Friday, December 30, 2016

Famous American Buildings made out of Limeston

Limestone has been utilised throughout the ages and is a popular material within building and construction. We take a look at famous American buildings made out of limestone which still remain today and are iconic within America.
The Pentagon, United States
At 6,500,000 square feet, the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia is the world’s largest office building and serves as the headquarters for the United States Department of Defense.

Designed by American architect George Bergstrom and constructed by contractor John McShain, reinforced concrete was implemented alongside Indiana limestone for the building’s exterior as a result of the lack of steel from the Second World War. 
Rebuilt after September 11 2001, the building now houses over 23,000 employees and is one of the most famous buildings within America.

The Lincoln Memorial, United States

Constructed to honour Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, the Lincoln Memorial was built between 1914 and 1922. Designed by architect Henry Bacon and incorporating classical features, the build also has a statue of Lincoln within the interior, constructed by Daniel Chester French.
Interior walls and columns are made from Indiana limestone, beside marble and granite which have been utilized to represent different areas within the United States.
The area is still a tourist attraction and has become listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1966.

The Empire State Building, New York

The iconic Empire State Building, situated in Manhattan, New York is the fifth tallest skyscraper in America and has been a National Historic Landmark since 1986. Completed in 1931, it has become the tallest building to obtain the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design after an extensive $550 million renovation in 2010.
Designed by William F. Lamb from Shreve Lamb and Harmon, Indiana limestone has been incorporated into the build, in addition to art deco influences.
Reaching a height of 443.092 metres, the building incorporates over 1,000 businesses and over 21,000 employees, alongside 73 elevators and observation decks. The construction is now the second largest single office space within America.

Washington National Cathedral, United States

Built from Indiana limestone, the Washington National Cathedral took over 80 years to build, but is now the sixth largest cathedral in the world. Completed in 1990, the cathedral incorporates Gothic architectural styles, with over 400 gargoyles, stained glass windows, ornate carvings and pointed arches within its design.
The cathedral is also the burial place for Helen Keller, Woodrow Wilson and Architects Henry Vaughan and Philip Frohman.
From Global Construction
Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Monday, December 26, 2016

Bechtel Rolls out Virtual Reality Safety Training

Dive Brief:
  • Global construction firm Bechtel partnered with New York City-based construction safety technology company Human Condition Safety to offer the latter's new virtual reality (VR) immersion safety training.
  • VR technology will be piloted in conjunction with training modules for workforce education at the Bechtel Innovation Center in Houston. HCS's SafeScan program allows users to repeatedly simulate dangerous or intensive procedures.
  • Usage data from training can be collected and combined with geographic information, safety histories and regulatory requirements to optimize future training and real-world safety programs and practices.
Dive Insight:
Just behind the design and development set in employing VR are construction safety teams, who have experienced an upshot in leveraging realistic simulations to train workers in dealing with hazardous environments or intensive maneuvers — including high-risk tasks like crane operations — without actually exposing them or their surroundings to danger.
“We’re seeing greater use of VR simulators to get more management involved in crane safety at trade shows in particular,” said Hank Dutton, a crane safety specialist for Travelers Insurance, who spoke with Construction Dive this week about how construction firms are using new technology to improve safety on the job site. His company is developing a mobile training application that uses VR to teach best practices for mitigating accidents in warehouses and manufacturing facilities. He notes that VR training is also incorporated at some of the larger construction-workforce training centers
In addition to training, VR offers construction safety professionals the ability to visually communicate job site hazards to management and design teams throughout the construction cycle. Tools from tablets and mobile phones to wearable visors provide a 3-D, 360-degree view of work environments to members of the project team regardless of their location.
From Construction Dive
Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Working Under the Threat of Zika: How Construction Firms can Protect Employees From the Virus

Health threats like Ebola, swine flu (H1N1), SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and bird flu have all taken a turn at terrifying the world's population, each pushing those likely to be exposed to establish unique safety measures. Now, the newest health scare has emerged in the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
The spread of Zika in South and Central America collided with the summer media blitz for the recent Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, turning an outbreak into a full-fledged panic. Once medical workers began to suspect a connection between the virus and babies born with microcephaly, a neurological disorder, women were cautioned about traveling to Brazil, and a group of 150 health professionals even called for the Olympics to be postponed. Additionally, outdoor workers were determined to be exceptionally vulnerable to mosquitos carrying the disease and were also encouraged to take preventative measures.
Both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have outlined procedures to protect construction workers from Zika exposure while on the job, as well as to clear up misconceptions about the virus. Construction firms in Zika-prone areas are taking those steps and additional precautions to ensure their workers are educated about the virus and protected from contracting it.
The facts of the Zika virus and steps to protect employees
Zika, which is carried by the Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito, is neither a worldwide threat nor is it something with which most Americans need to concern themselves. So far, the virus has only been detected in South and Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, some Pacific islands and two areas in South Florida. Just this week, authorities downgraded the Zika threat for one of those locations in Florida when no new cases were reported after three mosquito incubation cycles.
However, Miami-based construction company IBT Group is keeping its guard up regarding the virus threat. "Mosquitoes don't carry a passport," said Daniel Toledano, IBT managing director. He said the company makes sure that workers in any area with a risk of exposure are taking the proper measures as recommended by the CDC and OSHA. Those recommendations include:
  • Eliminating any sources of standing water on the site, as this is where mosquitoes breed
  • Implementing a weekly cleaning of anything that holds water
  • Wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks in an effort to minimize exposed skin
  • Applying an EPA-registered insect repellent daily
  • Spraying outdoor areas with insect spray
  • Treating clothing with permethrin or buying pre-treated clothing
When employees suspect they have contracted Zika, the CDC recommends they take a blood or urine test. The virus often presents itself with mild symptoms of fever, rash, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and headache. No vaccine for the virus has been released yet.
A familiar threat for workers in the field
The CDC recommendations are common-sense measures, according to Toledano, who also oversees large infrastructure projects in Central and South America, where the Zika threat can be so severe that the company takes the temperature of employees at certain job sites twice a day. However, he said, workers are no different whether they are in Brazil or in Florida in that they need to be reminded daily of required protection procedures.
In addition, Toledano said mosquitoes can also carry dengue and chikungunya, diseases that construction crews in Latin America have been fighting for decades. "They understand the risk associated with it because they have been exposed to mosquito bites their whole lives," he said. "That's why we have strong security officers to make sure recommendations are enforced." Safety procedures are particularly important, he said, on remote construction sites where workers share sharing sleeping quarters.
How to educate employees about potential risks
Eddie Martinez, director of safety for Munilla Construction Management in Miami, said the company employs 300 workers in the South Florida region, so preventing Zika exposure is a full-time task. Although the company is not currently working in any locations that have been identified by the CDC as a Zika risk, Martinez said the firm has ongoing work in the Everglades and other mosquito-prone areas.
As a result, the company has initiated a proactive Zika prevention program. The company holds morning safety "toolbox talks" once a week to update and educate employees on the virus, which Martinez calls a "Zika recap." MCM also issues mosquito repellent to all employees and requires them to use it.
Martinez said that if an MCM  employee suspects he or she has been infected with Zika, the company would simply follow OSHA and CDC guidelines, just as it would for any other safety or health issue. Similar to IBT, Martinez said MCM has a strict safety policy, and all employees must comply. "We're taking precautions because we can't just wait for an outbreak," he said.
It's critical that the Zika information pipeline is dependable. "Most of the people get their information from social media," Martinez said. "Those people are not experts. We go directly to the CDC to educate our employees."
There's also another motive for IBT to keep its employees Zika-free: the goal of creating a safe workplace. "For us, security in construction is security for our workers. If workers feel protected, then we attract the best employees," Martinez said.
From Construction Dive
Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Friday, December 16, 2016

Nonresidential Construction Spending Down in September, but August Data Upwardly Revised

WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 1—Nonresidential construction spending fell 0.9 percent from August to September 2016, according to analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Nonresidential spending totaled $690.5 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis for the month, 0.7 percent below September 2015’s figure.

The government revised the August nonresidential construction spending estimate from $686.6 billion to $696.6 billion; otherwise September spending would have risen on a month-over-month basis.  Eleven of 16 nonresidential construction subsectors experienced monthly declines.

“Since late 2015, the level of nonresidential construction spending in America has been effectively flat,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Undoubtedly, soft U.S. economic growth has had an impact on nonresidential construction spending growth. For several quarters prior to the third quarter of 2016, U.S. economic growth hovered around 1 percent.

“However, public policy has also played a large part in shaping trends in nonresidential construction,” said Basu. “A number of primarily publicly financed construction segments have experienced declines in spending over the past year, including sewage and waste disposal (-18.8%), water supply (-13.7%), public safety (-13%) and transportation (-11.3%). Meanwhile, the level of construction spending in office, lodging and commercial segments is up on a year-over-year basis, though spending in the office and commercial categories was down on a month-over-month basis and lodging-related construction was roughly flat.

“It is conceivable that uncertainty regarding federal, state and local elections is negatively impacting state and local government infrastructure spending,” said Basu. “That uncertainty causes projects to be shelved.  However, it is also possible that governments are shifting resources away from capital spending and toward other priorities, including surging Medicaid expenditures, rising compensation costs and underfunded pensions.

“Private spending growth in a number of categories softened a bit in September, perhaps because commercial real estate lenders have become increasingly concerned about potential overbuilding in certain segments and geographies,” warned Basu. “The implication is that nonresidential construction spending growth may not accelerate anytime soon, though there is some hope that the period following the elections will usher forth a period of renewed spending growth.”

From ABC

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Monday, December 12, 2016

Construction Unemployment Rates Improve in 32 States Year-Over-Year

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 31—September not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates improved in 32 states and the nation on a year-over-year basis, according to analysis released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The national NSA construction unemployment rate of 5.2 percent was 0.3 percent lower than a year ago, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

This was the lowest September construction unemployment rate since 2000, when it was 4.6 percent. BLS data also reported that the industry employed 208,000 more people than in September 2015.

“September 2016 marks the sixth year of uninterrupted monthly year-over-year rate decreases in the national construction unemployment rate that began in October 2010,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “These industry-specific unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted, so it is important to note states’ performance on a year-ago basis. The year-over-year improvement in the national unemployment rate as well as in the rates of 32 states demonstrates the steady improvement in the construction job market over the past year.”

Like August, the historical pattern for change in the national NSA construction unemployment rate from the month before is ambiguous. Starting in 2000, when the BLS data for this series begins, through 2015, the change in the September rate from August has fallen eight times, risen seven times and been unchanged once. This year’s September increase of 0.1 percent adds an eighth year that the rate has risen from August.

The Top Five States
The states with the lowest estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest rate to highest they were:

1.    Colorado
2.    South Dakota
3.    Idaho and North Dakota (tie)
5.    Massachusetts

The Bottom Five States
The states with the highest NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest rates were:

46.    Alabama
47.    Pennsylvania
48.    Rhode Island
49.    New Mexico
50.    Alaska

Fromt ABC

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Technology Advances Metal Roofers’ Production

There are so many new technological advances affecting the metal roofing industry; here’s highlighting a few that are increasing metal roofing companies productivity

Weather technological devices, using cell phone apps, the newest software, flying unmanned airplanes—drones—are just a few of the technological devices that are affecting the metal roofing industry. And, they sure are making a huge difference when it comes to metal roofers getting the job done more efficiently and effectively.

Productivity and efficiency is the lifeline of any metal roofing company. How it increases and continues to flow efficiently takes different kinds of measures from company to company.
Drones Making Metal Roofing Easier & Safer
Another way metal roofers are making their jobs more efficient to increase their production are by using unmanned aircraft—drones—to fly over roofs and help them inspect roofs, saving significant time it may take a roofer to manually go up there.
Luke Hansen, of White Castle Roofing, in Lincoln, Nebraska, began using drones about three years ago to speed up roof inspections and estimates. He states that it’s not only quicker, but it’s also safer for the roofing crew.
“Drones are insanely cool. We started to use drones about three years ago. We thought that they’d be really expensive; they aren’t,” Hansen said. “You can get an awesome drone for about $500 so we thought we’d make the investment.”
White Castle Roofing owns two drones. Both DJIs—the Phantom 2 and the Phantom 4. “You can get into the newer ones, more expensive ones; there are a lot of different kinds and they are fun to try out,” Hansen said.
“Roofing is extremely dangerous. Whether it’s huge steeples on a church, or just really tall buildings. At first, we started to use them because we thought they’d be a means where you don’t have to walk on a roof. They are extremely helpful and safer. The thing with drones though, is that you eventually crash them. You think that you are better maneuvering them than what you really are.”
Examples of how they have used them include: on high apartment complexes; many church steeples; inspections; and they have just flown the drones up to see what kind of problems and damage the roof may have, to get an initial idea of what all will need to be done. “They give you a great view of the roof, you can get super close and it’s a great alternative to going up there yourself and it’s a really fast way to see what kind of situation you are dealing with,” he says.
“There’s also a huge marketing aspect to using them, such as getting great marketing material. For example, you can send the drone up to get high-resolution photos of projects and video while the work is being done,” Hansen said. “And, once a project is completed, you can get really cool video and photography.”
White Castle Roofing still uses their drones from time to time, and Hansen says that they “assess the situation and if they don’t want to walk on the roof, it’s a great way to get super close. You can get perfect, crisp HD video, you can find out how many shingles are missing and it’s so much cheaper than renting a crane,” he said. “And, it’s so much faster vs. getting the crane in place and going up there.”
Although they don’t use drones as much as they have in the past in recent years, he said that it will be interesting to see the regulations once they take full affect. “Before we further invest in more drones, we are waiting it out to see what the state regulations are going to be like. Regardless, regulations are going to be strict when they are finalized. Even now, you need to register your drone with the FAA, you’ll need to take tests; there will be requirements. We’re waiting to see what the requirements are going to be before we get really serious in investing in newer equipment for it.”
Drones Soon To Be Regulated
Just recently, Anthony Tilton, lawyer with Trent Cotney, P.A., a firm dedicated to representing the construction industry, gave a seminar titled “The Use and Application of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) in the Roofing Industry,” at the Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractor’s Association (FRSA) expo in Orlando, Florida.
In his seminar he addressed how everyday, more and more roofing contractors within the industry continue to choose unmanned aircraft systems to perform estimates, capture marketing images and inspect roofing surfaces.
“As this technology continues to expand, both the Federal and State governments will move to implement regulations and control over this rapidly evolving technology,” Tilton said.
“You have to take into consideration both the benefits of drone technology vs. the risks of liability,” he said.
Some of the benefits that Tilton discussed include:
• Safer and faster estimates;
• Management of customer expectations with real-time photographs and videos of installation;
• Imaging provides instantaneous estimates;
• Programs available to compute material needs;
• High-quality images indicate potential areas in need of repair;
• Marketing; and
• Accurate surveys of elevations and roof slope, etc.
Tilton stressed throughout the seminar that the laws are always changing and if you pursue to use drones, you should keep up with the laws and regulations, depending on the state you live in.
“As the technology becomes more and more prevalent, laws will become more important. Anything that we can do to keep roofers safe, the better,” Tilton says.
If you or your company has questions about drone regulation or the construction industry in general, feel free to contact Tilton at his Tallahassee, Florida, office at 850-213-1297 or email him at:
From Construction Magazine Network
Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Friday, December 2, 2016

ADP: Construction Adds 11,000 Jobs in September

Dive Brief:
  • The ADP Research Institute and Moody's Analytics produced the September report using ADP's payroll database of 411,000 customers and 24 million workers.
Dive Insight:
  • In its September 2016 National Employment Report, payroll services company ADP said that its U.S. private non-farm clients added 154,000 jobs in September, with 11,000 of those positions in the construction industry.
  • Construction rebounded after three months of declining employment numbers, more than making up for the total loss of 10,000 positions during that period.
According to the most recent Associated General Contractors of America report, August construction employment grew in only 61% of 358 markets year over year and decreased in 76, the weakest performance in three years. The agency holds this statistic up as further proof that contractors are still having a hard time finding skilled workers. While the number of available jobs is at a 10-year-high, AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson said that means the dip in hires has more to do with a lack of available workers than a shortage of work.
In another September report, the AGC said that employment growth stalled between July and August, echoing the ADP results that showed a monthly loss of 2,000 to 3,000 positions for June, July and August. The AGC said infrastructure contractors and construction firms in depressed markets couldn't find enough work, while companies that perform a significant volume of private commercial work or that are located in booming areas of the country couldn't find enough skilled workers to hire.
The AGC has been banging the drum about the labor shortage for quite some time, and the association promotes its Workforce Development Plan as a way to tackle the problem. The plan focuses on career development at the secondary and post-secondary education levels as a way to fill the construction pipeline, not only to meet current demand but also to fill the gap as aging construction workers prepare to retire in the coming years.
From Construction Dive
Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Monday, November 28, 2016

5 Significant Technologies Influencing the Construction Sector

Technology within construction has seen a significant shift in the creation of smart builds and cities. We take a look at five emerging technologies which will continue to transform the industry for years to come.

Oculus Rift

Increasingly utilized by construction workers and architects in the design of homes and commercial builds, the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is making waves after previously being made popular through the gaming sector.  
With integrated headphones, users are submersed into a 3D experience, allowing users to see the inner mechanisms of model buildings, inspect materials within a virtual reality setting and interact with builds before they are constructed, allowing teams to ensure swift, informed decision making.

Microsoft HoloLens

Released in 2016, the Microsoft HoloLens will become a dominant force within the construction industry. Utilizing Windows 10, the technology is able to map environments or rooms, allowing users to view holograms and incorporate objects into the real world.
Technicians or architects can utilize the technology anywhere in the world. By using Skype, users are able to ring for advice regarding how to fix potential issues by showing fellow workers parts of the machine or building which needs resolving by walking around the model and providing a closer look. The user can even order new parts through the technology, so can be effectively utilized for maintenance.

Smart Helmets

Invented by technology company Daqri, Smart Helmets are becoming increasingly utilized to enable construction workers to work more safely, efficiently and boost performance through augmented reality. The helmets will also be compatible with BIM software.
Incorporating a sixth-generation Intel Core m7 processor, the helmet is able to map the surroundings of the user, allowing users to share this information, in addition to capturing images and videos, alongside a high-definition camera. Embedded technologies also enable thermal vision within projects, ensuring worker safety.
Not much heavier than a traditional helmet worn on site and made for all weather conditions, Smart Helmets also enable workers to gain help and support remotely, reducing the time of repairs considerably, in addition to providing work instructions on site.


Although already highly used within construction to capture updates on projects and survey at a more efficient speed then traditional surveying works, drones are set to become utilized further within construction and design, providing quicker, more accurate information.
Drones can create aerial maps of potential sites and highlight any structural issues, allowing companies to budget and plan effectively, also reducing traditional costs. Drones have also become increasingly utilized to ensure and update stakeholders in the progress of new builds

Internet of Things (IoT)

Since its conception in 2014, the Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly shaping the way in which technologies are enabling the construction sector to build smart homes and cities.
From Global Construction
Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Drones for Construction: What You Should Know

The use of drones in construction has quickly made its way from concept to reality in recent years. With rapidly evolving technologies and the government’s response to their adoption, industry members shouldn’t be learning the dos and don’ts on the fly.
That was the message from construction lawyer Trent Cotney during a recent presentation at the “Best of Success” conference.
“Less than a month ago, the law was completely different. That’s how fast things are changing,” he said. “And I guarantee you six month from now, the law will change again. So it’s something you want to constantly keep up with.” He said that 20 years ago, drones were nothing more than RC vehicles. “The drones being used today are much different … these are no longer just toys.”
Drone Usage
A potential use of drones in the glass and glazing industry is during the installation phase. Workers on-site can use them to monitor progress, identify issues and inspect quality without having to physically elevate up many stories.
Cotney discussed other primary ways drones are used in construction, and these could apply to the glass and glazing industry from a retrofit perspective. One primary application is for sales and marketing purposes.
Managers bidding on a job can go on site with the customer and fly a drone up to the application in question to further examine and discuss their scope of the work. “Better yet, you can provide that video footage or photographic evidence and make it part of your proposal,” he said.
Cotney has also seen subcontractors use drones for estimating to identify “something very specific” that could alter price or the scope of work. The third use he noted was safety, as problem areas can be identified well in advance and taken into consideration before getting involved with or beginning the job.
New Regulations
He later discussed the federal government’s efforts in recent years to regulate commercial drone usage, noting that the first couple attempts “fell flat.” He says the application process wasn’t streamlined and the average wait time to get authorized was six months long. “The government said, ‘This isn’t working,’” he said.
The federal government, however, recently proposed and put into effect new rules for “non-hobbyist small unmanned aircraft (UAS) operations” at the end of August, and he briefed attendees on some of the key points of the rules. The rules are under Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations.
To start, the drone in use must weigh less than 55 pounds. “What’s interesting is that drone manufacturers are also trying to keep up with regulations,” said Cotney.
The drone also cannot fly higher than 400 feet in the air, and it can’t leave the operator’s visual line of sight. This means a second person is needed as an operator if, for example, they want to use goggles to monitor the drone.
Other rules important to consider, he says, are that the operator can’t fly over people unless they’ve consented to the inspection process, they can’t fly at night and can’t operate the drone from a moving vehicle.
Prior to operation, the drone requires a pre-flight inspection. “This is to make sure everything is secure and that the drone is operating exactly as it should before putting it up in the air,” he said.
Liabilities and Precautions
Cotney then explained key liabilities and precautions to consider when using drones for construction. “I have concerns with the use of drones for a variety of reasons,” he said. “There are things you want to think about contractually.”
He said it is imperative the contractor gets written permission from the customer to use the drone, as “that air space is part of their property.” He said the customer must acknowledge that the drone won’t be recognized as trespassing or a nuisance, and that the images can be used as the contractor sees fit. He said the contractor could take that a step further and have the customer waive any consequential damages of the drone usage.
“What kinds of things could happen with drone usage? Well, it could hit the property or someone else, or a power line—all different kinds of things can happen,” he said. “That’s why you’ve got to think about it from a liability standpoint.”
Cotney concluded with a look ahead to the next five to ten years, noting that drones could even be used to actually physically move or remove elements on the building.
“This is why I think it’s important as an industry that we’re involved in the regulations,” he said.
From USGlass News Network
Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Playing It Safe Is Playing It Smart: Why the Roofer You Hire Means More than You Think

With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure safe working conditions for working men and women (  Every state is either governed by OSHA or the state-sponsored equivalent.  The standards set and enforce safety regulations that govern all aspects of roofing construction including the proper use of fall protection and personal protective equipment.
Falls are one of the leading causes of death and injuries in the construction industry. Therefore, roofers must not only follow the current laws and regulations governing fall protection, but also stay abreast of the many changes that occur to OSHA regulations each year.  A roofer that does not follow OSHA regulations can attract unwanted attention to a job site through OSHA and other government agency inspections. These inspections delay job progress and can severely disrupt business operations.  More importantly, if a roofer falls and gets injured on a job site, the owner could be sued and face thousands in defense costs and increased insurance premiums. Whether it be a roofer injured due to some noncompliance with safety harness standards, or a passerby injured because a worker failed to properly secure his materials, the owner can, and will, always face litigation. A single lawsuit could cost owner thousands of dollars in defense costs and increased insurance premiums.
By Trent Cotney for National Roofing Partners
Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Friday, November 11, 2016

Three Important Provisions in Residential Roofing Contracts

A good contract can be a roofer’s best friend

A contract can be a roofer’s best friend because it will contain terms that will assist the roofer in collecting money or defending claims. Although this article will not discuss all the provisions needed in a good residential roofing contract, it will focus on three important provisions that every residential roofing contract should include.
  1. Notice Provision. All residential roofing contracts should contain a notice provision which requires that the owner notify the contractor of any defects or claims within a certain time period. The notice provision must be clear and unambiguous and should also provide that failure to provide the contractor with notice results in the owner waiving any damages arising out of that claim. The courts have strictly construed these notice provisions and have required that the contractor provide the owner with a reasonable period of time to notify the contractor. All notice provisions should require that the notice be provided in writing to avoid confusion.
  2. Attorney’s Fees Provision. All residential construction contracts should contain an attorney’s fees provision which allows the contractor to obtain attorney’s fees in the event it has to seek payment or defend claims against the owner. The contractor should be aware that attorney’s fees provisions generally are considered reciprocal. Therefore, if the owner succeeds against the contractor, the owner will be entitled to its attorney’s fees that it incurred against the contractor. An attorney’s fees provision not only provides the contractor with the opportunity to collect its attorney’s fees, but also gives the contractor’s attorney an additional settlement tool that may encourage an owner to settle because of the risk of the owner having to pay for the contractor’s attorney’s fees.
  3. Venue Provision. Contractors (especially contractors that perform work in more than one county) should include a venue provision in their residential roofing contract. The venue provision governs where a case can be brought based on the contract. For example, assume you are doing work in Texas but your venue provision provides that you can only sue or be sued in Dade County, Florida where your main office is located. If a dispute arises out of the contract and the venue clause is specifically worded, the owner will have to sue you in Dade County and not Orange County, Florida. Obviously, this is beneficial for the contractor because the contractor has less travel expense and may be able to use local contacts for expert witnesses.
By Trent Cotney for Roofers Coffee Shop

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine

Important precautions to protect children

Many states have what is commonly referred to as the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine, which is a concept arising from negligence and premises liability. Although there may be nuances from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, generally speaking, an attractive nuisance is something on real property that may entice children to enter your property and potentially be harmed by the nuisance. A property owner that is aware of an attractive nuisance must take precautions to protect children from it.
What are attractive nuisances? They can include things such as swimming pools, wells, equipment or machinery, or dangerous animals. In some cases, even roof tops have been considered attractive nuisances if the owner is aware that children like to climb on the roof.
To protect himself or herself from liability, a property owner should try to eliminate attractive nuisances or otherwise prevent children from obtaining access to the nuisances by installing fencing or other measures to prevent access. Property owners can also use signs or warn children and lock up areas that may contain attractive nuisances. Keep in mind that a sign may not be enough to prevent liability under the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine, especially if the child is too young to read. Furthermore, if the owner is aware of a child playing with a particular piece of equipment or entering his or her property, then that knowledge element may lead to liability under the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine.
A common attractive nuisance for roofing contractors is leaving an unattended ladder on site for inspections. Children could harm themselves by either playing with the ladder or climbing on the roof. Despite requests, inspectors are reluctant to bring their own ladders, and timed inspections are simply not practical in many locations. On the other hand, insurers dictate that no unattended equipment should be left at a residential project site without taking adequate precautions. What can a roofer do to protect itself in this situation?
There is no easy answer to this question. First, the roofing contractor should notify the owner of the ladder and to watch for any children in the area. Second, the roofer could use temporary fencing or warning signs around the ladder to draw attention to the danger. Finally, if possible, the roofing contractor could have the access point in the back yard or in a fenced off location making it more difficult for children to obtain access to the ladder. Although many inspectors require the ladder be ready for use and abutting the roof, some inspectors allow for the ladder to be placed on the ground in a secure area for access by the inspector when needed.
For roofing contractors, it is important to address the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine in the contract documents between the roofing contractor and the owner. The contract should clearly define whose responsibility it is to maintain the construction site during the course of construction. In other words, during the course of construction, the contract should identify who will control the job site. On residential projects, it is often difficult to fence off the entire construction area. However, roofers can take precautions to remove exposed materials and check for nails on a daily basis, among other things. Furthermore, the foreman or safety person for each roofing contractor should make sure to keep children, pets, and others away from the job site during the course of construction.
By Trent Cotney for Roofers Coffee Shop
Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

OSHA's 10 Most Common Job Site Violations for Construction

Which health and safety violations occur most often on the job site today? With construction accounting for one in five workplace deaths in 2014, higher penalty payouts in place and new rules for tracking and recording violations looming, we asked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration which rules are broken most often on construction-related projects.

As it turns out, the worst offenses have largely stayed the same over time. It should come as little surprise that fall-protection mishaps top the list. With more than 20,000 incidents reported in the last four years, it remains the leading cause of death in construction. Following close behind are faulty ladders and inefficient eye and face and head protection.

This summer, OSHA announce its interim rule raising maximum civil penalties by 78% to meet the requirements of a federally mandated increase designed to ensure that the fines reflect inflation. The rule went into effect on Aug. 1, bumping the maximum fee for serious violations to $12,471 from $7,000 and the penalty for willful and repeated violations to $124,709 from $70,000.

Meanwhile, OSHA caught flak this summer for the "anti-retaliation" provision of its new electronic recordkeeping rule. The contested portion of the rule eliminates post-accident drug and alcohol testing of involved employees, which critics say is essential to preventing future incidents but that OSHA contends is a privacy violation. Previously, companies that have conducted post-accident testing have become susceptible to higher OSHA fines. Furthermore, OSHA has said the data collected will be publicly available in an effort to draw attention to the most serious violations and the companies at which they occur. The rule goes into effect on Nov. 1.

The following data reflects the leading construction-related occupational safety and health violations since 2012. OSHA notes that the data for previous years is nearly identical, indicating that many of these violations have been decades-long struggles to improve safety practices in construction. In all industries nationwide, worker deaths are down from 38 per day in 1973 to 13 per day in 2014, according to OSHA.

Below, we've listed the leading violations for federal OSHA as well as for the overall state-plan program.

Fall protection
Including residential construction, guard rails, portable ladders and scaffolds, this remains the most common OSHA violation among construction-related projects. Fall-related violations accounted for 359 out of 899 deaths in 2014, according to OSHA. The administration continues to respond with Local Emphasis Programs that include a focus on fall hazards in all 10 regions of OSHA governance nationwide.

Lack of Training
Another common violation among OSHA's federal program and its state-run plans relates to training, specifically having to do with properly implementing fall-protection strategies. In addition to fulfilling the training requirements, employers must either confirm in writing that a worker has completed the necessary preparation or retrain the employee.

Eye and Face Protection
The requirement for workers in industries including construction to be equipped with personal protection equipment for their eyes and faces came to light earlier this year, when OSHA passed its final silica rule, reducing the allowable exposure to airborne silica dust five-fold and requiring that companies track worker exposure and offer medical exams for those exposed for lengthy periods. The rule updated OSHA's Eye and Face Protection Standard for consistency across its standards and to allow workers to use the latest protective gear.

Head Protection
Though not as common as falls, head-protection violations do occur. In February, a Norridge, IL-based roofing contractor was cited and fined $115,500 for violations including employees working sans head protection, in addition to fall hazards and operating a nail gun without proper eye protection.

Hazard Communication
Construction sites are home to a range of materials and substances, and contractors must ensure that their related hazards are documented and shared with the rest of the project team. Communications should include standard labeling in addition to data sheets and employee training where relevant. Lead and silica dust are among the substances requiring hazard communication.

The top 10 OSHA construction standards cited by federal OSHA:
     1. Fall Protection, residential construction (1926.501(b)(13)): 19,367 violations
     2. Ladders, portable (1926.1053 (b)(1)): 7,192
     3. Fall Protection, guard rails (1926.501(b)(1)): 6,387
     4. Training Requirements (1926.503(a)(1): 6,175
     5. Eye and Face Protection (1926.102(a)(1)): 5,835
     6. Head Protection (1926.100(a)): 4,997
     7. Scaffolds, fall protection (1926.451(g)(1)): 3,708
     8. Scaffolds, aerial lifts (1926.453(b)(2)(v)): 3,438
     9. Fall Protection, low-slope roofs (1926.501(b)(10)): 3,361
     10. Scaffolds, access (1926.451(e)(1)): 2,993

The top 10 construction standards cited by OSHA state plan states:
     1. Fall Protection, residential construction (1926.501(b)(13)): 1,840
     2. Fall Protection, guard rails (1926.501(b)(1)): 1,206
     3. Training Certification (1926.503(b)(1)): 965
     4. Training Program (1926.503(a)(1)): 943
     5. Ladders, portable (1926.1053(b)(1)): 775
     6. Hazard Communication, written program (1910.1200(e)(1)): 727
     7. Fall Protection, low-slope roofs (1926.501(b)(10)): 698
     8. Head Protection (1926.100(a)): 674
     9. Fall Protection, steep roofs (1926.501(b)(11)): 571
     10. General Safety and Health Provisions (1926.20(b)(2)): 562
From Construction Dive

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606