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December/January 2016

How they earned their place as a

t r u s te d p av i ng c ontr ac tor through

e x p e ri e n c e , e ffi c i e nc y and atte nti on to det ail.
/ January
com 1
I N2016S IDE

a r e y o u m a n a g i n g y o u r t r a s h m a n a g e m e n t c o m pa n y ?
s e r v i c e L e v e L s n o n -e x i s t e n t ?
indirect trash costs continuing to rise?
h av i n g t o d o u b L e h a n d L e y o u r W a s t e ?
s a f e t y c o n c e r n s ? s pa c e c o n s t r a i n t s ?

doesnt affec t current contrac ts

s av i n g s o f


or more

n o c a p i ta L i n v e s t m e n t o r c o n t r a c t r e q u i r e d

L e a r n m o r e a n d s i g n u p t o d ay v i a

W W W. S M A S H M Y T R A S H . CO M
( 8 4 4 ) 8 - M YS M A S H

s at i s fa c t i o n g u a r a n t e e d December / January 2016

Letter from the Chair


Holes Incorporated
2015 ABC Greater Houston Chair

a chair


ell here it is, my last letter and my last month serving as the ABC Chair. It has been a great year. Lots of good
things have happened this year. We continue to increase our membership, growing by 8% year-to-date. ABC
members continue to be successful and have nationally won more Excellence in Construction awards than

many other Chapters.

We consistently rank in the top three chapters for PAC and FEA fundraising. We have also

increased STEP participation by contractor members to 63%.

And thats not all! We have worked diligently to develop new training programs to meet the needs of the industry. CMEF
and the craft training committee, have streamlined training, allowing the employer and the worker more control on
what is taught. As a result, one benefit is that the length of time required for training has been shortened. However,
the greatest change that we have been working on all year is offering craft training for commercial contractors. More
information about the new commercial training programs will be available soon.
We have collaborated with owners groups, such as C3, HBR, EHCMA, and others to make our workforce development
programs even stronger. We worked with Wunsche High School in a pilot program resulting in 128 students receiving
OSHA 10 hour certification. We also hosted their vocational teachers on jobsite walk throughs so they could see for
themselves the opportunities available for students.
I could go on and on, but we are members of a great organization that benefits the industry and the community. I have
been honored to serve as the Chair.

December / January 2016


Darlene East Holes Incorporated
Chair Elect
Mike Holland - Marek Brothers Systems, Inc.
Vice Chair
Warren Adamson - S&B Engineers and Constructors
Robert Burelsmith - E.E. Reed Construction, L.P.
Todd Fry - Karsten Interior Services
Past Chairman
Tim Ricketts - HSG Constructors, LLC
Russell Hamley - ABC Greater Houston Chapter

Cover Story


Brian Anderson - G.R. Birdwell Construction
Rusty Barnhill - Force Corporation
Leonard Bedell - Mobil Steel International, Inc.
Kerry Bennett - ISC Constructors, LLC
Edwin Brink - JACOBS
Tahnee Coulston - Zachry Industrial
Sam Craig - Craig & Heidt, Inc.
Matt Daniel - BE&K Building Group
Matt Elliott - SpawGlass Construction Corp.
Laura Price Gautreau - Polk Mechanical
Dinesh Ghia - Gilbane Building Company
John Golashesky - Turner Industries Group, LLC
Michael Harris - Baker Concrete Construction, Ind.
Ronnie Howe - Skanska USA Building
Brandon Mabile - Performance Contractors, Inc.
John Marshall - Satterfield & Pontikes Construction Inc.
David McCleskey - Brown & Root Industrial Services, LLC
Rod Molyneau - Brock Services, LTD.
Phillip Morgan - CB&I
Rodney Page - Ref-Chem L.P.
Wendell Rychlik - W.T. Byler Company
William Sanchez - Oxford Builders Inc.
Christina Stone - Stone & Stone
Phil Restivo - Turner Construction
Ben Westcott - Andrews Myers, P.C.
Mark Williams - Bechtel Construction Services
Lohn Zylicz - D.E. Harvey Builders, Inc.

Build Houston Magazine

4910 Dacoma St
Houston, Texas 77092
(713) 523-6222
Associated Builders & Contractors of Greater Houston
Executive Editor: Jennifer Woodruff
Contributing Writer: Callie Fields and Austin Tomlinson
Account Manager: Janice Peters
Graphic Design: Robert Chevis



Also in this issue


Advertisers December / January 2016

How Pavecon earned their place as a trusted paving

contractor through experience, efficiency and
attention to detail.

NRLB Loses Again in Fifth Circuit

Find out what the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruling
means for you.

New Open Carry Law in Texas

Any business that wishes to ban the open carry of weapons within their
establishment must post a specific sign starting January 1st.

We said it would be a decent year, and it was

The International Monetary Fund recently issued its estimate for U.S. economic
growth for the current year.

Voluntary Benefits
Fatality Stats: Are Traditional Safety Practices Failing?
Is it Ho, Ho, Ho or Ha, Ha, Ha this year?
Oxford Builders: We Hang Doors and A Whole Lot More
In the Know

Aggregate Technologies....................11
American Mat & Timber.....................11
Buyers Barricades.................................9
Cherry Companies...............................14
Clark Construction..............................28
Coastal Welding Supply.....................14

Cokinos, Bosien & Young...................13

Craig & Heidt, Inc....................................9
GP Radar System..................................17
InterfaceConsulting International..13
Locke Solutions.......................................7
Merit Professional Coatings............22

Porter & Hedges...................................17

Scott Macon Equipment......................9
Smash My Trash.....................................2
The Compliance Alliance.....................5
Total CAD Systems.................................7
Trench Plate Rental..............................14
United Rentals Trench Safety..........18



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December / January 2016

NLRB Loses Again

in Fifth Circuit
on Class Action
Waiver Agreements

G .



n Murphy Oil USA, Inc. v. NLRB, the United States Court of Appeals

either indicated or expressly stated that they would agree with the

for the Fifth Circuit overturned the National Labor Relation Boards

5th Circuits holding in D.R. Horton that class or collective action

decision that Murphy Oil had unlawfully required employees at

waivers in arbitration agreements do not violate the NLRA.

its Alabama facility to sign an arbitration agreement waiving their

right to pursue class and collective actions. This is not the first

The 5th Circuit in Murphy Oil did reiterate its other holding in

time in recent history the 5th Circuit slapped down a decision of

D.R. Horton that an arbitration agreement violates the NLRA if

the NLRB regarding class action waivers in arbitration agreements.

employees would reasonably construe it as prohibiting filing unfair

In December 2013, the 5th Circuit rejected the NLRBs analysis of

labor practice charges with the Board. The Court again indicated

arbitration agreements in D.R. Horton, Inc. v. NLRB. In the D.R.

that broad any claims language in arbitration agreements can

Horton case, the 5th Circuit held the National Labor Relations Act

create the impression that an employee is waiving not just trial

did not contain a congressional command overriding the Federal

rights, but administrative rights as well. The 5th Circuit indicated

Arbitration Act. The Court further held that the use of class action

that it does not require employers to include an express

procedures is not a substantive right under Section 7 of the NLRA.

statement in their arbitration agreements that an employees

Accordingly, the 5th Circuit concluded that an employer does not

right to file Board charges remains intact before an arbitration

engage in an unfair labor practice by maintaining and enforcing

agreement will be found lawful, but such a provision would be

an arbitration agreement prohibiting class or collective actions

helpful. The arbitration agreement at issue in Murphy Oil included

and requiring employment-related claims to be resolved through

the following language: Nothing in this Agreement precludes

individual arbitration.

[employees]... from participating in proceedings to adjudicate

unfair labor practice charges before the [Board]. The 5th Circuit,

Notwithstanding the clear message the 5th Circuit sent to the

reading the Murphy Oil agreement as a whole, found that it would

NLRB in D.R. Horton about the lawfulness of class action waivers

be unreasonable for an employee to construe the [arbitration

in arbitration agreements, the Board refused to recognize the

agreement] as prohibiting the filing of Board charges when the

Courts holding in administratively deciding the Murphy Oil case.

agreement says the opposite.u

The 5th Circuit, pointing out the NLRBs non-acquiescence and

disregard of the courts D. R. Horton ruling, relying on its prior
D.R. Horton decision stated: Murphy Oil committed no unfair
labor practice by requiring employees to relinquish their right
to pursue class or collective claims in all forums by signing the
arbitration agreements at issue here. The 5th Circuit further
stated: We do not celebrate the Boards failure to follow our D.R.
Horton reasoning.... The Court noted in its Murphy Oil decision
several sister circuits (the 11th, 9th, 8th and 2nd Circuits) have December / January 2016


G. Mark Jodon, managing shareholder of Littler
Mendelsons Houston office, is board-certified in labor
and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal
Specialization. Mark represents employers exclusively
in all areas of labor and employment law. He can be
reached at (713) 652 - 4739 and

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December / January 2016

in Te xa s

exas new open carry law goes into effect on January

1, 2016. Any business that wishes to ban the open
carry of weapons within their establishment must
post a specific sign, in English and Spanish, in at least
1 text, the word for word language of the statute. If the
sign doesnt comply with the language of the law, then
arguably a licensed handgun holder does not receive
effective notice. In order to prohibit open carry on a
property, the business must display a sign that says the
Pursuant to Section 30.07, Penal Code (trespass by license
holder with an openly carried handgun), a person licensed
under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code
(handgun licensing law), may not enter this property with a
handgun that is carried openly.
Under the new law, a property owner may prohibit open
carry of a handgun by properly displaying a Section
30.07 notice while still allowing concealed carry on the
property. If the business elects to prohibit concealed
carry, effective January 1, 2016, they will have to display a
new sign which must state that:
Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by license
holder with a concealed handgun), a person licensed under
Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (handgun
licensing law), may not enter this property with a concealed
handgun. December / January 2016

Businesses that want to prohibit both concealed and

open carry must display both signs in a manner required
by Sections 30.06 and 30.07 of the Penal Code.
Exceptions for Some?
The above statutory signs are used to give notice to
licensed gun owners that entrance onto an owners
property, with a concealed and/or open carry handgun,
is not permitted. If there are no signs posted on the
premises, no notice is given that carrying is prohibited,
although owners will still be able to orally tell gun carriers
they arent welcome. If statutory notice signs are posted,
however, a property owner can presumably also verbally
consent to a person entering the property while carrying.
This would effectively establish consent and allow the
person to enter the property, with either concealed or
open carry, notwithstanding the posted sign.
Employees and Parking Lots
While employers can prohibit employees from bringing
guns into the workplace they cant prohibit employees, who
lawfully possess concealed handguns and ammunition,
from storing such handguns and ammunition in their own
vehicles in the employers parking lot. The law is silent as
to whether employees can store their handguns loaded
with ammunition. Texas employers can still prohibit the
storage of firearms and ammunition in company owned
or leased vehicles. Schools, chemical manufacturers and
oil and gas refineries are excluded from the law and they
retain the ability to form their own policies with respect
to guns in their parking lot.


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areas of State and Federal employment law.

Finally, the law provides employers immunity from

any civil liability involving a gun-related incident
resulting from or arising out of a firearm or
ammunition, which the employer is required to allow
on its parking lot under Texas law, except in cases of
gross negligence. u


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December / January 2016

Voluntary Benefits

s health care costs continue to rise, so has the demand for

voluntary benefits. Since many employers find it increasingly
difficult to provide employees with a complete benefit package,
voluntary benefits have become an ideal solution. Voluntary
benefits allow employers to offer benefits that are attractive to
employees without added cost to the company. Employees
benefit because they have a variety of insurance options available
conveniently in one place, and often with lower premiums than
individual policies they would have bought themselves.
What are voluntary benefits?
Voluntary benefits are coverages and products made available to
employees for elective purchase. These programs have four key

100 percent employee-paid

Offered through an employer
Solicited and enrolled through a carrier or enrollment firm
Paid through automatic payroll deductions.

Because of their cost efficiency and portability, as well as their

contribution to an employees worklife balance, voluntary
benefits are becoming a central component of many companies
overall benefits strategies.
What are some common voluntary benefits?
Permanent life insurance
Disability income insurance
Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D)
Supplemental health insurance
Longterm care insurance
Retiree medical insurance
Dental/vision insurance
Auto/homeowners insurance
Prepaid legal services
Identity theft insurance
Why should employers consider expanding their benefit
offerings to include voluntary benefits?
Trends show employees have strong emotional appeal
towards these benefits and have come to expect them
Usually there are no fees or costs for employers
They complement the goals of most corporate work/life
They offer easy implementation (most do not have legal and
regulatory issues associated with insurance benefits)
They require little post-implementation administration or

10 December / January 2016

What are some specific advantages to offering voluntary

Voluntary benefits appeal to both employer and employee needs.
Increased expense control in the face of rising benefit costs
Cost-effective way to supplement benefit cuts or reductions
Important tools for attracting and retaining valued
Differentiate themselves from competitors (both in offerings
and image)
Opportunity to access a broader array of benefits
Freedom to choose benefits that best suit their needs
Affordable premiums (often deducted on a pretax basis)
Portable coverage
Easy enrollment process
More convenient and time-saving than buying on their own
Convenience of payroll deduction
No medical exams
More lenient underwriting requirements

What process should employers follow when expanding

their non-traditional voluntary benefit packages?
Employers wishing to roll out new voluntary benefits must show
their support for these products in order for them to take off with
employees. Showing support motivates workers to take notice
and see the value for themselves and their families.

Examine your current benefits package to determine which

benefits are popular or not
Talk to employees to determine what voluntary benefits they
would prefer
Determine which benefits are offered by your competitors, as
current and prospective employees may use this information
as a benchmark for evaluating your organization
Initiate an employee communications campaign to educate
employees on what voluntary plans are offered and the
benefits of electing them
Consider offering benefits multiple times per year, not just
during open enrollment. This allows employees to focus on
one or two voluntary packages versus being overwhelmed
with many packages all at once.

To ensure that voluntary benefits programs are as competitive

and effective as possible, employers should measure the success
of the programs every 12 to 24 months. Employers can conduct
surveys to test employee awareness of, understanding of and
satisfaction with the voluntary benefits programs. Companies can
also benchmark their portfolios of voluntary benefits against those
offered by industry peers.

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Voluntary Benefits may not be the right solution for all employers
or individuals. Please contact your Christ Taylor Insurance
representative for assistance in determining if and what type of
voluntary benefit plan designs are right for you. u


Christ Taylor Insurance is an Employee Benefits and Insurance
Brokerage firm doing business for over 50 years in southeast
Texas, and long-time ABC member.
We provide solutions to
small and medium size companies in the areas of Healthcare
and other Benefit programs, as well as Life Insurance and
Retirement Plans. Contact the Christ Taylor team at 713-850-7747

December / January 2016








On September 17, 2015 OSHA published the 2014 fatality

statistics. The same day, a local radio journalist called me as
an expert for his story on the increased fatality rates in Texas.
He tried to blame Texas industry (chemical, refining, and
construction). I didnt cooperate.
I shared the obvious: Newsflashsky is blue, grass is green,
Texas is big so more people work here. We are also the hub
of these critical industries. I said it wasnt about Texas or
our industries, it was that traditional safety practices are not
effective. Not in Texas, not anywhere.
Well, presumably California is pretty large, too, with lots of
people and industries, and their numbers went down? Any
I shared more of the obvious. The movie industry? Silicon
Valley? Google headquarters? Well, while California natives
are only too happy to be rabid consumers of the products
generated by the chemical and refining industries, they typically
wont take ownership to produce them. They also have a 6.1%
unemployment rate to Texas 4.1%. Pretty hard to get hurt at
work if you dont have a job.
He thanked me for my time and didnt use the interview.
Compliance with traditional safety practices may be the best
its ever been. Behavior Based Safety, OSHA Partnerships,
ISNetworld and other prequalification groups, Zero Tolerance,
and companies reporting zero incidents for hundreds of
work days and millions of man-hourshas never been more

Traditional safety has impact. Training is beneficial because

workers are more productive when they know what they are
doing and increased productivity typically = increased profits.
Zero tolerance and zero incident practices help influence an
entire workforce to maintain good EMR and TRIR numbers
thus ensuring the companies qualify to bid for billions of dollars
in major capital projects. OSHA Partnerships allow OSHA to
gather millions of statistics from industry to analyze hot spots
that OSHA could never otherwise get due to lack of funds and
Behavior Based Safety (BBS) has benefits, too. BBS increases
owner personnel awareness of safety on an ongoing basis
for those employees who make the observation, but not for
those employees being observed. This is because its effect,
to spontaneously stop and watch a workers every move while
looking for mistakes, actually increases anxiety, distraction, and
fear in the observed worker and could, theoretically, lead to an
accident. This occurs because BBS does not consider how the
observed workers brain is designed to respond to this type of
practice. BBS also places focus away from the cause of 97% of
safety issues because it doesnt encourage analysis of process,
but rather it encourages analysis of individual worker actions.
According to the Law of Large numbers and W. Edwards
Deming, the Father of Quality, 97% of the issues are typically
process, not rogue employee behavior.
This means that saying workplace deaths occur because theres
not enough training, or Behavior Based Safety observations,
or ISNetworld paper pushing is like saying people get cancer
because their bodies dont have enough chemotherapy, or
because they lack radiation in their tissues. So, to quote The
Sunscreen Song, using those methods to cure the problem


Tara Maria Amavi, (formerly Tara Templeton Hart, name changed due to identity theft) is the Founder and President of TCA/The Compliance Alliance
L.P. TCA has provided services to almost 1000 companies nationwide and TCAs proprietary tools, methods and means have been ranked #1 in the world
for managing contractor safety. The TCA Safety System is peer acknowledged as a method based upon TCAs own trade secrets which get better results
than traditional safety methods and, therefore, saves lives. Ms. Amavi has been named one of Houstons 50 Most Influential Women by Houston Woman
magazine, and has also been named one of the Whos Who in Safety by Compliance Magazine. Ms. Amavi is a sought after public speaker, has appeared on
local & national radio and television programs including five appearances on The BusinessMakers, a radio show hosted by John Beddow & Russ Capper.
Ms. Amavi may be contacted at or 713.263.7661.

12 December / January 2016

Cokinos, Bosien & Young


Determine your position.
Anticipate your opponents
next maneuver.

of workplace fatalities is about as

effective as trying to solve a math
problem by chewing bubble gum.
Traditional practices mean well
but fall short and the fatality
statistics prove it. It is the effect of
unintended consequences having a
head-on collision with biological and
cognitive neuroscience.
What does work? We must find
out what is informing the neuronal
pathways of worker brains and
then develop processes designed
to create new neuronal pathways
to achieve the desired outcome
fewer deaths.
Sound impossible or unrealistic?
Tune in next issue to find out what
industries already use this approach
and the amazing results they are
getting. If other industries can do it,
why not the safety industry? u

Execute a coordinated,
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Thats our approach, whether
its complex litigation, transactions, business formation or dispute resolution.
Because our attorneys understand that your business is more than a game.
FOUR HOUSTON CENTER 1221 LAMAR STREET 16th Floor HOUSTON, TX 77010 Tel: 713-535-5500






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December / January 2016


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Manhole Shield



the Road to Success

Asphalt overlay at Texana Plantation

eing one of the largest and most respected pavement

maintenance companies in the nation and reaching $100
million in revenue is not something you just happen to stumble
uponjust ask Pavecon. It takes hard work, dedication to
excellence, and commitment to customers.
By operating out of seven regional offices strategically placed in
Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi, Pavecon has the flexibility to
work with companies across the country in both the industrial
and commercial sector. Pavecons services include asphalt paving
and repair, asphalt seal coating, concrete paving and structures,
concrete repair and floor repair, reclamation, striping, grading and
excavation, and cement stabilization.
Always looking to expand its expertise and grow, Pavecon recently
opened up a full-service, waterproofing maintenance facility in
Austin, Texas. Water damage is one of the most common and
destructive threats to any building whether from water damage
from the roof, from the ground, or through cracks or windows.
Pavecon saw a market need for such a service and proactively
provided a solution.
In addition to having strategically placed locations, Pavecon
Houston owns a majority of their own equipment and has on-hand,
full service mechanics who are dedicated to the maintenance
of said equipment. By eliminating the need for outside services
on equipment, Pavecon is positioning themselves as unique
competitors in the market.
Employee focused
Asphalt maintenance is an important facet of property
management that is overlooked on a regular basis. In an effort to
shed more light on the necessity of proper asphalt maintenance,
Pavecon Houston is working to develop a training program for
men and women interested in learning the proper procedures
and processes to become a successful practitioner.
We saw a need for this program and decided who better to train
people than those working in the industry everyday, Ron Vernon,
Division President, Pavecon said. We hire recent graduates and
experienced professionals, this program will be a great way to get
those individuals up to speed on best practices and knowledge
about the industry.

Pavecon does many commercial projects for retail companies such

as Wal-Mart and Home Depot, and scientific research and medical
institutions such as MD Anderson and National Aeronautics and
Space Administration (NASA). Pavecon was recently awarded an
asphalt and concrete paving renovation project for the Michael E.
DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, Texas.
Management at Pavecon Houston is also working on moving more
into the Industrial sector. To do so they are sponsoring employees
to receive their Transportation Worker Identification Credential
cards (TWIC).
We want to build careers that work, said Vernon. We have
employees that have been with us more than 10 years and to
keep developing them we want them to obtain new skills and
certifications that will allow for advancement.
When asked what advice he would give budding professionals
attempting to enter the construction industry, Vernon simply
replied, Be diligent and maintain your integrity, make sure you
deliver what youre promoting.
Looking forward to 2016 while putting safety first, Pavecon hopes
to continue working towards a goal of zero on-the-job incidents,
and to see a 20 percent growth in revenue and employees. u

December / January 2016





ts about that time folks: End of year bonuses for those who have
been good. Actually, not good, but efficient, effective, thorough
and safe. And not personally, were talking about project results
here. So was your project 1) good enough to get a bonus?
Check. Have you 2) met all milestone agreements? Check. Did
you 3) satisfy the customer? Check. Did you 4) get anyone injured?
Check. Unfortunately, many managers, superintendents and other
leaders will get bonuses for getting all four checks. And in todays
construction world, its unclear why this still happens? Safety, just
like quality, means no defects-no injuries, eliminating errors and
satisfying customers. Ive seen projects in recent years that got
no checks yet the project manager and his staff received hefty
Kids love this time of year with the expectation of toys and goodies.
As a youth, the kids in our family expected to get a new pair of
socks, some clothes or a pair of shoes. It was good times in those
days. We thought we were good, so it was like we all got bonuses.
My first bonus came from working in the oil patch. As a well
safety technician, I had safety oversight for wellhead component
installations. If all went well with no complaints from the driller or
customer, we got good marks which led to end of year bonuses.
In the construction industry, project leaders receive the best
bonuses; safety techs receive little or none, and I dont understand
why. When asking around, the best answer came from a former
project manager: Those who bring in the bucks get a share.
Nowadays, a senior leader at a large company may get a million
dollar annual bonus.
An employer asked me to design a safety bonus system that was
based on injury results. My plan was to use the previous years
loss data from injury claims and set that amount as a bonus pool
for the current year. As an injury occurred, the cost was deducted
from the bonus pool. At the end of the year the remaining dollars
in the pool were to be distributed to the leaders on a percentage
of work hours basis. Nobody liked the plan. Leaders who were
accustomed to not knowing or overlooking the cost of injury, were
shocked at the dollar losses, the cost of workers compensation
insurance and the resulting experience modification rates. They
were focused only on project completion and bringing home the

16 December / January 2016

dollars. Injured workers, their families and the associated costs of

injuries were unimportant and overlooked.
Ha, Ha, Ha
Companies that cant prevent injuries and eliminate losses become
the laughing stock of the industry. A subcontractor that served
our company had multiple recordable injuries on one project. It
turned out that with a small number of work hours that year, their
total recordable incidence rate was out of sight and unacceptable
to any owner or general contractor. Result: They could not win
bids with a bad safety record and went out of business. Is that ha,
ha, ha? No, its very sad. Not only were several employees injured,
the whole workforce lost their jobs and nobody got a bonus. The
competition said good riddance to a bad subcontractor. I said its
a shame. When looking into the injuries that caused their demise,
it was poor leadership that put workers in harms way. The tasks
were not planned well and some unexpected hazards created
the at-risk situation. Better planning and quality leadership could
have saved the day, could have prevented pain and suffering and
could have saved the company.
So, hopefully you are enjoying your bonus for a great year. If there
were injuries on your projects, figure out what happened and
please dont let it happen again. The root cause of injury is at-risk
behavior on the part of workers and/or their leaders. Next year
make it ho, ho, ho. u


Bennett Ghormley has more than 35
years of experience in safety, training and
construction administration. He is experienced
in implementing safety programs involving
industries. Mr. Ghormley has conducted
audits, investigations and inspections in
refineries, chemical and petrochemical plants,
for pipelines, water and waste facilities,
manufacturing plants and fabrication
facilities. Mr. Ghormley has served as an expert
witness in litigation cases and appeared before
the Workers Compensation Commission,
EEOC, Employment Commission and civil
courts. Contact Mr. Ghormley via email at


For more information about our

Safety Program please contact
Matt Johnson at

Call Jim Cardoza at 713-253-7072

or e-mail

Our construction team


relationships by providing clients with



based on experience.


December / January 2016


United Rentals Trench Safety

Dallas, TX (214) 357-4369
Beaumont, TX (409) 721-9494
Corpus Christi, TX (361) 241-0980
San Antonio, TX (210) 684-7970
Houston, TX (713) 944-9661
Austin, TX (512) 479-5058
Keller, TX (817) 379-7233
Gonzales, LA (225) 744-0101

2013 United Rentals, Inc.

18 December / January 2016

Oxford Builders installs rough carpentry which includes roof blocking,

window blocking, interior blocking and wood framing.

Oxford Builders builds and covers wood decks with Ipe decking,
composite decking, and pressure treated decking.

We hang doors
and a whole lot more


Oxford Builders specializes in working with specialty woods, including Ipe,

Mahogany, Cedar, Clear Heart, vertical grain bald Cypress and sinker Cypress.

xford Builders slogan is We hang doors and a whole lot

more. For some customers we install doors and hardware,
for others we install louvers, and for others we build tree

Oxford Builders Inc. works for large commercial general

contractors in the Greater Houston Area. Our customers demand
the very best. High quality work, done safely and on schedule.
Oxford has been successful in delivering work as desired since
its inception.
Oxford works on a wide spectrum of commercial projects
which includes but not limited to, schools, airports, universities,
hospitals, churches, fire stations, water treatment plants,
dormitories and assisted living centers.

No louver is too big for Oxford Builders.

What does Oxford Builders do on these projects? We hang

doors and a whole lot more. The whole lot more includes rough
carpentry, roof blocking, specialty wood installation, owner
furnished contractor installed (OFCI) medical equipment, louver
installation, wood decks, outdoor furniture, truck maintenance
equipment installation, hollow metal modifications, aluminum
frame installation, wood trellises, pergolas and gazebos, Hardie
Plank siding and trim, finish carpentry and temporary decks.
There is a lot to the whole lot more. For more information,





call 713-934-7777 or visit

At Oxford Builders, we call this fine carpentry.

December / January 2016


20 December / January 2016

We Said It Would Be

...and it was



Consumers Lead Recovery Forward

Coming into the year, ABCs economic forecasters had predicted
that 2015 would be unspectacular, but would be the best year
of the current economic recovery to date. The International
Monetary Fund recently issued its estimate for U.S. economic
growth for the current year. The estimate stands at 2.6 percent,
which in fact would be the best year since the recovery began, but
still uninspiring. In 2010, the U.S. economy expanded 2.5 percent,
and that has been the best post-recession growth rate thus far.
If the economic recovery were likened to a college basketball
game, we would be in the early to mid-stages of the second half.
With the arrival of mid-June, the nation completed its sixth year
of economic recovery. As of this writing, the nation is in the 77th
month of recovery.
Once upon a time, people would have been right to fret that the
end was near. The average post-World War II recovery has lasted
about 58 months, or slightly more than 4.5 years. The previous
three economic recoveries lasted an average of 95 months, or
nearly 8 years. The average duration of economic expansions
between 1860 and 1945 was just 26 months. The current recovery
may still have a few birthdays in front of it and may very well end
up challenging the lengthiest recovery in U.S. history, which lasted
precisely 120 months between March 1991 and March 2001.
It took the U.S. a long time to arrive at the mid-phase of the
recovery. This is typically the lengthiest phase and ultimately gives
way to the late-phase when the economy overheats. Already, signs
emerging, particularly with respect to emerging skills shortages of
that are in key industry categories like trucking and construction.
(continued on next page)

December / January 2016


Despite that, average hourly earnings across all industries

collectively are up only 2.1 percent over the past year nationally.
Construction hourly earnings are up only a bit more than that. This
is well below the Federal Reserves goal of 3.5 percent. Still, there
are other cracks emerging in the current economic expansion,
including indications that certain real estate and technology
segments have become overheated with purchase prices
rocketing higher and capitalization rates remaining unusually low.

September for the first time in eight months. According to a

November 2nd release supplied by the U.S. Census Bureau,
nonresidential construction spending, which totaled $692.8 billion
on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis, fell by 0.1 percent from
August. While the Census Bureau revised both July and Augusts
nonresidential spending estimates 0.4 percent lower, Septembers
year-over-year increase of 12.4 percent represents the largest
since April 2008.

Whats more, job growth has begun to soften recently. After

adding an average of nearly 250,000 jobs per month during
the one year period stretching from July 2014 to July 2015, the
nation added only 136,000 net new jobs in August according to
a revised estimate and 142,000 jobs in September according to a
preliminary estimate.

Septembers release, while not especially upbeat, does not alter

the fact that nonresidential construction spending continues to
recover and that most contractors are busier than they were a
year ago. Although there are many potential forces at work that
resulted in a September spending decline, most are not alarming.
With construction materials prices falling, it may be that contractors
are able to offer somewhat lower prices for their services, helping
to suppress growth in construction value put in place. It is also
conceivable that some construction work is being slowed by an
ongoing lack of available skilled personnel. This factor has certainly
helped to slow residential construction, and it seems reasonable
to presume that some nonresidential contractors would face
similar issues.

While two surprisingly tepid months of end-of-summer data

should not raise alarm bells, something is not quite right with the
economy. Job growth is typically a lagging indicator, meaning that
something else has happened to the economy to cause the recent
softness. There are many candidate explanations. At the top of
the list is a slowing global economy and stronger U.S. dollar. After
adding jobs for many months, the nations manufacturing sector
has been losing jobs recently, as a stronger greenback has made
it more difficult to expand exports abroad and as imports become
more price competitive.
With regard to nonresidential construction, spending fell in

For the time being, the near-term macroeconomic and

nonresidential construction outlooks appear positive. Although the
domestic economy only expanded 1.5 percent on an annualized
basis during the third quarter, the weakness was largely the
result of an adjustment to inventories and the impact of a weaker
global economy. Domestic final demand
continues to expand at a reasonable clip.
However, Americas growth rate will remain
highly constrained. In large measure, this is
due to the fact that the global economy is
likely to remain sluggish in 2016. For many
years, there has been a running narrative
indicating that the BRIC nations (Brazil,
Russia, India, and China) would eventually
supplant the U.S. as the primary driver
of global economic expansion. It hasnt
happened yet. China is set to sustain its
lowest rate of annual economic expansion
in at least 20 years, Brazil is in recession,
and Russias is even deeper. Among
the BRIC nations, only India, the worlds
largest democracy, is having a solid year
economically. Unlike Russia and Brazil,
oil production is not a primary source of
growth in India. Its primary resource is a
large and growing population of talented,
educated young people, the ultimate
renewable resource.
In addition to weakness in the emerging
world, much of the advanced world
continues to be sluggish. Europes malaise
is well known, and the ongoing refugee
crisis will put additional pressure on labor

22 December / January 2016

markets associated with already high unemployment and strained

central government budgets. The Canadian economy, to which the
U.S. exports more output than any other nation, actually recessed
during the first half of the year, weighed down in large measure by
the collapse in commodity prices, and the Japanese economy also
continues to perform erratically.
On top of global economic weakness is the fact that the U.S. dollar
is much stronger than it was a year ago. As of this writing, one
dollar can purchase 121 Japanese yen. Roughly a year earlier, the
dollar could buy around 100 yen. Today, one euro can purchase
$1.09. It wasnt that long ago that a single euro could purchase
$1.38. Several years ago, one Canadian dollar could purchase
more than one U.S. dollar. Today, the Canadian dollar purchases
only about three-quarters of a single U.S. dollar.
One implication is that U.S. export growth will continue to be
stifled. U.S. exports are on track to decline in 2015 for the first
time since the financial crisis despite an ongoing national push
to expand shipments abroad. According to the U.S. Commerce
Department, exports of goods and services were down 3.5 percent
in July compared to the same period one year prior.
Texas Economic Recovery Cools Off
Predictably, with oil and natural gas prices slumping for more than
a year, the Texas economy has lost a bit of its edge. The fact that
Texas can continue to expand at roughly the same rate as the
balance of the country even with collapsing commodity prices is a
testament to the states economic diversification.
The Lone Star State managed to create 224,800 jobs over the past
twelve months, an increase of 1.9 percent, only slightly less than
the U.S. average of 2.0 percent. Texas would have added more
jobs were there more workers available to hire. As of this writing,
the states unemployment rate stands at a puny 4.2 percent, 0.6
percentage points lower that at the same time one year ago.
One year ago, Texas construction sector was booming, and this
was neatly reflected in employment figures. Last year, the state
was adding construction jobs on an approximately 40,000 net new
positions pace per 12-month period. But during the more recent
twelve-month period, Texas construction sector added 10,100
jobs. Though that number isnt bad, there is evidence that the
construction spending bonanza has paused.
Still, there are communities within the state that continue to
outperform the nation. Among the states 25 major metropolitan
areas, 11 registered a pace of job growth greater than the national
average of 2 percent. San Antonio posted the largest percentage
job growth in the state, adding 35,100 jobs, which represents a
3.7 percent increase. The list of other Texas metropolitan areas
with job growth in excess of 3 percent includes Austin, Beaumont,
Dallas, McAllen, and Odessa. Additionally, only Wichita Falls saw
employment fall on a year over year basis, and only three cities had
unemployment rates higher than Septembers national average of
5.1 percent.

Houston, the worlds energy technology capital, continues to

sustain solid job growth numbers. The metropolitan area added
34,300 jobs between September 2014 and September 2015,
translating into 1.2 percent job growth. Regional unemployment
fell 0.3 percentage points from the same time one year prior (4.9
to 4.6 percent), tied for the 7th lowest rate of unemployment
among the nations twenty largest metropolitan areas.
However, the Houston area has shed 3,300 construction jobs
over the past year, with much of this likely related to a drop-off
in energy industry-related investment. Still, the regions office
market vacancy rate has declined to around 13 percent and the
community net absorbed more than 1.5 million square feet over a
recent twelve month period, helping to push average office rental
rates $27.74/square foot.
Looking Ahead
Energy prices fall and energy prices rise. It is quite possible that
energy prices will begin to edge higher in 2016, which might help
to green light energy-related projects presently on hold. Houstons
health and education sector continues to expand and many local
governments are in better financial shape than they have been in
National economic growth will continue to be moderate. Growth
will be led by consumers, with nonresidential and residential
construction serving as supporting cast members. The nations auto
sector also continues to expand, creating large-scale construction
opportunities in the process. The ongoing construction of
export-oriented liquefied natural gas terminals also remains an
important phenomenon, with one LNG terminal presently under
construction in Texas. Two others are in construction, including
one in Maryland and one in Louisiana.
Next year is also likely to be associated with more rapid wage
growth, a bit more inflation, and higher interest rates. The nation
is a year or less away from full employment, which is associated
with a level of unemployment at which inflation becomes more
problematic. Many economists have expressed concerns
regarding the 2017 and 2018 economic outlooks, but 2016 is
shaping up to be another decent year. u


Anirban Basu was named Associated Builders and
Contractors (ABC) chief economist in February 2008.
His primary responsibility is to provide ABC with
timely, comprehensive analyses of important trends
in the U.S. commercial and industrial construction
industry. Basu produces ABCs electronic economic
news report, Construction Economic Update,
which includes an analysis of the following federal
government economic indicators upon their release
: construction spending, employment, producer
price index and gross domestic product.

December / January 2016


In The Know




Coats Rose, P.C. announces the addition of three new associates

to the firms Houston office. Greer Kuras joins Coats Roses public
finance section, Nick Nieto joins the litigation section and Kevin
Falvo joins the firms affordable housing practice group.Greer
Kurasspecializes in the acquisition and development of land, the
creation of special purpose districts and the financing of public
infrastructure through tax-exempt bonds. Nick Nietospractice at
Coats Rose is focused primarily on construction, surety and real
estate law. Kevin Falvois an associate in Coats Roses affordable
housing practice group.
Satterfield & Pontikes held their second annual Noras Home
Golf Classic in October. The event raises funds for Noras Home,
whose mission is to offer affordable lodging for pre-transplant and
post transplant patients and their families who travel to any of the
Texas Medical Center transplant centers. The first of its kind in
Houston, it provides care, education and support for transplant
patients and their families in a loving, home-like environment.
The Katy Well Pet building, built by Epoch Construction, is a
10,000+ square foot design build project. The building is fully
encapsulated with spray urethane foam for maximized energy
efficiency. In combination with low E glazing, and a standing seam
metal roof, it provides minimal environmental impact. The exterior
faade is composed of massive cedar columns, and cedar trusses
fabricated onsite, in combination with stone, and metal wall
paneling to provide a comfortable yet beautiful exterior appeal.
On, November 10, 2015 Standard Constructors, Inc. was
awarded the Construction Users Round Table (CURT), Construction
Industry Safety Excellence (CISE) Award in the NAICS 238-Special
Trade Contractors Category.

24 December / January 2016

Satterfield & Pontikes

Rogers-OBrien Construction was recently selected by Harris
County to build a new community center at Barbara Jordan
Park, renovate the gazebo enclosure at Adair Park, and perform
building improvements at the Cavalcade Area Office at Annex 36
for Precinct 1. Construction is scheduled to start in Spring 2016
and will be completed in Fall 2017.
Skanska USA has been awarded a $21 million contract with
Texas A&M University (TAMU) to oversee the construction of the
Agriculture & Life Science Building 4. The project broke ground on
November 13 and it will be completed in February 2017. The new
five-story, 80,000 square-foot building will house the universitys
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences.The first three
floors will include offices, conference rooms and dry work
areas.The top two floors will include teaching and wet research
laboratories.Kirskey Architecture is the project architect.
The Houston Business Roundtable recently recognized Ohmstede
for outstanding safety performance, winning the Best of the Best,
Specialty Contractor, Hard Crafts Large award. Ohmstede was
also recently recognized by the American Fuels and Petrochemical
Manufacturers Association for safety performance from member
companies during 2014. The company performed approximately
3 million direct field man-hours related to turnaround or event
maintenance during the year with a 0.13 TRIR. Their current 2015
TRIR is 0.0.
Teal Construction recently completed Texas Bay Area Credit
Union Pasadena Branch off of Highway 225. The project features
Texas Bay Area Credit Unions new branding. The project
included the demolition of the existing two story credit union and
coordination with a local pipeline company to install utilities across
the site. The new building contains offices, lobby, drive thru
windows, and auxiliary spaces. The new exterior includes stone
and horizontal metal panels.

The Katy Well Pet building built by Epoch Construction, encapsulated with spray urethane foam for maximized energy efficiency.

Overseen by Skanska USA, This new five-story, 80,000 square-foot

building will house Texas A&M Universitys Department of
Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences.

Standard Constructors, Incs Construction

Users Round Table Award

Teal Construction recently completed Texas Bay Area Credit Union

Pasadena Branch off of Highway 225, containing offices, lobby,
drive-thru windows and auxilary spaces.

December / January 2016


In The Know

Dow, CH2M and Standard Constructors congratulate the employees and safety staff at the Dow Gulfstream Clarified
River Water site in Freeport, Texas for achieving 100,000 hours without a single recordable incident.

E.E. Reed Construction recently completed construction on West Ten-Phase One,

consisting of two, one-story, tilt-wall industrial warehouse buildings totaling
413,336 square feet in Katy.

26 December / January 2016








Rogers-OBrien Construction is pleased to announce several

new additions to their Houston office: Director of Field Operations
Craig Glenn; Senior Project Manager Butch Nesmith;
Superintendent Wes Elliott; Superintendent Clint McIlwain;
and Assistant Estimator Amber Austin.

Burton Interiors was recently awarded a project for Ryan, LLC, a

34,000 square foot, three floor remodel in Williams Tower. Ryans
offices will showcase high-end finishes and modern amenities
including a new break room facility and conference room. This
project is being managed by Hines and designed by Staffelbach.

ISC Constructors recently celebrated the grand opening of its

Lake Charles Regional Office. An open house was held to showcase
the newly constructed facility and highlight the importance of the
Companys commitment to the Southwest Louisiana industrial
market. ISC associates from their Baton Rouge, Beaumont and
Houston offices joined in welcoming over 200 visitors including
several elected officials. Located at 115 Hood Road in Sulphur,
Louisiana, the office includes a state-of-the-art training center
designed to train and assess craft and supervision specifically in
the area. Employing an NCCER certified workforce has been a focus
of ISCs for nearly two decades; therefore, making an investment of
this magnitude in the local market was paramount.

Dow and CH2M congratulate the employees and safety staff

at the Dow Gulfstream Clarified River Water site in Freeport,
Texas for achieving 100,000 hours without a single recordable
incident. A celebratory luncheon was held in honor of Standard
Constructors, Inc., Texas Aquastore, G.R. Birdwell, Whaley
Steel, PSI and Vernor Material and Equipment. Standard
Constructors lead the site with 83,000 hours for the past 6

Patti Miller, Director of Business Development at E.E. Reed

Construction, has been promoted to Vice President of Business
Development. She has been employed at E.E. Reed Construction
for five years. Roger Graham, a Project Manager at E.E. Reed
Construction, has been promoted to Senior Project Manager.
Roger has 13years of experience in the construction industry and
has been employed at E.E. Reed Construction for seven years.
Kathryn Hanneman has joined S & B Plant Services as the
Vice President of Operations. Kathryns 30 + years of expertise
from the chemical/petrochemical industry will further enhance
the Plant Services division of S & B Engineers and Constructors.
She earned a Bachelors of Science and a Masters in Chemical
Engineering from Texas A & M University in College Station.
She also has a Masters in Business Administration from Regis
University, Denver, Colorado.

E.E. Reed Construction recently completed construction

on West Ten-Phase One, consisting of two, one-story, tilt-wall
industrial warehouse buildings totaling 413,336 square feet in
Katy. Developed by Transwestern and designed by Munson
Kennedy Partnership, West Ten-Phase One was completed in
November 2015.
Turner Construction Company completed the Top Golf Webster
project, a Multi-Use Entertainment and Sports Venue. The project
is a new three story ground up facility with a total of 65,000 square
feet. The entire site sits on 14.69 acres and includes the building
and an outfield with 10 large golf targets. The facility includes 3 bar
areas and a roof top terrace.
BIG Metal Buildings LLC is pleased to welcome Matt Williamson
to the BIG family of companies. Matt is a graduate of Texas A&M
and joins the BIG Metal Buildings Brazos Valley office as Project
Coordinator. u

December / January 2016



Published by Associated Builders & Contractors of Greater Houston

4910 Dacoma St.
Houston, Texas 77092
(713)523-6ABC (877)577-6ABC


Its official! Harris County and the
City of Houston have broken ground on the

Joint Processing Center

Experienced builders with deep local roots,
Clark/Horizon is proud to partner with
city and county agencies, and architect PGAL,
to deliver this model social infrastructure project.
Hats off to Harris County and the City of Houston
for bringing this facility to life!