Showing posts from May, 2017

A Push for Prefab: Why Offsite Construction Methods are Moving to the Mainstream

Until recently, the words "modular construction" likely evoked images of boxy, utilitarian overflow classrooms, and "prefabricated" connoted an inevitable sacrifice in style. However, today's offsite construction industry is an entirely different proposition.

In the last few years, general contractors and owners have become more receptive to its use, and designers are learning that prefabrication provides flexibility without constraining creativity.

A big boost to the offsite construction industry was the announcement earlier this month from hotel giant Marriott International that it plans to pursue a program of modular construction for some of its brands - representing approximately 13% of its North American hotel deals this year. That translates to 50 hotels with prefabricated bathrooms or guest rooms.

To date, Marriott has opened one modular hotel in California, which was completed two months ahead of schedule, and has four additional modular projects in pro…

Missouri Bill Would Bar Construction Labor Agreements

Missouri lawmakers approved a bill April 27 that would bar project labor agreements that require non-union contractors to pay union wages, according to Bloomberg BNA.

Under S.B. 182, state and local governments would be prohibited from requiring bidders on public projects to use union labor or pay union wages. The bill would also prohibit preferential treatment for union contractors and cut state funding on local governments that violate the law. Gov. Eric Greitens (R-Mo.) is expected to sign the legislation; Greitens signed into law a right-to-work measure earlier this year.

Under current law, project labor agreements are banned in Missouri for projects funded 50 percent or more with state funds but are allowed for other projects.

According to the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the bill could save "thousands of dollars" for the state.

"The bill would leave it in the hands of the contractor, and as a result, the contractor can choose the most cost-efficient …

Liquidated Damages Provisions in Construction Contracts

Even if it appears that the liquidated damages are proper, the prudent contractor will not accept the assessment at face value because there are many ways to defeat a liquidated damages clause.

Liquidated damages are a fact of life in modern construction contracting. However, even if your contract contains this provision and the owner has assessed liquidated damages that does not mean the assessment is valid or enforceable. There are a number of ways you might be able to prevent an owner from keeping contract proceeds that are rightfully yours. This article will provide the reader with an idea or two that will help keep hard-earned contract proceeds in the contractor’s pocket. In a breach of contract situation, liquidated damages are designed to provide a means to compensate the non-breaching party when the actual damages are not readily ascertainable. In other words, when the non-breaching party’s actual damages will be difficult to determine in the event of a breach, then the partie…

ABC Asks for Drug Testing in NYC Construction

The Empire State chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors - a non-union organization - has asked the New York City Council to consider adding mandatory alcohol and drug testing to its slew of construction bills up for consideration.

In a letter penned to council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and council member Jumaane Williams, Brian Sampson, the group's chapter president, asked the legislators to consider adding the testing provision to Intro. 1447.

"As the City Council considers amendments to Int. 1477, we urge you to strengthen the legislation with a provision mandating drug and alcohol testing for all New York City construction workers," Sampson wrote. "This long-overdue mandate would play a crucial role in your efforts to increase construction safety and would undoubtedly save lives in one of the city's most dangerous industries."

The letter added that drug and alcohol testing in common in other industries, specifically naming baseball player…

Five Key Provisions in a Residential Roofing Contract

Contractors should routinely review their roofing contract to make sure that it contains the most current terms and that the terms are enforceable.

In these tough economic times, 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 residential roofing contract, it will focus on five important provisions that every residential roofing contract should include.
1- Scope of Work Provisions – The majority of litigated disputes arise out of or relate to problems with the scope of work. Often, contractors are seeking payment for extras that were not originally contemplated in the contract. However, the homeowner may believe that the contract included all roofing work to be performed on the project.
For example, a roofing contractor that is providing a new roof for a homeowner may encounter rotted decking that needs to be replaced. The contr…

Construction Women Push to Earn What They're Worth

Noting their contributions to "the power of the purse" for their employers, women in construction are pushing for parity in compensation, which continues to lag behind that of male peers.

Despite numerous studies that show the business value of diverse management and professional teams, a gender-based wage gap still dogs women in the business world, said Carey Smith, president of the federal business unit of Parsons Corp. She made those comments to nearly 400 attendees at ENR's Groundbreaking Women in Construction conference, held May 2-3 in San Francisco.

According to Smith, the gender pay gap in construction—with women earning 93¢ for every male dollar—is narrower  than the business average of 82¢ per dollar, "but it's not where we need to be."

Smith noted the "amazing statistic" that companies diversified by gender and ethnicity outperform peers by 15% and 35%, respectively, citing research by consultant McKinsey.  "According to the study,…

Breaking Down OSHA's New Injury Reporting Rule for Roofing Contractors

The new rule requires employers in high-hazard industries to send OSHA injury and illness data contained on the OSHA 300 logs. In recent years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has dramatically increased rulemaking that has impacted the roofing industry. The latest rule requires the public disclosure of workplace injuries and illnesses in an effort to improve tracking efforts and transparency in roofing and other industries. While those are worthy endeavors, this final rule regarding the digital reporting of injuries and illness is, sadly, yet another example of OSHA leadership enacting a final rule without first understanding the real-world implications that the rule will have on the construction industry — roofing in particular. The new rule, which went into effect recently requires employers in high-hazard industries such as roofing to send OSHA injury and illness data contained on the OSHA 300 logs. OSHA will then post this information for public consumpti…

California Bill would Blacklist Contractors Involved in U.S.-Mexico Border Wall Project

SACRAMENTO — Contractors would have to choose between building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico and doing business with California under a legislative proposal that advanced in the Senate Tuesday. As California continues to fight the Trump administration’s agenda, Senate Bill 30 by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, would blacklist companies who help to build the controversial border wall that President Donald Trump has promised to build — a project estimated to cost more than $20 billion, funding the president has yet to secure. “It is not enough to simply oppose this wall in theory,” said Lara, calling this a “defining moment” for California. Hundreds of companies have expressed interest in border wall-related construction projects, including a number in the Bay Area, but the government has not released the number of bids it received before the deadline earlier this month.SB 30 is one of two bills taking aim at contractors who choose to work on the border wall. Assembly Bill 9…

Laws Surrounding Drug Testing Vary by State and Continue to Change

As of the most recent election cycle, 26 states and the District of Columbia have permitted either recreational or medicinal use of marijuana. Contractors and employers will be faced with evaluating their drug policies and must be aware of what the courts have to say about the matter. It’s important to remember that while states have legalized its use, marijuana is still illegal under federal law. This means that contractors working under a government contract or for a federal employer are prohibited from using marijuana in any way – even for medicinal purposes. This counts for both on-site use as well as off-site or at-home use. While federal law makes it clear that an employee who fails a drug test while working under government contract or for a federal employer can be fired by the roofing contractor, the laws vary by state. Two issues up for continued discussion include handling employees who arrive at the job site under the influence of marijuana and the employer’s right to a zero-…