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?

A construction executive in New York is charged with underreporting his payroll so that he could reap $2 million in insurance premium breaks.

Prosecutors in Manhattan said Michael Cholowsky and his company allegedly concealed more than $3 million in payroll resulting in a fraudulent premium reduction over the course of a year starting in April of 2014.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office released a statement saying that the “indictment stems from an investigation into a construction site fatality that occurred last year at the former location of Pastis restaurant in the Meatpacking District. In April 2015, a 22-year-old worker was killed when an improperly secured trench collapsed and fatally crushed the victim.    Read more » about Multimillion Dollar Payroll Scheme Busted in New York

Working on federal and local governmental projects requires that contractors include minorities, woman-owned, or Disadvantaged Business Enterprise firms on their teams either as subs, vendors, suppliers or consultants. The guidelines also require that those amounts be stated in the bidding process and in the reporting process during the construction of the project as well as the final accounting to the public.

Some contractors and owners, in an effort to bypass the guidelines, have found creative ways to accomplish the goals that they have to meet in their bids by defrauding the system and the firms that the MBE and DBE programs set out to help.

We have seen these fraudulent moves for decades. First it was out and out bribes such as, “We’ll include you on the team, pay you a fee and you won’t do a thing,” or “You will need to pay my cousin a fee of x to represent you on this project.”    Read more » about It’s Still Fraud Maude!

Six men have been arrested and charged with racketeering and fraud charges after allegedly paying employees of a Florida construction company through shell companies in an attempt to avoid paying more than $12 million in workers’ compensation premiums and more than $3 million in federal payroll taxes.  Meanwhile, the men appear to have made over $17 million in profits over the period of the investigation, which lasted from October 2013 to August 2015.

The Sun Sentinel, a publication based in Fort Lauderdale, reports that a Broward County Sheriff’s Office affidavit said that the owners of Richard and Rice Construction LLC and four other men used over 20 shell companies to hide the number of employees they hired.  The article says that police detective Benjamin Dusenbery wrote in the affidavit that:

“Although laborers were under Richard and Rice Construction control, they were said to be employed by the shell companies.  This allowed Richard and Rice Construction to hide the number of employees it had, lowering its insurance premiums and payroll taxes, while appearing to comply with necessary coverage requirements.  It allowed the company to submit lower bids for work.”

The article talks about the pay that trickled down to the actual workers – many of whom were paid off the books:   Read more » about Florida Contractors Accused of Racketeering and Fraud in Scheme Using “Shell Companies”

The Austin City Council recently extended through March 2016 the current, temporary rules governing overnight concrete pours on downtown job sites.

The Austin AGC and our industry allies have been very active on this issue since it developed in late 2014. We’re simply trying to ensure that construction companies working downtown are not subject to rules that may sound solid in theory but in practice will create undue restrictions. Without the opportunity to pour concrete in the late evening hours, a number of problems are created for both the industry at work and the people who live, work and socialize downtown. Pouring at night helps:

With last minute shopping and preparations for Christmas celebrations happening at this moment all over the country – and the planet – our team thought it would be appropriate to take a moment to reflect on the reason for the season.

Each day, we work toward advancing a socially responsible, sustainable and value added construction industry. Through the help of our sponsors, contributing writers, and others we never stop pushing toward the goal of a more perfect industry. It often involves highlighting the struggles of the working man and woman who are doing all they can to take care of their families.

Those who work tirelessly on the monuments of our communities are the ones who deserve all the credit.    Read more » about Merry Christmas from Construction Citizen

One of the construction companies involved in building One World Trade Center has struck a deal with federal prosecutors to pay out $20 million after an alleged overbilling scheme was uncovered.

The government accused Tishman Construction, a unit of Aecom, of improperly billing clients on projects including One World Trade Center as well as the Plaza Hotel in New York. Tishman overbilled clients by fraudulently adding one to two hours of unworked or unnecessary "guaranteed" overtime pay per day to time sheets for labor foremen, according to prosecutors.

Reuters reported the details:

“Through a systemic practice, Tishman Construction bilked its clients by charging them for unworked time and at rates higher than those bargained for by their clients," Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said in a statement.

John Gallagher, a spokesman for Tishman, said the company fully cooperated with the investigation.

The settlement, reported by Reuters, follows similar accords with construction companies in recent years over alleged fraudulent billing practices on projects in New York City.   Read more » about Construction Company to Pay $20 Million Settlement in One World Trade Center Overtime Scam

After a yearlong debate about the right way to handle it, the Dallas City Council this week passed a requirement for mandatory rest breaks for construction workers.

Under the new rules, which passed on a vote of 10 to 5, construction workers will be guaranteed 10 minutes of rest for every four hours worked. Construction workers and their advocates broke into applause in the city council chambers Wednesday morning after the vote. There was very little discussion of of the measure by council members in the moments before the vote.    Read more » about Dallas Adopts Mandatory Rest Breaks for Construction Workers

Editor’s note: The following remarks were presented by Pat Kiley at the SER-Jobs for Progress 50th Anniversary “Building Our Workforce” Gala on Oct 16, 2015.

In his current New York Times bestseller, The Road to Character, heralded author, David Brooks, reprinted this quote: “What people of character say about themselves, is the smallest part of what people of character give of themselves.  People of character let their actions and their behaviors make their statements.”  And by this standard, the family that we honor here tonight – this Tellepsen Family; these second-, third-, and fourth-generation descendants of immigrants from Norway; this family of demonstrated character by this high standard – is writing a body of work equal to any of the great literary or symphonic achievements.

It is evident that they have been given a strong value-based foundation, values of faith, family, service to others and learning.  It is also evident that they have been exhorted since their earliest days to “be involved with something bigger than themselves” and to “give when they did not have so they would be sure to give when they did.”    Read more » about A Tribute the Tellepsen Family [VIDEO]

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