Improving Labor Projections

Blueprint Construction Counsel partners with forensic cost, schedule and productivity experts throughout the country. The following excellent article by one of our partners, Walter Bauer - the principal of Brillig Inc., Construction Analysts, based in Ontario Province, Canada - discusses the consistent problem of underestimating craft labor cost projections on troubled projects and proposes methods for significantly improving labor projections.

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Suggested Strategies for Reaching an Early Resolution with the Performance Bond Surety of a Defaulting Subcontractor

A very common complaint within the construction industry is the perceived lack of responsiveness of performance bond sureties in connection with requests to timely cure or voluntarily pay for the consequences of subcontractor default. Sureties are perceived to be litigious and non-responsive. The value of a performance bond as security against a subcontractor default is, in turn, perceived to be of somewhat questionable value, particularly with the advent of alternative industry products, most notably Subguard.

There is little doubt that at least a few sureties have earned this negative reputation, and many of us have personal experiences that reinforce the industry perception. And yet, the performance bond product remains an ingrained facet of our industry.

For instance, certain owners are unwilling to approve or pay for Subguard. Other owners and contractors are simply unfamiliar with alternative subcontractor default security products. In addition, alternative performance security products, including Subguard, are perceived to be expensive. For these reasons, and despite the advent of Subguard several years ago, there can be little doubt that performance bonds will remain an aspect of virtually every contractor’s risk management strategy for the foreseeable future.

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How Best To Respond To a Governmental Inquiry During the Course of a Project

Introduction: Investigations and audits in the safety context have been a part of the construction industry for many decades. More recently however, regulatory compliance investigations and audits, particularly in the government contracting sphere, have also become an increasingly regular part of our business. In the United States in particular, the past decade has seen a dramatic rise in legislation and related regulatory enforcement focused on the construction industry.

The most typical investigation and enforcement actions arise in one of three contexts: (i) health, safety, and environmental issues; (ii) contractual compliance, including small business participation and accounting/audit issues and, more rarely, (iii) allegations of criminal misconduct. Beyond complying with the applicable governmental regulations, a contractor needs to know what to expect in the event of an investigation or audit and ensure that mangers that will be dealing directly with the auditors or investigators in the field are prepared.

Even when a contractor’s internal compliance program is thorough and capable of dealing with any investigation, for the individual employee who is faced with an investigation for the first time, the experience can be stressful and unnerving. This article’s goal is to provide some simple, straightforward steps that any employee can follow in the event that an investigator unexpectedly appears on a project site and begins asking for information, interviewing employees and subcontractors, or attempts to access project documents. These steps are designed to supplement information contained in a contractor’s safety and compliance program and to act as a ready-reference in the immediate moments following the initiation of an unanticipated investigation at a project site or place of work. The majority of investigations begin with investigators contacting site personnel. Accordingly, this article focuses primarily on the responses and actions those project level managers should take following an initial contact.

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