One can think of a sustainable business as one that generates profits for its owners, protects the environment, and improves the lives of the people with whom it interacts” (MindEdge Inc. , 2013). Specifically, there are four areas that will be addressed in relationship to a business developing corporate social responsibility. These areas include considerations involved with the environment, ethics, organizational viability and legal compliance. The business will be reviewed in each of these areas and recommendations will be given to improve the businesses social responsibility in each of these areas.
Environmental Considerations and Recommendations SE Construction is a general and electrical contracting business which focuses on construction in government markets including federal agencies, state agencies, school and college districts, and municipalities. In building for government markets the business has been involved in environmental concerns as part of many contracts. These environmental concerns include recycling and waste management, energy conservation, protection of endangered species, and safety programs related to hazardous waste and storm water pollution programs.
Even though the business has always operated within the laws and regulations for environmental concerns to meet contractual requirements, the company has not always been diligent in JJT Task 1 – Social Responsibility Strategies 3 implementing continuing in-house programs other than meeting these contractual requirements. Therefore, recommendations will be made for three environmental considerations that should become a continuing practice within the company.
These recommendations are related to a company Code of Environmental Conduct, a Company Waste Management Program, and setting company standards for suggesting and providing, where possible, greater energy efficient solutions in construction. The first recommendation is that the company create a Code of Environmental Conduct. This code will outline the overall company goals for involvement in environmental concerns. The following will be assessed in determining the company’s position on environmental concerns: • The current environmental impact of all company operations.
An example is the impact of waste disposal without the implementation of a recycling/reuse program. • The current environmental concerns that have laws and regulations attached or the possibility of future laws and regulations that impact company operations. An example is increasing energy efficiency in operations above current standards. • How the company is currently operating in relation to pollution prevention and product stewardship and how to increase efficiency and social responsibility in these two areas.
An example of pollution prevention is a standard for control of fuel and oil products in relation to company equipment and machinery. An example of product stewardship is determining a standard for company participation in the life cycle of materials and supplies in company operations. This includes socially responsible recycling from the proper disposal of packaging of delivered materials, to the proper use JJT Task 1 – Social Responsibility Strategies 4 of the products or materials, to the proper end disposal or recycling when the usefulness is completed. •
What the benefits are to the company in implementing a code of conduct regarding environmental concerns. One benefit to the company includes avoiding fines or penalties by being aware of laws and regulations and implementing company policies of compliance. Another benefit is creating a competitive advantage by passing on suggestions for value engineering and energy efficiency to future customers. From this assessment, the company can determine specific areas in company operations where the company can be environmentally responsible and set goals accordingly.
This vision or code of conduct can then be passed on to the employees with expectations for participation and implementation. The second recommendation is that a waste management plan become part of the day to day operations of the company within the office and all construction activities on all projects. The company has been required to provide a waste management plan for two construction projects over the past 3 years.
These plans included a recycling/reuse percentage goal for the project, a list of the types of materials and waste that would be generated by the project,mwhat types of recycling, reuse, or disposal methods would be used and what vendors would be used to fulfill the waste management goals included in the plan. By implementing a waste management plan for all company operations the company isn’t just being socially responsible in this area due to a contractual requirement, the company is making a commitment to always be socially responsible by managing waste in an environmentally responsible manner. The plan preparation should include the following steps: JJT Task 1 – Social Responsibility Strategies 5 1.
Preparing a list of all possible materials used in the office and on construction sites that become waste or need disposal. 2. Determining which materials on this list can be reused or recycled. 3. When materials can be reused, determining how, where and when. 4. Preparing a list of vendors in all locations of operations that can be used for recycling and determining all the logistics of making this happen. 5. Determining if any materials are considered hazardous and the correct disposal methods. 6. Determining the most responsible process of disposal of waste that cannot be reused or recycled.
Set a waste management goal for the company for reuse and recycling. 8. Determine a tracking and reporting method for the program. The third recommendation to the company is to determine standards for providing energy efficient solutions. The company’s past performance has included providing more energy efficient electrical related systems such as energy efficient lighting packages with lighting controls systems. SE Construction has performed multiple solar installations over the past 10 years for government agencies that have provided renewable energy solutions.
Mechanical systems have been provided on projects that provide increased energy efficiency for the buildings. These projects have provided increased energy efficiency due to contractual requirements with some value engineering by the company. By determining standards for providing energy efficient solutions the company can become more proactive with environmental concerns. By determining standards ahead of time, energy efficient solutions will become part of the bidding process and value engineering for the customer will be part of every construction project.
The company can have a great influence on JJT Task 1 – Social Responsibility Strategies 6 the outcome of construction in relation to energy efficiency by bringing material suppliers on board with this vision and creating an expectation in supplier participation. The benefits for the company in this effort would include creating a strong reputation for being socially responsible and creating a competitive advantage in the construction market for providing value engineering for energy efficiency.
The three recommendations create a unified package for the company to address environmental concerns. The first recommendation of creating a Code of Environmental Conduct brings all the possibilities to light for the company. The second recommendation of implementing a company Waste Management Plan provides a daily active approach to being environmentally conscious.
The third recommendation of providing energy efficient solutions creates a proactive mindset for the company employees within the construction business. A2: Ethical Leadership Considerations and Recommendations SE Construction is a small business with the employee count ranging from 12 to 35 depending on the work in process. Gross Revenue in a given year ranges from $2,000,000 to $7,000,000. The management of the company is controlled by the owner, who is the CEO of the corporation. Early on, as the corporation was formed and contracts were awarded through a bidding process, there were discussions on business ethics between the owner, project manager and office manager as different situations presented themselves. The ethical foundation for the company was formed during these discussions.
Ultimately, however, the owner sets the terms of ethical behavior. Unfortunately, those terms are not always relayed and understood by all employees. There are three recommendations which will be discussed to help in providing an understanding to all employees on company ethics. These recommendations include creating a JJT Task 1 – Social Responsibility Strategies 7 written Company Code of Ethics, performing an ethics audit, and implementing an ethics training program. The company has an Employee Handbook which is presented and discussed initially with each new hire.
There are sections in the handbook that address general and common ethics issues such as the company’s policies on harassment, discrimination, whistle blowing and the proper use of company property. Aside from the initial orientation, these issues are not discussed further with employees. In the past few years, as new employees have come into the company, the owner has not been present as much in the office or construction sites. As a result, the business ethics originally established have not been transferred as well to the more current employees.
Due to this, problems have presented themselves which have cost the company time and money. One such problem recently arose in bidding a project. The project manager was also working on estimating the costs for a bid which was eventually won and awarded. The cost estimate included materials, labor, equipment, and subcontractor trades. This project manager was not aware of some laws that applied to the type of government bidding he was working on. Due to the lack of knowledge, a critical error was made in listing a subcontractor on the bid paperwork without actually using the subcontractor’s price.
The project manager thought he could negotiate with the subcontractor later to bring the price down, which was not the case. Even if this had been possible, it would not have been ethical to shop the price of a subcontractor after naming the subcontractor on the bid. The decision of the project manager went against labor laws and the ethical policy of the company. However, the laws and the ethical policy were not understood by the project manager at the time the decision was made. JJT Task 1 – Social Responsibility Strategies 8 The first recommendation is to create a written Company Code of Ethics.
This will start by identifying the ethical points that are already identified in the Employee Handbook and creating bullet point statements regarding each one. Next the ethical points that are not covered in the handbook will be identified, such as abiding by all labor laws and regulations. A few examples of ethical bullet points related to this and other important ethical issues include: • Compliance: The Company shall research, understand and comply with government laws, rules and regulations and company management should be consulted when an employee is unsure. •
Fair Dealing: The Company will act honestly and will deal fairly with employees, suppliers, subcontractors and customers by not taking unfair advantage. • Reporting and Accountability: The Company will follow a process to report possible violations of laws or ethical codes which includes detail on who to report violations to, the investigation procedure, and disciplinary actions. Details related to each ethical bullet point will be addressed further in the Employee Handbook. When the Company Code of Ethics is completed, it will be presented to the company employees followed by an open discussion and training for understanding.
The second recommendation is to conduct an ethics audit which will include the company employees. After a written Company Code of Ethics has been created and presented, it can become the basis for the ethics audit. Since SE Construction is a small business, a method which could be utilized is to assign an employee from each company function area to an ethics audit team. The company function areas include administration, estimating and project management, so the team would consist of three members.
The team could then assess the written Company Code of Ethics to determine whether all business practices are addressed. JJT Task 1 – Social Responsibility Strategies 9 Another method which could be utilized in an ethics audit is one on one discussions between the owner or an assigned representative and each employee regarding company ethics. These discussions would include such items as: • How does each employee perceive the code of ethics in relationship to their role and job performance? • How does each employee perceive the company’s ability to comply with the Code of Ethics?
Does each employee have a clear understanding of the laws, rules and regulations that directly involve the employee and the company? • Are there any past or current events or actions within the company that the employee would consider as a violation of the Code of Ethics? After the audit is performed, the information that is gathered can be used to revise and polish company policy on ethics. A third recommendation for the company is to provide each employee with an opportunity to participate in ethics training.
There are online programs that provide ethics training for businesses. This would be especially helpful for employees that have any decision making power within the company. Each of these three recommendations build on each other to create a whole package. The goal of creating this package will be to instill the importance and the positive or negative effects of ethical social responsibility in each employee. A3: Organizational Viability Considerations and Recommendations There are three recommendations for SE Construction that will assist in the viability of the business.
These recommendations include continuing to work toward a paperless office, continuing to pursue green building opportunities and determining ways to implement better JJT Task 1 – Social Responsibility Strategies 10 coordination and planning within the company. All of these recommendations stem from current goals in operations within the company. Finding innovation ways to implement these recommendations will not only assist the company in moving forward in these areas, but will assist in the sustainability of profits.
The recommendation of continuing to support a paperless office is becoming easier as other associated entities also move in that direction. For instance, bidding a construction project generates a great deal of paper. Costs are estimated from endless pages of plans and specifications. The bid paperwork and proposals also generate pages of paper usage. Many users are providing the plans and specifications through online sources which can be downloaded.
This allows files to be shared with suppliers and subcontractors without necessarily printing them. Many end users are allowing bid paperwork or proposals to be submitted online, where in the past multiple copies were created and shipped. With the support of management in creating a company policy regarding paper usage and creating a paperless office, the employees will become more aware of their part in this process. This company policy can identify ways and offer suggestions as to how the employees can participate. A reward systems for meeting goals in this area could be included as a motivation. Participation in this recommendation will assist in reducing financial waste within the company.
The second recommendation involves continuing to pursue green building opportunities. SE Construction has been involved over the past 10 years with sustainable energy construction involving solar, fuel cells, and wind energy. Green building opportunities have also included providing lighting and HVAC products that provide greater energy efficiency. Currently there are many opportunities to participate on the construction end with green building. To work toward this recommendation the company will create a business development plan on how to
Strategies 11 pursue green building opportunities and set goals to meet regarding his recommendation will provide an avenue to generate future revenue for the company. The third recommendation is determining ways to implement better coordination and preplanning within the company. The way SE Construction operates is through a coordinated project management approach. There are usually multiple construction projects being performed simultaneously with more than one project manager overseeing the projects.
This involves coordination between the field construction sites and the office. All materials and equipment are ordered through the office where purchase orders are generated. The office staff can then coordinate and track the logistics of delivery. The scheduling of manpower and subcontractors are similarly coordinated. Now, in theory, this approach is effective when pre-planning is part of the coordination effort. When pre-planning is not part of the effort, all processes become urgent and emergency situations. This creates higher costs for the company and lower profits on the projects.
This also creates higher stress levels among employees. To implement this recommendation all parties involved in the coordination effort will come together to identify problem areas and problem solve resolutions. A benefit to bringing all parties together to create a more efficient system of coordination is that each party will gain a greater understanding of the domino affect one person’s poor planning has on another person and on the company as a whole. Implementation of this recommendation will provide a more cost effective environment for the company.
Each recommendation will include statements regarding how implementation and employee participation will assist in the long-term survival of the company through creating sustainable profitability for the company over time. JJT Task 1 – Social Responsibility Strategies 12 A4: Legal and Regulatory Considerations and Recommendations In the construction industry there are many laws and regulations that need to be understood and followed. SE Construction not only provides construction services, the company is mainly involved in government construction contracts. This adds to the list of law and regulation compliance.
Out of all these there are three groups of laws and regulations that are critical. These include following the safety guidelines of both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Safety regulations and the U S Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Safety and Health Requirements Manual (EM-385-1-1), following quality control compliance guidelines, and complying with prevailing wage labor laws. The following information will provide an overview of each group of laws and regulations to include a description, the significance to the company, what the company has done thus far to comply, and recommendations for improvement in compliance.
The first group of laws and regulations involve safety in the office and on the construction sites. OSHA laws were enacted with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. From this act came the Occupational Safety and Health Administration which directs national compliance. There was a need to enforce safety compliance due to the amount of deaths, injuries, and illnesses on job sites. A few of the main safety regulation categories include administrative safety, personal protection, tools and equipment, exposure control, facility safety, and behaviors and attitudes.
OSHA conducts office and job site inspections and issues citations of safety violations, if necessary, which carry fines. In line with OSHA, many states have developed OSHA approved state safety regulations. A military version of safety regulations, the EM 185-1-1, is utilized mainly by the USACE and the Naval Facilities (NAVFAC). Both of these sets of safety regulations are significant to SE JJT Task 1 – Social Responsibility Strategies 13 Construction as the company must adhere to all of these safety regulations to continue providing construction services to government entities.
The fines are costly and after multiple citations a contractors licensing can be suspended or revoked. The company has copies of all safety regulations saved in computer folders and as hard copies in the office and on job sites. Required posters are posted in the office and at job sites. Each job site is equipped with safety and first aid kits, personal protection equipment such as hard hats, safety goggles, dust masks and harnesses and the company’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program, with all required reporting forms. Safety tailgate meetings are held weekly at each job site.
The company has a Master Safety System Manual and a template for a site specific Accident Prevention Program which is adapted to the trades and construction activities for each project. Employees are provided with a Company Employee Safety Manual which is reviewed with each employee upon hire. Project managers have attended OSHA 30 hour training certification courses and have been certified. Upon review of what is currently been done by the company to comply with regulations, the recommendation is that the company review all safety tailgate meetings to update them and expand on what is currently being used.
The office safety administrator should be involved in this review and gain a greater understanding of this job role. The company has a set of safety tailgate meetings that were gathered a few years ago and are in need of being updated. The safety administrator in the office selects a meeting to be given each week and forwards this meeting to each job site. It is important that the meeting selected matches the activities that are happening on the job sites to truly be effective. This is not always possible due to the limitations of the current safety meeting selections.
Also, a safety meeting selected for one job site may not JJT Task 1 – Social Responsibility Strategies 14 really apply to another job site. A more proactive approach in providing applicable, quality safety meetings each week will assist in job site safety. Federal construction projects require a Quality Control Plan (QCP) to be submitted as part of the preconstruction documents. A Quality Control Manager (QCM) is also required during construction to provide implementation of the QCP. The QCM is required to be certified by a government accepted program to act in this position.
Quality control involves ensuring that the products and services meet the owner’s specifications in the quality of the manufactured product and the quality of the service being performed such as the framing of a wall meeting the specified quality criteria. Typically the QCP involves a three phase program which includes a preparatory phase, initial phase, and follow-up phase. Each phase includes meetings with all parties involved for understanding of requirements and expectations, inspections to ensure expectations are being met and reporting regarding compliance.
Testing is a large part of the QCP. This includes independent testing for materials such as concrete, steel, soils and masonry. When expectations in quality are not met, corrective actions are required to be taken. The QCP is significant for the company, as compliance saves the company money and creates increased profits on the job sites. As employees and subcontractors participate in the QCP and agree to comply with the set standards, the materials are correct and the installation of materials meet quality expectations.
Therefore, mistakes are reduced, construction flows more smoothly and the construction schedule is met with less complications. The recommendation for the company is to provide more training for foremen and office staff on quality control processes and expectations. SE Construction has one certified QCM that has experience in implementing the QCP for federal projects. Preconstruction activities for the JJT Task 1 – Social Responsibility Strategies 15 QCM involves reviewing all the submittals (product cut sheets) for compliance before they are submitted to the government for review.
This review process could become a team effort in the office if the compliance requirements were understood by the estimators who gather the submittals. The biggest part of implementation of the QCP is holding the required meetings and preparing the daily and weekly reports regarding compliance. By providing training for the foreman in quality control, the foreman can gain a greater understanding of their role and how they can assist in compliance to the regulations on the job site.
This would make the job of the QCM less complicated and more of a project team effort. Prevailing Wage Labor Laws effect wages paid for various construction trades on public works projects. Public works projects include projects funded by state money such as schools, municipalities, state parks and special utility districts. An example of wage requirements for public works projects can be found on the California Department of Industrial Relations website: www. dir. ca. gov. Each construction trade is listed separately and many wages for the same trade vary by county.
The list of wages for each trade is called a wage determination and is updated twice a year in California. For California, a 5 to 1 journeyman to apprentice ratio is also a prevailing wage requirement for many trades. Each state has its own prevailing wage website and wages and requirements vary in each state. Federal projects, which are any projects receiving federal money, also follow prevailing wage labor laws. These laws and regulations can be found on the U S Department of Labor website named Wage Determinations OnLine. gov: www. wdol. gov.
On this website wage determinations can be found by searching by state, county, construction type, or wage determination number. These wage determinations are updated periodically and the correct JJT Task 1 – Social Responsibility Strategies 16 determination to use for a project is identified in the bid documents at the time of bidding a project. Understanding the prevailing wage laws associated with state and federal bidding is significant to the company because the wages used in creating an estimate vary depending on where the project is located and when the wages are updated.
For example, a state project that has a two year duration may have wages that will increase a year after the project is awarded. Continual review of the websites will provide this important information. Also, there are important reporting requirements involved and some state projects include a Labor Compliance Program (LCP) which audits the weekly prevailing wage payroll reports to ensure that wages and benefits are being paid correctly and that apprentices are being used in the correct proportions.
A recommendation for the company to improve compliance is too create a more organized system of tracking changes and updates to wages and meeting compliance requirements. SE Construction has expanded in the amount of different trades performed by the company. This means more wage changes to track. This information is not yet in a format that is quickly accessible for bidding and is not updated regularly. Currently the information is updated as needed and becomes a matter of urgency which can lead to mistakes. For each project award a wage listing is to be posted at the job site.
This is not happening automatically due to the fact that the information isn’t consistently updated for all trades in an easily accessible format and the administrator in charge is not proactive in making sure this happens. The company’s constant vigilance in complying with government laws, rules and regulations in these three groups will create a safer working environment, provide a quality product for customers, provide stable wages and benefits for employees and create a competitive advantage as the company’s reputation for compliance is strengthened.