Marijuana and Construction Contractor Business Employees

construction drug test

Marijuana legalization recently passed in six states. Others may follow. If not already, marijuana use may eventually become legal in your state. As a construction contractor business owner or manager, you’ll have to plan for it.

Sooner is better than later.

Marijuana Use Among Employees: What Are Your Contractor Business Responsibilities and Rights?

Medical marijuana prescriptions for approved conditions vary. Connecticut approves marijuana in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Colorado does not.

Recreational marijuana is now legal in:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Meanwhile, none of these states is in-compliance with the federal law which says marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug; a controlled substance with no medical use, and a high potential for addiction.

Before You Request a Drug Test

You have the right to request and enforce employee drug testing. But you must know the laws of your state; if an employee tests positive for marijuana but the drug test itself is “illegal,” you may not be able to take action.

In some states, random drug screens are not legal. In other states, random drug testing is legal only if you can prove you had just cause.

If the employee:

  • Appears intoxicated at work
  • Holds a safety-sensitive position
  • Is returning to work after a drug rehabilitation program
  • Was involved in a work-related accident that resulted in injury/property damage

Some states have procedural requirements.

The employer must:

  • Administer the test in a way that maximizes privacy
  • Give the applicant/employee opportunity to challenge the results
  • Pay for some/all testing costs
  • Provide advance notice to applicant/employee
  • Use a state-certified lab

Some states (Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) have no restrictions for employment drug testing.

The only recourse an employee has to challenge the testing is to prove it was administered as a result of or led to:

  • Defamation
  • Discrimination – age, disability, gender, race
  • Invasion of privacy

Construction Monitor for Construction Data

Even the most basic statistics we offer can be valuable information to the right construction contractor business developer. If that’s you, we’d like to share ways to grow your business using our tools:

Contact Construction Monitor today.

Taxes: What Your Contractor Business Can Do

contractor business

We can say goodbye and good riddance to 2020. It’s time to put that puppy to bed and plan for better business. And it’s time to pay taxes.

“The construction industry is unique in that contractors are expected to use different methods of accounting in order to pay the least amount of taxes possible and, at the same time… present a robust financial picture to lenders and other stakeholders,” says accountant James Lundy Jr., Marcum LLP.

Contractor Business Accounting Tips (and Taking Investors Into Account)

You need to grow your business, and you can’t do that if your potential clients, lenders, and investors see shaky finances. Lundy says all contractors must use the percentage-of-completion method of accounting for financial reporting.

Those are the books your investors and clients see. 

But for tax returns, there are several types of accounting methods:

  • Accrual
  • Accrual/excluding retainage
  • Cash

Long-term contracts’ accounting (started in ’20 to-be-completed in ’21, for example) include:

  • Completed contract
  • Completion percentage
  • Completion tax percentage
  • Completion-capitalized cost percentage

Many contractors maximize taxes by stalling accounts receivables. Paying out year-end bonuses and getting all accounts payable current by December 31 also decreases taxes.

Construction Monitor: We Help Your Contractor Business Succeed

Tax legislation impacting your contractor business for 2021 is dependent on which party controls the Senate. And we still don’t know which direction that wind’s going to blow. But you can put business development plans in place regardless of politics.

Targeted marketing will be even more important in 2021 and beyond. Our world has gotten smaller, and along with that came a renewed focus on your local market. That’s just one way we help your contractor business.

Construction Monitor provides information:

  • City-specific
  • Contractor business development/resources
  • Contractor business licensing
  • Homebuilders associations
  • Industry-oriented

We believe knowledge is power and we have some powerful information for your contractor business. Contact us today to learn more.

You must pay taxes. But there’s no law that says
you gotta leave a tip.
-Morgan Stanley

Data and The Construction Industry

data construction industry

A “data warehouse” isn’t a large building with garage doors and a loading dock. A data warehouse is a construction industry company’s accumulated information. The data can originate from many sources and is used to drive management decisions.

Construction Industry Sees Data Center Boom

The construction industry may have been slow to embrace technology and big data, but we’re making up for it. Today, it’s not surprising that construction industry companies have so much technology that they need filing cabinets (“data warehouses”) in clouds.

What no one saw coming was the increased need for data centers. Data centers are real, on-the-ground buildings. And the construction industry is seeing a lot of new-build projects, thanks to the need for more data centers.

Construction industry writer Zachary Phillips says U.S. states are heavily competing to land projects for internet companies needing physical space to accommodate computer systems. The companies have names like “Amazon,” “Facebook,” and “Google.”

“…Northern Virginia has become known as ‘Data Center Alley’ because of the tech-focused companies that have flocked to the area,” says Phillips. Amazon has established a major presence (they call it a “cloud cluster”) in Fairfax and Loudon counties of Virginia and plans more development.

Facebook is looking further north, toward the Chicago area to build an $800 million data center this year. This project should employ over 1,000 construction industry workers to complete the infrastructure requirements and new-build.

Google is checking out areas in California, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington for data center construction.

Construction Monitor: The Source for U.S. Construction Industry Data

Construction Monitor…makes building permit information available to suppliers, subcontractors, and building industry professionals in the construction industry. Construction Monitor provides records of residential, commercial, swimming pool, and solar building permits in a searchable database.Wikipedia

Construction Monitor lead-generation service is available in 89 U.S. markets, making it the nation’s largest provider of real-time building permit data. We have information that can give you “the leading edge” in the construction industry market. Let us explain how to use it.

Call 800-925-6085 or contact Construction Monitor today.

How AI Helps Our Construction Industry

construction industry AI

Artificial intelligence is enhancing construction industry infrastructure deliverables by providing valuable – and possibly life-saving – insights. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently learned more than 56,000 bridges in the United States are structurally deficient.

One technology firm is using AI to watchdog bridge issues before they can take hold. It provides “actionable intelligence” for construction industry personnel by providing instant alerts if there are irregularities.

Risk Mitigation for Your Construction Industry Organization

Optimizing work schedules is one of the most common ways construction industry managers utilize artificial intelligence. But risk mitigation is perhaps more valuable.

Using machine learning, organizations are able to spot and catch potential issues faster than humans. When it comes to scheduling, the use of advanced AI can help to prevent costly delays on sites or amongst suppliers, vendors, and others involved in the process.Forbes

One way jobsite supervisors use AI is for what-if scenarios. It can forecast potentials for problems and then devise strategies to manage them.

AI-enabled systems can provide jobsite security for equipment and employees. Facial recognition can spot unsafe behavior among workers and monitor tool theft.

Traditional analytics are entering a new realm of possibilities. Artificial intelligence will drive the next generation of construction industry management.

Can AI Help Our Dwindling Workforce?

The construction industry is facing a workforce shortage and talent crisis. AI can “identify potential leaders, predict attrition rates, or identify employees in danger of leaving,” says a recent McKinsey study. You can make data-driven decisions to drive better human resources management.

Data-Driven Decisions for Construction Industry Successes

Construction Monitor is the leading resource for construction industry leads. But if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Opportunities, that is.

Make this year the year you tighten your business operations and chase every opportunity. Forge new relationships. Mentor startups and seek guidance from larger, successful organizations.

Use Construction Monitor data for:

  • Current jobs
  • Future projects
  • Historical trends
  • Your competitors’ market shares

Don’t let another week pass without making data-driven decisions to increase profits. Contact Construction Monitor.

5 Ways Contractor Business Owners Can Manage Stop-Work Orders

contractor business

At least this time, you recognize the clues:

  • Business hours of operation are more tightly controlled.
  • Curfews are put back in place.
  • Gatherings of more than 10 people are legally prohibited in some areas.
  • Restaurants’ hours are restricted.
  • Schools return to virtual classes only.

Your city or county is about to enforce a lockdown that will impact your construction contractor business.

Contractor Business Owners Can Prepare

Because safety is a priority, promptly adhering to stop-work requests is important. But if you see it coming, you can “make hay while the sun shines.”

To prepare your contractor business for another pandemic-related work stoppage:

  1. Accelerate timelines – Normally, overtime costs are wasteful. But these are not normal times. Finishing a project ahead of schedule when a shutdown is looming may be better management of time and money.
  2. Be prepared – Keep project progress documentation up-to-the-minute if possible. Take photos to verify completion percentages.
  3. Do what you can – You can get materials delivered now and store them. When work begins again, you won’t be waiting for deliveries. Keep your project alive.
  4. Maintain interactions – Include subcontractors in virtual meetings during the shutdown. When they maintain a connection to your project, they’ll be less likely to seek work elsewhere.
  5. Secure assets – Photograph equipment that will be left onsite and winterize if you’re in a part of the country that has extreme winter weather.

Construction writer Joe Bosquin says you can use downtime to prepare your construction contractor business for the big boom that’s coming. And the anticipated work increase poses yet another challenge for 2021.

Business Leads for Your Construction Contractor Business

A construction industry boom may be forthcoming, but that doesn’t mean you should sit back and wait for it to happen. Now is the best time to begin developing leads for your construction contractor business development.

Use the information available from Construction Monitor data to ensure you’re in a position to get the jobs you want with the profit margin you need.

Contact us today to learn more.

Construction Industry Employers and Coronavirus-Related Sick Leave

Coronavirus-Related Sick Leave

If you were a bit bitter about paid days off for an employee that refused to wear a mask, laughed at social distancing, and traveled during the pandemic (then caught COVID-19), you’re not alone.

Paid coronavirus-related sick leaves were required by the federal government. While other programs (state unemployment, federal PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) were managed by government entities, the pandemic-related sick leaves fell on employers’ shoulders.

How Construction Industry Employers Can Make a Coronavirus Comeback

Through December 30, 2020, construction industry employers paid:

  • Up to two weeks/80 hours paid sick leave at an employee’s regular pay if the employee must quarantine (under government order or medical advice) or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and actively seeking a diagnosis. Employees were entitled to a maximum of $511 per day and $5,110 over the two-week period.
  • Up to two weeks/80 hours – and later, an additional 10 weeks – paid family/medical sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular pay if the employee must take care of someone under a quarantine order or a child whose school/childcare closed because of the pandemic.

The way to recoup these losses is to keep accurate and detailed records. And hang on, because tax relief will be there. Leveraging workforce management tools (yes, that means software programs) makes record-keeping much easier.

Instead of operating in damage-control mode, switch to aggressively seeking more business. Creating new sales channels is one way to recover from 2020. Another way is to actively pursue all leads, says Dexcom:

With so much uncertainty and caution due to the virus, it may seem reasonable to abandon any leads you were working on prior to the pandemic. …continue to nurture them. Put even more energy into capturing these leads.

Business Development Leads for Your Construction Industry Business

Construction Monitor has leads for your company. Your demographics, your locale, your niche. Just ask. Call 800-925-6085 or contact us today and let’s put a business development plan in place for your construction industry business.

Future-Proof Your Contractor Business

contractor business

If nothing else, 2020 verified what most of us already knew:

  1. Construction is an essential business.
  2. You can’t predict the future.

If you have a construction contractor business, here are some tips to protect yourself from future surprises. For Construction Pros calls it “future-proofing your business.”

What Your Contractor Business Can (and Can’t) Control

There’s nothing you can do to control the global economy. A contractor business may not be able to influence global politics, but it can up its game technologically.

BIM + ERP = Greater Profits

Building information management (BIM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) are software technologies that are perhaps used in your contractor business to manage financials and human resources. But when working together, they can deliver much more.

ERP empowers companies to predict project performance, lower costs, and deliver projects on-time “at a high quality and with minimum risk.” But it needs data to make this happen.

Implement IoT for Servitization

“Servitization” is a transformation journey, said Cambridge’s Andy Neely. It’s developing the capabilities you need to provide services and solutions that supplement traditional product offerings.

A servitized arrangement puts you in a partnership with the project owner. It increases your risk but the Internet of things (IoT) can be used to track performance and increase compensation.

Utilize Off-Site Construction

What’s not to like? Off-site fabrication makes better use of labor and materials. It lowers costs, makes timelines more attainable, and a contractor business doesn’t have to work around the weather. We may see an increase in materials’ and parts’ standardization.

Secure the Future of Your Contractor Business

Transformational technologies are basically software programs that enable new opportunities. Construction Monitor provides transformational technology benefits to your construction business every time we sort building permit information for you. Our service maximizes your time by giving you customized information that is in real-time and relevant to your contractor business. 

You can use it for leads.

Use it for more competitive bids.

You can use it to partner with other companies.

You’ve got to use it.

Contact Construction Monitor to put our future-proofing information to work.

Busy But Broke

construction business

All of us have different goals, but the common denominator for every construction business is this: We want more (more money, more work, more time off – with pay, more leads, more bids, and more resume-building wins).

The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem
you had last year.
-John Foster Dulles

Busywork: Chipping Away Construction Business Profits

If you want more construction business, first get yourself in a position to manage it. Many companies say they are busier than ever. Being busy can be a trap for construction business management.

It “keeps key people overworked…without time to plan, prepare, think, manage…” says George Hedley.

Being busy sometimes means issues aren’t documented properly and communications aren’t shared with necessary team members and stakeholders. When you’re too busy, you’re forced to make decisions without the necessary information.

“Busy” doesn’t make more money. In fact, it can erode profits. It’s time to leave putting out fires to the fire professionals and to make more profit.

Here are some tips:

  1. Admit you need more help – Overworked employees (and you) make mistakes. Get some support and stop asking everyone to do more. What’s not getting done? You can better balance your construction business by shuffling assignments and adding personnel, not subtracting.
  2. End overtime – It’s a money drain and working 50+ hours/week reduces productivity and morale.
  3. Stop bidding every job in the pipeline – Bid better. Carefully analyze and bid on the right kind of projects for the right customers against worthy competitors.
  4. Make pre-project planning standard – Once you’ve won the bid, hold a pre-project meeting with the estimator, project manager, superintendent/foreman, etc. Review the bid, project requirements, and:
  • Contract
  • Estimates
  • Schedule
  • Scope
  • Subcontractors
  • Suppliers

Then allow time to prepare:

  • Construction work plan
  • Crew requirements
  • Equipment needed
  • Schedule
  • Working budget

Never sacrifice quality and professionalism because you’re “busy.” Review meetings can examine your construction business performance. They allow you to make changes sooner when changes can still make a profit margin difference.

Construction Monitor is the ultimate lead source for your construction business. Contact or email us to learn more about making more profit.

The Construction Industry and Coronavirus Vaccine

Construction Industry and Coronavirus Vaccine

It’s good to be king. But if you aren’t royalty, being an essential worker is right up there. We may never be able to adequately thank medical professionals for their sacrifices in 2020. Prioritizing them for 2021 COVID vaccinations is one way.

21 million healthcare workers and 3 million residents and staff of long-term care facilities receive the first limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccines during what’s known as Phase 1a of distribution. But essential workers were presented as potential recipients in the next tier, Phase 1b…CDC Plan

Construction industry essential workers are likely next in line. This can be a blessing for project managers or a bane for individuals that don’t want the vaccine. Either way, it will need careful consideration before implementation.

Can the Construction Industry Require Vaccination as a Condition of Employment?

In October 2020, the Associated General Contractors of America lobbied President Trump and now President-Elect Biden to implement a national plan for the construction industry distribution of coronavirus vaccine.

Construction industry contractors are already scrambling to enforce distancing and exposure tracking – and thanks to technology, this is possible. But can a construction industry project owner or contractor require coronavirus vaccination as a condition of employment?

Legally, probably not. The jury’s still out, so to speak.

Some attorneys recommend contractors be “aggressive” in encouraging vaccination by offering free jobsite inoculations during work-hours. Mandating medical personnel receive the coronavirus vaccine may be considered necessary and it makes sense. “You can’t operate a hospital with half your staff is infected,” said attorney Kevin Troutman.

You can’t build hospitals when half your construction workforce is infected, either.

Essential Business Information for Essential Workers

When Construction Monitor data professionals enter construction project leads into our database, the basic information – building permit applications – becomes usable, relevant analyses for your organization. It takes us several hours to refine and customize the information into what you need.

We do that for every subscriber. It saves you time and time is money. Most importantly, you can use that information to develop connections, leads, and make money. Contact us today.

What You Should Know About Construction Industry Falls

construction industry falls

Construction workers get high more often than most people. We work on skyscrapers, scaffolding, rooftops, and even a loading dock is considered working at-height. And too many of us take unnecessary risks.

The numbers are not good: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says fall fatalities are highest in the construction industry vs. all others. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) says the leading cause of private-sector worker deaths in the construction industry are falls.

Falls #1 Cause of Fatalities in the Construction Industry

The construction industry “fatal four” are*:

  • Falls – 338
  • Struck by object – 112
  • Electrocutions – 86
  • Caught/in-between** – 55

We can reduce those numbers this year. Here are some FYIs (for your information) to promote a better understanding of fall safety.

  • All roof workers need fall protection – Even if you’re 6′ from the edge, observe the OSHA options for protection:
    • Controlled access zones
    • Guardrails
    • Personal fall arrest systems
    • Positioning device systems
    • Safety monitoring systems
    • Safety nets
    • Warning line systems
  • Boom/scissor lifts require different PFPEs – Boom lift personal fall protection equipment is a body belt with a lanyard attached to the boom/basket. OSHA has no requirements for scissor lifts but some OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) may require PFPE. Consult the scissor-lift manual/verify OEM requirements to be sure.
  • PFPE alone won’t protect – Personal fall protection equipment involves more than wearing a harness and securing to an anchorage point. It should stop you from hitting the ground but doesn’t prevent falls. Guardrails protect against falls.
  • Training/leadership make the difference – Training is necessary but a safety program reinforced by leadership is even more valuable. Encourage employees to report unsafe conditions and assist in developing safety processes.

Diligence Saves Lives

Fall prevention tips are relevant. But your commitment to safety can make the real difference. Our goal is to provide relevant information to the construction industry. Every week, Construction Monitor sorts data into information that can grow your business. Contact Construction Monitor to learn more.

___
*2018
**Construction industry workers killed when caught-in/compressed by equipment/objects, and struck/caught/crushed in collapsing structure/equipment/material