This week’s round-up explores new artificial intelligence tools and their projected impact on real estate agents, key trends driving proptech innovation, barriers to adopting drones in the construction industry, and more.
If you are a construction contractor, you deal with performance bonds as part of your business and daily work. They are necessary for almost every project you are participating or will participate in, and, along with other sister bonds, constitute a basic tool to be able to work in construction. However, how much do you really know about this tool? Who in your organization knows how to use it? Are you relying on your insurance broker to procure the bonds? Can your broker competently review the terms of the bond? Are you, as a contractor, relying on the surety to explain and determine what you need for the project—a fox guarding the hen house?
The Real Estate and Construction industry may be huge, but ultimately, as with all industries, it comes down to the people who help make it all come together. From time to time, we like to profile some of those people.
Born and raised in Paris, Kevin Yaich set his eyes on a career abroad while in business school. After internships in Russia and Singapore, Yaich worked as a financial analyst for AIG and JPMorgan Chase. His exposure to the world of renewables came soon after when he spent almost eight years working for NextEra Energy Resources before assuming his current role as president of Shikun & Binui USA Energy. S&B is a global infrastructure group with its global HQ in Israel. Shikun & Binui USA Energy (S&B USA Energy) was launched as a growth-oriented investment platform in March 2020. They are focused on owning and operating solar, wind, and battery storage projects under long-term contracts with creditworthy counterparties.
On August 15, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13807 (EO 13807), which seeks to streamline federal environmental review and approvals of major infrastructure projects by imposing new timelines and procedures. The EO aims to hold federal agencies accountable to a two-year deadline for all federal authorizations for infrastructure projects, including highways and transit, airports and ports, fossil, nuclear and renewable energy, pipeline and water projects.
EO 13807 defines “major infrastructure projects” as those which require both a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and multiple permits, approvals and/or other forms of authorization from federal agencies, and for which sufficient and reasonably available funding has been identified. The EO requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to establish a federal goal of completing NEPA review and permitting in “not more than an average of approximately two years” from the notice of intent to prepare an EIS. The goal must be incorporated in each federal agency’s strategic and annual performance plans and progress must be reviewed by agency leadership.
On July 31, 2017, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register, for a proposed regulation that would establish new, experimental procedures to encourage use of public-private partnerships (P3s), joint developments and other private investment mechanisms in surface transportation capital projects. The rulemaking is linked to a statutory provision in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, which requires FTA to identify provisions at 49 U.S.C. chapter 53 and any regulations or practices thereunder that impede greater use of P3s and private investment. Potential private investors in public transportation infrastructure projects, as well as local and state transportation agencies that may be considering mechanisms of private funding, should be aware of the proposed new procedures. Public comments on the proposal are due September 29, 2017.