Construction is a large and complex worldwide industry constantly shaped by new information technologies, advanced materials, environmental policies, regulations and changing building methods. Most importantly, though, construction is shaped by people. Sustaining a strong industry requires attracting and valuing a skilled, career-driven, high quality workforce... who also like to build! How is the construction industry attracting the skilled workforce for future growth market demands? Do prospective candidates see construction as a viable career choice?

Editor’s note:  Access, Control and Technology are all important components of a secure construction site. In part three of this series last week, Jim Kollaer explained the second of three keys to security: Control.  He concludes by addressing the final key to jobsite security: Technology.


Technology is the third leg of your ACT jobsite security plan.  Wireless cameras are being used more frequently to monitor jobsites on a 24-hour basis.  In fact, a number of cities and your insurance underwriters require that the recordings from those cameras be stored off-site and be kept for inspection for a minimum of 60 days in case of an accident, vandalism, lawsuit or theft on the jobsite.  Those camera locations should be coordinated with the local authorities and with the neighbors who also might have camera locations that can help you monitor activity on-site.   Read more » about ACT Now on Jobsite Security, Part 4 of 4

The holiday season is upon us, and many workers are looking forward to receiving a Christmas bonus.  Depending on the nature of the bonus, it may or may not have an effect on employees’ overtime rates.

In most cases a Christmas bonus is essentially a gift from management.  The bonus amount is not agreed upon in advance and is not based on specific criteria.  This kind of bonus is not included in the calculation of the employee’s “regular rate” for overtime purposes.

In other cases, however, a bonus may have been promised in a collective bargaining agreement or similar contract.  Or the bonus may be calculated in a specific manner, such as a bonus of 50 cents for each hour worked during the year.  Bonuses owed by agreement, as well as bonuses based on hours worked, production or efficiency, are included when calculating an employee’s “regular rate.”   Read more » about A Word About Christmas Bonuses

In what will hopefully be the first in a series of events like it across Texas, business leaders and educators from the Houston area gathered to talk about the best ways they can work together to put kids on track for the skilled trades if that’s what those students want to do.  The Building Careers: Construction Workforce Luncheon was well attended on November 5. As we’ve written many times on Construction Citizen, the college-for-all mentality and policy this state has embraced over the last decade has become a hindrance to the success of many students and the people who will eventually be their employers.  That’s why there was a huge push in the Texas Legislature this year to reform curriculum and graduation requirements in a way that provides flexibility for students to either go to college or head straight for a career.   Read more » about Educators and Business Leaders Come Together to Support School Reforms

Editor’s note:  Access, Control and Technology are all important components of a secure construction site.  In part two of this series last week, Jim Kollaer explained the first of three keys to security: Access.  The series continues here as he addresses the second key to jobsite security: Control.


Control is the second leg of your ACT jobsite security plan, and it begins with the site design and security plan that you develop and implement.  Integral to that plan is the security fencing that surrounds your entire jobsite as part of your ACT plan.  It should be a minimum of 6, but more likely 8 feet tall, and be covered in a material that limits easy viewing at ground level of your jobsite.  It is important, as we have stated, that the perimeter have limited and planned access points.  Some cities, like Irvine, California, require that the fence be covered as long as you are storing materials and equipment on the site or until the structure is secured under lock and key.   Read more » about ACT Now on Jobsite Security, Part 3 of 4

For some, the holidays are all about food, football, family reunions and reflecting on the gifts for which we are most thankful.  As I prepare to celebrate in the days to come, I recognize that I have much to be grateful for – family, friends, and a career I am passionate about.  I am also grateful for the service of the brave men and women of our military, who defend the freedoms I hold dear.

A little known fact is that many of America’s veterans are facing significant challenges transitioning into civilian employment once they return home.  The members of our armed forces and their families make great sacrifices in the service of our nation, and when their service is concluded, we have an obligation to be their connection to rewarding civilian careers.   Read more » about Show Your Gratitude: Hire Military

Editor’s note:  In part one of this series last week, Jim Kollaer’s article ACT Now on Jobsite Security began as he explained the many areas of jobsite security which must be covered to protect the job, the workforce, and the owner’s interests.  He introduced one way to remember three key jobsite security items: ACT.  Access, Control and Technology are all important components of a secure construction site.


Access for the workers, equipment, and materials you need to build the project is key to the security of your jobsite and is the first step in your plan.

Workers – It is mandatory that you know who is on your jobsite whether on your crew or working for one of your subs at all times.  It is critically important that you not let unsafe, drug or alcohol impaired or unqualified workers enter the site.  It should go without saying that you do not let thieves on your site for any reason.  Theft rings are becoming more brazen and sophisticated as the economy recovers.  We have seen instances where gangs of thieves dressed in uniforms come on a jobsite, claim to be from the government, steal ID information, equipment and materials, and then leave without ever being confronted.   Read more » about ACT Now on Jobsite Security, Part 2 of 4

It could take a half a year before the investigation is complete into exactly what went wrong leading up to a worker’s death on December 3 during renovations at Kyle Field at Texas A&M University.  Activity ground to a halt after the man fell four stories to his death.  From TV station KBTX on the day of the accident:

“Kyle Field is currently undergoing significant construction for its redevelopment.  Manhattan-Vaughn Construction out of Houston is the company leading the project, which began in August around Kyle Field, then kicked into high gear at the end of the home schedule of the football season last month.  The university's athletic department has shut down its popular cameras on the redevelopment website,   Read more » about Dangerous Accidents Piling Up in Texas A&M Construction Projects

Now that the City of Houston is moving forward with a policy to crack down on employers that steal the wages of workers, the pressure will be on to make it work.  It'll be no small task because, as you well know, those that engage in these crimes against hard-working Texans are pretty slippery characters.  And that's probably being kind about it.  Laura Perez-Boston at the Fe y Justicia Worker Center tells us exactly what the law is designed to do:

“The ordinance establishes a process housed in the Office of the Inspector General through which employees can bring wage claims forward.  Companies with a documented record of wage theft – either final adjudication from a court of competent jurisdiction or a criminal conviction – will be included in a publicly listed database on the City’s website and will be ineligible for city contracts or sub-contracts.  Additionally, any company with a criminal conviction of wage theft will be ineligible to receive occupational permits and licenses.”   Read more » about Houston Must Aggressively Enforce Its Wage Theft Ordinance