Sophisticated project owners and developers pick premier contractors who are principled, are socially responsible and develop their workforce. They know that contractors who build lasting, high quality employee relationships and career paths for their craftspeople consistently deliver the best value and results. Their practices produce tax revenue and stability to communities while also lowering social service burdens.

Knowledgeable owners and developers avoid using contractors who are are unprincipled and who use misclassified or undocumented workers who are often paid in cash and lack the skills, long-term commitment and support necessary for producing top quality work. They know these second-rate practices not only lead to poor results and hidden costs but also have social consequences in their communities including uncollected taxes, increased social services costs and lower incomes.

What do socially responsible contractors get in return for being responsible?

Do "socially indifferent" or "socially irresponsible" owners, developers and contractors in your community face consequences to their reputation and business?

Hi there. The Chamberlin Man here.

This Thanksgiving, take a moment to breathe in the smell of turkey roasting in the oven and count your blessings. Now, imagine me, The Chamberlin Man, tipping my hat and raising a glass in gratitude to you, our clients and colleagues, for trusting Chamberlin with the blessing of your business for yet another year. From all of us at Chamberlin, I’d like to offer a very sincere Thank You.

We feel like it’s a great time of year to take stock of all the good in our lives at home and at work. One of the things we’re most grateful for at Chamberlin is the opportunity to give back to the communities where we live and work. In fact, Chamberlin employees collectively volunteered nearly 400 hours for a good share of nonprofit organizations in 2016. since 2007, Chamberlin is excited that WorkFaith's job readiness program is celebrating its 200th graduating classChamberlin also raised funds for Seven Loaves Community, which will result in over 200,000 meals served to those in need.   Read more » about Good Gravy!

This is another in a series of games we see on construction projects. Have any of you seen this one?

Most of us have heard that term applied to plumbing systems or negative feedback on our projects. Being at the end of the line usually means that you catch everything that falls apart above you in the job. This is especially relevant for this game on construction projects and schedules.

This game usually begins when the architects have incomplete construction drawings or the contractor can’t build something that the architects have detailed, and it has to be redrawn. It can also be caused when the owner’s rep, engineers, or GC doesn’t approve shop drawings for an order, delivery and install on time.   Read more » about Games Contractors and Subs Play – “It All Flows Downhill”

As the debate about illegal immigration rages at the national level thanks to the vitriolic rhetoric of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, it's high time for all of us to take a look at how the broken system is negatively affecting people right here in our own community.

My entire career has been spent in construction, so I've been perfectly positioned to see how this mess has evolved over the past few decades. Rather than rehash arguments I've made previously - arguments I will continue to make in the future - I'd like to share with you the story of a young woman whose experience is all too common here in Southeast Texas.    Read more » about What Immigration Reality Looks Like for Workers

The following article originally appeared in the September newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, LLC.  Reprinted with permission.

Recently, I was in a conversation about golf with Joe Mathis, leader of The Mathis Group – highly respected project managers and owners’ representatives. He said that he played golf with a group of people who were “reverent to the game.” What a meaningful phrase to anyone who wants to honor the historical essence of golf as a gentlemen’s game.

It made me think about our commercial construction industry, and specifically our craft workers, which historically are the essence of our companies, in an industry that blends extraordinary building competency with the ability to manage people, projects and risks. These reflections, which considered the rapid growth in the use of technology, the almost universal practice of multiple-tier subcontracting, and the expanding value of prefabrication, surfaced the question: are we still reverent to the crafts?   Read more » about Reverent to the Crafts

Editor's Note: The Workers Defense Project in Austin is making progress in promoting its Better Builder Program, which seeks to ensure construction workers are paid correctly and are as safe as possible on construction job sites. More information about the program is here. In the guest op-ed below, the Better Builder Program Director Bo Delp explains that the Austin City Council is considering an expedited permit process for developers that agree to use the program on their projects.

The City of Austin is considering a budget-neutral policy that will create a win-win for workers, project owners, and honest contractors. 

Sound too good to be true? Hear me out.

Like much of Texas, the City of Austin is growing rapidly, and as a result its permitting process has become a mess, leaving project owners feeling the financial impact of serious delays. 

In response, the city is poised to create an expedited permit review process that will help reduce wait times for owners from months to days by asking owners to pay a premium, hourly fee. The challenge is that Austin is the most economically segregated city in the country and is facing a serious affordability crisis. Unbridled and unmanaged growth could amplify and exacerbate our city’s challenges. This would especially be felt by the men and women who build our city.   Read more » about Win-Win: City of Austin Considers Worker Protections, Permit Reform

With each passing day, state and federal governments are getting more serious about rooting out and eliminating worker misclassification, sometimes known as payroll fraud. But much more must be done to end what has been called a "cancer...eating at the heart of our industry."

Regular readers of Construction Citizen know that worker misclassification happens when a company pretends its employees are “independent subcontractors” with the intent of skirting payroll taxes and benefits like workers’ compensation insurance and – because of their reduced labor costs – are able to submit lower bids for projects, undercutting ethical contractors.

In Professional Roofing Magazine earlier this year, attorney William E. Burnett gave contractors an in-depth look at the problem from all angles.    Read more » about Professional Roofing Magazine Shines Spotlight on Worker Misclassification

The City of Philadelphia is taking a hard line on wage theft with some stiff penalties for employers caught stiffing their workers. It is such a tough law that some have criticized it as “draconian.” But others have applauded the city’s aggressive stance.

Any week that wages are found to be unpaid is a separate violation by an employer under this strict ordinance, which also says businesses will be hit with penalties of up to $2,300 for each violation if there is not a “good faith contest of the wages owed exists.”

That means employers could be subject to multiple $2,300 fines for a single employee’s complaint for unpaid wages if the complaint spans multiple weeks.    Read more » about Philadelphia Comes Down Hard on Wage Theft

The following article originally appeared in the July newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, LLC.  Reprinted with permission.

We often use the positive statement when referring to a person we admire “he/she has good character,” meaning they consistently act with integrity and high ethical standards.  It has been my observation, over 32 privileged years of working with contractors, most people, especially those attracted to the construction industry, strive to build a reputation for having good character, and to do business only with others that have the same.

However, I think the question can be legitimately raised, whether having “good character” is something we still value in political leaders, especially in candidates for the highest office in the land.  Predicated on the two presumptive nominees for the parties, it appears we may be relaxing the character standard substantially.   Read more » about Character Still Counts in the Construction Industry

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