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Showing posts from August, 2014

Why 2013 was a Very Good Year to be a Homebuilder CEO

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It is unlikely to happen again this year as doubts about the legs of the housing recovery keep coming up, but 2013 was an excellent year to be the CEO of a publicly-traded homebuilder because pay raises averaged 37% and hit a median of $7.9 million.
That still does not touch 2005's record-high median of $11.3 million, but it's well above 2012, according to figures from FPL Associates, a compensation consulting firm that focuses on the construction industry. The highest total compensation – which adds bonuses and incentive grants to base salary – in 2013 was $13.6 million for Stuart Miller at Lenna, and the lowest was $4 million for Allan Merrill at Beazer Homes USA. (From Construction Dive)
Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 1211 N Franklin St Tampa, FL 33602 www.trentcotney.com

Survey: Widespread Labor Shortage Prompts Homebuilders to Raise Prices

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The lack of workers for residential construction has become "substantially more widespread," leading homebuilders to raise home prices, according to a survey of the National Association of Home Builders. The survey found that about 2 in 3 homebuilders pays higher wages due to the shortage, which leads many of them to raise prices. When it comes to subcontracting work, about 63% of builders surveyed say they have experienced a shortage of rough carpenters. 
(From NRCA)
Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 1211 N Franklin St Tampa, FL 33602 www.trentcotney.com

Diaz & Russell Corporation v. Department of Business and Professional Regulation, 2014 WL 2199757 (3D13-1764, May 28, 2014)

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A licensed general contractor does not have to identify the architect in its design-build contract - DBPR oversteps its authority in sanctioning contractor.
As reported last month, the Board of Architecture and Interior Design entered a final administrative order imposing a fine of $10,000 and costs of $6,867.53 on a licensed general contractor for not identifying its intended architect before offering the design-build services.  The project was an interior partition wall with a total contract price of $5,900.  The Third District Court of Appeal reversed on the grounds the Board’s interpretation of the statute was erroneous; there is no requirement in Florida law that requires a licensed contractor to identify the architect it intends to use - it is sufficient that the architect hired by the design-build contractor is licensed as an architect.
The board’s motion for rehearing based on an alleged factual distinction that the contractor hired an engineer to prepare the drawings and speci…

U.S. Senate Passes $8B Highway Trust Fund Fix

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The Highway Trust Fund, teetering along with inadequate funding, took a detour on the road to recovery when the Senate voted Wednesday for a shorter "patch" than what the House had already approved. The Senate wants to put $8 billion into the trust fund to get it through December after it essentially runs out of money for any new projects by the end of next month, differing from the House's $10.8 billion plan to go through May. Both chambers are supposed to leave at this week's end for a month-long recess. (From Construction Dive)
Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 1211 N Franklin St Tampa, FL 33602 www.trentcotney.com

Minnesota Sprinkler Mandate for Big Homes Survives Challenge

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As the Minnesota Legislature wrapped up its session, Gov. Mark Dayton was able to fend off one last effort to repeal a law that will require sprinkler systems in new homes 4,500 square feet or greater after the end of this year.
The Builders Association of the Twin Cities opposed the requirement, citing costs it said would be much higher than the average $4,200 per house figure cited by proponents. Firefighters pushed for adoption of the law, saying new building materials used in homes burn faster than the materials they replace and are more dangerous to occupants if there is a fire.
(From Construction Dive)
Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 1211 N Franklin St Tampa, FL 33602 www.trentcotney.com

Good Design Can Turn Time Cards into Job Data-Trackers

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Construction workers need to fill out time cards so they can get paid, but collecting more than just total hours can make the cards a rich source of information for tracking cost and progress of a job. The technique involves reporting hours by cost code within the job – for example setting up for a concrete pour, doing it and cleaning up afterward. The estimator, project manager and foreman for a job work together to decide what information needs to be collected to give them the insights they need as work progresses.
(From Construction Dive)
Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 1211 N Franklin St Tampa, FL 33602 www.trentcotney.com

Partial Roof Repairs Help End Leaks at Ill. County Courthouse

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Partial repairs to the roof of the historic Menard County Courthouse in Illinois have helped stop leaks. A section of the roof on the 118-year-old building has new metal shingles and copper work, which cost more than $323,000. The leaky courthouse dome has not yet been repaired because the work could cost more than half a million dollars, said Menard County coordinator Steve Duncan.
(From NRCA)
Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 1211 N Franklin St Tampa, FL 33602 www.trentcotney.com

The Village at Dolphin Commerce Center, LLC v. Construction Service Solutions, LLC, 2014 WL 2116361 (3D13-1499, May 21, 2014)

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Court defers to arbitration panel’s implied finding that the contract was enforceable even though illegal because contractor was not licensed at the time of contracting. 
An unlicensed contractor recorded a claim of lien against an owner and filed a demand for arbitration pursuant to the contract.  Owner answered and raised the defense that the contract was unenforceable because the contractor was unlicensed.  Owner also filed a state court declaratory judgment action challenging the claim of lien on the enforceability issue, but that action was stayed because of the pending arbitration.  Arbitration panel found in favor of contractor in an order that did not directly address the enforceability issue and the trial court affirmed the award, entered judgment for the amount awarded plus attorneys’ fees under section 713.29, and enforced the lien.
The Third District Court of Appeal affirmed in all respects.The court found that “determination of the legality of the contract was a decision …

Rubber Membrane Over Roof of Md. College Rec Center Postpones Replacement

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A rubber membrane is being installed over the roof of the Athletic, Recreation and Community Center at Hagerstown Community College in Maryland. The membrane is less expensive than a roof replacement that could cost between $1.5 million and $1.8 million. The project costs $842,600 and includes installation of a roof drainage system.
(From NRCA)
Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 1211 N Franklin St Tampa, FL 33602 www.trentcotney.com

Case-Shiller Home-Price Measures Show Growth Slowdown

Both the 10-city and 20-city reports from the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices of May home prices showed the smallest year-over-year gains since February 2013. The indices were up 9.4% and 9.3%, respectively, but David M. Blitzer, who chairs the Index Committee at the report's owner, S&P Dow Jones Indices, said those numbers were "well below expectations." Seasonally adjusted, prices slipped from April, and among the Case-Shiller cities, Charlotte, North Carolina, was the only one that had a bigger year-over-year gain than it had in April.

(From Construction Dive)
Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 1211 N Franklin St Tampa, FL 33602 www.trentcotney.com

Renaissance in Civil, Heavy Work is Benefiting Job-Seekers

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Thanks to public-private partnerships and other creative ways to get needed infrastructure work done, the civil and heavy construction sector is looking for a range of people with the training and expertise the companies need to meet demand for their services. For job applicants, salaries are rising as companies seek project managers, operations managers, project engineers, superintendents and schedulers, according to recruiting company Kimmel Associates. The flip side for candidates is that companies are scrutinizing candidates carefully before hiring, looking closely at expertise and experience because getting jobs done is more important than quibbling over salaries.
(From Construction Dive)
Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 1211 N Franklin St Tampa, FL 33602 www.trentcotney.com

Aecom to buy Hunt Construction

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Fresh from its $6 billion buy-out of URS Corp, Aecom is adding construction management capabilities to its portfolio by buying Hunt Construction Group. Hunt, which has headquarters in both Indianapolis and in Scottsdale, Arizona, is privately held, and no one was disclosing financial terms, but Michael S. Burke, Aecom's chief executive, said that Hunt and Aecom together "have helped create more than two-thirds of all the major league sports arenas in the country."
Hunt, which had revenues of $1.2 billion in its last year, has been largely U.S.-based and Aecom has done 60% of its business in foreign countries, so the purchase brings a wealth of U.S. business contracts and an established domestic reputation. (From Construction Dive)
Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 1211 N Franklin St Tampa, FL 33602 www.trentcotney.com

J.B.D. Construction, Inc. v. Mid-Continent Casualty Company, 2014 WL 3377690 (No. 13-10138, Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, July 11, 2014).

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Insurance company for contractor has duty to defend but no duty to indemnify for settlement.
            The Court stated that the duty to defend is greater than the duty to indemnify, the insurer must defend “even if the allegations in the complaint are factually incorrect or meritless,” and doubts are resolved in favor of the insured, and then held that the allegation that there was “damage to other property” was sufficient to trigger the duty to defend.
            The Court stated the duty to indemnify is narrower than the duty to defend, is dependent on the final judgment or final resolution of the claim, and requires the insured to “demonstrate that it suffered a loss under the policy.”  It appears that the Court found no evidence in the record of “damage to other property” despite Contractor’s evidence of engineering reports in the record.

(From The Florida Bar Construction Law Committee)
Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 1211 N Franklin…

Report: Cost-Effective Clean Energy Could Ease Compliance with EPA's Climate Rule

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States may have an easier time complying with the Environmental Protection Agency's carbon emissions proposal as more utilities produce renewable energy and become more energy-efficient, according to a study from advocacy group Ceres. The EPA allows states to come up with their own carbon reduction plans that can use renewable fuels, energy-efficiency programs and other sources of clean energy. The report asserts that states could go "beyond the fence" in clean energy investments without carrying a high cost on utilities.
(From NRCA)
Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 1211 N Franklin St Tampa, FL 33602 www.trentcotney.com

RCD: Total Construction Starts Gain Ground, Could Reach $700B by 2018

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Over the course of the next few years, the improving economy could help boost construction spending, making it possible for U.S. total construction starts to reach $600 billion by 2016 and possibly $700 billion by 2018, according to Alex Carrick, chief economist for CanaData, a division of Reed Construction Data. Residential starts, tower construction and the energy sector's capital expansions are expected to contribute to play a big role. Sales of building materials are also expected to surge.
(From NRCA)
Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 1211 N Franklin St Tampa, FL 33602 www.trentcotney.com

D.R. Horton Uses Incentives to Boost Sales, but Investors Don't Like What They See

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To keep sales growing, D.R. Horton – which closes more sales than any other American home builder – has been using incentives to get buyers to sign, whether upgrades or help with closing costs or others.  As the home-building market squeezes out the last price increases it is likely to be able to get for a while, other builders may follow suit to keep turn shoppers into buyers.  The next stage of the housing recovery will, UBS analyst David Goldberg said, need the first-time home buyers who have been reported M.I.A. because wages have not gone up even though hiring has and banks remain fearful of being anything less than stringent in making mortgage loans.  Horton's CEO, Donald Tomnitz, said he sees no problem with profit dropping from 22.5% to 20.7% when that produces a 25% increase in sales. He also said 20% profit is more normal for the home-building industry, but investors apparently did not want a history lesson, and Horton sank 11.5%.
(From Construction Dive)
Trenton H. Cotney

10th-largest U.S. Electrical Contractor Files for Bankruptcy

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Business units of the nation's 10th-largest electrical contractor, the family-owned Truland Group, have filed for bankruptcy in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, and the company has shut down. Truland reportedly had a lot of work in the Washington, D.C. area, but it is unclear how many projects it had going when it stopped operations the day before the court filing. 
(From Construction Dive)
Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 1211 N Franklin St Tampa, FL 33602 www.trentcotney.com

Visiting Nurse Association of Florida, Inc. v. Jupiter Medical Center, Inc., 2014 WL 3360314 (SC11-2468, July 10, 2014)

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Supreme Court of Florida concludes the trial court cannot set aside an arbitrator’s award based on the claim that an arbitrator’s construction of a contract renders it illegal.
            This case from the Supreme Court of Florida presents an interesting survey of the present            state of the law relating to the authority of arbitrators and review of arbitration awards.     The following rules are gleaned from the case:
            ●          the statutory grounds for modification or vacation of an arbitrator’s award are exclusive and cannot be supplemented by contract or by public policy;
            ●          an arbitrator’s award cannot be modified or vacated based on “manifest disregard of the law,” or, as the Court phrased it, “mere errors of law;”
            ●          an arbitrator’s award cannot be modified or vacated based on a claim of contract illegality;
            ●          the arbitrator and not the trial court, either before or after arbitration, determines…

"Roof Over My Head" Project Helps Low-Income Homeowners”

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Vinton Roofing in Vinton, Va., sponsors a project called "The Roof Over My Head," which replaces one roof each year free of charge for people who cannot afford to hire a contractor. This year, the company teamed up with the Women Entrepreneurs of the Roanoke Valley to replace a roof for two elderly brothers in Roanoke, Va. "Everyone who owns a small business has some kind of service or skill that can benefit someone who just needs a break," said Joy Payne, co-owner of Vinton Roofing. 
(From NRCA)
Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 1211 N Franklin St Tampa, FL 33602 www.trentcotney.com

$3.2B Hudson Yards Tower in NYC to Create 7,611 Construction Jobs

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Tishman Speyer plans to build a 61-story, $3.2 billion tower within the Hudson Yards project in New York. The company hopes to start construction next year and says 7,611 construction jobs would be created during the four-year build-out of the 2.6 million square-foot office tower. Tishman is looking for $170 million in tax breaks, and a city agency is expected to vote on that later this week. The tower is separate from Related's plans for Hudson Yards.
(From NRCA)
Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 1211 N Franklin St Tampa, FL 33602 www.trentcotney.com

Movable Roof to Set Atlanta Stadium Apart from Others

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The "pinwheel-shaped kinetic roof" to top the planned Atlanta Falcons arena in Georgia would set the stadium apart from its counterparts, Nadine Post writes. The roof will have three layers: a bottom layer with downward-sloping triangular panels, a flat "plane-in" level and a retractable top level. The structure could be opened and closed in response to the weather.
(From NRCA)
Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 1211 N Franklin St Tampa, FL 33602 www.trentcotney.com