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WATER CONSTRUCTIONThere are opportunities for construction firms in water-related projects.   

By Jerome Devillers

There is no question that the U.S. water infrastructure needs repair. The unprecedented flooding and droughts across the country over the past 15 years and the lead contamination of public water in Flint, Mich., are just a few examples that highlight widespread need for more resilient water infrastructure. While there has been movement to improve U.S. infrastructure – including a $1 trillion plan recently announced by the current administration to boost infrastructure investment – the need for construction in this area may go well beyond current plans. According to the American Water Works Association, the total costs to replace all pipes in the United States could very well pass $1 trillion – that’s before any work on roads, bridges or other projects contemplated in the plan by the current administration. 

PHASED OCCUPANCYBenefits and drawbacks come with phased occupancy in projects.  

By Doug Copp

If you wait until after groundbreaking to plan for phased occupancy, it may be too late. Finalizing phased occupancy opportunities during preconstruction is the best way to limit additional costs, delays in the schedule and avoid conflicts. The project team, consisting of the owner, designers, contractor, subcontractors and management operators, must collaborate early and often to plan for each phase to ensure the best outcome for everyone involved. 

ADAPTIVE REUSE

Adaptive reuse offers advantages to ground-up construction.   

By Bill Wilhelm 

Adaptive reuse refers to the redevelopment or use of an old site or building for a purpose other than what it was originally built or designed for. In certain cases, it offers a cost-effective alternative to ground-up construction. The practice has been employed for a wide range of different types of commercial construction projects, including multi-unit housing, retail, office and even museums and Major League Baseball parks.

SCALING A BUSINESS LEGALLYMore housing could equal more legal headaches.

By Scott Fradin

Following a slowdown last year, multifamily deliveries are expected to hit a peak in 2018. An estimated 360,000 new units are slated for delivery over the next 12 months, which is a 20 percent increase over 2017, according to a new Yardi Matrix report. 

Hidden in this good news is a very real but little-known or appreciated risk that could spell financial disaster for developers, architects and contractors: everyone involved in the construction could be liable for a violation of the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHAA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

But what about that indemnification provision in your contract meant to protect you from this exact claim? It may be useless.

OP RESIDENTIALBy Steve Conboy

We are in the midst of a serious housing crisis in the United States.

As home prices have increased – in many areas surpassing the peaks of the market before the Great Recession – home ownership has declined. At the same time, the percentage of income families spend on rent now exceeds previous levels. The rising homeless populations in many cities are a testament to the lack of safe, affordable options.

There is no question – America needs more affordable housing, and we need it fast. Modular construction, particularly using new-growth cross-laminated timber (CLT) and nail-laminated timber (NLT), can address the demand promptly.

OP EXCLUSIVE TECHNOLOGYBy Phil Bloomberg

It’s hard to remember a time when construction and building projects relied on printed blueprints, pagers and voice-over IP for progress, communication and safety. But technology is leaving no industry untouched and it’s certainly making construction more efficient, dynamic and competitive.

Nowhere is this more apparent than the evolution of communication in the construction field. From mobile technology to the cloud, the ability to connect across channels has vastly improved. 

OP INSTITUTIONAL

By Donna M. Glover 

Although the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) under the Trump Administration may lean toward compliance over enforcement, it is clear that nothing has changed yet regarding the office’s aggressive enforcement. The OFCCP conducts approximately 1,500 to 4,000 compliance audits each year, and this year appears to be no different. 

This year, OFCCP mailed 1,000 corporate scheduling announcement letters to federal supply and service contractors notifying them of a potential compliance evaluation. If a contractor receives a letter, that means the office will conduct a review of the contractor’s compliance efforts. The OFCCP calculates that contractors have a minimum of 75 days to make sure they are ready. Given this advance notice, the OFCCP has stated that it will not grant extensions for “routine business reasons” and that any extension granted would be limited to 15 days. 

OP COMMERCIALBy Julian Anderson 

Chat with any colleagues who have recently returned from a conference and you'll likely hear anecdotes, restaurant recommendations and the latest insider gossip. Face-to-face networking, in such a concentrated way with people who have common interests, remains an incredibly effective and efficient way of communication. 

Judging by a report in the March 2018 issue of Trade Show Executive, an increasing number of people share this view. From December 2017 to January 2018, nationwide trade show attendance grew by 1.4 percent. 

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