OP COMMERCIALBy John Sparling

Commercial construction can be an epic undertaking, especially in a densely populated area like New York City. Even with the most experienced construction partners, best practices and safety measures in place, accidents happen. When managing risk in a construction site accident, the importance of an immediate and thorough investigation cannot be overstated.

Whether or not an accident causes personal injury or property damage, securing the scene, documenting the cause and preserving the evidence is critical. Developers, owners or tenants, general contractors or construction managers, subcontractors and even insurance brokers or carriers have a significant financial stake in the aftermath of a construction accident.


By Ann Matheis

For several years now, the rental market has been booming. New apartment complexes and mixed-use facilities seem to be under construction on every corner, while owners of existing properties have been raising rents by double digits annually in major metropolitan areas. Demand has been outstripping supply because of a number of factors. The foreclosure crisis left many people unwilling or unable to purchase a home, and a growing number of college graduates are already carrying the equivalent of a mortgage in student loans.


By Ross Altman

The design and construction of a project is a high-risk proposition. Selecting a project delivery system that is suited for the primary objectives and needs of the project, however, offers an opportunity to manage that risk. Not one single project delivery system is the best option for all projects; all methodologies have trade-offs that require evaluation before deciding on a project delivery approach. That is one reason why so many different project delivery systems and permutations exist.

The challenges presented by some large and complex projects, and the opportunities provided by new technologies, are not always a good fit for project delivery systems that have been most commonly used to date. As a result, new methodologies are emerging.

 LEGAL ISSUE 01Builders need to take a close look at sustainable project requirements. 

By George D. Carry

Since 2000, commentators in the design and construction industries have questioned whether the green building movement would become mainstream or would fade away. More than 15 years later, it is clear that efficient, sustainable, and “green” project development is here to stay. The federal government and the majority of state and local governments have adopted programs and legislation that encourage or require energy efficient and resource-friendly building through green building codes and tax credits.

The U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system is the recognized leader in commercial green building certification. In addition, other green product certifications and building rating programs have emerged over the past decade including the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes program, Energy Star building certification and the International Green Construction Code.

Commercial construction projects are inherently risky with potential for delays, defective work and cost overruns. Owners and builders need to be aware that “going green” adds to these inherent risks. Green-related construction disputes and legal claims arise generally fall into two categories: loss of tax benefits because of the failure to achieve the target rating, and the failure of “green” materials and techniques to produce the desired results.

 OP CIVILBy Jeremy P. Brummond

What is the purpose of a construction warranty? When asked this question, many contractors say they provide a construction warranty to instill confidence in their work and because they do not want to be “on the hook” for problems with the project (caused by defective work or otherwise) in perpetuity. Contractors provide a warranty limited to a period of years (or shorter) because they want to define the time when they are responsible for fixing problems.

Many contractors believe they have no liability for problems with a project that are discovered beyond their warranty period, whether that period is one, two, three or more years. Many contractors, however, are generally incorrect in their understanding as to the legal effect of a standard construction warranty.

 401K 01A good 401(k) plan can help narrow the skills gap.

By Nathan Fisher

Competition for qualified talent in the construction industry is heavy, and employers need to think bigger than salary to stand out. One of the key benefits that attracts talent in any industry is a 401(k) plan, but the construction industry is behind when it comes to offering retirement benefits, and data suggests that those construction professionals who do have a 401(k) plan are underserved and undereducated.

The opportunity here is clear: if youre in the construction industry and you offer a good 401(k) plan, you are going to attract more employees, and keep them around longer. 

WORKMANSFinding the right workers’ compensation insurance can be challenging.   

By John Rosmalen 

Finding the right workers’ compensation insurance at an affordable price is a challenge for every general contractor (GC). It is an especially difficult dilemma for independents in the trades and services industry. As independents, they are by and large subcontractors, and in many cases, one-person bands who are not obligated to maintain coverage. They are considered owners and operators because of their independence, which is why GCs do not have to include them in their firm’s workers’ comp coverage.

GPRGPR can increase safety and reduce project liability.   

By Daniel Bigman

Ground penetrating radar (GPR) is a non-invasive mapping and subsurface imaging tool that is growing in popularity in the construction industry. When applied properly, this technique can increase worksite safety and reduce project liability by creating 2-D and 3-D renderings of buried infrastructure and subsurface geology. 

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