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Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013


President’s Message As I reflect on the past year serving as President of the UTCA I am reminded of how time flies. This past year offered challenges, sadness, opportunities and successes. I have experienced camaraderie with the board and have garnered a new awareness of the need for this association to become stronger and more unified in an effort to achieve results for the membership. One of our goals was to grow our membership and I am happy to announce we have added new blood to our roster of contractors, subcontractors and associates. As our membership continues to grow and strengthen I realize our associates need a bigger role and a louder voice in the board room and at the membership meetings. The associate members that make up our suppliers, equipment manufacturers, insurance and bonding agents/underwriters are such a large part of our industry we need to listen to and take into strong consideration their viewpoints. Another goal was to put the “U” back into the UTCA. Our association has spent a lot of time, and rightfully so, with the DOT, Turnpike, Port Authority, Bi-State bridge agencies, and other surface transportation opportunities. I am proud to write we are taking steps to restructure our staff to create a Utility staff member to track and help manage the opportunities on the public utility market. We have aligned ourselves this year with a public relations firm that will help us, as Jim Reid would say, WIN. The infrastructure funding task force, led by Jim, has outlined a plan to help educate the public so our legislators can have the courage to create a dedicated sustainable funding mechanism for our infrastructure improvements. This will take more than one year but we have the leadership in our association to continue the fight towards something that would be a giant step forward for this association and the State of New Jersey. Our committees continue to tackle legislative, regulatory, membership, specification, DEP, and bidding issues throughout the industry. We continue to be consistent with challenging any language or legislation that does not promote lowest responsive, responsible bids. A program supporting apprenticeship programs along with not impairing the ability to continue fair competitive bidding is something the UTCA will always bolster.

I would like to congratulate two member firms that are celebrating significant milestones. Ferreira Construction Company celebrates 25 years in business and Trench Technologies celebrates 5 years. I wish both these companies continued success. The UTCA staff prepares for another successful convention and PAC auction September 19th through the 22nd at the Tropicana. This year George Thompson will be presented with the William Feather Memorial Award, Jack Callahan will receive the Larry Gardner Award and Bob Briant, Sr. will be posthumously inducted into the New Jersey Construction Industry Hall of Fame. All recipients’ are very deserving of the awards and I would like to offer my congratulations to these great industry leaders. I will be passing the gavel to my friend Harry Chowansky at Saturday’s dinner dance. Our association will continue to grow and prosper under his leadership because Harry’s passion for this industry comes out in everything he does for the association and his company. Harry, I wish you the very best. It was an honor to serve the industry as President of the UTCA. I would like to thank Bob, Jr., Mike, Evan, Dan, Lauren, and Helene for all their support and guidance. I want to thank my executive committee and CIAP trustees for their extra effort this past year as we tackled changes with the CIAP in the best interest of the association. Many thanks to the board of directors that take the time out of their busy schedules to make a difference, who set their personal agendas to the side and help make decisions that are in the best interest of the entire industry. Finally my thanks go out to my family and to Fletch, Glenn and Dale Creamer for allowing me the time to serve as President of the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association. I look forward to seeing everyone in Atlantic City at the convention and hope you enjoy the remainder of your summer.

Best regards,

Joseph T. Walsh 2

Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

AUGUST 2013 Volume XXXVIII, Number 4

Contents Features

Published Bimonthly During 2013

4 13

Office Address: 1670 Route 34 North Farmingdale, NJ 07727 Mailing Address: PO Box 728 Allenwood, NJ 08720 (732) 292-4300 FAX: (732) 292-4310 Publisher: Robert A. Briant, Jr. Editor: Michael DeVito Editorial Contributors: Michael DeVito Evan Piscitelli Dan Neville

19 21

36 48 57 63


Ferreira Construction Completes Twenty Five Years In Construction NJ Contractor Is Denied Travel Expense Deductions Harry Chowansky, III UTCA President Elect Statistics Show Work Ahead To Improve Highway & Bridge Construction Worker Safety Trench Technologies Completes Five Years In Construction Avoiding Falls In Horizontal Construction What’s In A Name? With State & Federal Funds On The Way Construction Firms Need To Look At Cash Flow Offer Your Employees More Benefits - At No Cost To You!

5 4 19 4


Advertising Manager: Helene Nasdeo Photographer: Michael DeVito Cover Photo: Image Up Production/Graphics: Lauren Hagan Helene Nasdeo

Departments 2 9 25 29 53 73

President’s Message Labor Relations Legal Dig Safety Perspective Accounting Corner Legislative News

Circulation: Helene Nasdeo


Printed By: American Plus Printers Affiliations: ARTBA Clean Water Construction Coalition Water Infrastructure Network UTILITY AND TRANSPORTATION CONTRACTOR (ISSN 0192-4843) is published six times a year by the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association of New Jersey, 1670 Highway 34 North, Farmingdale, NJ 07727. Periodical postage paid at Farmingdale, NJ and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to UTILITY AND TRANSPORTATION CONTRACTOR, PO Box 728, Allenwood, NJ 08720.

Cover Pictured on the cover from left to right, are Tom Groark, Brian Delpome, Tino Garcia, Nelson Ferreira, Nancy Vliet Cucco and Ray Finnegan.

Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013


FERREIRA CONSTRUCTION COMPLETES TWENTY FIVE YEARS IN CONSTRUCTION Company Continues To Evolve And Diversify Nelson Ferreira got his start in the construction industry as a member of the Local 472 Laborers Union. He was employed by Frapaul Construction and learned under a very influential foreman - his father, Antonio Ferreira. In 1988, Nelson decided to branch out on his own when he formed his own company with only a Mack dump truck and a relentless drive to build a successful company. For the first seven years of the business, Nelson provided the hauling of material to several New Jersey contractors on heavy highway projects.

In 2004, under the guidance of Tino Garcia, Ferreira began working in Florida, and has since then completed several drainage projects for the Florida DOT, and a runway expansion at the Martin

Ferreira personnel work on the Brooklyn Bridge project.

An aerial view of the World Trade Center Tower.

In the mid-1990’s, Nelson Ferreira’s company began to expand with the completion of its first bridge project. This project was the replacement of the Burnt Mills Road Bridge for Somerset County. Within six months, Ferreira Construction completed several other bridge replacement projects in Somerset County. With the experience gained on the county projects, Ferreira began focusing on projects for the NJDOT, NJ Turnpike and Port Authority of NY & NJ, and early into the new millennium, Ferreira Construction completed NJDOT projects on Route 206 in Hillsborough for $41.8 million, and Route 295 and Scotch Road for $27.2 million.

Foundation work on the PSE&G project in Jersey City. 4

County Airport in Stuart. The company also completed a shoreline stabilization project on Bird Island which is located in the Indian River Lagoon. This project involved construction of a reef system comprised of more than 2300 tons of lime rock to protect the reef and its natural habitat. Another significant project was the demolition and reconstruction of a fishing pier and dock in Riviera Beach. More recently, Ferreira completed the maintenance dredging of approximately 8,700 cubic yards of material from the Okeechobee Waterway. The current focus of the Florida operation is all facets of marine work. Nelson’s next endeavor was to expand into the New York construction market. The initial New York projects involved the completion of bus terminals and train station platforms for the MTA. In recent years, Ferreira has completed two projects for the NYCDOT - the reconstruction of the 78th Street pedestrian bridge over the FDR Drive, and the replacement of the E. 8th Street Bridge over the Belt Parkway. The 78th Street project was completed with the use of a 500 ton barge mounted crane and the work was performed within a five hour window during night time hours. Ferreira is currently a major subcontractor to Skanska Koch on the Brooklyn Bridge project, a five hundred million dollar bridge rehabilitation project for the NYCDOT. Ferreira’s scope of work includes the removal and replacement of the Manhattan and Brooklyn approach spans. Ferreira is also working at the World Trade Center as a subconsultant to the Tishman/Turner joint venture for the Transportation HUB, Vehicle Security Center and Retail FitOut. Ferreira has recently been awarded two Con Edison projects in New York and is looking forward to expanding into the NY utility market. Projects currently under construction in New Jersey include the Newark Bay Bridge project which is a joint venture with Tutor Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

help the residents of NJ through a natural disaster. Even after this event ceased to be front page news, Ferreira was still working hard to help restore New Jersey. This isn’t the first time Ferreira has been called to action in response to a natural disaster. Ferreira was involved with storm cleanup and restoration in Bound Brook, NJ after Hurricane Floyd in 2000 and in Florida after Hurricane Francis in 2004.

Workers on the 78th Street pedestrian bridge.

Perini Corporation. This $94 million dollar project consists of the reconstruction of the bridge deck, as well as structural steel repairs and lighting improvements. Ferreira has recently started construction on Route 23 in Sussex County. The scope of this project includes the realignment of Rt. 23 and the replacement of the Papakating Creek Bridge. In conjunction with its JV partner, The Crisdel Group, Ferreira is in the final stages of three other projects – Rt. 78 reconstruction in Hillside, and two New Jersey Turnpike roadway and bridge deck widening projects in south Jersey.

Work is performed on the NJ Turnpike in a joint venture with Crisdel Group.

Ferreira Construction’s latest endeavor has taken the company to the west coast. Known as Ferreira Coastal Construction, Ferreira has begun the process of a start up operation in the Los Angeles, California region. The intended market for this operation is underground utilities and guiderail. In 2006, recognizing a need for true sustainability and a reduction in the company’s carbon footprint, Ferreira built a 42,000 square foot corporate headquarter building that was distinguished as the first net-zero electric commercial building in the United States. The

Aerial view of fishing pier, dock & dredging project in Riviera Beach, Florida.

Ferreira Construction is also an active participant in the private construction market. Throughout its history, Ferreira has completed projects for Boeing Service Company, Dukes Farm Foundation, FedEx Corporation, Robert Wood Johnson Hospital and UMDNJ. Because of Ferreira’s extraordinary safety record, the company has been able to engage in the rigorous NJ utility market. Ferreira has successfully completed numerous projects for PSEG and its affiliate companies. Notable projects include site work and concrete foundation construction at the Kearny Generating Station, Metuchen Switching Yard Station, Hudson BET in Jersey City, and other PSEG locations. Ferreira Construction prides itself in its commitment to emergency response needs. After Super Storm Sandy hit New Jersey last October, Ferreira was first to respond with boots on the ground to Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

PSE&G project in Bergen County.

structure, which showcases a 223 KW roof mounted solar photovoltaic system comprised of 1,176 solar panels. These solar panels produce more electricity than the amount that is consumed, and the excess power is sold back into the electrical grid. Because of this accomplishment, Nelson Ferreira received the NJ Clean Energy Award from Governor Corzine. In conjunction with the net-zero electrical building, Ferreira developed Noveda Technologies, an innovative leader in real-time, 5

web-based energy and water monitoring. The company’s patented software solutions help reduce energy and water usage, optimize performance of renewable energy systems, and reduce the carbon footprint for customers. Noveda has users in over 33 countries with offices in the US, UK, India and Israel. Capitalizing on his entrepreneurial skills, vision and knack for surrounding himself with skilled people, Nelson diversified into the solar and pile driving market. Vanguard Energy Partners, an affiliate of Ferreira Construction, is a national solar construction firm that has designed and installed over 50 MW of solar projects since 2003. These projects include the highest solar array in the world, and one of the largest rooftop arrays in North America. Another new affiliate company for Ferreira is American Pile & Foundation which was established this year. American Pile & Foundation provides pile driving, sheeting and shoring, installation of cofferdams and bulkheads, and other services for foundation construction. The American Pile staff has more than 40 years of experience in these fields and is led by Ed Hardina. While Nelson Ferreira serves as CEO for all the Ferreira Companies, he is surrounded by a talented management staff to

assist in the day to day operations. Tino Garcia, Executive Vice President for the company, has been part of the Ferreira team since the award of that first Somerset County project. Tino also serves as Vice President for the Utility & Transportation Contractors Association of NJ. Other key members of the senior management team are Nancy Vliet, PE, Brian Delpome, Ray Finnegan, PE, and Tom Groark, PE. While Nelson values his senior management team, he also recognizes that his company would not be where it is today without all of his employees. He believes that through hard work, dedication, and continued education and training, Ferreira’s employees not only achieve the goals he has set forth, but exceed them. At Ferreira Construction, everyone is an integral part of the Ferreira Team – aka – “Team Blue”, contributing to the company’s success. In his 25 years in business, Nelson Ferreira has seen his company grow from a trucking company with one vehicle into a multi-faceted, well-oiled machine with several locations and divisions. The firm has proven to be one of New Jersey’s most dynamic and successful construction companies and is positioned for continued success in the future.

Congratulations To Ferreira Construction on 25 Successful Years in Business and

Harry Chowansky, UTCA President-Elect from your friends at


Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013



Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

Labor Relations

By: Jill Tobia Sorger, Esq. & James Y. Lee, Esq.

The Use Of Criminal Background Checks In The Hiring Process: Employers Beware! The EEOC has recently announced that it will focus it’s investigatory efforts on claims related to the discriminatory impact of an employer’s use of criminal background checks in its recruitment and hiring process. The EEOC’s enforcement efforts in this area stem from its published Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Although criminal background checks have traditionally been viewed as a widely accepted and useful employer practice, the EEOC guidance strongly disfavors utilizing arrest and conviction information to make employment decisions. UTCA Contractors, therefore, need to review their hiring policies to ensure that background checks are not having an unintended discriminatory impact on the contractor’s workforce. EEOC Guidance: According to the EEOC, arrest and conviction rates are highest among

Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

minorities, especially African American and Hispanic males. The EEOC therefore cautions employers that utilizing such information to make employment decisions can have a disparate impact on minorities and unfairly defeat minority hiring goals. As a result, the EEOC can be expected to investigate and scrutinize any employment decision where the results of a criminal background check are used in the decision making process. When reviewing employment decisions, the EEOC can be expected to place the burden on the employer to prove that the use of the background check information was appropriate for the position sought in light of the employer’s legitimate business needs. In addition, the employer must also demonstrate that there was no alternative criteria that the employer could have relied on in making the employment decision. The EEOC Guidance recommends that an employer utilizing background checks provide the applicant with an opportunity to explain the arrest or conviction and to

also take into consideration the severity of the arrest or conviction and the length of time since the occurrence. In other words, blanket policies barring the employment of individuals with criminal records will not be tolerated by the EEOC. Advice for UTCA Contractors: The EEOC’s Guidance demonstrates that an employer’s hiring process will be scrutinized by this government agency as well as others (the OFCCP has also issued a similar Guidance). However, background checks still remain a useful tool for employer’s desiring to promote a safe, secure and reliable workforce. Accordingly, it is prudent for UTCA Contractors to take the time to review and revise their hiring procedures so as to ensure that any background checks are being performed in a non-discriminatory manner and are not having a disparate impact on the contractor meeting minority hiring goals.



Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013



Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

NJ CONTRACTOR IS DENIED TRAVEL EXPENSE DEDUCTIONS The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld a prior Tax Court decision denying a building contractor auto-related deductions claimed on his return for travel between his home and temporary work locations. The costs including miles and tolls during an individual’s commute between his or her home and office or regular place of business are generally not deductible. However, travel expenses incurred between one’s regular place of business and a job site or client location are allowed as business expense deductions. In some cases, the travel between a person’s home and place of business would qualify for a deduction. Regulation 1.162 cites a few exceptions to the general rules relating to the deductibility of travel. They are as follows: 1. Temporary Distant Workplace Exception – Workers are generally allowed a deduction if they are traveling between their residence and a temporary work location outside of their metropolitan area where their regular place of business is located. 2. Regular Work Location Exception – Employees are generally allowed a deduction if they have one or more regular work locations away from their residence. The travel between their residence and temporary work location is deductible. 3. Home Office Exception – Workers are generally allowed a deduction if they can establish that they have a home office. The travel between their home and temporary work locations would be deductible.

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By: Lou Sandor, CPA, CCIFP WithumSmith+Brown

The NJ contractor lost his case on all three of the exceptions above. The Temporary Distant Workplace Exception was not met because the court determined that the workplaces were within the normal work areas and not outside of the metropolitan area. The Regular Work Location Exception was not met because the locations where he worked were temporary job sites, and he did not have a regular work location. The Home Office Exception was not met because he could not prove to the court that he had a qualified home office. To qualify for a home office you need to show the following: * Regular and Exclusive Use – You must regularly use a portion of your home for conducting business. * Principal Place of Your Business – You must show that you use your home as your principal place of business and that you do not have a location outside of your home where you can work. Other factors that help in establishing a home office include: conducting client meetings in your home office location, having separate phone and fax lines, separate entrances for clients or customers, and receiving mail and business correspondence to the address. If the NJ Contractor had taken steps to establish a home office prior to taking these travel deductions he might have been successful in winning this case.



Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013



Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013



Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013


Harry Chowansky, pictured left, UTCA President Elect is shown with Bob Briant, Jr., association CEO, at the association offices.

Harry Chowansky, III, UTCA’s president-elect and vice president of HC Constructors, was elected to serve the association at the UTCA June Membership Meeting. He will begin his service as the organization’s highest elected officer at the September Annual Convention in Atlantic City. Chowansky got his start in construction in 1985 after graduating from Rutgers where he majored in business administration. Harry was hired by Mohawk Constructors where he worked as an equipment operator and became a member of the Operating Engineers Local 825. In 1989, HC Constructors became incorporated and Harry, along with his wife Lisa, has seen the firm grow and diversify into a very successful entity. The firm has completed both public and private construction projects including, utility work, bridge construction and other infrastructure related jobs. HC Constructors has performed projects for major pharmaceutical companies, area airports and colleges such as Rutgers University and Montclair State University. Harry Chowansky has been a member of the UTCA Board of Directors for seven years, currently serves as Senior Vice President and is an active member of the Labor Committee, Legislative Committee, Scholarship Committee and Membership Development Committee. Harry and his wife Lisa, who serves as President of HC Constructors, are the parents of four daughters, Blair, Margot, Corinne and Annie, and reside in Long Valley, New Jersey. His interests include fishing, golf, sports and clay shooting. Harry and Lisa are also active participants at their daughters sporting, dance and scholastic events. Harry has served on the Board of Trustees for the Gill St. Bernard’s school for a number of years. Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013



Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013


By: ARTBA Chief Economist Alison Premo Black, Ph.D

The working environment for the men and women in the highway and bridge construction industry has been steadily improving over the past decade, but work-related injury and illness rates are still among the highest in the construction industry, according to ARTBA’s analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This article is primarily focused on sharing with you some of the key statistics and trends relating to our industry. Highway and bridge construction workers continue to put their lives on the line in work zones— with 119 work-related fatalities that occurred in road construction sites in 2011. Most were related to construction and passenger vehicles—highlighting the importance of not only worker training, but establishingsafe work zones for road and bridge projects. Overall, there were 617 work zone fatalities in 2011, including construction workers and the traveling public, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Jobsite Injuries Drop The good news is workplace-related injuries and illness for highway and bridge contractors declined in 2011 and has dropped over 40 percent since 2003, according to the annual BLS “Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Industry” survey. There were 11,500 reportable cases in 2011, down from 24,200 in 2003. The rate of injury and illness per 100 full time employees for highway and bridge contractors dropped from 7.6 in 2003 to 4.4 in 2011. This is a welcome trend we have seen throughout the entire construction industrywhere the rate of injury and illness fell from 6.8 incidents per 100 employees in 2003 to 3.9 in 2011 for all sectors. This means fewer workers are getting injured on the job. Despite this good news and progress made, the rate of workrelated injuries and illnesses in highway and bridge construction is still higher compared to many other construction sectors and the overall industry average. The rate of incidents is 3.6 for building construction and 3.5 for other heavy and civil engineering work. Some of the highest incident rates are for employees working on framing (7.3 cases per 100 employees), poured concrete foundation and structures (6.5), roofing (5.6), structural steel and precast concrete (5.5), foundation, structure ad building exteriors (5.1), plumbing and heating and air-conditioning (4.5). The national average is 3.5 cases of injury or illness for every 100 employees. The incident rate for workplace-related injuries and illness was up for 13 of the 28 states tracked by BLS in 2011. The biggest increase was in Kentucky, where the number of injuries and illness per 100 workers rose from 5.2 in 2010 to 9.5 in 2011.The rate increased by 4.2 in Tennessee and 2.4 in New Jersey. The states with the biggest decline were Wisconsin (from 10.8 to 5.2), Minnesota (from 7.6 to 3) and Michigan (from 7.7 to 3.9). Fatalities Up in 2011 As noted earlier, there were 119 workers across all industries that died in road construction sites in 2011, according to preliminary data from the 2011 U.S. Census Bureau “Fatal Occupational Injuries. Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

“Most of these employees were construction workers or truck drivers. When you look just at highway and bridge contractors, there were 97 work-related fatalities in 2011, most of them on construction sites. The rate of fatalities for every $1 billion in highway and bridge construction work dropped from 1.98 in 2005 to 1.05 in 2010, but increased to 1.19 in 2011.Overall, there were 759 fatalities in the construction industry in 2011. Most of the work-related fatalities in our industry are white, middle-aged men that are either operating a vehicle or working at a road construction site.Seventy-one percent of all highway and bridge contractor workers who were killed on the job in 2011 were white, 19 percent were Hispanic and 11 percent were AfricanAmerican. BLS reports that Hispanics accounted for 29 percent of total employees in construction occupations and African Americans were nearly six percent of total employment in 2012. Most of the fatalities occurred during the workday – 32 percent of the fatal accidents happened between 8 a.m.-12:00 p.m., and 35 percent were between 12:004 p.m. Nearly 12 percent of fatalities occurred between 4- 8 a.m. Although age may indicate experience, this does not seem to help when it comes to industry fatalities– 19 percent of victims were between the ages of 25 and 34; 22 percent were 35 to 44 years old; 27 percent were 45 to 54 years old and 26 percent were over the age of 55. Over two-thirds of fatalities, 67 percent, were employees that worked for private firms. Nearly 20 percent were local government employees and 13 percent of the victims worked for the state government. Nearly half of the fatalities occurred in just seven states — Texas (12% of all industry fatalities), Florida (7%), California (6%), Arkansas (6%), Tennessee (5%), Missouri (5%) and Virginia (5%). The work-zone continues to be a dangerous place. Nearly twothirds of the highway and bridge construction work-related fatalities were from injuries related to motor vehicles, including automobiles, trucks, tractor-trailers, delivery and dump trucks and multi-purpose vehicles. The other fatalities were due to machinery, parts and materials, other people or falling and striking a surface. It is a sobering reminder, as we look at some of these injury and fatality trends, that there are real people behind each of these numbers. Although the industry has made great strides in focusing on safety, we owe it to the men and women who are out in the field, every day, to continue to make this a priority. There will always be risks associated with building roads and bridges, but implementing a company and industry culture that values and promotes safety will mean that we can continue to reduce the incidents of injury and the number of people who make the ultimate sacrifice for improving America’s infrastructure. The preceding article has been reprinted with permission from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). UTCA is an affiliate of ARTBA. For more information, visit



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Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013



Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

Legal Dig

By: Steven Brawer, Association Legal Counsel

Project Labor Agreements Remain A Hot Topic For New Jersey Public Contractors Since the landmark decisions by the Supreme Court of New Jersey in George Harms Construction v. Turnpike Authority in 1994 and Tormee Construction v. Improvement Authority in 1995, the use of union-only project labor agreements (PLAs) has been an ongoing source of controversy for firms performing public construction work in New Jersey. In response to the general prohibition on PLAs prescribed in the Harms and Tormee cases, legislation was enacted in 2002 which permitted PLA use on specific public works projects costing $5 million or more which involved “the construction, reconstruction, demolition or renovation of buildings at the public expense” but expressly excluded “pumping stations or water or sewage treatment plants.”This limited definition of the term “public works project”meant that PLAs could be utilized on such qualifying building construction as libraries, municipal buildings and hospitals but not on road projects or other facilities jobs typically undertaken by UTCA contractor members. This limitation on public sector PLA use was generally observed in the decade following enactment of the 2002 legislation, but attempts periodically were made by public entities to impose PLAs on projects which went beyond “construction, reconstruction, demolition or renovation of

(public) buildings.” Over the years the UTCA successfully intervened in a number of cases to insure that PLAs were not utilized on such things as port improvement jobs, roadwork or boardwalk reconstruction projects where “buildings” were not involved. However, in late 2012 a concerted effort was initiated by proponents of PLAs to dramatically expand the use of union-only agreements with the introduction of legislation amending the definition of a “public works project” which expanded the option of using PLAs to projects excluded under the current law such as highways, bridges, pumping stations and water and sewage treatment plants.That legislation passed both the Assembly and the Senate, but on April 15, 2013 the proposed new law was vetoed by Governor Christie, thus maintaining the longstanding status quo which limits PLA use by New Jersey public owners. As a strong proponent of free and open competition without regard to a contractor’s labor affiliations, the Association vigorously opposed the legislative expansion of PLAs and applauded the rejection of that initiative by the Governor. However, this recent action hardly settles the issue of when PLAs may be used on public jobs in New Jersey and the subject

continues to be a source of controversy for the public contracting sector in the state. Currently, an important case is pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit involving a Michigan statute which limits public-sector PLAs in that state. That legislation was overturned by a federal judge on the grounds that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which authorizes the use of PLAs by public entities as a matter of federal labor law, preempts state law restricting such use. Insofar as the Harms and Tormee decisionsare premised on the fact that the NLRA does not preempt regulation of PLA use because it is contrary to the state’s strong public policy which encourages free and open competition for public contracts, the rationale employed in the pending Michigan case is problematic and suggests that legal battles over the extent of public sector PLAs in New Jersey, and around the country, will continue.Stay tuned as this important issue remains in the forefront for the state’s infrastructure contractors.

Continued from Page 29 inspections, training and program review (including a review of contractual risk transfer).

In summary, develop a mutual trust with your loss control representative. The payoff is that you’ll get the service you’re paying for and improve your program. In addition, you will put yourself in a much better position with your underwriter. All these things will help with your insurance renewal, but most importantly, help you to provide a safer workplace.

Continued from Page 53


Make the loss control specialist a part of your company safety committee, or allow them to help you establish one.


Use the carrier loss control website, there’s a ton of information there.


Develop the relationship, not only with the loss control person, but with the underwriter. Let the underwriter see that you have embraced the carrier’s loss control service delivery.

Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

About the Author: Jay Sciortino is one of the partners of Construction Risk Partners, LLC, a company providing Insurance & Surety solutions exclusively to the construction industry. Construction Risk Partners is a long-time associate member of the UTCA and Jay is a long-time member of the UTCA safety committee. He has 35 years of experience in risk management and insurance. For more information, check out their website at, or call them at 908-566-1010.

Care Act (Obamacare) that taxpayers earning above $200,000 single ($250,000 for married filing joint) are subject to are: * 3.8% net investment income tax on certain types of investment income * Additional 0.9% Medicare Hospital Insurance tax on wages and selfemployment income An early read of these highlighted items may serve to avoid an unnecessary surprise at the end of 2013. About the Author: Lisa A. Morgan is a manager at McGuigan Tombs & Company, CPA’s, a full service CPA firm located in Manasquan, New Jersey serving a wide variety of construction, manufacturing, consulting and high net worth clients throughout the tri-state area. 25


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Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013



Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

Safety Perspective

By: Jay Sciortino Construction Risk Partners, LLC

Insurance Company Loss Control . . . . Make It Work For You! Gone are the days when the insurance carrier loss control representative was viewed as the “policeman”. One who came out “looking for things” with an eye toward writing a scathing report that could ultimately end up in a premium increase. Back then, it was all about the inspections…what was done, or what wasn’t done by the contractor. Frankly, there was a feeling of skepticism, and to some extent mistrust of the carrier loss control person. Certainly, there were some exceptions, but generally, this was the rule. I have vivid recollections of loss control visits that often ended in confrontation and were far from promoting a productive relationship. I’m sure many will agree with me. Today, things are dramatically better. The reasons for the change are many. However, I think the biggest reason has to do with the overall approach to safety by everyone….insurance companies, owners and contractors alike. The consensus is that “everyone should work together to accomplish the goal of providing a safe work

environment”. The insurance carriers have latched onto this feeling of cooperation, and rightfully so. It became very clear to them that a cooperative effort stood a much better chance of achieving the ultimate goal of fewer injuries/accidents in the workplace. The carriers have continued the momentum over the years and have increased their service offerings to their insureds. The emphasis is on more training and more resources versus more inspections. Most carriers provide open access to their websites to obtain training materials, including tool box talks and even sample programs. It’s all part of the cooperative effort and the feeling that sharing safety information is the right thing to do. There’s also a strong emphasis on contractual risk transfer, and information to assist your company in building an effective risk transfer program. My advice is to put your insurance carrier loss control people to work! Embrace them and find out all that they have to offer. Make them a part of your team, and you will maximize their potential. Your agent/broker

Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

should assist and help you foster the relationship. Even if you have a full time safety person, the carrier can assist you in becoming more effective by being a resource for training and research. For example, many carriers will help you put on OSHA 10 hour training, and provide the certification. Bottom line, the carriers have a tremendous amount of talent and information available to them, and they want to share with you. To recap, get the most out of your insurance carrier’s loss control service by doing the following: *

Allow your agent/broker to facilitate the carrier loss control process.


Meet with your loss control representative at renewal, and come up with a formal service plan for the year that includes site Continued on Page 25



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Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013


TRENCH TECHNOLOGIES COMPLETES FIVE YEARS IN BUSINESS Young Firm Continues To Expand Its Services Andrew Amsterdam, President of Trench Technologies, grew up in the construction industry. During his college years he worked summers as a laborer and project manager for the family business, Marsellis-Warner Corp. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in Economics and Finance, Andrew was named Vice President of the company and eventually ascended to the role of President.

which focused primarily on rock cutting and trenching. Trench Technologies was the newly-named entity, and its first headquarters and equipment yard were located in Kenvil, NJ.

The Tesmec 1100 rocksaw under 11th Avenue on the 7th Avenue subway extension in New York City.

Andrew Amsterdam is pictured in front of a Vermeer T955 trencher.

A decision was made to liquidate the assets of Marsellis-Warner, at which time Andrew Amsterdam began a short stint employed by another contractor. He soon realized that he wanted to run his own business, and began searching for an opportunity to purchase another firm. In the latter part of 2007, Andrew purchased the assets of JAF Equipment, a well-known subcontractor in New Jersey

Trench Technologies offers an array of services to its clients. The firm can perform trenching, rock cutting, pavement cutting and directional drilling on projects. The company has the capability of cutting from widths ranging from 5 inches to 42 inches to most specified depths. The technique can be completed through surfaces such as clay or solid rock. The firm can also load spoils of the trenches directly into trucks for clean and neat installations. The firm’s rock cutting features have proven successful when dealing with all rock types. Using offset trenchers, Trench Technologies can achieve widths of 12 to 28 inches and can cut to within eight inches of an existing structure. The firm’s equipment can also cut through asphalt, concrete and subsurface pavement. Since its equipment does not use water, the company has the ability to work throughout the winter months.

Pictured is a reviewing pit for a directional drill in a project in Wayne, NJ.

A Tesmec 1100 rocksaw. 36

Approximately three years ago, Trench Technologies expanded its services by adding directional drilling to its repertoire. Its horizontal directional drilling equipment can utilize a trenchless Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

less working space, and may be performed more quickly than open-cut methods. In the past five years, Trench Technologies has performed work at major airports in the area as well as on major interstates such as Route 78 and Route 287. Work has also been completed at Montclair State University, Plainsboro Medical Center and Bliss Windfarm. At the JFK Airport in Jamaica, NY the firm performed over 100,000 LF of kerf cutting (trenching for electrical conduit), trenching of 30,000 linear feet of underdrain with its Vermeer trenchers having the loading conveyor attachment, as well as full depth concrete removal. At Plainsboro Medical Center, Trench Technologies trenched for utilities through solid rock after the main foundations and steel of the building were installed. The company utilized its Vermeer 955 Commander 3 under the superstructure of the new building to cut for sewer, water and oxygen lines. On Route 78, the firm trenched over 2500 linear feet per day to install new Intelligent Transportation System conduits for fiber optic cables. At Montclair State University, the crew cut through solid rock for a water main installation around the new student housing buildings. The company is affiliated with several industry equipment manufacturers such as Tesmec USA, Trencor by Astec, Vermeer and Ditch Witch. Trench Technologies has performed work for many contractors in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Some of the firms that have utilized the services of this growing firm include Vollers Excavating & Construction, Tutor-Perini, AP Construction, Henkels & McCoy, Pantaleo Electric, Skoda Contracting, Lantier Construction, Penn Bower and Solarmite Electrical Contractors. In recent years, Trench Technologies purchased Tesmec 1085 trencher is utilized on a water main project in Virginia. a building and equipment yard in Livingston, NJ. The firm employs experienced operators who are well-versed in the methodology that provides an installation alternative that can offer specialized equipment that the company utilizes. Vincent Territo a number of benefits over traditional open-cut. This service can be serves as Vice President of field operations for Trench Technologies. implemented with very little disruption to surface activities, requires In five short years, Andrew Amsterdam’s company has established itself as an efficient and effective subcontractor that is positioned for many more years of success.

Ditchwith 3020 directional drill is pictured on a project. Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013



Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013



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Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013



Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

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Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013


AVOIDING FALLS IN HORIZONTAL CONSTRUCTION In the heavy and highway construction industry, we don’t often talk about fall hazards. While falls from heights are the leading cause of accidents and deaths in other segments of the construction industry, many of us who work on roads, ports, tarmac and other un-elevated projects have the impression we are immune from falls on the jobsite. That perception is wrong. Insurance claims data show falls (from heights and resulting from slips and trips) account for approximately 25 percent of our workers’ compensation claims. They are one of the most frequent sources of injury and death. This fact alone should command our attention. Business Case for Preventing Falls The hard or tangible costs resulting from falls are things such as medical treatment, equipment repair, or worker compensation accrual rates, and they are fairly easy to track. However, the larger and less clear financial impact can result from indirect costs such as lost time of a supervisor and crew around the accident scene, dropped tools, and contract delays that can run between four to 10 times those of direct costs. Also, increases in the frequency of incidents or accidents will lead to a potential increase in the severity. This increase in frequency and severity can lead to a higher Experience Modifier Rate (EMR) for your insurance. While this rate may appear as a complex calculation from your actual loss data, every business owner, manager and foreman should understand the implications. Each contractor starts with an EMR of 1.00. Good experience (fewer claims) will result in an EMR less than 1.00. Poor experience (frequent claims) will result in an EMR higher than 1.00. Insurance rates start as an industry average, and then are multiplied by your company’s individual EMR. As such, a low EMR lowers the rate, and a high EMR raises the rate. This alone can affect how you compete in the bidding process. There are some owners or contract holders that will not accept bids from companies with an EMR above 1.00. In the heavy and highway construction industry, most falls are from vehicles. When combining falls from trucks, trailers, construction equipment and other vehicles, they make up about 45 percent of our fall incidents. Such incidents are easily preventable when using standard mounting/dismounting safety practices, such as maintaining three points of contact and keeping steps and ladders clean. Other major sources of falls include ladders, stairs and scaffolding, for a combined 20 percent of industry fall incidents. Falls on walking and working surfaces round out the top causes at six percent. My Friend, Jeff While these numbers and percentages help us understand the size and scope of the problem, they do not tell the personal side of 48

By: Brad Sant, ARTBA Senior Vice President Of Safety & Education

the story. They do not help us understand the life-long consequence of a severe fall incident. My friend, Jeff, has one such story. Jeff loved his job as a construction worker, because it gave him the opportunity to be outside. When Jeff wasn’t at the jobsite, he was hunting, fishing and enjoying the great outdoors. One day, the scaffold on which he was working collapsed, and Jeff fell, severely breaking bones in both legs and injuring his back. As far as statistics go, Jeff would be one of those thousands injured each year. As a person, however, we see a much different story. Because of his fall, at age 26, Jeff could no longer work construction. His bones healed, but the pain never left. He could not stand for very long, nor could he sit comfortably. The constant pain impacted every aspect of his life. Jeff had difficulty holding down a good job because of his physical problems, which meant his wife and kids did without a lot of the things most people take for granted. And he could no longer enjoy the outdoor activities he loved so much. To withstand the pain, Jeff took a lot of medicine, which damaged his heart and kidneys. At the end of the day he would collapse into bed, missing out on quality time with loved ones. Jeff’s injury as a construction worker not only impacted his life, but had long-lasting consequences for his wife, children, siblings, and friends. In short, Jeff was left with a difficult life. Finally, at age 57, his body gave into the stress and the pain. I know this story well because Jeff was my brother-in-law. It has only been one year since I attended his funeral and comforted his wife, my sister. Jeff is just one story. Each year, 10,000 construction workers are injured as a result of falls from heights. Many, like my brother-inlaw, are permanently disabled. Sadly, over 200 are killed each year —just about one every work day. “Stop Falls” Campaign To reduce the number of falls, OSHA recently teamed with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to promote fall prevention. The campaign aims to draw attention to these hazards and to encourage contractor supervisors to plan for fall safety while providing the right equipment and necessary training. The campaign’s outreach encourages all employers to take a helpful, proactive stance in calling attention to fall dangers, and provides support for contractors who embrace the message. The campaign materials—in English and Spanish—include a poster showing a worker who had a fall that “shattered his body and livelihood.” It urges contractors and workers to plan ahead to get the job done safely, provide the right equipment and train everyone to use the equipment safely. It also includes is a four-page fact sheet with tips for ladder, scaffold and roof safety. The materials Continued on Page 57 Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

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Accounting Corner

By: Lisa A. Morgan McGuigan Tombs & Company

What Did The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 Do? As New Year’s Day 2013 neared, so did the “Fiscal Cliff”, the US was bracing for a fall into a recession, seven months later, we know that legislation was passed in time to celebrate New Year’s Day and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012(ATRA). Significant individual, business and estate tax provisions of the Act are as follows: Individual Provisions MOST individual tax rates, including capital gains, have been made permanent and have stayed the same. If your individual taxable income is below $400,000 for single taxpayers ($450,000 for married individuals filing a joint return)the Bush era income tax rates have been made permanent, this includes current rates on capital gains. The rates will remain between 10% and 35%. The maximum tax rate on long term capital gains and qualified dividends will be 15% on an individual’s net capital gain if your taxable income is below the thresholds. However, if your individual taxable income is over the $400,000/$450,000 (single/married filing jointly), a 39.6% tax rate will apply, and the top rate on long term capital gains and qualified dividends will be 20% (excluding the 3.8% tax on investment income imposed by the Affordable Care Act which is effective January 1, 2013). The phase-out of the personal exemption and itemized deduction limitation for taxpayers with adjusted gross income at or below $250,000 ($300,000 for married individuals filing a joint return) was repealed. Permanent relief of the alternative minimum tax (AMT) has been made by increasing the exemption amounts to $51,900 for single taxpayers ($80,800 married filing jointly) for 2013 and indexing these amounts for inflation. Business Provisions 50% bonus depreciation on capital expenditures such as machinery and equipment was extended one year. Capital expenditures on qualified property placed in service before January 1, 2014 is eligible for 50% bonus depreciation. Qualified assets include new tangible property with a

recovery period of 20 years or less, water utility property, off-the shelf computer software and qualified leasehold improvement property. Section 179 depreciation expensing is also extended through 2013. This provision may provide greater tax benefits by allowing tax depreciation deductions of up to 100% of $500,000 on qualifying assets in the year of acquisition before the phase-out limitations. Generally a tax deduction of $500,000 of asset additions up to the $2,000,000 threshold is permitted. After acquisitions of $2,000,000 the deduction is reduced dollar for dollar in excess of the phase-out. Taxpayers are also able to use $250,000 of qualified real property of the $500,000. Qualified real property includes qualified leasehold improvement property, qualified restaurant property and qualified retail improvement. The section 179 deduction is limited to net income and cannot reduce net income below zero. The ability to use a 15 year life (rather than 39 years) on qualified leaseholdimprovement, restaurant, and retailimprovement property for 2013 is also contained within the ATRA. The act also includes an election to allow corporations to effectively accelerate some AMT credits in lieu of bonus depreciation for property placed in service during 2013. Corporations may forego the special (bonus) depreciation allowance and instead elect to claim additional research or minimum tax credits. The depreciation for qualified property is calculated for both regular tax and AMT purposes using the straight-line method in place of the method that would otherwise be used. The allowable credits are treated as refundable credits on the tax return. Several business credits were extended through 2013, including the work opportunity credit, research and development credit, new market credit, numerous energy efficiency credits and incentives. One deduction that was extended through 2013 and is often overlooked relating to energy efficient buildings is the Section 179D deduction.

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Under this section, if energy efficient commercial building property is installed on or in property owned by a federal, state, or local government, or a governmental subdivision, IRS has issued a regulation allowing the energy efficient commercial building property deduction to be allocated to the person primarily responsible for designing the property instead of the owner of the property. The person primarily responsible for designing the property is treated as the taxpayer. Property owned by a public entity includes schools. A designer is a person that creates the technical specifications for installation of energy efficient commercial buildings. This can include an architect, engineer, contractor, environmental consultant or energy services provider who creates the technical specifications for a new building or an addition to an existing building that incorporates energy efficient commercial building property (or partially qualifying commercial building property. A person that merely installs, repairs, or maintains the property is not a designer. If you are thinking of making future investments in this type of property you may want to consider taking advantage of the accelerated depreciation options in 2013, but remember to review the state tax consequences, as most states do not allow the full $500,000 of Section 179 or bonus depreciation deductions. For New Jersey tax purposes, bonus depreciation is not allowed and the maximum amount that may be expensed under Section 179 is $25,000. Estate and Gift Tax Provisions The Estate / Gift and generation skipping tax exemptions have been extended and made permanent. This includes the $5,000,000 lifetime exclusion and a sets the maximum tax rate at 40% for taxable amounts over $1,000,000 (a 5% increase from 2012) Additional taxes: Two additional tax considerations that were not part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, but part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Continued on Page 25 53


Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

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Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

WHAT’S IN A NAME? No Matter What They’re Called, N.J. Business Incentive Programs Fuel Construction By: Chris Colabella, President, CIS When Gov. Chris Christie signs the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, the state’s five current economic business incentive programs will be condensed into two – phasing out the popular BRRAG (Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant), BEIP (Business Employment Incentive Program), and Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Program. At press time, the initiative (Assembly No. 3680) is awaiting the governor’s signature (he has long said he will sign it), after being introduced in May by Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Essex), chairman of the state’s Economic and Commerce Development Committee, and passed by both the Assembly and Legislature by the end of June. The Act designates Grow New Jersey Assistance Program as the state’s business retention and attraction program, while ERGG (Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant) would be New Jersey’s redevelopment incentive program. Efforts to streamline business development in the state are led by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and aim, first and foremost, to retain and create jobs here. Under the Act, the newly defined programs encourage redevelopment of urban centers, suburban office parks and areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Regardless of what they are called, business incentive programs (read: grants and tax credits), which compel companies to expand or relocate here, translate to more work for New Jersey’s construction industry. These projects call for new buildings and site expansions, as well as new roads and other infrastructure projects. In Assemblyman Coutinho’s own backyard of Essex County, the $444 million Prudential Office Towers project, located at Broad and Halsey streets in Newark, is being financed with the help of a $211 million tax credit from the Urban Transit Hub program. Prudential Financial said SJP Properties of Hoboken will begin construction on its new 20-story office tower and 55-foot-tall parking garage by the end of this summer. Business incentive programs have been a lynchpin in the state’s economic development plan – a go-to tool in the toolbox, if you will, when a business announces its plan to leave the state. When it works, it’s a win-win for the company and the state. In fact, Gov. Christie was on hand to help cut the ribbon at the official opening

of Realogy Holdings Corp.’s new Madison Township headquarters on June 20. Back in early 2012, the company had announced its decision to pack up and move from Parsippany to North Carolina. However, Gov. Christie and his economic development team stepped in to offer Realogy a $10.7 million BRRAG award, plus a $1.4 million sales tax exemption. The move convinced Realogy to stay in New Jersey and build its new global headquarters in Madison. A year later, the residential real estate franchise giant broke ground on its new 270,000-square-foot complex. Newark-based Tishman Construction Corporation of NJ headed up construction of the three-story office complex with parking garage. Incidentally, BRRAG – which allows the state to give an annual corporate income tax credit of $3,000 per employee to businesses considering expansion or threatening to leave the state — has helped to create more than 100,000 jobs since it was first enacted 17 years ago. Realogy’s decision to stay in New Jersey kept 935 jobs from moving out of state. (And, those figures don’t even count the number of construction employees put to work thanks to the many projects which have resulted from incentives over the years.) For now, existing tax and other business incentives associated with BRRAG, BEIP, etc. remain available to qualified companies. (Visit for more information.) However, even when these programs are merged under different titles – namely Grow New Jersey and ERGG — construction companies should reap the benefits of state programs that provide businesses with capital – either in the form of grants or tax credits. Regardless of what New Jersey calls the programs, once companies build, they will stay -- at least that’s what the State of New Jersey is counting on.

Continued from Page 48 can be downloaded from OSHA’s new “Stop Falls” website ( NIOSH also has a new website ( PreventingFalls) related to the campaign. It includes links to its fatal fall investigations, “Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Reports,” in which each fatality is described and NIOSH’s prevention recommendations are listed. With OSHA and NIOSH accepting leadership roles, a broad array of partners have joined in support of the campaign. The main campaign website ( is maintained by CPWR—the Center for Construction Research and Training. It contains additional materials useful in fall prevention and was started by the NORA Construction Sector Council, an industrylabor-government group organized by NIOSH to identify the best research opportunities for improving construction safety and

health. ARTBA has been an active partner with NORA for over a decade. To plan the campaign, the Sector Council created a work group and asked OSHA to take a lead role in the effort, much as it did in 2011 in its heat stress campaign. The campaign now aims to raise awareness throughout the industry and change the expectation of workers and contractors. Many of the campaign materials will soon be available through the ARTBA Foundation-managed National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse ( Through awareness and outreach campaigns such as these, we can reduce the number of avoidable fall incidents on the jobsite, and hopefully prevent injuries to other people, so workers like Jeff and their families are spared decades of pain.

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About the Author: Chris Colabella is the president of CIS, Inc., parent company of CIS Leads and C-Source, the construction industry’s premier local lead service. Learn more about CIS, which is celebrating 20 years in business, or schedule a free demonstration of CIS Leads, by calling 800-247-1727 or visit

The preceding article has been reprinted with permission from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). UTCA is an affiliate of ARTBA. For more information, visit



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Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013



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Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013


By: Wm. J. Ruckert, III The Provident Bank

As the State of New Jersey begins to allocate funds from the soon-to-be approved Fiscal Year 2014 Capital Construction Program—totaling about $3.8 billion (see chart), as well as an additional $3.6 billion from Superstorm Sandy relief, contractors may need to begin digging into their coffers before they see their share. For many contractors, this presents a cash flow issue that must be evaluated and resolved before any work is started. For example, contractors need to evaluate the condition of their equipment, workforce and accounts receivables process while they wait for cash to start coming in. Will they need to buy new or repair/ maintain existing equipment, or both? Will they need to hire more workers for the project, and if so, do they have adequate cash for

The Proposed FY 2014 Transportation Capital Program, supported primarily by the state Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) and federal resources, amounts to $3.8 billion. Source: NJ Department of Transportation Website, ( transportation/capital/tcp14/); Updated April 1, 2013; accessed July 11, 2013.

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payroll? They’ll also need to consider the paying habits of their customers. Do they typically pay within 60 days or 120 days? These questions and more have a direct impact on a company’s bottom line and credit status and since in many cases such projects require substantial start-up costs, steps should be taken to safeguard cash flow ahead of receiving funds and starting projects. The best way to ensure capital solvency in advance of customer payments is to obtain a short-term loan or line of credit that meets expenditure needs for the several months that will inevitably fall between the project pitch phase and reimbursement. While most banks offer long-term loans that would cover the costs, this option is less than ideal because the repayment and interest rates are often unnecessarily prohibitive. Community banks like Provident offer short-term loans with variable or fixed rates that reflect the needs of local businesses and construction firms, in particular. In these cases, when capital program funds are pending, UTCA members can expect personalized service, including a complete and accurate review of their assets, needs and anticipated income. For example, qualified borrowers can use construction equipment as collateral for short-term loans, with the resulting equity used to customize a financing program that works for the business and its cash flow. So don’t wait until funds arrive to start planning your capital projects. Call your lender to arrange a financing option that can get your business shovel-ready, even when your projects haven’t yet been awarded. On a separate note, Provident Bank would like to congratulate Harry Chowansky, III, of HC Constructors who was elected as president of UTCA in June.



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Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013



Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

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Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013


By: Nancy Damato, RDA Benefit Services

Voluntary Benefits & College Assistance Program Provide A Valuable Supplement To Care Benefits A recent survey from WellPoint found that 9 in 10 Americans believe companies that offer a full range of benefits help them simplify and secure their lives. The survey compares employed Americans’ knowledge and attitudes toward voluntary benefits from 2010 with those of employed Americans today. The survey also found that employees continue to favor companies that offer voluntary benefits with 90 percent of Americans agreeing that voluntary benefits are a good tool to help companies balance the needs of the employees while dealing with tightening budgets. Similar to 2010 findings, saving money and offering protection for the employee and his or her family were cited as the most popular reasons for choosing to purchase a company’s voluntary benefits. Voluntary benefits, which are paid for by the employee through payroll deductions, include life insurance, disability, critical care, accident and cancer insurance as well as vision, dental care, pet care, and legal plans. Another study has shown that, in 2012, there has been an increase in the sales of voluntary life insurance, as well as disability and accident insurance. And in addition, nearly half of today’s workers have identified that their greatest concern, in case of a critical illness, is their finances. The WellPoint survey also reported that employees are more productive at work and they think more highly of their company, if

Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

it offers a range of benefits, including voluntary benefits. All in all, the survey findings continue to suggest that voluntary benefits are an easy and beneficial tool that employers can offer their employees. RDA Benefit Services, LLC is offering UTCA members the opportunity to offer a wide range of Voluntary Benefits to their employees, in conjunction with the Sage College Tuition Rewards Program, which provides up to one full year of FREE College tuition at over 300 colleges and universities nationwide. Recent statistics show that there are over 260,000 students nationwide enrolled in the College Tuition Rewards program with 39,893 new students added in 2012. Also, in 2012, 1,547 students submitted $26.3 million Tuition Rewards to 262 participating colleges. This is a powerful program being offered by employers to their employees to provide tuition assistance to any child they designate—it is not limited to their own children or grandchildren. Call us today at 855-693-0772 for a complimentary, no-obligation review of the Voluntary Benefits and College Tuition Rewards programs. Or, e-mail Nancy at for more information. Sources: “Americans Demand More from their Employers, Voluntary Benefits Can Help”, The Motley Fool, July 16, 2013; “Voluntary Sales Strong in 2012”, Benefits Selling Magazine, July 2013; College Tuition



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Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013



Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013

Legislative News

By: Evan Piscitelli, Legislative Director

Federal and State Update Our annual Association Fly-In to Washington D.C. had a somber tone this year with the passing of Senator Frank Lautenberg just days earlier. A friend to the utility and transportation construction industry for many years, his advocacy on behalf of the New Jersey contracting community will be sorely missed. A special election will be held in October to fill the vacant seat. Newark Mayor Cory Booker holds a commanding lead over his challengers Congressmen Frank Pallone and Rush Holt. It is unclear at this point what a Booker win would mean for our industry. Both Pallone and Holt have consistently supported robust funding levels in Congress, but the Mayor has pursued an aggressive improvement program in his city. Speaking of funding, transportation funding received a nice shot in the arm in recent weeks. On June 27th, both the Senate and House Appropriations Committees approved similar measures to fund the Fiscal Year 2014 transportation program. Funding levels originally authorized in last year’s MAP 21 surface transportation law were largely supported by the committees. Of particular note is a slight increase in core highway funding which was originally programmed at $39.7 billion in MAP 21 and is currently set at $40.3 billion in the new appropriations. Other funding categories include supplemental bridge, transit formula programs, transit capital grants, and airport improvements, all of which remain in-tact or slightly higher. While this is an important step forward in the legislative process, both measures require approval by the full Senate and House. This vote has yet to be

scheduled. In general, though, most agree that the tax on motor fuels will continue to be a diminishing revenue source, particularly as vehicles become more and more fuel efficient. Alternatives to paying for our federal transportation program with gas tax dollars have been slow to catch fire, but the debate continues. Transitioning to a vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) system, for example, where motorists pay based on road usage as opposed to fuel burned, has gained an ever increasing portion of the conversation. A 2001 pilot project in Oregon helped put this theory into practice, and the very idea of tracking actual road usage, on the map. The state is now moving forward with an even more substantial VMT initiative. SB 810, which passed the Oregon legislature and is expected to be signed by their Governor, establishes a voluntary program where motorists can choose to pay 1.5 cents per mile traveled instead of the 30 cent gas tax. The eyes of the transportation world will continue to be set on Oregon and its newest attempt at moving beyond the gas tax. The New Jersey State Legislature, in its final week of action before the beginning of the new state fiscal year, approved legislation to fund the 2014 Environmental Infrastructure Trust financing program. Continuing to serve as a national model for public construction financing, the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust is set to have one of its best years yet. The package of 4 bills, which must be approved annually, once again secured strong bipartisan support. Representatives from UTCA supported the measures throughout the legislative process.

The Trust will be authorized to expend up to $780.3 million, along with any unexpended balances from previous authorizations, to provide loans for a portion of the total costs of 165 eligible environmental infrastructure projects. The Trust will use the funds appropriated to make loans to local governments and privatelyowned water companies totaling $511.9 million for 85 new clean water projects included in the “State Fiscal Year 2014 Clean Water Project Priority List” and $48.3 million for five ongoing clean water projects. The funding will also cover $218.2 million for 73 new drinking water projects included in the “State Fiscal Year 2014 Drinking Water Project Priority List” and $1.9 million for two ongoing drinking water projects. The project lists are currently available on the UTCA website. It should be noted that a new provision was added this year that will help the State respond more effectively to natural disasters. The legislation will allow the Trust to establish a special “Disaster Relief Emergency Loan Fund” to provide short-term funding for environmental infrastructure projects to repair damage incurred during Superstorm Sandy and to mitigate the risk of damage arising in a future disaster. The bills currently await Governor Christie’s approval, at which point they will become law. Funding, as always, remains front and center on the UTCA agenda.

Please Support UTCA’s PAC Club “Constructors For Good Government” Utility and Transportation Contractor, AUGUST 2013



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UTCA Magazine - August 2013