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Philadelphia Construction Law Blog

Construction Trivia

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

One of the most famous buildings in the modern world was designed by Charles L'Enfant and was the largest residence in the United States until the Civil War. Identify the building and it's location.  For extra credit, name the first family to live in the building.

South Jersey OSHA Instructor Guilty of Selling Fake OSHA 30 Certifications

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

The Philadelphia Business Journal is reporting that New Jersey Federal Judge Joseph Rodriguez recently accepted a guilty plea from an OSHA instructor who admits to selling fake OSHA 30 Hour Certification Cards.

Federal prosecutors brought the charges after reviewing documents and taking statements from various witnesses that Frederick Prinz of Marmora, New Jersey was issuing OSHA 30 cards for prices ranging from $150-$250 a card. The payments were made by carpenters to obtain the card without completing the necessary training. Prosecutors estimate that more than 100 false certifications were issued.

Mr. Prinz is set to be sentenced in December. There is no indication as to whether or how the purchasers of the false certifications will be addressed.

Think Practically and Build Contingencies Into Your Bids

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

As a construction lawyer, I deal with cases involving non-payment every day. Sometimes I represent the owner and on other occasions I represent the contractor or subcontractor. I have even represented sureties on payment related issues. No matter which company I represent, however, payment issues often come down to one single common denominator: a lack of practical planning combined with a failure to build contingencies into bids.

dollar bill.pngWhile pay disputes come in different forms and sizes, a common reason for non-payment is a legitimate lack of funds to make the required payment. Insufficient funds problems occur when a party fails to plan for contingencies in the budget and consider likely unknown but foreseeable circumstances. Among the worst mistakes is to budget only enough money to cover the cost of construction as laid out in the construction contracts. Change orders are inevitable, so plan for them.

Wave of the Future? New Ladder Safety App Hits Streets

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

Ladder Fall.pngThe word on the street is that Apple's I-Phone 6 will be released soon. This may even include a "watch-phone" that almost everyone assumed - despite being convinced it was way off in the future - was coming at some point. This is just more evidence that technology is constantly evolving and changing the way we do business every day.

Construction is no different. Among the most recent developments is the release of a ladder safety smartphone app released by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The interactive tool is designed to provide valuable information to workers in the field by placing an interactive interface in which tools, checklists, and guides can be easily accessed for information. By using safety research and smartphone technology, the app can provide "instant feedback" on things like ladder placement and angles.

President Signs Workforce Development Programs Into Law

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

President Barck Obama2.bmpPresident Obama recently signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act into law. The bill had overwhelming support from all sectors of the construction labor workforce and was a bipartisan effort in both houses of Congress.

The concept behind the legislation is to improve the workforce development programs already in place by modernizing the system and promoting programs that develop 21st Century skills. The offers $9.5 billion in funding over the next 6 years and focuses on trying to help businesses identify in-demand skills and the programs necessary to develop those skills. It expands some programs specific to the construction sector, like green development, and eliminates 15 other programs deemed to be unnecessary.

This is a positive step towards putting Americans - especially construction workers - back to work.

Construction Trivia

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

The Hoover Dam is still considered one of the most impressive engineering and construction accomplishments of all time. Relying on the largest known reservoir in the United States, it provides massive amounts of hydroelectric power to the power grid. But it was not always called the Hoover Dam.

Hoover Dam.png

What was the name of the Hoover Dam before it was renamed as such in 1947? Tell us your answer in the comments section below.

Kaplin Stewart Construction Attorneys To Deliver Program to New Jersey Architects

On Thursday, August 28, 2014, two attorneys from Kaplin Stewart's construction law department will deliver a presentation on contract administration and handling construction disputes to New Jersey architects. Josh Quinter and Karin Corbett will speak as part of a continuing education program for design professionals in Princeton, New Jersey.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court holds that acceptance of a public contract bid does not form a contract

Posted by:  Robert Korn  (rkorn@kaplaw.com)

The Commonwealth Court recently considered a breach of contract claim by Allan A. Myers after the Montgomery County Commissioners reversed course and awarded paving work to another bidder.

construction paving.jpgAllan A. Myers, LP, was awarded a contract by the County Commissioners in Montgomery County to perform certain paving work. Upon being awarded the bid, Myers incurred the expense of procuring the bonds required for the project. Thereafter, the County, by formal resolution, rescinded the award to Myers and awarded the work to another bidder.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Overturns Conway v. Cutler

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

In a prior post on November 19, 2012, I reported that the Superior Court of Pennsylvania held that the implied warranty of habitability extended to subsequent purchasers of residential properties. The Superior Court based its opinion on the foundation of public policy considerations flowing from the unequal bargaining power between developers/builders and residential home buyers.In its August 18, 2014, ruling, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed that decision on the primary ground that public policy decisions are best left to the legislature.

By way of brief recap, the Plaintiffs in the case (Conway) did not purchase their home from Cutler. Instead, they purchased their home from another couple that previously bought the residence from Cutler. Approximately 2 years after moving in, the Conways noted water infiltration into their home and hired an expert to look into the issue. Suit was eventually brought against Cutler for latent defects that they alleged caused the water problem. The suit asserted a single claim for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.

After the trial court dismissed the case, the Superior Court decided that the implied warranty of habitability is based on public policy considerations that exist regardless of the existence of a contract. The sales transaction that initiates the warranty can often be a trigger, but it is not a requirement. Subsequent homeowners can still rely on the superior knowledge and expertise of builder regardless of whether they purchase the home directly from the builder or not.

homes for sale.jpg

CHANGE TO PENNSYLVANIA MECHANIC'S LIEN LAW AFFECTS LIEN PRIORITY

Posted by:  Andy Cohn  (acohn@kaplaw.com)

On July 9, the Pennsylvania Legislature amended the Mechanic's Lien Law to change lien priority rules flowing from the 2012 Kessler decision by the Pennsylvania Superior Court. The Kessler Court had established that mechanic's liens had priority over open-end mortgages where visible commencement of work at the site pre-dated the recording of the mortgage and advances on the mortgage were made for costs other than "hard construction costs".

Act 117 amends the Mechanic's Lien Law to provide that a construction loan will have lien priority ahead of any filed mechanics lien claims if it is secured by an open-end construction loan mortgage under which at least 60% of the proceeds are "intended to pay or used to pay" all or part of the "costs of construction". This is the case even if visible commencement of work precedes the recording of the construction loan's open-end mortgage. The Act was signed into law by Governor Corbett on July 9, 2014 and becomes effective on September 7, 2014.

mortgage.pngAct 117's definition of "cost of construction" is very broad. It includes all costs, expenses and reimbursements pertaining to erection, construction, alteration, repair, mandated off-site improvements, government impact fees and other construction-related costs, including, but not limited to, costs, expenses and reimbursements in the nature of taxes, insurance, bonding, inspections, surveys, testing, permits, legal fees, architect fees, engineering fees, consulting fees, accounting fees, management fees, utility fees, tenant improvements, leasing commissions, payment of prior filed or recorded liens or mortgages, including mechanics' liens, municipal claims, mortgage origination fees and commissions, finance costs, closing fees, recording fees, title insurance or escrow fees, or any similar or comparable costs, expenses or reimbursements related to an improvements, made or intended to be made, to the property. For purposes of this definition, "reimbursements" includes any such disbursements made to the borrower, any person acting for the benefit or on behalf of the borrower, or to an affiliate of the borrower.

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