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Construction MediationHere are four tips for successful construction mediation.

By William Short, Esq.

Mediation is the art of balancing interests. The number of interests usually involved in the mediation of a construction dispute is possibly larger than in any other field of law. One of the challenges of the mediation of any construction dispute lies in the ability of the mediator, as well as the parties and their lawyers, to adjust the balance of interests among the multiple participants involved with the construction project in such a way as to achieve a settlement. 

Bridge and Transportation

By Luke Anear

The art of building bridges has existed for a millennium, with the oldest bridge dating back to 850 BC – a single arch slab stone construction that spans over the River Meles in Turkey. 

Fast-forward 2,166 years and bridge construction has come a long way. Today we are seeing bridges constructed in record time, and fewer lives lost than ever before. When the Golden Gate Bridge was built, it was normal in the industry to see one worker fatality for every $1 million spent on bridge construction. For most of the construction period of the Golden Gate, a new record had been set, with only one death until February 17, 1937, when ten workers died in one incident.

In 2016, building bridges is still dangerous work. 

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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.

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