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 SEXUAL HARASSMENT 01Take a proactive approach to sexual harassment policies.

By Brett Schneider and Michael Kantor

Unless you have been living under a rock the last few months, you have no doubt heard about the allegations of sexual harassment made against many high profile personalities, including Matt Lauer, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. 

However, Hollywood doesn’t have a monopoly on sexual harassment, and lawsuits have arisen in every industry. As more and more women enter previously male-dominated industries such as construction, employers must be very proactive to protect themselves from liability for employee claims of sexual harassment. 

There are three steps that can help construction companies reduce workplace harassment – make a plan, communicate the plan and make the plan work.

 OP RESIDENTIAL 01By Joshua Estrin

An unsecured construction site is a playground for vandals, thieves and trespassers. The 2017 "Construction Equipment Guide" reports that construction site theft costs the industry between $300 million and $1 billion annually. As a result, construction equipment on site as well as the dollar investment in the construction project demands that construction site security must be a priority.

The potential costs are staggering, so what is the solution? As with any construction management challenge, analyzing the hazard(s) of a specific job is integral and security is no different. Although jobsite security is multi-faceted, one of the greatest necessities is addressing the reality of trespassing.

Trespassers come in many different sizes and shapes and have just as many different intentions as to why they choose to trespass. Statistics collected by the American Association of Insurance Services (AAIS) and Insurance Service Offices (ISO) indicate that approximately 6.3 percent of builders risk losses are attributed to theft, burglary, robbery, vandalism and malicious mischief.

 OP INSTITUTIONAL 01By Jason Cocek

A decade ago, ask employees at virtually any construction and engineering firm and they would tell you one of the most popular services they offered was helping clients earn LEED certification. At the time of its introduction, it no doubt provided a number of firms enough work to keep employees busy during working hours and beyond.

Fast forward to 2017. LEED certification projects still come across the desks of construction professionals, but have likely become a smaller part of the daily workload. That’s not because it isn’t important and the certification isn’t valuable. Companies that meet the requirements get more than a nice plaque, but also save on their utility bills and can also qualify for a number of tax breaks.

The change in course has more to do with the fact that as an industry, the definition of a major buzzword is changing somewhat, which has in turn changed the focus of many companies.

 OP COMMERCIAL 01By Guy Skillett

On a typical construction project, there is one resource that dominates all other costs: labor. Up to 50 percent of the cost of construction can be attributed to the cost of the craft workforce. Not only is labor a significant cost on many projects, it’s also the most variable and the least understood. Construction sites are complex and rapidly changing, where unforeseen events like weather, equipment delays and worker turnover are all levers that can seriously impact productivity.

The construction industry often considers labor as a fixed cost, where little can be done to optimize craft performance and productivity. There’s some obvious reasons why this is the case. Construction is largely executed by subcontractors, where jobsite conditions and project execution are defined by planning and sequencing of work by contractors. Subcontractors are often not in control of all the factors that define project success.

 OP CIVIL 01By Mark Wasilko

Providers of construction equipment, including OEMs and heavy machinery rental companies, are judged by their ability to provide continuous uptime, availability, and how quickly they can return an malfunctioning asset to service. That is why many companies offer guaranteed response times, same day repairs and proactive preventative maintenance programs. They understand that keeping their equipment running as much as possible is a critical differentiator in an industry where customers have a lot of choices.

That’s easier said than done, especially when one considers that, traditionally, repair and maintenance processes have been plagued by inefficiencies and a lack of useful, in-context, actionable information. For instance, when an asset malfunctions, construction teams may receive an alert that something is amiss, but that alert will often come without context or follow-up. There is no recommended plan of action. As such, everyone involved in the maintenance and operation of that equipment is left making educated guesses regarding the cause of the problem and how to execute the repairs required to get the asset up and running.

TRUMP IMPACT ON HOUSINGTrump’s presidency has impacted the housing industry.   

By Steven Cvitanovic

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump promised he would eliminate excessive regulations, pull out of trade agreements that were “bad deals,” and slow or eliminate illegal immigration to protect American workers. Trump has been able to fulfill his promises through Executive Orders, at least temporarily, but has the flurry of Executive Orders had any impact?  Yes, but it is not all good.

RISK ARTICLERisk can work for and against you.   

By Heidi Pozzo

Risk. Just hearing it can send chills down your spine. After all, most people see it as a downside. But risk can be a competitive advantage. When you understand what can go wrong in your business, you also will find what you do well. That knowledge will allow you to minimize the impact of downside risks. By finding a point of distinction in managing risk better than your competitors, you have a decisive advantage.

HOLLINGSWORTHChanging the image of construction begins with technology innovation.   

By Chad Hollingsworth

Technological change is increasing exponentially, and along with it, the very way we do business.  With the rapid adoption of digital networks and the widespread use of connected devices, consumers have come to expect real-time, data-driven information at their fingertips. While most industries have embraced – and are able to deliver on – this digital transformation, construction remains among the least digitized industries in the United States, second only to agriculture and hunting. 

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