Construction Industry Updates from TIS for May 2018
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TIS Construction Newsletter
May 2018

Agent Spotlight: Jim Oakes, Insurance and Bond Producer
As an Insurance and Bond Producer here at TIS, Jim Oakes loves the people he works with every day. From underwriters and clients he works with to his colleagues here, he considers the people the best part of the job. 

Personal and Professional Background

Jim lives in Knoxville with his wife, Sue, and their 3 dogs. After attending UNC and UT and serving in the United States Marine Corps, he was offered a job in insurance and he hasn't looked back since. 

In his spare time Jim enjoys golfing, spending time on the lake, and exercising. He is also active in ministries including FOCUS Group Ministries and Community Bible Church. 

Advice for Clients and Prospects

According to Jim, his wife gives him the best advice, even if he doesn't always want it, but if he's pressed, he'd give two pieces of advice: don't text and drive and do business with TIS. He says neither is something you'll regret. 

If you could try a different career for a day, what would it be and why?

Harking back to his hobbies and confirming his cool guy status, which he says is something most people don't know about him, Jim would love to be a golf pro. He'd specifically like to break 100, but being paid to play golf all day would be hard to beat as a second career. 

What's on your bucket list?

Two things Jim hopes to complete in the future are traveling to Ireland to tour the island and completing 65 marathons and half marathons by the time he reaches 65 years old. 

What's your theme song?

To get specific, Carrie Underwood's version of How Great Thou Art. 
Construction Industry: Promote "Soft Skills" to Gain a Competitive Advantage
In a recent article from Smith Currie, Gain a Competitive Advantage by Promoting “Soft Skills”, Donald A. Velez discusses "soft skills" and how promoting the development of these skills among your personnel can lead to a competitive advantage. 

Among the benefits of encouraging development of soft skills, according to Velez:
  1. Increased productivity
  2. Reduced employee turnover
  3. More focused teams
  4. Less disruption and higher profits
Soft skills Velez points to include: 
  1. Communication
  2. Conflict management
  3. Collaboration
  4. Confidence
  5. Critical thinking
Read the full article for the breakdown on how to develop and encourage these skills and how they can benefit your firm. 

Surety: Construction Joint Check Agreement Mistakes to Avoid

A recent article, 5 Mistakes to Avoid with Construction Joint Check Agreements, discusses 5 things to understand when entering joint check agreements. 

Chief among the advice offered is understanding a joint check agreement is really a contract between multiple parties and should be examined in the same way any contract is examined. 

"Since many in the construction industry misunderstand these contract documents and some of their consequences, these agreements can become a hotbed of payment issues."

To ensure you fully understand the areas of concern with joint check agreements, consider the following 5 points:
  1. They’re unregulated
  2. Agreements aren’t necessarily obligations
  3. Everyone has to sign
  4. Beware of forged endorsements
  5. Execute a joint check agreement before the work starts
Read the full article for a more in depth look at how focusing on these 5 mistakes can help you avoid payment issues from a bad joint check agreement.

Economy: Innovative Ways to Manage the Construction Labor Shortage

A recent Construction Executive article, Innovative Ways Contractors Can Manage the Labor Shortage, looks into the severe labor shortage the U.S. construction market has been experiencing since the recession, which is expected to continue through 2018.

The article offers a number of suggestions for combating the shortage and filling job openings on your job sites:

  1. Consider a wider range of workers
  2. Train novices, if skilled workers aren't available
  3. Use technology to compensate for labor shortages
  4. Collaborate with a team of subcontractors
  5. Take advantage of manufacturer deals

The article offers an in depth look at each suggestion and explains how each can benefit your firm by alleviating issues related to the labor shortage. Read the full article for the details.

Industry: The Complexities of Fixed-Price Contracts

A recent AGC article, Fixed-Price Contracts Are Simple – Or Are They?, looks into fixed-price contracts and how in reality what seems like a simple concept can be more complex than they appear. 

The article defines fixed-price contracts, which typically "provide for a price that is not dependent on the costs incurred by contractors during performance," and offers numerous examples of litigation involving fixed-price contracts and audit provisions in an attempt to claim reimbursements under the False Claims Act. 

The full article goes in depth on these contracts and offers numerous cases of litigation to consider. Read the full article for the details.

Can we help anyone you know?

We need your referralsAs we've grown over the years it has been because of our great relationships with our customers.  We are always looking for new businesses to help, so if there is anyone you know that could use our help, please let us know by clicking reply to this email.  
Contact Us
Click Below to Contact a Construction Team Member

Surety Bonds
Chad Martin | Vice President
Jim Oakes | Contract Bond Agent

R.L. "Bunny" Oakes, III | President, Construction Division
Stuart Oakes | Vice President
John Fritts | Agent

Jason Pierce  | Loss Control

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