Be Aware of the Details

Mike Taylor / November 2016

Hope all is well with you as we begin to wrap up the fourth quarter of this year, I’m looking back and wondering where the rest of 2016 has gone. Each year seems to go by quicker. I can’t believe we had AWCI’s Industry Executives’ Conference & Committee Meetings at the end of September in Memphis when it seems like yesterday we were in New Orleans for AWCI’s Convention & INTEX Expo. Time certainly flies when you’re having fun! Speaking of Memphis, we had a great turnout and very productive conference. AWCI Executive Vice President & CEO Steve Etkin and staff were on point as usual, doing a great job. I was proud to show off some Southern hospitality having lived in Tennessee for a very long time.
    
It was good to see our business associates from the supply and manufacturing segment of our industry, and a lot of friends. Getting to spend time discussing issues that affect all of us is good for our industry as a whole.
    
One issue that I heard a lot about at our conference was the use of subcontractors and how various companies utilize them. With all of our workloads and backlogs being nice and full, many of us use subs to man our jobs these days.
    
We learned to be cautious when using subcontractors—make certain your paperwork is in order. It appears that the Department of Labor has attempted, in some cases, to tie these groups to the contractor as co-employees, holding the contractor responsible for what the sub has done or not done correctly.
    
To avoid any direct business connection or attempt to avoid a connection other than the contract, you need to know the following:

  • You must have a written contract stating the project scope, time frame and dollar amount.
  • You should pass through “downstream” to your subcontractor the contractual obligations you have assumed “upstream.”
  • You must have an up-to-date general liability insurance certificate from them that provides coverage for the work they are doing for you.
  • You must have proof of a subcontractors workers’ comp certificate from them.
  • If you are working your employees and a subcontractor on the same project, and your employee directs the subcontractor employee, it could be considered a co-employee issue, which puts you on a very thin line there.
  • You cannot dictate to the sub group when to arrive on site or when to leave.

These are just some examples of the very complex issue. I hope that you are already aware of all of these issues, but I challenge you just to review your policies and be aware.

In addition to being 2016–2017 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Taylor is executive vice president of Liddle Bros. Contractors, Inc. in Nashville, Tenn.