A dollar saved is a dollar earned – a valuable phrase for any smart organization looking to increase profitability.
When the cost of business increases, it’s only natural to look for ways to maintain margins. Often, this means investing in processes that maximize efficiency and reduce costs. And for a construction industry struggling with project delays and increased labor costs due to a labor shortage, there’s no better time to invest in one of the biggest technology trends of 2019.
Mobile/Cloud Technology and Onsite Compliance
Many experts argue that upgrading administrative processes out in the field with tablets will be necessary to remain competitive and cost-effective in the construction industry. In fact, mobile technology was among the fastest growing investments of 2018 and is expected to be an even bigger trend in 2019.
In the context of public works projects specifically, one of the hottest topics for tablet utilization is monitoring construction site compliance – most notably for ensuring that jobsite activity accurately aligns with data reported on compliance documents.
As any general contractor and awarding government agency knows, a federally funded project means prevailing wages and, by association, certified payroll reports. And although these entities may already have a labor compliance software solution to monitor this process, they may not stop to consider that a certified payroll solution alone isn’t always enough.
The Disconnect Between the Field and Office
A certified payroll report tells a story. And it might appear as though an accurate report means a contractor is compliant, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Paperwork, unfortunately, does not always tell the whole story. There are various instances in which a contractor appears compliant on the surface but is actually still underpaying their employees.
How so, you ask? Well, while there are a few cases of deliberate falsification of documents, it’s entirely possible (and probably more likely) that a contractor is not even aware that they are violating prevailing wage law.
One of those reasons? Misclassification. Let’s say an employee that normally does carpentry work instead performs sheet metal work for a week. The contractor then forgets to change his pay rate to reflect the temporary change in the worker’s craft, and consequently, he is underpaid for that week.
Or maybe a construction worker is working on multiple jobs in multiple different counties – each with their own separate prevailing wage rates. You can begin to imagine just how possible it is that the worker’s hours get misreported on one project vs. another, and how that might affect the worker’s gross pay.
In each of these cases, it’s possible for a contractor to be non-compliant, even if it does not appear so on the certified payroll report. And as many general contractors are already aware, they are potentially liable if any subcontractor underpays.
Field Interviews for Compliance
One of the most common ways for this disconnect to be addressed is through field interviews conducted on the jobsite. Government agencies and general/prime contractor administrators will walk through construction sites to interview workers about their job responsibilities and compensation. They will then compare this data to the certified payroll reports to verify the information and illuminate discrepancies.
Historically, this process - just like any other onsite administrative task - has been conducted via pen and paper. Perhaps even more time-consuming, is the data verification part of this process, which consists of searching through hundreds (if not thousands) of paper certified payroll reports to confirm the data matches.
Wouldn’t it be nice if this whole process could be streamlined through electronic interviews on a tablet? Better yet, imagine how much time would be saved if those interview results were automatically cross- checked with the certified payroll data submitted through a cloud-based compliance solution?
LCPtracker just released a new mobile application for this purpose. For more information about OnSite, our new tablet-based application for field interviews, check out: https://www.lcptracker.com/solutions/onsite