February 2012

Episode #8 of the Maryland Construction Network:
February 21, 2012 topics include:
Sidewalks that Produce Electricity

  • Producer – PaveGen
  • Recycled rubber base
  • Turns kinetic energy from footsteps into electricity
  • Being installed at London Olympic site

Harford County Adopts 2012 I-Codes

  • Goes into effect on July 1, 2012
  • Until then 2009 I-Codes will be used
  • Residential sprinkler requirements also taking effect on July 1, 2012

Harford County Building Permits Rebound

  • 550 permits issues in 2012
  • Up from 378 in 2010
  • Highest level since 2007
  • Large apartment complex and BRAC demand seen as key to recovery

Frederick County Gives Seniors Property Tax Credit

  • 20% credit to seniors 65 and up earning less than 60K and with assets below $200K
  • 1626 residents will qualify

3 Critical Document Types for Construction Projects – Part 1

  • Mrs. Jennifer M. Horn – Senior Counsel at Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman, PC
  • Daily reports, project correspondence, project meeting minutes
  • Today’s concentration – Daily reports
    • Why is it important?
    • Who prepares them and where?
    • What are the important aspects of daily reports?
    • What else should be considered in daily reports?

Immigration Audits Increase and Employers are Paying

  • I-9 forms must be received for all employees
  • Proper documents must be presented to employer as a part of the I-9 form
  • Documents numbers must be recorded on I-9 form
  • Employers are not expected to determine authenticity of forms
  • Stiff fines for not having forms
  • Employees not having valid id’s must either produce same, or be terminated
  • Terminated employees often seek new jobs with competitors
  • Use E-Verify to check eligibility to work in US

3 Tips to Close the Deal – 3 Tips for Life

  • Be honest about scope and price
  • Be friendly
  • Follow through!

Construction Costs Rising

  • AGC study shows prices rose 4.5% in 2011
  • Spikes in crude oil and diesel already this year
  • Plastic pipe increasing 8% in March
  • Copper futures rise foretell increases in pipe and wire

Fall Protection for Residential Contractors

  • Many provisions applicable to commercial construction were not required in residential and residential like construction
  • This has changed and compliance with 29 CFR 1926, Subpart M is now required
  • Conventional fall protection must be used unless it poses greater risk
  • MOSH notes burden of proof is on employer and they do not see many, if any, instances where that is the case
  • However, if so, a site-specific written fall protection plan is needed

2013 Budget Includes $15 Million for Affordable Housing

  • Rental Housing Works plan funds as many as 20 projects
  • Support 1,000 jobs
  • Possible shortfall of up to 127k affordable housing units over next 4 years

United Rentals One Step Closer to Acquiring RSC

  • $1.87 Billion buyout proposed in December
  • United receives “No-Action” letter from Canadian Competition Bureau
  • Still needs US approval and stockholder approval

United Rentals Acquires Coble Trench Safety

  • Expands UR trench safety rentals
  • Coble had 11 locations in Mid-Atlantic and Southeast US including 1 in Maryland
  • UR’s trench presence grows to 93 locations in 28 states and Canada

Ten States – Well Really the Top 5 – With Big Budget Shortfalls

  • #5 – Maine
  • #4 – New Jersey
  • #3 – Arizona
  • #2 – Illinois
  • #1 – Nevada

Qualities of Remarkable Employees

  • From Jeff Haden and Inc.com
  • Ignore job descriptions
  • Eccentric
  • Know when to not be
  • Publicly praise
  • Privately complain
  • Speak when others won’t
  • Like top prove others wrong
  • Always fiddling

Masonry Institute Reorganizes

  • Masonry Institute, Masonry Institute of Maryland and Professional Masonry Association merge
  • Executive committee members from each organization named to new Board of Directors
  • Economy of scale
  • Elimination of redundant expense

Baltimore Region Construction Industry Sheds 19,200 Jobs since 2006

  • BBJ report by Ryan Sharrrow of AGC Study
  • 12/2006 – 83,600 construction jobs in Baltimore area
  • 12/2011 – 67,100 jobs
  • Baltimore ranks 92nd of 337 areas on list meaning 91 areas suffered greater percentage losses
  • Only 6 areas in US reached peak December number in 2011

IWIF Seeks to Become CEIC

  • Bill introduced to privatize IWIF by Sen. Middleton
  • New name would be Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Co.
  • Seen as effort to insulate IWIF reserves from potential threat to help balance budget
  • Similar bill in 2010 failed with opposition from carriers and insurance associations
  • IWIF is largest workers comp carrier in Maryland and has writes business for many construction firms

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Episode #7 of the Maryland Construction Network:

February 14, 2012 topics include:

Governor Introduces Gas Sales Tax Bill

  • 6% tax to be phased in equally over three year period
  • Revenue potential > $600 Million per year
  • Tax increase could be paused if gas prices rise dramatically
  • Money earmarked for transportation but not totally protected from other uses

Living by the Sword

  • Proposed budget calls for $372 Million in public school construction
  • 2nd highest level ever
  • Resulting in 11,650 jobs
  • Funded by tax receipts

December Unemployment Numbers

  • Unemployment in MD drops to 6.7% – Lowest since 2/2009
  • 8,100 additional working in January
  • Bittersweet – construction industry saw unemployment increase 2.7%
  • Job growth strongest in government, education/health care/ social services

 How Long Until Employment Recovers?

  • Based upon December’s  national report – adding 200k jobs per month
  • If done every month it would take 7 to 12 years to reach pre-recession employment rate
  • Varies by number of people re-entering workforce, number that retires and number of immigrants entering workforce

3 Reasons to Sell in 2012

  • Historically low capital gains rate expires at end of 2012
    • Could stay same, raise to previous level of 20% or even go higher
  • Additional Medicare tax of 3.8% set to begin in 2013
  • Other unfavorable tax rules after 2012 possible
    • Estate gift tax rules in effect in 2012 may not be so in 2013
    • Other changes to tax rules and regs such as mandatory health care for companies with 50 or more employees (2014) could depress future valuations of businesses

3o Story Building Finished in 15 Days

  • 170,000 sq.ft. 5 star hotel in Hunan Provence in China
  • From bare graded lot to completed building – all finishes in 360 hours
  • Claims to be 5x more energy efficient
  • Indoor air quality 20x better than outdoors
  • Construction tolerances of +/- 0.2 mm
  • Watch time lapse video @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Hdpf-MQM9vY

Future of Insurance Markets for Construction Companies

Payroll Record Retention

Safety Publications and Programs

  • New nail-gun publication available
  • MOSH AudioVisual Library
    • Borrow A/V materials from MOSH
    • 10 work-day period for free
    • Pick-up at their office or have shipped to your office
    • Contact MOSH at 410-527-4499 for a catalog of materials available
  • Upcoming MOSH Seminars
    • Free seminars on a wide variety of topics
    • Check the MCN Events Calendar (on right side of this page) for seminar titles, dates, times and locations

Computer Safety

  • Losing computer might be worse than losing wallet
  • Securely erase files
    • Deleting files simply erases from directory but information remains
    • Program can erase data by overwriting random data
  • Use a “vault” program
    • Sensitive folders/files place can be remotely locked if computer is stolen
    • Access totally denied unless user validates ID with software provider
  • Backup, Backup, Backup
    • It’s cheap, easy and even the seemingly non-important information gets important when it is lost

You Can Get a Free MIT Education

  • M.I.T.x offering 2,100 +/- online courses free of charge to anyone
  • No admissions requirement, no tuition
  • Interact with other students, online labs, online assessments
  • No degree but you can earn a certificate of completion
  • Could revolutionize supply of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) candidates into industry

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Episode #6 of the Maryland Construction Network:

February 7, 2012 topics include:

3 Keys to a Successful Project

  • Excellent Project Management
  • Understand Necessary Documents
  • Document and Claims Management

Tax Increases Eyed by Legislative Leader

  • Senate President Miller Looks to Raise Gas Tax, Flush Tax and Eliminate Estate Tax Exemption on Family Farms
  • “We are going to come up with Revenues”

10 Tips for Great Dinner Meetings

  • Choose 1 Establishment and Stick with it
  • Work directly with Manager
  • Call in Advance
  • Request your Favorite Server
  • Preorder a Favorite and Special Appetizer
  • Arrange for attention
  • Choose your Table
  • Go Off the Menu
  • Pre-handle the Bill
  • Tip Well

Apartment Vacancy Rate Drops

  • 10 Year Low
  • 5.2% Vacancy Rate

Sustainability Led the Wave of New Trends in Construction

  • Sustainability
  • Net Zero
  • Living Buildings
  • BIM
  • Advanced Monitoring of Structures
  • Modular Construction
  • Building Energy Management Systems

Association Spotlight – Building Congress & Exchange

  • New Programs
    • Workers Comp – The Guard Insurance Co. – Any Agent can Utilize the Market
    • American Express Corporate Payment Solutions Program
    • Level 3 Communication Program – Voice & Data Services
  • BCE Meeting Announcements
    • Over 200 at January Meeting
    • February 10 Shrimp and Bull Roast
    • March 14th Meeting at Centre Club
    • April 26th Meeting Featuring Economist Anirban Basu
    • May 7th Annual Golf Outing
    • September 15th Black Tie Gala at B&O Railroad Museum

Are “Melting” Buildings in Our Future?

  • University of Washington – Seattle Campus – Decreasing Cooling Costs by > 95%
  • Phase Change Materials
  • Thin Gel Panels Placed in Walls and Ceilings
  • Has Applications Outside of Construction


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