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CONSTRUCTION DEFECT NEWS

California Supreme Court Confirms the Right to Repair Act as the Exclusive Remedy for Seeking Relief for Defects in New Residential Construction

Thursday, February 22, 2018 — Brenda Radmacher – Construction Law Blog

The California Supreme Court recently issued its decision on a critical issue in the residential construction industry – the claims for construction defects that a California homeowner can bring against a builder or seller of new residential properties in California.

Holding

In McMillin Albany v. The Superior Court of Kern County, the Court held that California’s Right to Repair Act (California Civil Code, sections 895, et seq.) (the “Act”) is the exclusive remedy for homeowners claiming defective construction of new residences in California.

Reprinted courtesy of Brenda Radmacher, Gordon & Rees

Ms. Radmacher may be contacted at bradmacher@grsm.com

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Misread of Other Insurance Clause Becomes Costly for Insurer

Thursday, February 22, 2018 — Tred R. Eyerly – Insurance Law Hawaii

One insurer's refusal to defend based upon its "other insurance" provision ultimately meant the insurer had to pay all of the insured's defense costs. Steadfast Ins. Co. v. Greenwich Ins. Co., 2018 Wis. App. LEXIS 51 (Wis. Ct. App. Jan. 17, 2018).

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) was a government agency that provided water reclamation and flood management services to the city. From March 1, 1998 to February 20, 2008, MMSD contracted with United Water Services Milwaukee LLC to operate the sewerage system. From March 1, 2008 on, MMSD contracted with Veolia Water North America-Central, LLC to operate the system.

Through agreements, both companies were obligated to indemnify MMSD for claims arising out of the operations and maintenance of the system and to obtain insurance to cover their indemnity obligations. Both companies complied.

Reprinted courtesy of Tred R. Eyerly, Insurance Law Hawaii

Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com

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First-Time Homebuyers Make Biggest Share of Deals in 17 Years

Thursday, February 22, 2018 — Prashant Gopal – Bloomberg

Millennials are playing homeownership catch-up.

First-time buyers rushed into the market last year, making 38 percent of all U.S. single-family home purchases, the biggest share since 2000, data released Thursday by Genworth Mortgage Insurance show. The 2.07 million new or existing homes bought by first-timers was 7 percent more than in 2016, according to the insurer, part of Genworth Financial Inc.

Reprinted courtesy of Prashant Gopal, Bloomberg

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Taiwan Earthquake Kills 12 and Triggers Investigations

February 22, 2018 — Saibal Dasgupta – ENR

Investigators are closely looking into the structure and construction method used in the Yun Men Tsui Ti commercial and residential complex, which collapsed partially during the 6.4 earthquake in Hualien County on Taiwan’s east coast on Feb. 8. Nine of the 12 people killed in the quake were in this complex.

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Duty to Defend Owed From Date of Window Installation Even Absent Allegations As To When Property Damage Occurred

February 22, 2018 — Tred R. Eyerly – Insurance Law Hawaii

In a long-standing dispute between a window manufacturer and its insurer, the federal district court found that the insurer was obligated to pay defense costs from the date of installation of the alleged faulty windows even though the underlying complaints did not allege when the damage occurred. Pella Corp. v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., No. 4:11-cv-00273 (S.D. Iowa Jan. 16, 2018). The case is here.

Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com

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U.S. Homebuilder Sentiment Remains Near Highest Level Since 1999

February 22, 2018 — Shelly Hagan – Bloomberg

Confidence among American homebuilders held steady in February near the highest level since 1999, suggesting that demand for housing is expected to remain strong, according to data Thursday from the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo.

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Construction Law Institute – The Florida Bar

February 22, 2018 — Meg Scane - CDJ STAFF

Take a break from winter by attending the 11th Annual Construction Law Institute in Orlando, Florida. This two-day event offers advanced CLE credits and construction law board certification. Topics covered include Theories of Recovery and Cause of Action, Chapter 558, Suretyship, and much more.

March 8-10, 2018.
JW Marriott Orlando Grand Lakes
4040 Central Florida Parkway
Orlando, FL 32837

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Experts Weigh In on Bilingual Best Practices for Jobsites

Thursday, February 22, 2018 — Jim Parsons – ENR

It’s the rare construction firm that doesn’t cite people as its most important resource. And over the past two decades, that asset has become increasingly bilingual. Indeed, more than 27% of workers in construction are Hispanic or of Latino ethnicity, according to the most recent available data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Reprinted courtesy of Jim Parsons, Engineering News-Record
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Making the Construction Industry a Safer place for Women

Thursday, February 22, 2018 — Laura Parsons - CDJ STAFF

Women make up 47 percent of the total U.S. workforce yet they only hold approximately 9 percent of construction jobs nationwide. Because of this minority, women endure health and safety issues that men usually don’t, according to Safety.BLR.com’s article “OSHA renews alliance to protect women in construction.”

The main areas that women face problems in the construction industry are healthy, safety and workplace culture. Women are potentially exposed to sexual harassment, demeaning remarks, and bodily assaults. Most of personal protective equipment (PPE) and tools are made for the typical male body to use and operate and are too heavy or oversized for many women.

The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) partnered with OSHA in 2013 and just renewed their alliance aiming to improve upon workplace intimidation and violence as well as sanitation and PPE. The partnership is committed “to providing NAWIC members and others with information, guidance, and access to training resources that will help them protect the health and safety of workers, and understand the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).” This will be achieved by the implementation of national rules, laws, and standards as well as the circulation of preventative information.


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You Don’t Have To Be a Consumer to Assert a FDUTPA Claim

Thursday, February 22, 2018 — David Adelstein – Florida Construction Legal Updates

A few years ago, the Fourth District Court of Florida rendered an opinion in Caribbean Cruise Line, Inc. v. Better Business Bureau of Palm Beach County, Inc., 169 So.3d 164 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015) regarding Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (referred as to “FDUTPA”) (Florida Statute s. 501.201et seq.). This case held that a party can assert a FDUTPA claim even though the party is NOT a consumer. The party still has to prove there was an injury to consumers in filing such claim, but again, the party can bring the claim even though it is NOT a consumer. Caribbean Cruise Line, 169 So.3d at 169 (“[W]hile the claimant would have to prove that there was an injury or detriment to consumers in order to satisfy all of the elements of a FDUTPA claim, the claimant does not have to be a consumer to bring the claim.”).See also Cemex Construction Materials Florida, LLC v. Armstrong World Industries, Inc., 2018 WL 905752, *15 (M.D.Fla 2018) (relying on Caribbean Cruise Line to find that even though the plaintiff does not need to be a consumer, the plaintiff still must prove an injury to consumers to satisfy elements of a FDUTPA claim).

Reprinted courtesy of David Adelstein, Florida Construction Legal Updates

Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at dadelstein@gmail.com

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CONSTRUCTION DEFECT NEWS

Bad News for Buyers: U.S. Mortgage Rates Hit Highest Since 2014

Thursday, February 22, 2018 — Prashant Gopal – Bloomberg

Shanne Sleder, a San Diego mortgage banker, recently had to break the bad news to some would-be homebuyers: Borrowing costs jumped about 6 percent since he pre-approved them a couple months ago.

Reprinted courtesy of Prashant Gopal, Bloomberg
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Making Construction Innovation Stick

Thursday, February 22, 2018 — Tom Sawyer, Jeff Rubenstone, and Scott Lewis – ENR

Integrating innovations into construction workflows—rather than serially testing, piloting and discarding them—is a definition of success. Yet few innovations—even ones that shine in trials—are absorbed into practice. Many just quietly go away, sending the work of vetting and testing them down the drain. That leaves some firms wondering if most construction technology innovation efforts are a waste of time.

Reprinted courtesy of Engineering News-Record authors Tom Sawyer, Jeff Rubenstone and Scott Lewis
Mr. Sawyer may be contacted at sawyert@enr.com
Mr. Rubenstone may be contacted at rubenstonej@enr.com
Mr. Lewis may be contacted at lewisw@enr.com


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William Lyon to Acquire RSI Communities

Thursday, February 22, 2018 — Dave Suggs - CDJ STAFF

According to the article “William Lyon Agrees to Buy RSI Communities $460 million deal plants Lyon in Texas and adds to Inland Empire land holdings” published on the website Builder, the Newport Beach home builder is purchasing the Southern California and Texas home builder. This will be Lyon Homes’ first venture in the state of Texas.

RSI Communities works within both San Antonio and Austin, Texas as well as Southern California and the Inland Empire. It was founded by Todd Palmaer, a home building expert and Ron Simon, a building products expert and Newport Beach businessman. First time home buyers have been RSI’s main target.
President and CEO of RSI, Tod Palmaer is optimistic about the acquisition “We are delighted to have our company join the William Lyon Homes organization. We have a great deal of confidence in the William Lyon Homes platform and its executive management team, and believe that its acquisition of RSI Communities will add to Lyon’s continued success in its current and new markets.”

Pat Donahue who has almost 30 years of experience in home building, will serve as President to the Inland Empire Division. John Bohnen, RSI’s present Chief Operating Officer, will be the regional president in Texas. Mr. Bohnen has previously held executive positions with numerous home builders. William Lyon’s president and CEO Mark R. Zaist is excited about adding RSI’s key players to their team, and had this to say about the purchase. “The acquisition of RSI represents our most significant acquisition since our entry into Portland and Seattle with the Polygon Northwest Homes acquisition in 2014 and furthers our strategy of building in the strongest markets in the Western U.S., while also strengthening our pipeline in Southern California, as we continue our mission of being the premier Western Regional home builder.”


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CONSTRUCTION DEFECT NEWS

Sales of Existing U.S. Homes Unexpectedly Fell in January

Thursday, February 22, 2018 — Sho Chandra – Bloomberg

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly fell in January to a four-month low, indicating a shortage of available properties is increasingly hindering the real-estate industry, a National Association of Realtors report showed Wednesday.

Sales growth is limited by an acute shortage of inventory, which is pushing up home prices faster than wage growth. The group noted that property prices have jumped 41 percent over the past five years, while wages have gained 12 percent.

If the current pace of sales continues -- which NAR doesn’t anticipate -- purchases would be lower than in 2017. At the same time, steady hiring and elevated confidence to make large purchases, as well as tax cuts that are boosting Americans’ take-home pay, are expected to sustain demand for housing in much of the nation.

Reprinted courtesy of Sho Chandra, Bloomberg
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Why a Challenge to Philadelphia’s Project Labor Agreement Would Be Successful

Thursday, February 22, 2018 — Wally Zimolong – Supplemental Conditions

There is a common misconception that all Philadelphia Public Works projects must be performed pursuant to a project labor agreement with various members of the Building and Construction Trades Council. This common misconception is even shared by the current Mayoral administration, who I saw in a recent court filing testified under oath that “project labor agreements are required for all construction projects in Philadelphia with a value of at least five million dollars.” (As is discussed below this is flat out false.)
No one has yet to step forward to challenge Philadelphia’s project labor agreement scheme. However, if someone did, I think the challenge would be successful for three reasons. First, contrary to the Mayor’s representative’s statement, there is no requirement that all projects in excess of $5 million be subject to a project labor agreement. Second, Philadelphia’s project labor agreement excludes signatories to collective bargaining agreements with the United Steel Workers (USW) from participating, which violates public bid laws. Third, the exclusion of the USW, also gives rise to a challenge that federal labor law preempts the project labor agreement.

A. Background on the Philadelphia PLA.

Under a project labor agreement (PLA), a contractor wishing to perform work on a project agrees to be bound by the terms and conditions of employment established by the public owner and certain construction unions. Each PLA varies, but typically PLA’s will require a contractor’s employees to become members of a union – if they are already not members – in order to work on a project or will require a contractor to hire labor from a union hiring hall. PLA’s are controversial because they exclude non-union contractors from performing work on a project subject to a PLA, unless of course that contractor agrees to become “union” for purposes of that project. For reasons beyond this blog post, a merit shop contractor would be crazy to do that.

The “Philadelphia PLA” that Mayor Kenney believes is required for all public projects over $5 million was instituted by Mayor Nutter through a 2011 Executive Order(Executive Order No. 15-11, Public Works Project Labor Agreements).

Reprinted courtesy of Wally Zimolong, Zimolong LLC

Mr. Zimolong may be contacted at wally@zimolonglaw.com

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Monitoring Building Moisture with RFID – Interview with Jarmo Tuppurainen

Thursday, February 22, 2018 — Aarni Heiskanen – aec business

I met Jarmo, the Technology Manager at Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, at the leading event for housing markets in Helsinki (Asuntomarkkinat). He and his team had set up an impressive display of devices and structures in the KIRA-digi showroom.

Reprinted courtesy of Aarni Heiskanen, aec business

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at aec-business@aepartners.fi

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Bribe Charges Take Toll on NY Contractor

Thursday, February 22, 2018 — Mary B. Powers - ENR

The federal bid-rigging trial of former executives of one-time Buffalo, N.Y., regional contracting giant LPCiminelli won’t start until late spring, more than 18 months after they were indicted, along with others, on bribery, corruption and fraud charges in a New York state contract “pay for play.”

Reprinted courtesy of Mary B. Powers, Engineering News-Record
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