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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. 

OP CIVILBy Jennifer French

What accounting method do you use? If you’re like most companies, you selected a method of accounting with your first tax return and haven’t given it much thought to since then. However, with the passage of the Tax Cuts of Jobs Act (TCJA) in December, you may want to reevaluate your accounting method.

The TCJA adjusts two limits — who can use the cash method and accounting for long-term contacts. Both take effect for tax periods beginning after Dec. 31, 2017. These changes may present new opportunities for contractors. 

DISASTER PREPARATIONData-driven tools can help contractors with recovery efforts. 

By Johnny Clemmons

The next Atlantic hurricane season has arrived, and early forecasts hint at above-normal activity again in 2018. This raises the question: What can the construction industry learn from the record-setting hurricane season of 2017 that could help it prepare for and respond to another disruptive storm season?

The research and consulting firm Gartner, addressing disaster supply chain risk and recovery in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, urged distributors and manufacturers in the building industry to plan for a recovery-related surge in demand lasting “at least two years.”

BUSINESS SUCCESSIONThere are four steps to a successful company transition.

By Shane Brown and John Beeble

Most construction companies are led by larger-than-life, charismatic leaders. Often, they have built their businesses from the ground up based on strong professional contacts and their reputations within the industry.

So when it comes time for that leader to retire, a thought out and well-crafted succession plan is essential to preserve the value of the general contractor company.

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