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Tips for a safer workplace

Contractors know and understand that the construction industry is inherently dangerous. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) ranks construction in the top-tier of industries with the most fatal occupational injuries. In a recent year, there were more than 10 deaths per 100,000 employees.

To keep your work crews safer, here are five tips:

How savvy are you about your construction contracts?

Contractors generally deal with different versions of four common construction contracts. These binding legal agreements protect both the contractor and the property owners in the event of disputes over the scope or quality of the work in question.

Below are the four types of contracts that are likely to be used by construction professionals.

Petition pushes for heat protection standards

Contractors in South Florida have to deal with year-round heat and the consequences it brings to outdoor construction workers. Most err on the side of caution and implement protocols to keep their employees hydrated and free of heat-related complications.

But if some civic groups get their way, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may implement heat protection standards for workers. Spearheaded by Public Citizen, a nonprofit, there are over 130 additional organizations that signed petitions to establish these standards.

Should you introduce wearables to your construction crews?

One of the newest industry trends is wearable technology that can monitor construction workers' health and safety on the job. But before you decide to invest in wearable tech products, you must first fully understand the pros and cons for both you and your workers.

Research done by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan (UM) shows that wearable sensors can improve construction worker safety and reduce business costs by transmitting worker health data.

Miami contractor files suit for nonpayment

Fort Lauderdale contractors understand the trouble caused by clients who can't — or won't — pay for the new builds and renovations they ordered done. Not only does this create immeasurable difficulties for the contractors themselves, but it also wreaks havoc with the subcontractors they hired to complete various projects.

A few months ago, a South Florida contractor had to sue a client for nonpayment. Back in May, Skanska USA Building filed a $300 million lawsuit against the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science (FMOS) in Miami for nonpayment of years old invoices after Skanska assumed a lead role in the construction project, the Miami Herald reported.

Can you sue for a breach of a business contract?

If you're a Florida construction company owner, you are probably all-too-familiar with the many ways that a contract dispute with another business owner can land you in legal hot water. Perhaps the supplier of the sinks for your apartment complex went belly-up and left you with a bunch of unfinished bathrooms.

Or perhaps the supplier delivered the sinks, but they were two weeks late, which caused logistical nightmares for the rest of the subcontractors on your project.

New crane operator regulations proposed

Florida contractors may have already learned that in May, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed a new crane safety regulation.

This additional rule would add new elements when determining whether crane operators were sufficiently competent and make employers responsible for ensuring they hire only qualified operators.

Is BIM a part of your business model?

If you're a contractor here in Fort Lauderdale, you realize that construction disputes can threaten to derail even the most well-planned builds. In fact, a recent report from Arcadis, a consultancy and design firm, claims that two of the most common reasons for construction disputes are unsubstantiated claims and errors and omissions.

An average dispute takes more than a year to resolve. That's money down the drain for contractors, because in the construction industry, time equals money.

Protect your bottom line in a contract dispute

Contractors realize that time is money. Many issues can bog a project down and shave profits — weather delays, labor strikes and worker shortages, cost overruns, delays, plan changes and nonpayments.

But perhaps the biggest cash bleed is contract disputes. Almost nothing short of a stop-work order can bring a project to its knees the way a contract dispute can. But the good news is that the vast majority of these disputes can be avoided by drafting comprehensive contracts that have detailed plans for nearly every possible contingency.

Airport construction booming in Broward County

With the economy humming along at a good pace, there's a construction boom going on in South Florida. A prime example of that is the proposed expansion of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

At present, there are approximately $3.2 billion of ongoing improvements and developments planned for the airport. It's expected that the airport and the areas surrounding it will be an active construction zone for the next two decades. Proposed projects include the development near U.S. 1 of an intermodal center with an above-ground people mover that winds around the terminals and connects passengers to other modes of transportation, potentially including Brightline.

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