Lower equipment operating costs:
Simple ideas for reducing fuel-related expenses

Contractors know that today’s marketplace is more competitive than ever and any edge can make a difference. With ever-fluctuating fuel prices, one chief concern is how to bid a project, knowing that the job may not start for months. Do you bid at current prices and hope they stay stable, or do you plan for potential price increases? Either way, there are methods to offset the rising costs of running equipment. Some may be things you’re already doing, others areRead More

Vintage Police Car

Caught red-handed:
Telematics system leads to recovery of missing excavators

A recent global fraud report showed that more than one third of construction, engineering and infrastructure firms were victims of theft during a one-year period. Count Jackson Plumbing and Ates Construction as members of that unlucky group as both companies had Komatsu compact excavators stolen from jobsites. One morning Alan Ates, Owner of Ates Construction, needed his Komatsu PC55MR excavator for an emergency water-line repair, only it wasn’t where he left it the evening before. “We were doing a jobRead More

Magnifying glass close up of the word "GRAMMAR"

Why good grammar is still important:
7 tips for clear communication

When you hear the word grammar does it bring back memories of a high school teacher and perhaps make you cringe a bit? Many people associate grammar with errors circled in red ink on a term paper. Thanks to my ninth grade English instructor, Miss Marie Shea, I learned that grammar is much more than a set of pesky rules, but instead serves as a path to ensuring clarity of communication. Whether you are writing content for a social mediaRead More

Road sign that says Marketing and Strategy

How to connect to customers through testimonials

Word-of-mouth advertising is one of the best types of promotion. In addition to the cost (free, you can’t beat that), it is so successful because potential customers are hearing good things about your company from someone they can relate to and trust. This is invaluable currency to have in business. However, Nancy in Omaha, who happens to love your product or service, has a Facebook following of about 30 people – your company is one of them, and her catRead More

Workers and foreman uses virtual reality glasses

Construction goes high tech:
Wearable technology monitors health, safety, jobsite data

Nearly a decade ago, the use of electronic devices to transmit information about equipment operation earned widespread acceptance throughout the construction industry. Now called “telematics,” it was first used for tracking equipment. But, what about the health and safety of workers? Now there are ways to monitor that as well, with the use of wearable technology. At approximately the same time as machine telematics began earning favor, the advent of wearable tech occurred. Most people are familiar with it, thanks,Read More

Construction wages rising:
Firms paying more, but labor market remains tight

An Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) analysis showed construction wages on the rise, which seems to be attracting workers to return to the industry. The organization cautioned, however, that labor conditions still remain extremely tight. “Many firms are boosting pay and taking other steps to compete for a relatively small pool of available, qualified workers to hire,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC’s Chief Executive Officer. “While these measures appear to be luring construction workers back to the job market,Read More

Highway into city

Goal: No fatalities
Research suggests traffic-planning approaches would save lives

Research from the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Bank concludes that if all countries adopted a Safe System or Vision Zero approach to safety and traffic infrastructure, nearly a million lives could be saved around the world each year. WRI analyzed data from 53 countries and found that using Safe System tactics achieved both the lowest rates of traffic deaths and the largest reduction in fatalities in a 20-year period. The report, “Safe and Sustainable: A Vision andRead More

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