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 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.

 OP RESIDENTIAL 01By Jeremy P. Brummond

Most contractors have in place commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policies to protect themselves against liability arising out of their work on a construction project. These policies clearly cover certain damage claims – for example, assume a contractor is working on a remodel project for office space. While moving materials, someone loses control of a cart and the cart runs into a woman who was walking in the hallway. The contractor’s CGL policy would generally cover a damage claim such as a claim by the woman to recoup her medical expenses. Similarly, if the cart ran into existing office equipment (not being provided by the contractor), the CGL policy would also cover that property damage. 

 OP INSTITUTIONAL 01By Lisa Brown

Resiliency is often a priority for municipalities, but the topic has been especially crucial for local government leaders given recent natural disasters. The best methods used to protect one city aren’t necessarily the best approaches for another city. For example, municipalities that face severe hurricanes may need to implement different connected solutions than a city that faces drought conditions. Being prepared for the unexpected not only helps cities protect their investment, but also its residents and visitors. 

A smart city infrastructure can help cities achieve resiliency in addition to keeping its occupants more comfortable and safe. When planning, city leaders should identify their challenges and goals to determine which intelligent infrastructure or solutions to integrate. 

 OP COMMERCIAL 01By Ken Slavens 

Because no engineer or architect can design every detail of a project, the design of certain elements may be delegated to you, the contractor, and those under your contractual umbrella. This allows those with more knowledge and greater expertise to design certain components, but it can also make you liable when things go wrong. That’s why submittals, and the process by which they are reviewed and approved, are so important. 
 

 NEW YORK BUILD 01The New York Build 2018 construction and design expo celebrates successes.

New York Build 2018, the leading construction and design expo in New York City and the state of New York, showcased the finest talent in the sector and connected visitors with the leading contractors, developers, architects, government and other construction industry professionals March 19-20 at the Javits Center.  

There were more than 15,000 total registered attendees. Of that number, more than 3,000 registered for the women in construction panel, more than 700 registered for the minority and women-owned business (M/WBE) panel and networking session and nearly 650 registered for the NYC Construction Awards.

 NEW AIA DOCUMENTS 01The AIA's new owner-contractor documents, explained. 

By James M. Doerfler

Many business executives eagerly await the latest smartphone upgrade to take advantage of the latest features and improvements.  However, these same executives are often reluctant to update their foundational commercial construction documents.This could be a mistake. Like improvements in smartphones, the 2017 upgrades to the suite of owner-contractor agreements and other form construction contracts published by the industry-leading American Institute of Architects (AIA), the first such major update in 10 years, contains a host of improvements, many of which individually might seem small but collectively represent a substantial upgrade. 

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