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 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.  

 INSTITUTIONAL 1By Niklas Moeller

In recent years, improvements in construction materials, as well as quieter office and mechanical equipment, have greatly reduced the ambient – or background – sound level in the majority of facilities. This leaves office employees to try to work in ‘pin-drop’ conditions in which they can easily hear conversations and noises.

When using a sound masking system to address this issue, it is vital to ensure the engineered sound it distributes is not only effective, but as unobtrusive as possible. Unlike ‘white noise’ or ‘pink noise’ – terms often, but mistakenly, used in this context – sound masking follows a non-linear curve specifically designed to balance acoustic control and occupant comfort. A successful implementation involves achieving both goals in equal measure.

 CIVIL 1By Zach Webber

In a construction environment mired with increasing competition and risk, some firms are using a tool that can both increase margins and mitigate risk. Joint ventures allow firms to “partner” to bid on and complete larger jobs for which a single firm may not have the necessary experience or risk profile. This pooling of assets and resources can create positive synergies by allowing smaller firms to compete in a larger competitive landscape. For a joint venture arrangement to be successful, each firm under the arrangement must realize that trust and communication are key issues, and that playing a “bully” role in the negotiation process could have large negative implications later in the process. Positive synergy cannot be obtained if one of the firms feels like it is not getting the benefits it needs from the venture.

Investing in a joint venture with another contractor can be a very attractive method to take on larger, more profitable jobs while effectively managing risk. A joint venture is organized as a separate entity and can either be created to bid on a singular project or to function with an indefinite life. For the contractor, investing in a joint venture has certain advantages and disadvantages.

 RESIDENTIAL 1By Timothy Quinn

When it comes to construction contracts, many companies and their attorneys assume it’s a good idea to slip in extra provisions, just for good measure.

But a recent case decided by the Pennsylvania Superior Court should remind everyone that adding multiple provisions to a contract regarding the same issue doesn’t necessarily afford greater protection.

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 OP INSTITUIONALBy Clint Fawcett

The construction of educational facilities involves a variety of processes in order to be successful. One of the most important processes to all parties involved, especially the owner and contractor, is cost estimation. An effective way to garner cost estimates is through a system called continuous cost modeling, which delivers many benefits including the reduction of waste in the form of time, productivity and materials. Continuous cost modeling is especially crucial when budget plays a large role in the construction of a facility such as an educational building.

 OP INDUSTRIALBy HK Bain

Construction contractors and suppliers face a dilemma: how to manage jobs and company operations with maximum profitability in an industry fraught with roadblocks to efficiency including rising costs, remote job sites, regulatory issues and project delays. As this digital age brings advances to nearly every business sector, the construction industry has been slow to adopt new technologies. How might attachment to paper-based document management processes be contributing to lost productivity and higher overall job costs?

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