Chapter Corner

Newsroom & Insights

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For Productivity, It's About Time We Focus on Time!

As the electrical construction industry slowly emerges from the economic downturn, much has been written about the need to increase productivity and overall efficiency. In fact, the construction industry as a whole has been viewed in very unfavorable light in terms of matching the productivity gains of other United States industries and businesses. “Underperforming,” “flat,” and “multiple factors behind” are just some of the unflattering descriptions for construction performance in this area.

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Open Wire Management

Building construction has failed to keep pace with productivity improvements found in other segments of the economy. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm (manufacturing) productivity has improved 200 percent since 1964 while construction productivity has actually declined. Studies also indicate that only about one-third of the working day is physical, hands-on installation and testing. The rest is overhead activities associated with installation or nonproductive time such as breaks, cell phone use, and so forth. Whatever the causes of lost or unproductive time, electrical contractors must identify new methods that will improve productivity and remove impediments to success.

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Maintenance Musts: Stop. Look. Listen

Businesses that have a fleet of vehicles need to teach their drivers to stop, look, and listen when it comes to proper maintenance and minimal repair expenses. That’s because over the last few years, there has been a major shift away from generalizing the recommended service intervals for all vehicles to having very specific service schedules from every manufacturer for each make and model. Failing to adhere to specific guidelines established by the manufacturer may prevent repairs from being covered by warranty.

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Confusing Revenue for Relationships

Be forewarned: this advice is not all pretty, just like business today. The silver lining is that the new economy is forcing a move from shiny wrapping (indulgence) toward valuable content (importance). As during any transition, confusion reigns.

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Instant Gratification

At the IEC National Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, my office is in the front, directly next to the conference room. For the past few weeks, my fellow staff members have been racing back and forth past my office so fast that the papers on my desk fly in the air. This urgency could mean only one thing – it is convention season!

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The Power of Connection

With the 56th Annual IEC National Convention & Electric Expo just around the corner in the beautiful northwest city of Portland, Oregon, I think back to the last time we held the convention there. One of our main events was held at the Science Museum. The location combined with the people made it a night to remember. Needless to say, everyone had a great time. As I look back on all the many conventions I have attended, along with the many places around the country we have held them, what stands out most to me are the great people that make up this association; most of whom I met while attending IEC national events.

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Worker Notification Requirements Under ObamaCare to Kick in October 1

Despite a one-year delay of the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act for larger businesses (with 50 or more employees), all employers will still be required to notify their workers of available healthcare exchange options by October 1 of this year. IEC members employing 50 or fewer full-time employees are not required to offer coverage themselves but must inform employees about open enrollment for state and federal insurance exchanges created by the new healthcare law.

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Emergency Egress

Should a situation arise that leaves you looking for an exit out of harm’s way, your egress path must be secure and clear, and the egress door must function and lead to safety. When performing electrical work, or any type of work for that matter, an effective means of egress can mean the difference between life and death. This appears to be a seemingly simple topic of emergency egress, but one that should not be assumed. Let’s review this topic and uncover topics for you and your team to consider when planning your next electrical project.

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Changes to the 2014 NEC

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were 3,745 proposals submitted recommending changes for the 2014 National Electric Code (NEC). In addition, there were 1,625 comments concerning the NEC Code-Making Panels’ responses to these proposals.

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Sustainable Products

You are designing a structure with sustainability in mind, and you want the products you are installing to be “green” and possibly help you get points, in the case of a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-type structure. You may find that it is challenging to know if the product you are deciding to buy is indeed a sustainable product and determining if it is your best “green” choice. Unfortunately the sustainable product market can be pretty scary and quite fragmented. Some products make claims of being green with nothing to back those claims up, and others have a pedigree a mile long that is just plain confusing. There is no doubt about it; you have a challenge on your hands when selecting green products. This article will attempt to break the ice and provide guidance to help navigate your way through the green fields of products. Some background and tips may be quite helpful during your next project.

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