Effective this month, the State of Texas joins the list of states with both anti-indemnity and anti-additional insured statutes. In legislation signed last summer by Gov. Rick Perry but not effective until January 1, 2012, Texas — previously viewed by construction law practitioners as a permissible venue which it came to risk shifting and indemnification — joined the now long list of states prohibiting clauses in construction contracts requiring indemnification of indemnitees for their negligence. Moreover, in so doing, Texas also joined the small but growing list of states prohibiting additional insured requirements – such as requirements in subcontracts requiring subcontractors to add contractors, construction managers and owners as additional insureds to the subcontractors’ policies. Other states on that list include: Colorado, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah.
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On December 22, 2011, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved a rule certifying an amended version of Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor design for use in the United States. The amended design certification, which will be incorporated into the NRC’s regulations, will be valid for 15 years.
The AP1000 is a 1,100 megawatt electric pressurized-water reactor. Westinghouse submitted an application for certification of the original AP1000 standard plant design on March 28, 2002, and the NRC issued a rule certifying that original design on January 27, 2006.
Westinghouse, however, submitted an application to amend the AP1000 on May 27, 2007, in order to ensure that the AP1000 could meet certain post 9/11 requirements, which included incorporation of protection around the building that could sustain the impact of an airplane crash.
Many in the industry now expect that the NRC will issue combined construction and operating licenses for new nuclear units.
On October 26, 2011, the Pennsylvania Department of General Services announced that a joint venture between Walsh Construction and Heery International, with a bid of $315,797,000, was selected to build a new, multi-use state correctional facility in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
The project, called State Correctional Institutions Phoenix East and West, had been delayed by bid protests and litigation, and was rebid after original plans were completely overhauled to meet the present and future needs of the Department of Corrections. The facility, which is expected to be completed by 2014, will be built on the grounds of SCI Graterford.
On March 2, 2011, the New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA) announced its Model Schools Program, an initiative to implement a standardized design for SDA school facilities. As part of this initiative, SDA planned on implementing standardized systems and materials in three phases.
Consistent with this plan, the SDA recently completed its first phase, and, has released two new manuals titled: Materials and Systems Standards Manual and Construction Details Manual. These manuals, which apply to Public School Facilities Projects in the State of New Jersey that are managed by the SDA, set forth the model systems and components to be used during construction of new facilities including standards for roofing, HVAC systems, flooring, finishes and more.
The remaining two phases of the NJSDA Model Schools Program standardization plan, the “Kit of Parts” which will provide uniform designs for classrooms and other school facility areas and the “2011 Design Manual” which will be the first design update since 2007, are expected to be released by the SDA in the near future.