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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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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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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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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Written by Gary Golka
 

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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Written by Melissa Grigsby
 

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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Written by Colin Ross
 

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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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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Plans for investment in commercial property enhancements and municipal revitalization projects generally include a storyboard picture of nice sidewalks, landscaping, building facades, and parking, but how often do you see an electric vehicle (EV) charging station incorporated into that portrait or plan? These projects can include significant electrical infrastructure for lighting, including parking, security, and landscape, which require underground installation of conduit before the sidewalks are completed and landscape installed.
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Dominic Ballesteros, operations manager for Jokake Electric in Phoenix, Arizona, began working on solar projects almost seven years ago. He eventually met Jorge Garcia, CEO of Jokake Electric, when they were working on a project for Arizona Public Service - the Deer Valley Mission Critical Operations Center.
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