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When it comes to the construction industry, every detail is important due to project and budget size. Try as the industry might to provide tools that reduce risk and error through careful project oversight, critical details are still missed. In fact, as much as 30 percent of every construction dollar is wasted, exceeding $1 trillion annually.

While these numbers are daunting, the main factors that contribute to this waste are fairly straightforward: inadequate planning and program management. Historically, without technologies designed to help manage the wide range of moving pieces specific to construction projects, owners and contractors have struggled to balance flexibility with fixed budgets and aggressive timelines.

The construction industry isn’t what it used to be, and, put simply, traditional methods of operation don’t necessarily parallel the high expectations of today’s clients. Projects need to be completed under tighter deadlines, while project managers face greater competitive pricing challenges and more intense scrutiny for everything from worker safety to environmental compliance. Couple that with a heightened industry standard that demands real-time results —immediate communication, instant gratification, and a “paper” trail of progress — and you’re left with all the proof you need that the construction industry is in a proverbial pressure-cooker. That pressure is especially heavy for small business owners who must mitigate all of these project challenges while still managing day-to-day operations and generating new revenue.

Insurance is one of the tools most often used to manage risk in connection with construction projects. In determining insurance requirements for construction contracts, it is important to identify the potential challenges associated with the project to make sure that the policy terms and limits are adequate to cover any potential losses. 

Here are the most common insurance coverage exclusions, and what construction professionals should do to fill in any coverage gaps.  

Exclusion Issues

Virtually every insurance policy has certain exclusions for which coverage will not apply. For example, the standard Insurance Services Office commercial general liability (CGL) policy form has 17 specific coverage exclusions listed. Typically, a policy includes exclusions because separate, specific coverage is provided elsewhere in the policy or occurrences are covered by other types of insurance that the insured can – and should – purchase. 

Global satellite navigation systems (GNSS) have become a vital instrument in many construction companies’ toolsets. Their accurate locating capabilities and universal availability can help crews more easily collect data and save time when surveying, easily locate sites, manage fleets and even help protect expensive, critical equipment from theft. But GNSS technology and the global positioning systems (GPS) receivers they communicate with also are vulnerable to malicious attacks via RF interference, jamming and the deliberate counterfeiting of signals known as spoofing. These attacks have a direct impact on security and accuracy and can ultimately undermine a construction company’s profitability.

There is no question that the United States’ homebuilding industry is being driven by a wave of consolidation, causing merger and acquisition activity to heat up. As the landscape transforms, competitors and collaborators are rapidly buying, selling and merging into each other.  Over the next decade, we expect to see 50 percent or more of privately held businesses in the construction industry to transition ownership. 

As consolidation builds, it is important to understand factors driving the force. There are four areas fueling this trend: strong housing market fundamentals, need for scale, diversity, and improved operating efficiencies.

By now, most of us involved in the building construction and design industry are familiar with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification — the U.S. Green Building Council’s set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of green buildings, homes and neighborhoods — and other sustainable building programs. As the demand for “greener” buildings continues to grow, it’s important that our industry communicate the impact the products we manufacture have on the environment. 

The race is on in the construction and engineering sector to develop and commercialize the use of 3-D printing technology. Although firms are already using the technology to print models and hard-to-construct components, it is the promise of using 3-D printing technology to print actual building components layer by layer in on the job site that excites many because of the potential transformative uses of the technology. The claimed advantages of the technology include the flexibility to design hard-to-build structures, the potential for mass-production and customization, reduced waste, substantially reduced labor costs, safer work environments and the ability to build in hostile environments. In addition, this technology potentially allows developers to build applications ranging from mass-producing simple housing in underdeveloped countries or in the wake of natural disasters to changing the economics of complex construction in developed countries to applications in outer space.  

Passengers on Southwest Airlines flights to and from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) will soon receive some much-needed breathing room.

The airline broke ground in November 2014 on a $508 million modernization of LAX Terminal 1, of which the Dallas-headquartered company is the sole occupant. Southwest is contracting directly with construction manager at-risk Hensel Phelps to deliver the project, which it anticipates will be complete by the end of 2018. The program team also includes program manager AvAirPros, design manager ODEMCO, and PGAL, which is providing design and engineering expertise.

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