Man painting outside

Adding the arts to technical skills can generate more productivity, innovation

by Stuart G. Walesh, PhD, PE In 1871, engineer James Watt patented a steam engine that produced continuous rotary motion. Steam engines both figuratively and literally drove the Industrial Revolution and introduced the expression “build a head of steam.” When critical pressure is applied to pistons, things happen. Construction-sector professionals and organizations must strive to achieve the same momentum by building a head of STEAM – that is, by adding the “A” to STEM, the already-developed skill levels of science,Read More

Hand drill cutting concrete

New OSHA silica dust exposure limits

A new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule regarding respirable crystalline silica dust in the construction industry requires covered employers to comply with stricter exposure limits and take steps to protect workers. OSHA reduced the exposure for construction activities to 20 percent of the previous permissible limit (from 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 50) averaged throughout an eight-hour shift. The previous standard had been in place since 1971. These new regulations for the construction industry wentRead More

Tax Prep on desk

Investment Incentive: New tax law allows bonus depreciation on used equipment

Used equipment buyers are the recipients of expanded benefits with the passage of last year’s tax law, including the ability to combine Section 179 Expensing and first-year bonus depreciation. Previously, bonus depreciation was limited to new purchases only. Section 179 Expensing by itself can be significant, and generally companies use this deduction first. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act doubled the deduction limit to $1 million on qualifying equipment purchases, including previously owned machinery. It also raised the spending capRead More

Money stacked

Tax Law Spurs Optimism

Tax reform took firm hold this year, affecting both individuals and businesses, including major changes for some in the construction industry as Congress passed and President Trump signed H.R. 1, The Tax Cut and Jobs Act, last December. This legislation, in most cases, increased take-home pay, lowered corporate tax rates and included provisions designed to increase expensing limits. The signature piece of the legislation may be a reduced corporate tax rate, which was slashed from 35 to 21 percent andRead More