As buildings become smarter and more efficient, projects are becoming more complex and require multiple skill sets to achieve sustainability. Often, energy upgrades require multiple retrofits customized specifically for a particular property in order to drive a true return on investment. But this puts owners and operators in a tough spot – with increased complexity comes increased work and greater risk. How can you be sure you’re getting the most out of your investment?

In its broadest sense, communication makes it possible for people, processes and systems to work collaboratively and decisively in an effort to realize goals and objectives. The means by which safety policy, protocol and expectations influence workers to become active participants in the safety process can be approached by a top-down leadership approach by encouraging, supporting and developing opportunities and unobstructed channels for bottom-up communication.

If you had to choose between good business results and good business relationships, which would you pick? This might seem like a trick question – after all, results are what you put into the bank at the end of the day, but you know that a hard-working team of motivated people makes that possible.

But it isn’t a trick: there's a conflict between people and profits playing out everyday that executives need to be aware of.

Across North America, wood is being rediscovered as a cost-effective, versatile and sustainable material for mixed-use construction. After a prolonged emphasis on steel and concrete for buildings other than homes, wood is increasingly being used in mid-rise residential, office and mixed-used projects. This transition is largely due to advances in building science and technology, new building systems and products that have been developed for use in a wider range of buildings.

What do you get when you combine a former real estate bubble and a severe economic downturn? For some communities, the result has been a shrinking inventory of undeveloped land and a declining market of viable golf courses. Now that the economy is showing glimpses of recovery, many developers are looking at former, now fallow golf courses as potential sites for new development.

However, golf courses carry with them a unique and complex history, making their conversion and development a trap for those unaware of or unprepared for the myriad of land use, environmental, liability and public relations issues that certainly lie ahead. Here's what your company should know when developing one of these projects.

A bustling job site with plumbers, electricians, carpenters and roofers can be a difficult place to manage a contracting business, but construction contractors do this daily.  Under that dusty hard hat is someone who is always juggling the paperwork involved for the job on-site including the order forms, delivery notices and last-minute changes demanded by the architect. This is a paperwork nightmare for someone sitting behind a desk in a comfortable office, let alone someone making business decisions standing on the site of a half-built house.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry added 30,000 jobs in December 2012. While unemployment remains stubbornly high for this sector, this represents the largest monthly increase in two years.

As the construction industry slowly begins to recover, it is a good time to think about putting a plan in place to address the safety of new and less experienced workers.  Employees are most vulnerable to injuries when they are new to the job because of their inexperience or lack of familiarity with the new company.

Most contractors pride themselves on quality and do everything in their power to avoid or promptly remedy defects in their work. Often, contractors will provide a warranty that covers any defects that arise within a year or longer after the project is complete. But the expiration of a warranty does not mean the contractor is off the hook. Latent defects may arise years, or even decades later. When they do, the builder is in the difficult position of defending work performed long ago.

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