Central Florida Expressway Authority’s Largest Work Plan Just Approved

Orlando, Florida

On Friday, May 12, The Central Florida Expressway Authority announced that the largest work plan in its history was approved. The board unanimously voted to adopt a five-year, $1.6 billion work plan which is expected to create over 11,000 jobs over the next five years.

The five-year plan includes:

  • Widening existing expressways (approx. 40 miles)
  • Resurfacing, improved roadway lighting and signs (approx. 60 miles)
  • New toll collection systems and safety projects

Part of the plan is to complete the Expressway’s sections of the Wekiva Parkway, which is scheduled to be completed by Spring 2018. Also a big chuck of the budget, $230 million, will be contributed to the state for use on the I-4 Ultimate State Road 408/I-4 Interchange project.

According to bizjournal.com, “The agency plans to have its work plan projects designed, built and operational by 2022, which is the end of the new work plan. The authority’s plan also will contribute $1 billion in gross domestic product to the local economy as well as saving 32 hours annually traveling on its expressways.”

More details to come, stay tuned!

Construction Spending Predicted to Increase in 2017

Graphics Construction Growth. Buildings Of City, And Growth. Vec

Per www.forconstructionpros.com “FMI’s forecast for 2017 predicts an increase of 6% for the total value of construction put in place in the U.S. With GDP most recently reporting 2.1% growth in the fourth quarter of 2016, construction growth of 6% looks solid. Although this is a drop from the hot pace of growth from 2013 through 2015, it seems to indicate that the recovery bounce is over and more normal growth is in store for the next few years.

The Nonresidential Construction Index (NRCI) score for the second quarter slipped 1.1 points but remains at an optimistic 61.4. The backlog index indicates a median of 12 months, unchanged for the last three quarters, and the cost of labor index is still indicating higher costs. When labor and materials costs rise, the overall NRCI index decreases somewhat. Nonetheless, FMI points out that rising costs of labor and materials indicate that the economy is supporting these increases.

Other economic components gained or lost within a point of last quarter’s results. The areas to watch, however, are the market indices. As in the Outlook forecast, panelists expect manufacturing construction to grow solidly for the next three months to three years. Other markets are still registering positive numbers, but lodging, office and commercial construction indicate that NRCI panelists expect a sharp downturn in those markets next year, particularly for commercial and lodging construction.”

To see the forecasts for the key sectors, click here HERE for the full article.

 

Credit: www.forconstructionpros.com

 

Lack of Qualified Workers in Tampa Bay Could Hinder Growth

safety helmet and building  construction sketching on paper work

According to an article on www.abcactionnews.com “Construction contractors in the Tampa Bay area showed a stronger intention to hire new employees over the next 6 months than any other part of the state.Contractors also say they expect to have a lot of trouble finding qualified workers.

The opinions come Monday morning in the first ever Florida Contractor Confidence Index (Florida CCI), courtesy of a survey from the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Florida. Optimism is high in Florida; 88% of Florida contractors expect their sales to increase in the next six months. Building contractors are already seeing increased demand in a competitive housing market that is already busier than in most places across the country. That optimism explains why many contractors say they need to hire more people; 89% reported plans to increase staffing levels over the next 6 months.

“There can be no doubt that business is thriving for Florida ABC members, both general and subcontractors, in the commercial and industrial sectors,” said ABC of Florida 2017 Chair Mary Tappouni, president of Breaking Ground Contracting in Jacksonville. “Yet, contractors’ concerns about the inadequate number of workers entering the construction industry—despite the availability of high-paying jobs—could limit industry growth.” 84% of contractors expect to have a more difficult time finding available labor in six months,” according to the Associated Builders and Contractors survey.

“Potential job seekers, and the state’s economy, would both benefit from additional efforts to attract talent into the construction industry and ensure that talent has access to all available training programs, including registered apprenticeship and craft training programs,” added Tappouni.”

The Associated Builders and Contractors Association of Florida has teamed with local community colleges to create an Apprenticeship program. Many times, ABC will fund a student’s studies through the program. You can learn more about the apprenticeship programs in the Tampa Bay Area by clicking HERE.”

Source: www.abcactionnews.com (link here) // By: Adam Winer

 

Florida Surety Bond’s Spring Newsletter (that should be hitting the streets next week) dives into this hot topic with a list of Workforce Training Programs offered here in Central Florida!

Communication is Key

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The AGC Smart Brief had a nice article regarding communication on the job and how open communication is the key to a successful project. Tim Sinclair, chair of AGC’s Specialty Contractors Council is a former estimator, project manager and general contractor. His diverse background helps him see a job from multiple perspectives – as both a sub and general contractor and is very knowledgeable on pre-construction services.

Tim Sinclair participated in a focus panel entitled “Maximize the Performance of the Pre-Construction Process through Pre- and Post-Bid Communication”.

Click HERE to read the full Q&A and his insight on the benefits and importance of communication during Pre- and Post-Bid Construction.

Orlando Woman Sentenced To Federal Prison For Worker’s Comp Scheme

man arrested in handcuffs hands in focus

According to an article on www.workerscompensation.com “U.S. District Judge Henry Lee Adams, Jr. has sentenced Orquidea Quezada (48, Orlando) to 18 months in federal prison for wire fraud and for operating as an unlicensed money transmitter. The Court ordered her to forfeit $136,886 in cash that was seized when she was arrested, $60,178.91 that was seized from her bank accounts, and a 2013 Honda Accord, valued at $11,500, that she had used while committing the offenses. The Court also entered a money judgment against Quezada in the amount of $584,435.09, representing the proceeds of the criminal conduct less the amount previously seized, and she was further ordered to pay restitution to AIG Insurance in the amount of $18,603.24.

Quezada pleaded guilty on September 28, 2016.

According to court documents, between May 2013 and May 2016, Quezada, doing business as Orquicely Construction, LLC, applied for workers’ compensation insurance policies to cover two to seven employees and an annual payroll of approximately $100,000. The insurance companies issued the policies for annual premiums based on the payroll information disclosed in the applications.

Under Florida law, any business that engages in construction work must secure and maintain workers’ compensation insurance and the failure to do so is a felony. Construction contractors must require subcontractors to provide proof that they have workers’ compensation insurance.

Quezada then “rented” the insurance policies to numerous construction subcontractors who employed hundreds of workers, many of whom were undocumented aliens. To do so, she directed her insurance agent to e-mail the subcontractors a certificate of insurance that the insurance would cover their workers. The subcontractors wrote payroll checks to Orquicely Construction for work performed by their employees. Quezada then cashed those checks and paid the subcontractors’ employees in cash, through work crew leaders. Quezada kept five percent of each check as a fee for her services. Between May 2013 and November 2015, Quezada funneled about $17.4 million through her company to the subcontractors’ employees.

Neither Orquicely Construction nor the subcontractors deducted state or federal taxes, such as for Medicare and Social Security, from the workers’ pay. The scheme allowed the subcontractors to avoid these taxes and workers’ compensation taxes, and to conceal their employment of undocumented aliens that were working illegally in the United States.

“This sentencing is the result of HSI’s combined investigative expertise in financial crimes and worksite enforcement,” said Susan L. McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI Tampa. “HSI special agents will continue to identify, disrupt, and eliminate the criminal schemes used to exploit our financial industry and to garner profit from the labor of undocumented aliens. HSI’s continued partnership with agencies such the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Investigative & Forensic Services greatly enhances our ability to successfully identify and prosecute these criminal organizations.”

“Employers who attempt to evade the law and fail to provide workers’ compensation coverage leave their employees vulnerable to extraordinary costs in the event of an on-the-job injury,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater. “Not only are employees left at risk, but when bad actors save thousands by not paying for insurance policies, they can skew the competitive market by bidding on projects at a much cheaper rate—making it difficult for the law-abiding employers to win job contracts. I applaud the collaborative efforts of our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners who work day in and day out to ensure the bad actors within the construction industry are held accountable for their crimes.”

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (Jacksonville and Orlando), the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and the Florida Department of Financial Services Division of Investigative and Forensic Services. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arnold B. Corsmeier.”

Source: http://www.workerscompensation.com/compnewsnetwork/news/25515-orlando-woman-sentenced-to-federal-prison-for-scheme-to-evade-workers-comp-requirements-for-undocumented-aliens.html