Specialty Contractors Give AGC A Broader, More Diverse Voice

By Claire Koenig, AGC Bay Area Region Manager

according to a report on California economic conditions from Wells Fargo Securities LLC Economics Group (December 18, 2015). In January 2017, the same group reported that nationwide more than 80,000 net new jobs were logged in private nonresi- dential construction, with 80 percent of those in specialty trade contracting.


pecialty contractors account for two-thirds of total construction employment in California,

Overall specialty employment

outpaced the general construction market again in 2016, and we’re likely to see similar results in 2017. Specialty contractors range in size from mom-and-pop subcontractors operating in a tight geographic radius around a single office, to large, multi-state concerns performing major projects throughout the country and abroad.

Robust Specialty Membership AGC of California has long

understood that maintaining and supporting a robust and thriving

specialty contractor membership base is critical in order to effectively serve as the voice of the industry. Te AGC Specialty Contractors Council, chaired for the second year by John Gutierrez of Marina Landscape in 2017, actively works to address members concerns and issues through regular meetings, communications and other outlets. Te Council held its first 2017

meeting on February 3 at the Silverado Resort & Spa in Napa. In addition to discussing issues of specific concern to specialty members, the Council heard from Teresa Arrighi of accounting firm Clifton Larson Allen LLP, speaking on “Next Steps to A Stronger Bottom Line: Increasing Bonding Capacity, Building Financial Credibility.” Tis followed a Specialty Contractors Council meeting last October where members learned about recent advances in protecting subcontractors in the bidding process through an

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3. Carefully design supervisor and employee messaging – It’s

important to communicate that employees are not “bad” drivers, but that you want to help them to be better than average. A “coaching” approach from the supervisor (rather than a series of disciplinary actions) may help produce greater improvements across the organization. Be sure your managers are ready for those coaching roles.

4. Stage the full telematics rollout – After successful pilots, organiza- tions will sometimes rush to put telematics in the rest of the fleet. While enthusiasm is great, it’s critical to take the same pains- taking steps to communicate and support the implementation for the wider fleet. It is often helpful to take a staged implementation approach to ensure that each group of supervisors and drivers is comfortable with how the system works and their respective roles in the initiative.

Potential benefits of telematics in a fleet safety program:

 Optimize vehicle route planning and deployment

 Improve driver behavior and safety on the road to help reduce the occurrence of vehicle crashes and reduce auto liability claims

 Enhance employee driving skills and knowledge

 Alleviate driver stress and fatigue through coaching and development

5. Put the data in focus – Telematics data can be overwhelming. Focusing on a few key areas can help drive behind-the-wheel improvements. For example, consider starting with hard/panic braking compared to the amount of time driven. Establish company averages and identify the outliers.

Work with the drivers who are performing much worse than the average, but also factor in the overall group. Companies with an active coaching process can often significantly decrease the average rate of hard braking and the rate of overall vehicle crashes.

Heavy vehicle usage will always

play an important role in the construction business — a hard fact that makes contractor auto exposures an ongoing, chronic risk that needs to be managed effectively. Using cutting-edge technologies such as in-vehicle telematics, can help create an effective and efficient fleet safety program designed to protect your employees, drivers, the public and ultimately, your bottom line. 

James Boileau, P.Eng., is

Construction Segment Director and Andy Peterson is Commercial Auto Segment Director for Te Zurich Services Corporation.

Associated General Contractors of California 17

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