[VIDEO] Fair Labor Standards Act Reduced Exemptions Raising Questions

A number of questions are being raised over the biggest change in the history of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the way exempt employees are paid; plus more construction industry news on the September 29, 2016, edition of Construction News Tracker

Construction News Tracker is presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.

If you've been following the nation's housing start agenda it's likely a summer see-saw is what you've experienced. Both Wells Fargo Economics and the Federal Housing Agency show the June-July summer pace higher than August as housing starts fell 5.8% last month to seasonally adjusted rate of 1.142 million. Single family starts have dropped even further at 6% during those months. 

Despite all this, both agencies believe it's just an anomaly as the home construction field remains on track for the year at 6% above the same period in 2015. In fact, single family permits are said to be increasing well ahead of home starts, and builders are now reportedly selling everything they build. Thus, the spec side of housing is virtually non-existent at this time.

Yet another government rule is set to be imposed on society, this time affecting labor overtime. Set to take effect December 1st, a number of questions are being raised over the biggest change in the history of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the way exempt employees are paid. Among the questions is one dealing with holiday bonuses and under the rule will be tagged as discretionary.

Get Answers to Your Questions About New Worker Overtime Rules

A number of organizations have recently filed suit in an effort to block their implementation. The new labor rules cover termination, proof of hours worked and minimum wages. Check with your business management advisors regarding all of these newly imposed government mandates.

Accelerated construction has resulted in a super fast bridge replacement project in Rhode Island. In recent weeks the state DOT has replaced a heavily traveled East Shore Expressway span along Interstate 195 in East Providence.

And it was accomplished in 80 hours. The new span was constructed in a staging area nearby the old bridge then moved into place. Rhode Island DOT Director Peter Alviti explains...

The expressway link is the only high speed roadway available to East Bay communities and vital to their needs.

There are 20 major medical and educational construction projects underway in the U.S. at present. While some are additions or alterations to existing complexes, many are new. An example, St. Judes Research Hospital at Memphis; Loma Linda Hospital Medical Wings in California; Westchester Bioscience Center in Valhalla, NY — each at $1.2 billion; Lucille Packard Children's hospital at Palo Alto, CA, at $1.1 billion; Virtua Westhampton Medical Campus in New Jersey at $1 billion.

For education purposes, the Houston Independent School District, $1.8 billion; USA Educational Hospitality Facility at Sioux Falls, SD, at $1.1 billion; the Katy, Texas, School District at $1 billion; and the University of Louisville Belnap Campus Institute in Kentucky at $1 billion.

There are many more projects in plan or build phase below the billion dollar mark.

Hailed as the tallest building on the West Coast when constructed six years ago, it's now sinking and tilting. The 58-story, $350 million Millennium Tower in downtown San Francisco has reportedly sunk 16 inches and tilted by 2 inches to the northwest direction. The cause, apparent excavation work for the city's Transbay Terminal nearby. But officials deny the claims saying Millennium did not drill piles to bedrock when built. It'd be kind of a shock if you paid $10 million for a condo like Joe Montana has, only to find the building is unstable.

North America and Europe are the top two markets worldwide for the green building industry. As a result, reports indicate the materials market is on pace to hit the $255 billion mark in four years. According to Zion Research, that amounts to an annual growth rate of 12%. Zion valued the industry in 2014 at $127 billion.

What is it to be green? We're glad you asked.

The market is seen as a solid barometer for the future as Dodge Data reports the green industry is doubling every three years.

One of the things that irks most of us consistently is the extensive use of cell phones while driving — not to mention texting and other issues that arise resulting in serious and sometimes deadly crashes. It Can Wait is a simulator project traveling the nation that points out the dangers of inattentive driving habits, as Griffin Hagler explains.

Finally, until you walk a mile in another man's moccasins you can't imagine the smell.

This is Construction News Tracker looking over the industry that makes the world a better place. Presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com. 

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