December 2021 Construction Outlook

Page 1

DEC | 2021

UCANE’s 48th Annual Christmas Party and Scholarship Auction

• UCANE’s Year End Wrap-Up • Navigating Supply Chain and Material Escalation Cost Issues : Ongoing Projects



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OFFICERS President MARCELLA ALBANESE Albanese Bros., Inc.

President-Elect RYAN McCOURT

5 President’s Message:

It Has Been My Honor to Serve as UCANE President

7 Legislative Update:

• Legislature Reaches Compromise on ARPA Billion Spending Plan; Start of Additional Water Infrastructure Funding Included • 2022 Governor’s Race Thrown Wide Open; Baker and Polito Decide Against Re-Election • EPA Begins to Tout Local Numbers From New Federal Infrastructure Law • November Revenue Collections Total $2.416 Billion; Massachusetts Continues to Exceed Benchmarks • AG Healey Appoints New First Assistant Attorney General • News in Brief

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C. C.Construction Inc.


GVC Construction, Inc.


Barletta Heavy Division


J. D’Amico, Inc.


Biszko Contracting Corp.

21 UCANE’s 2021 Year End Wrap-Up 39 Legal Corner:

Navigating Supply Chain and Material Escalation Cost Issues: Ongoing Projects


43 UCANE: Good News for Clean Water in Infrastructure Bill


47 Insurance Perspective:

J. Derenzo Co.

DeFelice Corporation


49 Safety Corner:

Gagliarducci Construction, Inc.


P. Gioioso & Sons, Inc.


R. H. White Const. Co., Inc.


W. L. French Excavating Corp.


Aqua Line Utility, Inc.


Robert B. Our Co., Inc.

The “I” Word, Inflation and How it is Impacting the Other “I” Word, Insurance

The Changing Landscape of Safety

51 Construction Safety & Compliance:

An Interview with Carmine Cimetti, Vice President - Construction Risk Specialties, HUB International

56 The “Spirit of Giving” was in the Air at UCANE’s 48th Annual Christmas Party and Scholarship Auction 61 2022 Scholarship Applications Now Available

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63 3 Key Steps to Align Your Leadership Goals with Employee Productivity


67 Have You Noticed Me Lately?


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Jay Cashman, Inc.


Scrap-It, Inc./Minichiello Bros., Inc.


C. N. Wood Company, Inc.


DeSanctis Insurance Agency, Inc.


Pawtucket Hot Mix Asphalt

Editor: Jeff Mahoney, Senior Editor: Anne Klayman, Associate Editor Suzanne Hatch, Magazine Designer/Assistant Editor: Sherri Klayman, Head Writer/Assistant Editor: Mike Lenihan Construction Outlook Chair: Marcella Albanese Editorial Board: Marcella Albanese, Ryan McCourt, Brian Cooney, & Chris Valenti CONSTRUCTION OUTLOOK published monthly by the Utility Contractors’ Association of New England, Inc., 300 Congress Street, Suite 101, Quincy, MA 02169; Tel: 617.471.9955; Fax: 617.471.8939; Email:; Website: Statements of fact and opinion are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of UCANE and the Construction Outlook editorial board and staff. Subscriptions are included in dues payments for UCANE members. Presorted Standard postage paid at Brockton, MA. POSTMASTER, please send form #3579 to Construction Outlook, Crown Colony Office Park, 300 Congress Street, Suite 101, Quincy, MA 02169.


Executive Director




It Has Been My Honor to Serve as UCANE President

hen I was sworn in as UCANE President in January of 2020, we were all blissfully unaware of the impending pandemic that was about to emerge, and we never could have imagined the impact it would have on people here and around the world over the next two years. As my two year term as UCANE President comes to an end, and I reflect upon it, I am extremely proud of what we as a group were able to accomplish during such uncertain times. I would especially like to thank our Officers, Board of Directors, members, and the UCANE staff for their unwavering support. Although we were unable to hold many of our signature events throughout the year, UCANE’s Officers and Board were hard at work. One of UCANE’s top priorities has always been to advocate for much needed additional funding for water infrastructure. In 2021, were very grateful to see these efforts pay dividends as there was a once in a generation influx of funding for water and wastewater infrastructure, as well as other utility infrastructure. Massachusetts is set to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in the next year, and the recently passed Federal Infrastructure Bill will provide an additional $1.1 billion over the next five years. On behalf of UCANE, I would like to thank our Congressional delegation, Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito, and the Legislature for these additional appropriations. Even with this great news, the UCANE Board continues to be very proactive. We have invested back into the membership and hired a highly respected Boston PR firm, Denterlein to launch the #InvestInWaterMA campaign. This campaign’s goal is to assure that water and wastewater funding remain a top priority of elected officials, municipal officials, and awarding authorities, and to make certain that these funds are maximized and that critical infrastructure projects are put out to bid and completed. We also continue to monitor legislation and regulations that will impact our businesses and our industry. Along with funding bills, UCANE also filed bills related to Dig Safe, Police Details, and DCAMM, and we supported initiatives related to the funding of the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the need for clearly defining MBE/WBE requirements, and the passage of gas infrastructure reforms that will not harm our industry. We successfully opposed public procurement measures that were proposed to the FY22 Budget, which would have adversely impacted the construction industry by reducing competition. These measures, which had been adopted in one branch of the legislature in the previous session, were not


included in either branch’s filings this year. UCANE continues to meet regularly with government officials at MassDEP, the MWRA, and the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division so that our members concerns are heard. Our Safety Committee was also very active in 2021. We once again had a large number of companies and their employees participate in the National Trench Safety Stand Down Week in June. We also held informational seminars with OSHA representatives and continued to offer the latest safety training seminars and news to our membership. Our members were able to continue operations throughout 2021, while UCANE continued to monitor the latest information regarding COVID-19, providing updates to members and successfully lobbying against reactionary legislation and regulations. While still furthering our core mission, we continued to evolve to meet the needs of our membership. Workforce development has been an increasingly important issue, and COVID-19 only excacerbated the problem. While the pandemic made it difficult, we continued to meet with state workforce and educational leaders to discuss ideas and programs that can help develop the next generation of workers for our industry. We also established a permanent working committee with members of the Mass. Highway Association to discuss issues of importance to both organizations, such as project bid specifications. I would like to offer my congratulations and support to incoming President Ryan McCourt. I have known Ryan for many years and have had the pleasure of serving on the Board with him, and I know first-hand the level of commitment and dedication he has for UCANE. Our Association is in great hands and I look forward to continuing to work with him and supporting him in the coming year. Lastly, I again would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to all who made my tenure as UCANE President an enjoyable and positive experience. It is our members and their support that make UCANE such a special Association, and during this pandemic you have only reinforced my belief. I encourage UCANE members to consider taking an active role in this remarkable organization, as I know you will find it as rewarding an experience as I have. I want to take this time to wish all of our members and their family’s Happy Holidays, a Very Merry Christmas, and a Prosperous and Healthy New Year!



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Legislature Reaches Compromise on ARPA Billion Spending Plan; Start of Additional Water Infrastructure Funding Included


fter the end of formal session for the first year of the two-year session, the Massachusetts Legislature approved a $4 billion bill that directs federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and fiscal year 2021 (FY21) surplus funding to assist the Commonwealth’s ongoing economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. With a focus on making equitable investments and prioritizing communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, the legislation targets the sectors of housing, health care, mental and behavioral health, climate preparedness, education, and workforce development. In passing this legislation, the Massachusetts legislature received significant feedback from all quarters when it adjourned the formal sessions without a Conference Committee report on the competing Senate and House proposals. Earlier this year, the Massachusetts legislature had voted to transfer the state’s $4.8 billion allocation from ARPA, which must be allocated by 2024, into a separate fund to ensure stakeholder and resident engagement in a public process. Following six public hearings and copious amounts of written testimony, the House and Senate spending proposals were unanimously approved by each chamber. The compromise legislation utilizes $2.55 billion in ARPA funds and $1.45 billion in fiscal year 2021 surplus funds. Of particular note to UCANE members, the federal ARPA law contained six target areas for investment, including, but not limited to water infrastructure. While the Governor proposed directing $400 million of ARPA funds specifically towards water and sewer infrastructure, the House and Senate chose more tentative initial appropriations for water and sewer infrastructure. With an eye towards the federal infrastructure bill, the House and Senate proposed initial funding amounts lower than the Governor’s, but with the potential for including additional monies in a second late winter-early spring ARPA bill. As a result, the legislation that was advanced to the Governor’s desk appropriated $100 million directly to a DECEMBER, 2021

reserve for the Clean Water Trust through the respective Drinking and Clean Water Statewide Revolving Funds (SRFs). The final Conference Committee report also contained additional funds and earmarks for a variety of additional water infrastructure projects. For climate resiliency and environmental infrastructure projects, the Conference Committee report included another $100 million in funding while also including another $90 million for port infrastructure improvements that will directly assist the development of the Commonwealth’s nascent wind energy sector. More broadly towards businesses in general, the legislature’s compromise package will pay $500 million towards reducing employer contributions necessary for replenishing the Commonwealth’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) fund. While the Governor and business community sought more funds to offset the potential increase in unemployment insurance contributions, there now seems to be some discrepancy as to what funds currently reside in the UI fund. At the time of this writing, no clear answer has emerged. Finally, the Conference Committee report will also create a premium pay bonus for essential workers, who both worked in-person throughout the pandemic and made less than 300% of the federal poverty level. It should be noted that a variety of special provisions were built into the ARPA bill as well. To support communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and prioritize historically underserved populations, the bill establishes an equity and accountability review panel for federal funds to track in near real-time the amount and percentage of ARPA funds spent in these communities and awarded to minority-owned and women-owned business enterprises. The bill further takes steps to ensure minorityowned and women-owned businesses have fair continued on page 9



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Legislative Update continued from page 7 participation on procurements issued under the act. Specifically, the Commonwealth’s Supplier Diversity Office, in consultation with the equity and accountability review panel, shall encourage the participation of diverse businesses in procurements and contracts for goods and services using federal funds appropriated under this act by establishing benchmarks for state authorities and state agencies. To the extent allowable under state and federal law, all requests for responses issued by a state authority or state agency for a procurement of goods or services using federal funds appropriated under this act shall include a scoring factor to meet the benchmarks. The hybrid funding nature of the legislation means that approximately $2.4 billion of the original appropriation of ARPA funds remain. Legislative leaders, in addition to determining the impact of the recently passed federal infrastructure bill, want to see how the first round of ARPA funding impacts key sectors and industries. The Massachusetts legislature will then undertake a second round of ARPA appropriations to address additional needs throughout the Commonwealth. For its part, UCANE continues to work with other stakeholder groups to highlight that the Commonwealth’s water infrastructure needs require sustained funding to close the $18 billion to $21 billion water infrastructure funding gap. continued on page 11

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Legislative Update continued from page 9

2022 Governor’s Race Thrown Wide Open; Baker and Polito Decide Against Re-Election


ith an announcement that both shook the political landscape and reflected their commonsense approach to governing at the same time, Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito announced that they would not be candidates for office in 2022. While no individual has sought and achieved a third term as the Commonwealth’s chief executive, Governor Baker was thought to have the best chance at making history. With a popularity rating that continued to show strong support across the entire electorate, but for far-right conservatives and far-left progressives, Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito were expected to have an excellent chance at re-election. In declining to run for a third term, Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito issued a statement that, among other points, specifically stated: “We have all been going through an extraordinarily difficult pandemic, and the next year will be just as important, if not more important, than the past year. We have a great deal of work to do to put the pandemic behind us, keep our kids in school, and keep our communities and economy moving forward. That work cannot and should not be about politics and the next election. If we were to run, it would be a distraction that would potentially get in the way

of many of the things we should be working on for everyone in Massachusetts. We want to focus on recovery, not on the grudge matches political campaigns can devolve into.” With the surprise announcement that Lt. Governor Polito would not run for the corner office as a candidate for Governor, Republicans have been left searching for a candidate that can prevail in the general election. Currently, former state representative Geoff Diehl is the only announced Republican candidate for Governor who has garnered more than marginal support in a bid for statewide office. On the Democratic side, former state senator Ben Downing, political newcomer Danielle Allen and state senator Sonia Chang-Diaz have already announced their intention to run for Governor. However, all eyes remain on what Attorney General Maura Healey and former Boston Mayor and current United States Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh decide to do. Either or both of their entrances into the race will not only shift the dynamics of the race, but will have further state and national implications. Secretary Walsh, for his part, would be required to leave his current position as Labor Secretary. If Attorney General Healey enters the race, it will likely set-up a cascade of candidates seeking her position. A wide variety of names have been rumored to be interested in the seat. continued on page 13

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Legislative Update continued from page 11


EPA Begins to Tout Local Numbers From New Federal Infrastructure Law

ate November saw United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan announce additional funding levels for states, Tribes, and territories to upgrade water infrastructure in 2022 under the new federal infrastructure law. Under the funding formula, Massachusetts will receive $188,890,000 through the EPA’s SRF programs in the first year of the program. According to the EPA press release, both nationally and locally, the increased funding investments will create jobs while upgrading America’s aging water infrastructure and addressing key challenges like lead in drinking water and per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination. In a letter sent to all 50 Governors, the Administrator encouraged states to maximize the impact of water funding from the law – an unprecedented nationwide total of $50 billion investment – to address disproportionate environmental burdens in historically underserved communities across the country. In New England, the six states will share a total of $536,323,000. Nationally, EPA will allocate $7.4 billion to states, Tribes, and territories for 2022, with nearly half of this funding available as grants or principal forgiveness loans that remove barriers to investing in essential water


infrastructure in underserved communities across rural America and in urban centers. The 2022 allocation is the first of five years of $43 billion in dedicated EPA SRF funding that states will receive through the new federal infrastructure law. For more than 30 years, the respective SRF programs have been the foundation for water infrastructure investments, providing low-cost financing for local projects across America. In New England, water infrastructure funding under the SRF, authorized by the new federal infrastructure law will provide funding in the following amounts for the first of five years: • • • • • •

Connecticut $76,907,000 Maine $68,390,000 Massachusetts $188,890,000 New Hampshire $72,644,000 Rhode Island $66,451,000 Vermont $63,041,000 For more information, including state-by-state allocation of 2022 funding, and a breakdown of EPA funding by SRF program, and additional funding available through the new infrastructure law, please visit: https:// continued on page 15





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Legislative Update continued from page 13

November Revenue Collections Total $2.416 Billion; Massachusetts Continues to Exceed Benchmarks


ccording to a press release from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR), preliminary revenue collections for November 2021 totaled $2.416 billion, which is $289 million or 13.6% more than actual collections in November 2020, and $192 million or 8.7% more than benchmark. As a result, fiscal year 2022 year-to-date collections totaled approximately $13.612 billion, which is $2.145 billion or 18.7% more than collections in the same period of FY2021, and $914 million or 7.2% more than year-to-date benchmark. November is among the smaller months for revenue collection because neither individual nor business taxpayers make significant estimated payments during the month. Historically, roughly 6.5% of annual revenue, on average, has been received during November. Of particular note in the November figures: •

Income tax collections for November were $1.355 billion, $16 million or 1.2% above benchmark, and $81 million or 6.4% more than November 2020.

Withholding tax collections for November totaled $1.317 billion, $3 million or 0.2% above benchmark, and $62 million or 4.9% more than November 2020.


Income tax estimated payments totaled $41 million for November, $9 million or 28.1% more than benchmark, and $5 million or 12.7% more than November 2020. • Income tax returns and bills totaled $62 million for November, $13 million or 27.6% more than benchmark, and $10 million or 20.4% more than November 2020. • Sales and use tax collections for November totaled $772 million, $153 million or 24.7% above benchmark, and $184 million or 31.2% more than November 2020. • Meals tax collections, a sub-set of sales and use tax, totaled $133 million, $45 million or 51.2% above benchmark, and $57 million or 74.5% more than November 2020. • Corporate and business tax collections for the month totaled $49 million, $6 million or 11.0% below benchmark, and $4 million or 7.2% less than November 2020. • “All other” tax collections for November totaled $240 million, $30 million or 14.1% above benchmark, and $28 million or 13.2% more than November 2020. As calendar year 2022 approaches, policymakers are paying close attention to the Commonwealth’s budget picture as the so-called “millionaires’ tax” heads to the ballot. While the ARPA and federal infrastructure funds for the state have made a majority of the news recently, the Commonwealth’s economic recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 in 2020 is still impressive considering many industries and sectors have not fully rebounded. As the 2022 ballot question begin to gain attention, future projections about the Commonwealth’s revenue collections will be in the spotlight. continued on page 17






Legislative Update continued from page 15

AG Healey Appoints New First Assistant Attorney General


s Attorney General Healey mulls her next career move, she recently announced that after five years, First Assistant Attorney General Mary Strother, who was responsible for helping to manage the legal work of the office, is leaving the office to become General Counsel to Northeastern University. In the same press release, Attorney General Healey announced the appointment of Ms. Kate Cook as the office’s new First Assistant Attorney General and Ms. Gabrielle Viator as Chief Deputy Attorney General. Ms. Cook, a partner at Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C., will assume her new role in January. During her law firm tenure, Cook represented clients in all aspects of civil litigation, compliance counseling, and crisis management. Before joining Sugarman Rogers, Ms. Cook served as chief legal counsel to former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. She

also has experience as the General Counsel to the Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means Committee and as an Assistant Corporation Counsel to the City of Boston. Ms. Cook holds degrees from Harvard University and Brown University and lives in Marblehead with her husband Tom and daughter Maggie. Ms. Viator, the current Chief of Staff will assume a new role as Chief Deputy Attorney General. Ms. Viator, who has been in the office for over a decade and previously served as Deputy Chief and Senior Policy Advisor in the Policy and Government Division, also worked as an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division, investigating and bringing enforcement actions relating to housing discrimination, disability rights, predatory and discriminatory lending, public accommodations, and violations of the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act. continued on page 19


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Legislative Update continued from page 17

News in Brief •

SWIG Program Expands. The Massachusetts Clean Water Trust recently announced that it will offer an additional $2 million in grants in the School Water Improvement Grant (SWIG) program. As reported, the program will also expand eligibility from the pilot round to include private elementary schools, early education programs, and nonresidential childcare facilities. Applications will be accepted beginning in January 2022. The pilot round provided grants to 37 school districts for 128 schools serving more than 69,000 students in Massachusetts. A total of $954,000 was disbursed to install 318 bottle filling stations. SWIG is funded through an appropriation filed by Governor Baker and approved by the Massachusetts legislature, along with a grant from the EPA. For more information about the program, please visit: school-water-improvement-grants. Idowu to be Boston’s Chief of Economic Opportunity & Inclusion. Mayor Michelle Wu recently announced the appointment of Mr. Segun Idowu, President and CEO of the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, as Boston’s new Chief of Economic Opportunity & Inclusion. In this role, Idowu will lead the city’s efforts to advance neighborhood economic development, support business growth and formation, and spearhead reforms to city contracting, all with a goal of closing the racial wealth gap and expanding equitable job and business opportunities for Boston residents. Idowu, who attended Boston Public Schools, is a 2012 graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia with honors from the Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Key Societies. Following his graduation, Segun Idowu joined the office of

then-District 4 City Councilor Charles C. Yancey as a Legislative Aide. After two successful years, Idowu transitioned to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. In April 2021, Idowu was recognized by Boston Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the City of Boston.” •

Only Three Out of 15 Potential Ballot Questions Advance. As reported by the State House News Service, collecting the required 80,239 voter signatures proved an insurmountable hurdle for all but three ballot campaigns. As a result, potential ballot questions that would have legalized the sale of consumer fireworks, reversed the state's decades-long ban on happy hour, and imposed new restrictions on hospital CEO compensation will not appear on the 2022 general election ballot. Proposals to update alcohol licensing limits, rewrite worker status and benefits for app-based drivers, and impose spending limits on dental insurers remain on track to make next year's ballot. These measures will be sent to the Massachusetts legislature in January, which can pass the measure, propose a substitute, or take no action. If the Legislature does not pass the measure as filed before the first Wednesday in May, the petitioner must then collect 13,374 more signatures and file them with local election officials for certification 14 days before the first Wednesday in July and with the Secretary by the first Wednesday in July. After enough signatures are filed, the measure is then placed on the ballot for the next statewide general election. To learn more about the ballot initiative process, please visit: the-initiative-petition-process. n


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UCANE’s 2021 Year End Wrap-Up 2021 Overview For the second year in a row, UCANE, like all businesses had to navigate the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. We once again had to cancel our Annual Banquet and most other in-person events. We were able to hold this year's Golf Tournament, Holiday Party and Auction, as well as a modified Trade Show. But as you can see from the information below, UCANE remained busy and vigilant, providing services and advocating on behalf of our industry. We are planning on a "normal" schedule in 2022 with several events and opportunities for members to gather and network once again. UCANE remains one of the strongest and most respected Construction Trade Associations in the region because of the generosity and commitment of its members, and we are looking forward to continuing that in 2022!

Legislative Activity UCANE reviewed over 6,000 pieces of legislation filed at the start of the session; monitored and tracked over 250 pieces of legislation; and took a more active role (i.e. testifying or speaking to committee leadership and staff) on over 60 pieces of legislation or appropriations. Many of these bills would have a negative impact on member companies and had been refiled from the previous session after UCANE successfully advocated against their passage. They ranged from establishing overly burdensome regulations to creating unfair advantages in public bidding laws. UCANE’s staff and our lobbyist Mark Molloy of Cascade Strategies, tracked these bills, and successfully lobbied against these measures by developing position papers and written testimony, visiting legislators with UCANE members, speaking at public hearings, and otherwise informing Beacon Hill legislators about the potential negative impacts of these bills. UCANE and Mark Molloy continue to protect and promote our industry and maintain our Association’s reputation as one of the most active and involved industry advocates on Beacon Hill. UCANE filed and advocated for four pieces of legislation aimed at improving the construction industry. Filed matters include: An Act Relative to Public Safety in Excavations (HB3265/SB2293); An


Act Relative to Water Infrastructure Funding (HB920) /SB505); An Act Relative to the Payment of Police Details (HB2568/SB1752); and An Act Relative to the Construction of Water Treatment Plants (HB3220/ SB2122). UCANE supported initiatives related to the funding of the unemployment insurance fund, the need for clearly defining MBE/WBE requirements, and the passage of gas infrastructure reforms that would not harm contractors. UCANE successfully opposed public procurement measures proposed to the fiscal year 2022 Budget that would have adversely impacted the construction industry by reducing competition. Such measures, which had been adopted in one branch of the session before, were not included in either branch’s filings this year. UCANE weighed in on regulatory initiatives, such as the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s public hearing on 310 CMR 36.00, relative to conditions on Water Management Act regulations. UCANE met with almost the entire class of 19 newly elected legislators and newly appointed leadership of subject matter committees (i.e., Environment; State Administration; Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure; Public Service; etc.) to inform them about our Association, the Commonwealth’s water infrastructure needs, and the construction industry in Massachusetts in general.

COVID-19 Beginning in March of 2020, the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic really began to impact our daily lives and our member’s businesses, and continued throughout 2021. Since our contractors were deemed essential businesses, most operations were able to adapt to local, state, and CDC regulations regarding masking, social distancing, and various safety protocols to keep their employees safe, reduce spread of the disease, and complete vital infrastructure projects. Vaccines received federal approval in early 2021 and were made available to the general public by March. In spite of record setting rollout and availability of the vaccines, by the Fall of 2021 there remained confusion and uncertainty. continued on page 23



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Wrap-Up continued from page 21 UCANE researched and provided clarification for members on a wide variety of issues related to vaccine mandates, the emergency COVID-19 paid leave program, cost adjustment clauses, as well as municipal procurement issues related to pricing, police details and supply shortages. UCANE hosted webinars with our legal firm members Prince Lobel Tye LLP and Hinckley Allen LLP to address COVID-19 related labor, employee, and federal stimulus issues. We also successfully lobbied against reactionary legislation filed at the State House in response to COVID-19. These bills included unrealistic extended paid leave and COVID-19 presumption for employees, that would have bankrupt companies. UCANE continues to work with legislators on proposals that protect both the employees and employers alike during these unprecedented times.

UCANE Successfully Supports Water Infrastructure Funding As the Legislature debated on how to appropriate American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds, UCANE successfully lobbied for the inclusion of over $100

million directly to a reserve for the Clean Water Trust through the respective Drinking and Clean Water Statewide Revolving Funds (SRFs). UCANE also successfully supported the inclusion of additional funds and earmarks for a variety of water infrastructure projects. For climate resiliency and environmental infrastructure projects, the final bill also included another $100 million in funding, and an additional $90 million for port infrastructure improvements. UCANE also led and worked with a coalition of stakeholder groups to reverse a proposed reduction in the Clean Water Trust’s (CWT’s) contract assistance line-item in the fiscal year 2022 Budget. The appropriation, which would have seen an almost $25 million reduction, was restored to $63.8 million. This fund facilitates the CWT’s work in getting more projects out to municipalities and regional water utilities.

Cape Cod's Water Protection Trust, Backed By UCANE, Showing Dividends In 2021 As many UCANE members know, municipalities on Cape Cod are under court order to address wastewater issues as a result of a successful lawsuit continued on page 25

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Wrap-Up continued from page 23 filed by the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF). This is known as the Section 208 Plan. The cost to implement the 208 Plan is estimated between $2 billion and $4 billion over the next 20 years. The 208 Plan is critical to protecting Cape Cod’s drinking water, its beaches, and its coastal industries from excess nitrogen loads created primarily by failed septic systems. Establishment of a Cape Cod Water Protection Trust was heavily promoted and supported by UCANE and others in order to establish a funding source to help pay for the sewer infrastructure on Cape Cod, which was mandated in the Section 208 Plan. The 2.75% tax assessed to all short term rentals (hotels, motels, homes) on the Cape will be dedicated to assisting the 15 Cape Cod towns and will provide a financial subsidy in the form of a principal forgiveness grant to towns that move forward with the necessary infrastructure projects. Even with less rentals because of COVID-19, the Trust was able to award over $71 million in subsidies to qualified and eligible water quality projects on the Cape. Progress continued with several projects that were approved by town meetings, coming out to bid, and wastewater management plans being finalized.


The implementation of Section 208 will improve the health and well-being of people living on the Cape, and will ultimately mean greater opportunities for UCANE contractors for many years to come.

UCANE/Municipal Officials UCANE continued to work with several municipal organizations and officials to advocate for increased investment in water infrastructure through the Clean Water Trust and other revenue sources. Every year we regularly meet with the Mass. Municipal Association (MMA), Mass. Highway Association (MHA), and the Norfolk-Bristol-Middlesex Highway Association (NBM). In addition, in 2021 UCANE established a task force with MHA and NBM public works officials to begin an effort to standardize bid documents and specifications. We will continue to partner with public works and municipal officials on issues that affect our industry.

Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law (PFML) 2021 saw employers and employees continue to make contributions to the 2019 Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Fund. Most benefits became available beginning January 1, 2021 with full continued on page 27



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Wrap-Up continued from page 25 implementation opening up on July 1, 2021. UCANE met with the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and was able to successfully advocate for changes to the final regulations that took into account the unique nature of the construction industry. We also supported an important amendment to the legislation to ensure that employers’ contributions to the fund were not in conflict with federal labor laws. The Federal Government, through the stimulus packages, injected millions into the Massachusetts Unemployment Fund for medical and COVID-19 related leaves The Massachusetts PFML contributions can be adjusted annually depending on usage. As the pandemic continues, UCANE will continue to monitor the impact of the Mass. PFML for 2022.

Wage Theft Legislation There was once again a significant effort to pass wage theft legislation in 2021. UCANE recognizes that wage theft hurts workers and responsible employers, but the proposed legislation goes too far and could unfairly punish a contractor for the actions of any tier of subcontractor, regardless of the general contractor’s knowledge of such actions. UCANE supports the enforcement of the many existing

laws already in place on this issue and was part of a coalition that successfully lobbied for alternative measures to combat the non-payment of wages. UCANE will continue to work to protect its members from unfair legislation.

Water Infrastructure Alliance UCANE has been an active member of the Water Infrastructure Alliance (WIA) comprised of construction, environmental, and engineering companies that promote clean water investment in Massachusetts. The investment is needed to close an estimated $21 Billion funding gap for water and sewer needs that is projected in the Commonwealth over the next 20 years. It has been seven years since the passage of Chapter 259 of the Acts of 2014, which introduced a wide range of provisions to assist the water and sewer funding needs of municipalities and of the State in general. UCANE continues to be a driving force in the WIA, providing research, information, testimony, and advocacy materials for other members. UCANE also continues to participate in public relation campaigns for water infrastructure, including being a sponsor of the national “Imagine A Day Without Water” campaign for the fifth consecutive year. continued on page 29



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Wrap-Up continued from page 27 Construction Outlook Magazine 2021 was again a very successful year for UCANE’s monthly publication, Construction Outlook magazine. The publication’s circulation continues to grow and, in addition to our membership, includes all 351 municipal DPW Directors, all State Legislators, Constitutional Officers, as well as our Congressional delegation. Several member companies were highlighted in our magazine with interesting feature stories about them and the challenging projects that they have performed. We also continued our series of interviews with legislative leaders, municipal DPW officials, as well as UCANE Board and Safety Committee members. Our readers are also kept informed each month on the latest safety, legal, legislative, financial, and IT issues that are important to their businesses. Construction Outlook is well known at the State House, in Washington, and throughout our industry as the premier magazine for the underground construction industry.

Asbestos Removal Training Course UCANE has continued to offer its members both the 8-hour Class II Asbestos Training Course and the 4-hour Refresher Course (required every five years)

in conjunction with ATC Associates, Inc., of West Springfield, MA. Both OSHA and the Department of Labor Standards have approved these courses, which were jointly developed by UCANE, MassDEP, and MWWA. UCANE also successfully lobbied for a temporary virtual training option due to the pandemic. Over the last nine years, more than 750 individuals have received Asbestos Cement Pipe (ACP) Worker Safety Certificates through UCANE. This number includes attendees from over 50 construction companies, as well as representatives from MassDEP, MWRA, MWWA, and municipalities.

Concrete Sidewalk Spalling Problems UCANE partnered with MaCAPA and CIM during the last several years and worked with MassDOT to develop new procedures, mix designs, and specifications for concrete sidewalks that were being negatively impacted by winter deicing products Although a silver bullet type solution was not found that would solve the spalling issue, in 2020 MassDOT did produce a revised version of their concrete sidewalk specifications which included a mandatory concrete sealer requirement intended to improve resistance to deicers as further research continued. Additionally, a concrete sidewalk certification program continued on page 31

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Wrap-Up continued from page 29 was established in order to train the tradesmen in the new MassDOT specifications. In 2021 hundreds of concrete finishers received certifications, the new MassDOT concrete sidewalk specifications saw increased application, and sidewalk spalling problems were reduced.

MassDEP, MWRA, & BWSC UCANE maintains relationships with the leadership and decision makers at MassDEP, MWRA, and Boston Water & Sewer Commission (BWSC) and continues to attend MWRA Advisory Board meetings and held quarterly meetings with MassDEP in order to keep up with discussions on budgets, capital planning, etc. Although UCANE was unable to hold its Annual Forecast Dinner where the heads of the MWRA, BWSC, and the MassDEP present their annual forecasts detailing the upcoming 2021 list of projects to be bid and their respective agency funding commitment, we did publish their capital projects and programs in Construction Outlook. In 2022, UCANE will continue to work closely with all of these agencies to promote the need for increased infrastructure investment and keep the membership informed of capital programs.


Construction Roundtable with AG Along with other Construction Associations, UCANE continued to participate in the construction roundtable meetings with Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and her staff at the Fair Labor Division to discuss issues of concern to the construction industry. Agenda items in 2021 included discussing the potential impact of various legislative proposals, including wage theft legislation. Other items included reviewing bid protest decisions, prevailing wages issues, abuse of the current sick leave law, and MBE/WBE compliance goals. UCANE looks forward to continuing productive roundtable discussions with the AG and her staff in 2022.

OSHA & Safety Related Issues Workplace Safety is always a top priority for UCANE. In 2021, we continued to provide members with updates on the latest safety issues, changes in safety legislation at both the State and National levels, and best management practices when it comes to providing a safe jobsite. Email alerts are broadcast to all members when there is important breaking safety news, and the Safety Corner articles in Construction Outlook magazine highlight safety continued on page 33







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Wrap-Up continued from page 31

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UCANE has maintained a professional relationship with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) and Dig Safe throughout the years. UCANE has participated with DPU on several commissions involving proposed regulations that affect the construction industry, and our comments are always given due consideration. In 2021 UCANE Members attended a Webinar via ZOOM put on by DPU’s Pipeline Safety Division. Through a joint effort between UCANE’s Executive Director Jeff Mahoney and DPU Pipeline Safety Director Rick Enright, the Webinar was exclusive to UCANE members and focused on DPU’s Dig Safe Program and was led by Kerry Morris, Dig Safe Program Manager. The Webinar was a unique opportunity to exchange information between UCANE members and DPU. Many questions from the membership were posed and DPU addressed them all. UCANE looks forward to continuing the exchange of information and continued on page 35

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topics of relevance. Safety updates are on the agenda at every UCANE Board meeting. In June of 2021, UCANE again participated in the National Trench Safety Stand Down Week. This was an OSHA endorsed effort in which companies emphasized trench safety by planning a toolbox talk or other safety activity to take a break and emphasize the importance of trench safety. By the end of the week, 20 UCANE member firms representing over 2000 employees had participated, which was one of the largest participations by any Association in the country. UCANE's Safety Committee met regularly in 2021. The Committee hosted Peter Barletta, from the Region 1 OSHA office, to update members on the latest OSHA activity, and in particular OSHA’s new Trench Emphasis Program. Other topics included updates on the City of Boston COVID-19 regulations, DPU citations, revisions to Dig Safe Regulations, cell phone policies, and the latest information on drug and alcohol testing policies. In 2021 UCANE and the Safety Committee also made it a priority to address the pandemic and its impact on the construction industry. UCANE produced a model COVID-19 Safety Plan for our members to use to keep their employees safe and their jobsites open. UCANE kept our entire membership informed

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ideas with DPU in 2022 in order to reduce pipeline damage incidents and to provide safer worksites for construction employees and for the general public.

National Legislative & Industry Initiatives

In 2021, UCANE welcomed a total of 17 new members to its current roster of over 250 members. With the help of current members, we will continue our efforts to add additional members who will benefit from joining our Association and will help to strengthen our industry.

Member Communications

UCANE continues to be an active member of the national contractor’s group, the Clean Water Construction Coalition (CWCC), which has grown to 28 member Associations representing more than 11,000 contractors nationwide. CWCC maintains a strong presence in Washington, D.C. and promotes the need for clean water funding. Our group met with members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, as well as fellow CWCC contractors from across the country to discuss local and national water infrastructure issues. The CWCC had a tremendous victory with the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, which will provide over $1 Billion to Massachusetts for water infrastructure projects and billions more for other utility infrastructure projects. UCANE will continue to work with the CWCC to ensure that the maximum amount of this additional funding is allocated so that these critical infrastructure projects are completed.

UCANE continues to regularly update members with the latest information affecting our industry, including COVID-19, safety, and funding related issues. We also added “Video Updates” as a resource for members. These Updates are interviews with our state and federal lobbyists as well as elected officials and candidates. We hope to expand on these video updates in 2022. Once again, the UCANE Industry Directory was sent to all Municipal DPW Directors in the state. Our Directory also includes an “Emergency Services” section to provide DPW officials with quick contact information to reach UCANE members in case of a local emergency. UCANE sent monthly e-newsletters informing members of the latest construction and legislative related issues. As a complimentary feature to support our “Buy from UCANE Members Program” our e-newsletter includes copies of our Construction continued on page 37

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Wrap-Up continued from page 35

Outlook advertisers ads placed in our magazine at no additional charge. UCANE’s website and social media-feeds are updated daily with the latest industry news. UCANE’s website makes it easier for members to access information on seminars and meetings. It includes online versions of Construction Outlook magazine, as well as a list of all of our advertisers and links to their websites. UCANE continues to increase its outreach to public officials and stakeholders through a variety of social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

College Scholarship Program Thanks to the generosity of our members at UCANE’s 2020 Scholarship Auction, and those members who funded Scholarships in 2021, UCANE once again awarded twelve $2,000 college scholarships this year to the children and grandchildren of UCANE members and their employees.

UCANE's Many Charitable Endeavors Supported Tunnel2Towers in honor of those who served our Country • Supported Marisa’s Mission in Memory of Marisa Federico • Supported Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of MA

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in honor of the Federico Family Supported the Diabetes Foundation in honor of the Benard Family and McCourt Family. Supported the Joe Andruzzi Foundation to assist Cancer patients in honor of Joe Andruzzi. Sponsored the Mystic River Herring Run & Paddle to support the Mystic River Watershed Association. Supported Pan-Mass Challenge through Joel Lewin (Hinckley Allen, LLP); Tom Descoteaux (R. H. White Construction Co., Inc.); and Bob Magliozzi (L. Guerini Group, Inc.). Supported the “Rodman Ride for Kids” through Rodman Ford Sales, Inc. Supported the Alzheimer’s Association in honor of the Richard Pacella Family. Supported the McCourt Foundation in Memory of Frank and Richard McCourt. Supported the Massachusetts Hospital School in honor of the John F. Kennedy Family. Supported the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) through Dan Mahoney (MBO Precast, Inc.). Supported the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation through Centinel Financial Group Supported Brigham and Women’s Hospital Supported many other local and national charities throughout the year. n

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Navigating Supply Chain and Material Escalation Cost Issues: Ongoing Projects As you are all well-aware, supply chain and material escalation cost issues have hit the construction industry hard. Many contractors are receiving letters from vendors and suppliers providing notice of anticipated shipment delays or cost increases, followed by claims seeking affirmative relief. While there are ways to manage these types of issues when negotiating new contracts, contractors are asking: how do we handle these issues on our ongoing projects? Unfortunately, there is no easy or universal answer. This is a highly fact-dependent question that must be addressed on a case-by-case basis. However, the analysis usually starts with the contract documents.


t the risk of sounding like a broken record, the specific terms and conditions of the applicable contract documents are absolutely key. Contractors that purchase supplies, materials, or equipment using their own form agreements may well have provisions addressing shipment delays or price fluctuations. In such a case – and depending on the strength of the contract – contractors may have solid contractual bases to respond to their vendors/ suppliers. For example, contractors may be able to use “flow-down” and incorporation-by-reference clauses to assert claims against vendors/suppliers in the event of shipment delays. In addition, some contracts explicitly prohibit recovery of escalation costs. Other clauses – like force majeure provisions, liability caps, and liquidated damage provisions – may also be relevant, depending on the facts. All too often though, contractors – sometimes unknowingly – accept their vendors’/suppliers’ terms and conditions, either by signing third-party purchase order forms or by incorporating quotations into their contracts. In some cases, vendors/suppliers will use quotation and invoice forms stating that the transaction is subject to terms and conditions that are DECEMBER, 2021

not actually provided to the contractor (with a promise to make the terms available upon request). As you can expect, vendors/suppliers customize their own terms and conditions to afford relief in the event of supply chain issues or price fluctuations. As a result, it is critical to review the contract provisions applicable to the transaction. In some cases, there may be more than one set of terms and conditions at play, creating a “battle of the forms” scenario. In other instances, general contract requirements may continued on page 41



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Legal Corner continued from page 39 apply. Of course, the contract terms will vary from one project to another. But understanding how the various potential contract provisions fit together is a necessary first step in determining how to handle a vendor/ supplier notice or claim. In addition, it is important to understand the potential time and cost impacts that supply chain or material escalation issues may have on the overall project, as well as what constitutes a recoverable claim. In some cases, the contractor may be able to reject the claim outright based on clear contractual language. In others, the contractor may be able to pass the claim through to the owner. All-in-all, contractors should timely review vendor/supplier claims and request all supporting backup documentation if it is not provided. An initial analysis should be performed to determine the legitimacy of the claim from both a factual and legal perspective. If the claim is one that can be submitted to the owner, the contractor must be careful to comply with the applicable notice and claim submission provisions relating to claims for time and cost impacts. Although it is not yet clear how all the various current supply chain and material escalation cost issues will resolve, these are a few basic steps that contractors can take when these issues arise on pending jobs. n

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UCANE: Good News for Clean Water in Infrastructure Bill #InvestInWaterMA coalition leaders point to bigger U.S. grants for water-sewer projects, lower costs for locals While many details remain unclear about how the newly signed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will deliver funding to Massachusetts cities and towns, the #InvestInWaterMA Coalition highlighted that, along with the long fought for funding increase, the new law contains two clear wins for critical water and sewer infrastructure upgrades: Increased incentives in the form of grants and principal forgiveness and reductions in the level of matching state funds required to secure federal aid.


e'll know a lot more in coming days and weeks about the mechanisms and requirements for getting access to this new source of infrastructure funding, but what's clear already is we got a big win for cities, towns, and water-sewer agencies. More direct grants and funds for forgiveness of principal on water projects that require borrowing through the bond market is a potential game-changer, if acted upon in a timely manner,'' said Jeff Mahoney, Executive Director of the Utility Contractors Association of New England (UCANE), one of the founding partners of the #InvestInWaterMA Coalition. "For communities borrowing funds to upgrade water infrastructure, principal forgiveness can be as valuable for making projects affordable as a direct infusion of cash.'' "At the same time,'' Mahoney added, "for many kinds of drinking water and wastewater projects going forward, awarding authorities will have to provide only a 10 percent match, down from the 20 percent which is currently required. For projects like removing lead service lines and protecting drinking water against 'emerging contaminants' like PFAS, no state or local match will be required.'' UCANE President Marcella Albanese, President of Albanese Brothers, Inc., a specialized underground utility contractor, said: “Between the increased levels of funding now available for water, sewer, and stormwater projects, and how much will be awarded competitively, what we’re hearing from our congressional leaders is cities, towns, and agencies should be moving very quickly to get proposals and funding requests into the Clean Water Trust for DECEMBER, 2021

consideration in 2022 and beyond.” The Commonwealth is set to receive at least $1.1 billion in water-infrastructure funding from the infrastructure bill, with millions more potentially available through competitively-awarded grants. According to a briefing the United States Environmental Protection Agency provided to UCANE and other stakeholders, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will provide: • $15 billion nationwide for lead service line replacements through drinking-water state revolving funds like the Clean Water Trust, with no required state match, 49 percent of funds provided to communities as grants or principalforgiveness loans, and 51 percent provided as low-interest loans. (Replacing lead service lines with copper or other types of piping delivers major public health benefits, including protecting children and adults against the damaging lifelong effects of exposure to lead.) • $11.7 billion nationwide for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program, with the same 49-51 split for grants, principal forgiveness, and low-interest loans, but with the required state match lowered from the current 20 percent to 10 percent • $11.7 billion is also provided nationwide for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program for wastewater and sewer projects, with the same 49-51 split for grants, principal forgiveness, and continued on page 45



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The Perfect Excavation: • Pre-mark the location of intended excavation using white stakes, paint or flags. • In MA, ME, NH and RI, notify Dig Safe® at least 72 hours in advance.* • In Vermont, notify Dig Safe® at least 48 hours in advance.* • Notify non-member facility owners. • Maintain the marks placed by underground facility owners. • Use caution and dig by hand when working within 18” of a marked facility. • If a line is damaged, do not backfill. Notify the affected utility company immediately if the facility, its protective coating, or a tracer wire is damaged. • Call 911 in the event of a gas leak, or if a damaged facility poses a risk to public safety. • Know your state’s excavation requirements. • Go to for educational material and current laws.






Good News continued from page 43



low-interest loans, but with the required state match lowered from the current 20 percent to 10 percent • $4 billion nationwide, delivered through DrinkingWater State Revolving Funds as grants and principal forgiveness, to remediate PFAS and other emerging contaminants in drinking water, with no required state match. • $5 billion nationwide for PFAS and emergingcontaminant remediation as grants targeted to “small, underserved, and disadvantaged communities,” which in Massachusetts would flow through the state Department of Environmental Protection. The #InvestInWaterMA coalition is seeking to ensure that critical water and sewer infrastructure projects get the priority they need and deserve as Governor Baker’s administration and the Legislature are allocating COVID relief funding and federal infrastructure assistance. Other organizations backing the #InvestInWaterMA coalition include the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBIO), NAIOP Massachusetts–The Commercial Real Estate Development Association, the American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Water Works Association, the New England Water Works Association, and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority Wastewater Advisory Committee. Confirming earlier findings by the Massachusetts Water Infrastructure Finance Commission, the Office of the State Auditor’s Division of Local Mandates in 2017 determined that cities, towns, and local watersewer authorities face at least an $18 billion funding gap over the next 20 years to cover critically important drinking and wastewater infrastructure upgrades, plus billions more for stormwater, climate resiliency, and emerging contaminants such as PFAS. Written by Jayda Leder-Luis. Reprinted from n DECEMBER, 2021

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Jordan Tirone

DeSanctis Insurance Agency, Inc.

The “I” Word, Inflation and How it is Impacting the Other “I” Word, Insurance Inflation as of late has seemingly become a household word used to describe the challenges of an everyday consumer. Every household and business is feeling the impacts of the current inflation state whether it is at the gas pump or in the grocery store checkout line.


rom a historical standpoint, we can look back to the late 1970s and early 1980s as a comparison. This period of time presented the challenges of extended inflation levels and rising interest rates, a recipe for significant rises in the cost of living. For those that enjoy the raw statistics; the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 5.4% (annualized) in September 2021, which marks the highest rate since mid 2008 and 2½ times greater than the average 10-year period. The factors behind the scenes include, but are not limited to pandemic related labor shortages, supply chain issues and what I feel to be most significant, uncertainty as it relates to the economic future. Uncertainty results in panic and panic results in higher costs. 2020 was an adverse year for the commercial insurance industry (upon many others in the private public sectors). However, there has been traction gained thus far in 2021, that can be seen in a positive light as an end consumer. Some of the catalysts are that pandemic-related losses and or business closures have relatively plateaued and outside investment income gains, much to a surprise, have remained steady. However, it remains uncertain whether reserve levels (the amount an insurance carrier hold for claims) can keep pace with the rising inflation costs. On a positive note, information systems technology DECEMBER, 2021

and artificial intelligence modeling has grown leaps and bounds, allowing the insurance industry the ability to more accurately predict future results and respond more proactively to adverse trends. The negative affects within the property and casualty market related to inflation are being seen predominantly within the physical property and auto claims sector. Driven by the challenges presented by high cost of replacement materials, auto inventory, and the shortage of skilled labor have adversely spiked this sector. Medical and litigation costs are also rising, which are increasing cost factors of long-term claims and settlements. The volatile loss trend lines of insurance, such as automobile and workers comp operate with very thin loss/profit margins, which can be quickly diminished by a continuous rise in inflation rates. From an insurance carrier perspective, carriers that have more significant long term open claims, such as injury settlements are most exposed to a constant multiyear rise in inflation. Overall, when reviewing historical data within the property and casualty market, the industry is much more adequately positioned to absorb a period of continuous rising inflation than they have been in the past, which provides a level of optimism moving forward for the everyday consumer. n




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Patrick W. Saltmarsh Tim Hunt, CHST Dir. of Envt’l, Safety Health and Safety Corporate Director W. J. L. Derenzo French Excavating Corp. Companies

The Changing Landscape of Safety Let’s all think back to when we first started working, and the role of safety at that time. Those of you in the safety profession think about your position on the job, within your company, and how outsiders viewed your work. For the rest of you who aren’t in the safety profession, what were your views on the safety professionals you dealt with within your company and on your jobsite?


or many safety professionals, we started with one objective in mind, and that was compliance. We were tasked with ensuring everything was in line with all regulations (OSHA, EPA, DOT, and State Regulations). It was a checklistdriven time. We would check off if the toolbox talks were being conducted and submitted; people were wearing their PPE and ensuring that the company was meeting all requirements on the jobs so that if OSHA showed up, there wouldn’t be any surprises. Now fast forward to today. We have to think of safety on the jobsite, at home, and while traveling to and from work. In addition to safety being on our minds 24/7, we are faced with new challenges to contend with that require more than just a compliance outlook. One of the new challenges we face with the 24/7 safety mind is the issue of the increased awareness of mental health and substance abuse in construction. In the past, these issues were often pushed aside, saying that it’s a personal issue and not work-related. Today we know better; there isn’t a work and personal distinction anymore. What happens on the jobsite affects you at home and what happens at home affects you on the jobsite. Today’s safety professional has to recognize that. We have to assume that the worker intends to do their job safely and follow all protocols and DECEMBER, 2021

policies. The wrench that gets thrown into it all is their mental state, and then there are times when we may have to ask the question, could substance abuse play a role. Today’s site safety visits should continue to look for compliance issues, emphasizing relationship building. The goal is to change behaviors so that shortcuts are stopped and all protocols and policies are followed; and to have the safety professional viewed as a “guide” rather than an “officer.” The saying “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” is an excellent example of the changing landscape of the safety profession. We need workers to see that we are continued on page 50



Safety Corner continued from page 49

recognize mental health and substance abuse in the workplace. When those are talked about frequently, it reduces any stigma with the topics and hopefully opens people up to asking for help if they feel they need it. There are more resources out there today than in the past, and most insurance companies and unions have programs in place that are covered and easily accessible. Today’s safety professional needs to be more ike a swiss-army knife. They still need to know about regulation and compliance, but the more they know about business, operations, human behavior, mental health, and substance abuse, the better. Today safety truly is a 24/7 mentality without the old distinctions of work and Boston Area Locations home. n

not there to check a box and run, that we are there to help educate them when required, to show a little compassion, and give a simple “hey how’s it going?,” and some kudos for doing the right thing. In the past, the level of discussion between safety and the field staff may have been centered around negative observations. Give people credit for doing the right thing, and they may strive to continue that behavior. If we, as safety professionals, aim to be proactive rather than reactive, we will have more time in the field to build relationships. We can manage the pop-up and unexpected risks better throughout the project through proper pre-planning and risk mitigation upfront. The 2 Dexter Street site inspections become an Everett, MA 02149 evaluation tool to measure the Boston Area Boston Area protocols put in place during Locations Locations 431 Second Street the planning phase. We can Everett, MA 02149 learn what may not work on this 2 Dexter Street 2 Dexter Street Everett, MA 02149 Everett, MA 02149 specific jobsite and adjust JHA’s and safety plans accordingly. 431 Second Street 431 Second Street Stand downs and on-site safety Everett, MA 02149 Everett, MA 02149 meetings turn into more of a BOSTON AREA LOCATIONS discussion than a lecture. An 100 Fremont Street 2 Dexter Street 431 Second Street additional benefit to relationship Worcester, 01603 Everett, MAMA 02149 Everett, MA 02149 building is more open and honest communication. To complete projects safely and efficiently, we need more communication between all levels. If a piece of equipment is missing or a tool is needed, everyone needs to feel comfortable to stop that work. Safety plays a role in supporting the right to stop work, to stop Minichiello Bros./Scrap-It, Inc., shortcuts from being taken if Minichiello Bros./Scrap-It, Inc. something doesn’t arriveServes (i.e., over 2500 Serves over 2500 customers a week and is one of New England’s largest customers a week and is one New England's largest buyers, don’t go in the trench if the trench buyers, sellers, and processors of scrap metal. Forour overgoal 60 years goal sellers and processors of scrap metal. For over 60 years has our remained remained the same - to in provide the best along prices in thetop industry along with box didn’t come as you expected the same - tohas provide the best prices the industry with notch top notch service! Fred Rogers at 617-595-5505 customer Callcustomer Fred Rogers at Call 617-595-5505 it to. Stop work, notify of the service! Minichiello Bros./Scrap-It, Inc., missing equipment, and wait until Minichiello Bros./Scrap-It, Inc., the proper equipmentServes arrives over 2500 customers a week and is one New England's largest buyers, before getting in the trench). sellers and processors of scrap metal. For overa60week years ourisgoal Serves over 2500 customers and onehas Newremained England's largest buyers the same - to provide the best in theof industry along with notch sellers and prices processors scrap metal. Fortop over 60 years our goal has remain Today’s safety professionals Callsame Fred -Rogers at 617-595-5505 to provide the best prices in the industry along with top notch must be willing to customer continueservice! the customer service! Call Fred Rogers at 617-595-5505 learning. We must stay on the front edge of change and reach out for help in areas we need. Turn your metal into money today! It’s a small world, and there’s Turn your metal into money today! plenty of people willing to offer Minichiello Bros. Inc./Scrap-It Inc. Minichiello Bros. Inc.,/Scrap-It Inc. assistance. Everyone needs to



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Construction Safety & Compliance: An Interview with Carmine Cimetti

Vice President - Construction Risk Specialties, HUB International UCANE’s Construction Outlook magazine editors recently caught up with Carmine Cimetti at a busy construction site in Boston. Carmine is a key member of HUB International’s Construction Specialties Practice which provides traditional and alternative risk solutions to clients throughout New England. Carmine outlined the critical importance of Safety & Health in today’s heavy construction industry. Can you give us some insite on your background in Construction Safety, and how you eventually landed with HUB International? I’m a graduate of Wentworth Institute of Technology with a degree in Construction Management, focusing on heavy infrastructure and building construction. My experience in construction safety and health started in the mid 90s when I worked for several large construction companies and construction managers in New England. I was fortunate to have worked on some historic projects including the Boston Harbor Cleanup and the Central Artery/Tunnel Project (the “Big Dig”). There’s something to be said about on-the-job experience on such complex projects that ultimately gave me great exposure, not only to construction safety, but to insurance related issues as well. My work was noticed and I was approached by a construction underwriter from a global insurance company that needed an individual familiar with construction work-flow, safety and health, and who had a basic understanding of insurance. I was intrigued, so I accepted the position. Over time my role expanded to encompass risk management more broadly. I earned several professional designations (ASP/CSP, CRIS, etc.) and have had an on-going focus on education to stay current with the construction industry’s latest rules, regulations, policies, etc. While working for the insurance company I worked closely with many New England area contractors, ensuring their access to DECEMBER, 2021

the deep resources that an international insurance carrier can provide. A perfect storm of circumstances enabled me to expand on my experience in construction safety and health as it directly relates to risk management and insurance. HUB International, a well-known insurance broker with a thriving construction specialty practice, wanted to augment its team in New England. Their need was for a professional who could advocate for clients, provide guidance on safety risk and mitigation, and support client interests when it comes to choosing the right coverage from today’s ever-increasing array of insurance alternatives. I accepted the offer and started with HUB in 2015 and I’m currently Vice President - Construction Risk Specialties. continued on page 53



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Safety & Compliance continued from page 51 What types of Safety and Health related professionals and services does HUB International provide to contractor clients engaged in construction? As the fifth largest insurance broker in the world HUB is proud to provide one-stop shopping for our clients including an unmatched blend of risk management services and solutions for any type of contractor or business owner. The company’s extensive team of construction experts has expertise in both horizontal construction and vertical construction including almost every specialty trade. Based on the contractor’s field of work, clients are assigned to a team of HUB professionals who advise clients on how to confidently identify, quantify, and reduce risk through tailored solutions. Ultimately, the goal is to make sure they can protect what matters most to them – their people, their property, and their profitability. The COVID-19 Pandemic continues to require contractors and their Safety professionals to react quickly to a changing array of

safety protocols in order to protect employees. From an industry standpoint, how well do you think the local heavy construction industry has adapted to this unique situation? On the local level (New England) HUB is reporting that our contractor clients involved in heavy civil work, site, foundation, and structural work adapted quickly and effectively to the challenges of working during a pandemic. However, many vertical contractors and interior trades were impacted by project shutdowns, especially in Boston, which was the first major city in the U.S. to totally shut down all construction at the pandemic outset in 2020. The challenges and constraints required for working safely indoors were difficult and often expensive. Creating social distances between multiple trades working in the same high-rise building was a challenge, to say the least. These jobs required increased management costs, re-scheduling, some night-work, and, in most cases, added engineering controls to allow work to move forward. The current Administration has recently mandated that all Federal Contractors achieve a 100% employee vaccination rate (for COVID-19) by January 4, 2022 as a condition continued on page 54

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Safety & Compliance continued from page 53 of working for the Federal government. Private businesses with over 100 employees received a similar mandate from the Department of Labor (DOL). From your company’s broad perspective, how do you think these mandates will impact the construction industry? President Biden’s Executive Order is sure to cause an impact to all contractors (and lower tier subs) who do business with the Federal government – whatever their size. It has proven difficult for any company to achieve a 100% vaccination rate. Even if only a small portion of the contractor’s or subcontractor’s program involves Federal work it appears that their entire home office – including those working remotely - will need to comply. Possibly much of the company’s non-federal operations could be impacted as well. The Q&A’s issued with this Executive Order are not encouraging for federal contractors and I’m sure some interpretations will need to be made in court. Some contractors may lose key personnel and may question whether or not they will pursue future Federal work, especially smaller contracts. The DOL’s OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard

(ETS) impacts non-federal contractors, and every other type business, that has over 100 employees. Unlike the Federal Contractor Executive Order, the ETS does allow an option of weekly testing. Implementation has just been temporarily halted by a Federal court so all companies, and tens of millions of employees, are awaiting a final legal decision. HUB has been ahead of the curve on these vaccination mandates, working steadily with our clients on company policies and programs that can help them reach compliance with not only federal but state and local laws, without decimating their workforce. We’ve created and published updates, white papers, and webinars on the topic. As these vaccination mandates evolve, I’ll be working closely with my clients to help them mitigate impacts to their staffing levels and company operations. What other Safety concerns did you see among your construction clients in 2021, and what concerns lay ahead in 2022? Obviously COVID-19 seemed to be the dominant issue in 2021. Most contractors returned to “near-normal” operations or at least most of the continued on page 55

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Safety & Compliance continued from page 54 COVID work requirements have been engrained in the workforce so as to be less of an impact to the daily routines. Throughout the year we continued to promote clean work areas, vigilance, awareness, and respect for airborne diseases such as COVID. Having a national presence allows HUB to alert the Boston and New England Regions of trends in other parts of the country. That way our local team can work with contractors to avoid some of those trends. In 2021 we saw (nationally) an uptick in workplace violence, cyber security issues related to remote work stations, and a return of OSHA to the jobsite. Looking forward to 2022, it appears that the threat of emerging strains of the virus will hang over the country and the construction industry. The industry must also look out for the impacts of trends that are byproducts of the pandemic and could deepen in 2022. These trends may intensify safety risks as a result. There has been an ongoing boom in construction, which will only gain momentum with the Biden Administration’s infrastructure bill. But the shortages and delays in delivery of materials, not to mention ongoing labor shortages, may create substantial pressure to find ways to get the work done on time. Are owners providing sufficient time to complete projects in 2022?


Alternative materials like mass timber and bendable concrete are increasingly taking hold as their quality improves. Do contractors have sufficient people with the skills to work with them, safely or at all? Further, the industry needs 1 million workers in the next two years. This will challenge employers not only to train people effectively in a pressure-filled environment, but also to monitor how well their people are withstanding the pressure. Understanding the mental health of their employees is becoming increasingly important for all company owners, but more so for contractors , where a failure to do so has the potential to produce serious safety implications. n

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The “Spirit of Giving” was in the Air at UCANE’s 48th Annual Christmas Party and Scholarship Auction


Sponsored by C. N. Wood Company, Inc.

he mood was festive and smiles and good cheer abounded as more than 175 UCANE members and guests socialized in the ballroom at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Norwood on December 8, 2021. The room was aglow with Christmas lights and decorations setting the tone for the evening. Tables were set up displaying some beautiful and useful items that were included in our online auction. On display were a host of sparkling items that would be awarded as raffle prizes. Bidders checked out the goods and purchased raffle tickets while also catching up with fellow members, customers, and competitors. With the pandemic having interrupted several UCANE functions throughout 2021, there was an upbeat atmosphere in the room as members and friends could finally share a fun and worthwhile event again.


For close to five decades, the generosity of UCANE members at our annual auction has allowed our Association to recognize the achievements of more than 500 high school and college students, by awarding each of them scholarships to further their education. The recipients are the sons, daughters, and grandchildren of our member firm owners and their employees. Our Scholarship winners never cease to impress our judges with their outstanding successes in scholastics, athletics, and community service. UCANE members take great pride in being able to support these future leaders. UCANE Executive Director Jeff Mahoney kicked off the meeting by thanking everyone for joining us and reminding them that the format for our auction would again be online. Large screens on each side of the room rolled through the bid items and displayed the current high bid. Most attendees had preregistered for the auction earlier in the week, and others were assisted by members of the UCANE staff with the registration process. Bidders on-site, as well as off-site, could pull up the auction items on their cell-phones, see the current bids, and bid electronically on their favorite items. Jeff reminded all that the bidding on all items would close at exactly 8:00 p.m. Jeff also attended to a few business items while at the podium, and then announced the names of the Officers and Board of Directors who were elected via ballot to lead UCANE in 2022. He also thanked those who guided our Association through 2021. After a round of



applause for the Officers and Board, Jeff then directed the guests to both sides of the room where a delicious hot buffet dinner awaited them. As the members enjoyed their meal, and conversation flowed at every table, Jeff drew raffle tickets and more than 40 lucky ticket holders had some great prizes brought to their table. Our member’s homes and offices would soon be decorated with giant reindeer, colorful sleighs, table lamps, poinsettias, and 6’ tall nutcrackers. Throughout dinner, the raffle drawings and the online auction continued. Bidders had some awesome choices. There was David Yurman jewelry, Southwest airline tickets to anywhere in the Continental USA, a Kate Spade tote bag, classic wall art, and a motorized Spider-Man car for the kids, to name just a few. Looking for sports tickets? If you like the Celtics, the Bruins, the Red Sox, or the Patriots, there were multiple dates available for all of them. Are you, or somebody you know, a golfer? There were 11 choices to bid on at some of the finest courses in Massachusetts. The two big ticket items of the night were once again the “priceless” 22 seat Luxury Suites at Fenway Park, both graciously donated by McCourt Construction Co. It will be a very special outing next summer for UCANE members Garrity Asphalt Reclaiming and A. R. Bell, Inc.! Overall, a wonderful time was had by all who attended. The online auction format was another success, and it was a fun filled evening highlighted by our members generosity and their desire to support our Association and our Scholarship Program. It was the perfect way to kick off the Holiday Season and UCANE would like to thank all of our donors, bidders, and attendees for their unwavering support! n




A world of thanks to the following UCANE members and friends who donated cash or provided items to our auction... and to those who purchased auction items.

ATS Equipment, Inc. Aggregate Industries Northeast Region, Inc. Albanese Bros., Inc. A. Andreassi & Son, Inc. Amelia’s Restaurant (Canton, MA) American Equipment & Fabricating Corp. A. F. Amorello & Sons, Inc. Aqua Line Utility, Inc. Badger Daylighting Baltazar Contractors, Inc. Barletta Heavy Division A. R. Belli, Inc. Biszko Contracting Corp. Richard J. Bradley Co., Inc. Brookmeadow Country Club Dennis K. Burke, Inc. C. C. Construction, Inc. C.J.P. & Sons Const. Co., Inc. C&S Insurance Agency, Inc. Joseph P. Cardillo & Son, Inc. Jay Cashman, Inc. Celco Construction Corp. Centinel Financial Group, LLC N. Cibotti, Inc. Concrete Systems, Inc. Core & Main Cullen, Murphy & Co., P.C. Dagle Electrical Const. Corp. Dale Carnegie Institute D’Allessandro Corp. K. DaPonte Construction Corp. Darmody, Merlino & Co., LLP Davagian Grillo & Semple LLP DeFelice Corporation DeSanctis Insurance Agency, Inc. Pat DiCerbo (Northwestern Mutual) James J. Dowd & Sons Ins. Agency, Inc. The Driscoll Agency EJ Eastern States Ins. Agency, Inc. Eastpoint Lasers, LLC Equipment Corp. of America

Eversource FED. CORP. Feeney Brothers Utility Services Ferguson Waterworks Frank Corp. Environmental Services W. L. French Excavating Corp. GVC Construction Inc. GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. Gagliarducci Construction, Inc. Garrity Asphalt Reclaiming, Inc. Genalco, Inc. P. Gioioso & Sons, Inc. Pelino Gioioso Green Environmental, Inc. I.W. Harding Const. Co., Inc. Henniker Directional Drilling, LLC Hilb New England Hinckley Allen LLP HUB Int’l New England, LLC Ideal Concrete Block Iron Haulers, Inc. KJS, Inc. P. J. Keating Company Lawrence Lynch Corp. Lazaro Paving Corp. Lorusso Corporation Lorusso Heavy Equipment, LLC S. M. Lorusso & Sons, Inc. Mabbett& Associates, Inc. Massachusetts Ready Mix LLC McCourt Construction Company McGill Hose & Coupling, Inc. McLaughlin Chevrolet McWane Ductile Milton CAT NSI Contracting LLC North American Crane & Rigging NorthStar Insurance Services, Inc. OHS Training & Consulting, Inc. Ocean State Oil Robert B. Our Co., Inc. Palmer Paving Corp. Pawtucket Hot Mix Asphalt Perma-Patch, LLC

Podgurski Corp. E. J. Prescott, Inc. H. R. Prescott & Sons, Inc. Putnam Pipe Corp. Quinn-Perkins Sand RSM US LLP RJV Construction Corp. Rain for Rent - New England Rapid Flow, Inc./ Vacuum Excavation, Inc. Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers Roadsafe Traffic Systems Rodman Ford Sales, Inc. Rogers & Gray Insurance SPS New England, Inc. Scituate Concrete Products Corp. Scrap-It, Inc./ Minichiello Bros., Inc. Shea Concrete Products, Inc. Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. Skanska USA Civil Social Indoor Starkweather & Shepley Insurance Brokerage, Inc. Stiles Company, Inc. Taylor Oil Company Tenna Tonry Insurance Group, LLC Travelers Twelve Points Retirement Advisors U.S. Pipe Umbro & Sons Const. Corp. United Concrete Products United Construction & Forestry, LLC Veterans Development Corp. Vico Ristorante Italiano WES Construction Corp. F. W. Webb Company Weston & Sampson Engineers, Inc. R. H. White Const. Co., Inc. C. N. Wood Company, Inc. Woodco Machinery, Inc. Xylem, Inc. R. Zoppo Corp.

2022 Scholarship Applications Now Available

UCANE To Award Twelve $2,000 Scholarships WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY? •

Any child or grandchild of a UCANE member OR an employee of a member in good standing.

The applicant should be a high school senior who will be enrolling full time in an accredited two- or four-year academic institution for the year beginning in September 2022 OR a current full-time college student who has not previously received a UCANE scholarship.

HOW WILL THE APPLICATION BE JUDGED? Twelve $2,000 scholarships will be awarded. Two of the 12 scholarships will be awarded to applicants pursuing a construction related degree. There will be a question on the application to indicate if you believe you are eligible for these scholarships. The other 10 scholarships are open to all other courses of study. Applications are judged and winners are selected by independent outside educators. Selection will be based on the overall worthiness of the applicant by considering: 1. Scholastic achievement; 2. Interest and effort in preparing for your vocation; 3. Extra-curricular activities at and away from school, including community and religious service; 4. Difficulty of course curriculum and career objectives; 5. Personal recommendations; 6. Thoroughness of the completed application, particularly the essay

HOW WILL THE CONFIDENTIALITY OF THE APPLICATION BE PROTECTED? Each application is assigned a number. When completed, page 1 of the application, with the name of the applicant, must be detached and sealed in the accompanying envelope. Please be certain to indicate the UCANE firm where you, your parent, or grandparent is employed when applying. The applicant’s name must not appear on any part of the application or attached transcripts and recommendations. After the winning applications have been selected, the envelopes with those corresponding numbers will be opened to identify the award recipients.

WHAT MUST ACCOMPANY THE APPLICATION? 1. A transcript of high school or college grades through the latest period prior to April 15. 2. A letter of recommendation from the principal or faculty advisor/academic advisor. 3. Additional recommendations from people familiar with the applicant’s ability and character, and from responsible members of the community (optional but recommended).

IMPORTANT - PLEASE NOTE: In the event the applicant receives a full scholarship from the college of his/her choice, or from any organization, civic group, etc., the UCANE Scholarship will be awarded to another applicant. Applicant’s parent/grandparent must work for a company in the New England Region. Applications must be received in the UCANE office no later than April 15, 2022. If you have any questions concerning the completion of this application please contact: Utility Contractors’ Association of New England, Inc. 300 Congress Street • Suite 101 • Quincy, MA 02169 Tel: 617.471.9955 • Email: DECEMBER, 2021



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3 Key Steps to Align Your Leadership Goals with Employee Productivity

Motivating your people is hard. Sure, you’d like to increase their productivity to protect your margins, which can be tight on some projects. But what’s in it for them? Why would they choose to work harder, if only to make your business a little more profitable?


little-known secret is that there’s a way to align your commercial interests with your people’s personal interests. But it takes strong leadership to create a culture in which everyone benefits from improved performance. This article will serve as your guided tour of three key steps that are most likely to yield results, from my experience as chief executive officer (CEO) of a multibillion-dollar industrial business.

1. Safety First It starts with safety. It’s often said people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Working at heights and in confined spaces pose significant risks each day. Every employer says safety comes first, but few are found to mean it when their words are put to the test. Safety is the beachhead where your credibility with your people is won or lost. If your people truly believe that you will choose to put their well-being ahead of your profits, you’ll get their attention. From there, you have something to work with. And, surprisingly, a safe business is a profitable business. I’ve seen companies collapse when a fatality on a worksite caused them to lose a major client contract. I’ve seen companies pay lip service to safety by putting onerous (or worse, irrational) procedures in place. All this serves to do is breed cynicism in the workforce. When you get the chance to show that your actions match your words, don’t let it pass you by. The start of the journey is knowing and understanding that the only thing that truly keeps your people safe is the culture and behaviors each of them exhibits. Committing to bringing them up to that standard is your role as a leader, and one of the toughest challenges you’ll face — it’s the battle for their hearts and minds. To get results, you must commit to building a


team of managers and supervisors who take safety seriously and aren’t afraid to enforce the highest standards. Not everyone will rise to meet the standard, and that’s when you have to make tough decisions.

2. Company & Employee Values With the foundation of a safe environment, the next challenge is to align your people to your company’s value proposition. You don’t have to create a noble purpose that transcends mere construction work to do this. You simply need to have a clear link between the things that drive value for your company and the things your people need to do to achieve that. People are much more likely to offer their discretionary effort if they can see the contribution they’re making to the overall objectives. There’s nothing worse than someone feeling as though their efforts don’t make a difference. If you can show people the difference their efforts make and provide reinforcement for a job well done, you’ll start to notice a spring in their step. Encouraging continued on page 65



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3 Key Steps continued from page 63 and rewarding improvements in performance and outcomes is critical to improving company culture and increasing productivity. You’ll also start to recognize all the areas in which your team’s efforts are not contributing to the highest-value outcomes for your business. There will be a range of activities that suck your people’s time and effort but add virtually no value to the business. Identifying these things and eliminating them isn’t easy, but if you don’t know precisely what creates value for your business, it’s virtually impossible.

3. Accountability

doing the job right), with no reward for doing so. The thing that makes this work, for your people as well as your company, is empowerment. This is the flip side of the accountability coin, and they can’t be separated. In my experience, the vast majority of people want to make a difference when they come to work. They want to be able to take pride in their work. They want to feel the deep satisfaction of a job well done and a challenge overcome. If you can give them this, it’s a greater gift than any pay raise they might think they deserve. According to author Dan Pink, people are driven by three things: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. continued on page 66

Finally,single-point accountability is key to high performance. This is about execution — we all know what needs to be done, so let’s get it done in the most efficient and effective way we can. In most work crews, accountability for results is shared. No one is singularly answerable for specific outcomes. But shared accountability is no accountability — the only thing you know for sure is that there will be gaps and overlaps. When something goes wrong, you’ll hear the words, “Oh, sorry, I thought Greg was doing that.” Or, often, you’ll find more than one person working on the same problem. It spreads the load and feels safe to have someone else on the hook for the results in case something goes wrong. This is like a cancer, slowly eating away at your team’s culture. Your people must be prepared to individually own the outcomes that you need them to achieve. This promotes a different energy, trumping the “all care, no responsibility” mindset that dominates teams with weak accountability structures. The rule of thumb strong leaders live by is “one head to pat, one rump to kick.” If this sounds a little brutal, that’s because it is. You’re asking people to take on personal risk (the risk of being fired for not DECEMBER, 2021

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3 Key Steps continued from page 65 If you can empower your people effectively, you’ll satisfy the first two of these drivers. To do this, make sure you set the right goals: not too challenging, not too lax. Make sure people know what “good” looks like. Generally, people want to know three fairly basic things when they come to work each day: •

What are your expectations of me?

How am I going against those expectations?

What does my future hold?

Next, make sure every individual has the resources to successfully do what you’re asking them to do. There’s no point in setting unrealistic targets or trying to cut corners that can’t be cut. Instead, ensure the appropriate level of support is provided. The next bit is the hardest — give your people the empowerment to make the decisions that affect them most. Too often, we think that telling people what to do will deliver the best outcomes. Although there are occasions when that holds true, it’s rarely the case. If you give people more control of their

the single-point accountability that improves team performance. You’ll liberate their creativity and effort in a way that you never thought possible. So, try to push decision-making to the lowest level in a team that you sensibly can. All of this takes strong leadership: to challenge your people when they choose not to meet the standard you’re setting; to have the discipline to not interfere when they make the odd mistake as they get comfortable with their new decision-making rights; to be available to help them solve problems and listen to their perspectives; to say “no” when people are working on things that don’t add value.

Your confidence will come from repeated success. Start by showing your people you care, and giving them more autonomy and control of their environment. You’ll be surprised how they respond. As their confidence grows, your company’s results improve. But if you don’t step out and take that risk to start with, you’ll never move from where you are today. Written by Martin G. Moore. Reprinted from n

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Have You Noticed Me Lately?

Dconstruction projects? Pre-Construction...Con-

oesn’t it seem like there are three phases to most


key contract clauses about notice, documentation, and change order procedures is a sure way to watch your profit dwindle.

General contractors and subcontractors are optimists. They often bid jobs regardless of difficulty, location, or size. And, when they’re the low bidder, they think they’re the only company who bid it right, regardless of how much money they left on the table. And to top it off, they’ll sign just about any contract put in front of them, often after their work has started when they have no leverage to negotiate fair terms and conditions! As a general contractor who issues more than 250 subcontracts each year, this amazes me. Either subcontractors trust me, they can’t read, or it seems they just don’t want to deal with contracts and paperwork.

Most contractors don’t like paperwork. But unfortunately, contracting is about CONTRACTS, and contracts are paperwork! As much as 50% of all profits made or lost on construction projects can be as a result of managing the contract properly. The contract or subcontract defines how you must do business with your customer. Too many contractors and subcontractors sign pre-prepared 5, 10, 15, or 20 page contracts without reading them, or having their attorney review them, or without understanding the specific contractual requirements.


Did You Notice?

Construction is a four-letter word: RISK. It’s a very difficult business, with lots of moving parts. On every project there are 5,947 chances for things to go wrong. Contractors find themselves at the mercy of project plans, changes, payments, scheduling, weather, labor, equipment, materials, and deliveries. So much can go wrong. So much is out of their control. At the end of every job (when it’s too late to do much about it) the bottom-line reality of what the project manager, superintendent, or foreman has, or more typically, has NOT done, to manage the contract properly becomes apparent. Not paying attention to

One of the first things to look for when reviewing your contract is: What requires notice? “Notice” is proper notification to your customer about a change, conflict, incident, accident, or problem, within a specified number of days, and in a specified format (usually in writing). Before you start a project, review the contract and prepare a chart listing items which require proper notice. This “Notice & Documentation Chart” can then be used by the project manager, superintendent, foreman, project administrator, and bookkeeper throughout the duration of the project. continued on page 69


Contracting is About CONTRACTS!




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Have You Noticed continued from page 67 Notice & Documentation Chart (Sample*) Description Written Notice Required Within: Changes in Scope of Work 5 days after awareness of change Delay Requests 2 days of delay incident Requests for Information 2 days Differing Field Conditions 2 days after evidence of condition Claims 7 days after event Disputes & Protest 10 days after occurence * Note: This is a sample chart only. Review the general contract or subcontract on every project to complete this chart.

W.I.N with no V.A.’s! In our construction business, we use the slogan: “W.I.N.” – “Write It Now!” Phone calls, job meetings, or meeting minutes are typically NOT proper notice or documentation. Contractors tend to postpone or delay documenting conflicts, issues, and changes as they occur. Often they call their customer about problems, but fail to put it in writing until weeks or months later. Often contractors don’t put things in

writing until after the fact and then invoice for extra work without proper notice weeks later. This creates major problems trying to collect for additional work or schedule delays that most likely is warranted.

Another saying we enforce is “No V.A.’s” – “No Verbal Agreements!” Verbal agreements aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Properly record all verbal agreements in writing and e-mail or fax them to your customer the same day. No exceptions. Confirm these in your regular project meetings and monthly recap reports. A phone call to your customer is NOT sufficient notice or an official request in any situation. I got a call the other day from a drywall subcontractor asking me if I would “help him out” as his material prices had significantly increased. He insisted we had discussed this when negotiating the subcontract several months continued on page 70

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Have You Noticed continued from page 69 prior. My memory and his differed on this point. He then accused me of not being “a man of my word.” I suggested he read his subcontract and follow the requirements for notice and requests for changes if he felt he was due extra money. In retrospect, his request came several months after he was aware of the price increases. I told him if he wanted extra money, send in a written request clearly outlining the original prices versus the current prices for materials with invoices and backup from his suppliers. And I asked him to realize price increases do not warrant an increased contract amount without prior written agreement by all parties. I also asked him if I would have gotten a credit if his prices went down!

Documentation and Notices Must Be: •

Often project managers don’t describe an event in enough detail so that a neutral party would completely understand it several months later or in court. An example of good and poor ways to document are as follows: Poor documentation: “We request a change order for seven extra yards of concrete required at deepend exterior footings.” Good documentation: “On October 22, the soils engineer issued a field memo requiring the exterior footings along the east property line to be deepened three feet. This was required to avoid a conflict with the storm drain pipe which runs parallel to the footing. Enclosed is a digital photo of the conflict and the deepened footing work which we performed as requested. This extra work added seven yards of concrete to our scope of work. Please issue a change order to cover this.”

Timely – Within the timeframe required by contract Protect Your Rights! • Complete – A clear, organized discussion of the When you proceed without proper documentation issue on conflicts or changes knowing there may be • Reasonable – A fair & warranted request disagreements or misunderstandings, you accept full responsibility. Most construction project owners Our written subcontract actually had addressed assume the plans are perfect, there aren’t any the price increase issue. Unfortunately for him, his prices increased more than he had anticipated. continued on page 71 After he realized the problem, he wanted to get reimbursed for more than he was due. If in doubt, you must put requests and notices in Water Works Specialist writing, via email or fax in a timely John Hoadl Water Works Specialist Tel:781-878-8098 Fax:781-878-5298 manner to document your position Water Works Spe and protect your contractual rights. Tel:781-878-8098 Tel: 781-878-8098 Fax: 781-878-5298

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Have You Noticed continued from page 70 conflicts, and the contractors and subcontractors should anticipate all field problems in their bid. They also assume small conflicts which cause minor changes shouldn’t cost anything. They generally don’t realize that they also have project contractual representations, warranties & responsibilities (RWR) The project developer/owner’s RWR’s include: • The proposed contract schedule is reasonable • The plans and specifications are complete and accurate • The owner won’t interfere with the contractor’s work • The owner will professionally manage the contract • The owner will quickly respond to contract issues • The owner will pay per the contract • The owner will be reasonable The general contractor and subcontractor’s RWR’s include: • They will follow all contract requirements • They will build per the plans & specifications • They will provide enough trained workers to meet the schedule

They will be reasonable

By not documenting conflicts or changes in a timely and complete manner, contractors inadvertently shift more responsibility onto their own shoulders and can lose the right to collect. Providing proper notice starts at the beginning of every project. Meet with your customer, discuss the contract terms and what it requires. Review and agree on the project notice & documentation required for every conflict or change. And then be ready to follow the contract. Putting things in writing takes a little extra time, but in the end, will save you headaches and make you more money. n George Hedley CPBC is a certified professional construction BIZCOACH and popular speaker. He helps contractors build better businesses, grow, increase profits, develop management teams, improve field production, and get their companies to work. He is the best-selling author of “Get Your Construction Business To Always Make A Profit!” available on To get his free e-newsletter, start a personalized BIZCOACH program, attend a BIZ-BUILDER Boot Camp, or get a discount at www. online university for contractors, Visit or E-mail

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