Current Events in Construction Archives


On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Bonding and Surety on Dec 19, 2017.

The final version of the federal tax bill, which is expected to be passed by Congress this week, maintains for the most part the current tax status of private activity bonds which are important to the construction industry.   Private activity bonds provide tax credit incentives for investors for certain targeted developments such as affordable housing, economically distressed commercial development zones, historic building renovation, and infrastructure.    Earlier versions of the tax bill would have eliminated or sharply reduced funding for tax credit financing for affordable housing, which could have resulted in a reduction in building of up to 900,000 units over 10 years, according to some estimates. The current version restores funding for this tax credit financing, as well as funding for New Market Tax Credits, which allow private investors to secure tax credits for investment into economically disadvantaged areas.  However, because the tax bill cuts the federal corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, there is some sentiment that the lower corporate tax rate could make tax credit investment less valuable and therefore dampen the volume of tax credit investment available from private industry. Some industry experts have estimated that this factor could result in a drop in production of affordable housing by as much as 15% annually.

“Integrated Project Delivery: Collaborative Innovation in the Construction Industry”

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Construction Industry News on Oct 24, 2017.

On October 23, 2017, Kevin Amadio, a principal in Kaplin Stewart’s Construction Department, presented a program on “Integrated Project Delivery: Collaborative Innovation in the Construction Industry” for the Subcontractor’s Association of the Delaware Valley and moderated a panel discussion with a group of construction industry representatives about their experiences with IPD projects in the Philadelphia area.  

Service Rules for Mechanics’ Liens in Pennsylvania

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Construction Industry News on Oct 17, 2017.

The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas decision in Bertino v. Clark-Dougherty, 2017 WL 4330687 (2017) is a reminder that the service rules for mechanics’ liens in Pennsylvania must be strictly followed.  In Bertino, the court granted preliminary objections and struck a mechanics’ lien claim because service of the notice of filing of the lien was made improperly, even though the property owner actually received the notice.  The Court found that service on the out-of-state property owner by regular mail, after a certified mailing went undelivered, was improper. Further, the lien claimant failed to file an affidavit of service within twenty days of the supposed service, as required by the mechanics’ lien law.  Due to the very technical nature of the lien law’s requirements, and because these requirement will be strict enforced, potential lien claimants should always consult counsel before attempting to perfect lien rights.  

Bad Faith

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Bonding and Surety on Sep 28, 2017.

On September 28, 2017, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, in Rancosky v. Washington National Insurance Company, held that in order to recover in a bad faith action against an insurer under 42 Pa.C.S. §8371, the plaintiff must “present clear and convincing evidence (1) that the insurer did not have a reasonable basis for denying benefits under the policy and (2) that the insurer knew of or recklessly disregarded its lack of a reasonable basis.” Further, the Court held that proof of an insurance company’s motive of self-interest or ill-will is not a prerequisite to prevailing in a bad faith claim under Section 8371, observing that evidence of the insurer’s knowledge or recklessness as to its lack of a reasonable basis in denying policy benefits is sufficient.  

Launch of Enforcement of the Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction Standard, 29 CFR § 1926.1153

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Construction Industry News on Sep 25, 2017.

On September 23, 2017, OSHA will begin enforcement of the new respirable crystalline silica standard for construction (“new silica rule”). OSHA announced that during the first 30 days of enforcement of the new silica rule, it will consider good-faith efforts by employers in their attempt to comply with the new silica rule. OSHA will offer outreach and assistance to help ensure employers are fully and properly complying with the new requirements. The memorandum issued by OSHA on the subject can be found under the following link:

Pittsburgh Airport Shrinkage Spurs Substantial Construction Project

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Construction Industry News on Sep 20, 2017.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pittsburgh International Airport will receive a $1.1 Billion facelift, ironically spurred by a downsizing of the airport facility. The consolidation of U.S. Airways, a major tenant at the airport, with American Airlines resulted in a substantial reduction in capacity at the airport over the last several years. A 600 person operation center at the airport was closed, as were other facilities. The plan recently unveiled is essentially a makeover for a terminal opened as a US Airways hub in 1992, but which now serves only ½ the traffic it once did. The project includes a new building for ticketing and security, a new parking garage and a streamlined boarding facility. Under the proposed modernization, the current landside building would be abandoned, the tram that hauls people from it to the X-shaped boarding facility, or airside, terminated, and the number of gates will be reduced to 51 from 75. Constructed in their place will be a $783.8 million landside building located between airside’s C and D concourses with new security and baggage facilities, a reconfigured international arrivals area, a 3,000-space parking garage, and other features designed focused on the needs of modern travelers. The Post-Gazette also reports that private developers have expressed interest in commercial development of vacant space at the airport for tenants interested in locating their businesses near the airport. The Federal Aviation Administration would likely have to approve any redevelopment of the vacant airport space. Andrew B. Cohn can be reached by email […]


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 […]


BREAKING NEWS: Ironworkers Union Boss Sentenced to 19 Years in Prison

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Current Events in Construction on Jul 20, 2015.

Joseph Dougherty, 73, former head of Philadelphia’s largest ironworkers union, was sentenced Monday to 19 years and two months in federal prisonafter being convicted of overseeing a campaign of sabotage and intimidation of nonunion contractors including the 2012 torching of a Quaker Meetinghouse in Chestnut Hill. In addition, Dougherty will have to pay over $500,000 in restitution.

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UPDATE: PA House Passes Transportation Bill

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Current Events in Construction on Nov 20, 2013.

We reported yesterday that the Pennsylvania House failed to pass Governor Corbett’s proposed transportation legislation. In what can only be described as a surprisingly quick turn of events, the House voted on largely the same bill on Tuesday evening and passed it. The vote was 104-95.

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UPDATE: The U.S. Supreme Court Takes Certification On EPA Regulations

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Current Events in Construction on Oct 18, 2013.

On October 13th, we reported that new Environmental Protection Agency regulations regarding carbon emissions might have an impact on Pennsylvania’s construction economy. At the time, we reported that those regulations, which are based on a finding by the EPA that carbon emissions are harmful “greenhouse gases”, were subject to a legal challenge. That legal challenge has now been taken up by a number of groups interested in the issue.

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