Contractors across the nation will be watching the Mississippi Supreme Court Oct. 5 to see if it upholds a Rankin County circuit court decision that ruled the insurer is not responsible for subcontractor performance under a contractor’s Commercial General Liability policy. In Architex Association Inc. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., Architex alleges that “an unintended construction defect by a subcontractor constitutes an occurrence that triggers coverage under a contractor's CGL insurance policy,” according to a statement from the law firm of Burr & Forman LLP of Jackson, Miss., representing Architex. The lawsuit alleges that Scottsdale has a “duty to investigate and
The Senate on Aug. 7 confirmed longtime Senate staffer Jo-Ellen Darcy as assistant secretary of the Army for civil works. In that post, she will oversee the Corps of Engineers’ non-military programs. Darcy was nominated on April 2 and was through committee in June, but floor action was delayed. An industry source says there was concern in Alabama’s congressional delegation about a multistate dispute over water rights from Georgia’s Lake Lanier. The Corps operates Buford Dam, which forms the lake. After meeting with Darcy on July 13, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said she committed to “an honest and fair adjudication
A projected August Highway Trust Fund shortfall has been averted, at least for now. President Obama signed a bill on Aug. 7 adding $7 billion to the trust fund�s ailing highway account. The new money, transferred from the general fund, is expected to keep the account solvent through Sept. 30 or maybe a bit longer. When Congress returns after Labor Day, debate is likely to heat up over reauthorizing highway and transit programs.
As Robert A. Peck returns to the headquarters of the General Services Administration as Public Buildings Service commissioner, he may have some déjà vu moments. Peck, whose new appointment as PBS chief was announced on Aug. 10, held that job from 1995 to 2001. Once again, he will be in charge of design, construction and management for the 354 million sq ft of offices, courthouses and other facilities Uncle Sam owns or leases. He says it’s “the best job in real estate.” But the situation is very different from that of a decade ago. The recession has hit construction hard,
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has re-opened the door for developing a standard for perchlorate in drinking water. Perchlorate is a naturally occurring substance and also a man-made chemical used as an oxidizer in rocket fuel and fireworks. In October 2008, EPA published a preliminary determination not to regulate the substance. But the agency said on Aug. 5 it wanted to reassess perchlorate’s impact on public health. In large doses, it can affect the thyroid gland. Alan Roberson, the American Water Works Association’s director of security and regulatory affairs, says a drinking-water standard for perchlorate probably would require utilities to
Want to achieve a 50% boost in construction craft productivity? The Construction Industry Institute aims to fulfill this ambitious goal with a six-year craft-productivity research program. The first phase, focused on mechanical trades, was one of CII’s seven research projects wrapping up in 2009, according to CII Chairman John Dalton, who also is COO for Mustang Engineering, Houston. “The study gives us the benchmarking and metrics to check that craft construction productivity is properly planned and implemented.” Image + Source: Construction Industry Institute On a scale of one to 10, the study compared projects with higher and lower implementation of
The U.S. Army has named a new commander for the Corps of Engineers’ Gulf Region Division, headquartered in Baghdad. Brig. Gen. Kendall P. Cox, who heads the Corps’ Southwestern Division, will succeed Maj. Gen. Michael R. Eyre, who has led the Gulf Division since October 2008. Moving to the Dallas-based Southwestern Division is Brig. Gen. John R. McMahon, director, J-7, Engineering for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
The Senate Appropriations Committee on July 30 approved a measure that would create a new $700-million school-renovation program. The provision, sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), is part of a $730-billion fiscal 2010 spending bill for the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education departments. The measure would direct the Education Dept. to distribute grants to states to build or renovate public elementary and secondary schools. Priority would go to projects in areas that have high percentages of disadvantaged children or that plan to use green construction practices. The Labor-HHS-Education bill that the House passed on July 24 does not
The faltering Highway Trust Fund has won a reprieve, with final congressional approval July 30 of a $7-billion infusion from the general fund. It is the second bailout for the fund in less than a year. But the relief only will keep the trust fund’s highway account solvent through Sept. 30 or perhaps a little beyond. After lawmakers return from their August break, they quickly must find still more money to shore up the fund past that date. Oberstar pushing a six-year bill. The short-term fix “will at least get us through the August recess and make sure that contractors
The Dept. of Energy has asked USEC Inc. to withdraw its application for a loan guarantee to build an advanced-technology uranium- enrichment plant at the site of a former enrichment facility in Piketon, Ohio. However, DOE will give USEC the chance to reapply at a later date. The agency says it plans to defer review of the application until a series of specific technology and financial milestones have been met. USEC says it is committed to developing the plant. DOE also says it will spend an additional $150 million to $200 million to accelerate cleanup at the former uranium-enrichment plant
As the death toll from the record-setting hurricane mounts in the Bahamas and damage estimates there and in the U.S. head into the billions, industry experts see increasing pressure to address infrastructure resilience.