Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Most Construction Workers Who Lost Jobs During Recession Have Been Rehired (By Sharon O'Malley)

More than 60% of the 393,000 long-term, skilled construction workers who lost their jobs during the recession have found new ones in the industry since the recovery began, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Among them, 6% work part-time and 10% work for themselves or for family businesses.  The construction industry has added 609,000 jobs since January 2011—when employment was at its lowest. The industry’s 7.5% unemployment rate compares to 27.1% in February 2010, according to the BLS and the Associated General Contractors of America.  According to the study, 40% of skilled workers are bringing home more in their post-recession paychecks. Another 30% are earning less.

From: www.constructiondive.com
   Trenton H. Cotney
   Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
   Trent Cotney, P.A.
   1211 N Franklin St
   Tampa, FL 33602

Monday, September 29, 2014

Multifamily Building Surge Surpasses Single-Family Recovery (By Sharon O'Malley)

Construction of multifamily housing has rebounded to pre-recession levels, surpassing the recovery of the single-family market, according to the CFA Institute, the association of investment professionals.  The industry owes its strong showing to a dip in homeownership this year to its lowest level since 1995; slightly more than 67% of Americans own homes. When homeownership wanes, more people rent.  At the same time, rental vacancy rates are at a 20-year low, and rental prices are climbing. In fact, average rent paid for a unit in a multifamily property tops the record set in 2008.
From: www.constructiondive.com
   Trenton H. Cotney
   Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
   Trent Cotney, P.A.
   1211 N Franklin St
   Tampa, FL 33602

Friday, September 26, 2014

Residential, Commercial Construction Spending Increase in July (By Sharon O'Malley)

Spending on construction projects jumped 1.8% in July, the largest amount in a single month for more than two years, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.  The hike came after a 0.9% decline in spending in June, which was the steepest drop in a year. The culprit was a rainy spring that slowed construction in some regions, the report said.  Despite that temporary setback, construction spending has climbed by 8.2% over the past year. Spending was up in all construction categories, including housing, government, and commercial.
From: www.constructiondive.com
    Trenton H. Cotney
    Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
    Trent Cotney, P.A.
    1211 N Franklin St
    Tampa, FL 33602

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Technological Development of Supertall Buildings

How high can supertall buildings go? A realistic achievable height with current technology is one mile. Tall buildings are becoming taller and being built faster than ever before, driven by rapid growth in Asia and the Middle East. The number of supertall buildings (101) in the world has almost tripled in the last seven years. Just 15 were built between 1930 and 1995.


From: ABC

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1211 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Construction Costs Rising Less Steeply, but Pressure Remains (By Ron Gallagher)

Data-analyst company IHS says that there will likely be local increases in concrete prices, especially on the Gulf Coast, as the industry tried to catch up with demand in the recovery. The overall IHS measure of construction costs,  called the IHS PEG Engineering and Construction Cost Index (ECCI), was at 53.0 this month, down from July but still showing rising costs. The materials and equipment part of the index stood at 53.5—down four points from July—but again, still rising.

From: www.constructiondive.com

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1211 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Construction Firms Dominate OSHA Severe Violator List (By Ron Gallagher)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) list of firms that can expect extra attention from inspectors has grown 23% since a year ago, according to a review of the data. The list is about 60% construction companies, and companies that are on it can expect frequent and scrupulous inspections because, OSHA says, they have had willful or repeated violations in areas that are very dangerous to workers. To get off the list, a company can petition and must have a clean record for three years after the violation. Eric Conn, an attorney with a focus on OSHA law at the firm of Epstein Becker Green, says the more-intense inspections turn up some serious violation about 75% of the time. 

From:  www.constructiondive.com

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1211 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602

Monday, September 22, 2014

Maintaining World-Class Safety: Monitor, Evaluate and Evolve

The key behind a world-class safety program is maintaining a strong culture where the people work together every day with the same uncompromising core value: that every incident is preventable. But once a company reaches that pinnacle of zero incidents and increased productivity, staying there brings its own challenge. Find out how to keep a world-class program in place at your company and avoid the pitfalls. 

From ABC

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1211 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Amazon Adds Another Fulfillment Center in California (By Mattie Quinn)

A 700,000-square-foot center in Redlands, CA will take the space from Clarion Partners as the fifth Amazon.com fulfillment center in California.  The fulfillment center will work to pack and ship larger items, such as big-screen TV’s and kayaks. Mike Roth, Amazon's vice-president of North America operations, said that Amazon's fulfillment centers have hired for more than "2,500 full-time jobs in California that offer wages 30 percent higher than traditional retail stores and include comprehensive benefits on day one, bonuses and stock awards." 

From: www.constructiondive.com

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1211 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Allegheny Casualty Co. v. Archer-Western/DeMaria Joint Venture III, 2014 WL 4162787 (USDC M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, August 21, 2014)

This case arises out of a dispute by the prime contractor (Archer-Western) and the performance bond surety for the drywall subcontractor (Allegheny Casualty) on a $52,000,000 expansion to the VA hospital in Tampa.  The drywall subcontractor defaulted after performing about 30% of its work, and Allegheny elected to complete the remaining obligations of its principal under the terms of a Takeover Agreement with Archer.  When the drywall work was about 94% complete, Allegheny walked off the job because it allegedly had expended the penal sum of the performance bond. 

Thereafter, Archer sued Allegheny for the cost to complete the drywall work, including allegedly deficient work under the performance bond and Takeover Agreement.  Allegheny sued Archer for, among other claims, rescission of the performance bond based on allegedly false representations made by Archer to Allegheny when it was investigating whether to issue the performance bond or not.  Cross motions for summary judgment led to an 18-page order by Federal District Court Judge Susan Bucklew. Two of the issues she addressed in her well-written order are addressed below.

Court finds that a performance bond surety that elects to complete performance of its principal’s work may limit its liability to the penal sum of the bond. The facts in the order reveal that Archer paid $1,125,000 to complete the drywall work, including the cost to correct defective work, after Allegheny ceased performance. Archer argued that a performance bond surety that elected to complete performance is not entitled to cap its liability at the penal sum of the bond and cited case law from non-controlling jurisdictions that have held that “when a surety elects to directly undertake performance of a principal’s obligations, the surety’s liability is no longer limited by the amount of the bond.” The Court found no controlling law in Florida. Fortunately for the surety, the parties included a term in the Takeover Agreement that expressly limited the surety’s liability in completing the drywall work to the penal sum of the bond. The Court found that “even if a performing surety’s liability can exceed the penal sum, a performing surety can limit its liability by expressly so providing in a contract with the benefitted obligee.” The Court also found no conflict between this express limitation and the surety’s promise to “cause the performance of each and every one of the terms, covenants, and conditions of the Original Contract.” 

From:  Florida Bar: Construction Law Committee

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1211 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602

Sacramento County's Meteoric Rise in Home Prices May be Slowing (By Mattie Quinn)

Sacramento, bouncing back in a big way from the recession, has been seeing drastic rises in real estate prices the past two years—but that may be changing.  Real estate information service DataQuick released figures that showed gains in median home prices were dropped to the single digits in Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, and El Dorado counties. This July, median home prices rose just 8% from 2013—compared to a staggering 45% jump from July 2012 to July 2013. 

From: www.constructiondive.com

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1211 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602

Monday, September 15, 2014

July Contracts Increased 6 Percent

McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Cos., New York, has reported construction starts increased 6 percent in July.

From NRCA)

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1211 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602

Friday, September 12, 2014

Industry Groups Agree to Collaborate on Green Building Tool Development


The International Code Council, ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and the U.S. Green Building Council have signed a memorandum to collaborate on the development of a green building tool.


From: NRCA

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1211 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602

Industry Groups Agree to Collaborate on Green Building Tool Development

The International Code Council, ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and the U.S. Green Building Council have signed a memorandum to collaborate on the development of a green building tool.

From NRCA

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1211 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Existing-home sales hit 5.15M annual pace in July(By Ron Gallagher)

Sales of existing homes in the U.S. rose 2.4% from June to July, setting a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 5.15 million transactions. The month's transactions were 4.3% behind the pace in July 2013, but that month was also the peak for last year. Sales dropped when a mortgage-rate spike killed the momentum. The National Association of Realtors, which tracks the sales, said the inventory of existing houses on the market was 2.37 million in July, which is a two-year high, and the portion of sales comprising distressed properties dropped again to 9%.
From www.constructiondive.com
Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1211 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Postel Industries, Inc. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, 2014 WL 3594306 (USDC, Middle District of Florida, July 18, 2014)

District Court confirms arbitration award and sanctions opposing counsel.  Postel Industries, Inc., a subcontractor to Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC, opposed B&G’s motion to confirm an arbitration award under the “evident partiality” exception found at 9 U.S.C. § 10(a)(2).  Postel alleged an arbitrator (1) knew two of B&G’s attorneys from prior social gatherings and mediated cases with them; (2) knew but did not disclose that his former secretary was employed by the firm representing B&G; and (3) knew but did not disclose that B&G’s general counsel met the arbitrator’s former law partner at a social gathering in Washington, D.C., during the arbitration.  Judge Dalton set out the rule that “there must be a substantial relationship between the arbitrator and a party in order to establish ‘evident partiality’ under the statute.”  “The evident partiality exception is to be strictly construed,” and the “alleged partiality must be direct, definite and capable of demonstration rather than remote, uncertain, and speculative.”  The judge found Postel’s allegations to be “far too attenuated,” and sanctioned the opposing attorneys for having “no reasonable factual basis” to oppose confirmation.

From The Florida Bar: Construction Law Committee

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1211 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Top 10 Single-Family Markets Now are Mostly in the South, West (By Ron Gallagher)

Builder magazine has determined which metro areas had the highest home building activity— based on starts of single-family houses in the second quarter— by looking at the U.S. residential market through data collected and analyzed by its sister company, Metrostudy. The metros cluster in the South and West, though Chicago stood at No. 5 on the Top 10 list. The 10 were, in descending order: Reno, Nevada; the Rio Grande Valley, Southern California (both coastal and inland); Atlanta, Chicago, Nashville, Tennessee; St. George/Mesquite, Utah; Sarasota/Bradenton, Florida; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Naples/Fort Myers, Florida.

From www.constructiondive.com

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1211 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602

Monday, September 8, 2014

Apartment Construction is at 25-Year High, and Rents Keep Rising (By Ron Gallagher)

The totals for the past 12 months show that the year that ended July 31 saw the highest number of starts since 1989. The 15-plus% increase in residential starts announced this week favored multifamily rather than single-family housing.  Another illustration of how multifamily is dominating the recovery is that year-to-date building permits for multifamily buildings are up 17.5% compared with 2013, while single-family permits are 0.8% higher.  The post-recession job recovery has brought back as many jobs as were lost, but not the same kinds of jobs at pre-recession pay, which is why renting is more attractive to many people. However, July's numbers saw rent prices rising at the fastest pace in five years—so renting may not continue to be the affordable solution much longer.
From www.constructiondive.com
Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1211 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602

Friday, September 5, 2014

OSHA Extends Comment Period for Proposed Injury and Illness Rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced it will extend to Oct. 14 the comment period on the proposed rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. The proposal, published Nov. 8, 2013, would amend the agency's recordkeeping regulation to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information employers already are required to keep.

From NRCA

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1211 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Roofing Contractors Called to Comply with Arizona Rules on Solar Energy Projects

Roofing contractors planning to install solar panels in Arizona must qualify as solar contractors and comply with regulations set by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. For example, installation of roofing tiles that collect solar energy should be done by a CR-42 roofing contractor, but the connection to the electrical system must be done by a licensed electrical contractor. Roofing contractors should also inspect solar panels to ensure they don't void the warranty of the roof. 

From NRCA

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1211 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bari Builders, Inc. v. Hovstone Properties Florida, LLC, 2014 WL 3843070 (4D14-765, August 6, 2014)

Court finds that the presence of an additional dispute resolution clause does not render an otherwise valid arbitration clause ambiguous if the two can be read in a complimentary fashion.  A condominium association sued the contractor for construction defects and the contractor brought a third-party complaint against its subcontractor.  Subcontractor moved to compel arbitration citing an unambiguous arbitration provision.  The trial court denied the motion because the subcontract also contained the following language: In all actions the parties waive the right to jury and agree to determination of all facts by the court. The appellate court reversed.  The two provisions could be read together to mean “that the parties agree to submit any ‘controversy or claim’ to arbitration and, thereafter, any award may be reduced to judgment in court without the right to a jury trial.  Additionally, in the event that the parties choose to waive their right to arbitrate, the clause provides that any ‘action’ in court will be in the form of a bench trial.”

From The Florida Bar: Construction Law Committee

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1211 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

As Repairs Keep Going Unfunded, a Call for Bridge Monitors (By Ron Gallagher)

Governments that get federal help for repairs to rapidly aging bridges are trying to at least prioritize what work can be done by wiring bridges with sensors to detect cracks and strains. Among the bridges fitted with various types of sensors are the Brooklyn and Williamsburg crossings in New York City, and the replacement for the I-35W Bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis that collapsed in 2007 and killed 13 people. The sensors cannot, however, change the fact that a quarter of the approximately 600,000 bridges in the U.S. are rated structurally deficient or functionally obsolete and should be fixed.
(From www.constructiondive.com)

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1211 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602