From the category archives: Legal

Legal

Resolving Disputes and Negotiating Contracts Without Breaking the Bank

  Legal services are notoriously expensive, yet they are necessary to protect companies and their owners, assert legal rights, recover payment for construction services and defend against meritless claims. Attorneys are especially useful in developing and negotiating contracts and significant change orders, setting up corporate structures to minimize and maintain risk, resolving disputes through compromise or litigating them to judgment. From a construction executive’s viewpoint, legal services are like any other service: They must be managed with the goal of obtaining the most value for the lowest cost.

Congress, States Consider Legislation to Prevent PLA Mandates

On March 14, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) introduced the Fair and Open Competition Act (S. 622) to prevent federal agencies and recipients of federal funding from requiring contractors to sign controversial project labor agreements (PLAs) as a condition of winning federal or federally assisted construction contracts. Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) introduced a companion bill (H.R. 1552) in the U.S. House of Representatives that was reported favorably out of committee March 28.

Three Ways for Contractors to Mitigate Risk and Lower Insurance Premiums

Many business executives believe insurance brokers have control over the quotes they provide, but that’s not the case. Insurance carriers control the price, and they provide the best rates to companies that proactively manage their risk. The less risky a contractor appears, the fewer claims it’s likely to have and the “safer” the company looks. Therefore, the lower the premium they are likely to get.

Here are three ways general contractors can mitigate risk and make their companies more desirable to insurance carriers.

Dissecting the House Tax Blueprint

In June 2016, as part of Speaker Paul Ryan’s “Better Way” initiative, the House Ways and Means Committee rolled out its “Blueprint” for tax reform. This broad overview outlined Republicans’ talking points for the campaign trail and the anticipated showdown with the Clinton White House, if not a Democratic Senate majority. 

After a false start with the ill-fated Camp Draft, expectations were tempered for legislative action. The topline items read as a veritable wish list of pro-growth provisions that were hailed by tax coalitions and trade groups alike. The tradeoffs were largely ignored, with any prospective pushback muted by dismal electoral expectations. After an initial burst of coverage, the Blueprint receded as Congress left town, leaving all eyes trained on an increasingly surreal presidential race. 

Risk Management in a 24-Hour Society

  Builders and developers can’t escape scrutiny when confronted with government investigations, workplace accidents, dissatisfied customers and employee complaints.

Reputation in the construction field is a crucial business quality. It’s paramount to ensure a sufficient risk management strategy is in place, and enhanced media exposure means non-traditional risk management actions are needed to prepare for and respond to challenges.

Legislation Introduced To Repeal Davis-Bacon Act

  Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has introduced legislation, H.R. 743, in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act. The bill now awaits passage by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

ABC has long supported full repeal of the archaic 85-year old Davis-Bacon Act. The prevailing wages from the law are administered through an unscientific and fundamentally flawed survey process by the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the Davis-Bacon Act will raise federal construction costs by $13 billion between 2018 and 2026. 

Executive Insights

Nine experts offer advice on what contractors need to know about obtaining additional insured coverage, how to keep from overextending in the potential burst of construction activity under the Trump administration, insights on contractors purchasing surety bonds directly, trends in owner expectations for design-build projects and the benefits of the surety bonding prequalification process. 

Wisconsin Senate Approves Bill to End PLA Requirements

  State senators in Madison, Wis., recently approved a bill preventing local governments from requiring contractors to work with unions on taxpayer-funded building projects. Republicans who control the Legislature contend ending the use of project labor agreements (PLAs), which establish wages and other conditions for certain projects, will protect taxpayers. The bill, which passed on a 19-13 vote, now heads to the state Assembly.

Congress Votes to Permanently Block ‘Blacklisting’ Rule

  Congress has passed legislation (H.J. Res. 37) that will block implementation of the Obama administration’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order 13673, commonly referred to as “blacklisting,” through the Congressional Review Act. The House approved H.J. Res. 37 with a bipartisan vote of 236-187 and the Senate passed the measure by a vote of 49-48.

A Potential Gap in Indemnity Coverage

Commercial contracts in the construction industry generally contain indemnity provisions in which one party (the indemnitor) agrees to assume the liability of the other party (the indemnitee) as a result of personal injury or property damage. Historically, one party indemnifies the other regardless of fault—meaning the indemnitor assumes liability for all damage to its own property and people, regardless of who caused the damage. To the extent allowed under state law, this obligation also can include indemnity for damage caused by the sole negligence of the indemnitee.  
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