5 Challenges Commercial Construction Companies Must Overcome

Commercial construction is a complex, and ever-evolving industry. New commercial buildings go up every day, but very few people understand what goes on behind the scenes. Only those in the construction industry fully understand the hurdles construction managers must clear in order to build a structurally-sound commercial building on-time and on-budget. Here’s a breakdown of the top five challenges today’s commercial construction manager must overcome.

Going Green

Green building has been expanding over recent years, including the commercial construction realm. There are a myriad new products and technologies which can be implemented into a new commercial building to make it more efficient. In addition, a number of strict laws have been put in place to protect both the natural environment and public health. It’s important for project managers to have a clear understanding of permit requirements and environmental requirements they must adhere to and oversee. Failure to do so can delay a project, harm a company’s reputation, and lead to potential fines, civil action, or even criminal prosecution.

Government Regulation & Outside Pressure

Commercial contractors today face increasing government regulation from federal, state, county, and local governments. From restrictive local building codes and licensing requirements to permit requirements, environmental and safety laws and more. Adhering to these regulations can prove to be costly and limiting at times.

Social and political pressures can impact a job’s timeline more today than in the past. Projects can be stalled as a result of community or political pressure. Everyone from adjacent property owners, businesses, or institutions—as well as civic organizations and community groups may want their say in the process. It’s wise to have an understanding of the moving parts concerned so any rising issues can easily be dealt with.

Safety & Health Concerns

There are more fatal injuries in construction than any other industry. On any given day there are roughly 252,000 active construction sites and 6.5 million workers exposed to workplace safety hazards like falls, trench or scaffold collapses, electrical shock, and injuries tied to equipment use or repetitive or strenuous motion.

In addition to human suffering, the financial hit construction companies take from workplace accidents is astronomical. It’s estimated that accidents annually account for $10 billion in construction costs.

While accidents can and will happen, commercial construction managers must prioritize workplace safety protocol and take precautions for the sake of their workers and business. Most workplace accidents or deaths are found to be avoidable if training or safety measures were implemented properly.

Skilled Worker Shortage

Here at Baratto Brothers, we’re fully aware a commercial contractor’s greatest asset is their team. While we’ve been lucky when it comes to finding (and keeping) highly-skilled and experienced employees, construction itself is often seen as a less-than-desirable industry to get into. The work is physically demanding, dirty, and can be downright dangerous. Projects are inconsistent and there is always that threat of a lull with incoming work when seasons change or if there’s an economic downturn.

Time is Money  

When a commercial construction company is hired by a property owner or tenant, a return on that party’s investment is expected. Lost revenue due to delays contributing to the loss of customers, clients, or tenants is unacceptable. This often means a high volume of work must be completed within a tight time frame on a strict budget. Construction project managers have the responsibility of setting forth a comprehensive plan. Then, they must closely monitor progress to ensure they stay on track and can swiftly react when something goes sideways.

Construction involves a bunch of interdependent activities cohesively coming together as one in the end. Naturally, this presents challenges other industries typically don’t encounter. Seasonal weather, remote sites with access issues, occupied work spaces, neighboring properties, and equipment breakdown or malfunction are just a few potential challenges. Any one of them can wreak havoc on a day’s productivity and the project’s overall timeline. It’s up to the commercial project manager be prepared to identify changing conditions and upcoming challenges, then mitigate their impact.

Let us help

As you can see, commercial construction is a complicated, challenging, and ultimately rewarding industry. If you’re interested in starting a new commercial construction project, renovation, or just curious about what we offer at Baratto Brothers, contact us today by filling out our contact form, stopping in to say hello, or by giving us a call at (218) 692-1070. We’re here to help you sift through your options, and come up with an affordable plan that delivers the results you’re looking for. We’ll do everything we can to become your Commercial Builder for Life.

Are LED Lights Worth the Investment?

If you weren’t aware, incandescent lighting is gradually being phased out. As of 2012, the US government passed regulation ceasing the production of 100-watt incandescent bulbs. It was followed shortly by the 75-watt in 2013, the 40-watt in 2014. While you still may be able to find these bulbs in stores for the moment, the regulation means once they’re gone—they’re gone. This in turn leaves us with the question—which replacement bulb is best? Are LED lights worth the hype?

Energy savvy consumers were switching from incandescents long before these regulations went into effect. Originally, most people began switching to compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. This is because Light Emitting Diodes (LED) bulbs were much more expensive and harder to come by. However, LED’s have been gaining popularity with their energy savings, and versatility.

How Do LEDs Compare to CFLs?

One of the more interesting comparisons LEDs have to CFLs has to do with perception. Unlike CFLs, LED lighting doesn’t have the negative association with poor mood lighting and quality (think flickering and non-starting). Many interior designers and homeowners remember how poor the early fluorescent lighting was, and aren’t able to get over the stigma. LEDs put off wonderful light, can be dimmed, and even colored. Their light is strong and consistent.

Ever try to start up a CFL in high humidity or really cold weather? They don’t work well, right? Not so with LEDs. According to most manufacturers, LEDs do extremely well in cold weather (for sure down to 20 degrees). LED lights have already replaced incandescents in refrigerator and freezers all over the US.

Another thing to note: CFLs contains mercury (which is toxic), where LEDs don’t. Also, CFLs generate twice as much carbon dioxide emissions (via the coal utilities burn to create the electricity). So if helping the environment is a purpose for choosing between the two, LEDs have CFLs beat.

In order to accurately compare efficiency between LEDs and CFLs, we need to consider the new Federal Trade Commission light bulb packaging standards, which now stress lumens over wattage, and hours of lifespan.

Here’s an example comparing a generic LED to a generic CFL of similar lumens:

9 Watt LED – 470 Lumens – 25,000 hour lifespan ($7.50 – $9.99)

10 Watt CFL – 520 Lumens – 8,000 hour lifespan ($7.99 – $8.99)

As you can see, while the two are comparable in price, wattage (output), and lumens. However, their lifespan is vastly different. Not long ago, the overall savings between CFL and LED was pretty nominal. However, that gap is closing every year. You decide if the lifespan or the environment is worth a few extra dollars.

LEDs Light the Way

It’s no mystery why so many people view LEDs as the future of lighting. For starters, they’re highly efficient. One LED bulb can use the equivalent wattage of up to eight incandescents and last for an absurdly longer period of time—upward of 50,000 hours of use coming from each. They’re also considered far safer, as they burn much cooler than incandescent bulbs.

With the price coming down as the technology gets better and reaches market saturation, LEDs will beat CFLs, hands down. They’ll replace both indoor and outdoor lighting for homes and commercial properties. Have you made the switch yet?


We’re Here to Help

Baratto Brothers Construction knows lighting deeply impacts a home’s ambiance and energy output. We want our clients to make informed decisions when enhancing their home to fit their needs. If you’d like to learn more, contact us today by filling out our contact form, stopping in to say hello, or by giving us a call at (218) 692-1070. We’ll do all we can to become your Builder for Life.

10 Critical Steps When There’s Water in Your Basement

The Brainerd Lakes Area received record torrents of rain this week. Conservative estimations are from 7 to 10 inches, with areas nearby receiving more or less. In fact, cities all over Minnesota are facing flooding and the various issues that come along with it. One of the most common, unsurprisingly, is water in your basement. Water always seeks to go from high ground to low ground and unfortunately that can mean your lower level.

When that happens, do you know what you should do? Here are a few steps to consider as you work your way toward getting things back in order.

  1. Determine the Cause – This week’s rain would likely make most flooded basement issues fairly obvious. However, there are instances where it could be a plumbing leak, faulty water heater, or a frozen pipe. If you believe your basement’s flood is due to something internal, shut off your water main as soon as possible. Remember not to wade into standing water without the proper precautions. If water is coming in due to external sources, you may need to contact a contractor who understands how to waterproof a basement’s foundation.
  2. Call Your Insurance – Once you’re sure the water is under control to the best of your ability, call your insurance provider. They’ll walk you through the next steps you need to take to submit a claim. Be sure to follow their advice and the necessary steps they need you to take to process the claim. The quicker you comply, the quicker you will be able to get your basement back to working order.
  3. Pump Out Water ASAP – If your basement is partially flooded, you may be able to extract most of it with a wet-dry vac. Remember not to plug your vac into any submerged or wet outlets and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If there’s too much water to pump out yourself, you may have to call a plumber or a specialist. Once the majority is gone, you may have to run a dehumidifier to help dry the areas out enough to start work.
  4. Clear Stuff Out – Remove any materials that might attract mold or rot first. Some items may be able to dry out and be saved, while others will have to be trashed. Organic materials such as fabric, paper, leather, and some woods will attract basement mold. Dry everything out as best you can, and trash the rest. Depending on the age of your home, the wood frame should be made of green-treat lumber and thus, reusable once dried. Your drywall may be selectively replaced rather than completely discarding the whole thing. If you’re unsure what needs to go, contact your contractor to have them walk you through it.
  5. Check Your Gutters – If your basement has flooded due to external factors, check to make sure your gutters and downspouts are working effectively. Ideally, they should be free and clear of leaves and other debris, as well as being sealed properly. Downspout extensions should be installed to protect the foundation from excessive hydrostatic pressure.
  6. Protect Your Plumbing – After a flood, check for other potential plumbing issues in the home. Replace old water heaters before the interior rusts out. Check the water supply for your well, and washing machine. Replace them if they show signs of cracking or excessive wear.
  7. Drain Tiles – Most newer homes will have drain tiles installed, but there are plenty of homes in the Brainerd Lakes Area that don’t have them. Drain tiles are placed around the foundation and meant to drain water from around and underneath your basement. They can vary in material, size, and shape, but they all do a great job at keeping your basement dry. Which is exactly what you want.
  8. Sump Pumps – If your home isn’t fitted with a sump pump, it may be time to invest in one. A sump pump will drain excess water out of the basement and away from the house. Many experts even recommend having a backup pump if you live near swampy, marshland areas. Plenty of which we have in our area. If you already have a sump pump, be sure to check it out regularly and do any routine maintenance necessary.
  9. Replace Windows – During wet weather, window wells can fill up with water and eventually cause basement windows to leak. This problem can be eliminated by utilizing regular maintenance, replacing windows when needed, and adding new window well covers when necessary.
  10. Call Your Contractor – While we’ve covered most of the obvious reasons why water can end up in your basement, there are plenty of other little nuances to consider. When in doubt, it’s always best to rely on a team you trust to get the job done right. A contractor can help pinpoint the exact cause, and find the best solution.

Special Safety Note: Remember, above all else, safety should always come first. Do not forget that a wet basement is a safety hazard and can mean danger. Electrical devices sitting in standing water can cause shock and even electrocution. Don’t touch wet electrical wires or devices. If you must walk into the water, wear knee-high rubber boots and exercise caution.


We’re Here to Help

If you’ve had water in your basement and are in need of repair after flooding, Baratto Brothers can help get it back on track. Contact us today by filling out our contact form, stopping in to say hello, or by giving us a call at (218) 692-1070. We’re here to help come up with an affordable plan to repair, remodel, or rebuild to your specifications. We’ll do all we can to become your Builder for Life.


5 Reasons Building Maintenance Gets Ignored – And Why It Shouldn’t

Last week we talked about storm damage and the repairs that can come afterward. This week, let’s talk about a closely related subject—building maintenance. This subject is relevant to both commercial and residential buildings alike. You may be surprised to know the reasons building maintenance goes ignored is largely the same for both groups.

Let’s face it, the main reason maintenance doesn’t happen is because it’s not glamorous. In fact, it’s pretty boring for most people. With nearly 15 years of experience in construction, we’ve heard every reason under the sun as to why homes and buildings weren’t kept up. Ultimately, they can be boiled down to these 5 top reasons. Which are you guilty of?

Maintenance Lapses

  1. We forget. In this instance, the home or business owner is aware regular maintenance should be done, but for one reason or another, it gets forgotten. Perhaps you’re too busy, or you just haven’t gotten around to hiring someone to do it. Maybe you don’t have a system in place, even though you always meant to. Any way you look at it, the maintenance gets overlooked until it becomes a problem—regardless of the well-meaning attitude at the start.
  2. We ignore it. You know the old saying, “Ignorance is bliss”? A lot of people use the excuse of ignorance for why they don’t keep up on the necessary maintenance of their residential or commercial buildings. Maybe they truly don’t know how or they don’t know anyone who can help them.
  3. We don’t think it’s needed. This is typically a group of people who have taken an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. While there can be some truth to the matter, it’s not always the truth. In fact, it can lend itself straight back to ignorance not being your friend. Unless you take the time to get out and have a close look, how will you know what needs fixing?
  4. We thought someone else was doing it. This is a variation of the ignorance is bliss version, but with a purpose. Perhaps you’ve hired someone to be doing the maintenance, while you’re doing what you do best. While it’s still ignorance, you were expecting your paid employee or contractor to be doing their job.
  5. Funds are low. Sometimes repairs and upkeep can be costly. Other times, you’d rather put your hard earned money to use in different ways. Often, we have to balance the demands of many competing needs and maintenance doesn’t even make the list. While it’s understandable, maintenance costs will sooner or later catch up. Likely, with a higher price tag due to disrepair. It’s best to prioritize at least some cash, however little, towards monthly maintenance. This way, you can ward off those heftier fees down the road.

Obviously, letting repairs and regular upkeep lapse can cause potential problems with much higher price tags down the road. Getting over these typical mindsets so you’re able to get on track is a good start. Figure out which “reasons” you identify with most and write down a few ways you can overcome them. Then get started today.

We’re Here to Help

If you’re in need of making home repairs due to disrepair, Baratto Brothers can help get your home or commercial building back on track. Contact us today by filling out our contact form, stopping in to say hello, or by giving us a call at (218) 692-1070. We’re here to help come up with an affordable plan to repair, remodel, or rebuild to your specifications. We’ll do all we can to become your Builder for Life.


2 New OSHA Final Rules for 2016

Later on in June, one of OSHA’s two brand new final rules for 2016 go into effect. Whenever OSHA publishes a final rule, it’s important for companies to be informed. Not only because employers are expected to comply with the applicable regulations, but also to be aware of potential hazards that could harm employees.

These two new final rules are both applicable to the construction industry, so it’s important for us to take note.


The long-awaited final ruling on Silica dust inhalation is set to take effect on June 23rd, 2016. Silica dust inhalation is known to cause a variety of illnesses such as silicosis, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease. The new rule is comprised of two standards; one for the Construction Industry, and one for the General Industry and Maritime. The main reason behind this new ruling is to limit employee exposure to inhaling crystalline silica.

Here’s a summary of the key components of the new Silica Ruling and how it affects the Construction Industry:

  • Reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift.
  • Requires employers to:
    • use engineering controls (such as water or ventilation) to limit worker exposure to the PEL
    • provide respirators when engineering controls cannot adequately limit exposure
    • limit worker access to high exposure areas; develop a written exposure control plan
    • offer medical exams to highly exposed workers and gives them information about their lung health
    • and train workers on silica risks and how to limit exposures
  • Provides flexibility to help employers, especially small businesses, protect workers from silica exposure.


The other final OSHA ruling put in place for 2016 has to do do with employee eye and face protection when on the job, and went into effect on April 25th, 2016. The main reason behind this ruling is to update the references to the most recent national consensus standards (ANSI/ISEA). This change affects General Industry, Construction, Shipyards, Longshoring, and Marine Terminals.

Here’s a summary of the key components of the new Eye and Face Protection Ruling and how it affects the Construction Industry:

  • Recognizes the ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, while deleting the outdated 1986 edition of that same national consensus standard.
  • The 2003 and 1989 (R-1998) versions of the ANSI standard already referenced in the standard will be retained.
  • Updates the construction standard by deleting the 1968 version of the ANSI standard that was referenced and now includes the same three ANSI standards referenced above to ensure consistency among the agency’s standards.

In addition to these new rules, OSHA is also looking into a few other regulatory changes that impact the following:

  • Slips, Trips, and Fall Prevention
  • Tracking of Workplace Injuries
  • Exposure to Beryllium
  • Bloodborne Pathogen Standards
  • Chemical Management and Permissible Exposure Limits

If you’re looking to start a new commercial or residential construction project, renovation, or just curious about what we offer at Baratto Brothers, contact us today by filling out our contact form, stopping in to say hello, or by giving us a call at (218) 692-1070. We’re here to help you sift through your options, and come up with an affordable plan that delivers the results you’re looking for. We’ll do everything we can to become your Builder for Life.





5 Reasons Why Great Outdoor Lighting Matters

As we now enter cabin season, where we spend more of our days (and nights) outside, the usage of outdoor lighting can create a special ambiance you’d likely miss during the cold winter months. Residential architecture is becoming more beautiful with every new year, and as such, it’s smart to consider additional ways to enhance the curb appeal your home already has. You’ve spent the money on it, why not accentuate the beauty your home and landscape have?

Few additions to your home can add both beauty and practicality the way outdoor lighting can. Here are some of the best reasons to add outdoor lighting to your home this summer:

  1. Increased value and curb appeal – As discussed earlier, accentuating the landscaping, special features, and overall beauty of your home using well-placed outdoor lighting will not only increase the value of your home, but also add to the overall curb appeal. It should come as no surprise that when people are looking to sell their home, landscape lighting is one of the first improvements made to increase the wow! factor. When you combine the lighting system with solar powered or high efficiency LED lights, you don’t even have to worry about your carbon footprint or massive energy bills.
  2. Added safety – Safety is obviously a compelling reason a homeowner would consider adding outdoor lighting to their home. If you have balconies, garden steps, a pool, dark deck or walkway to the lake, adding lighting will make finding your way through the dark Minnesotan landscape all that much easier. Perhaps you have children who could use the added visual boost during the dark winter months to find their way from the detached garage to the house. Whatever your situation, outdoor lighting can make getting to where you have to go in the dark that much easier.
  3. Landscaping focal points – Here in the Lakes Area, we embrace nature and put a lot of pride into our landscaping focal points. With well-placed outdoor lighting, you can not only make your landscaped yard stand out beautifully, but you can make your focal points like a gazebo, water feature, or lakeside cantina get the best return for their investment by keeping them well-lit for you and your guests.
  4. Better security – With a well-lit home, you provide less opportunities for a burglar to attempt a break-in because the chances they can do so undetected are reduced dramatically. This could be even more important for those of our seasonal residents who share their time between our lovely Minnesota lakes and somewhere else in this world.
  5. Happiness – It’s been well documented that lighting plays a role in our overall moods and happiness. Hues, color, warmth, are all ways we can control the lighting and ultimately make their outdoor environment more appealing. Great outdoor lighting will make your outdoor space more inviting, and feel more luxurious. Who wouldn’t love those feelings while sitting outside on the patio for summer cocktails?

Are you ready to build a custom home or renovate an existing one? Contact us today by filling out our contact form, stopping in to say hello, or by giving us a call at (218) 692-1070. We’re here to help you walk through your options, and come up with a smart plan that delivers the results you’re looking for. At Baratto Brothers Construction, we do everything we can to become your Builder for Life.

10 Trends in Smart Home Technology for 2016

Building and remodeling homes has gotten a whole lot more interesting since the advent of smart home technologies. Now, more than ever, a homeowner has tons of options to consider when designing their ideal home. Not only can a home be designed to be more energy efficient, have fantastic views and floorplans, but you can also have a home that responds, interacts, and embraces the digital world we live in.

It may seem like something out of science fiction, being able to control aspects of your home with a touch of a button, or by the sound of your voice. One of the unbeatable luxuries any homeowner can have is the ability to customize their home to have as many smart technologies as they’d like.
Here are a few of the Smart Home Trends to keep an eye on – and maybe even incorporate this year:

  1. Smart Thermostats – There are literally hundreds of thermostats, but the welcome rise is with smart ones like Nest. This handy little gadget not only learns your family’s personalized temperature schedule, but it can also be controlled from anywhere by your smartphone. When combined with other smart home options, Nest even knows to turn your temps down when you leave the house—all on its own. Its interface also shows where you can save money in your usage, making it a pretty awesome addition to comfortable living.
  2. Smart Entry – Who doesn’t hate digging for their keys with an arm full of groceries? With the way door locks are going, you don’t have to. Awesome companies like Kwikset have produced smart locks like Kevo to work with your smartphone and/or a special key fob. Since you always have it with you, now your phone is your key as Kevo recognizes when you’re inside or outside the home and unlocks the door accordingly. Combine it with Nest, and you’ve got a very powerful start to your smart home setup.
  3. Smart Blinds – Smart blinds have been around for a while, but they keep getting better. Now, many of them are even Apple HomeKit-enabled, granting more options than ever by utilizing Siri. You can open and close your shades with just the sound of your voice, schedule the way they open and close, or even adjust them when you’re on the go. There are even companies that help turn your current shades or blinds into smart ones.
  4. Smart Adaptive Lighting – When you have more control over your environment, you can feel more at home. Whether you have special uses, like a theatre room, or want to add lighting that senses your footsteps, adaptive lighting can give you what you need without blaring in your face. You can develop a full house system to control the atmosphere and placement of your lighting, or you can go straight to each bulb. The choice is really yours.
  5. Smart Entertainment – Smart TVs and home theatre systems are becoming more of the norm and they can do more than they ever could in the past. Not only can you surf the web on your TV, but it can even become your central hub for all things technology in your home. In fact, Samsung has even announced their intentions to utilize IoT (Internet of Things) technology on all of its 2016 SUHD TVs. Add that to sounds systems that can do more than ever before, and you’ve got the makings of a stellar place to relax and unwind.
  6. Smart Outlets and Switches – Smart switches for your existing lighting, or smart outlets to control the rest of your home’s power users is one way to bring everything together. We all have items around our home from lamps, to TVs, to printers, to your coffee maker. Utilizing smart outlets and switches will connect the whole house in a way you didn’t realize was possible.
  7. Smart Security Systems – Peace of mind continues to prove smart. You can do so much more than ever before with the new smart security systems on the market these days. With high definition cameras that can be virtually placed anywhere, you can ensure your home is safe, watch your kids come home from school—and make sure they’re working on homework, not playing Minecraft, plus trigger and untrigger alarms all from your smart phone.
  8. Smart Water – Not only can you set smart irrigation solutions for making your yard green and luscious, but now you can even keep track of how much water you, yourself use indoors. For environmentally conscious consumers, or those living in drought areas, smart faucets and shower heads can be a great way to not only keep track of your water consumption, but help you make adjustments too.
  9. Smart Appliances – From your refrigerator, to your washing machine, to the kettle on your countertop, smart appliances are taking over. They can remind you when a certain food is running low and then order them from Amazon for you, craft up recipes based on what you have in the cupboard, make sure burners don’t stay on when you forget to shut them off, and even cook your food based off the barcode on the box. Your dryer can send you a text when it’s done and you can even preheat your oven on your way home. Every day new innovations are happening with how your appliances can make your life easier—and safer.
  10. Smart Total Home Control – As our smart homes get more sophisticated, total home control hubs will become more and more important. Apple’s HomeKit is only one example, but it’s also a good one. Amazon’s Echo is another, as is Ivee. One of the best known happens to be Insteon, which even integrates with other systems like HomeKit, or can be used on its own. The great thing with total home systems is that they get smarter as new additions to their usage are added every day.

Are you ready to build a custom smart home? Contact us today by filling out our contact form, stopping in to say hello, or by giving us a call at (218) 692-1070. We’re here to help you walk through your options, and come up with a smart plan that delivers the results you’re looking for. At Baratto Brothers Construction, we do everything we can to become your Builder for Life.


OSHA and the Construction Industry

In the 1970’s, the Occupational Safety and Health Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, otherwise known as OSHA. Operating within the Department of Labor, OSHA’s role is to help minimize workplace hazards and implement safety and health programs. They seem to be doing a pretty good job too, considering workplace fatality rates have dropped 66% since OSHA began working with employers in the 70’s; while occupational illness and injury rates have dropped 67%. This is no small feat, considering U.S. employment has almost doubled since then.

There are a bunch of industry standards every business with one employee or more has to follow, so if you work for a business or own one, you’ve probably at least heard of OSHA. They provide a list of employer responsibilities in regards to keeping employees safe, and they give advice for employees on their rights in the workplace. It’s very likely, you’ve seen their signage up in your workplace’s break room or some other prominent location. OSHA provides very detailed regulations regarding safety standards that each business must adhere to. The construction industry is one OSHA has its eye on, as it can be a hazardous and sometimes dangerous workplace. They even list out regulations specific to construction, and inspections (both announced and unannounced) are not uncommon.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, out of the 4,251 worker fatalities in 2014, fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for 20.5% (874). We think you’ll agree, that’s a pretty scary number. At Baratto Brothers Construction, we take OSHA’s standards and regulations very seriously. Our employees are family members, and it’s our job to protect them on every job site – and it’s not only because of the sometimes dangerous locations we have to work on; like high roof pitches and tight enclosed spaces.

The last thing any construction company would ever want is to lose an employee, but especially while on the clock. Unfortunately, it still happens. OSHA has a list of leading causes of work-related deaths for contractors, which they’ve dubbed Construction’s “Fatal Four.” According to their website, by eliminating the “Fatal Four,” 508 workers would be saved a year.

What are Construction’s “Fatal Four” exactly?

  • Falls – 349 of the 874 deaths in construction in 2014 (39.9%)
  • Electrocutions – 74 (8.5%)
  • Struck by an object – 73 (8.4%)
  • Caught-in/between – 12 (1.4%)

Much of this type of workplace tragedy can be avoided by following OSHA’s guidelines and using some common sense on both the employer and the employee. Baratto Brothers is committed to ensuring our contractors are safe and secure, and we have always done our utmost to train them on job site safety. Reducing OSHA’s numbers of workplace accidents and injuries is a priority for us and have been from day one. There’s nothing better than another great year with our employees; especially one where no one has become an OSHA workplace accident statistic.

If you’re looking to start a new commercial or residential construction project, renovation, or just curious about what we offer at Baratto Brothers, contact us today by filling out our contact form, stopping in to say hello, or by giving us a call at (218) 692-1070. We’re here to help you sift through your options, and come up with an affordable plan that delivers the results you’re looking for. We’ll do everything we can to become your Builder for Life.



Superior Construction Projects Happen in 3 Critical Steps

Whether commercial or residential, there are three key steps which absolutely must happen if you’re to expect a superior construction process and a successful project completion. Reaching the end of a large project like a custom built residence or a commercial building on-time and on-budget isn’t a mystery, and it doesn’t happen without proper planning. If you’re looking to start a construction project in the coming year, make sure your contractors are utilizing these three steps to success:

  1. Superior Client-Contractor Relationships – From the very first moments of project conception to the final walk-through, having all parties involved and invested is crucial to having a project run smoothly. This means contractors, subcontractors, clients, design team, etc. – everyone must be on the same page at the same time. In fact, we’d even go so far as to say this is the most important step out of all three. It can mean the difference between a construction process plagued by miscommunications, misinformed ideas, and poor planning – to one that operates smoothly from start to finish.
  2. Make Informed Decisions – When you work with a qualified, quality-driven contractor, your decisions are innately better informed through the years of experience they provide. Not all contractors are made equally, though, so the first informed decision comes from the client as they research their prospective new builders. The key behind this is not getting stuck on the initial price tag, but instead on the ways a qualified contractor will save you money in the long run.
  3. Transparency in Costs – When you have cost transparency with a project as large as commercial or residential construction, not only do you share in the risk/rewards of moving forward, but trust is built between client and contractor. It’s just one of the ways superior client-contractor relationships get built.

You don’t have to take just our word for it on these crucial steps, either. A recent study by the Charles Pankow Foundation and the Construction Industry Institute found similar results as they looked closely at over 200 capital projects to determine how best to achieve project success. While the study was geared toward integrated project delivery, its results are very applicable here.

At Baratto Brothers Construction, we’ve been building superior homes in the Brainerd Lakes Area since 2002 and we’ve extended that excellence to commercial construction in recent years. If you’re looking to build a new home or commercial project with a contractor relationship you can rely on for years to come, contact us at 218-692-1070 for a free consultation. Getting the right team on board is key to the success of your project, as we’ve discussed. We’re here to help make it as easy and stress-free as possible. It’s just one of the many ways we work hard to become your Builder for Life.

Construction Lending 101

A quick reference guide to assuring a smooth start to your construction project

- Written By Bart Taylor; RiverWood Bank - Crosslake
  So you’re thinking about finally building that dream retirement home at the lake, you have your plans picked out (down to the accent tile color), the building contract has been executed and your contractor , Bob the Builder, just needs the go ahead from you to fire up the track hoe that is already parked at the job site… Construction LendingHere’s what you’re thinking “Maybe now is the time we should start working on getting a construction loan? Naw, why rush into things, we are still sitting on a decent amount of cash we have saved (enough to get us a good start) and the equity from the home we are selling in the cities most likely will be available prior to completion. No sense paying any more interest to the bank than we need to- right?”


You need to choose your banker and get your financing strategy in place long before the construction contract is signed and the builder is ready to break ground (You notice I highlighted strategy didn’t you? It’s not just a loan). The reason is title insurance and Minnesota  lien law…I won’t bore you with the details but suffice to say you will create a mountain of additional paperwork, and unnecessary stress for you and your builder trying to schedule your project by not having the construction financing in place prior to the start of construction. Oh…and even if you have a good amount of cash to get started you risk delaying your project and move in date by not taking my advice. You should make contact lenders (why not talk to a few?- find one that makes you comfortable) to develop a strategy for the financing of your project around 75 days prior to your anticipated start date. It takes in a perfect scenario about 45 days in this day and age to get title work, sworn construction statements, appraisals, insurance and ultimately the financing in place prior to start. Again, it’s imperative to have the mortgage signed and recorded prior to any work on the project being started. Construction Lending

What will the lender need?

Expect to be asked for:

  • Copies of Driver’s licenses
  • A loan application (one will be provided for you – it’s free, like a court appointed lawyer)
  • Verification of income
    • 2 years most recent income taxes (the whole shebang not just the first two pages)
    • 30 days’ worth of your most recent pay stubs
    • Business taxes for 2 years if self-employed (include the K-1’s also)
      • Many times it is easiest to contact your CPA and have them communicate directly with the banker – they speak the same language and can more efficiently trade sensitive documents – all they need is your permission
  • A builders risk insurance policy (your homeowners insurance agent will help you with this one- if you don’t have a local agent ask your builder or lender for a few names)
  • Plans, specifications, a sworn construction statement and an executed contract from your builder (if the contract hasn’t been executed yet, get the first three to your lender as early in the project as you can the contract can follow…I by the way, f your builder turns up his/her nose or looks puzzled when you ask for these 4 documents – immediately call your lender, you may want to find a more reputable builder, they will give you names of quality builders in the neighborhood that “do it right”.) These items are necessary for the appraisal to be completed accurately and should be as detailed as you can get them- it’s no fun to find out at the end of the project that the “bar napkin bid” you got didn’t include a kitchen.
  • 2 months most recent bank statements
  • Most recent brokerage and retirement statements
  • Title insurance, or abstract on your lot if previously owned
  • Property tax and insurance information on all properties that you own (this is new stuff that the banks are required to have on file to demonstrate that they calculated your “ability to repay” the loan prior to consummation
I know, it seems like a lot of stuff to have to gather up. Compare that to the disappointment and anguish that would occur if you have not been properly pre-qualified (by a reputable lender) that knows what it takes to meet the exhaustive secondary market lending standards. Having that dream home already built could become a real nightmare. Do your construction borrowing homework ahead of time and don’t allow those high tension moments to dominate the choice of tile accents. RiverWood Bank