Philadelphia Construction Law Blog

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Uncategorized on Aug 15, 2017.

U.S. MODULAR CONSTRUCTION ON THE RISE

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Construction Industry News on Aug 10, 2017.

The Chicago Tribune recently reported that two European developers are planning a mixed-use development that could include up to 20,000 modular homes on the former site of a U.S. Steel plant in Chicago. A division of Irish firm WElink Group and Spain-based Barcelona Housing Systems (BHS) has entered into an agreement to purchase the 440-acre site. WElink builds energy-efficient modular housing, and BHS uses solar power and recycled materials in its homes. Closing on the property is to occur within five months. It is anticipated that the development would likely include low- and mid-rise buildings, parks and a marina. Developers are increasingly using modular and offsite construction to speed up construction and overcome skilled-labor shortage. Modular factories offer efficiencies which produce either whole rooms or room segments concurrently with site work and other site operations. This efficiency can significantly streamline the project schedule. A number of commercial developers, including Marriott, have made public commitments to use modular construction to reduce costs and achieve overall efficiency. It recently announced that it planned to incorporate modular in approximately 13% of its total North American hotel deals this year. That would translate to approximately 50 hotels that will include some element of modular building. Although most of the growth in modular in the U.S. has come from the multifamily and hospitality sector, some single-family builders are also using the method. Entekra, An Irish developer, Entekra, plans to build volume modular housing in the U.S. It claims that its model can produce the components for […]

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NJ CONSTRUCTION LIEN BARRED BY BANKRUPTCY AUTOMATIC STAY

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Construction Defect on Jul 26, 2017.

In a recent opinion, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that the automatic stay of claims against a bankrupt contractor barred the filing of an electrical supplier’s NJ construction lien against the project real estate. The decision points out how differences between state lien statutes can affect the rights of lien claimants where a bankruptcy has been filed. In In Re Linear Electric Company, Inc., a prime electrical contractor filed a bankruptcy petition.  After the petition had been filed, two electrical suppliers to the bankrupt contractor filed New Jersey Construction Liens against real estate which had been improved with the electrical material supplied by the two lien claimants.  The bankrupt contractor moved to dismiss the liens as having been filed in violation of the automatic stay of claims imposed when a bankruptcy is filed, even though the lien claims were asserted against real property owned by the project owner, not directly against the bankrupt contractor. The Court held that the liens violated the automatic stay. It reasoned that even though the liens were asserted against real estate owned by a non-bankrupt party, under the New Jersey Lien statute, the liens functioned as a claim against the accounts receivable of the bankrupt electrical contractor in that if the liens were paid, the project owner would not have to pay the bankrupt contractor.  This would be to because, under the New Jersey Lien statute, construction liens are assessable only up to the amount of a “Lien Fund”, consisting of all unpaid […]

Clearwater Construction v. Northampton County

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Contract Bidding on Jul 12, 2017.

On July 10, 2017, in Clearwater Construction v. Northampton County, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, in a case of first impression, ruled that a disappointed bidder  lacked standing to challenge a contract awarded under the Public Private Transportation Partnership Act (P3 Act), 74 Pa. C.S. §§ 9101-9124, holding that “Absent a statutory provision to the contrary, generally disappointed bidders lack standing to challenge the award of a government contract. Section 9109(n) of the P3 Act does not provide that statutory basis as its application is limited to a “development entity,” which by statutory definition is a party to the contract.”  The case may be found at this link: http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Commonwealth/out/1658CD16_7-10-17.pdf?cb=1  

Mechanics’ Liens in Pennsylvania: What You Need to Know in 2017

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Mechanic's Liens on May 30, 2017.

Robert Korn, Esquire will be presenting at PBI’s Mechanics’ Liens in Pennsylvania.  Receive a refresher and get the latest updates on the Mechanics’ Lien Law. The 2007 amendments Pennsylvania’s Mechanics’ Lien Law made dramatic alterations to that law, changing, and in some cases, reversing, the balance of power among owners and claimants. But those amendments were only the beginning. If the 2007 amendments were a revolution, the ten years that followed brought an almost constant evolution of the law. In addition to the four sets of amendments the General Assembly made over that period, faced with a steady stream of mechanics’ lien cases, the courts have contributed significantly to what is a very different looking Mechanics’ Lien Law landscape. This course provides a framework for attorneys new to mechanics’ liens in Pennsylvania as well as an up-to-the-minute update on recent case law and legislation that will be valuable to even the most experienced practitioners. Find out about the latest developments in the Pennsylvania Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act Hear the differencing perspectives on the Mechanics’ Lien Law from counsel for claimants, owners and lenders.Learn about some of the ethical considerations that apply in working with mechanics’ liens Discuss and learn the answers to the following questions: How have the courts been applying the Supreme Court’s 2014 Bricklayers decision, and how should counsel proceed in the face of what sometime appear to be inconsistent approaches by the lower courts? What have we learned in the first months of operation of the State […]

Supreme Court of the United States reaffirmed that the Federal Arbitration Act

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Arbitration/Mediation on May 30, 2017.

On May 15, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States reaffirmed that the Federal Arbitration Act preempts state laws placing agreements to arbitrate on weaker footing than other types of contracts.  In Kindred Nursing Centers L.P. v. Clark, the Supreme Court found that: “A court may invalidate an arbitration agreement based on ‘generally applicable contract defenses,’ but not on legal rules that ‘apply only to arbitration or that derive their meaning from the fact that an agreement to arbitrate is at issue.’”  A copy of the Kindred case may be found here: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/16pdf/16-32_o7jp.pdf  

2017 AIA Documents

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Construction Industry News on May 1, 2017.

The 2017 AIA Documents were released today.  Information about the new forms, and free downloadable comparisons of the 2017 and 2007 version’s text, are available here: https://www.aiacontracts.org/contract-doc-pages/67216-2017-document-release?tab=library&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWXpZeE56UTRNVEppWldNeCIsInQiOiJqUWtGb1FTSWpwellwaE40YVFZM2hISm5WbVdaVWxEZlJkS3pKUkRPSE1xMEMrbjlUQUFpbXF2RmNNb1lzbFNFMmZsUVlQODgrS2hXcWI4ZmpiUkIyUnJNeEZia2ppQ2xqaFpvNFI5RkFKN1FEaHM4SzNvRytcL05idWlTRGRtcEIifQ%3D%3D  

Design Professionals’ Contracts

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Construction Industry News on Apr 14, 2017.

Design professionals’ contracts often contain indemnity clauses, and such clauses can impose liability not covered by the design professional’s insurance.  This article provides useful advise about the risks of such clauses: http://www.structuremag.org/?p=10874

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