Page 1




Optimizing your Safety preventing workplace injuries

Steel Toes to Stilettos Holiday Open House Recap

Annual Budget Woes 1 || 2018 ISSUE 04

2 || 2018 ISSUE 04

DEAR FELLOW ACI MEMBERS 2019 will mark Allied Construction Industries 90th Anniversary. This is quite an accomplishment. As we finalize plans for the March Annual Meeting, please watch for “The Advantage” for information on how you can be part of this historic and entertaining celebration. Whether or not you are active on an ACI committee or not, we encourage you to help promote construction to young people in our schools, working with not-for-profit organizations, or volunteering with groups to make our Cincinnati region the best location for construction in the country. In a recent AGC America publication they talked about the myth that contractors don’t have soft hearts and that hit home, as it is not true. I do not think there is one contractor that would turn down a request for help if the request is possible. Workforce development has been an ongoing emphasis for Allied Construction Industries and our member companies. The time is now for contractors in the Greater Cincinnati area to collaborate and engage with ACI to do even more to meet the industry challenges when it comes to developing, recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce.

MAJID SAMARGHANDI President, Allied Construction Industries

There are lots of ways to be involved. ACI has significant experience as the lead agency operating the Spirit of Construction’s “Middle School Advocate” program for 5 years running. We have changed this program from an “afterschool” program to an in-the-classroom Construction Math program while maintaining the Summer Camp Shed project. ACI has been the principal agency for the Construction Career Days program for six years. A 2-day event designed for high school juniors and seniors and middle schoolers (which were added 3 years ago) to expose students to the industry held at the Butler County Fairgrounds. ACI partners with the Urban League to deliver the Construction Connections program that includes soft skills training, credentials and technical skills in construction, tools, and placement. The association has working relationships with the Construction Industry Partnership, Impact 100, the Community Action Agency (just starting a 12-week program in their pre-apprenticeship program), Easter Seal’s Work Resource Center (Building Value), Jobs for Grads, and union apprenticeship programs as well as the YWCA. In 2019 we will also be including and leading the Rosie’s Girls Program. In summary, the members of our Allied Construction Industries Board and staff are mindful of empowering and assisting member companies and workers engaged in all aspects of commercial construction to build superior cities. We strive to get the best out of our people, to develop them and encourage them and empower them. Everybody has to take some accountability for other people, and look for ways to make contributions to the overall construction industry. The power of the industry will be driven by how well we work as individual companies and collectively together.

MAJID SAMARGHANDI Triton Services, Inc.


4 || 2018 ISSUE 04

issue 4 contents 9

2018 Party in the park Recap


Dawn of Mobile Construction Tablet


Builders, coasters, breakers


2018 Clay Shoot Recap


Drones and Best practices


2018 COnstruction Career Day Recap


Holiday open house/ steel toes to stillettos


Optimizing your safety


WHen (and how) should a mediator evaluate the case


Annual budget woes eased by payment processing


Construction outreach


expanding opportunities OUR TEAM & BOARD OF DIRECTORS

our team TERRY PHILLIPS Executive Director ANTHONY RICCIARDI Associate Director JOE TURNER Pro. Services Director ERICA SCHWEGMAN Dir. of Member Engagement SUSAN BERMAN Safety Director JEN GAULT Education Program Manager DAN WRIGHT IT/Plan Room Manager LOIS WITTEKIND Construction News Assistant LAUREN ROLFES Construction News Assistant CHRISTIE FARROW Regional Appr. Coord. JENNIFER WELDON Administrative Assistant LYDIA BURNS Industries Education Adv.

board of directors President MAJID SAMARGHANDI // Triton Servies Inc 1st Vice President PHIL O’BRIEN // Turner Construction Co 2nd Vice President STEVE EDER // Messer Construction Co Treasurer STEPHEN MANN // Blue & Co Secretary SCOTT WHITTLE // Hummel Industries Inc Current Past President MARK DOUGLAS // Ben Hur Construction Co

ANNE MITCHELL Spirit of Construction CHERI SCHERPENBERG Safety Council Co-Manager ERIC SCHERPENBERG Safety Council Co-Manager

Website: www.aci-construction.org To submit An Article: Send stories, queries, tips and photographs by email (hi-resolution digital images only). We assume no responsibility for unsolicited materials. Unless Otherwise Noted: All images are copyright (c)2018 by Allied Construction Industries or are used with permission.

6 || 2018 ISSUE 04


Dugan & Meyers LLC O’Rourke Wrecking Co. Craftsman Electric, Inc. James Hunt Construction R.J. Beischel Building Co. Denier Electric Jostin Construction Frost Brown Todd LLC Valley Interior Systems, Inc. TriVersity Construction

a message from terry phillips EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ACI’s Leadership Awards were also presented on November 7th and we would like to congratulate our 12 winners:

On October 20th, the Spirit of Construction Foundation inducted 4 new industry icons into their hall of fame. All are members of the ACI family. Dale White, D.A.G. and George Webb, Terracon were presented with Lifetime Achievement awards, and Joe Mislena and Raymond Evers were given posthumous awards. Congratulations to these award winners and their families. Five members; Kara Sanders, Messer Construction, Kelly Hollatz, First Star Safety, Jessica Esterkamp, Matrix, Lisa Diedrichs, Graydon, Head & Ritchey, and Thaddeus Driscoll, Frost Brown Todd were each awarded the 2018 Forty Under 40 class awards from Cincinnati Business Courier.

Jackie Alf, John R. Jurgensen Company Dan Berding, G.J. Berding Surveying, Inc. Steve Eder, Messer Construction Co. Chris Fridel, IBEW/NECA Electrical Training Center Laura Hamby, Performance Contracting Group - Cincinnati Brigid Huber, Contractor Strategy Consultants Rob Lupidi, Danis Building Construction Company Geoff Ryan, Schaefer Jack Scott, Terracon Brendon Sexton, Danis Building Construction Company Bruce Slattery, Bruce A. Slattery Associates Consulting, LLC Justin Taulbee, Valley Interior Systems, Inc. Finally, winners of the 2018 Ohio State AGC Build Ohio Awards included Messer Construction who won the “Renovation Category” for their Music Hall Revitalization. Shook Construction Co. won the New Construction under $20 Million Category for their Levitt Pavilion Dayton project. Kokosing Industrial, Inc. won the Industrial/Heavy Category for their Ottawa River Storage Facility project

and Turner Construction Co. won the New Construction over $20 Million Category for their National Veterans Memorial and Museum project. Congratulations to all of the winners and to those that submitted for this prestigious award. Let’s continue celebrating. We need to celebrate successes in our industry as part of workforce development as this is just another way that can truly help the industry image. I tell the ACI staff all the time that it’s impossible to sit in the room with members, either in a meeting or event and not leave impressed. I can say that personally, I am continually blown away by the intelligence, dedication, caring and support ACI members provide not only through work with ACI, but as a whole in our community. ACI members accomplish so much for our community and that’s because we have dedicated leaders, who continue to grow and engage. Let’s continue adding to the industry’s future as we plan for and move into the new year.



Party in the Park ACI members took over the Southwest Party Deck at Washington Park on September 27th this year! The rain didn’t keep the crowd away as we packed under the covered patio, listened to great music, enjoyed a Bakersfield Taco bar and had a few friendly competitions. Check at the photos to see all the fun!

8 || 2018 ISSUE 04

Sure•Clamp™ Access Rectangular or Round ( Patented All rights reserved. )

Rectangular Access Section

CODE COMPLIANCE Fire dampers must be maintained according to NFPA 80 and smoke dampers must be maintained to NFPA 105

INSPECTION INTERVALS Dampers must be inspected and tested one year after installation and every four years after that (six years for hospitals)

INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS The damper shall fully close from the open position and all exposed moving parts of the damper shall be dry lubricated as required by the manufacturer.

PROPER SERVICE ACCESS Sure•Clamp™ Access will provide a

Fire Damper

IMPROVE THE QUALITY AND R E D U C E THE COST OF YOUR COMPLIANCE As a building owner, the new fire and smoke damper inspection requirements create further challenges for existing duct construction methods. More specifically proper access to these dampers. It is next to impossible to properly maintain your fire and smoke dampers unless you have adequate access to them. Ohio Mechanical Code 607.4 states Dampers equipped with fusible links, internal operators, or both shall be provided with an access door that is not less than 12 in. (305mm) square or provided with a removable duct section. Working through an access door causes poor quality inspections. By installing Sure•Clamp™ Access, a technician is able to properly inspect your dampers for mandatory requirements while taking 50% less time to make these inspections. This removable duct section allows the technician to comply with the maintenance requirements of Ohio Mechanical Code 607.4. Reduce your costs and maintain your compliance by demanding Sure•Clamp™ Access be installed in your HVAC system.

technician with 18" of access to properly service the dampers 50% faster.

9865 Wayne Avenue • Cincinnati, OH 45215 Phone (513) 733-5955 Fax (513) 733-8050 http://www.langdonsheetmetal.com


Dawn of the Mobile Construction Tablet SHANE ZYSK, Precision Laser & Instrument, Inc The dawn of the digital age on most construction sites has, like many construction sites themselves, had a rocky start. Powerful tools that promised to boost speed, accuracy and efficiency were locked in the office, or trailer at best. Even the more-mobile laptops that came after often proved cumbersome to haul around a jobsite, and most if not all were found ill-equipped to handle the heat, cold, dirt and moisture that comes with the territory. This caused a new rift between field crews using more traditional methods and the office as information was transferred through numerous phone calls and tedious rework. Enter the arrival of mobile tablets that are now bridging the gap between field and office, finally bringing

the benefits of the computer and digital communication to the construction site. Through seamless, real-time communication, cost effective and competitive management solutions and a combination of software and workflows specifically designed for construction tasks, mobile tablets are revolutionizing the construction world.

of hauling around stacks of paper plans and hoping for places to lay them out for use completely impractical. Virtually anything a paper plan can carry, a tablet can do better. That’s because tablets come with a range of communication options that ensure everyone sees the same thing, and not just a rough copy of it. Radio, cellular connectivity, email, internet and most of all cloud communication are allowing for project collaboration like never before. The plans a superintendent used to carry around in rolls can now be toted about on a tablet, and be the very same plans being viewed back in the office and by the field crew. Drawings can be immediately viewed and marked up, with any comments or changes viewed by all in real-time as the work is

Tablets today exist that are specifically designed for outdoor use. With rugged, IP60+ ratings and military-standard tested toughness, they’re made to stand up to the environmental obstacles that prevent office computers and laptops from being effective. Many of them are drop, dust and water resistant, with hardened screens and sunlight-readable displays. This makes the practice

Precision Laser

& Instrument, Inc. www.laserinst.com

Construction Sales




Shop Online!

For More Information, Please Contact:



Robert Fancher | Build Construction Solutions Office: 513.539.0022 | Mobile: 513.265.8228 Email: RJF@laserinst.com 10 || 2018 ISSUE 04

Ambridge Columbus Cincinnati

Bridgeport Charleston


GIS Support

being done. Change orders and problems in the field can be communicated back and forth through the sharing of 2D plans and 3D models. Progress photos of site conditions can be taken with tablets, tagged with info and shared automatically to cloud servers to keep everyone up to speed in the moment. Finally, daily reports can be created, stored and shared across the entire team, superintendent, architects, estimators, subcontractors and field crews to customers! All of this real-time communication makes the job of project managers and superintendents that much easier, allowing for better control over all aspects of construction. This better control means more effective and efficient work, and that means more money! Tablets empower users in the field with the ability to perform a number of tasks previously regulated to the office as-needed and on-site. These tasks include the ability to monitor budget and bank accounts, manage inventory and schedule deliveries with material suppliers, report on safety conditions/training, and track and record the hours and locations of everyone on the jobsite. A wealth of tools are also available on many construction tablets that can turn a project manager into a their very own mobile command center, including calculators, cameras, video recorders, audio recorders, flashlights, clocks, cellular connectivity, radio connectivity, Bluetooth connectivity, weather reporting, GPS, maps, word processors, PDF

capability, design/CAD capability, 3D modeling and more! It’s clear to see how the power of tablets can give your company the ability to bid more competitively, schedule more efficiently, work more accurately and ultimately be more profitable than ever before. Furthermore, the cloud sharing and storage solutions of today’s tablets can replace costly servers and IT staff, allowing you to put your time and efforts where they really matter, the quality of your work. Rugged tablets these days have gone a lot further than simply providing construction crews with a mobile computing solution. Modern construction tablets have been designed specifically to support the hardware and software of fast and accurate jobsite tasks. Created for use in the hands or mounted to layout equipment, they function as the perfect interface between man and machine. In fact, many of the total stations, 3D scanners, GNSS receivers and other layout tools in common use on most sites these days are designed to work off the very software construction tablets use. In some cases, the tablets even directly control and operate the instruments! The construction software both use takes traditional tasks and streamlines them with guided workflows and automations that vastly improve productivity. Perform and analyze field stakeout routines utilizing 3D models, view point attributes created back at the office that define different data points, gather field deviations within stakeout routines and export them back for review, and even create design locations from CAD (endpoint, midpoint, arc/circle, node, insertion, intersection, etc.) all in the field with a touchscreen tablet. Such tasks touch the tip of the iceberg with what modern construction hardware and software has evolved to help contractors

do, and the power of the mobile computing tablet has brought the power of this evolution to bare, on site and in the office in force. It has undoubtedly taken some time for the digital age to adapt to the specific needs of the construction industry, especially with regard to those in the thick of the work being done. However, we now live in an era of mobile solutions that have been specialized to meet these needs, providing not only the benefits of office computers in the field, but industry-tailored enhancements that put those who utilize them leagues ahead of traditional practices. Sporting compact and rugged hardware designs to handle the worst of nature and cutting-edge software that automates workflows, flexible, precise connected, cost-effective and competitive construction companies are utilizing the power of modern construction tablets more than ever to help

realize their goals. These mobile devices are soon to become as commonplace among the world of the contractor as the tape measure. That is why, through unparalleled communication, management solutions and accelerated industry practices, mobile tablets have dawned a new age for construction.


Builders, Coasters, and Breakers DAVID DENNY, Tetra

The single most important driver of organizational performance and individual managerial success is talent. Human capital. A Gallup survey identified that about 30% of employees are engaged (psychologically committed) to the organization, 55% are productive (but not necessarily committed) and 15% are actively disengaged. We have named these groups Builders, Coasters and Breakers. Most leaders agree with these numbers and most times identify employees within their organization that fall into one of the three groups. Their next thought is, “what does leadership have to do with people’s commitment level?” We believe it has everything to do with it. Builders are the people who are creating the future of your organization. They go the extra mile, stay late, and do whatever it takes to win. They believe in what the organization is trying to accomplish and they believe in the leadership and where they’re going. Builders are energetic, enthusiastic and equipped with the tools and talents to move the organization forward. Their values are aligned with the values of the organization and they are proud of their work and the contribution they make to organizational success. It’s a habit for these people, it’s automatic, it’s who they are. They show up, dig in, share ideas and don’t complain; when they see a problem, they say “good”, because they see it as an opportunity for them or the organization to get better. They are constantly looking for ways to improve as individuals and as an organization. Builders are “we” people and without them, you don’t have an organization. Do not neglect them. If you do, they may slide down into the abyss of the Coaster.

As you can see from the figure, Coasters run a wide spectrum of people. From the almost Builder (solid performer) to the near Breaker (bare minimum), this group covers a significant amount of territory. The reasons for why people are in this category are almost endless (bad supervisor, lack of autonomy, organizational politics, unconnected to the mission, a “me” culture, lack of accountability, among others). Many former Builders land here due to disenchantment with the organization direction, disconnected with the leadership or discouraged at their lack of advancement. Most will provide a decent effort but won’t necessarily make progress toward the achievement of organizational goals or objectives. Coasters are inclined to “do what they’re told”, that sounds nice in theory but it may mean they shut off their brain at the door and wait for instruction. They will start shutting down their day to be ready to go home at quitting time, aka the clock-watchers. “I quit, I just forgot to tell you” best describes our Breakers. They will still take your paycheck but may reward you with absenteeism, complaints, safety concerns, and talking bad about the organization and the customer. Again, there are a variety of reasons why people end up here. Many are “mishires” but even more are probably “misleds”. Mishires happen largely due to lack of thoroughness in the hiring process. “Misleds” happen when we on-board an individual and provide them with little or no guidance on the expectations and goals required for them to be successful. Nobody has ever said in an interview, “I will be a miserable performer and have a bad attitude”. The organization helps create this by lack of expectations, consistency, training and coaching. Since most organizations are somewhat responsible for creating them, most organizations struggle with removing them, mostly out of guilt. Employees aren’t born into any one of the categories, they choose to be where they are and can move up and down at anytime. Builders can turn into Breakers and Breakers into Builders (although not as common). Employees are faced with choices everyday and the responsibility of leadership is to create a culture that allows people to take the necessary steps to become Builders. So what can leaders do? Leaders need to be intentional in: 1. Providing attention to your Builders – don’t neglect or take them for granted. There is a reason the graphic is on a slant. It’s an uphill battle maintain a high level of performance versus sliding and coasting downward. 2. Coaching the Coasters – share the bigger picture, ask them for their thoughts and ideas. Give them real responsibility with real decisions that effect real outcomes. Encourage and let them know they’re appreciated. Talk about and help them create a long term development plan. 3. Planning for your Breakers – determine how they got where they are and develop a plan for moving them up or out. Reinforce that some of the behaviors and attitudes they are exhibiting are unacceptable here. Let them know what it is that you expect from them and give the opportunity to change and move forward (with your guidance). If that doesn’t work, cut them loose, it was their decision. Which one are you? How can you assist someone else get to where they need to be? 12 || 2018 ISSUE 04


ACI CLay shoot The largest ACI Clay Shoot ever was held on October 18th at Sycamore Sportsman Club. Participants enjoyed perfect fall weather while shooting and a warm meal by the fire when they were done. Congrats to all our winners! We look forward to next year!


3 Risk Management & Insurance Tips MICHAEL RAIDT, Logan Lavelle Hunt

In the day to day hustle and bustle of running your business it can be easy to open yourself and your company up to unnecessary exposures. Here are three easy things you can do to protect your business.

1. Request Certificates of Insurance when you rent or loan your equipment.

2. Complete an annual audit of your sub-contractor agreements

We all know equipment is commonly shared on job sites, or borrowed by a friend in the industry. However, most contractors equipment your equipment that has been loaned or rented to others. In order to avoid paying out of pocket for damage to your equipment, you should make sure the borrowing entity has the proper coverage in place. Most contractors equipment policies will cover damage to borrowed or rented equipment, so it’s their policy that would be the one to respond. Even if the coverage is there, don’t forget to check that the limits are enough to cover the equipment you’re loaning.

Many important endorsements and coverages in a contractor’s insurance policy are only triggered by the existence of a signed and executed written contract. You should review your sub-contractor list at least once a year to make sure a signed agreement is on file. This protects you against the possibility of paying for a claim that a sub-contractor is responsible for. 3. Update your vehicle, equipment and driver schedules twice a year It’s possible for claims to be denied on the basis of an involved vehicle, equipment or driver not being listed on the policy. To reduce this risk you should send an updated vehicle, equipment and driver list to your insurance company at renewal, and again mid-way through your policy year.

If you have questions, or would like a comprehensive review of your risk management program please contact Michael Raidt at Logan Lavelle Hunt michaelraidt@LLHins.com or 502-262-7946 (mobile)

14 || 2018 ISSUE 04

NEW MEMBERSHIP BENEFIT brought to you by

a Shepherd partner

This new benefit offers you full access to Logan Lavelle Hunt’s team of advisor’s, insurance companies and business concierge services. We’ve developed an exclusive discount program for ACI members to access the following services: Property & Liability Insurance • • • • • • • •

General Liability Commercial Auto Equipment / Inland Marine Workers Compensation Building & Business Contents Professional & Pollution Liability Builders Risk Bonding

Business Concierge Services • Unlimited, On-Demand Expert Advice • Legal Consultations • Labor & Immigration Law • Human Resources Support • Workers Comp Savings Analysis • Compliance & Training Programs • Safety Program Resources

For more information, or to schedule a free consultation please contact

Michael Raidt

Office – 859-525-7020 | Mobile – 502-262-7946 michaelraidt@llhins.com


Drones and Best Practices BEN KAHMANN, Hylant

Recently I had the pleasure of hosting a panel discussion on “Drones in Construction” at ACI’s headquarters. While the focus of the discussion was on the state of drones in the construction industry, it also offered a view into the where drone technology is heading. Our panelists presented us with some great information, and we were able to address some thought provoking questions from the audience; unfortunately we had to cut the discussion short due to time constrains and we couldn’t cover the topics we wanted to. The two most common themes that came from the audience dealt with safety and operational procedures. Specifically, “What is the best way to mitigate risk?” and “Where exactly do I start if I want to begin to start integrating drones into our workflows?” The purpose of this article is to address both these concerns and give an outline of where and how you should get started. While the safety issue will certainly parlay into the second issue of this article, it’s clearly of paramount importance and should be addressed on its own. According to Global Aerospace (a leading aviation insurance carrier) at least 75 percent of all UAS accidents are directly attributed to pilot error. This is largely in part due to the pilot’s poor knowledge of the system they are using and/or inappropriate flight response. Essentially, something doesn’t go as planned during a flight and they panic which results in an accident. Before a drone ever lifts off the ground, DARTdrones, a leading drone training consultant, recommends that you complete the following at a minimum:

• Have a clear understanding of the mission – have a clear objective of what the flight is to accomplish. • Create a flight plan - essentially a blueprint for the flight. This includes: o identifying airspace restrictions o identifying any potential hazards o reviewing the takeoff and landing procedures o and a weather forecast • Perform a preflight inspection – this list varies depending on the type of drone and payload, but should include: o Verify the battery is charged o Visually inspect the drone for wear and tear o Inspect the payload connections o Check propeller conditions o Power on the ground station and power on the drone o Launch all operational software and verify status of systems o Set and verify all available fail-safe settings o Perform calibrations and confirm GPS connectivity and signal strength o Check and confirm payload imagery settings • Conduct a crew briefing – the pilot in command should brief everyone involved in the flight of all routes and emergency procedures • Make a go or no/go decision – it’s absolutely critical that the pilot in command be able to have the authority to make a decision if a flight is safe or not. If he or she feels something is not right they need to be able to call the mission off. Understanding the limitations of the equipment and the abilities of the pilot’s skills and making those hard decisions are indications of a pilot that has the safety of his crew and the interests of the company in mind.

Another pressing topic for organizations considering integrating drones is to determine to develop internal operations or to hire outside contracted pilots. There is a great deal to consider and it is a complex decision with 16 || 2018 ISSUE 04

many factors. However, in my opinion a blended approach may be the best way to go initially. There are pros and cons to both avenues. See below for a few guidelines provided by IRMI. Integrating a drone program internally: • You have a much higher degree of flexibility and control over your projects. • You have the option to research and purchase the aerial platform and payload (cameras, sensors, etc.) that make the most sense for your needs. • You can invest a little or a lot up front, but most importantly you have control over what your spending looks like. Typically, the costs are higher upfront than using a sub. • Depending on your needs and plan for integrating, you can control the growth and allow your company time to develop procedures slowly before you start flying. • While you have more control, it will inherently take longer to implement drones and work out any deficiencies. • You will certainly have total control over all training and certification aspects which can lead to a better safety program in the long run. Pros and cons to using a contractor and what to look for: • Due to current regulations and requirements, there is a huge gap in what is considered experienced pilots and novices. It will take some research and time to vet your options. • A professional contracted pilot should have drone insurance and be able to name you as an additional insured. • A good contractor should also be able to provide you with maintenance logs, previous flight plans, safety and emergency procedures, and a list of references. You should be able to verify all credentials. • It is also recommended that you see examples of their work. • Make sure the data they collect and provide can be integrated into your workflows. As you can see there are pros and cons to both options. It’s my opinion that you identify ONE application that you believe a drone would improve safety or save time and start small. For example, jobsite progression and stockpile depletion. Build a plan (internal or contracted) on this one aspect and demonstrate its proof of concept. Once you’ve proven its value it will be easier to scale and get buy-in from executives. Ben Kahmann is an insurance adviser at Hylant for the construction and manufacturing industries. He’s an advocate for workforce development and integrating new technology.


18 || 2018 ISSUE 04

2018 CONSTRUCTION CAREER DAYS The 17th Annual OKI Construction Career Days was held September 19 & 20, 2018 at the Butler County Fairgrounds. There were 56 schools from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana with over 2400 students and 200 chaperones, making this the largest attendance in the event’s history. Of the 56 schools that attended 12 were middle schools, 21 high schools, and 23 career/vo-tech schools. We had 60 exhibitors from the construction industry that offered the students the opportunity to get hands on experience with tools, materials and equipment. We would like to say thank you to our committee members, volunteers and the sponsors that help make this event so successful each year. With their collaboration we are able to create career pathways for our industry’s future. Let’s continue to work together and make 2019’s Construction Career Days even bigger.



2018 Leadership Luncheon The 5th Annual Leadership Awards Luncheon took place on November 7, 2018 at the Ronald Reagan Lodge at the Voice of America Park. Over 180 guests came together to celebrate our 12 member-nominated volunteer leaders of 2018 as well as 80 members celebrating milestone anniversaries in 2018. The following individuals were honored and received beautiful framed photographs by J. Miles Wolf.

Jackie Alf, John R. Jurgensen Company – Industry Advocate Award Dan Berding, G.J. Berding Surveying, Inc. – Distinguished Service Award Steve Eder, Messer Construction Co. – Distinguished Service Award Chris Fridel, IBEW/NECA Electrical Training Center – Workforce Development Award Laura Hamby, Performance Contracting, Inc. – Distinguished Service Award Brigid Huber, Contractor Strategy Consultants – Distinguished Service Award Rob Lupidi, Danis Building Construction Company – Rising Star Award Geoff Ryan, Schaefer – Rising Star Award Jack Scott, Terracon – Cornerstone Award Brendon Sexton, Danis Building Construction Company – Rising Star Award Bruce Slattery, Bruce A. Slattery Associates Consulting, LLC – Distinguished Service Award Justin Taulbee, Valley Interior Systems, Inc. – Workforce Development Award

To view our member companies celebrating 50, 25, 20, 15, 10 and 5 year anniversaries, click here. Special thank you to Greg Moratschek, Chairman of the Board at Hummel Industries, Inc. and past ACI President (’01-’03) and Stephen Mann, Director at Blue & Co., for leading the program. This event is hosted each year to show appreciation and offer a special thank you to members that have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the commercial construction industry through their participation in ACI. What makes ACI work? It’s you – our members, our volunteers, along with your time and talent. We look forward to next year! For more pictures, click here.


Member Discounts

Save Your Company Thousands with ACI Membership Discounts! Whether you are a ‘mom and pop’ shop or goliath of a company, there are savings for you through your ACI membership! ACI provides member companies and their employees an opportunity to save on accident protocols, training management systems, home mortgages, HR services, payroll services, BWC group savings, health insurance, fuel, company cell services and much more. To see a full list of company savings, visit the ACI website.

Save more than the cost of dues when you sign up for an average of 3 services! ACI’s Newest Partners!


3 Kovach Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45215

Contact Erica Schwegman or click here to learn more or meet our partners! eschwegman@aci-construction.org 513-221-8020 THE CONSTRUCTOR - ACI || 21

22 || 2018 ISSUE 04


23 || 2018 ISSUE 04

Holiday Open House/Steel toes to stilettos The first ever combined Holiday Open House/Steel Toes to Stilettos Event was held Friday December 7th! Members experienced the joys and festivities of the season for the annual Holiday Open House but also had the opportunity to visit with 15 vendors that were here to help save member companies money or even help with a little holiday shopping! Raffle baskets were also on display for members to enter to win and have 100% of proceeds go to the Steel Toes to Stilettos Scholarship. In addition, a very special thank you to the Aaron Phillips, Danis Building Construction Company, and his interns, Connor and Will, for setting up a virtual tour of what the new Innovation and Technology Center will look like once it is complete! Save the date now for the 2019 Holiday Open House/Steel Toes to Stilettos event on Friday December 6th!


Optimizing your safety and risk management program How to prevent workplace injuries and control costs. JULIA BOWLING



eeping up with state and federal agency

company’s compliance with state and federal

construction standards is hard enough, let

agency standards, including OSHA, EPA and DOT, and

alone making sure your company has the

reviewing the processes you have in place to control

processes in place to be compliant with them. That’s where Third Party Administrators (TPAs) come in.

the costs of claims when a workplace injury occurs. Once your TPA has completed a comprehensive

Companies that partner with a TPA get the peace

review of your corporate culture, compliance and

of mind of leaving risk management to the experts

cost, your TPA can get a full picture of your current

so they can focus on what they do best. TPAs can

approach, identify opportunities to improve it and

help companies stay compliant, reduce workplace

commit to measuring performance.

injuries and contain costs associated with workers’ compensation claims — in most cases, companies can even experience cost savings.

Devising a risk management plan The first step in developing an effective risk management plan is for your TPA to evaluate your



approach to risk management, and understand

The best claim is the claim that

what conditions could negatively impact your risk

doesn’t happen

management performance.

The best workers’ compensation claim is the

Part of the evaluation should look at your workplace culture — your standard operating procedures and leadership roles, responsibilities and attitudes toward safety and risk management. The evaluation should also include assessing your

claim that never happens, so preventing workplace injuries is key. A TPA can help you come up with specific objectives on how to improve workplace safety, which could mean developing safety policies and procedures, training employees and analyzing job hazards.

25 || 2018 ISSUE 04

TPAs can help companies stay compliant, reduce workplace injuries and contain costs associated with workers’ compensation claims.

Getting employees back to health,

premium up front, and if the total cost of claims in

work and productivity

the group is lower than the total premium paid by

When a workplace injury can’t be avoided, a TPA’s claims management team can leverage their expertise and cost-control strategies to get the injured worker back to health, work and productivity sooner, while helping you minimize the cost of the injury.

Pooling together for group discounts and refunds A TPA can also help you determine all your options to mitigate your company’s risk exposure and contain costs, which could include joining a group rating program. These programs allow companies in similar industries, facing similar risks to pool

the group, members receive a refund. Members pay an additional premium if the total cost of claims is greater than the total premium paid. For these members, there’s a big incentive to ensure they’re committed to safety and injury prevention and have the best practices in place to achieve them.

A partner focused on the best outcomes Developing an effective safety and risk management program to prevent workplace injuries is in the best interest of your workers, and it’s also a way for you to control costs. A TPA can help you understand your risks and options, and come up with an approach to achieve the best-possible outcome.

together to either receive premium discounts of up to 53 percent, or in some cases, receive

Julia Bowling is a Program Manager for

premium refunds.

CareWorksComp, a leading risk solutions provider

Depending on the group rating program, some program members pay their workers’ compensation

that delivers high-quality outcomes and helps people and organizations get back to health, work and productivity. THE CONSTRUCTOR - ACI || 26

When (and How) Should a Mediator Evaluate the Case? SCOTT GURNEY, FROST BROWN TODD, LLC Construction is a great and rewarding business, but also a challenging and risky one. Most larger projects involve dozens of companies, complex design and construction issues, compressed schedules, and tight budgets. So, despite efforts to avoid them, it’s not surprising that construction has its share of claims and disputes. Yet protracted claims and disputes can distract management and staff, destroy business relationships, and damage the bottom line. Mediation can help resolve construction and other business disputes quickly and cost-effectively while minimizing damage to relationships. Selecting the right mediator can significantly increase the likelihood of a successful mediation. As a young litigator in the late 1980s, I was taught to screen potential mediators by asking whether they were “facilitative” or “evaluative” in their approach. Facilitative mediators focus on the mediation process and the parties’ underlying interests (think “win/win” and “expanding the pie”). Typically, facilitative mediators guide the communications, ask questions, and shuttle the parties’ offers and counter-offers back and forth but do not evaluate the strengths and weaknesses, or dollar value, of the claims. By contrast, evaluative mediators, sometimes called directive mediators, focus more on the substance of the case and the parties’ competing legal rights. Evaluative mediators will provide substantive feedback on the issues and may even offer predictions regarding likely outcomes at trial. 27 || 2018 ISSUE 04

While the “facilitative versus evaluative” question is still a valid one, a deeper dive may be helpful when considering potential mediators. Many mediators will employ both facilitative and evaluative techniques. Since some evaluating by the mediator is probably expected and necessary in most mediations of business disputes – especially typical disputes involving money claims – it may be useful to ask proposed mediators when, how and under what circumstances they typically offer their opinions during the mediation process.

Benefits and Risks of Evaluation In my experience, most parties and attorneys want and expect the mediator to provide some evaluative feedback on the merits of the dispute. That is the main reason parties and attorneys often seek mediators with substantive experience in the industry or subject matter involved such as construction, employment, medical malpractice or divorce. Also, many parties, especially those new to litigation, feel a need to tell their story and have their “day in court.” This psychological need can often be satisfied through a more evaluative mediation process, particularly one that includes an opportunity for the parties to present a brief summary of their “case” to the mediator and the other side in the opening joint session. When there is an overly-optimistic case assessment by the parties and their attorneys, a mediator’s objective evaluation can also be a “reality check,” influencing them to

adjust their settlement positions. An evaluative mediator can also help “take the heat off” an attorney by helping convey difficult assessments to a stubborn client without fear that the attorney will look “weak” or less committed to the client’s cause. Finally, the mediator’s evaluation can help the party’s representative at the mediation “sell” or justify the settlement to management and other constituents who did not attend the mediation. Evaluation by the mediator also carries risks. By evaluating, mediators risk alienating one of the parties, damaging their credibility as neutrals, or appearing to undercut the advice provided by counsel. Once an evaluation is presented, it almost always becomes the focus of the mediation and may practically become a take-it-or-leave it proposition that stifles further negotiation. These risks can be mitigated if the evaluation is done effectively and at the right time.

When to Evaluate While evaluations are often expected and helpful, they are not always necessary. In some cases, the parties may assess the case similarly but simply need the structure and “motivation” of a mediation to negotiate a settlement. This is especially true with experienced parties like insurance adjusters and attorneys who regularly handle similar types of claims; they know what the claim is “worth” and may not need a mediator’s evaluation. More broadly, if the parties are making good progress, there is no reason for the mediator to give

an evaluation. My experience is that while parties and their attorneys appreciate receiving a thoughtful mediator’s informed evaluation after negotiations have bogged down, they can be turned off by mediators who jump to an early or premature conclusion, then spend most of the mediation trying to drive the parties to their number. I have found the best mediators give the parties reasonable time to argue their cases, exchange information, and do some haggling before offering explicit opinions on pivotal issues in the case. Of course, a mediator also needs to keep an eye on the clock -- if it’s getting late and the parties are still far apart, the mediator is probably going to have to put on the evaluator’s hat or propose extending the mediation.

How to Evaluate The most effective mediators treat evaluation as a progression. Early in the mediation, they reserve judgment as they guide the process, listen to the parties, learn about the case, and build rapport. After the initial phases or when the negotiations lose momentum, they begin to pivot subtlety toward evaluation, often first by questioning the parties and their counsel

about the strength and weakness of both sides’ cases. They may begin to challenge those assessments by calling attention to key omitted points or by questioning overly-optimistic assumptions. At an appropriate time, they may lead the parties and counsel through an analysis of the likely outcomes and costs of each stage of litigation if the case is not settled. These steps are typically done one-on-one in private caucus sessions to avoid embarrassing a party or its counsel in front of the other party and to prevent appearing biased. If the subtler evaluation techniques do not result in a settlement, the mediator may consider suggesting a narrower “bracketed range” for further negotiations, a more direct evaluation of key issues or, perhaps, a prediction of the likely results at trial. Most mediators will check with both parties before offering an opinion on the overall case since it likely will have a big impact on the mediation. I have been in mediations where the parties asked the mediator to delay providing an evaluation while the parties jump-started their bargaining. There are many formats for evaluations. A mediator may provide a simple settlement figure, a range of

potential outcomes at trial, a decision-tree analysis, or a more comprehensive written analysis of the case. Another common technique is to provide a “mediator’s proposal” after an impasse is reached. There, the mediator proposes settlement terms to both parties that they must either accept or reject in-full. Each party responds to the mediator confidentially without knowing the other side’s response. The mediator then determines if there is a settlement or, if not, whether the matter could either benefit from further mediation or is at an impasse and should therefore be terminated. If done effectively, thoughtful evaluation by a skilled mediator at the right time can help break an impasse during mediation and increase the likelihood of a settlement. Scott Gurney is a construction attorney, mediator and arbitrator with Frost Brown Todd LLC.


29 || 2018 ISSUE 04

professional services division JOE TURNER, PROFESSIONAL SERVICES DIRECTOR ACI is proud to be the oldest and largest trade association in the Cincinnati Tri-State area. With approximately 500 member companies representing diverse trades and businesses we know we have the best of the best in the ACI family. The ACI staff and Membership Committee constantly strive to serve the members to ensure we are a “one stop shop� association. If you know of a company within the industry that could benefit by becoming a part of ACI please refer them to us and we will be sure to show them the many benefits of ACI. As we approach the end of the year and holiday season we want to thank every member company and employee for a great year. Also, thank you the Membership Committee for your consistent labor of love to offer the support the members deserve.

To end the year we are launching our Success Sustainability Panel Series to the membership. This complimentary series is focused on connecting ACI member companies with the right professionals to push your business to the next level. In early 2019 we will also offer the AGC Project Management Development Program for early-career project managers or those looking to move into such a role. It is a five-course program that covers the essentials of project management and provides a solid foundation for long-term career development. PSD also has Subject Matter Experts in a variety of business arenas who want to assist your business by giving effective and measurable solutions to everyday business challenges.

The Professional Services Division is continuing to build a pool of resources to ensure we help our members enjoy lasting success. THE CONSTRUCTOR - ACI || 30

Promote the industry with I Build America – Ohio! The recent launch of I Build America – Ohio (IBAOhio) workforce initiative has brought many positive comments from contractors, industry associations and departments within the state. IBAOhio’s website (www.IBuildAmerica-Ohio.com) is now online and generating traffic while promotion of the site to career candidates, those who influence the decisions of the candidates, and employers is just the beginning. Contractors are co-branding with the workforce initiative that aims to generate pride and respect for the construction industry, and to recruit young people into the industry as a rewarding and valuable career. AGC of Ohio, along with ACI, will be constantly promoting this website and its movement to ensure all facets of the construction industry in Ohio are aided in recruiting future employees through the information provided on the site. We encourage you to visit the website. It’s packed with information about careers in construction that most employers do not address in their corporate promotional marketing material. We hope that all AGC of Ohio and OCA members use the wealth of information the site provides for their recruitment plan. IBAOhio’s website provides information such as salary, future demand, industry career options and the education required. There are resources on where education and training can be acquired, including registered apprenticeship programs, career technical and Ohio technical centers, certificate and 2-year and 4-year college programs. The site also provides videos with employees describing the skills they have been trained in and their duties. To promote the I Build America – Ohio initiative simply download the employer toolbox from the “For Employers” page on the site and consider: • • • • • • •

Co-branding the IBAOhio logo on job signs, banners, and company gear Creating hardhat stickers with the IBAOhio logo Include messaging in corporate advertising material Adding it to items circulated at job fairs, school presentation, parents’ day, etc. Running the IBAOhio videos in your lobbies or at events Encouraging other organizations, you are involved in to adopt the use of the logo Including it on your email signature or letterhead

There are many ways that you can become part of the effort to enhance the perceptions others have about a construction career. The construction career path has much to offer if candidates understand both the challenges and benefits. While you are working hard to create a positive corporate picture for all to see, we ask you take that added step forward enhancing the perceptions of a career in construction. It will make your corporate presentation look that much more inviting.

31 || 2018 ISSUE 04

Annual Budget Woes Eased by Payment Processing LISA RENNER, Infintech For most business owners and CFOs, the mere thought of budget season leads to a headache. And rightfully so, since it’s typically summed up in two words: tedious and cumbersome. Reviewing the payment processing portion of your budget, however, can make you feel like you got a big raise because better rates are possible – and better rates yield big savings. Here’s a Breakdown of Your Payment Processing Fees: Each credit card transaction is made up of three key components: • Interchange rate (60-70% of total fees) • Dues and assessments (5-10% of total fees) • Processor fee (20-30% of total fees) Interchange Is the Key to Influencing Your Fees What merchants don’t realize is that interchange – a.k.a. the largest portion of your credit card processing costs – can be influenced. Several factors determine what interchange rate a transaction qualifies for, including: • Card type • Processing environment • Industry type • Transaction amount • Additional processing data • Line item details “Credit card processing fees are typically hidden or overlooked, and the cost you pay for merchant services directly affects your bottom line,” Eric Fette, director of sales, points out. For example, most merchants don’t realize they can earn Level 3 savings on B2B transactions by collecting line item details – so they don’t ask their processor how to qualify. And it’s not something every processor brings up. Infintech Can Ease Budgeting Woes “Our payment processing advisors use a consultative approach to bring optimal savings to each of our merchants,” Fette continues. “It’s one reason we rank at the top of our industry for highest customer retention.” Want to Start Influencing Your Payment Processing Fees? Contact your Infintech advisor online at www.infintechllc.com/aci or call 513-725-3611.


Should Your Construction Company Take Advantage of Opportunity Zones? JEFF BABIAK, VONLEHMAN & COMPANY, INC

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) includes a provision that Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said should lead to $100 billion in capital investments in distressed areas. The provision allows taxpayers to defer tax on capital gains by investing in such Opportunity Zones. And now the IRS has released proposed regulations for this tax incentive.

The tax incentive in a nutshell The TCJA creates a new section of the Internal Revenue Code, Section 1400Z, that establishes Opportunity Zones within low-income communities. More than 8,700 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories have been designated as qualified Opportunity Zones. They’ll retain that designation until December 31, 2028. Investors can form private investment vehicles, known as qualified opportunity funds (QOFs), for funding development and redevelopment projects in the zones. QOFs must maintain at least 90% of their assets in qualified Opportunity Zone property, including investments in new or substantially improved commercial buildings, equipment and multifamily complexes, as well as in qualified Opportunity Zone businesses. QOF investors are eligible for tax benefits. They can defer short- or long-term capital gains on a sale or disposition if they reinvest the gains in a QOF. The tax is deferred until the earlier of 1) the date the fund investment is sold or exchanged or 2) December 31, 2026. If the investment runs five years, an investor will enjoy a step-up in tax basis equal to 10% of the original gain, so the investor will owe tax on only 90% of that gain. An additional 5% in basis is added at the seven-year point, cutting the taxable portion of the original gain to 85%. In addition to the deferral of gain, an investor is eligible for an increase in basis of the investment up to its fair market value on the date it’s sold or exchanged, as described below. Thus, depending on the date of the transaction of the initial sale to be deferred and the subsequent sale of the QOF investment, the taxpayer could eliminate up to 85% of the deferred gain as well as 100% of the gain attributable to the sale of the QOF. The tax benefits can be further enhanced when combined with other credits, such as the Low Income Housing tax credit and the New Markets tax credit

Rules for investors The proposed regs make clear that only capital gains — such as those from the sale of stock or a business — qualify for tax deferral. But investors have until December 31, 2026, for the transaction to qualify the subsequent QOF investment for the basis adjustment. For gains experienced by pass-through entities, the rules generally allow either the entity or the partners, shareholders or beneficiaries to elect deferral. The proposed regs also clarify that an investment in a QOF must be an equity interest, including preferred stock or a partnership interest with special allocations. A debt instrument doesn’t qualify. A taxpayer can, however, use a QOF investment as collateral for a loan. To qualify for deferral, investors must invest in a QOF during the 180-day period beginning on the date of the sale that generates the gain. For amounts deemed a gain by federal tax rules, the first day of the period generally is the date that the gain would otherwise be recognized for federal income tax purposes. 33 || 2018 ISSUE 04

For partnership gains not deferred by the entity, a partner’s 180-day period generally begins on the last day of the partnership’s taxable year, which is the day the partner otherwise would be required to recognize the gain. If a partner knows both the date of the partnership’s gain and its decision not to elect deferral, the partner can begin its own period on the same date as the start of the entity’s 180-day period. Analogous rules apply to other pass-through entities. The IRS noted that the expiration of Opportunity Zone designations at the end of 2028 raises questions about QOF investments that are still held at that time. For example, can investors still make basis step-up elections after 10 years for QOF investments made in 2019 or later? The proposed regs preserve the ability to make the election until December 31, 2047. Because the latest gain subject to deferral would be at the end of 2026, the last day of the 180-day period for that gain would be late June 2027. A taxpayer deferring such a gain would reach the 10-year holding requirement only in late June 2037. The extra 10 years is provided to preempt situations where a taxpayer would need to dispose of a QOF investment shortly after completion of the 10 years to obtain the tax benefit, even though the disposal otherwise would be disadvantageous from a business perspective. If an investor disposes of its entire original interest in a QOF, which normally would trigger inclusion of the deferred gain, the investor can continue the deferral by reinvesting the proceeds in a QOF within 180 days. This allows investors to escape bad deals without forfeiting the deferral benefit.

Rules for QOFs The proposed regs address several issues related to QOFs. For example, the regs exclude land from the determination of whether a purchased building in an Opportunity Zone has been “substantially improved” (defined as doubling the basis, or investing an amount at least equal to the purchase price). Improvement is measured only by the QOF’s additions to the adjusted basis of the building. So, for example, if a QOF buys a $3 million property, with $2 million for the land and $1 million for the building, it’s required to invest only $1 million to improve the building. Sec. 1400Z also allows QOFs to invest in qualified Opportunity Zone businesses, rather than directly owning property, as long as “substantially all” of the business’s leased or owned tangible property is qualified Opportunity Zone business property. The proposed regs provide that “substantially all” means at least 70% of the leased or owned tangible property. Additional rules cover self-certification of QOFs, valuation for purposes of the 90% asset test and other matters.

More guidance to come The IRS has requested comments on several parts of the proposed regs, suggesting they’re subject to significant revision, and promises more guidance. Nonetheless, taxpayers generally may rely on these rules if they apply them in their entirety and in a consistent manner. Please contact Jeff at 859-331-3300 or jbabiak@vlcpa.com with any questions.


35 || 2018 ISSUE 04

ACI’s Workforce Development is Expanding to Classrooms Across the Tri-State The School Outreach Program supported by the Spirit of Construction is growing. Outreach Advocates, Lydia Burns and Anne Mitchell, are partnering with 5 local schools to install project-based learning in 7,8, and 9 grade classrooms. The projects use applicable examples of Algebra from across the construction industries. The lessons provide educators with a resource for project-based learning (PBL), an opportunity for students to connect math with “real-life” and a new platform for the construction industry to share about our careers. Regular and consistent engagement with contractors is needed for students to envision themselves, or their peers, in our careers; for this reason, the classroom is ideal. Recently a collaborative development meeting was hosted by ACI where educators of Cincinnati Public School’s Math department and tradespeople worked together for a full day to create content for these project-based learning initiatives. We would like to thank and recognized the following contractors for participating:

Justin Taulbee and Matt Barger - Valley Interior Systems Jeff Kirby – Plumbers, Pipefitters, Mechanical Equipment Service Training Center Local 392 Ric Seigel – Electrical Training Center Local 212

Additionally, the Outreach Program is offering a new career exploration event - #SKILLED. The hosting school organizes up to 150 students to participate, and the Outreach Program recruits contractors to engage students with hands-on activities highlighting different careers and trades of the construction industries. We would like to thank and recognize the following ACI contractors for participating in the first ever #SKILLED at Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy October 17, 2018:

Chris Fridel – Electrical Training Center Justin Taulbee & Todd Brandenberg – Valley Interior Systems Jeff Garnett & Brian Wear – Bricklayers SOKRTC Vanessa King & Teresa Kelley – TP Mechanical Christie Farrow – Plasterers and Cement Masons JATC

Our new programs’ overall goal is to present younger students the scope of careers, identify students who are engaging, then offer more focused career exploration through extra-curricular programs as they approach graduation. This funneled structure fosters long term relationships with students ushering them into a career in construction. If you would like to get involved with the School Outreach Program please contact: Lydia Burns – lburns@aci-construction.org


Understanding Social Security Benefit Estimates Michael J. Durkin, RICP®,CFP® President Durkin Financial, LLC 3540 Blue Rock Road Suite 4 Cincinnati, OH 45239 513-729-1600 md@durkinfinancial.com www.durkinfinancial.com –Elaine Floyd, CFP®

If you track your Social Security benefit estimates via your annual statement, you’ve probably noticed some variations. How can it be that the amount you are scheduled to receive at full retirement age (FRA) is different – perhaps even lower – than it was a few years ago?

Earnings assumptions The reason is that the Social Security Administration (SSA) is basing your future benefit on certain assumptions. One key assumption relates to your earnings. Using a complex algorithm that factors in your past earnings as well as projections for your future earnings, SSA refigures your benefit estimate every year, sometimes changing the amount based on variations in the average wage index. In other words, if they’ve been assuming your wages would rise by X% but the average wage index rises by less than X%, they will adjust your benefit estimate to account for the lower increase. If you see your benefit estimate go down, it doesn’t mean they are reducing your benefit; it means their prior estimate was too high.

Actual earnings Another thing that can cause your benefit estimate to be off is that your actual earnings may turn out to be different from SSA’s assumptions. In this case you may not find out until you apply for benefits that the amount you’ve been seeing on your statement

is not the amount you will actually receive. SSA assumes you will keep working at the same salary (plus annual raises) until claiming age. The amount you are projected to receive if you apply at your FRA, called your primary insurance amount or PIA, assumes you will keep working until FRA. The amount you are projected to receive if you apply at age 70 assumes you will keep working until age 70. If you stop working prior to claiming age, your benefit could turn out to be lower than the amount you see on the statement.

What if you retire early? How much will your benefit be if you retire at, say, age 55? If you are a maximum earner – that is, you earned the maximum amount on which Social Security taxes are paid each year for 35 years – you will still receive close to the maximum benefit. But because recent earnings count for more than earlier earnings, even after those earlier earnings are indexed for inflation, the fact that you had zero earnings for the 12 years leading up to your FRA will cause your benefit to be lower than the amount shown on your statement.

Copyright © 2018 by Horsesmouth, LLC. All rights reserved. Please see next page for important restrictions on use. License #: 4794980Reprint Licensee: Michael J. Durkin


Using the SSA Quick Calculator, we see that the benefit for a maximum earner age 55 who keeps working to age 67 and who claims his benefit at FRA is $2,753. But if he stops working at 55, his age-67 benefit is $2,558, a difference of $195 per month. Needless to say, a lot goes into the decision to retire at 55. You must have enough income from other sources to get you by before Social Security starts, whether you take a permanently reduced benefit at 62 or hold out for the maximum benefit by claiming at 70. Before making any decisions, you will need to have accurate data. To see how your Social Security benefit may be affected by stopping work early, use the Retirement Estimator at www.ssa. gov/estimator.

What if you work longer? The flip side of retiring early is working longer. More baby boomers are working well into their 60s and 70s today, even after they’ve started receiving Social Security benefits. How will continued work affect their Social Security benefit? Here’s an example for a maximum earner born in 1955. When he turned 62 in 2017, his PIA was officially calculated based on his highest 35 years of indexed earnings. Having earned the maximum each year, his PIA was calculated to be $2,888. (Note: this is the amount he will receive in four years when he applies at his FRA, not the reduced amount he would receive at age 62.)

Now, what if he works another four years? Because recent earnings count for more than earlier earnings even after indexing, his PIA will go up. But not by very much. His new PIA, calculated with four years of additional earnings (and four years of earlier earnings dropped off his record to count exactly 35 years of earnings), would be $2,915, just $26 higher. These numbers do not account for annual cost-of-living adjustments. As this illustration shows, once you already have 35 years of maximum earnings, additional earnings will not increase your Social Security benefit by very much. At this point, the main reason to keep working is for the earnings themselves and the extra retirement security those earnings can bring (plus the psychic rewards, of course). People with less than 35 years of earnings – such as parents who took time out of the work force to stay home with children – have more of an opportunity to raise their Social Security benefit. If you are interested in seeing how continued earnings may raise your Social Security benefit, use the Retirement Estimator at www. ssa.gov/estimator). Elaine Floyd, CFP®, is the Director of Retirement and Life Planning, Horsesmouth, LLC., where she focuses on helping people understand the practical and technical aspects of retirement income planning.

Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory Services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Durkin Financial, LLC and Cambridge are not affiliated.

Copyright © 2018 by Horsesmouth, LLC. All rights reserved. IMPORTANT NOTICE This reprint is provided exclusively for use by the licensee, including for client education, and is subject to applicable copyright laws. Unauthorized use, reproduction or distribution of this material is a violation of federal law and punishable by civil and criminal penalty. This material is furnished “as is” without warranty of any kind. Its accuracy and completeness is not guaranteed and all warranties expressed or implied are hereby excluded.


THE CONSTRUCTOR Website: www.aci-construction.org To submit An Article: Send stories, queries, tips and photographs by email (hi-resolution digital images only). We assume no responsibility for unsolicited materials. Unless Otherwise Noted: All images are copyright. Š2018 by Allied Construction Industries or are used with permission.


Profile for drivenoptics

The Constructor Magazine - Winter Edition  

The Constructor Magazine - Winter Edition