While the past decade has seen a significant shift in the way that many in the construction industry view risk management, implementing a successful corporate-wide risk management program still poses a challenge. According to KPMG’s 2013 Global Construction Survey, 77 percent of respondents reported underperforming projects due to delays, poor estimating processes and failed risk management processes. A separate survey from risk management society RIMS found that only 21 percent of companies across all industries and sectors even have a fully-integrated risk management program. 

Green building only continues to rise. According to the Canadian Green Building Council, the 574 projects that received LEED certification in 2013 represented the highest number of any year up until then. And although the 2014 numbers were not yet available at press time, last year remained on that trajectory. Still, some building owners and developers are nervous to jump onto the eco-bandwagon because the factors for earning credits toward LEED certification can be daunting and they don’t know if it’ll work out to be green economically as well as ecologically.

Navigating today’s toughest construction challenges while increasing job site productivity is becoming more challenging than ever, especially as construction schedules become more condensed and complex. Savvy engineers and contractors are turning to BIM coordination, coupled with prefabrication and modularization, to help drive  productivity and improve their bottom line. 

Today’s most innovative projects rely on smart preplanning, as early preparation and collaboration on concepts, designs, coordination and prefabrication lead to a higher probability of increased productivity and meeting of deadline demands. 

Sustainability – one word, many meanings. For some, it refers to whether a business’ Styrofoam coffee cup or coffee pod is recyclable or to a data center’s energy use for computing power and cooling. For others, it refers to material use within the supply chain or to a cumulative assessment of all measures across a corporation’s operations – with full disclosure to shareholders and the public markets. 

Within the built environment, sustainability also has many meanings, but is now a mainstream priority, commanding higher prices from buyers and tenants due to the long-term benefits. Beyond building code compliance, owners and tenants alike in all types of buildings – retail, institutional, government, sporting, educational and industrial – are clamoring for sustainable buildings. The reasons for this include wanting to minimize ongoing energy and maintenance costs, improve the health of the occupants, and/or to reduce environmental impact as part of a corporate social responsibility plan.

According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, buildings are responsible for 39 percent of total energy consumption for heating, cooling, lighting and plug loads in the United States. This far exceeds the energy used by the transportation or industrial/manufacturing sectors. 

For developers and construction managers, this critical need presents a great opportunity to modernize our nation’s buildings and work towards sustainability.

Facing increasing pressure to update aging public infrastructure while delivering more services for less money, government officials are turning to creative methods to develop public infrastructure projects. Public-private partnerships – commonly referred to as P3s – are proving to be a valuable tool for achieving this goal.

When negotiating a construction subcontract between the contractor and a subcontractor, one of the most important provisions is the payment provision. The date when payment is due from the contractor to the subcontractor, and the question of who bears the risk of loss if the owner fails to render payment even if the subcontracted work has been completed, are important concerns for both parties. 

As a matter of public policy, in many states, if a subcontractor performs work, they are entitled to payment – and the contractor’s obligation to pay its subcontractors is not generally contingent upon whether the contractor has first received payment from the owner. Because the contractor has negotiated with, and is presumed to be familiar with, the owner and his or her financial wherewithal, the contractor is seen to be in the better position than the subcontractor to assess the risk of the owner’s non-payment. 

As the millennial generation – broadly defined as people born in the 1980s to early 2000s – becomes a more dominant group in the workforce, there has been a dramatic shift in the type of physical work space companies are looking for. Gone are the days of traditional office space with cubicles, large private offices and oak doors. Modern offices of the millennial professional set have ushered in open, collaborative workspaces and brainstorming areas. Luckily for landlords and developers, this take on the workplace doesn’t have to be expensive and comes with the payoff  of making tenants happy. 

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