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News

Florida Condominium Collapse Forces Massachusetts to Reevaluate Construction and Design Liability Laws

  by Alexander Tsianatelis, Esq.   Many states and jurisdictions, including Massachusetts, have been prompted to re-examine their construction and design liability related laws in the wake of the Champlain Towers South high-rise condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida. One such law is under particular scrutiny in Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 260, §2B (the “Statute of Repose”) generally prevents the enforceability of any “action of tort for damages arising out of any deficiency or neglect in the design, planning, construction or general administration of an improvement to real property” after a period of six years from “the earlier of the dates of: (1) the opening of the improvement to use; or (2) substantial completion of the improvement and the taking of possession for occupancy by the owner.” Generally, this means plaintiffs are prevented from enforcing tort claims against ...

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ABC to Congress: College Degrees Do Not Define Career Success

  (via ABC National) THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2021 10:00 AM   WASHINGTON, Nov. 4—Today, longtime construction industry leader, instructor and military veteran Frank Boecker testified on behalf of Associated Builders and Contractors before the U.S. House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Workforce Development on the indispensable role that community colleges, trade schools and career and technical education programs play in the construction industry. Boecker, who serves as human resources manager for electrical contractor Sunwest Electric, headquartered in Anaheim, California, called for continued investment in apprenticeship programs, craft courses and career and technical education programs, as well as the need for the federal government to promote all programs and pathways that lead to a fulfilling career. “The workforce shortage facing construction and many other industries across the country is one ...

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ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator Inches Lower in September; Contractor Confidence Down for Second Consecutive Month

  (via ABC National) TUESDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2021 9:50 AM Posted in Construction Backlog Indicator, Construction Economic Update, Construction Confidence Index, News Release 2021   WASHINGTON, Oct. 12—Associated Builders and Contractors reports today that its Construction Backlog Indicator fell to 7.6 months in September, according to an ABC member survey conducted Sept. 20-Oct. 4. The reading is down 0.1 months from August 2021, but up 0.1 months from September 2020.     ABC’s Construction Confidence Index readings for sales, profit margins and staffing levels each declined in September, but remain above the threshold of 50, indicating expectations of growth over the next six months.     “Nonresidential construction backlog declined for a second consecutive month as skills and input shortages hammer the industry,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “A growing number of contractors ...

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Braintree To Rebid South Middle School Project Without a PLA After Court Ruling

  Braintree has announced it will rebid the South Middle School Project without a project labor agreement after a Norfolk Superior Court Judge granted a preliminary injunction sought by ABC to stop the bidding process that had begun using a PLA.  Judge Paul D. Wilson granted the injunction after finding that the town did not meet specific requirements under which a PLA can be used.   PLAs require all jobsite labor on a project to come from unions, even though more than 83% of Massachusetts construction workers choose not to join a union.   Now all qualified bidders will have the opportunity to participate in the project and the town will get a larger pool of qualified bidders, and better prices.    Following the ruling, the town posted the following message on Braintreema.gov: Earlier this week the Town of Braintree was required to re-open the South Middle School Project for bids without the inclusion of a Project Labor Agreement (“PLA&rdqu ...

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Braintree Has Announced It Will Rebid the South Middle School Project Without a PLA After Court Ruling

  Braintree has announced it will rebid the South Middle School Project without a PLA after a Norfolk Superior Court ruling that it violates the state’s competitive bidding laws.  Now all qualified open shops and union contractors will have a fair chance to participate.   The town will get a larger pool of qualified bidders, and better prices.  via Braintreema.gov Earlier this week the Town of Braintree was required to re-open the South Middle School Project for bids without the inclusion of a Project Labor Agreement (“PLA”). In 2020, the Town, with the unanimous support of the School Building Committee, decided to use a PLA on the South Middle School Project. A PLA is a pre-hire agreement that establishes the terms and conditions of employment on a construction project. On this project it would have, among other things, utilized local union hiring halls to hire workers, prevented delays in construction due to work stoppages provided a more diverse work ...

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State Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction Blocking PLA On Braintree School Project

  A state Superior Court judge has granted a preliminary injunction to plaintiffs that include ABC Massachusetts and member contractor Fernandes Masonry to prohibit the Town of Braintree from including a project labor agreement (PLA) on its project to build a new South Middle School. PLAs require all jobsite labor on a project to come from unions, even though more than 83% of Massachusetts construction workers choose not to join a union. Parties seeking an injunction must show: (1) A likelihood of success on the merits (2) That they would suffer irreparable harm absent the injunction, and (3) That risk is greater than risks the opposing party would face if the injunction were not granted Judge Paul D. Wilson found that the plaintiffs “likelihood of success [on the merits] is strong. In terms of irreparable harm, Judge Wilson importantly agreed that the PLA would “effectively preclude plaintiff contractors from winning contracts on the South Middle School project, and ...

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National Nonresidential Construction Spending Expanded 0.1% in July

National nonresidential construction spending expanded 0.1% in July, according to a recent ABC analysis of data published by the U.S. Census Bureau. On a seasonally adjusted annualized basis, nonresidential spending totaled $786.7 billion for the month.  However, spending was down on a monthly basis in six of 16 nonresidential subcategories.  Spending in three categories was virtually unchanged. Private nonresidential spending was down 0.2% for the month, while public nonresidential construction spending rose 0.6% in July. Total nonresidential construction spending is down 4.2% from July 2020. “The nonresidential construction spending numbers are meaningfully worse than they initially appear,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “While the headline number suggests that nonresidential spending was effectively flat in July, the figure does not adjust for inflation. In real terms, the volume of construction services delivered by the nation’s nonresidential contractors de ...

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ABC's Beeman Quoted in Boston Globe Article About Fire Threats

  ABC Massachusetts President and CEO Greg Beeman was quoted in an August 29 Boston Globe article about potential fire hazards associated with the increased use of wood-framed residential structures. Beeman noted that "You can never say that everything is going to be without safety issues or concerns, but it would certainly be fair to say that built into the... oversight we have here, there's a strong safety component that is also interwoven. It will be hard to have a Wild West kind of scenario unfold here with the framework we have in place." Jerry Howard, CEO of the National Association of Homebuilders, noted that potential hazards need to be balanced against affordability concerns. "We could probably all construct a house that would withstand virtually any fire... wind... and flood event that God or man could create. The problem is no one could afford to live in it," he said. "You also have to take into account affordability, and when you balance those things... a ...

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Construction Input Prices Up 23.1% Year Over Year, Says ABC

  From ABC National: THURSDAY, AUGUST 12, 2021 9:23 AM   WASHINGTON, Aug. 12—Construction input prices rose 0.6% in July, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Producer Price Index data released today. Nonresidential construction input prices increased 0.8% for the month. Construction input prices are 23.1% higher than a year ago, while nonresidential construction input prices increased 23.4% over that span. Energy prices continue to experience substantial year-over-year price increases. The price of natural gas is up 146.7%, while crude petroleum and unprocessed energy materials prices are up 102.9% and 93.8%, respectively. Prices for steel mill products increased 10.8% for the month and are up 108.6% for the year. “One’s definition of transitory needs to evolve with these data,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “While it is quite likely that there will be less inflation a year f ...

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Cruz Companies Donates $250,000 to the Walter Williams Endowed Scholarship Fund

  Anyone who’s spent time with John Cruz has likely heard him say that companies can’t grow without attracting and retaining good people.  John once again proved that he means it when the Cruz Companies recently donated $250,000 to establish the Walter Williams Endowed Scholarship Fund at Boston’s Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT). Beginning this fall, the scholarship will provide financial support for up to two students every academic year who live in zip codes assigned to Dorchester, Roxbury or Mattapan in Boston; have demonstrated financial need; and are studying construction management, HVAC-R, Practical Electricity, or a related program area at BFIT.  Students should have already been enrolled for at least one semester to demonstrate their dedication to the program. Walter Williams was a longtime Roxbury resident.  During a career in city government and as a community organizer he played a key role in establishing the Bosto ...

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