Anyone monitoring construction industry trends is aware that the prices of raw construction materials, particularly steel and lumber, have been rapidly increasing since early 2020. Earlier this year, Associated Builders and Contractors reported that iron and steel prices were up 15.6 percent from January of 2020 to January of 2021, and that softwood lumber prices had increased by as much as 73 percent during the same period.

The reasons for these price increases are varied (ranging from supply chain and shipping disruptions to the increased demand for new home construction), and many have their roots in changes introduced to the global economy by the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless of the explanations for the price increases, the reality is that builders and owners are more frequently facing busted budgets and difficult conversations, sometimes resulting in litigation, about which party is responsible for absorbing the increased costs. As is often the case, the answer to resolving these disputes likely lies in the particular provisions of the contract for construction.

Continue Reading Revisiting Price Escalation Clauses in a Time of Skyrocketing Material Costs

Below is an excerpt of an article published in Construction Executive on April 15, 2021.

Modular construction is literally on the rise. It is rapidly displacing traditional stick-built construction for new commercial, industrial and residential buildings. Over the past decade, an increasing number of health care, education facilities and apartment buildings have been built using

Below is an excerpt of an article published in the Spring 2021 edition of Under Construction, a  newsletter publication of the American Bar Association Forum on Construction Law.

As the construction industry recovers from and adjusts to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and prepares for a new normal, post-COVID world, claims for losses of

In December 2020, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) amended the small business size limit under the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program (section 1101(b) of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (Pub. L. 114-94, Dec. 4, 2015).  The rule, which goes into effect on January 13, 2021, increases the DBE gross receipts cap (averaged over the firm’s previous three fiscal years) to $26,290,000 for Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) related work. This inflationary-based adjustment is an increase over the prior gross receipts cap of $23,980,000 enacted in 2015. The effect of this rule, which is “not considered a significant economic impact on a substantial number of size entities”, is to allow “some small businesses to continue to participate in the DBE programs by adjusting for inflation.” This adjustment should provide relief for some DBEs that were close to exceeding the limits from 2018-2020.
Continue Reading DBE Gross Receipts Cap Adjusted for Inflation

In a recent decision likely to have a significant impact upon the way private construction projects in Massachusetts are managed, the Superior Court recently construed the Massachusetts Prompt Pay Statute in the way the Statute (Statute) was meant to be enforced, but contrary to most current construction practice.

In Tocci Building Corp. v. IRIV Partners

Robinson+Cole has committed to the Culture of CARE, an initiative created in partnership between the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and the AGC of Washington to advance the construction industry as the industry of choice for diverse and talented workers by building inclusive work environments in construction firms nationwide.

“At Robinson+Cole we have

Below in an excerpt from an article published in Construction Executive on December 8, 2020. 

The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world forever, disrupting many industries, as well as creating unprecedented challenges that threaten many businesses. The construction industry is no different. Projects throughout the country have been adversely affected by unplanned work stoppages,

Passed in 2010, the Massachusetts Prompt Pay Statute imposed specific requirements on owners, contractors and subcontractors of private projects over $3M with regard to submitting, processing and approving requests for payment and change orders.  A recent decision by the Massachusetts Superior Court entitled, Tocci v. IRIV Partners, LLC, et. al. has confirmed that

Excerpt of a contributed article published in ISHN magazine on December 4, 2020.

When state and local governments across the country began issuing stay-at-home advisories in response to the beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, many private employers directed their personnel to begin working from home to the extent possible in

This post was authored by Jonathan Schaefer, who is a member of Robinson+Cole’s Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group. Jon focuses his practice on environmental compliance counseling, occupational health and safety, permitting, site remediation, and litigation related to federal and state regulatory programs.

The results of a recently published study show that construction workers in Texas were more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 compared to the general population. An equally problematic finding is that the increased hospitalization of construction workers resulted in greater community spread of COVID-19. This study and its findings are a much-needed reminder to stay vigilant and continue to monitor and enforce COVID-19 safety precautions and guidelines.
Continue Reading Study Findings Reinforce Need for Construction Industry to Stay Vigilant and Committed to COVID-19 Restrictions and Protecting Workers