The Clark County School District and Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America reached a $5 million settlement in a federal lawsuit in February. The suit involved Big Town Mechanical LLC, an air conditioning contractor, that the district hired to renovate the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems at 15 elementary schools.
Big Town abandoned the work in 2012, and the company declared bankruptcy in 2013. Travelers is an insurance company that guarantees the work of builders when they do not complete contractual work as promised, and CCSD had to sue the company in order to enforce the guarantee bonds.
Travelers completed the HVAC work on the 15 schools at a cost of roughly $4.5 million after a previous lawsuit filed by CCSD in 2013. This new $5-million settlement compensates the district for project delays and Travelers’ failure to “remedy the situation in a timely manner,” according to a press release from Kolesar & Leatham, a law firm that represented CCSD.
According to a recent report from Mortenson Construction, building owners could be looking at an increase of 3% to 4% for non-residential construction costs in the coming year in major markets across the country, including Phoenix.
"There continues to be a lot of activity in the markets we track although average project size is reduced relative to recent years." says Clark Taylor, vice president of estimating at Mortenson.
While 2014 was a rough year for construction employment in the Phoenix market, employment numbers rose significantly in 2015. This upward trajectory leads Mortensen to recommend that business owners anticipate a 3% rise in construction costs this year. Phoenix’ cost index is also up 2.8% over the same time period last year. The Mortenson Construction cost index is calculated quarterly by pricing a representative non-residential construction project in Phoenix and other geographies throughout the country, according to the report.
"Construction employment is leveling out and price escalation should be more consistent with long-term averages. We believe this should allow customers to more accurately plan for increases in the next year," Taylor says.
The company analyzed six major markets: Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Seattle.
After a year-long investigation into incidents that led to the death of 10 people and injured more than 20, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated its hazard alert information for scissor lifts.
The agency states that all of these incidents were preventable and that most resulted from employers not properly addressing fall protection, stabilization or positioning.
The recommendations provided by OSHA include that employers should install scissor lifts with guardrails, only allow trained workers to use scissor lifts, always keep work within easy reach of the lift, and that training should include never standing on the guardrails. Employers should also ensure scissor lifts are stable by following the manufacturer’s instructions and using the device outside only in good weather conditions. Additionally, lifts should be positioned at least 10 feet away from electrical power sources, and businesses should implement traffic controls to prevent workers or vehicles from approaching the lifts.
Sun State Builders recently broke ground on a new office and training facility for the Southwest Truck Driver Training School. The new project will consist of a 7,000 sq-ft building located at 51st Avenue and Watkins Street in Phoenix. The facility sits on a nearly four acre lot and has two floors, classrooms, corporate offices, and a 1.8-acre driver training area. Southwest Truck Driver Training, Scottsdale Investment Management, Sun State Builders, and Winton Architects make up the project team.