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By Erik Ortmann

By now many contractors have encountered goals set for a designated percentage of disadvantaged, minority and/or woman-business enterprises to participate on certain contracts. The rules pertaining to certified firm hiring typically apply to public contracts and depend on the funding source. For example, federally funded contracts apply federal rules/laws and call for the use of disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE), while New York State-funded contracts apply state rules/laws and call for the use of minority business enterprises (MBE) and/or woman business enterprises (WBE).

Commercial

By Don Wetherby

In the past 30 years, very little has changed for most small- to mid-sized general contractors and sub-contractors in terms of on-site project management. Generally speaking, it’s been a seat-of-pants approach to overseeing the building process. A superintendent’s role is much like a fireman’s – dousing out problems as they flare up. Ideally, we’d spend more time preventing issues before they become emergencies.

That’s where agile project management comes in. In 2001, a group of computer software developers who were tired of the complexity and ineffectiveness of traditional project management practices created The Manifesto for Agile Software Development. The agile methodology is a declaration of four values and 12 principles aimed to streamline the workflow process by increasing communication and collaboration throughout the scope of the project.

Residential OPBy Courtney DeMilio

Construction equipment theft is a lucrative and growing market for criminals. The spike in such theft brings with it a number of costly problems for construction business owners who not only stand to lose the valuable equipment, but also pay the price in loss of productivity. A recent study found that more than $7.7 million worth of construction equipment theft occurred in 2014 alone. According to the report, the most popular equipment to steal is that most common at a jobsite, including backhoes, wheel and skip loaders; skid steers; and towables such as generators and air compressors.

Civil

By Cynthia Evanko Olinger

Professional liability exposures in construction have traditionally been associated with members of the design team such as architects and engineers. With the advent of alternative contracting methods and the expansion of activities considered to be professional services, general and trade contractors are increasingly exposed to professional liability losses. For both evolving forms of risk, contractor professional liability policies can be a solution to crippling financial exposures.

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Integrated Project DeliveryA close analysis reveals the fallacy of integrated project delivery. 

By Michael K. De Chiara

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is a concept that, in practice, can’t work in accordance with the initial expectations of the parties. And if you don’t believe me, you either are naïve or have not been involved in an IPD, or are an owner who has used an IPD to take advantage of contractors and design professionals.

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. 

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