Columns

OP NY NJ opener

By David J. Pfeffer and John J. Walsh

Is modular building the next big thing in the Big Apple? As little as one year ago, many well-respected members of New York’s construction industry might have answered with a resounding “yes.” Modular building offers developers the possibility of significantly reducing the time and cost associated with ground-up construction. The ability to pre-fabricate entire units, deliver them en masse to a project site and quickly stack them atop one another can, in theory, drastically reduce the time between groundbreaking and completion, leading to major cost reduction, given the ever-increasing costs of labor and overhead.

However, recent developments and challenges in the local modular building industry have led some to question whether modular development is right for New York.

OP COMMERCIAL opener

By Todd Andrew

In this line of work, we’re all too familiar with the worst-case scenarios that can develop between general and subcontractors.  A quick scan of recent headlines reveals unfortunate conflicts in every corner of the industry.

* In North Carolina, major road repairs came to a sudden halt when the primary subcontractor unexpectedly walked off the job. The company says it made the decision “pending resolution of sizable claims,” calling the payment process “broken.”

* In Massachusetts, the courts ruled that a subcontractor was not entitled to partial payment after refusing to perform disputed asbestos removal. At the heart of the matter was whether such work fell within the scope of the contract.

* And in Oregon, legal action is underway in a $3 million breach-of-contract case between a foresting company and its timber management subcontractor.

Despite all parties’ best efforts, lawsuits and other dust-ups are often natural side effects of doing business. Bad things happen to even the most cautious, well-intentioned companies, regardless of industry. 

IBS 2016

(Photo credit: © Oscar Einzig Photography)

IBS drew in attendees with its exceptional attractions, including The New American Home®.

By Alan Dorich

Each year, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) make Design & Construction Week® (DCW) a must-see event for everyone involved in residential construction and design. “We’re looking to put all things related to our industry in one place,” NAHB Senior Vice President for Exhibitions & Meetings Geoff Cassidy says. 

Institutional

By Ralf R. Rodriguez and Monique S. Cardenas

Contractors performing work for federal, state and local government agencies must be careful to avoid submitting what may be considered a false claim. Under the Federal False Claims Act (FCA) and other similar state statutes, including Florida's False Claim Act, contractors can be liable and exposed to sanctions for conduct that may be permissible – and in some instances considered standard operating procedure –on private projects.

NY Focus

 

By Erik Ortmann

By now many contractors have encountered goals set for a designated percentage of disadvantaged, minority and/or woman-business enterprises to participate on certain contracts. The rules pertaining to certified firm hiring typically apply to public contracts and depend on the funding source. For example, federally funded contracts apply federal rules/laws and call for the use of disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE), while New York State-funded contracts apply state rules/laws and call for the use of minority business enterprises (MBE) and/or woman business enterprises (WBE).

Commercial

By Don Wetherby

In the past 30 years, very little has changed for most small- to mid-sized general contractors and sub-contractors in terms of on-site project management. Generally speaking, it’s been a seat-of-pants approach to overseeing the building process. A superintendent’s role is much like a fireman’s – dousing out problems as they flare up. Ideally, we’d spend more time preventing issues before they become emergencies.

That’s where agile project management comes in. In 2001, a group of computer software developers who were tired of the complexity and ineffectiveness of traditional project management practices created The Manifesto for Agile Software Development. The agile methodology is a declaration of four values and 12 principles aimed to streamline the workflow process by increasing communication and collaboration throughout the scope of the project.

Residential OPBy Courtney DeMilio

Construction equipment theft is a lucrative and growing market for criminals. The spike in such theft brings with it a number of costly problems for construction business owners who not only stand to lose the valuable equipment, but also pay the price in loss of productivity. A recent study found that more than $7.7 million worth of construction equipment theft occurred in 2014 alone. According to the report, the most popular equipment to steal is that most common at a jobsite, including backhoes, wheel and skip loaders; skid steers; and towables such as generators and air compressors.

Civil

By Cynthia Evanko Olinger

Professional liability exposures in construction have traditionally been associated with members of the design team such as architects and engineers. With the advent of alternative contracting methods and the expansion of activities considered to be professional services, general and trade contractors are increasingly exposed to professional liability losses. For both evolving forms of risk, contractor professional liability policies can be a solution to crippling financial exposures.

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