Best Practices

Construction Cybercrime Is On the Rise

Article written by Tom Sawyer and Jeff Rubenstone and appears on enr.com

Cybercriminals find the construction world a rich phishing ground with fat prey and soft targets

At the end of April, just as St. Ambrose Roman Catholic Church in Brunswick, Ohio, neared the close of a five-month-long, $5.5-million renovation, Father Bob Stec, the parish pastor, was surprised to hear that the contractor, Marous Brothers Construction, Willoughby, Ohio, had not received a $1.7- million payment.

“We were paying our bills. At some point somebody was able to get into our email system and in the course of that, changed the routing numbers for the wire transfers,” the pastor told local reporters. The $1.7 million disappeared.

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May 6-10 is Construction Safety Week, a national, industry-wide effort to promote safety best practices and raise awareness of the importance of an uncompromising commitment to safety in the construction industry.

WASHINGTON, May 6—Associated Builders and Contractors released its 2019 Safety Performance Report today, an annual assessment that furthers the construction industry’s understanding of how to achieve world-class safety through its STEP Safety Management System. Published in conjunction with Construction Safety Week, the report documents the dramatic impact of using proactive safety practices to reduce recordable incidents by up to 85%, making the best-performing companies 680% safer than the industry average.

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Redefining Construction Document Management

Article written by Andy Holtmann for the Viewpoint blog

Modern Technologies are Letting Contractors Manage Documents; Markup and Share Construction Drawings in Real Time

The one constant on any construction project is change. The end result of a completed building, roadway or other structure is almost never exactly how it was drawn up in the beginning. Once building begins, plans, specs and drawings are tweaked as efficiencies are noted, errors are corrected or work gets completed throughout the process.

That’s why effectively managing these changes is crucial to contractors’ success. When different team members are using different sets of drawings, mistakes or execution errors are likely to occur, and when these do happen the entire project could be delayed while the issues are sorted out or, worse yet, costly rework has to be done.

These mistakes and delays can have a significant impact on your bottom line as a contractor — and leave your clients unimpressed with your teams’ abilities to manage projects.

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Don’t Ignore Auto Insurance, Excess Liability and Cybersecurity Risks

Article written by Mary Grandy and Trish Drew on ConstructionExec.com

Now that businesses are settled into the new year, it’s a good time to consider some of the top insurance and risk management challenges that contractors and other construction organizations should expect in 2019.

Auto Premiums Continue Upward Trajectory

Chances are good that businesses already have felt the impact of rising auto insurance premiums. Insurance carriers have been facing an increase in both frequency and severity of auto losses during the past several years, making commercial auto one of the worst performing property casualty insurance lines. As a result, underwriters have continued to increase rates and premiums to offset tighter margins, as well as reevaluate and often restrict their underwriting appetites. 

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3 Cash Flow Forecasting Tips for Your Next Big Construction Project

Article written by Natalie Ritchie on the Viewpoint blog

Managing cash flow for a large construction project is tricky — not just because you don’t get paid immediately, but also because you’re dealing with progress claim preparation, submission deadlines, varying substantiation requirements and variation and claim negotiations — all of which distract you from actually doing the work and finally getting payment.

Adding to the complexity are project durations (which can go from days to years), the broad scope of work, the logistical sequencing of tasks and any conditions tacked onto the contract.

Considering these complexities, it’s easy to understand why, throughout the life of a project, a variety of things can change — directly impacting the original cash flow forecast.

But when underlying project revenue and cost forecasts are inaccurate, even the largest company can tap out its cash reserves, resulting in a failure to meet payroll payments, supplier payments, subcontractor commitments and service payment obligations.

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Top 10 Strategic CIO Priorities Of 2019

Article written by Rob Preston and appears on Forbes.com

CIOs head into 2019 amid a relatively strong, though volatile, global economy. This volatility will only further unsettle their often-precarious position of having to take on new digital projects and innovate at an accelerating pace while also having to lock down costs. It all makes for a “schizophrenic” state of affairs, notes one CIO.

As in past years, CIOs have to make hard choices. Principal among them: how to shift the investment balance from legacy systems to new, mostly cloud-based applications, capabilities, and technologies (artificial intelligence, blockchain, data analytics) while improving security, reliability, and scalability. Oy.

In this, our seventh annual list of the 10 most important challenges CIOs face and opportunities they must grab in the year ahead, we shine a spotlight on several new priorities, but we also update certain ones from past years. As we noted in past years, real change doesn’t happen in discrete annual steps.

Your priorities may vary—based on the size of your organization, your industry, and/or your management’s appetite for change and ability to invest. But consider these 10 a starting point.

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Incentives for Contractors to Train and Modernize

Article written by Andy Holtman for the Viewpoint blog

Recently, we looked at some of the tax incentives that construction companies can take advantage of related to the types of work they do, including the R&D Tax Credit and the 179D Deduction. But as contractors continue to transform their operations through technology and train new generations of workers, they might not be aware that there are a number of tax incentives and credits to help offset these costs as well.

A Renewed Focus on Training and Education

The federal government already offers a number of individual incentive programs for educational credits or deductions through the Internal Revenue Service, including the American Opportunity Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit and the Tuition and Fees Deduction. And a handful of states have their own incentive programs designed to help offset the costs of training and education, including learning new construction processes, software and other technologies (more below).

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Just How Much is Your Disconnected Jobsite Costing You?

Article written by Andy Holtmann and appears on the Viewpoint blog

One of the biggest hurdles to successful construction projects is the disconnect between the workers in the field and those in the back office. Not having the most up to date project information in the field can mean miscommunication, mistakes, delays and added costs. Meanwhile, the project can suffer in the back office as data needed from the field can be hard to collect or incomplete, leading to delays or errors in billing, inaccurate cost accounting and a disconnect over actual job progress. Plus, contractors’ back office staff can be buried in paperwork and manual processes like re-entering data into different systems, taking valuable time away from more important tasks or forcing extra labor overhead costs.

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Are There Tax Incentives Your Company Is Missing Out On?

Article is a guest post on the Viewpoint blog

There are tax incentives construction firms can take advantage of that could add thousands of dollars to the bottom line.

The voluminous changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) leave taxpayers uncertain about the future on tax credits and deductions. Typically creating unforeseen obstacles, there are now unprecedented opportunities for many taxpayers as it relates to R&D tax credits. The two most power tax incentives we’ll discuss here are the R&D Tax Credit and 179D Energy Efficient Commercial Building Deduction.

R&D Tax Credits for Construction

Whether you are a general contractor or specialty subcontractor, you could be eligible for significant R&D tax credits. Check out this video for more on how to qualify. It’s common for our mid-sized construction clients to see $50,000 or more per year in net federal credits.

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6 Ways Contractors Can Save Money with Technology

Article written by Andy Holtmann and appears on the Viewpoint blog

Save money on your construction projects with these six cost-saving methods that use technology.

If there’s one thing all contractors are interested in, it’s cutting costs. Construction projects all too easily run over budget and behind schedule, and in an industry with thin profit margins, that can be a big problem. Luckily, the construction industry is beginning to innovate by introducing new technologies which help increase productivity, reduce costs and provide sound ROI.

Find out how your construction contracting business can benefit from today’s popular and up-and-coming technology tools with these cost saving ideas for construction companies.

1. Improve Project Planning and Execution with BIM

Building information modeling (BIM) is growing increasingly popular in construction, and for good reason. This 3D modeling tool establishes one master design for everyone to work from, all the way from the planning stages of a project through execution. BIM can even help building owners with maintenance down the road.

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