Construction Law Blog

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EEOC Implements New Procedures for Discrimination Charges

Date: June 23, 2016  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Employment, Recent Legislation, Construction News and Notes, Regulatory Administration, Out of the Ordinary  /  Comments (0)

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information.  It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

James R. Lynch Appointed to the Washington State Capital Project Review Committee

Date: June 6, 2016  /  Author: Ahlers & Cressman Crew  /  Categories: Out of the Ordinary, Construction News and Notes, Recent Legislation  /  Comments (0)

James R. Lynch, one of the attorneys at the law firm of Ahlers & Cressman PLLC, has been appointed to the Washington State Capital Project Review Committee (PRC).  Created by the legislature in 2007, the PRC is responsible for reviewing and approving all public projects in the State of Washington using the General Contractor/Construction Manager (GC/CM) and Design-Build (D-B) delivery methods of construction. The PRC also certifies certain qualified government bodies to use these methods more broadly. The PRC consists of key representatives of Washington public project owners, designers, general contractors, specialty/subcontractors, construction managers, construction trades labor, and minority/women businesses. James has been appointed to the PRC’s Private Sector seat for a three-year term.

OSHA’s New Silica Rule Imposes New Regulations on Many Contractors

Date: May 11, 2016  /  Author: Matt Paxton  /  Categories: Regulatory Administration, Construction News and Notes, Recent Legislation, Employment  /  Comments (0)

Mound of SilicaOn March 25, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) published its final rule on occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica (the “Silica Rule”).  Crystalline silica is a basic component of soil, sand, granite, and many other materials.  Silica exposure is classified as a human lung carcinogen and can cause lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease.  Approximately two million construction workers nationwide are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in their workplace as a result of drilling, cutting, crushing, or grinding silica-containing material, such as concrete and stone.

Unreinforced Masonry Buildings – Seattle

Date: May 4, 2016  /  Author: Larry S. Glosser  /  Categories: Regulatory Administration, Construction News and Notes, Recent Legislation  /  Comments (0)

Brick Building and WindowsSince 2009, the City of Seattle Department of Constructions & Inspections (formerly part of the Department of Planning (the “Department”) has been considering requiring retrofits for buildings with unreinforced masonry (“URM”) bearing walls.  URM buildings are the brick buildings built without steel reinforcements and ties and connections required by modern building codes.  They were built throughout the city, but many can be seen in neighborhoods such as Pioneer Square, Chinatown/International District, Columbia City, Capitol Hill, and Ballard.  URM buildings are the most likely type to be damaged during earthquakes, and retrofits will make these buildings less vulnerable to damage.

GAO Proposes Major Changes to Bid Protest Procedure

Date: April 27, 2016  /  Author: Matt Paxton  /  Categories: Government Contracts, Construction Bidding, Construction News and Notes, Recent Legislation  /  Comments (0)

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) has jurisdiction to hear bid protests from government contractors seeking review of a federal agency’s contract procurement and awards.  The GAO receives thousands of bid protests every year.  On April 15, 2016, the GAO published notice of potential changes to its protest procedures, which would significantly change the manner in which protests get filed and decided.

House Votes to Add Vets to DOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program

Date: April 6, 2016  /  Author: Matt Paxton  /  Categories: Recent Legislation, Construction News and Notes, Construction Bidding, Government Contracts, MBE/DBE/WBE  /  Comments (0)

Many of our veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are interested in starting or buying their own business.  To support our soldiers, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) implemented the Veteran and Small Business program, which creates set-asides for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business and Veteran-Owned Small Business (“VOSB”).  However, the far more lucrative set-asides with the Department of Transportation (“DOT”) are governed by the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (“DBE”) program.  For DOT set-asides, only women-owned and minority-owned small businesses qualify as DBEs.

SBA Expands Woman-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program

Date: March 30, 2016  /  Author: Matt Paxton  /  Categories: Government Contracts, Regulatory Administration, Construction News and Notes, Recent Legislation  /  Comments (0)

More than 100 new industries are now eligible for the Small Business Administration’s (“SBA”) Woman-Owned Small Business (“WOSB”) contract program.  The SBA implemented the WOSB program in order to expand the number of industries where woman-owned small buisnesses could compete.  The program allows set-asides for Economically Disadvantaged WOSBs (“EDWOSBs”) in industries where WOSBs are underrepresented and set-asides for WOSBs where they are substantially underrepresented.

Legislative Update: Venue Clauses in County Contracts No Longer Enforceable

Date: December 17, 2015  /  Author: Brett M. Hill  /  Categories: Government Contracts, Construction News and Notes, Recent Legislation, Claims  /  Comments (0)

This article follows up on an article from earlier this year about proposed legislation in Olympia that addressed venue for lawsuits against counties.

That legislation, House Bill 1601, was drafted to address a common problem in public works contracting with Washington State counties.  Washington State counties have been including provisions in their construction contracts that require all disputes between the contractor and the county to be resolved in the home county that issued the contract.  These venue clauses present a problem for contractors because of the appearance of impropriety and associated challenges of litigating with counties in their home court.

Complying With the New TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule

Date: December 2, 2015  /  Author: Lawrence S. Glosser  /  Categories: Regulatory Administration, Construction News and Notes, Recent Legislation  /  Comments (0)

Recently, the largest changes in more than 30 years were made in federal mortgage disclosure requirements.  On August 1, 2015, the forms that have become second nature for generations of loan originators, attorneys, and borrowers—including the Good Faith Estimate (GFE), HUD-1, and Truth-in-Lending—are no longer used for new real estate transactions.  In their place are two completely new forms and a new set of requirements for how and when they are provided to borrowers.

Gov. Inslee Signs Washington Transportation Bill

Date: September 2, 2015  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Government Contracts, Construction News and Notes, Recent Legislation  /  Comments (0)

Readers of this blog are aware that we have been tracking and ranting about the poor condition of our national infrastructure since the blog’s inception.  In May 2013, a truck carrying an oversize load collided with the “fracture/critical” I-5 bridge over the Skagit River near Mount Vernon and brought home to everyone the dismal condition of bridges, highways, power, water, and sewer infrastructure.