Don't worry. That shaking you feel isn't an earthquake. It's the construction of the new Tappan Zee bridge across the Hudson River north of New York. I'm kidding of course. Construction on the $3.9 billion project hasn't even started yet, but much of the geotechnical work, not to mention the design, has. Now they are planning on picking up good vibrations with highly sophisticated shoebox-sized sensors posted around the construction site. This is nothing new, but the plan to make the data available online 24/7 is--at least as far as I know. Check back here in a few weeks to see the monitoring page.
But lest you think that the only people interested in the movers and shakers at the bridge are the contractor and the nimbies and gadflies nearby, note this: Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Obversvatory is just downriver on the West side, home to gobs of the largest and most sophisticated earth measuring equipment you'll find. My geotechnical engineer friends tell me that every year Lamont-Doherty hosts an open house, which is generally geared toward kids, but is fascinating for geeks (like me) of all ages. It's usually in early October, so check their website if you're anywhere near New York and take the kids. While you're there you can swing by and see a pretty cool construction site at the new bridge.
For a visual tour of the construction of New York's Second Avenue Subway line, the Big Apple's first major expansion of its subway system since 1932, check out CBS Sunday Morning's video, NYC's subway, still under construction.
Amidst the obligatory interviews on the surface with planners, engineers, and inconvenienced neighbors, the video offers interesting glimpses of the excavation and construction of the first phase of the $4.5 billion project. Phase 1 of the planned four phase, two-track line will provide service from 96th to 63rd Streets and is expected to be complete in December 2016. The new line, once all four phases are completed, is to shuttle commuters up the East Side from Hanover Square to 125th Street.
If you don't have time for the six and half minute video, skip to the photo gallery, Building NYC's Second Ave. Subway, for photos and renderings of the project and equipment. For more detailed information on the project, including monthly project updates, go straight to the horse's mouth at MTA.info.
The 22nd edition of Pillsbury's Newsletter: Perspectives on Real Estate features articles on energy consumption data reporting (AB1103 and 531), construction and risk management, new foreign tax withholding forms, chapter 9 and public-private partnerships.
On November 20, 2012, the California Contractors State License Board posted an Industry Bulletin alerting licensees and applicants alike to a recent scam involving fraudulent calls asking licensees or applicants for their credit card information over the phone in connection with renewing their licenses, obtaining continuing education credits, or taking licensing exams. CSLB Registrar Steve Sands has confirmed that at least one "unscrupulous company" has used information from the CSLB's website to contact licensees or applicants "to mislead and scam them." The CSLB confirmed that it "will never ask for credit card information over the phone, nor will they process any payment over the phone." CSLB fees are only payable through the mail via check or at CSLB headquarters via cash, check, or credit card. Moreover, there are no continuing education requirements to renew a CA CSLB license.
The CSLB confirmed that although California Business and Professions Code § 7080.5 requires it to make public the name and address of every accepted application for a license, and that it intends to continue to post this information, it could change its process if applicants continue to be preyed upon by unscrupulous companies. To read a copy of the Industry Bulletin, click here. To read additional CA CSLB 2012 Industry Bulletins, click here.
On the eleventh anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, One World Trade Center steadily progresses toward a late 2013 completion date. The spire on top of the 104-story skyscraper will reach 1,776 feet, a symbolic reference to America's independence. David Childs of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Architect, is the architect for One World Trade Center, and Tishman Construction is the primary contractor. Although reports vary, the final construction cost of the tower will be close to $4 billion. The current images of One World Trade Center are inspiring and an uplifting image on this day of remembrance.
While the tenth anniversary of 9/11 put the memorial on full display, the 100,000-square-foot museum is currently behind schedule. Delayed by funding, oversight, and financing, construction of the museum came to a halt after the tenth anniversary. On Monday night, however, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum Foundation (chaired by Mayor Bloomberg) and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (controlled by Mayors Cuomo and Christie) signed a memorandum of understanding, resolving the outstanding issues. The parties negotiated additional payments from the September 11 foundation, in an attempt to ensure that no additional public funds are needed to complete the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Originally planned to open today on the eleventh anniversary, the museum is now likely to open at the end of 2013.
When trouble, in the form of adverse changes in financial conditions or the property marketing environment, strikes during the period between construction contract signing and completion of procurement and construction activities, the developer often will have to consider taking the course of action that will maximize value for all stakeholders. Ultimately, it may reluctantly determine that the construction contracts and work should be suspended for some period of time or terminated altogether. Our white paper Shutting Down the Construction Project, updated to include California's mechanic's lien laws effective July 1, 2012, outlines significant issues that an owner should consider when suspending or terminating a California commercial construction project.
Things to consider include providing notice of the suspension/termination, if the contract is suspended, keeping the contract and subcontracts in effect, and closing out the claims exposure. Similar principles apply to projects in other states and projects of a residential, industrial or public nature. As becomes quickly apparent, the laws governing these issues are highly technical and often impose short deadlines for compliance, and also pose signfiicant risk to owners and contractors for non-compliance. To learn more about this, click here to our white paper.
Whose turn is it to take out the trash? With no "rules" about floating debris, the Headquarters for Ocean Policy is faced with a dilemma - who should bear the cost of cleaning up the millions of tons of debris that originated in Japan after the tsunami and is expected to land on the U.S. west coast in the fall? The floating debris pile approaching the U.S. includes, among other things, houses and cars.
The Olympics are in full swing, with the world's attention on the playing fields and pools dotting the United Kingdom. But how about the venues themselves, how green are they? The London Organizing Committee planned the Games with a green tint, focusing on sustainable principles for everything from stadium construction, food service, and the use of public transportation. Plus, the large number of preexisting venues around the city (tennis at Wimbledon, for example) made some additional construction unnecessary.
Planning for Green - The Organizing Committee took the forward-thinking step of setting up the London Legacy Development Corporation three years ahead of the Games, which has focused on long-term uses of the Olympic venues after the torch is passed to Russia's winter Olympics. The Development Corporation's plans for housing and parks were developed with an eye to rebuilding parts of London, particularly East London. The Organizing Committee even took the extra step of working with the Independent Standards Organization to develop a global standard for sustainable event management, now known as ISO 20121:2012.
Green Building - Venues constructed for the games include a number of innovative green features. The roof of Olympic Stadium, for example, was constructed from unwanted gas pipes from the North Sea and over 40% of the concrete used for construction is made of recycled materials. While the question remains as to whether this much new construction can ever be considered truly sustainable when developed for a single mega-event, the Organizing Committee took great steps to reduce waste. Many Olympic venues that do not have long-term uses were built only to be used for the Games and will then be taken apart and their materials will be reused.
Looks like a tough act to follow for Sochi and Rio.
What ever happened to tough love? Report shows that members of DOJ staff manipulated hiring process to get their kids jobs.
Sustainable cities beneath the sea? The "highly imaginary concept" of seascrapers is segmented into garbage collection units at the bottom, recycling plants in the middle, and housing and recreational zones at the top.
Throughout the world, the popularity of "green roofs" is on the rise. ENR.com reports that green roofs are being used to mitigate various environmental problems facing urban areas, most notably, storm water management. According to the EPA, green roofs also help combat a problem known as "Heat Island Effect" by removing heat from the air through evapotranspiration. This process reduces temperatures of both the roof surface and the surrounding air, allowing the surface temperature of a green roof to be lower than the surrounding air temperature on a hot day. Other benefits of green roofs include corrosion protection, noise reduction, energy efficiency, and improved air quality. And the uses for green roofs vary widely from practical to pure entertainment. The ENR.com article notes that the largest green roof project currently underway in the United States - the Croton Water Filtration Plant in Bronx County, New York City - will include a 36,512-sq-m golf driving range.
Under the Texas code, the workers' compensation exclusive remedy bar applies up and down: barring injured employees of subcontractors from bringing common law tort suits against a general contractor which provided workers compensation insurance, and also in reverse, barring injured employees of the general contractor from bringing suit against a subcontractor, even when the employees are covered under separate workers' comp policies. So says the Texas Court of Appeals in Garza v. Zachry Construction Corp., 2012 WL 1864350 (Tex. Ct. App. May 23, 2012).
Effective July 1, 2012, all of the existing statutes governing mechanics liens, stop notices and payment bonds in California will be repealed and replaced by updated statutes. The law will also result in new statutes governing stop notices (on both public and private works), payment bonds and related claims. The law relocates and renumbers the Mechanics Lien Law, but many of the provisions are substantively the same. Pillsbury attorneys prepared a handy chart that will assist those of you familiar with the old statutory scheme to retool for the new layout. To learn more about this, click here to read the client alert and chart.