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Philadelphia Construction Law Blog


Posted by:  Josh Quinter  (jquinter@kaplaw.com)

Because of the work of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the CDC, and other construction work groups, many in the construction industry are now aware that prolonged and a high volume exposure to silica based products can cause life threatening diseases. These research and educational efforts have resulted in a better understanding of the threat, lead to better strategies to manage it, and resulted in safety protocols being utilized to protect workers.

mason at work.pngA national advisory group of researchers, contractors, labor organizations, and governmental agencies with field experience using silica based products recently developed a model set of specifications for the purpose of educating end users and developing protocols to manage exposure. Drawn from the CPWR/NIOSH Engineering Control Work Group, the silica advisory task force drafted specifications over a 2 year period beginning in 2012. Those draft specifications were widely distributed for review and comment. They have now been finalized and issued for use by the industry. A copy of the specifications can be found here.

The document is designed to be a "best practice" reference guide that is to be utilized based on the specific needs of the contractor on a project. It contains various pieces of information, including particulars on using control technology, training, and the evaluation of protocols to achieve the best results.

Kaplin Stewart a Proud Sponsor Of Army-Navy Cup III

At Kaplin Stewart, we strive to support worthy causes and give back to the community. It's important to us as a firm because our employees live and work in this area and our firm ethos includes making our community a better place for everyone.

ArmyNavyCup2014.jpgSimilarly, our firm recognizes the United States military and its efforts to defend freedom around the globe and protect us here at home. Without the never ending work of military personnel and their families, much of what we as Americans are able to do - including the services we provide to our clients here at Kaplin Stewart every day - would not be possible. So it is equally important to us as a firm to recognize their efforts and sacrifice.

Philadelphia Union.jpgFor these reasons and more, Kaplin Stewart is a proud sponsor of Army-Navy Cup III. Hosted by the Philadelphia Union franchise in Major League Soccer, the men's soccer programs from the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy will square off in the third addition of what has become an annual tradition here in Philadelphia. The game will include patriotism and pageantry befitting the rich history of both academies and the U.S. military, as well as an excellent rivalry match between two high level collegiate programs.

We hope you will join us in supporting this great event. Kick-off is at 7:00 tonight.

Construction Trivia

Posted by:  Josh Quinter  (jquinter@kaplaw.com)

Magic Kingdom.pngFor many, Disney World is the "happiest place on earth". Built in the early 1970s, the first theme park to open there was the Magic Kingdom. Two hotels that are still part of the resort - the Contemporary and Polynesian Resort Hotels - were opened at the same time. The lake which the park and hotels surround, called the Seven Seas Lagoon, is not original to the property. The lake was man-made and required the removal of an obviously large amount of soil. Do you know what was done with the soil after it was removed for the lake?

OSHA To Begin Enforcement of Final Rule On Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Work

Posted by:  Josh Quinter  (jquinter@kaplaw.com)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration revised its safety regulations governing work on electric power grids in July 2014. A final rule was passed imposing new safety standards to more closely track general industry standards. These changes will result in some revisions to both the construction of power grids and the maintenance of those grids by power companies and hired contractors.

power line construction.pngThe new final rule implements new fall protection mandates, establishes minimum approach distances, puts in place protocols to prevent injury from arc-flashes, and adds additional electrical PPE requirements. As has become customary with new OSHA regulations in recent years, there are record keeping and mandatory exchanges of safety data that are part of the new rule.


Posted by: Josh Quinter  (jquinter@kaplaw.com)

Statue of Liberty.pngOne of the most iconic symbols of American pride is the Statute of Liberty. Standing on Ellis Island in the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey, it represents much of what is great about America. 

Dedicated in 1886, the statue was offered as a gift by the people of France to the United States. It was named a national monument by the United States in 1924.

The statue is constructed of primarily a copper shell over an iron skelton.  Can you name the engineer that designed the iron skeleton on which the statue was built?

Hint: This engineer has another famous project named after him in Paris.

Collaborative Effort Between Associations To Develop Section of International Green Construction Code

Posted by:  Josh Quinter  (jquinter@kaplaw.com)

The International Green Construction Code was developed by the International Code Council -more commonly known as the ICC - and first published in 2012. Its state purpose is to develop a model code for the measurement of sustainability in the construction industry. The goal in developing the code is to "make buildings more efficient, reduce waste, and have a positive impact on health, safety and community welfare".

New code developments are underway to align the LEED program with the new code. The purpose of the "realignment" is to consolidate and streamline the regulatory construct of the code. This would theoretically allow for a more universal application by jurisdictions across the United States. The mechanism by which it will be accomplished is the development and implementation of new ANSI, ASHRAE, IES, and USGBC standards as it relates to the design of high performance, green buildings (to exclude low-rise Residential buildings).


Posted by:  Josh Quinter  (jquinter@kaplaw.com)

London Bridge is "falling down, falling down, falling down"....

London Bridge.jpg

The world famous London Bridge was built over the Thames River in London, England in the 1830s. In 1968 it was taken down and moved because it was sinking into the soft clay soil in the river.

Name the place to which it was moved.

ACT 117 Now In Effect - Pennsylvania Mechanic's Lien Priority Now Changed

Posted by:  Josh Quinter  (jquinter@kaplaw.com)

In July of this year, we reported on a change to the Pennsylvania Mechanic's Lien Law that revised the statute to give priority to construction loans secured by open-end construction loan mortgages. The revisions also broadened the definition of cost of construction to cover a range of things - to include attorneys' fees and accounting fees - which are part of the costs incurred to build the project. This marks a significant change in the law which can be reviewed further in our previous blog post here.

The revisions went into effect on September 7, 2014, so construction owners, lenders, and contractors should be aware and adjust accordingly.

Practical Tips: What Are the Five Most Important Construction Contract Clauses?

Posted by:  Josh Quinter  (jquinter@kaplaw.com)

Reviewing construction contracts is a regular part of my practice as a construction attorney. From limited reviews of specific provisions to preparation of an entire array of form contracts, I have seen many different contract clauses and methodologies to evaluate them. In the end, contracts are about the allocation of risk. While the Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit me from giving legal advice as part of this blog, there are some clauses that commonly draw more attention when time is limited in the contract formation stage. Here are the top 5:

    (1) Payment clauses. No contractor likes to work for free. The payment clauses in the contract determine how quickly you get paid, outline the items that must be submitted to get payment, and set out what happens when the company with whom you are contracting does not get paid. Start here.

    (2) Insurance and indemnity clauses. These do not often come into play if your company generally performs work safely. However, the consequences can be large and the financial impact relating to those problems considerable when they are triggered. Be careful about assuming risk you don't control or can't insure. There are waiver issues to be concerned about in this area as well.

    construction contract.jpg    (3) Change order clauses. Changes in scope are among the most litigated construction issues. This is for good reason. Change order clauses often set out specific criteria that must be met to receive payment for change order work. The failure to comply with these criteria is often relied upon when there is not enough money in the job to pay for extras or there is genuine disagreement about whether something was included in the original scope. Due diligence in advance helps avoid change order problems, but make sure the change order clause is fair and not overly cumbersome.

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