More than 3 in 4 contracting firms are finding it difficult to fill skilled trade positions, and more than 3 in 5 are finding project supers, estimators and engineers hard to find, according to a survey by the Associated General Contractors of America conducted in August and September. The Southeast sees the largest challenge, where 86% of contractors face labor challenges; the Northeast is better off, but far from complacent as 67% of contractors there try to deal with the problem.

To deal with the issue, nearly 60% of the firms surveyed have tried raising wages to attract new workers in both the craft and professional positions. Almost half are resorting to an increased use of subcontractors while more than one-third are turning to staffing agencies.

Many of the respondents say that training and education programs in their areas are sub par and more than one-third don’t see much cause for celebration in their area’s workforce pipeline. (read more…)

APPrise Mobile’s platform for investor-relations communications is designed to help companies, whether large or small, create native applications that supply the target audience with a wealth of crucial information, said Jeff Corbin, APPrise’s founder and CEO.

“Public companies needed a communications solution to inform or ‘apprise’ their investors on their mobile phones and tablets,” Corbin said in an e-mail interview. “TheIRapp was created to solve this problem. It was developed to be a cost-effective, easy-to-implement solution that would provide public companies with their own branded app available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.”

More than 125 companies are using the company’s investor-relations app solution, while the number of investors who have downloaded one or more of APPrise customers’ apps has surpassed 75,000, he said. (read more…)

Mortenson Construction has used building information modeling, or BIM, in conjunction with virtual design and construction since 1998 when it started work on the Walt Disney Concert Hall project, a multi-award winning structure with a curved steel frame in Los Angeles. The project team found that BIM/VDC was essential in the project, in large part because it helped them visualize complex sequences of work that before had only been listed in an Excel worksheet or on a Gantt chart.

Since then, the company has worked on a multitude of BIM/VDC projects beginning with the pre-planning process, through the design and construction. It found that the process and technology enhances communication among project stakeholders, increases productivity, improves safety, reduces time and cuts costs. A team at Mortenson studied 18 of its projects and created an infographic that shows their quantifiable results, including the cost savings enjoyed by its clients. (read more…)

Tim Buckeridge is a vice president and sales director for the Investment Only team at Franklin Templeton. He is responsible for marketing to financial service firms and communicating Franklin Templeton’s investment management and retirement capabilities.

In this post, sponsored by Franklin Templeton, Buckeridge talks about retirement challenges and how people can work to maximize their incomes.

Q: What challenges do retirees face in providing the income needed for retirement?

A: We have found that retirees have a pretty good sense of what their expenses are likely to be. They struggle with the income side of the equation. They are unsure of what their sources will be and how to best use what they have saved. For many, the scary part is having a strategy for their income lasting long enough, keeping up with rising prices, and withstanding unexpected economic bumps in the road.

Understanding income sources and how they compare to retirement expense needs is essential. (read more…)

One of the lesser known financial regulations implemented as part of Dodd-Frank is the requirement for swap dealers to be able to produce a full reconstruction of a trade within 72 hours of a request by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Satisfying the new requirement will require a range of technologies and processes, many of which are still in their infancy.

Bloomberg Vault sponsored a webinar “Tackling the Challenges of Trade Reconstruction,” exploring issues such as:

• Handling unstructured data, including tagging
• Weighing in-house versus outsourced solutions
• Establishing best practices around compliance

“The new rules [regarding trade reconstruction] are onerous and affect lots of different parts of the organization—front, middle and back office of firms,” said Harald Collet, Global Head of Bloomberg Vault. Those rules cover such areas as:

Recordkeeping: Records must be kept of all written and oral communications that lead to execution of swap.
Searchability: Data must be maintained in a form that identifiable and searchable by transaction and counterparty. (read more…)