The #1 source for construction news, information and networking in Maryland. Every show is designed to help all the members of Maryland's construction industry, as well as the companies that provide services to them, gain valuable knowledge to help them succeed and encourage social interaction to improve the industry.

In this episode of The Maryland Construction Network podcast, Steve Morris speaks about the Entrepreneurial Operating System. EOS® is a powerful system that takes a holistic self-sustaining approach to building a great company. It helps a business owner get the most out of their business. EOS certified trainers have delivered over 64,000 full-day sessions for more than 8,800 companies here in the US and around the world.

Today’s Guest – Stephen Morris MBA
EOS®: Entrepreneurial Operating System® Implementer
Team Development Facilitator
Smooth Sailing to Business Growth

Topics Discussed:

  • Steve, you have mentioned EOS, or the Entrepreneurial Operating System, in previous podcasts. What is EOS exactly?
  • So how has your career brought you to be using EOS?
  • Teams and teamwork really are important. What did you see working with your clients?
  • Starting your own business must have been quite a transition. How has that been?
  • What sort of companies is EOS best for?
  • As a Professional EOS Implementor, what do you do?
  • Steve, how can listeners get in touch with you?

Links to Resources:

Professional EOS Implementation:

Free chapter from the book Traction by Gino Wickman:

Download the show notes.

Direct download: Ep_98.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Jobsite security has always been an issue. Now we are faced with a different scenario as active jobsites might be shuttered for an extended period of time due to the pandemic. In this episode of the Maryland Construction Network Podcast, Shawn Scarlata shares his expertise in the strategies and technology to use to effectively and economically protect your jobsites.

Today’s Guest - Shawn Scarlata
Owner SMART Security Pros dba Mobile Video Guard


Topics Discussed:

  • What are the top items you are recommending to your clients when it comes to securely shutting down a job site?
  • I understand fencing being a physical barrier but why is lighting important?
  • You mentioned cameras + monitoring, can't I get away with just putting cameras up myself?
  • What about Security Guards, couldn't I just hire a guard service?
  • The last thing you mentioned was Smoke and Heat detection, how can I do that if my site isn't that far along in construction?
  • If anyone wants to find out more about monitored video surveillance or the WES3 system where can they look?

Download the show notes.

Direct download: Ep_97.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

We can experience stress and anxiety on a daily basis at work and in our personal lives. Since this can be unavoidable at times, effectively managing our stress is vital to our mental and physical health, maintaining healthy relationships and living a happy life. During this current pandemic many people may be experiencing significant increases in stress and anxiety. Today we hope to offer some simple solutions that can help during and after this difficult time.

Today’s Guest - Mark Karolkowski
Occupational Therapist

Topics of Discussion:

  • What to know about stress?
  • How can we be more aware of what is going on?
  • How else can we recognize our stress symptoms?
  • What are some
  • We now know what NOT to do, what CAN we do instead?
  • Is there one overarching theme to take from all of this?
  • Are there any techniques that are specific to work and the current situation we are in?
  • Can stress ever be good?
  • How to know whether to seek professional help?
  • “You don’t have to control your thoughts; you just have to stop letting them control you”.
  • “Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.”

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the specialists at REHAB AT WORK through their website -, by phone at 410-484-0081 or you can email Mark directly at

Download the show notes including a list of stress symptoms and corresponding management techniques.

Direct download: Ep_96.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

In this episode of The Maryland Construction Network podcast, Steve Morris discusses the concept of resilience and how it relates to businesses during this time of pandemic and beyond. Steve draws upon the information and concepts of his prior podcasts to demonstrate how they are necessary to formulate a strategy for enduring businesses.

Today’s Guest – Stephen Morris MBA
EOS®: Entrepreneurial Operating System® Implementer
Team Development Facilitator
Smooth Sailing to Business Growth

Topics Discussed:

  • Steve, each week we check in with the state of this pandemic and your thoughts about what you are seeing. How has it been this week and what are you seeing and learning about now?
  • What do you mean when you are talking about resilience?
  • What are some specific steps people can follow to build resilience?
  • We have covered prioritization, mindset and leadership. What are the next steps?
  • Finance, Operations and Sales and Marketing are all important fundamentals. How do we look forward with these in place?
  • Steve, if listeners want to get help with building resilience into their business, how can you help them?

Links to more information:

Book a call with Steve:

EOS Resources at Catylator:

Tractionville podcast

Resilient Entrepreneur(TM)

Strategic Coach: VOTA

Download the show notes.

Direct download: Ep_95.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Working from a home office can present some unexpected problems for the workforce. Many people are working in makeshift workspaces that may not be suitable for extended periods of work. In this podcast, Guy Seeley, an industrial rehab specialist, will share what you need to do so you can stay comfortable and avoid injury from your home office.

Today’s Guest - Guy Seeley
Industrial Rehab Specialist

Topics covered:

  • Do you foresee any problems arising from people working in a new home office?
  • What are some physical symptoms people may develop from working in their homes and why?
  • Tell me more about the office set-up. What do you look for with a proper workstation set-up?
  • What is a “Neutral posture”
  • What should you do if you work with a laptop?
  • Talk about the other joints. How can we get them in a “Neutral “position?
  • What can you do to protect the wrists in a home office?
  • How should we get the low back in a neutral position?
  • Should people sit on a cushion?
  • What else would you recommend?

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact REHAB AT WORK through their website, by email at or phone at 410-484-0081.

Download the show notes.

Direct download: Ep_94.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Getting Better at Crisis Leadership

Today’s Guest - Stephen Morris MBA
EOS®: Entrepreneurial Operating System® Implementer
Team Development Facilitator
Smooth Sailing to Business Growth

In this episode of The Maryland Construction Network podcast, Steve Morris shares strategies for leaders to enhance their abilities to understand and manage the emotions of their teams, and themselves, during times of change and crisis.

Topics Discussed:

  • Steve, each week we check in with the state of this pandemic and your thoughts about what you are seeing. What's on your mind this week?
  • Understanding and managing emotions sounds like an interesting topic for the construction industry. Let's hear more.
  • OK, so we have holding, containing and interpreting. What does this look like in reality?
  • Why is this behavior so impactful?
  • How can leaders best counter this resistance in times of change, and especially a crisis?
  • How can a leader learn to contain themselves first?
  • How have you seen this come up in your work, Steve?
  • How can you help listeners if they want more information?

Links for this episode:

Entrepreneurial Operating System:

Catylator Blog:

The Psychology Behind Effective Crisis Leadership 

Download the show notes.

Direct download: Ep_93.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

With many workers now operating from impromptu offices at home, the need for stretching is more important than ever. Frequently, a temporary home office setup is ergonomically less than ideal which results in more strain on the body. In this episode we examine simple exercises to keep you loose and help minimize the effect of poor positioning.

Today’s Guest - Matt Drzik
Exercise Physiologist and Clinical Manager

Topics Discussed:

  • A big issue with sedentary office work is posture, repetitive motion and/or staying in one position for extended periods of time. How does this affect us?
  • I have seen various reports that stretching is helpful and ones that say injuries are not reduced by stretching. Which is it, at what should we do?
  • What stretches to do you recommend for those of us working in an office, or right now from home?
  • Is there anything else we should do to help our joints and muscles stay limber?

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Matt at REHAB AT WORK through the website, by email at or phone at 410-484-0081.  Thanks again for this opportunity stay safe, stay healthy and wash your hands!

Download the Show Notes with Exercise Diagrams.

Direct download: Ep_92.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

In this podcast episode, Steve Morris discusses a process for setting  goals that are attainable and structured to keep your focus.

Today’s Guest – Stephen Morris MBA
EOS®: Entrepreneurial Operating System® Implementer
Team Development Facilitator
Smooth Sailing to Business Growth

Topics Discussed:

  • What are you hearing as you talk to business owners?
  • Do you have some tips and new skills for us to help with adapting and moving forward?
  • Setting goals sounds easy, so how can we get better at it?
  • I have heard of SMART goals before, so could you explain what SMARTER goals look like?
  • How do we complete the SMARTER goal process?
  • What does the E and R stand for in SMARTER?
  • Steve, if listeners want to get help with setting SMARTER goals, how can you help them?

Links for this episode:

Catylator Entrepreneurial Operating System:

Schedule a time to talk with Steve:

The Planning Fallacy:

Direct download: Ep_91.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 9:27am EDT

In this episode, Steve Morris discusses the concept of “sharpening the saw” and the importance of caring for yourself to ensure your well being and enhancing your work performance.

Today’s Guest - Stephen Morris MBA
EOS®: Entrepreneurial Operating System® Implementer
Team Development Facilitator
Smooth Sailing to Business Growth

Topics Discussed:

  1. We are now in our fifth week of closedown due to the Coronavirus, so as you take the temperature of people you talk to, how do you think it is going?
  2. How do you keep yourself motivated and moving forward?
  3. Stephen Covey certainly had an interesting take on building yourself up with these seven habits. What does sharpening the saw look like
  4. So, what are some of the actionable things you can do for yourself, to take a step back and sharpen your saw?
  5. Tell us what keeping refreshed in the social/emotional world means to you?
  6. Steve, if listeners want to get help with implementing better systems for their leadership teams to take a step back, keep refreshed and energized, how can you support them?

Links for this episode:

Schedule a time to talk with Steve:

The Art of Journaling: How To Start Journaling, Benefits of Journaling, and More:

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People:

The Power of Full Engagement:

Calm app:

Insight Timer app:

Waking Up app:

Direct download: Ep_90.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

In this podcast episode we examine how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the insurance industry, your premiums, audits, and future renewals.

Today’s Guest:         

Josh H. Marvel, CIC, AAI, CAWC
Consolidated Insurance
Risk Advisor - Commercial Insurance Department
Direct: 443.738.2746

Topics Discussed:

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the insurance-related challenges and risks you’ve been seeing with your current clients?
  2. Outside of insurance, and as we all prepare for a hopeful ‘return to normalcy’ after the pandemic settles down, what are some areas of risk, and opportunity, that you would advise your clients to be aware of?
  3. With a focus on Commercial Risk Management and Insurance, what do you see as potential changes to the traditional approach to insurance for business owners?
Direct download: Ep_89.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

In this podcast episode we examine the importance of how we examine issues as a group and the importance of framing our needs and expectations in a positive manner to achieve our goals.

Today’s Guest -          Stephen Morris MBA
EOS®: Entrepreneurial Operating System® Implementer
Team Development Facilitator
Smooth Sailing to Business Growth

Topics Discussed:

  1. We have talked a lot about using clear process to help get businesses and leadership teams moving forward. Today you want to talk about mindset. Could you tell us a little more about that?
  2. Having a healthy mindset for overcoming obstacles is essential, so how do we begin that process?
  3. Actionable tools are always useful, so how do we get started?
  4. So we reframe issues as "How Might We" questions. Could you give us an example?
  5. Could you give our listeners more details?
  6. Any more tips for how our listeners can get started with How Might We questions?
  7. If listeners want to get help with implementing a better mindset for their leadership teams, how might you support them?

Links for this episode:

Facilitated Remote Team Sessions:

Catylator Blog:

Direct download: Ep_88.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 10:53am EDT

In this episode, MCN welcomes Bruce Kauffman, founder of Kauffman and Forman P.A. to the show to discuss the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic upon subconractors. In particular, Bruce examines contract clauses and how they are impacting project related perfomance issues. This is a "must listen" edition for all subcontractors. 

Direct download: Ep_87.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Today we are going to be talking about making decisions, which is frequently difficult for a business even during the best of times.

Today’s Guest - Stephen Morris MBA EOS®: Entrepreneurial Operating System® Implementer Team Development Facilitator Smooth Sailing to Business Growth Explore

Topics Discussed:

  • How can process help decision making?
  • What gets in the way of making decisions?
  • What are the four discoveries about making decisions ?
  • With these four discoveries in mind, what is the exact process for becoming expert decision makers?
  • What do you do with your issues list?
  • How can Catylator support our listeners?

Links for this episode:

Free ebook: Decide! -
Catylator Entrepreneurial Operating System:

Download the show notes.

Direct download: Ep_86.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

In today's conversation with Steve Morris we discuss ways to focus your attention to what matters most for your company.

Today’s Guest – Stephen Morris MBA EOS®
Entrepreneurial Operating System® Implementer
Team Development Facilitator
Smooth Sailing to Business Growth

Topics Discussed with Steve:

  • You have talked a lot about using process to help move a business forward. You have told me today you would like to talk about getting back to basics. Could you tell us more about that?
  • Why is this important to get back to basics?
  • What do you mean by getting down to our real core?
  • What are core values?
  • What is core focus?
  • What is a core target?
  • Those targets might be looking questionable, so what should business owners be doing now?
  • How might listeners engage with you?

Download the show notes.

Direct download: Ep_85.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 8:30pm EDT

Many business owners are feeling stuck, uncertain, isolated and confused. We will talk about using process as a remedy to get moving again and will address four actions business owners can start taking immediately to get unstuck.  While the current situation may be overwhelming, we do have agency.  In this conversation with Steve Morris we discuss ways to determine where we can move forward.

Today’s Guest -   Stephen Morris MBA

EOS®: Entrepreneurial Operating System® Implementer
Team Development Facilitator
Smooth Sailing to Business Growth

Topics Discussed:

  • What are you hearing from your clients and the people you talk to?
  • Do you see anything changing?
  • It sounds like those steps are just as relevant today, what are they?
  • That sounds great, start by making a list. What is step 2?
  • OK, step 2 is to create movement, what is step 3?
  • Step 3 was make a plan, what is the fourth step?
  • Thanks Steve. Do you have more thoughts for our listeners on moving forward?
  • That sounds like a plan. Steve, how can you help our listeners if they are looking for more information?

Links for information associating with the podcast:

  1. Book time to talk with Steve about solving issues:
  2. Forget the computer — here’s why you should write and design by hand
  3. How to Use Writing to Sharpen Your Thinking | Tim Ferriss
  4. 20 Journaling Prompts I Swear by to Get You out of Your Head
Direct download: Ep_84.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30pm EDT

For many companies used to having your team working together in an office environment, the transition to sending everyone to work from home for the first time is likely to be challenging. If you are a business owner or team leader and are feeling anxious about how you are going to keep productivity going, we are going to help you with actionable resources you can implement to make this transition easier and more productive.

In this, the third of three conversations with Steve Morris, we conclude our examination of the process to conduct effective and efficient meetings with persons from many relote locations. 

Today’s Guest – Stephen Morris MBA EOS®
Entrepreneurial Operating System® Implementer
Team Development Facilitator
Smooth Sailing to Business Growth

Topics Discussed:

  • Are there methods that business owners can use to keep their teams solving problems together while working remotely?
  • What is a clear process that is effective for remote team problem solving?
  • Why does the Lightning Decision Jam process work?
  • Why do we want to use structure for creative problem solving?
  • How does a Lightning Decision Jam work?
  • What is different about how you conduct a Lightning Decision Jam for a Remote Team?
  • Why do you think a Lightning Decision Jam is an ideal solution for a remote team?
  • How can business owners get in touch with you?

Links for information associating with the podcast:

  1. Lightning Decision Jam: An Actionable Method To Help Your Remote Team Solve Creative Problems Together:
  2. Catylator free downloadable template for Lightning Decision Jam:
  3. A&J Smart:
  4. A&J Smart video guide:    
  5. Zoom:
  6. Skype:
  7. Microsoft Teams:
  8. Miro whiteboard:
  9. Mural whiteboard:
  10. Google Docs:
Direct download: Ep_83.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Show Title: Here's How to Conduct Effective Meetings with Your Team at Home

Today’s Guest - Stephen Morris MBA
EOS®: Entrepreneurial Operating System® Implementer
Team Development Facilitator
Smooth Sailing to Business Growth

Topics Discussed:

  • Companies are sending their staff home, what should they be doing about meetings?
  • What do business owners need to be doing differently for meetings with their remote staff?
  • Once they have some basics in place, what process can they use to conduct better meetings?
  • The Level 10 meeting sounds interesting, what does it look like in practice?
  • Are there online resources that you can point business owners to?
  • What do you offer businesses and why would they want to work with you?

Links for information associating with the podcast:

  1. Entrepreneurial Operating System, EOS:
  2. Effective Meetings: Level 10 Meeting for Entrepreneurial Leadership Teams
  3. EOS tools are available free at:
Direct download: Ep._82.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 9:45pm EDT

Direct download: Ep._81.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 10:14pm EDT

This episode is a recording from MCN’s May 2nd 2019 Direct Connect at Waverly Woods Golf Club featuring the summary report of findings from Gross Mendelsohn’s 2019 Construction Industry Survey. This is the 4th annual survey conducted by Gross Mendelsohn with results presented by the director of their Construction Group, Mr. Steve Ball.

This year, in addition to the report of the survey, Steve shares his insight into one of the most significant challenges facing construction companies – finding and retaining employees. Steve examines the changing face of America’s workforce and offers suggestions on how contractors can connect with younger generations as companies attempt to fill the void left by retiring workers.

You can download a .pdf of the slides used during the presentation here.

Additionally, you can download the executive summary of findings from Gross Mendelsohn’s 2019 Construction Industry Survey by clicking the image below.

Direct download: MCN_80.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 2:00pm EDT

This episode is a recording from the Business Information Group“BIG U 2018: Security Awareness” Conference. This recording is from the third of three sessions specifically addressing the construction industry. The presentation is titled: “How to Mitigate a Cyber Attack” and was presented by Charles Getty from BIG. You can download the slides used during this presentation here.

BIG University was held on May 24, 2018 at York College of Pennsylvania in York, PA. Business owners and IT professionals alike learned about the latest cybersecurity threats facing local businesses – and what can be done about them. Attendees enjoyed a keynote from Frank Abagnale, a renowned cybersecurity and fraud prevention expert, as well as bestselling author & subject of Catch Me If You Can. Frank recounted his experiences in committing and then preventing fraud, and how technology makes it easier for fraud to be committed.

Business Information Group is a leading IT consulting firm based in York, Pennsylvania. BIG supports clients through network design & implementation, software consulting, wireless communication, and managed IT services.

Direct download: BIG_U_3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

This episode is a recording from the Business Information Group“BIG U 2018: Security Awareness” Conference. This recording is from the second of three sessions specifically addressing the construction industry. The presentation is titled: “Protecting Your Information in the Field” and was presented by Patrick Rumbaugh from BIG. You can download the slides used during this presentation here.

BIG University was held on May 24, 2018 at York College of Pennsylvania in York, PA. Business owners and IT professionals alike learned about the latest cybersecurity threats facing local businesses – and what can be done about them. Attendees enjoyed a keynote from Frank Abagnale, a renowned cybersecurity and fraud prevention expert, as well as bestselling author & subject of Catch Me If You Can. Frank recounted his experiences in committing and then preventing fraud, and how technology makes it easier for fraud to be committed.

Business Information Group is a leading IT consulting firm based in York, Pennsylvania. BIG supports clients through network design & implementation, software consulting, wireless communication, and managed IT services.

Direct download: BIG_U_2.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 10:22am EDT

This episode is a recording from the Business Information Group“BIG U 2018: Security Awareness” Conference. This recording is from the first of three sessions specifically addressing the construction industry. The presentation is titled: “Office, Team an Field” and was presented by Matt Redlund from Viewpoint. You can download the slides used during this presentation here.

BIG University was held on May 24, 2018 at York College of Pennsylvania in York, PA. Business owners and IT professionals alike learned about the latest cybersecurity threats facing local businesses – and what can be done about them. Attendees enjoyed a keynote from Frank Abagnale, a renowned cybersecurity and fraud prevention expert, as well as bestselling author & subject of Catch Me If You Can. Frank recounted his experiences in committing and then preventing fraud, and how technology makes it easier for fraud to be committed.

Business Information Group is a leading IT consulting firm based in York, Pennsylvania. BIG supports clients through network design & implementation, software consulting, wireless communication, and managed IT services.

Direct download: BIG_U_1.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 10:07am EDT

Episode #76 of the Maryland Construction Network Podcast is a recording from May 2, 2018. This was a presentation given by Stephen Ball, CPA, CVA, CCIFP from Gross Mendelsohn CPA’s & Advisors, featuring the results gathered from the 2018 Maryland Construction Industry Survey. Steve is a partner in the accounting firm Gross Mendelsohn, located in Baltimore, MD and Director of their Construction Group.

The material presented is the result of an industry survey developed by Gross Mendelsohn during the spring of 2018 and distributed to construction professionals throughout Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region through Maryland Construction Network.

Get the data from nearly 200 Maryland Construction Contractors HERE!

Part of maintaining and growing a strong, profitable construction business means knowing where you stand in relation to other local firms. This executive summary includes the overall responses received in our 2018 survey of Maryland construction contractors. You’ll get data and insights on hot-button topics like:

  • Are Maryland construction contractors more or less optimistic for 2018 than they were for 2017?
  • What are contractors’ top business concerns?
  • Why do construction companies lose good employees?
  • Why does giving regular employee feedback matter?
  • What do other contractors do to recruit younger generations to the construction industry?

A .pdf version of the slideshow is available here.

Please follow this link to download the Executive Summary of the survey from Gross Mendelsohn’s website.

Direct download: Ep_76.mp3
Category:Direct Connect Presentations -- posted at: 5:10pm EDT

Struck By Safety—Toolbox Talk #6

For more information about the Focus 4 Campaign and to access to all the toolbox talks in English and/or Spanish, click here.

Head Protection

The hard hat is one of the oldest, most widely used, and most important pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) on the job. However, the hard hat cannot do its job when it is not properly worn, maintained, and replaced when needed.

Actual Incident: Bob and his crew were putting on a new roof on a house. During the day, Bob was cleaning up debris when a falling hammer struck his hard hat. Although he experienced pain and discomfort, Bob did not require hospital admission.

Could this incident have been avoided?

Do you work at a job that requires you to wear a hard hat?

How do you inspect your hard hat for defects which would require your employer to replace it?

Warnings and Precautions

Never drill holes in the hard hat shell for ventilation purposes.
Always wear your hardhat with the bill facing forward.
Always avoid contact between the hard hat and electric wires.
Never use a hardhat suspension that is not intended for use with a particular shell, or one that is made by a different manufacturer.
Never carry or wear anything inside of your hard hat between the suspension and the shell. A clearance must be maintained between the hard hat shell and the wearer’s head for the protection system to work properly.
A Ball cap or other object may limit clearance and shouldn’t be worn under the hard hat.
Only wear products, such as winter liners or sunshades that are designed specifically to work in conjunction with hard hats. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for use.
Consider inspecting the hard hat daily for the following: stiffness, brittleness, fading, dullness of color, or a chalky appearance. If the shell exhibits any of these conditions or if it is obviously otherwise damaged, it should be removed from service and replaced immediately. Some hard hats need replacing after 2 years of extreme temperature exposure; others may last longer. The interior suspension should be inspected closely for cracks or tears, frayed or cut straps, loss of pliability, or other signs of wear*.
What are the hard hat practices at this site?

Have you seen any modified hard hats in use?

Are you checking and maintaining your hard hat in optimal condition?


Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Struck By Safety—Toolbox Talk #5

For more information about the Focus 4 Campaign and to access to all the toolbox talks in English and/or Spanish, click here.

Working Safely Around and/or Securing Loads

What are the hazards of working around (suspended or moving) loads? Loads releasing onto workers from trucks or storage areas, materials dropped on workers while loading trucks or unstrapping loads.

What are the results? Crushed or broken limbs, head injuries, amputations, death.

What should we look for? Poorly stacked building materials, lopsided loads on trucks, loads not properly tied down, materials being lifted by cranes near work areas.

Actual Incident: A 45-year-old crane operator died while rigging a load. A tractor-trailer driver unstrapped the load to ready it for lifting. The operator climbed onto the load during rigging and it rolled off the trailer and crushed him. The tractor-trailer driver was not at a meeting earlier that day where drivers were told that their loads had to be kept strapped.

How do we prevent these results?

  • Keep workers who are not involved in loading or unloading clear of loading areas.
  • Load materials for maximum stability. Distribute weight evenly and keep materials level. Secure loads following safe and appropriate industry practices.
  • Consider having a competent person inspect incoming freight to identify those that pose serious hazards during unloading.
  • Nail 2×4 boards to the floor of cargo areas to secure equipment with wheels.
  • Make sure cargo does not restrict driver’s vision, free motion, exit from the vehicle, or access to emergency supplies.
  • Stack and store materials with no more than a 4:1 height to base ratio and keep materials back from the edge.
  • Perform rigging only if you are qualified. Choose the right equipment and inspect it prior to each use.Tag and take defective rigging equipment out of service!
  • Each day before use, slings and all fastenings and attachments shall be inspected for damage or defects by a competent person designated by the employer.

Brought To You By:

Direct download: Struck_By_5.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Struck By Safety—Toolbox Talk #4

For more information about the Focus 4 Campaign and to access to all the toolbox talks in English and/or Spanish, click here.

Equipment & Falling Objects

Being Struck by Falling Objects is a leading source of construction fatalities. Even a small object falling from a height can cause serious or fatal injuries.

Here is an Example: In March 2017, a laborer was picking up debris at a construction site. A forklift was lifting a pile of lumber to the third floor next to him. The lumber was not secured and fell three stories from the forklift. One board struck an employee in the head. He was wearing a hard hat, but the incident left him with a concussion.

  1. What could have been done to prevent this incident?
  2. Are materials regularly being lifted by heavy equipment to upper levels on your worksite?
  3. If so, what do you do to protect yourself when walking through the site? What do you do to protect others?

Prevent Being Struck by Equipment or Objects

  • Loads should not be hoisted or allowed to pass over people.
  • Loads need to be secured when lifted by forklifts, cranes, or any sort of material mover.
  • Hard hats can help minimize injuries to the head and therefore also protect your spine.
  • Toe boards need to be placed on all scaffolding, unprotected sides or edges, and open elevations to protect workers below from falling materials such as lumber, brick, tools, debris, nuts and bolts, nails, screws, and equipment.
  • Materials should be stacked and secured appropriately and not leaning or ready to topple over.
  • Tools in elevated working areas need to be secured if close to any change in elevation. There are new and improved tool lanyards available.
  • Even when taking all of the above cautions, items can shift, winds can gust or change, workers can lose their grip, someone can accidently kick an object, or any number of other things can happen to allow objects to become airborne and drop to lower levels. So listen and watch as you walk the site; get off the cell phone; remove the earbuds or lower the volume of the music.

Let’s talk about this jobsite. Record notes and share with appropriate parties

  • Are elevated loading areas or zones on this project and cordoned off to restrict entry?
  • Is there any area on this site that the Controlling Contractor should be told about to eliminate a potential falling object

Brought To You By:

Direct download: Struck_by_4.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 1:56pm EDT

Episode #75 of The Maryland Construction Network is an audio recording of Ro Waldron’s article, “Pick Up The Phone And Call”. The article appeared in the April 2018 edition of MCN’s Newsletter “Networked & Connected”.

The article speaks of the benefits to conducting conversations with people rather than relying solely on electronic communications. Indeed, there are advantages to be derived when speaking directly to people.

Enjoy listening. If you want to read Ro’s article, get his contact information, or read all of the other articles in MCN’s outstanding newsletter, download the April 2018 issue here.

Direct download: Ep_75.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

Episode #74 of The Maryland Construction Network is the audio recording from our April 12, 2018 Wisdom & Wine presentation “Secure Your Email Environment In Today’s Ever-Changing Threat Landscape”. Our event host Business Information Group, in conjunction with Mr. Thorston Stoeterau from Barracuda Networks, made this presentation possible.

You may download a pdf of the slideshow used in the presentation here.

Ransomware and Spear Phishing are becoming very large cyber threats to end users and are expected to reach >$1 billion in profits this year alone. Without a comprehensive security strategy in place, resource-limited small to mid-sized businesses are the ones who are more likely to (literally) pay the price.

Join Maryland Construction Network, Business Information Group & Barracuda Networks, Inc. for an affordable and informative presentation designed to give you the tools and information needed to prevent your business from becoming victim to ever-increasing business crippling cyber threats.

In this session you will learn:

  • The different types of attacks and their anatomies.
  • Why traditional tools and approaches are no longer effective.
  • How to implement a layered approach to defense.

Don’t miss this unique and affordable opportunity to learn about ever-changing cyber threats which can impact your business plus.

Direct download: Ep_74.mp3
Category:LTK-LTG Seminar -- posted at: 3:23pm EDT

Struck By Safety—Toolbox Talk #3

For more information about the Focus 4 Campaign and to access to all the toolbox talks in English and/or Spanish, click here.

Work Zone Driving

Drive towards ZERO crashes—Your driving actions and habits can save lives, including yours!

Know the work zone signs. They are the metal plaques that inform and warn you, but there are other devices and other indicators that tell you about the work underway, mark the path you should follow, and help you navigate the work zone. Look for direction from cones, barrels, pavement markings, and other devices designed to get you safely through the work zone.

Pay attention to other drivers. It is never a good idea to ignore other drivers no matter where you’re driving, but in work zones you need to be especially mindful of them. Roadway work zones are less forgiving than normal stretches of highways and streets. They often have narrower lanes and no shoulders to escape to in case you want to take evasive action.

Stay focused. Avoid distractions. Losing focus on your driving is bad in any situation, but it can prove deadly in roadway work zones. Observing what the signs tell you, controlling your speed, steering carefully, and keeping an eye on other drivers—all demand your full attention. Stop eating or drinking. Put down your mobile device. Keep your focus on your driving.

Expect the unexpected. When you drive in work zones, it’s always best to prepare yourself for some-thing unexpected, such as aggressive actions by other motorists, construction vehicles that slow down to leave the roadway and pull into the work area, dump trucks that emerge from the work area and enter your lane up ahead, workers operating scant inches from your path, uneven pavement lanes, and loose gravel on the road surface to name just a few. When you anticipate problems, you are better able to react to them appropriately.

Keep your cool. Be patient. Maintain calm. Don’t get rattled by work zone situations. Always make sure your speed is appropriate to the situation; that could be slower than the posted limit. Finally, don’t lose your patience or your temper. If you keep your cool, you and everyone else will make it through the work zone and arrive safely at their destinations.

Can you identify the areas of a work zone?

Have you seen these areas as a worker or driver?

What precautions did you take when approaching the work zone?

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Direct download: Struck_By_3.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 12:08pm EDT

Struck By Safety—Toolbox Talk #1

For more information about the Focus 4 Campaign and to access to all the toolbox talks in English and/or Spanish, click here.

How Can We Be Safe Around Equipment?

What are the hazards? Employees working around heavy equipment are exposed to pinch points, back-in-to, run-over, and back-over hazards when working in proximity to heavy equipment and construction vehicles.

What are the results? Serious bodily harm including, injuries to the head, back, extremities and internal organs. These types of struck-by incidents can result in life-changing injuries and are often fatal.

What should we look for? Blind spots, congested work areas, multiple trades working in a single work space, malfunctioning or disconnected back-up alarms, pinch-points between machinery/vehicles and fixed objects, vehicular traffic in and around work zones (road construction).

Here is an example of a recent struck-by related fatality:

A worker was killed in 2015 in Washington County, Pennsylvania when he was struck by a utility vehicle that was backing up in the work area. The employee, became trapped beneath the utility truck, was in a blind spot and was not seen by the driver. The 43-year-old worker suffered injuries to his head, chest, and abdomen and was pronounced dead at the scene.

How do we prevent these incidents?

  • Avoid equipment blind spots where you can go unseen by operators/drivers
  • Respond to back up alarms and ensure their proper function
  • Use spotters to warn operators/drivers of nearby workers and hazards
  • Always determine a route of escape
  • Always wear high-visibility/reflective clothing in accordance with your company’s and DOT

Brought To You By:

Direct download: Struck_By_1.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 9:07pm EDT

Struck By Safety—Toolbox Talk #2

For more information about the Focus 4 Campaign and to access to all the toolbox talks in English and/or Spanish, click here.

Incident: In January 2015, an employee working in a trench was struck-by an excavator bucket, which was removing soil from the excavation, resulting in a broken hip. The employee was severely injured and did not return to work for 30 months.

What could have been done to prevent this incident?

  1. Before beginning trenching or excavation operations, a job hazard analysis (JHA) should be prepared and reviewed by all involved in the operation.
  2. Daily huddles should be conducted every day to ensure everyone understands where and how the work is taking place.
  3. Workers should be trained to stand clear of bucket work, at a distance where the bucket cannot accidently strike the worker.
  4. Operators should be trained not to move the bucket if a worker is inside the swing radius of the bucket.
  5. If something changes from the plan, stop work and revise and review the plan with the workers involved.
  6. Ensure workers working around heavy equipment are wearing high visibility, fluorescent outer-wear.
  7. Workers should stay out of the blind spots of a machine, and in a place where they can easily make eye contact with the operator before entering the bucket swing radius.
  8. All workers should be trained on working around heavy equipment.
  9. All workers operating machinery should be trained on the specific machine on which they are working.
  10. Stay alert when working around heavy equipment!

Discussion: Is heavy equipment being used at this site? Have there been any near-miss or actual incidents at this site? What are we doing at this site to prevent struck-by incidents?

Brought To You By:

Direct download: Struck_By_2.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 9:55pm EDT

Today’s episode of the Maryland Construction Network includes newly released information from two Maryland government agencies.

First, the Department of Assessments and Taxation unveiled on March 12th the Maryland Business Express, a new website that will make it easier for Maryland’s small business owners and entrepreneurs to plan, start, manage, and grow their business. Accessible at, the new site combines information previously spread across many state agencies into one, easy-to-navigate site, while also providing a clear outline of the steps involved in starting a business.

Maryland Business Express also features a digital assistant designed to communicate with and deliver guidance to Marylanders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“Since taking office, our administration has been committed to ensuring Maryland is Open for Business, and since that time, we have become one of the top states in the country for entrepreneurial business growth,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Now, Maryland Business Express will make it easier than ever to start a business, and will provide quick access to the many tools and resources that Maryland agencies have to offer to support our small business job creators.”

“Our Department’s goal is to allow Marylanders to interact with the state any time it’s convenient for them, and the new Maryland Business Express will move us closer to that goal than ever before,” said SDAT Director Michael Higgs. “This new website will be a tremendous benefit to Maryland’s business community, and the feedback we receive will allow us to continually update content to better suit their needs.”

Over the past few years, SDAT has focused on making government services more accessible to the hundreds of thousands of Maryland businesses that interact with the Department annually. Recent efforts to provide more services online have resulted in dramatic improvements in processing times, including a reduction from 10 to four weeks to start a business. Today, more than 50 percent of all documents are filed online, 40 percent of which occur outside of normal business hours and 20 percent of which are done through a mobile device. SDAT’s online services process more than 250,000 transactions annually.

Second, on March 10th, the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) released Additional Guidance including Model Policies and Updated FAQs to the recently implemented Maryland Healthy Working Families Act.

To date, the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance received more than 2,000 emails from employers and employees with specific questions about complying with the law. The most common of these questions have been compiled into a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document, available at

In addition to the updated FAQs, the department has provided an updated employee notice poster for your place of business, and model policies for your employee handbook or other employee benefits documents. These resources are also available on the paid leave website.

These documents will assist employers with compliance as well as facilitating a discussion with employees regarding their rights under the law. Responses are preliminary and subject to change. Please note that the department cannot provide legal advice regarding specific employer leave policies or employee exemptions under the law. These documents are for informational purposes and are intended to provide general guidance to employers and employees about the requirements of the law.

Further, Governor Larry Hogan issued Executive Order 01.01.2018.04 creating the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance to assist small businesses in complying with the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act. Questions can be sent to this office at

Direct download: Ep_73.mp3
Category:MCN Blog -- posted at: 2:41pm EDT

This episode of the Maryland Construction Network contains two articles published in MCN’s February 2018 edition of Networked & Connected.

The first article, “Education & Awareness In The Context Of Cybersecurity”, was written and submitted by Allan Hirsh of Allan Hirsh Advisors. The article highlights some basic tips to protect your company’s data online.

The second article was submitted by Ro Waldren from his successful blog, “Ro’s Words of Encouragement.” “The Power of No” illustrates the positive impact receiving a “no” can have upon your sales approach.

Direct download: Ep_72.mp3
Category:Networked & Connected Newsletter -- posted at: 2:17pm EDT

Electrical Safety—Toolbox Talk # 4

For more information about the Focus 4 Campaign and to access to all the toolbox talks (English and Spanish), click here.

Electrical Safety and First Aid Assistance

Actual Incident:

At approximately 4:15 p.m., an employee installing a ground conductor inside a 277/480 VAC 3-phase pan-elboard was shocked when his wrench came into contact with the “A” phase lug of the three-wire system. The employee sustained first and second degree burns from the arc flash created by the contact with the “A” phase lug. The employee was hospitalized and treated for these burns for more than one month.


  • Ensure your own safety, by making sure the scene is safe.
  • If possible, and if it is safe to do so, shut off the source of electricity.
  • Call 911 with explicit address & inform them the source of the current such as a downed pole, etc.
  • Do not hang up on the 911 operator until told to do so.
  • If you cannot shut off the source of electricity, attempt to move the source away from both you and the injured person using a dry, non conductive object made of cardboard, plastic or wood; all without placing yourself at risk of electrocution.
  • Begin CPR and use an AED if the person shows no signs of circulation, such as breathing, coughing or movement until EMS arrives.
  • Try to prevent the injured person from becoming chilled.
  • Apply a bandage. Cover any burned areas with a sterile gauze bandage, if available, or a clean cloth. Don’t use a blanket or towel, because loose fibers can stick to the burns.

Source: The Mayo Clinic


Direct download: Electrical_4.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 4:35pm EDT

Electrical Safety—Toolbox Talk #3

For more information about the Focus 4 Campaign and to access to all the toolbox talks (English and Spanish), click here.

Be Aware of the Power Lines Where You Live and Work

Always assume power lines are energized. This includes power lines on utility poles as well as those entering your home or buildings. Always keep yourself, your equipment, and anything you carry at least 10 feet from power lines. Even though you may notice a covering on a line, NEVER assume it is safe to touch. Stay Away!

Ladders – Never stand ladders near power lines. When working on or near ladders, keep all tools, the ladder, and anything you carry well away (at least 10 feet) from power lines.

High Reach Equipment – Keep all cranes, scaffolding, and high reach equipment away from power lines. Contact with a power line can cause serious burns or electrocution. Remember to work a safe distance from all power lines. When performing construction activities, keep equipment at least 10 feet from power lines and 34 feet from transmission tower lines.

Fallen Power Lines  -Keep yourself and others away from any fallen power lines. You never know when they might be energized. Call local utility provider right away and report the location of the downed wires. If a line falls on your car, stay in your car. If you must get out of the car, jump clear, do not touch any part of your car and the ground at the same time and stay clear of the fallen line.

Trees Near Power Lines – Do not climb or trim trees near power lines and keep children from doing the same. Hire a qualified contractor to trim trees near power lines. Contact your local electrical utility if you have any questions about removing limbs or trees near power lines.

Digging – You are required by law to call One Call at 811 to locate gas, electric, and other underground utility lines before you dig. Whether you are planting a tree, building a fence or laying foundation, contacting a line with a shovel or pick can damage power lines and injure or kill you or others.

Working Near Power Lines – Contact your local electrical utility if you are conducting any work or activity that may bring yourself, your equipment, and anything you carry within 10 feet of a power line.

Brought To You By:

Direct download: Electrical_3.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 4:32pm EDT

Electrical Safety—Toolbox Talk #2

For more information about the Focus 4 Campaign and to access to all the toolbox talks (English and Spanish), click here.

How Can We Prevent Electrocutions While Using Power Tools?

What are the hazards? Bodily contact with electricity.

What are the results? Shock, fire, burns, falls or death.

What should we look for? Tools that aren’t double-insulated, damaged tools and cords, incorrect cords, wet conditions, tools used improperly.

NOTE: Review common hand tool owner’s manuals for inspection and use requirements

How can we stay safe while using power tools?

  • Get proper training on manufacturers’ tool use and specs.
  • Inspect tool before each use according to manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Do not use damaged tools, remove them from service.
  • Use only battery-powered tools in wet conditions.

Let’s talk about this site now.

  • What can lead to an electrocution while using power tools? Non double-insulated tools, damaged cord, wet conditions.
  • Have you seen or used any defective power tools?
  • What should you do if you find a defective power tool? Remove it from service, notify your supervisor, mark it for repair.

Brought To You By:

Direct download: Electrical_2.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 10:06pm EDT

Electrical Safety—Toolbox Talk #1

For more information about the Focus 4 Campaign and to access to all the toolbox talks (English and Spanish), click here.

Precautions for avoiding electrical shocks include, but not limited to the following:

General safety precautions:
Safety to personnel and safe operation of machines and tools should be of utmost importance in all considerations of using electricity on the jobsite. Electrical hazards are among the most frequently cited OSHA violations. There are many specific standards that address electrical safety. Refer to Sub-part K—Electrical (1926.400-449) for more information.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters:
The GFCI is a fast acting device that senses a small current leakage to ground. Within 1/40 of a second it shuts off the electricity and “interrupts” the current flow. It provides effective protection against shocks and electrocution. OSHA requires GCFIs or an assured equipment grounding conductor pro-gram on all construction sites and projects.

Extension Cords:
Extension cords are convenient ways to provide power to portable equipment. However, they are often misused, resulting in injuries and possible shock hazards. It is important thing to remember that extension cords are for temporary use only. Inspect extension cords for physical damage before use; check rating on the tool being used with an extension cord; do not use an extension cord that has a lower rating; do not plug one extension cord into another.

Electrical Fires:
On construction sites, an electrical fire that may occur when portable tools overload a power source. If possible to do safely, immediately disconnect the tool or power cord from the power source. This usually results in the electrical fire being extinguished. If the electrical fire has not been extinguished, a trained employee can use a Class “C” or multi-purpose fire extinguisher to PASS over the fire.
PASS – Pull Aim, Spray and Sweep

Brought To You By:

Direct download: Electrical_1.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 9:58pm EDT

MCN welcomes Nicholas DeJesse,  Assistant Regional Administrator – OSHA Region III – Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to the show as he introduces and unveil’s OSHA’s Focus 4 Campaign. Hazards from the four major causes of fatalities to workers will be examined during the period of March through June.

Did you know that four classifications of occupational hazards account for 80% of all job fatalities? Falls, Electrical, Caught In/Between, and Struck By’s are the big four. The 2018 OSHA Focus 4 Campaign is designed to bring increased awareness to these hazards and provide new tools to employers to help recognize the risks and decrease the injuries caused by them.

In this episode, Nick talks about the mission of OSHA and how OSHA (Federal Gov’t) differs from MOSH (MD State Gov’t). We discuss the efforts of OSHA and MOSH to provide materials and consultative services to help employers. Employers need to know that the consultative service portion of MOSH is completely separate from the compliance branch. Their work is independent of one another; different personnel, different directives. By taking advantage of MOSH’s complimentary consulting services a company does not have any increased likelihood of a compliance inspection. In Mr. DeJesse’s career, he has witnessed only one instance where a consultation program manager needed to notify compliance.

In addition to providing Toolbox Talk outlines on Focus 4 Campaign topics, MOSH is unveiling a completely new way to present these talks. Maryland Construction Network, in coordination with OSHA and MOSH, is going to podcast the Focus 4 Toolbox Talks beginning on March 7th. For the very first time the people responsible for providing your toolbox talks can download and play prerecorded toolbox talks for your employees. Combined with the personal input of your workers, these podcasts can help to provide uniform deployment of information throughout your organization and provide real help to those individuals who struggle with toolbox talk presentations. Available in both English and Spanish, these recorded toolbox talks will add a new dimension to hazard recognition and awareness.

To view more information about the Focus 4 Campaign, go to MCN’s dedicated web page –

Participation in the Focus 4 Campaign is totally voluntary. Maryland companies who decide to participate in the campaign can register to receive a frame-quality certificate recognizing your efforts in promoting workplace safety.

Direct download: Ep_71.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 12:10am EDT

Direct download: OSHA_Focus_4_Campaign_Falls_4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

This episode of the Maryland Construction Network is the article “Updates To Maryland’s Data Breach Notification Law Take Effect January 1, 2018” written by James R. Benjamin Jr., Esquire  of PK Law and published in MCN’s February 2018 edition of Networked & Connected.

On January 1, 2018, several amendments to the Maryland Personal Information Protection Act, (“MPIPA”) MD Code Ann., Com. Law §14-3501 et seq. will go into effect. Businesses collecting personal information should take note and be prepared.

Please listen to discover the important changes that are now in place.

Direct download: Ep_70.mp3
Category:Networked & Connected Newsletter -- posted at: 8:45pm EDT

This episode of the Maryland Construction Network is the article “How To Get 20+ Pages Of Data On The Maryland Construction Industry” written by Gross, Mendelsohn & Associates, P.A. and published in MCN’s February 2018 edition of Networked & Connected.

To take the survey referenced in the podcast, please follow this link. The survey needs to be completed by February 21st 2018 to be eligible for inclusion in the survey results and included in the drawing for the $500 Home Depot Gift Card.

Don’t forget to attend MCN’s May 2018 Direct Connect where the survey results will be unveiled. Go to for additional information and top register as soon as the event planning is finalized.

Direct download: Epp_69.mp3
Category:Networked & Connected Newsletter -- posted at: 11:23pm EDT

This is a podcast of the presentation immediately preceding MCN’s Direct Connect event on January 25th of 2018 given by Donald Hoffman, MS, CPA. The best speakers, writers, leaders and teachers are all great storytellers. By learning how to tell memorable stories, you will facilitate better relationships both personally and professionally. Join us to learn how to connect to your peers, convey a powerful message and effectively illustrate your value.

Don is the President of The Prosperity Consulting Group, a wealth management company helping people prepare for a comfortable future.  Don is also a Managing Partner of The Hoffman Group, a full-service accounting and consulting firm. Don has extensive experience in the construction industry, as well as the manufacturing, wholesale distribution, and nonprofit industries. His extensive background as a Financial Advisor, CPA, and Business Consultant enables him to provide comprehensive, independent tax and wealth management solutions. Don leads clients to make proper financial decisions by strategically planning for their retirement, diversifying stock portfolios, guiding them through complex business matters, and optimizing long-term success with investment guidance.

A YouTube video titled “Laughing Chewbacca Mask Lady (Full Video)” was played during the presentation. The link to the video is – If you would like, pause the podcast and watch the video when instructed, and then resume the podcast when the video concludes.

Direct download: MCN_68.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 4:06pm EDT

This is a recording of the presentation titled: “5 Technology Trends Construction Contractors Can’t Afford To Ignore” hosted and sponsored by Gross Mendelsohn CPA’s and Advisors at the Maryland Construction Network “Direct Connect”® on September 28, 2017.

Featured speakers include:

  • Bill Walter, MCP, MCSE, PMP, a principal with Gross Mendelsohn’s Technology Solutions Group
  • Susan Gorham – Gross Mendelsohn’s Director of Marketing
  • Jiselle Zunino – Gross Mendelsohn, CPA’s & Advisors

The PowerPoint presentation used during the program can be found via this link.

During the course of the presentation, a video was played which demonstrated the popularity of social media and the effect it has upon marketing for companies. The video is locate don YouTube and can be located and viewed  through the following link –

Direct download: 092817_Presentation.mp3
Category:Direct Connect Presentations -- posted at: 2:10pm EDT

Episode #67 of the Maryland Construction Network Podcast is a recording from May 4, 2017. This was a presentation given by Stephen Ball, CPA, CVA, CCIFP from Gross Mendelsohn CPA’s & Advisors, featuring the results gathered from the 2017 Maryland Construction Industry Survey. Steve is a partner in the accounting firm Gross Mendelsohn, located in Baltimore, MD and Director of their Construction Group.

The material presented is the result of an industry survey developed by Gross Mendelsohn during the spring of 2017 and distributed to construction professionals throughout Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region through Maryland Construction Network.

Get the data from nearly 200 Maryland Construction Contractors HERE!

Part of maintaining and growing a strong, profitable construction business means knowing where you stand in relation to other local firms. This executive summary includes the overall responses received in our 2017 survey of Maryland construction contractors. You’ll get data and insights on hot-button topics like:

  • Trends in personnel development, including the number one reason employees leave and what kind of benefits other firms are offering their staff
  • How other firms feel about their future outlook and success as we continue further into 2017, their top concerns and whether they expect their revenue to increase or decrease this year
  • Marketing trends in construction
  • Integrated systems and IT concerns
  • Tax proposals being considered by the Trump administration

A .pdf version of the slideshow is available here.

Please follow this link to download the Executive Summary of the survey from Gross Mendelsohn’s website.

Direct download: MCN_67.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:52am EDT

The 2nd Annual Maryland Construction Industry Survey, hosted by Gross Mendelsohn & Associates in conjunction with MCN, is now open and ready for your participation. Our survey is designed to determine the state of the construction industry while identifying areas of optimism and concern for all companies involved in the construction process in Maryland. We sincerely hope you will take 10 minutes or less to participate in this important survey. The larger the sample group, the better the data. More than 200 companies participated in our 2016 survey.

Gross Mendelson’s Steve Ball will present the survey results at Maryland Construction Network’s May 4th, 2017 Direct Connect Networking Event. Information provided from the survey will allow you to measure and compare your company to others doing business within the state. Survey data will also help you identify trends and markets to examine and target for upcoming work.

As always, your responses and private information will be kept confidential. Participants will be entered into a drawing for a $500 Home Depot Gift Card.

Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 9:46am EDT

Maryland’s Construction Industry Outlook:
Current Conditions, Future Trends and
Today’s Best Practices

This podcast is a recording of the May 4th, 2016MCN Podcast 130x130 Brown
presentation given by Stephen Ball, CPA, CVA, CCIFP. Steve is a partner in the accounting firm Gross Mendelsohn, located in Baltimore, MD and Director of their Construction Group.

The material presented is the result of an industry survey developed by Gross Mendelsohn during the winter/spring of 2016 and distributed to construction professionals throughout Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region through Maryland Construction Network.

Get data from more than 200 Maryland Construction Contractors.

Part of maintaining and growing a strong, profitable construction business means knowing where you stand in relation to other local firms. This executive summary includes the overall responses received in our 2016 survey of Maryland construction contractors. You’ll get data and insights on hot-button topics like:

  • Trends in personnel development, including the number one reason employees leave and what kind of benefits other firms are offering their staff
  • How other firms feel about their future outlook and success as we continue further into 2016, their top concerns and whether they expect their revenue to increase or decrease this year
  • Tax deductions and credits that other contractors are taking advantage to keep more money on their bottom line

A .pdf version of the slides displayed in the presentation is available here.

Click the following link to download your copy of the Executive Summary of the 2016 Maryland Construction Industry Survey!

Direct download: MCN_65.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 4:20pm EDT

Ladies and Gentlemen,

MCN set a new attendance record for a Direct Connect Network meeting at our March 10th event in Frederick! Here is a picture of a portion of the crowd attending our pre-DC program – “Future Frederick”.

031016 DC Seminar Crop

As promised, you can access the PowerPoint presentation given by Helen Propheter, Manager of Economic Development Frederick County and Richard Griffin, Director of Economic Development – City of Frederick via this link.

Maryland Construction Network And Gross Mendelsohn & Associates Are Conducting A Critical Construction Industry Survey

The 2016 Maryland Construction Industry Survey Explores
Current Conditions | Future Trends | Best Practices | & More

If you are interested in knowing more about key trends, best practices, current conditions, and the challenges facing Maryland’s construction industry; please participate in this critical 5 minute survey.

Your experience, knowledge, and insight regarding current conditions, today’s best practices, and your vision of future trends would be greatly appreciated.  The survey is inclusive of every trade and every scope of work.  Insight from Maryland businesses, large and small, is welcomed and encouraged.

Survey participants will receive a complete copy of the post-survey report and an exclusive invitation to the unveiling of the survey results.  In addition, participants will be entered into a drawing for a $500 gift card.

Again, it takes just 5 minutes to complete this critical survey.

On behalf of Maryland Construction Network & Gross Mendelsohn, “thank you” for your time, your support, and your participation.

Click Here and complete the survey now.  Thank you!

Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 8:06am EDT

Social Media In The Workplace

In this podcast we are joined by Jennifer Curry, an MCN Podcast 130x130 Brownattorney with Ober|Kaler’s employment and labor group. Jennifer is here to discuss issues facing employers today with regard to employee’s uses of social media both during and outside of work. She will discuss the ways employers must adapt to employees’ use of social media in the workplace, pitfalls to avoid, and steps employers must take to manage employees in the 21st Century.

Why is this issue important?

  • There are two important reasons:
    • First, employees are using social media more now than ever before, including while at work.
    • Second, there are literally hundreds of federal and state laws that could affect the use of social media in the workplace. The one getting the most attention right now is the National Labor Relations Act, followed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the anti-discrimination statutes such as Title VII and the ADA

What impact does the Fair Credit Reporting Act have on employers?

  • Cities, counties and states throughout the country have been enacting “ban-the-box” legislation, which prohibits employers from asking job applicants about their conviction history on an application.
  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act could be considered the federal counterpart to those laws, to a degree. So even if you don’t operate in one of the “ban-the-box” jurisdictions, or if you do but have moved beyond the application stage with a particular job applicant, the FCRA may come into play.
  • Many background checks and third-party investigations now include social media searches.
  • The FCRA requires employers to obtain a job applicant’s or current employee’s consent before an employer hires a third party to run a background check.
  • An employer violates the FCRA if it performs these searches without first obtaining proper consent, and is subject to civil penalties.

Can you explain what anti-discrimination laws are to our listeners?

  • Every state, and many cities, counties, and municipalities, have laws on the books banning various forms of discrimination in the workplace. Every one of those laws is based, at least in part, on the federal anti-discrimination employment laws.
  • The laws include:
    • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, gender, religion, national origin, etc.;
    • The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”); and
    • The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”)
  • The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is the agency that investigates and prosecutes violations of these laws.

What liabilities do employers face under Title VII, the ADA, and the FMLA regarding to social media?

  • There are two areas:
    • The EEOC very recently issued guidance warning employers against using information posted on social media sites in making hiring, discipline, or termination decisions
  • Can you give an example of how this might happen?
    • Employers might conduct their own informal background check on an employee using Google or Facebook.
    • The employer has to be extremely, extremely cautious in using that information
  • What is the second area of concern to the EECO ?
    • The EEOC has also identified ways in which employers may create an obligation to act in certain situations based on information obtained through social media

The National Labor Relations Act is the law getting the most attention regarding the use of social media in the workplace, but I thought that only applied to unions. Can you explain?

  • The NLRA has expanded its reach significantly over the last several years. One of the main ways it has done that is by reviewing employers’ social media policies and practices, in both union and non-union employers.
  • Under Section 7 employers are prohibited from enacting policies that stifle or prevent employees from engaging in “protected concerted activity.”

What is “protected concerted activity.”

  • Employees’ comments are considered protected concerted activity when they are made with or on behalf of other employees, or where they discuss or seek to induce group action by employees.
  • Employees are engaged in protected concerted activity when they are expressing a concern regarding terms and conditions of employment (including actions of supervisors) on behalf of co-workers, in concert with co-workers, or on a matter of common concern to co-workers.
  • The most common example is where employees are talking amongst themselves and complaining about their wages.
  • Many times employees are taking these discussions or complaints online, and simply because they are online and not in person does not mean that they are not protected under the NLRA.
  • This applies to both union and non-union employers.

What do you recommend employers do to protect themselves from being found in violation of the NLRA?

  • Create a social media policy spelling out what employees can and cannot do.
  • No single policy will fit every employer.
  • The main goal is be specific. Social media policies should describe social media and its uses and outline which specific activities are subject to the policy.
  • Train supervisors and managers to know what to listen for or look for when employees are making complaints.
Direct download: MCN_64.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 10:58am EDT

Download the slideshow handoutaronsonThe slides have been converted to a .pdf.

This program was recorded on July 21st 2015. The Aronson, LLC Construction Accounting team provided our speakers for this event. MCN thanks Rebecca Ballard, Michael Corcoran, Chris Vasquez, Tim Cummins, and Chavon Wilcox for their knowledge and expertise. The entire program is 1 hour 16 minutes and 43 seconds in length.

Please note: beginning at approximately 1:08:00 into the recording, Tim Cummins microphone dropped out. We have boosted the audio from another mic to try to provide the few minutes of audio at the conclusion of the program. You will notice a decrease in the audio quality and an increase in background noise as a result. We apologize for the inconvenience.

If you have further questions regarding the program, please contact one of the speakers at 301.231.6200.

Direct download: 072115_Seminar.mp3
Category:Direct Connect Presentations -- posted at: 1:38pm EDT

Using Drones On Construction Projects

Joining us to discuss the regulations regarding theMCN Podcast 130x130 Brown use of drones on construction projects is Jackson B. Boyd an associate with Ober|Kaler’s Construction and Litigation Groups.

Can anyone use a drone on a construction project?

The simple answer is no. This may surprise people who’ve seen people flying drones in neighborhood parks and assume they can use them for work as well

  • The Federal Aviation Administration does not regulate the recreational use of drones.
  • The FAA, however, does regulate the commercial use of drones (meaning if they’re being used for a business purpose).
  • The FAA does not currently permit the commercial use of drones unless you have a Section 333 exemption.

Are there any regulations in place governing the commercial use of drones?

The FAA released proposed regulations earlier this year. Once the regulations are finalized, you will be able to use drones for commercial purposes as long as you follow the regulations. Until then, you must get the Section 333 exemption we discussed a few minutes ago. And it could take a year or more for the regulations to become final.

What’s in the regulations?

The proposed regulations are lengthy, but some of the key points are:

  • They would apply to drones that weigh less than 55 pounds. This weight limit includes anything carried on a drone, like video or imaging equipment.
  • Drones will not be allowed to fly more than 500 feet above ground level.
  • Drones will not be allowed to fly over any person who is not directly participating in the drone flight, unless that person is underneath a covered structure that can provide reasonable protection in the event of a crash.
  • Operators will be required to see their drones at all times without the aid of any devices like binoculars.
  • Drones will need to be registered with the FAA, and any operator must obtain an unmanned aircraft operator certificate.

Currently, are there penalties if you don’t get an exemption to fly?

  • The FAA has authority under existing aviation regulations to ban commercial drone operations that don’t have exemptions.
  • The FAA has used this authority to impose fines for unapproved drone use.
  • The FAA also has issued subpoenas in cases involving commercial drones – most notably to realtors who have used drones to take aerial photographs of property.

Do you need insurance coverage if you’re using a drone at work?

  • Yes, you need coverage … but don’t assume that your commercial general liability policy provides it. Most CGL policies exclude coverage for bodily injury or property damage caused by an insured’s use of an aircraft, automobile, or watercraft. The FAA defines a drone as an unmanned aircraft system, and insurers are applying the standard CGL aircraft exclusion broadly to exclude coverage for an insured’s use of a drone.
  • Many insurers, however, are starting to offer coverage options for commercial drone flights. This coverage is offered through separate unmanned aircraft policies or endorsements to existing CGL policies.
  • Make sure all individuals in your company who are participating in the drone flights are covered as additional insureds.
  • Also make sure there is no exclusion in the policy for an electronic malfunction or equipment failure that may cause your drone to crash.

What kind of liability can you be exposed to for flying a drone?

There’s a lot of potential risks – many of them obvious.

  • A crash on your job site could cause property damage to your work, property damage to the work of other contractors, or personal injury to anyone on the site. And a crash off the job site could cause property damage and personal injury to third-parties.
  • Drone flights create the risk of trespassing on someone else’s property if your flight goes off course.
  • Privacy concerns because drones can carry video and audio recording equipment.

How do you minimize these risks?

  • Get an exemption from the FAA
  • Get adequate insurance coverage.
  • Develop specific guidelines for how your company will use drones and then strictly follow those guidelines.
  • The guidelines should address issues such as:
    • Define the intent or purpose of the drone flights;
    • Identifying the individuals participating, defining what their roles are, and providing the qualifications that a person must possess to fill each role;
    • Identifying where take-offs and landings will occur; and
    • Identifying the flight path (exactly where the drone will go, whether it will go over any populated areas, etc.).

These are just some of the issues that you need to consider before using a drone on a construction project. We need to stay tuned to see how the FAA, insurers, and the law adjust and respond as commercial drone use increases.

Direct download: MCN_63.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Download the slideshow handout. Steve_Ball_HeadshotThe slides have been converted to a .pdf.

This program was recorded on April 23rd 2015. Our speakers were Mr. Stephen K. Ball CPA, CVA, CCIFP,  director of Gross Mendelsohn’s Construction & Real Estate Group and David Lanchak, CPA, CVA, CCIFP. The entire program is 53 minutes and 23 seconds in length.

Business owners often spend so much time pouring their blood, sweat and tears into managing their company that they forget to plan for the future.

When is the last time you asked yourself, “What is my plan for successfully exiting this business?” Or, “What will happen to my business once I’m gone?”

A construction contractor might choose to do one of several things as they exit the company. They could outright sell it to someone else, transition it to key employees, transfer it to family members or shut it down. There is no “one right way” to exit a business. It’s a personal decision for the business owner that should take into account multiple financial, legal, tax and personal issues.

Like many things in life, the more you plan your exit from your business, the more you’ll succeed. Taking steps now to plan your exit will undoubtedly help ensure a smooth transition later.

  • Looking ahead to retirement – what are your options?
  • Alternatives to outright selling your business
  • How to get paid out as you transition out of your business
  • Taking care of your employees – what’s next for them as you exit the business?

Contact – Steve Ball CPA, CVA, CCIFP is the director of Gross Mendelsohn’s Construction Group. He works with construction contractors on exit planning, succession planning, profitability and business valuation issues. Steve also provides audit, review, compilation, tax and consulting services to construction contractors.

Contact – David Lanchak, CPA, CVA, CCIFP

A Certified Valuation Analyst, David sees tremendous opportunities for clients when the right valuation is performed for the right purpose. When preparing business valuations, David most often works with clients who are developing a succession plan, buying or selling a business, planning an estate, or in litigation.

Direct download: MCN_042315_Seminar.mp3
Category:LTK-LTG Seminar -- posted at: 9:42pm EDT

Anatomy of a LeakMCN Podcast 130x130 Brown

In today’s episode we speak with Mr. Matthew Vocci, Principal, Ober|Kaler Construction and Litigation Group and Stan Sersen, President & CEO of Architectural Support Group, Inc. to discuss issues relating to design and construction defects and the consequences that spring from them. Stan has tremendous experience in design and forensic investigations of as-built conditions relating to water infiltration. Matt has been litigating construction defect matters at Ober|Kaler and has seen the back-end consequences of design and construction issues.

What is the building envelope and why should it be of concern?

  • Generally, the building envelope is the barrier system between the conditioned and non-conditioned (the components that keep water and air from entering building), etc.

What are the goals for designing the building envelope?

  • Watertight, air barrier
    • Code Provisions provide understanding of what is required
    • IBC – 1403 – Building Envelope weather resistant, etc.
  • Important for life safety issues
    • Water, mold, indoor air quality
    • Components deteriorate; structural issues can result
  • Practical concern for contractor/owner – 3% of cost is waterproofing and 85% of litigation relates to water penetration

What can be done to protect against water intrusion?

  • Early on work with design professional
  • Look at intersections – need for proper flashing at intersections of different components of the building

Claims and Litigation

  • Claims process can lead to litigation and discovery
  • Discovery is the process where parties exchange documents, correspondence and have to answer questions under oath – both in written form and at depositions
  • This process is one that most construction professionals generally want to avoid. The time and effort involved in bringing or defending a construction defect claim can be fairly daunting
  • First documents that opposing counsel will want to review are the contracts btw the owner-GC-subs and the drawings and specs
    • Did contractor comply with drawings and specs
    • Were the drawings/specs proper- did they meet the standard of care and contractual obligations
    • Contractors – More general drawings and notes can create problems
      1. Ex – No flashing detail drawings, just a note – Add Appropriate Flashings where appropriate
        1. If building leaks, you could be called to account for why flashings weren’t added
        2. Problem for designer – did that note meet standard?
    • Another example is where drawings/specs note that contractor is to follow manufacturer’s instructions for a given component
      1. If a specific window, for example, is to be used – the contractor should make sure to follow the installation instructions. If the window calls for a certain type of flashing – install it

What are some common issues that can lead to water problems

  • Coordination of subs
  • Strength of QC and on-site foreman
  • Is there an outside consultant that does testing
    • Are manufacturer’s reps on site to evaluate installation of components
  • Look at intersections – many contractors/specialties come together at intersections – mason, Tyvek, trim, carpentry, windows/doors, etc.

Legal issues regarding liability

  • You could have claims arise long after you are completed your work
    • Due diligence with your subcontractors
    • Have written, executed contracts for all work on the job – even small items that seem miscellaneous
      • Things to think about in the subcontract – disputes resolution clause – where and what venue
      • Do you want your sub to indemnify you for its mistakes – make that clear in your contract?
  • You want to be able to rely upon your subcontractor, that it will be around and have paid its insurance premiums, if there is a problem down the road

Why water infiltration is difficult

  • Is it the first time a window lets in a few drops of water; water can breach the water barrier for quite a while before it manifests on the interior – when was owner on notice?.
    • – In Poffenberger v. Risser, the Court of Appeals established “the discovery rule to be applicable generally in all actions and the cause of action accrues when the claimant in fact knew or reasonably should have known of the wrong.”  290 Md. 631, 636 (1981).  This means actual knowledge, not merely constructive notice is required.

As the Court of Appeals stated:

constructive notice, if deemed to be sufficient to activate the running of limitations, would recreate the very inequity the discovery rule was designed to eradicate, we now hold this type of exposure does not constitute the requisite knowledge within the meaning of the rule.  Affirmatively speaking, we determine the discovery rule contemplates actual knowledge — that is express cognition, or awareness implied from knowledge of circumstances which ought to have put a person of ordinary prudence on inquiry [thus, charging the individual] with notice of all facts which such an investigation would in all probability have disclosed had it been properly pursued.

Statute of Repose – another issue that we have litigated — In its current iteration, the Statute prohibits a plaintiff’s cause of action from accruing for damages to person or property resulting from the defective and unsafe conditions of improvements to real property that were completed more than 20 years before the injury. In addition, the Statute provides heightened protection to certain professions within the construction industry. Claims for damages against architects, professional engineers, and contractors no longer accrue 10 years after the improvement was completed. So, a plaintiff’s damages must have occurred within 10 years after the completion of the improvement for their lawsuit to proceed against architects, professional engineers, and contractors.

Direct download: MCN_62.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

2015 Construction & Real Estate Bootcamp

The 1st Annual Construction & Real Estate MCN Podcast 130x130 BrownBootcamp is a thought leadership event being provided by KatzAbosch and co-hosted by the Maryland Construction Network. Kelly Ernest, the Marketing Manager for KatzAbosch joins us on this podcast to discuss the program and highlight some of the information and benefits you can derive by attending this FREE EVENT! The program seeks to unite leaders from the Real Estate world with those from the Construction industry to bring a holistic business approach with speakers hailing from the finance, legal, management, general contracting and government sectors.

The Bootcamp is scheduled for Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at the Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel in Towson. The activities begin at 9:30 a.m. with education sessions, food, and networking continuing until approximately 6:00 p.m. Click Here to go to the KatzAbosch Events page for more information on this event and to reserve your seat!

Attendees should include a solid mix of C-level executives from Mid-Atlantic based general contractors, subcontractors, building owners, developers, architects, engineers, suppliers, financial and legal professionals, and consultants. The morning begins with a light breakfast and networking followed with a Keynote Address by Secretary Mike Gill, of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Secretary Gill’s address will provide a State of the Industry report under the new Hogan Administration.

The next program is a General Contractor Panel to include leaders from Merritt Properties and Bozzuto Construction. They will be available to address your questions.

Next, Mike Gentry, a CPA with KatzAbosch , gives a presentation titled: “Finding Cash Flow and Controlling It’s Direction”. At the conclusion of this last morning session, a hot lunch will be provided along with an opportunity for some networking.

The afternoon sessions kick off with a discussion on Succession Planning and Ownership Transfer Techniques hosted by Tony Ivener. Tony is the founder and managing partner of Ivener Management Group.

The final session of the day is presented by Buddy Potler, from the law firm Offit Kurman. Buddy will share his knowledge of Communication Skills, Collaborative Negotiation, and Mediation.

Then, the fun starts. We conclude this great day of information exchange with a happy hour over Bourbon, Beer and hors d’ouervres.

Register Now as space is limited!

For more information on the event, visit or you can call Kelly at 410-307-6388 or email her.

For more information about the many services KatzAbosch provides, please visit their website – Do you perform government work, or are you considering it? KatzAbosch has just launched a webpage dedicated to the Government Contracting Services they provide. Please visit for more information!

We look forward to seeing YOU at the Real Estate and Construction Bootcamp on May 12th! Don’t forget – Register Now!

Direct download: MCN_61.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

In today’s episode of the MCN podcast, MCN Podcast 130x130 Brownwe speak with Delegate Dan Morhaim, M.D.  Dr. Morhaim represents Maryland’s 11th District in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Dr. Dan has sponsored HB 119, also known as the State Procurement Change Order Fairness Act.

This section illustrates main points of the bill as now currently under consideration:










Click Here for the full text of the bill.


  • Dan Morhaim is a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, first elected in 1994 and every 4 years since. He serves as House Deputy Majority Leader, on the Health and Government Operations Committee, the Minority Health sub-committee, the Joint Committee on Open Government, and the Joint Committee on Biotech and Technology. He chairs the Government Operations Sub-Committee and chaired the Joint Committee on Health Care Delivery and Finance. He is Co-Chair of the Alliance for Patient Access, a bi-partisan national organization of physicians elected to state office.
  • Board-certified physician: Dan has over 30 years front-line clinical experience treating patients in emergency medicine and internal medicine.
  • Businessperson: He founded and built medical group practice that grew to over 90 doctors at 6 hospitals.
  • Academic: Dan is on the faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where he teaches, directs an annual lecture series, does research, and writes articles. He’s also on the faculty at the University of Maryland Medical School
  • Author: Dan’s book “The Better End: Surviving (and Dying) on Your Own Terms in Today’s Modern Medical World” (Hopkins University Press) has earned excellent reviews and endorsements from Maya Angelou, Dr. Ben Carson, Hopkins Dean Dr. Michael Klag, and others. The book helps people manage serious illness and end-of-life care in a positive and informed manner. See

Dr. Morhaim is an advocate for legislation to enhance the business climate in our state and improve the efficiency of interaction between business and government. To learn more about Dr. Morhaim, please visit his website – While there, sign-up to receive his e-newsletter so you can keep informed about this and other important issues in the state.

Direct download: MCN60.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:50am EDT

From Our Spotlight Sponsor – MD AGC!

In this episode of the MCN Podcast we MCN Podcast 130x130 Brownwelcome Mr. Erik Cartwright, Safety Director for J.F. Fischer, Inc. and Chairman of MD AGC’s Safety Committee.

MD AGC routinely conducts safety training for the benefit of their members and non-members alike. AGC’s safety committee is comprised of industry leading safety experts who maintain the highest level of professionalism. Meeting monthly, they work to ensure MD AGC members receive timely information and training necessary to the success of a construction company.

MD AGC is hosting a 4-day OSHA 30 training course on January 20, 22, 27 & 29th at the AGC offices in Lutherville MD. The course is specifically designed for safety directors, foremen, field supervisors, and other construction workers with safety responsibilities. OSHA 30 training is a broad spectrum training program that fulfills many needs for construction personnel. This program utilizes hands-on training and the latest in safety publications.

The cost of the program for MD AGC members is $225 and non-members is $495. Included are lunches and refreshments as well as the OSHA 29 CFR 1926 Manual, and all classroom materials. Contact Sue Battey at 410-321-7870 for more information about this or future OSHA training classes scheduled by AGC.

MD AGC 6th Annual Safety Awards Program

AGC members in good standing must provide a copy of their 1/1/14 to 12/31/14 OSHA 300A log to MD AGC by January 30th 2015. Awards are presented in 4 categories – 25% below the BS NAICS rate – improvement of safety incident rate by 25% or more from the previous year – members that have a zero lost time incident rate – and a First Time Participant award for all members who joined MD AGC in 2014 and have an incident rate 25% below the BLS NAICS rate. Companies can win multiple awards.

The award program is currently being planned, but the expectations are the awards presentation will be held in April or May of 2015.

 Globally Harmonized System

What you need to know NOW for your construction company.

GHS stands for the Globally Harmonized System of the Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. It is a set of guidelines for ensuring the safe production, transport, handling, use and disposal of hazardous materials. The U.S. officially adopted the GHS on March 26, 2012. OSHA’s adoption is actually a revision of the Hazard Communication Standard to align with the GHS. OSHA calls this revision, HazCom 2012. The most noticeable changes brought by GHS for most organizations will be changes to safety labels, safety data sheets, and chemical classification. The GHS refers to safety data sheets as SDSs, dropping the M from material safety data sheets (or MSDSs) as most American companies are used to. The GHS also standardizes the content and formatting of SDSs into 16 sections with a strict ordering. Labels also look quite different, with 6 standardized elements that include specific language depending upon chemical classification.

GHS is meant to be a logical and comprehensive approach to:

  1. Defining health, physical and environmental hazards of chemicals (although environmental hazards are outside OSHA’s jurisdiction)
  2. Creating classification processes that use available data on chemicals for comparison with the defined hazard criteria
  3. Communicating hazard information in a prescribed and uniform way on labels and safety data sheets


In the United States, GHS adoption is under the domain of four agencies:

  1. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
  2. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  3. Department of Transportation (DOT)
  4. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

OSHA served as the lead U.S. agency on the classification of chemicals and hazard communication and adoption affects over 43 million workers in over 5 million workplaces. The DOT was actually the first agency to implement GHS and OSHA’s adoption brings the regulations between the agencies into greater harmony. The EPA is expected to follow closely on the heels of OSHA’s adoption with revisions to its own standards to bring them into alignment with GHS.

Adoption of GHS brings major changes especially around:

  • Hazard classification
  • Labels
  • Safety Data Sheets
  • Training

The biggest costs to businesses will be to:

  • Re-classify all chemicals using GHS criteria
  • Re-author all Safety Data Sheets in GHS formats and produce GHS formatted labels
  • Train workers on new how to read new label and SDS elements, and newly identified hazards

While GHS has been formally adopted for quite some time, enforcement of GHS standards will begin on June 1, 2015. As a result, you must begin to make changes to your safety program, data sheets, and all related information and policies in preparation of the enforcement date. Of most importance is the fact that should you not be able to procure a new data sheet for a material/chemical you use in your business, it is imperative that you establish a paper trail which can prove you attempted to receive the updated material. Without this you will be in violation of the GHS and will have no recourse should your company be inspected from June 1st onward.

It should also be noted that the MD Dept. of Environment no longer requires construction companies to submit a chemicals list as has previously been the standard.

Direct download: MCN_59.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

Sticks & Bricks – Learn the Construction Process from the Experts

In this episode of the MCN Podcast, Rob speaksMCN Podcast 130x130 Brown with Michael A. Schollaert, Esq. a principal in Ober|Kaler’s Construction and Litigation Groups. Michael is promoting an upcoming presentation of the American Bar Association Forum on Construction Law titled “Stick & Bricks – Learn the Construction Process from the Experts” to be given on February 27th at Ober|Kaler’s downtown Baltimore offices.

Taught by leading industry professionals, this program presents a unique opportunity for construction lawyers and other construction industry participants to learn the key elements and terminology of all aspects of construction systems and technology – site work and foundations, structural steel, masonry, building enclosures, and mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and roofing systems. This program is designed to provide exceptional training for law firms and construction industry professionals, giving those new to construction the background information necessary to identify issues and to understand the technical context in which those issues arise. However, this program can benefit anyone in the construction industry, regardless of experience, if they wish to better understand issues of critical importance.

The schedule for the event is:

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Registration
8:30 a.m. – 8:40 a.m. Welcome & Introduction
8:40 a.m. – 9:35 a.m. Site Work/ Foundations
9:35 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Concrete
10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Morning Break
10:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m. Steel
11:40 a.m. – 12:35 p.m. Roofing
12:35 p.m. – 1:40 p.m. Luncheon
1:45 p.m. – 2:35 p.m. Masonry
2:35 p.m. – 2:50 p.m. Afternoon Break
2:50 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Curtainwall
3:45 p.m. – 4:40 p.m. HVAC/MEP
4:40 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Q&A

The expert panel of scheduled speakers include:

Kimball Beasley, P.E. | Wiss Janney Elstner Associates, Inc. – Princeton, NJ
Carl Hensler | Carl Hensler Consulting Services – Reston, VA
Kenneth M. Lies, AIA | Raths, Raths & Johnson, Inc. – Willowbrook, IL
Christopher P. Pinto, P.E. | Thornton Tomasetti, Inc. – Philadelphia, PA
Charles Russo, P.E. | Simpson Grumpertz & Heger, Inc. – Rockville, MD
Michael Schollaert, Esq. | Ober | Kaler – Baltimore, MD
Adam Snavely | The Poole and Kent Corporation – Baltimore, MD
Brian Wood, Esq. | Keller Foundations – Hanover, MD

Seminar tuition of $210* includes Sticks & Bricks, A Practical Guide to Construction Systems and Technology (retail value $119), a textbook published by the American Bar Association Forum on Construction Law, plus lunch.

*Forum Member Tuition (Advanced Registration Ends 1/26/15)

For more information and a program schedule visit:

Direct download: MCN_58.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 3:46pm EDT

Exit Planning

In today’s show we welcome Mr. Stephen K. Ball back to the program for a discussion about succession planning and how get the most value out of your business when you retire. Steve is a Partner in the accounting firm of Gross Mendelsohn – – 410-900-1308. Today’s podcast sets the stage for Steve’s February 17th seminar – “Exit Planning Strategies: How To Get Real Value For Your Construction Company“.

Steve had just returned from the AICPA Construction Conference and he wanted to start the discussion by relaying the underlying trend in all construction – better, faster, cheaper. This has become the norm for all construction companies competing in the post-depression era.

With the retirement of the “baby boomers” we are poised to see the largest transfer of wealth in history within the upcoming years. Proper planning makes all the difference.

What percentage of companies continue to operate beyond the retirement/passing of the founder?

  •  Approximately 30%
  • Less than 20% survive into the 3rd generation


  • Lack of planning
  • Improper structure
  • Liquidity issues
  • Family & estate issues
  • No plan at all

Why is exit planning important?

  • It defines personal, business, family, & financial objectives
  • Most of the owners wealth is tied up in the business
  • Facilitates retirement and financial security
  • Identifies goals
  • Develops new leaders
  • Satisfies stakeholders (sureties)

Why do owners avoid exit planning?

  • Possibly don’t like to think about death
  • Unwilling to schedule to relinquish control
  • Do not want others to know financial details of the business
  • Working in the business instead of on it
  • Other things are more vital and important at the time

What are the obstacles?

  • Not enough money
  • Not enough time
  • Personnel
  • Family members

What are some exit strategy options?

  • Close the doors and sell whatever you can for whatever you get
  • Continuation
  • Total outright sale
  • Partial sale
  • Gradual transition

When you are selling a constriction company you are basically selling any assets plus the assembled workforce and the current book of work. To get the best price it is often advantageous to have a trained and qualified person/persons assembled well in advance of the exit date. Since 30/40 year olds rarely have the capital to purchase outright, it is imperative to have nurtured a team that can successfully carry-on the business, thereby allowing a gradual buyout to complete the transfer.

We hope you will join us on February 17th for Steve’s full presentation of “Exit Planning Strategies: How To Get Real Value For Your Construction Company“.

Direct download: MCN_57.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 9:14pm EDT

Arbitration Clauses in ConstructionMCN Podcast 130x130 Brown Contracts

Christopher C. Dahl joins the MCN podcast today to discuss the use of arbitration as a dispute resolution process for the construction industry. Chris is an associate in Ober|Kaler’s Litigation Group and handles general and commercial litigation, particularly with respect to construction, business, tax controversy and administrative licensing matters. He co-authored, “Statute of Limitations in an Arbitration Clause,” for the Maryland State Bar Association’s, Maryland Bar Bulletin in 2013.

Listen and hear Chris give his thoughts on the following topics:

What is arbitration?

  • Arbitration is a voluntary dispute resolution process, enforceable under state and federal law, by which disputes are decided by a private arbitrator rather than by a court.

Why would parties want to arbitrate?

  • Faster Process
  • Specialized Decision Maker
  • Less Expensive
  • Limited Appeal Rights
  • Arbitration Agreements Can Discourage Small or Frivolous Claims

So why would someone not want to take advantage of arbitration?

  • Usually No Discovery Aside from the Exchange of Documents
  • Powers and Procedures Available in a Court Case for Compelling the Testimony of Non-Party Witnesses are Generally Unavailable
  • Limited Appeal Rights – Bad If You Lose

What to Consider When Agreeing to an Arbitration Clause

  • Tremendous Variation in Types of Arbitration Provisions
  • Scope of Disputes to be Arbitrated
    • All Disputes Arising Under the Contract
    • All Disputes Between the Parties
    • Or, Very Limited Instances
  • Whether Arbitration is to be Governed by Federal or State Law
  • Circumstances in Which an Arbitration Clause Might be Unenforceable
  • Inclusion of Statute of Limitations
Direct download: MCN_56.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Dealing with Mistakes in Bids for State and Local Government Contracts

Joining us to discuss the procedures for handling a MCN Podcast 130x130 Brownbid made to a state or local government entity which contains an error is Jackson B. Boyd an associate with Ober|Kaler’s Construction and Litigation Groups.

First and foremost, it is very important for contractors always to be aware of the rules in the jurisdiction where they are submitting bids.

State Projects:

  • governed by the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR)
    • if the contractor becomes aware of a mistake in its bid before bids are opened
      • the contractor can modify or withdraw the bid if it gives proper notice to the applicable State agency before bid opening
    • if the mistake is discovered after bid opening
      • if the procurement officer recognizes an obvious mistake in a bid
      • or that the bid is unreasonably lower than other bids
      • the procurement office can ask the contractor to confirm the bid, which creates a couple of scenarios
        • the mistake and the intended correction are clearly evident the contractor can correct the mistake, but the bid can’t be withdrawn
        • if the mistake is clearly evident on the face of the bid but the intended correction is not obvious, the contractor may be permitted to withdraw the bid with the approval of the Office of the Attorney General
        • the contractor can also withdraw its bid at this stage, with approval of the Attorney General’s office, given strict provisions
    • if the mistake is discovered after the project is awarded
      •  a mistake can only be corrected if the agency determines it would be unconscionable not to allow the correction.

Other Local Governments

  • Jurisdictions can and so have separate rules
  • This is where you must check local rules
  • Baltimore County’s Standard Specifications and COMAR have substantially the same provisions for correcting and withdrawing bids
  • Baltimore City follows the Charter of Baltimore City (Article VI, § 11) which expressly provides that bids are irrevocable once they are filed
    • the City’s Department of Public Works Specifications for Materials, Highways, Bridges, and Incidental Structures, for example, incorporates this policy
    • if a contractor recognizes a mistake in its bid for a Baltimore City Department of Public Works contract before bid opening, it does not automatically have the right to modify or withdraw the bid.
    • What should you do if you find an error?
      • immediately notify the applicable City procurement agency and the City’s Board of Estimates to see if its bid can be withdrawn
      • there is precedent for possible relief via the Maryland Court of Appeals in City of Baltimore v. DeLuca-Davis Construction Co., Inc.
        • The Court of Appeals ultimately allowed the contractor to rescind its mistaken bid for equitable reasons, mainly due to the capacity of the company and the fact that the company would not have been able to complete the project without going into bankruptcy
        • even so there was, and would be, considerable expense incurred to reach this outcome.

Important information:

  • make sure you know the withdrawal and modification rules for the different procurement jurisdictions
  • allow time on your bidding process for careful review of scope of work and all pricing
  • act promptly and appropriately upon learning of an error.

Direct download: MCN_55.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 2:00am EDT

Meet The Primes

Mr. Bob Ball and Ms. Melanie Webster from the MCN Podcast 130x130 BrownDivision of Business Services – Office of Purchasing for Baltimore County Public Schools join the program to talk about the 6th Annual “Meet The Primes” program on October 15th, 2014. Get the event flyer Here!

The program venue is the MD State Fairgrounds – Exhibition Hall located at 2200 York Road in Timonium MD. The event begins at 8:00 am and runs until noon. This networking opportunity is organized to allow subcontractors (particularly MBE’s) to showcase their company and talents to prime bidders for state and local government projects in Maryland. The show is free of charge and affords an outstanding opportunity to learn what public projects are/will be available to bid as well as what qualifications you as a subcontractor need to have to be able to bid with the general contractors. While construction is the primary focus, vendors and suppliers of services of all kinds are invited to attend.

Baltimore County Public Schools has partnered with a long list of school systems and local governments to make this a very unique opportunity. Representatives from Baltimore County, Baltimore Metro Council, Baltimore County Public Library, Community College of Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, the City of Annapolis, Baltimore City, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, MD General Services, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Montgomery County and Prince Georges County will all be on hand to offer information and insight into upcoming projects.

In addition, over 100 general contractors and other organizations that foster growth and participation in the construction industry will have exhibits to help you learn to build your business and become their valued partners in the construction process. You will have the opportunity to schedule private meetings with general contractors to get detailed information on requirements to bid and gain work on public projects.

Bob and Melanie encourage everyone to register early at so your name and contact information can be included in the directory of participants. This is a handy tool to help you remember who you have met and help those you meet remember you! Deadline for registration to be included in the booklet is October 9th. However, registration is open all the way to the day of the event in case you learn about the event at a later date. Bring plenty of business cards as registration for last year’s event was in excess of 500 people and this year should be even larger. Also, subcontractors are encourages to bring copies of their capabilities statement and references to distribute to the GC’s.

If you have additional questions about the event you may contact Bob and Melanie at 410-887-4334 or Carla Tucker at 410-887-3119.


Direct download: MCN_54.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Women In Construction Leadership And Networking Conference

Barbara G. Werther, Esq., a Principal with MCN Podcast 130x130 BrownOber|Kaler Attorneys at Law is today’s guest to the show. Barbara is a co-founder of the Women In Construction Conference along with Barbara Wagner, an Executive V.P. from Clark Construction. This annual single-day event unites women in construction and offers networking and mentoring crafted to help women from across the country to advance in the construction industry.

The ninth annual Women in Construction Conference features a full day of panel discussions, presentations and interactive breakout activities covering key issues. The event is being held on October 23rd at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel; 999 Ninth Street NW; Washington, DC 20001.

Barbara reviews the history of the Women In Construction Conference, speaking about past events and how the programs have evolved to specifically address the needs and concerns of ladies in the industry. Ms. Werther speaks about how the conference has grown to nearly 200 attendees since the inaugural program in 2006 and how the event has attracted women and men to share knowledge and expand their network of professionals in the industry.

The Women In Construction Conference is a non-profit event that relies solely upon registrations and sponsorships to cover expenses. Sponsors for this year’s conference include:

  • Deloitte
  • Clark Construction
  • Navigant
  • Baker Tilley
  • Intertek
  • Balfour Beatty
  • Forrester Construction Company
  • The Whiting-Turner Construction Company
  • Capital Project Management, Inc.
  • Structuretone
  • Hertzback & Co., P.A.
  • Warner
  • Seyfarth Shaw
  • Smoot Construction
  • Skanska
  • Hensel Phelps
  • Quagliano Law
  • Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino

This year’s sessions include:

  • Safety as a Culture
  • Workplace Diversity – Everyone Profits: Understanding How Inclusion Makes Good Business Sense
  • Leading the Way: Women Business Owners and Their Success Stories
  • It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know: Learning How to Effectively Speed Network (Breakout Session)
  • Mini MBA Bootcamp
  • It’s Not Easy Being Green: Sustainable Building Trends and How They Affect Your Company
  • The Wow Factor: Look and Speak Like a Leader

Women in Construction offers wonderful opportunities to meet your peers, learn from them and develop long-term business partnerships and friendships. There will be many opportunities for networking throughout the conference, so be sure to bring lots of business cards. View agenda.

Registration for Women in Construction 2014 is now open. The cost is $150 and includes lunch and the post-conference cocktail reception. Group and student discounts are available. Register here.

Stay updated on conference plans by joining the Women in Construction Group on LinkedIn, by liking them on Facebook or by signing up for email updates.

You may also contact Barbara directly at (202) 326.5015.

Direct download: MCN_53.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 12:24pm EDT

Tips on Controlling Exploding Construction Project Documentation.

Anthony F. Vittoria, Esq., a Principal with MCN Podcast 130x130 BrownOber|Kaler Attorneys at Law joins us for this presentation about some sound principals for managing the ever-increasing amount of information generated in the construction process. Memories fade and details are lost.  Project documentation gives an unvarnished view of what happened on a project.  And in the event of a claim or lawsuit, regular, reliable and pertinent information for the project will go a long way to helping you prevail.

Contemporaneous documentation can be vital to proving a claim or defense:

  1. Contractual notice provisions
  2. Memories fade, either because the project lasted many years or suit was brought well after the project closed.
  3. Need documentation to provide backup for claims for cost overruns, change order costs, costs related to delays, acceleration, extended home office overhead, and profit, among others.

Not all information has to be saved – just the right information. However, the law requires that once it is reasonably likely that a dispute will arise, and certainly not later than when a claim is made, the parties to the dispute have a legal duty to save all of the documents that are relevant to the dispute. If a party destroys relevant documents after it had notice of a dispute the Court or arbitrator can impose penalties on the party.  Those penalties can include financial penalties, an evidentiary ruling against the party, or even default judgment against the party. The penalty will be more likely, and more likely severe, if the party intentionally or recklessly destroyed the documents than if the document was lost because of a mistake.

Electronic documents like e-mails, texts and spreadsheets can be especially troublesome because they are so easy to produce and re-produce, and because they can be stored in many locations at the same time.  Imagine, a single e-mail could exist on the sender’s iPhone, as well as his laptop in the trailer, the recipient’s iPhone and desktop at his office, and all of the cc: recipient’s smart phones and computers. Great care needs to be exercised in the issuance and control of electronic data.

A company should have a written document management and retention policy and provide that policy to all of its employees.  The policy can provide many ways to control the amount of documentation created on a project.

For example the policy could provide:

  • that there can be no internal e-mails regarding a project
  • that e-mails with other project participants can only be about mundane issues, while all issues relating to the performance of the contract or a possible claim, must be written on letterhead and sent by facsimile or overnight mail
  • that every e-mail that is sent must also be sent by cc: to a “project file” for safe keeping
  • that all e-mails in a person’s e-mail inbox will be deleted after a period of time, such as six months.

The document management and retention policy should also contain provisions regarding the preservation of project documentation should a dispute arise.  It would include the cessation of an automatic delete function, unless all project documents are copied to a project file because then it wouldn’t matter if the e-mail is deleted, because it is already preserved in a secure location.

If a company has a written document management policy, it has to ensure that everyone is following the policy.

Finally, some of these procedures could be incorporated into the contract.  For example, contracts could provide that all correspondence between the parties has to be on letterhead and faxed or overnighted.  Or that all e-mails sent between the parties must be copied to a shared project file so that there is one location where all of the project information resides.

With the proliferation of information pertaining to construction projects and the interactions of all parties in the construction process, a strong and reliable information management program is vital to the long-term success of your company.

Direct download: MCN_52.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Claim Settlement Can Jeopardize Insurance Coverage

Most contractors look forward to the opportunity toMCN Podcast 130x130 Brown have a claim settled in a mutually agreeable fashion. However, a recent decision by The U.S. District Court of Maryland demonstrates the need to consult with your insurer before settling any claims on a project.

Joining us to discuss the particulars of the case Perini/Tompkins Joint Venture v. ACE American Ins. Co., and to explain why it is critical your insurance companies be made aware of any claim negotiations are two attorneys from the law firm of Ober|KalerJohn F. Morkan III is a co-chair of Ober|Kaler’s Construction Group and Jackson B. Boyd is an associate with Ober|Kaler’s Construction and Litigation Groups

The Case: Perini/Tompkins Joint Venture v. ACE American Ins. Co.

The Job: A $900 Million hotel & Convention center at National Harbor.

Case Background:

  • Developer Gaylord National, LLC hired Perini/Tompkins Joint Venture (PTJV) as a construction manager
  • Gaylord purchased and maintained an Owner Controlled Insurance Program (OCIP) from ACE American Insurance Co. (ACE)
    • Policy included commercial general liability (CGL) and excess liability policies
    • Both naming PTJV as an additional insured
    • Project also was insured by a builder’s risk policy
  • Part of an 18-story, 2,400 ton glass atrium collapsed during construction, causing damage and delaying final completion
  • After completion –
    • PTJV sued Gaylord to establish and enforce a mechanic’s lien and for breach of contract
    • Gaylord countersued
    • The parties ultimately settled the dispute in November 2008
    • PTJV did not seek ACE’s consent prior to entering into the settlement agreement with Gaylord
  • PTJV subsequently advised ACE that, to the extent the builder’s risk policy did not cover the claim related to the glass atrium collapse, PTJV would seek reimbursement under the CGL and excess liability policies
    • ACE issued a reservation of rights letter, citing several contractual clauses as possible grounds for coverage being denied
    • PTJV filed suit in the U.S. District Court against ACE for breach of contract, bad faith, and a declaratory judgment
    • After limited discovery, ACE filed a motion for summary judgment, since PTJV had failed to obtain ACE’s consent prior to entering into the settlement with Gaylord, breaching the Voluntary payment clause and No-action clause
    • The District Court sided with ACE and granted their motion for summary judgment
  • The District Court ruling was appealed
  • Upon appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the District Court verdict was upheld.

The Takeaway: A contractor must obtain the consent of its liability insurer before settling a construction defect claim; otherwise, the insurer can deny coverage without having to prove that it suffered any prejudice.

For detailed information regarding the case, click here.

Direct download: MCN_51.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 12:30am EDT

“Construction Subcontracting – Practical and Legal Tips, Part 2″

In this episode of the Maryland Construction Network (Part 2 of a 2 Part Program) we welcome back to the show Joseph Kovars, an attorney with Ober|Kaler. Joe is a co-chair of Ober|Kaler’s Construction Group. His practice is concentrated in construction and public contracts law, representing contractors, subcontractors, sureties and owners in contract formation and construction disputes involving many types of construction projects. Mr. Kovars is a co-editor and co-author of the recently published book – “Construction Subcontracting – A Comprehensive Practical and Legal Guide” – available here.

A Lien Waiver gives up the right to assert a mechanic’s lien.  Typically given with a pay application.

  • partial
  • full
  • conditional

Some subcontracts require that all lien rights be waived in advance, before any work is done.  In MD, these clauses are illegal.

“Scheduling, Delays, and Coordination” section authored by our speaker, Joe Kovars

Time is money on construction jobs. When a job is delayed, usually everyone loses money. Finger pointing often goes in two or more directions. Project delays result in claims, whether for liquidated or actual damages.  Also, they can lead to contract defaults and terminations and performance bond claims.

Scheduling is an important part of the job and plays a critical role in delay claims. Typically, the construction schedule is prepared by the G.C. Subcontractor input into the schedule is recommended.

Most construction projects are scheduled using CPM or Critical Path Method scheduling. A CPM schedule is based on a network of activities that are needed to build the project. The activities are tied together by logic relationships. If one activity is delayed, depending on the relationships set in the schedule, it may or may not delay the end date of the entire project.

If an activity can slide in time, and not affect the end date, then there is “float.” The chain of activities with zero float (or the least float) is the critical path. If there is zero float, then any delay to a critical path activity results in a day for day delay to project completion.

Scheduling traps for subs to watch out for.

  • Restraints that are not typical, such as “lags” or “leads” or “must finish by” dates
  • Work calendars – 5 day or 6 day work week; winter weather.
  • Resource leveling.
  • Schedule that is $ loaded – tied to pay app.

Many primes hand their subs a printed bar chart, which shows just ES & EF dates and no relationships, no restraints, no float. Subcontractors should ask G.C. for the electronic version and get updates. When job is behind schedule the sub should understand why.

Delay events are usually broken down into two types: excusable delay and nonexcusable delay.

  • Excusable delay is usually delay beyond the fault or control of the party. It entitles that party to a time extension. A time extension gives the party more time to perform and that party can’t be charged with delay damages or have its contract terminated for default.
  • A nonexcusable delay, on the other hand, is one where that party caused or is responsible for delays. It may be tagged with the other party’s delay damages or have its contract terminated.

Excusable delays are compensable or noncompensable.

  • Excusable/Noncompensable delays often include unusually severe weather, strikes, Acts of God, Acts of Terrorists, Acts of War. Get time extension only.
  • Excusable/Compensable delays include delays due to changes in work and delays or interferences by the other party. The innocent party can get compensated for its delay damages, unless the contract provides otherwise.

A “no damages for delay” clause shifts the risk of delays back to the innocent party.

A no damages for delay clause in MD is enforceable with 3 exceptions:

  1. delays due to intentional wrongdoing;
  2. delays due to gross negligence, &
  3. delays due to fraud or misrepresentation.

For more information about the book “Construction Subcontracting – A Comprehensive Practical and Legal Guide”, go to  Under “News,” there is an article about the book and a link to the ABA website, or e-mail Jack Kovars at

Direct download: MCN_50.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

MCN Podcast 130x130 Brown

“Construction Subcontracting – Practical and Legal Tips, Part 1″

In this episode of the Maryland Construction (Network Part 1 of a 2 Part Program) we welcome Joseph Kovars, an attorney with Ober|Kaler. Joe is a co-chair of Ober|Kaler’s Construction Group. His practice is concentrated in construction and public contracts law, representing contractors, subcontractors, sureties and owners in contract formation and construction disputes involving many types of construction projects. Mr. Kovars is a co-editor and co-author of the recently published book – “Construction Subcontracting – A Comprehensive Practical and Legal Guide” – available here.

The book helps break down and explain sometimes complex subcontracting issues. The Book is divided into 6 parts:

  1. The Subcontract Document
  2. Subcontract Performance Issues
  3. Insurance, Bonding and Licensure
  4. Disputes
  5. Special Project Issues
  6. Other Contracting Arrangements.

Part 1 – The Subcontract Document

  • Every subcontract must address price and a scope of work.
  • Most also have clauses involving things like timing of payments, flow down obligations, changes, disputes, termination, insurance and indemnity.
  • The subcontract is where risks are allocated. Subs who don’t read the subcontract until a problem arises can get into big trouble.
  • Standard Industry Form Contracts (AIA, ConsensusDocs) vs. Manuscript Contracts
    • No form contract should just be signed “as is.” Every project is different and deserves a contract adapted to reflect the specific deal worked out by the parties for that specific job.
    • Industry forms have certain “positives”.
  • Important Contract Parts
    • Time for payment
    • Most controversial term: Pay when paid vs. pay if paid clauses
      • MD – Valid to have a pay if paid clause. But clause must be very clear. If not clear, then court will say it is a pay when paid clause
      • But MD statute says “pay if paid” clause is not a defense to a mechanic’s lien or payment bond claim.
    • Retention
      • Private contracts – typically 5 to 10%
      • Federal jobs – often 5% or even 0%
      • MD statute – jobs over $250,000, where contractor gives 100% P&F bonds, then retention can’t be more than 5%. And amount of retention by contractor against a sub must be same % as between owner and contractor (unless there is a reasonable performance dispute).
    • Flow-Down Clause
      • Flow down clause makes sub responsible for all of G.C.’s obligations to Owner.
    • Indemnification Clause
      • Standard clauses – sub agrees to indemnify G.C. and owner for sub’s negligence that results in personal injury or property damages to third parties.
      • 3 Types – Limited Indemnity, Intermediate Indemnity, Broad Form Indemnity.

For additional information about the book please visit Ober|Kalers website where you can view an article about the book (under the News Tab) with a link to ABA’s site. You can also go directly to the story – here. You may also reach Joseph Kovars at –

Part 2 of this podcast will be available in a future episode.

Direct download: MCN_49.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 5:42pm EDT

More on the Upcoming UB Law Center Tour

We are joined by Neb Sertsu – Acting MCN Podcast 130x130 BrownVice-President for the University of Baltimore’s Department of Facilities Management and Capital Planning, to discuss the University’s perspective of the John & Frances Angelos Law Center. MCN, AIABaltimore and USGBC Maryland are hosting a tour of the new law center on June 5th.

Over 20 years was spent trying to secure funding to renovate the existing library on the campus of UB. After decades of disappointment President Robert L. Bogomolny headed an initiative to develop a small triangular surface parking lot at the corner of Mt. Royal Ave. and Charles St. $92 million in funding was secured via the General Assembly with and additional $15 million pledged by the University.

Unlike traditional methods for obtaining architectural services and proposals for design, UB was granted the opportunity to conduct an international design competition. President Bogomolny was responsible for the establishment of the design standards that guided those companies participating in the competition. Initial proposals were used to pare the group to 10 contestants. Following interviews, the list was further narrowed to 5 firms. The 5 finalists were granted stipends from the Abel Foundation to refine their designs for a final presentation to a panel of 5 architects from across the United States.

The architectural judges helped the University define and refine their expectations and desires for the new building. Further, they posed questions during the formal presentations of design to help the University in their decision as to the winner of the competition.

Mr. Sertsu describes how wonderful it was to see how the five groups arrived at different but near equal solutions to the challenges posed by this project. He notes that the final decision was very difficult but the focus of sustainability and integration of “non-traditional” materials from the Ayers, Saint Gross / Behnisch Architekten  collaborative submission made the difference. Glass allows natural lighting to be utilized throughout the building. It further transmits the sense of energy and enthusiasm to help students, faculty, and visitors alike become more productive and engaged in the University. The building has quickly become a hub where all the students and faculty gather to meet and spend time in between classes and appointments.

Response to the new building has been overwhelmingly favorable. Admission tours frequently see prospective students taking photos of this “one-of-a-kind” facility. The building has significantly increased “viral marketing” for UB. As a result, the University has experienced a renewed connection with the people of Baltimore and has significantly contributed to the betterment of the local community.

MCN, AIABaltimore and USGBC Maryland are hosting a tour of this facility with networking on June 5th. Any net proceeds from the event will benefit University of Baltimore scholarship programs. For more information on this event, please download the registration flyer or, click here to register online for the event.

Direct download: MCN_48.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 1:39pm EDT

Download the slideshow handout. Steve_Ball_HeadshotThe slides have been converted to a .pdf.

This program was recorded on May 8th 2014. Our speaker was Mr. Stephen K. Ball,  director of Gross Mendelsohn’s Construction & Real Estate Group. The entire program is 55 minutes and 29 seconds in length.

The following is a summary of the “key” takeaways from the seminar as reported in a blog published by Chris Haiss, from Gross Mendelsohn & Associates. Please enjoy the recording and all of Steve’s insights.

6 Characteristics of Profitable Construction Companies

Key Takeaways from Our Seminar for Contractors

Last week I attended a seminar given by my partner, Steve Ball.  The seminar, called “Key Characteristics of Profitable Construction Companies,” was full of insightful points about effective construction company management. Thanks to our friends at the Maryland Construction Network for inviting Steve to present to their members.

Here are a few highlights from Steve’s presentation:

  • They know when to walk away from a job.

No matter what business we’re in, we are constantly asked to lower prices for the work we do. Value your work and know what it’s worth. Know how low you can afford to bid and still make a profit. One key to being profitable is knowing when to walk away from a project before it even starts.

  • They know that the integrity of the company’s leaders is critical for long-term profitability and success.

Steve pointed out that when people like you and trust you, they will do things to help you when you’re not looking. In other words, when a company’s leaders are good to employees and treat them fairly and with respect, most of those employees will go out of their way for the company and its leaders. Your company’s profit will be driven in large part by what your employees do for you when no one is looking.

  • They know that having a merit-based performance review system in place will make them more profitable.

Your employees are more important than even your customers. Your profit is based on the work your employees do for you. Without high performing employees, you will have little to no profit.

A merit-based performance review system will help build profitability in your construction company. Recognizing them for their performance will help keep good employees working for you longer.

Read more in our blog post, “Why Construction Employees Really Leave.”

  • They know that “profit” is not a dirty word.

Culture shifts in recent years have led many to consider “profit” to be synonymous with “greed.” Profit is not a dirty word. If you don’t make a profit, you can’t do anything else. You can’t buy supplies, you can’t pay employees and you certainly can’t feed a family.

  • They know to limit certain employees’ freedom with pricing.

Let’s face it – not everyone is good at bidding jobs. Some employees want to give away too much, and don’t understand the costs connected to contract performance, such as variable and fixed costs. This lack of understanding will cause you to lose profit, or worse, not make any money.

You must first know what you can afford to bid in order to make a profit. Then, give the people who are responsible for bidding the tools and training they need to prepare good bids.

A burdened hourly rate calculator is one tool that can help you develop accurate hourly rates for your employees. Download it here.

  • They do “whatever it takes.”

Steve pointed to former NFL coach Chuck Noll’s words, “whatever it takes,” when describing the mindset that profitable construction company owners should adopt.

No one should be above doing grunt work to get a job done. Owners and management team members should be ready to make tough decisions, and remain disciplined and focused. One example of this is taking a disciplined approach to change orders.

Leaders of profitable construction companies also make the time for weekly work in process meetings, for example, to review where jobs stand. Highly profitable companies take this a step further and use a tool like a contractor’s work in progress calculator to keep up to date on the profitability of current jobs.

Direct download: Key_Characteristics_of_Profitable_Construction_Companies.mp3
Category:LTK-LTG Seminar -- posted at: 4:15pm EDT

Direct download: MCN_46.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:19pm EDT