Proposed New York legislation that would expose general contractors to increased liability for their subcontractors’ alleged wage theft is the subject of a new Report, co-authored by myself, issued by the New York City Bar Association’s Construction Law Committee. In the Report, the Committee urges the legislature to carefully consider the ramifications of enacting A.3350

Pacta sunt servanda, i.e., agreements must be kept. This applies in both good economies and bad.

Companies considering a modification of their business operations to offset lower revenue must be mindful of existing commercial contracts. Implicit in almost every New York agreement is a covenant of good faith and fair dealing in the course of performance. Output and requirements contracts are an exception, however. With an output contract, the parties agree that the seller will sell all the goods or services it may produce to a buyer in exchange for the buyer’s agreement to purchase them. A requirements contract obligates the buyer to purchase what it needs or requires from a seller in exchange for the seller’s promise to supply the buyer.

Where an agreement is neither an output nor a requirements contract, then both parties have continuing obligations throughout the term. The defenses of “impossibility” and “frustration of purpose” excuse performance in only the rarest of circumstances. What may seem like an obvious obstacle may not meet the threshold. A company that fails to understand the nature of its agreement or is unfamiliar with the applicable case law is exposed to significant monetary penalties. As a leading New York case has made clear, this counts for real estate development and hotel contracts as well.
Continue Reading Repurposing Real Estate Development to Counter Weakened Demand: Know the Risks Before Terminating Contracts

Synchronicity

A connecting principle,

Linked to the invisible

Almost imperceptible

Something inexpressible.

Science insusceptible

Logic so inflexible

Causally connectable

Nothing is invincible.

“The Police”, 1983.

This week, in response to the emergence of COVID-19 hot spots in downstate New York, Governor Cuomo instituted a new “cluster action initiative” to “crush” the clusters and contain the spread. New rules and restrictions, to be “in effect for a minimum of 14 days”, are designed to directly target “areas with the highest concentration of COVID cases and the surrounding communities.”
Continue Reading Finding Synchronicity Between Governor Cuomo’s New Cluster Action Initiative and the NYC DOB’s Corresponding Requirements

As our previous post stated, the commercial use of drones, or small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), for urban real estate and construction has gained some traction with the passage of the New York City Council’s bill requiring the Department of Buildings (DOB) to study the feasibility of using sUAS to inspect building facades. With this new bill, as well as other metropolitan cities surely following suit, one of the biggest issues on the forefront for the public at large is privacy.
Continue Reading Guidance on Using Drones for Real Estate and Construction in Dense Cities: How Much Does the Public Value Privacy? (Part II)

The commercial use of drones, or small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), for urban real estate and construction may finally be gaining traction. This month, the New York City Council passed a bill requiring the Department of Buildings (DOB) to study the feasibility of using sUAS to inspect building facades.
Continue Reading Guidance on Using Drones for Real Estate and Construction in Dense Cities: Getting Close – But Not Too Close (Part I)

Robinson+Cole’s Construction Group hosted its fourth— but first ever virtual — Construction Industry Roundtable on July 14, 2020. Representatives of major design and construction industry organizations and stakeholders in the Northeast were in attendance to discuss the state of the regional market and to look ahead for trends to watch for 2021.
Continue Reading Robinson+Cole Hosts Fourth Construction Industry Roundtable

This post was co-authored with 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.
Continue Reading OSHA’s COVID-19 Guidelines for the Construction Industry are Generally Consistent with New York State’s and New York City’s Existing Guidelines

In anticipation of reopening all construction activities statewide, on May 22, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced that construction staging activities would be allowed to commence before the Regions officially reopen. On May 31, 2020, the New York Empire State Development (“ESD”) updated its Guidance on Executive Order 202.6 (“NY Guidelines”) to provide specifications regarding construction staging. With most Regions currently in Phase One or Phase Two, the staging guidance is most applicable to New York City which is currently restricted to conducting only essential construction until it is cleared for a Phase One reopening. The allowed activities include the following:
Continue Reading New York Empire State Development Issues Guidance for Construction Staging Activities

COVID-19’s impact in New York has been particularly region-specific. To address the disparity, Governor Cuomo created a four-phase reopening plan to be implemented where geographic regions meet their required “health metrics.”

Each phase correlates with a group of industries in which their non-essential businesses may permit the return of their in-person workforce – under certain conditions – in qualifying regions. (As of the date of this publication, the regions that have qualified based on their health metrics are the Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Southern Tier and Western New York.) Construction is one of the industries comprising “Phase One.”

Construction companies within an eligible region may reopen so long as they satisfy the specific construction industry health and safety guidelines in four categories: physical distancing, protective equipment, cleaning and hygiene, and communication. The guidelines outline the mandatory requirements and provide additional recommended “best practices,” as follows:
Continue Reading New York’s Multi-Faceted Approach to Reopening “Non-Essential” Construction

Why it might be time to reconsider permitting the use of drones for development & construction in dense urban areas

Excerpt of a contributed article published in Construction Business Owner magazine on May 19, 2020.

COVID-19’s severe impact on some major metropolitan areas has been attributed to their density, infrastructure and inherent difficulty with