Take Charge of Your Destiny

Michael Weber

September 2009

Is that a light at the end of the tunnel or an oncoming train? Back in the day, as they say, we received a set of plans and specifications and with a simple hand shake and a competitive price, the deal was sealed and away you went. The process isn’t so cut and dry now. As if the current economic environment isn’t complicated enough, there are many additional challenges the construction industry faces. There are many forks in the track, and it is up to you, as a successful contractor, to embark in the direction that will lead you to your ultimate destination—success.

As I write this article, off the heels of the banking bailouts, auto industry bailouts, insurance industry bailouts, card check and cap and trade proposals, along with the fierce debate on healthcare in this country, we must be mindful of the ever-changing criteria we are held to by government, institutional and private sectors. Most of it is well intended but much of it is not. There are numerous questions you must ask yourself in order to manage the continuing challenges of our industry.

One of the many obstacles is insurance. Does your company have the administrative support to handle the Owner Controlled Insurance Programs and Contractor Controlled Insurance Programs? It is often used and it takes a knowledgeable employee to work out all of the technicalities of these programs. Also, does your insurance carrier cover the ever-expanding indemnifications such as pollution, and mold and terrorist policies, just to name a few? Does your company meet the standards set by the School Construction Authority, Economic Development Corporation and the General Services Administration?

Another issue to be aware of is to make sure your company meets the standards set by your banking and bonding facilities. Furthermore, do you have the proper legal counsel to disseminate the contractual liabilities placed on contractors? Additionally, let’s not forget about safety. We can all agree that safety is paramount to all of your employees; therefore, it is crucial to stay in compliance with OSHA 10, OSHA 30, fall protection, scaffold users, fire, water and powder actuated tool certifications … you get the idea. It is vital to abide by all safety laws to ensure the health and welfare of your employees that will, in turn, enable your company to travel a victorious road to success.

So, be the contractor who has the resources in place to take control of these issues. The road ahead is still very bumpy, but as long as you take all possibilities into consideration, the light at the end of the tunnel may be you.

In addition to being the 2009–2010 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Weber is president of Island Acoustics LLC in Bohemia, N.Y.