By Steve Rizer
Over the last month, America’s construction industry has experienced an absolute profusion of legal activity. To get a better perspective of what is happening on this front, ConstructionPro Week (CPW) put together a short list of what we believe are the most important new developments affecting the industry’s legal landscape.
Here is the list, which excludes news already reported in CPW this month:
The Latest CGL Decision -- A federal appeals court has withdrawn a previous opinion in a key Texas commercial general liability (CGL) case and granted the rehearing that several construction groups requested. The opinion on rehearing can be accessed at http://www.asaonline.com/eweb/upload/Crownover%20v%20Mid-Continent%20on%20Petition%20for%20Rehearing%20Granted.pdf.
Election Results -- American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Nov. 7 declared that this year’s election results “signify a shift in Americans’ willingness to invest in infrastructure,” noting that five states passed ballots to provide more funding in this area. Ballot initiatives supporting increased infrastructure funding passed in Maryland, Wisconsin, Texas, Rhode Island, and California. However, in Massachusetts and Louisiana, there were setbacks for proponents of increased infrastructure funding.
State Construction Legislation -- New York State’s legislature last week submitted for gubernatorial approval a bill (S. 06981) that would raise the financial ceiling above which construction contracts must be publicly bid. In addition, a bill (A. 2388) concerning the registration of contractors is nearing final passage in New Jersey. The measure would require any contractor or subcontractor who registers to contract for public work pursuant to the state Public Works Contractor Registration Act, P.L.1999, c.238 (C.34:11-56.48 et seq.) to demonstrate that it is a responsible bidder by complying with all of the requirements of Section 5 of P.L.1999, c.238 (C.34:11-56.52).
OSHA’s Cranes & Derricks in Construction Standard -- Ten construction industry organizations have launched the Coalition for Crane Operator Safety (CCOS), which seeks swift revision and finalization of the crane operator certification requirements within the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Cranes & Derricks in Construction Standard. CCOS -- whose membership includes labor, management, equipment manufacturing, insurance underwriters, and accredited certification organizations -- wants OSHA to rescind the crane capacity certification requirement and a provision that the coalition believes essentially equates employer certification with qualification.
New Model Contract Documents -- The American Institute of Architects has unveiled several new model contract documents, additional information about which is available at the following webpages: http://www.aia.org/contractdocs/referencematerial/aiab099119; http://www.aia.org/contractdocs/referencematerial/AIAB104719; and http://www.aia.org/contractdocs/referencematerial/AIAB104720.
Other developments involve Associated Builders and Contractors, which requested that Executive Order 13673 on "fair play and safe workplaces" be withdrawn; a solicitation of comments for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards; and a pair of cases involving RFI Construction (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-ncmd-1_14-cv-00235/pdf/USCOURTS-ncmd-1_14-cv-00235-0.pdf) and Grahams Construction Inc. (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-ca4-14-01492/pdf/USCOURTS-ca4-14-01492-0.pdf).
The ConstructionPro Network member version of this article contains additional details about these developments.