Friday, June 26, 2009
In an industry that has shed nearly 1 million jobs in the past year, according to the Associated General Contractors of America, construction companies and their suppliers have had to come up with creative ways to avoid layoffs. The introduction of mandatory paid sick leave could mean the difference between making payroll or not, argue Associated Builders and Contractors officials. "Small businesses across the country are struggling to keep their doors open in these trying times and mandating paid leave will only aggravate this already fragile situation, they stated in a June 10 letter to the House of Representatives. "At a time when employers are struggling to avoid layoffs and business closures, imposing paid leave mandates on employers is unwise policy that threatens jobs and the viability of many of the nation's small businesses," they stated.
Proponents of the act, however, point out that many Americans feel forced to go to work when sick for fear of losing their jobs or a day's pay. "There's something wrong when people have to choose between their jobs and taking care of themselves or their families when someone is sick," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut in a New York Times article
I think we can all agree that employees should be able to take a sick day if they or their family members are ill. The question is, on whose terms? Should sick day policy be up to the employer or the government?
—By Jenni Chase, Editor, Glass Magazine
Thursday, June 18, 2009
At a time when the stimulus and other federal construction programs are rapidly expanding, general and specialty contractors will benefit from using the first standard subcontract to address new complex contractual rules and regulations for federal government projects, according to a June 10 release from the AGC of America.
“With America looking to the construction community to rebuild our economy and restore our hope, the last thing we want is contractors being excessively burdened by complex rules and regulations,” said Tom Kelleher, senior partner in Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP and chair of the national coalition of associations who wrote and endorse the new standard contract, in the release. “The new ConsensusDOCS federal subcontract will keep needed construction projects from getting tangled up in red tape.”
The new document, known as ConsensusDOCS 752 – Subcontract for Federal Government Construction Projects, addresses the terms and conditions needed for subcontractors and contractors to comply with Federal Acquisition Regulations, Kelleher noted in the release. The contract also addresses new legal and ethical requirements pertaining to the legal status of employees, complying with ethics rules, as well as federal Prompt Pay Act requirements.
The document was written, reviewed and approved by a team of professionals representing every part of the construction process, including contractors, subcontractors, owners and sureties.“There is no need to reinvent the wheel every time someone wants to engage a subcontractor or work as a subcontractor on a federal government construction project,” Kelleher said.
ConsensusDOCS contracts are the first and only industry standard contracts written and endorsed by 22 leading construction organizations, according to the release. They offer a catalog of more than 90 contract documents covering all methods of project delivery, and utilize best practices to represent the project’s best interests. Endorsing organizations represent designers, owners, contractors, subcontractors and sureties.
Take a look, and let me know if the new contract documents will make life easier for you to bid on a federal or stimulus-funded job.
—By Sahely Mukerji, news editor/managing editor, Glass Magazine
Friday, June 12, 2009
Glass companies have been forced to make some drastic and painful cutbacks during this recession. However, one business area that has remained fairly unscathed during the downturn at most glass companies is research and development.
According to the May 19 e-glass poll, only 21 percent of respondents reported cutting R&D during the slower economy. Forty-seven percent said their activities had stayed the same, and 32 percent said they were increasing activities. The industry as a whole will greatly benefit from this collective innovation, and the individual companies dedicating themselves to R&D will come out of the recession poised to gain market share and stand apart from the competition.
“Research and development can be expensive, there is no denying that. But without it, your business, as well as the products or technologies that you provide, would grow stagnant. Without R & D you could even be missing out on new opportunities in industry sectors that are still thriving,” wrote Courtney Wilson, consultant at Northbridge SR&ED Consultants, in a March article.
Glass companies investing in R&D could receive an additional boost from the federal government, if a recent proposal from the Senate Finance Committee goes through. The committee, in a move to further support companies’ R&D efforts, unveiled new legislation June 8 to make it easier for companies to receive the R&D tax credit, according to a same-day article from RTTNews.
"In this global economy, research and development by American companies is critical to our economic recovery and the long-term global competitiveness of our country," said Max Baucus, committee chairman, who sponsored the bill (D-MT), according to the article.
So, what are some of your R&D activities at your company? Post a comment, or e-mail me at email@example.com.
—Katy Devlin, commercial glass & metals editor, Glass Magazine
Monday, June 8, 2009
One of my first projects when I started at the NGA was to work with Mike Burk of Edgetech IG to get his presentation on Glass Handling Safety onto MyGlassClass.com. I traveled to Cambridge, Ohio, with a video crew to watch Mike demonstrate the proper use of personal protective equipment, two-man carries, and what to do if glass slips out of your grip while you carry it. The result is one of the more compelling (and popular) courses on MyGlassClass.com. There’s a reason that’s the case. Mike eloquently and clearly makes the case that good safety practices not only save lives, they save your business money.
The National Safety Council estimates that the average cost of a disabling injury on the job is approximately $43,000. The cost of a death on the job is well over a million dollars. That’s a tough figure in any economic climate, but even more so today. With so many glass businesses struggling, an unexpected financial hit like that could be devastating. Yet, these are the businesses that need to give extra attention to these matters. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, construction-related trades such as glazing make up about 8 percent of the U.S. workforce, but account for 22 percent of work-related fatalities.
Besides the injury risk to your employees and the financial risk, how would you feel if OSHA knocked on the door one day? Would you be ready for an inspection? In Connecticut, it’s mandatory for any licensed glazier to take an OSHA 10 course, a trend that will likely find its way across the country. Plus, many general contractors require that any subcontractors working on their projects must be OSHA 10 certified and many require at least one to be OSHA 30 certified.
To help our members with this important issue, the NGA has partnered with a group to bring OSHA training online via MyGlassClass.com. If you’ve been looking for a convenient, affordable way to get your employees OSHA-certified, this is a great opportunity for you. You can find out more detail at MyGlassClass.com. To celebrate, we’re offering a special deal on all our safety courses all through the month of June. If you purchase any of our new OSHA training, we’ll also include access to our safety course bundles (either flat or auto, including AGRSS information), which is a $45 value.
Safety is important anytime, of course. Beyond the financial risk, no one wants to lose a valuable employee. But in today’s economy, there’s more at stake than ever. A little prevention can save your business a lot of headaches and a lot of money.