HVAC Mech

February 2, 2018

2017 Construction Industry Silica Standards Are Here to Stay

Source: https://www.lexology.com, January 24, 2018
By: Smith Currie & Hancock

In 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) published its final rule lowering the permissible silica exposure level (“PEL”) from 250 µg/m3 to 50 µg/m3. In response, OSHA received petitions from both a collection of industry petitioners (“Industry”) arguing that OSHA made the regulation too stringent and several union petitions (“Unions”) arguing that OSHA failed to make the regulation stringent enough to protect workers. On December 22, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected all of the industry’s challenges to the regulation. See N. Am.’s Bldg. Trades Unions v. Occupational Safety & Health Admin., No. 16-1105, 2017 WL 6543858 (D.C. Cir. Dec. 22, 2017). The court further held that OSHA failed to adequately explain its decision to omit medical removal protections from the regulation and remanded the issues for further consideration.

At the forefront of the court’s opinion, it outlines 29 U.S.C. §655(f), “the substantial evidence standard”, under which OSHA only needed to provide substantial evidence to uphold the requisite threshold finding of a significant risk of material health impairment that will be reduced by the new PEL (50 µg/m3). Under this standard, while OSHA must rely upon a “body of reputable scientific thought” when assessing risk, it is not required to “calculate the exact probability of harm” or support its findings with anything approaching scientific certainty.” [pg 8]. “OSHA is not precluded from relying on imperfect evidence so long as it ‘recognize[s] and account[s] for the methodological weaknesses’ of the evidence.” [pg 14]. The basis of the court’s holding is that the Industry failed to demonstrate how OSHA failed to meet its substantial evidentiary burden.…

September 19, 2017

Neighbors Furious Home With Asbestos Was Demolished Without Safety Precautions

Source: http://boston.cbslocal.com, September 18, 2017
By: Ken MacLeod

There are health concerns in a Wilmington neighborhood after a construction crew started tearing down a house filled with asbestos, without following the proper safety procedures.

The issue was so bad; the Department of Environmental Protection was summoned to oversee things. When neighbors complained, it did bring about change.

Dave Norton worries about his granddaughter and his neighbors after the demolition triggered a cloud of asbestos dust.…

June 27, 2017

Condo liability law loosened

Source: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com, June 25, 2017
By: Brooks Johnson

A homeowners association is suing the developer, builder and manager of the Superior Vista condominiums, among others, claiming the Mesaba Avenue complex was not properly built and ought to be repaired under warranty.

“Many areas of the building were not built to applicable building code, industry standard and/or engineering specifications … all of which is allowing for excessive water intrusion, deterioration and decay,” reads the suit by the Superior Vista Homeowners Association filed in St. Louis County District Court last fall.

It’s exactly the kind of suit that some say has discouraged new condo development in recent years, and one that could become less common due to a change in state law that passed the Legislature earlier this year.

“The number of townhomes and condos being built have dramatically dropped, in part because of this legal landscape,” said David Siegel, executive director of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities. “If the liability is so great, and the costs are so great, we’re just going to stay away.”

Legislation pushed by Siegel’s group aims to slow down the liability lawsuits by requiring homeowner association membership to vote on such suits; require a maintenance record kept by the association; and mandate mediation before a suit is launched.

“We needed to put guardrails in,” Siegel said. “We don’t want to take away the ability to remedy the problems, but there are less expensive solutions that can solve the problems.”

June 27, 2017

Dakota Access builder bungling Ohio pipe

Source: http://www.journalgazette.net, June 25, 2017
By: Catherine Traywick

Energy Transfer Partners is making a mess of its biggest project since the Dakota Access pipeline.

Construction of the $4.2 billion Rover natural gas line has caused seven industrial spills, polluted fragile Ohio wetlands and angered local farmers. The company owes $1.5 million in restitution after demolishing a historic house.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is furious and a federal energy regulator has launched a rare public investigation that threatens to delay the pipeline’s scheduled Nov. 1 completion.

“We’ve not seen a project in Ohio with spills at this size and scale, and if we can’t even trust Rover to construct this pipeline, how can we trust them to operate it when it’s complete?” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, executive director of the Ohio Environmental Council.

Energy Transfer, the Dallas-based company led by billionaire Kelcy Warren, promised part of the 713-mile pipeline would open in July, but work is stalled on key segments until the company’s responsibility for the spills can be assessed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC.

“We are working with FERC and the OEPA to resolve these issues in a manner that is satisfactory to everyone involved, and most importantly ensures the complete remediation of these areas,” said Energy Transfer spokeswoman Alexis Daniel. Recent developments have not affected the project’s timeline, Daniel said.

Any delay would pinch natural gas producers that contracted to ship on the line, which will bring resources from the Marcellus shale to the Midwest.…

June 22, 2017

What turned Ellerbee Creek orange?

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com, June 21, 2017
By: Virginia Bridges

City officials think the substance that turned part of Ellerbee Creek an oily orange last week may have been due to a city contractor’s mistake.

A city investigation found a city contractor improperly rerouted water meant to go to the city’s sanitary sewer system to a stormwater line, which flows into the creek. Contractor Crowder Construction was working at the Williams Water Treatment Plant on Hillandale Road.

City officials started looking into the issue Thursday, June 15, after receiving a report of the creek’s discoloration on the city’s stormwater hotline, where people can report pollution. The roughly 20-mile-long creek flows into Falls Lake, Raleigh’s primary drinking water supply.

Patrick Hogan, a city water quality technician, said the substance resembled a naturally occurring iron-oxide bacteria rarely found in a flowing stream.

Hogan walked the creek and found a break in the color near an outfall pipe, he said. He looked at maps of the drainage network, which led him to the treatment plant and the improperly routed pipe.

March 10, 2017

Plaintiffs in $4.7 million construction defect case mum after ruling

Source: http://norcalrecord.com, February 28, 2017
By: Charmaine Little

Plaintiffs in a major construction lawsuit that ended with a San Diego law firm recovering nearly $5 million have decided to stay silent after the ruling was in their favor.

The law firm, which represented Laurel Bay Community Association, won $4.7 million in the case that was filed Aug. 21, 2013, against the developer and converter, Hammer Development LLC and Hammer Laurel Condominiums LLC. The suit was also a complaint against the original contractors, Simpson Laurel Bay LP, SHLP Laurel Bay LLC and GWC Contractors LP. The development was slated to be a new apartment complex in 2004 before it was turned into a set of residential condominiums in 2005.

Commercials Metal Company is listed as one of the primary plaintiffs in the high-profile case. It refused to speak on the $4.7 million ruling.

“We do not comment on litigation matters,” Susan Gerber, manager of public relations for Commercial Metals Company, told the Northern California Record.

March 10, 2017

Completed-Operations Coverage: What Is Included and Excluded from Your Commercial General Liability Policy?

Source: http://www.natlawreview.com, February 1, 2017
By: Barbara J. Jordan, P.E., S.I. and Donald B. Leach, Jr.

In 2008, Ohio Northern University (ONU) entered into a contract with Charles Construction Services, Inc. (CCS) for the construction of The Inn, a new luxury hotel and conference center on ONU’s Campus, consisting of 57,000 square feet of space, including guest rooms, meeting rooms, kitchen, laundry, spa, front desk lobby, office area and support areas. After construction was complete, ONU discovered damage to the Inn caused by water intrusion and moisture in The Inn’s wall coverings, dry wall, insulation and exterior walls.1 Remediation of this damage led to the discovery of additional structural defects.2 ONU subsequently brought a claim against CCS in 2012 seeking damages relating to the deficient construction services. CCS then brought third-party claims against many of its subcontractors that performed the work, which resulted in the alleged property damage.

CCS’s insurer, Cincinnati Insurance Company (CIC), intervened in the lawsuit and filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the Hancock County Court of Common Pleas3 to dismiss it from its obligation to defend CCS, relying upon the Ohio Supreme Court’s precedent from Westfield Ins. Co. v. Custom Agri Systems, Inc.4 In Westfield Ins., the Supreme Court of Ohio held “that claims of defective construction or workmanship brought by a property owner are not claims for ‘property damage’ caused by an ‘occurrence’ under a commercial general liability policy.”5

February 9, 2017

California Court Holds Continuous Progressive Injury Exclusion Applicable to Construction Defect Claim

Source: http://www.jdsupra.com, February 7, 2017
By: Brian Margolies, Traub Lieberman Strauss & Shrewsberry LLP

In its recent decision in Saarman Construction, Ltd. v. Ironshore Specialty Ins. Co., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13633 (N.D. Cal. Jan 31, 2017), the United States District Court for the Northern District of California had occasion to consider the application of a continuous and progressive injury exclusion in the context of a construction defect claim.

The underlying suit arose out of Saarman’s work as a general contractor at a condominium complex performed in 2006 and 2007 to address pre-existing water intrusion problems.  In 2011, a lessee of one of the units sued the unit owner, claiming that her unit suffered from several defects, including mold, plumbing leaks and water intrusion.  The unit owner, in turn, sued several parties, including Saarman based on the theory that it failed to remedy the defects, which contributed to the mold growth.

Ironshore insured Saarman under a general liability policy issued for the period June 30, 2010 to June 30, 2011.  The policy contained an exclusion applicable to any claim alleging bodily injury or property damage “arising out of, in whole or in part, the actual, alleged or threatened discharge … of any mold, mildew, bacteria or fungus.”  The policy also contained an exclusion applicable to any bodily injury or property damage:…

January 23, 2017

Construction mishap reveals asbestos at SCC

Source: http://www.thesnaponline.com, January 19, 2017
By: Ritchie Starnes

The discovery of asbestos inside SCC’s signature building has led to its closure until May.

A construction mishap during the summer led to the discovery of asbestos in a glue compound used beneath the tile floor in the Patterson building on the campus of Stanly Community College. Further inspection also found asbestos in a compound inside the joints of the structure’s walls.

Consequently, offices and services located in Patterson were relocated to other parts of the campus in the interest of safety. Predominately an administrative building, most of the relocation pertained to faculty and staff. Patterson, constructed in the ‘70s, is also home to the college’s business office.

No classes, however, have been canceled as a result. Instead, classes were moved to other parts of campus.

“Students come first, then faculty and staff,” SCC President John Enamait said. “It was not a convenient time for faculty and staff to move out of that building at the end of the semester. It was a burden.”

Enamait applauded his faculty and staff since they were forced to absorb the brunt of relocation, much that did not occur until late into the semester after more asbestos was found.

Other than a few nooks in the campus’ oldest building, the second semester of the school year at SCC has been without the use of the Patterson building, or the main focal point of the campus that offers occupants a scenic view from atop a hill on the campus. It’s also the most visible structure, which is the first building that greets visitors as they ascend College Drive.…

August 4, 2016

Federal Environmental Requirements for Construction

Source: http://www.cem.va.gov

What Do You Need to Consider?

Do you perform clearing, grading, or excavation activities? Do you build roads, golf courses, playing fields, homes, or buildings? Are you involved in demolition activities? Will you discharge dredged or fill material to a waterway or wetland? Are you involved in tunnel or pipeline projects?

If so, you may be responsible for ensuring that requirements in federal environmental regulations are met. Depending on the regulation, a violation can result in a civil penalty up to $27,500 per day and a criminal penalty of up to $250,000 and 15 years in prison.

This guide provides information on federal environmental requirements for construction projects. It is written primarily for owners of construction projects and for general contractors who supervise  construction projects. Subcontractors also may find the information useful.

EPA delegates authority to implement certain regulatory programs to some states. A state may have requirements that are more stringent than the federal requirements. Therefore, be sure to check with your state and local agencies before starting a construction project.…