Throughout the lockdown in the UK, the construction industry has been allowed to remain open for business providing that compliance with the Public Health England measures is maintained. However, most national house builders at least had taken a decision to close sites. Boris Johnson on Sunday 10th May, in his long awaited press briefing on the potential relaxation of social distancing road map, made clear that those in construction and manufacturing should go back to work, if they could.
Lean Thinking as a concept has its roots in Toyota’s production system. One of the primary tenets of this concept is to aim to perfect process, as continuous improvements address root causes of quality issues, and the elimination of waste.
The construction industry, on the other hand, has long been criticised for being wasteful, and failing over the decades to deliver good value. Furthermore, it has a reputation for being an adversarial industry with significant disputes. There have been countless reports over the decades attempting to work out how these ills can be addressed.
Social distancing measures and lockdowns have been replicated across the globe and have brought world economies to all time lows. Understandably, there is now a degree of anxiety to getting back to work. The longer the lockdown goes on for, the harder the bounce back may be. Unsurprisingly murmurings of getting the country back to work are beginning to surface. Some manufacturers and building firms that shut down are now slowly preparing to return to work from a state of hibernation.
In an industry of seemingly ever-tighter margins across the board, it is perhaps unsurprising that the construction industry has fought to continue through the current coronavirus crisis as much as it has. However, many in the industry have stopped work and shut down sites and, despite the current and perhaps somewhat over-optimistic view from the government that work can continue whilst still complying with social distancing rules, it seems inevitable that all non-essential work will stop very soon. Continue reading “Coronavirus and Construction in the UK: The Time to Talk Is Now”
On January 9, 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order 162 requiring state agencies and authorities to include a provision in state contracts “requiring contractors to agree to include detailed workforce utilization reports, in addition to the equal employment opportunity information” that is currently required to be included in such reports. The new reports must contain the job title, salary and other data, including the gender, race, and ethnicity of each employee working on the state contract. If the contractor cannot identify the particular workers on the state contract, the report must then contain the job titles and salary data “of each employee in the contractor’s entire workforce.”
Executive Order 162 applies to “all State contracts, agreements, and procurements issued and executed on or after June 1, 2017.” The new reporting requirement applies to both contractors and subcontractors. Contractors and subcontractors will be required to report the information on a quarterly basis for all prime contracts with a value in excess of $25,000. Contractors with contracts of more than $100,000 must report monthly.
The New York State Department of Economic Development will set forth procedure in which the information will be reported. The New York State Department of Labor will analyze the data and make recommendations to eliminate any detected wage disparity.
Upon signing the Order Governor Cuomo stated: “At these stormy times of instability and confusion, New York must serve as a safe harbor for the progressive principles and social justice that made America.”
Executive Order 162 can be found here.
Jose A. Aquino (@JoseAquinoEsq on Twitter) is a special counsel in the New York office of Duane Morris LLP, where he is a member of the Construction Group and of the Duane Morris Cuba Business Group. Mr. Aquino focuses his practice on commercial litigation with a concentration in construction law, mechanics’ lien law and government procurement law. This blog is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s law firm or its individual attorneys.
Duane Morris special counsel Charles Fastenberg of the firm’s New York office will present the Lorman Educational Services webinar, “Understanding New York Public Contracts and Procurement Regulations,” on Thursday, October 6, 2016, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Eastern time). This webinar will provide insights for contractors and vendors so they are aware of unanticipated issues they may face when submitting bids for contracts.
For more information, please see the event posting on the Duane Morris website.
Effective December 1, 2015, the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York amended its rules. First, home improvement construction contract disputes (one to four family homes or individual units in any residential building including cooperatives and condominiums ) will not be heard by the Commercial Division irrespective of the dispute involving $500,000 or more. Second, the Commercial Division will hear, pursuant to article 75 of New York’s Civil Practice Law and Rules, applications to stay or compel arbitration and to affirm or disaffirm awards and injunctive relief irrespective of the $500,000 monetary threshold provided the arbitration agreement requires the arbitration to be heard outside the United States.
The impact of these amendments will be to eliminate access to the Commercial Division for owners and contractors among others where the dispute involves a home improvement contract. At the same time, the Commercial Division will open its doors to arbitration proceedings conducted outside the United States thereby affording parties access to a specialized court in Manhattan. Parties are still free to agree in their arbitration agreements where issues related to arbitration will be heard. If the parties provide for these issues to be heard in New York County, then the Commercial Division will be available to them.
To read the full text of the Administrative Order, please visit the New York Courts website.
On April 17, 2014, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued a decision in Bricklayers of Western Pennsylvania Combined Funds, Inc. v. Scott’s Development Company, et al., that held that union workers (employees of the primary contractor) were not “subcontractors” as that term is defined in the Pennsylvania’s Mechanics’ Lien Law of 1963, and that trustees of the union’s employee benefits trust funds were not entitled to file mechanic’s lien claims on the employees’ behalf for unpaid contributions to the trust funds.
Following this ruling, Rep. William Keller, D-Philadelphia, introduced HB 2319 to the General Assembly which would amend the Mechanic’s Lien Law to classify union benefit fund trustees as subcontractors allowed to pursue claims for non-payment against employers and property owners under the Mechanic’s Lien Law.
Duane Morris will continue to monitor the progress of this legislation.