairly for their work.

 RECRUITING 1The secrets to effective recruitment may be right under your nose.

By Kim Shepherd and Thomas Brennan 

Every industry faces unique recruiting challenges, but one thing just about every company has in common in today's market is that talent wars are fierce. Unemployment is low and business is expanding, which means candidates have choices. In the construction industry, you can add to that the cyclical nature of the business and the fact that it is harder to create loyalty among hourly workers than among white-collar employees.

 NYNJ 1by Ed Beaulieu

On a job site, there’s nothing cozy about a confined space. In fact, they can be downright dangerous.

Which is why the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued new rules designed to protect construction workers inside of storm water drains, bins, crawl spaces, water mains, attics, pits, air conditioning ducts, sewers, manholes, and other confined spaces. Per specific OSHA guidelines, these spaces a) are not intended for continuous employee occupancy, b) are large enough for a worker to enter, but c) offer only limited means of entering and exiting.  

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