Winter is coming. And for contractors that may be troublesome news. After the first snow roofers, building contractors and even some general contractors may decide to close up their operations until spring and pray for a short winter. Others may try to tough it out and work through the freezing cold and the snow. Whichever option you decide upon will carry considerable risk for your small business over the next couple months. Working during the winter could result in an increase in injuries and accidents while not working at all could put serious financial strain on you and your employees. Winter is rough, but it should not have to be. Listed below are a few ways to prepare you for winter construction and beat the inevitable cold. Read more
In a recent article published by PIANY, it was stated that FEMA approved more than 1 billion dollars in assistance to individual families in NY. Last year super storm sandy put many families in the NY area out of their homes and repairs are still being made to rectify the damages.
Of the 1 billion spent by FEMA, $855 million was used for eligible survivors who needed home repairs and temporary rental assistance. The rest of the budget of $145 million dollars was allocated to other uninsured hurricane-related expenses. These uninsured expenses included personal property, transportation, medical, dental, funeral and moving costs.
The budget of 1 billion dollars was a part of FEMA’s individual and household program. It was a smaller part of much larger assistance program for New York’s recovery. The total cost in disaster assistance was 8 billion and included more than 1.5 billion in low interest U.S. small business administration disasters loans, and more than 3.7 billion in flood insurance claim payments. Besides all that, 1.8 billion dollars were spent for debris removal, repair or replacement of public facilities and reimbursement for emergency expenses.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY 800-462-7585.)
In a response to hurricane sandy, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies called for a revision in the NY building code. The task force oversaw recovery effects from Sandy and has since suggested that our nation adopt a stronger building code that promote stronger and safer construction. This effort would decrease the total damage by a hurricane and prevent such a crisis in future years to come.
In a statement by Jimi Grande, the senior vice president for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) it was stated that, “The best time to protect your home from extreme weather events is long before they happen, and a safe building code have been repeatedly shown to be the best and most efficient means of preventing damage and loss.” The truth of the matter is that if the building code is stronger and safer, then the houses will be able to withstand harsher weather.
In the strategy proposed by NAMIC, the taskforce is recommending that states adopt the latest version of the International Residential Code and that programs like the Insurance Institute for Business and Home safety Fortified home program. NAMIC is a huge supporter for these programs, and others, and has tried to pass legislation in the form of the Safe Building Code Incentive Act. This act would provide post-disaster aid for states which adopt it, and is currently before congress.
“The Safe Building Code Incentive Act rewards those states that act responsibly to reduce their exposure to extreme weather, without adding any significant additional costs to the taxpayers,” Grande said. In an extensive study, it was shown that each dollar spent by the government on mitigation would save 4 in losses – long term. If the codes had been in place during sandy it has been proposed that savings would be in the billions. Wind damage alone would have been reduced by 8 Billion in Louisiana and 3 billion in Mississippi.
“The simple fact is that mitigation is the best way to reduce the costs of extreme weather,” Grande said. “With this report, the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force joins NAMIC and a chorus of other building experts, engineers, communities, and emergency responders who want to see their communities built stronger and safer.”
Whether the laws get passed nationally or only in a few states, it is a step in the right direction. Any legislation that can save tax dollars and improve the quality of life for those effected is one that should be heavily considered.
Although roofers do not need Roofing Contractors General Liability Insurance in order to make a bid, at some point or other someone will step in and start asking for requirements. It could be the business owner, the local government or someone else – but either way you will eventually have to provide some form of liability insurance in order to get started with your work. Read more
Last week we spoke about Workers Compensation Law and which types of employees needed to be covered under its statutes. This week we are going to focus on the opposite. Every law has its limitations, and if you are a contractor who would like to avoid heavy fines and penalty, it would be in your best interest to learn and understand who isn’t covered by workers compensation law.
The following individuals do not need to be covered by workers compensation law:
- Anyone who volunteers their time for a nonprofit and receives no compensation of any form. This includes stipends, room and board, or other “perks” that have a monetary value.
- Anyone who performs religious duties such as clergy men and religious orders.
- Members of an athletic organizations who operate on a nonprofit basis just as long as they aren’t otherwise employed by any other person, firm, or corporation.
- Those who teach in, or for, nonprofit, religious, or educational organizations. In order to be exempt the teachers can only perform teaching duties.
- Those performing non manual work in, or for, nonprofit, religious, or educational organizations. Manual labor is categorized as tasks such as filing, carrying materials, cleaning, playing music, moving furniture, shoveling snow, mowing lawns and construction.
- People receiving charitable aid from a charitable organization who do work in exchange, but do not have a contract.
- People who are covered for specific work like railroads and maritime trades who are covered under other workers comp law.
- The spouse and children of a farmer as long as they are not under a contract for work.
- Employees of foreign government and Native American Nations.
- Police officers and Firefighters covered under NY State Municipal Law.
- People, including minors, who do casual yard work or chores in and around a one family home.
- Real Estate Salespeople who sign off as independent contractors.
- Media Salespeople who sign off as independent contractors.
- Insurance Salespeople and Agents who sign off as independent contractors.
- Sole Proprietors, Partners, or anyone two corporate officers with no other individuals providing any service to the business.
By learning the law you not only protect yourself from violations, but you ensure that your workers safety will be insured. You can also protect your business from any accidents that would happen. Learning if your employees are or are not covered by workers compensation law is just the first step. Stay tuned for more information on who would be considered a worker under workers compensation law.