Construction in the Age of COVID-19: Contract Provisions that Merit Review in these Uncertain Times.

Pexels. No attribution required.

The nature and extent of COVID-19’s impacts  on Arizona’s construction industry are currently unknown.  It is, however, certain that there will be impacts.  At the very least, many projects may be delayed.  Thus, in order to prepare for what lies ahead, delay-related provisions in existing construction contracts and contemplated future contracts merit review and consideration. These include, but are not limited to, clauses covering the following:

Contract Time

The starting point for any delay claim is the contract provision specifying the performance period for the subject work.  Typically, construction contracts will establish the performance period by: (1) specifying commencement and completion dates; or (2) setting forth a number of days within which the work must be completed after a notice to proceed is given. read more

The Next Chapter: Holden Willits, PLC

I am excited to announce that I have joined a new law firm – Holden Willits, PLC. Holden Willits is ranked by US News & World Report as a Tier 1 law firm in Phoenix for construction law and construction litigation. And as you may be able to tell from this blog, construction law and construction litigation are the main focus of my practice. For this reason and others, I am happy that Holden Willits is the next chapter in my legal career.

While this is a big change for me professionally, it will not change this blog. As new developments relating to Arizona construction law arise, I will continue to write about them. Thank you and stay tuned! read more

“Knowing is Half the Battle” – What to Expect During an OSHA Inspection

Via the United States Department of Labor

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero was one of my favorite television shows as a kid. Each episode of the cartoon concluded with a character stating that, “Knowing is half the battle.” To this day, I think that is a solid maxim on a number of levels. So, in the spirit of G.I. Joe, I have linked to the video above concerning the OSHA inspection process. The video, which was posted to YouTube by the U.S. Department of Labor on October 17, 2019, details the steps of, and procedures for, OSHA inspections. read more

OsHa No! – 9th Circuit Holds that Installation of Solar Panels Is Not Roofing Work for Purposes of Fall Protection

Pexels. No Attribution Required.

It is hopefully no secret that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) regulations require employers to provide fall protection systems in certain circumstances. The type of protection required depends primarily on: (1) the nature of the work being performed; and (2) the environment in which it is performed. In Bergelectric Corp. v. Secretary of Labor, 925 F.3d 1167 (9th Cir. 2019), the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was recently charged with deciding whether the installation of solar panels constituted “roofing work” for purposes of determining the applicable safety standards. The Court ultimately held that installing solar panels was not roofing work, and, as a result, affirmed a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (the “Commission”) that a contractor violated OSHA fall protection requirements by not complying “with the stricter safety standards governing work on unprotected sides and edges.” Given the growth of the solar industry, the decision in Bergelectric Corp. is significant. read more

“An umbrella of liability”: Arizona Court of Appeals Sets Aside Industrial Commission Decision for not Evaluating the Liability of Each Contractor in a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Who is responsible for payment of a workers’ compensation claim arising from framing work that has been subcontracted at least 4 times on a residential construction project?  That is the question that Division One of the Arizona Court of Appeals recently tackled in Meno’s Construction, LLC v. Industrial Commission of Arizona, No. 1 CA-IC 18-0041 and 1 CA-IC 18-0042 (Consolidated).  The Court ultimately set aside the Industrial Commission of Arizona’s underlying decision that only two of the relevant subcontractors were responsible.  In doing so, the Court held that the administrative law judge (the “ALJ”) below “did not evaluate the liability of each contractor and subcontractor made party to [the] workers’ compensation claim,” in violation of the “umbrella of liability” concept for statutory employers contemplated by Arizona’s Workers’ Compensation Act. read more