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DISASTER PREPARATIONData-driven tools can help contractors with recovery efforts. 

By Johnny Clemmons

The next Atlantic hurricane season has arrived, and early forecasts hint at above-normal activity again in 2018. This raises the question: What can the construction industry learn from the record-setting hurricane season of 2017 that could help it prepare for and respond to another disruptive storm season?

The research and consulting firm Gartner, addressing disaster supply chain risk and recovery in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, urged distributors and manufacturers in the building industry to plan for a recovery-related surge in demand lasting “at least two years.”

BUSINESS SUCCESSIONThere are four steps to a successful company transition.

By Shane Brown and John Beeble

Most construction companies are led by larger-than-life, charismatic leaders. Often, they have built their businesses from the ground up based on strong professional contacts and their reputations within the industry.

So when it comes time for that leader to retire, a thought out and well-crafted succession plan is essential to preserve the value of the general contractor company.

 MICHAEL BURDICK 01There are four keys to get your firm’s finances in order.   

By Michael Burdick

While there are countless ways for a business to fail, many of the most common causes stem from poor financial management. Construction firms are no exception. Underscoring these hardships, Bloomberg BNA’s 2014 survey of 200 in-house tax and accounting professionals found that construction and manufacturing firms are the most likely to experience procedural accounting and tax errors.

 HOLLINGSWORTH 012018 will be a year of digital disruption in construction.   

By Chad Hollingsworth

There’s no denying construction’s impact on the U.S. economy. According to McKinsey Global Institute’s 2015 Industry Digitization Index, construction accounts for three percent of GDP share and five percent of employment share, yet it suffers negative productivity growth. This is due in large part to its status as the second least digitized U.S. industry. Unsurprisingly, industries with the highest rates of digitization experience the greatest productivity growth, and unlike advanced manufacturing or utilities, for example, construction has been slow to adopt the digital tools that have automated processes and unlocked efficiency in other industries.

 BILL WILHELM 01There are four elements of effective safety programs.   

By Bill Wilhelm

On any construction site, improving worker safety should be a primary objective. Effective safety planning and implementation not only keeps workers safe, but also can shorten project timelines, improve productivity and boost morale. Consider these four elements when developing or updating a safety program for your company:

 BECK TECHNOLOGY 01Great projects rarely start with a lie.   

By Michael Boren

Time and time again, companies start their relationships with new clients by lying, or at least that is how it can feel. Once that first meeting is over and a company is selected for the job, the real work starts and the wizard behind the curtain is revealed. Too often, project owners realize that all of that sexy tech talk and those amazing videos that won them over were a flashy diversion from reality.  

 TAX REFORM 01The new federal tax law offers pluses and minuses for construction. 

By Elizabeth Boone

The changes brought about by the 2017 federal tax act are likely to be recorded on both sides of the construction industry’s ledger. On the positive side is the decrease in effective tax rates for both corporations and individual owners of partnerships and other types of so-called pass-through entities. The construction industry is sure to also welcome increased bonus depreciation and expensing as well as a higher historic rehabilitation tax credit. 

Negatives in the tax act include limits on the deductibility of business interest expense — a sore point for businesses that rely on loans to finance their projects. Construction firms operating as a sole proprietorship or a pass-through entity such as a partnership will be limited in their ability to deduct excess business losses. The reduced mortgage interest deduction could dampen profits for residential construction firms with customers located in affluent areas. 

Construction firms typically purchase machinery and equipment, which can generally be depreciated or expensed. Enhanced provisions in this area will likely help reduce tax bills for the construction industry.

 OP TECHNOLOGY 01By Zachary S. Davis

Every so often, a new technology changes the course of an industry. For the construction industry, the development of autonomous driving technology and its implementation in construction vehicles and equipment might be such a moment.

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