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LEGAL ISSUES FRAUDHere’s how contractors can minimize fraud exposure.

By Scott Shaffer and Seth Snyder

Contractors face risks to their businesses – and risks even in simply completing a project – that are many and varied. Contractors are very familiar with the threat of damaged equipment, injuries, lending disputes, unexpected change orders, weather delays and jurisdictional interference, to name just a handful. Contractors survive and thrive in the construction industry because of their ability to navigate such challenges. However, there is another form of risk many tend to overlook — fraud.

LEGAL ISSUES ANTI INDEMNITY STATUTESDo anti-indemnity statutes always protect you?

By Jeremy P. Brummond

Construction contracts often include “indemnity” provisions where the “indemnitor” agrees to be responsible for losses incurred by the “indemnitee” or claims asserted against the indemnitee such as personal injury or property damage claims. 

Indemnity provisions come in all shapes and sizes. Some indemnity provisions are relatively narrow in scope with the indemnitor agreeing to be responsible only for damages or claims to the extent they are caused by the indemnitor’s errors. Others are broader and are often referred to as “intermediary” indemnity provisions – this is when the indemnitor’s error contributed to the damages and claims and the indemnitor claims full responsibility even if the damages were not entirely the indemnitor’s fault. To go a step further, there are “broad form” indemnity provisions where an indemnitor broadly agrees to be responsible for all damages and claims relating to the work, even if caused solely by the indemnitee.

OP RESIDENTIALBy Noel Maxam

According to the NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Information, the United States has suffered more than 200 weather-related disasters since 1980 that have cost more than $1 billion, totaling approximately $1.2 trillion. But even then, analysts predict that these numbers are too low. These staggering numbers provide a window into the monumental suffering those in a disaster experience. How can the construction industry play its part in aiding disaster relief?

We know purpose-built structures and raw materials take too much time and effort to be effective. They take too long to ship and assemble, are quickly outdated as needs change rapidly and ultimately end up part of the problem as they must be demolished and disposed of in landfills.
In a perfect world, disaster relief products would be easily shipped and assembled, fit the unique requirements of each shelter or venue, be able to adjust quickly to the emergency as needs change, then either become a permanent part of the solution, ship out or recycle as easily as they are delivered.

OP INSTITUTIONALBy Graham Roy

Typically, ensuring safety in public schools is a matter of modifying human behavior. From playground bullying to gang activity to more violent crime, these troubling issues are being addressed through concrete, preventative actions and strategies. But in many cities and towns, there’s another danger, one that is to a great extent out of their control. For schools located in regions susceptible to natural disasters, providing protection rises to a higher and broader concern.

Throughout the Pacific Northwest, communities contend with earthquakes inland and tsunamis on the coast. To withstand a catastrophe of this kind, school districts are taking action to structurally upgrade their facilities, in some cases going beyond current building code standards.

OP COMMERICALBy Peter Dyga

The construction industry must meet three challenges in attracting and training workers with conversations and action. Culture changes in society, academia and construction companies are needed to sustain a labor force that’s undersized and in danger of shrinking.

About 500,000 construction jobs sit unfilled right now. Three converging forces threaten the labor force: A boom in construction is creating staffing shortages; Baby Boomers reaching retirement age at a rate of 10,000 per day is draining the pool of experienced employees; and efforts to attract young people to the industry are not working as they once did.

OP CIVILBy Kristopher Stahle

The performance of the construction sector relies on a complicated web of internal and external factors the level of risk varies wildly from country to country, region to region and even city to city. The construction industry, for example, behaves a lot differently in New York City than it does in Madison, Wis.

To successfully and thoroughly gauge risk, businesses need to understand factors that impact construction on both a macro and micro level. The big-picture economic outlook could look positive, but the behavior of individual companies or within individual locations might not match up.

MATCHMAKING ARTICLEIn dating and in business, it’s about living your core values.   

By Michael Boren

In a lot of ways, business relationships are like your personal relationships. Whether you’re evaluating business partners, hiring new team members or trying to win work, both parties are looking for that special spark. When the chemistry is right, great things can happen. But without it, you eventually find that the passion and caring just aren’t there, and a breakup is inevitable. 

WOMEN IN ARCHITECTUREWhat construction managers need to know about working with women architects.   

By Amy Hood 

Women architects understand the challenges associated with their profession, but what makes it worse are the biases they encounter from a male-dominated discipline. While times are changing, women in architecture and construction have had to overcome reservations that their gender might in some way limit their knowledge, competence, expertise and creativity. 

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