A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Reshaping the Construction Industry

According to an article in Constructech, you take a look at the new cloud that Microsoft has built.  “Whenever a big company like Microsoft or Google enters the picture, people tend to mark its arrival as ‘legitimizing’ the situation.”  The arrival of Microsoft 365 this summer has begun to hit the construction industry as contractors begin to use it and the other Microsoft software like Excel to track their projects.  “Microsoft Office 365 brings together Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online, delivered via a cloud service.”
Jim Kollaer's picture
September 20, 2011
I grew up in the Bob Dylan era, and his songs are still relevant today.  In the late 60s when he was first popular, we were in an unpopular war, there was developing uncertainty in the economy and we all knew that change was in the air, whether on the jobsite, on the streets of Chicago or in the Deep South.Well, here we are again and those Dylan lyrics are ringing in my ears.  Now I know many of you who visit our site have no idea what I am talking about, but that is okay.  Suffice it to say that it was tough (or so we thought at the time), the issues were complex and the future of the construction industry was shaky.Spin it however you want, we are again in a time of massive change in our industry and those of us who are not ready to meet the future “head on” are about to get slapped in the forehead with a large dose of reality.  I don’t have to tell you that there are not enough jobs, projects or prospects; that the low-bid, no bid, lean and mean process that we live in every day right now is painful; but I did anyway.  
Jim Kollaer's picture
September 19, 2011
The following is excerpted from a letter written by Stan Marek, CEO of the Marek Family of Companies in Houston, in response to the Wall Street Journal article “U.S. Hits Builders With Pay Probe” mentioned in one of our last entries about the government’s audit of home builders regarding their pay practices.  It is an issue that is growing more critical as the economy continues to stutter and the recovery remains sluggish.  This letter gives a first hand view of the issue in Texas and asks for a solution that is responsible, sensible and one that will lead to a sustainable construction workforce for the future.Here in Texas, we have the nation’s highest number of “undocumented” working in the construction industry
Construction Citizen's picture
September 15, 2011
According to press releases from the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida in recent weeks, two separate contractors have each been convicted of issuing corporate checks to fictitious companies, cashing those checks at local check cashing stores, and then using the cash to pay their workers “off the books” without collecting and reporting employment taxes and without paying the workers overtime pay.Richard Rosaire Routhier owned and operated Drymension Inc in Lake Worth, Florida, offering commercial and residential drywall installation.  Over a period of 6 years, Routhier issued corporate checks to several shell companies which were created as a way to avoid paying taxes and which did not actually perform any work for Drymension.  He then used the cash to pay his employees without withholding employment taxes
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
September 14, 2011
Check this safety site out: Unsafe TV.  It is a blog by Fiona Burke that takes a critical approach to the DIY (Do It Yourself) world of home remodeling.  The Caution sign on the site warns:Don't try this at home!(Or on the job site, for that matter!)Just because you see it on TV does not mean it's a good, or safe, or smart work practice.One of her recent posts, “In Full Swing”, refers to an episode of “Room Crashers” with a guy taking down a wall in a house by climbing on it with no safety gear and in a way that could have landed him
Jim Kollaer's picture
September 13, 2011
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal last week, “The Labor Department is investigating pay practices at many of the top companies in home building, hitting them with a broad demand for records that has led to complaints of regulatory overreach.”In the move, the Labor Department is “opening a probe under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which governs matters such as overtime pay and limits on using teen workers”.The Department, as part of its investigations, recently sent letters that, “instructed the home builder to immediately turn over the names, addresses, Social Security numbers,
Jim Kollaer's picture
September 12, 2011
According to a recent headline in Bloomberg, Stagnant August Hiring in U.S. May Signal Renewed Recession, the numbers don’t look promising.The article quotes James Hamilton, an economics professor at the University of California, San Diego who has studied what has led to previous economic downturns in the United States.  Hamilton warned:“At this stage of the typical expansion we expect above-average growth and instead we are barely seeing any growth at all.  We have to be more worried.  Overall, the economy is in a delicate position and another shock could send us down.”Julia Coronado, the chief economist for North America at BNP Paribas, also offered a grim forecast for the US economy.  Predicting that the economy will drop at a 2 percent annual rate during the last quarter of 2011, she stated:“September could mark the start of the slump.  When there are no jobs and no income, there will not be a lot of spending either.”With the latest job growth number at zero, it looks as though we might be in stall mode
Jim Kollaer's picture
September 08, 2011
As part of the upcoming jobs push by the Administration there is one item of particular interest to those of us in the industry: the renewal of the Federal Highway Act that is set...
Jim Kollaer's picture
September 07, 2011
It has been a rough three or four years for the commercial construction business and with the drought that has plagued the industry for those years, cracks are beginning to show up around the foundations of some very strong companies.We work with a number of developers, contractors, specialty subcontractors and designers, and it is becoming apparent that many of them across the country are running out of projects, out of reserves, and a number of them are running out of gas.“These are the times that try men’s souls!”  These are the testing times, these are the times when we create our new future and for some that future will not be as bright as they might have imagined.I wrote a poem a decade ago to use in some of my marketing and strategic planning speeches and workshops to help people begin to look forward, to stretch their vision and to see how quickly their new future would arrive.  
Jim Kollaer's picture
September 03, 2011
Construction on the new Isle of Capri Casino in Cape Girardeau, Missouri continues this week as  Delta Companies Inc began pouring the massive concrete “swimming pool” which will lie beneath the casino floor.  Missouri law only allows casino gambling on certain types of licensed excursion boats; therefore the gaming floor of the resort will be constructed on a “barge” which will float in water two feet deep.An article in the newspaper Southeast Missourian by Melissa Miller reveals the enormity of this concrete job.  Jason Barber, account representative with Delta Companies explained:“To make up the 2,300 cubic yards of concrete needed for the project, Delta Companies used 500 tons
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
September 02, 2011