Archive for the ‘Building Codes’ Category

New Orleans City Council Passing Construction Requirements

Two weeks ago the New Orleans City Council passed and ordinance that is purported to beef up labor violations for city construction contracts. The council was sharply divided whereby the ordinance passed by a 4-3 final vote.

The ordinance is best described by the City Council’s own publication:

“The Council adopted Ordinance Cal. No. 28,899, authored by Council Vice President Granderson that requires that contractors and subcontractors with city construction contracts of more than $50,000 report to the City Attorney any current company violations of federal, state and municipal laws that govern labor and employment. Specifically, the contractor is required to give notice to the City Attorney within 90 days of the issuance of any labor violation determination. If the contractor fails to correct the violation within a 90 day period the City Attorney will issue a written notice to the contractor and take enforcement action including civil remedies.”

There are many supporters and critics of the new ordinance. Many of the opponents say that it will just create needless paper work for contractors and will not solve the root cause of the problem. Although, supports say that since Katrina undocumented workers have been hurting union workers doing it by the book. The New Orleans City Business and both have their takes on the issue with good write ups. Overall this sounds like it will create more paper work for contractors and subject them to vague and ambiguous labor laws (where they are already subject to them anyway).

Having dealt with the City Attorney’s office in the past, this seems like it will simply be a bullet in its gun when going after small businesses. The city claims that if contractors are obeying the law they have nothing to worry about, unfortunately based on past client experiences, that is not likely the case. Just what the construction industry needs right now, another law.

Posted in:     Building Codes, Business Matters, Construction News, Labor Law, Louisiana  /  Tags: , , , , ,   /   Leave a comment

Residential Sprinkler Bill Resurrected in Washington House

Two years ago we wrote a blog post about 2009 House Bill 2224, introduced in Olympia by Representative Simpson, and aimed to “eradicate barriers that prevent the voluntary installation of sprinkler systems in private residences by promoting education regarding the effectiveness of residential fire sprinklers.”

While the bill had a lot of support in the House and Senate (see voting history here), it never got to the governor’s desk, and largely fizzled out.

The concept is back from the dead, however, being introduced on January 18, 2011, by Representative Van De Wege as 2011 House Bill 1295. Compare this bill’s synopsis with the 2009 summary:

…to eliminate barriers to the voluntary installation of sprinkler systems in private residences. The bill provides financial and regulatory incentives to homeowners, builders, and water purveyors for voluntarily installing the systems. It also exempts a public water system from liability for damages resulting from shutting off water to a residential home with an installed fire sprinkler system.

It’s virtually identical.

The 2011 Bill appears to be moving through the chambers a bit more quickly than its 2009 counterpart, and also has a companion bill in the Senate’s chambers (SB 5206).

Nationwide, residential fire sprinklers are getting more popular, and it’s becoming more and more likely that government regulation over these installations will expand as time goes on. Take, for example, what the U.S. Fire Administration (through FEMA) states as follows on the topic:

It is the official position of the U.S. Fire Administration that all American should be protected against death, injury and property loss resulting from fire in their residences. All homes should be equipped with smoke alarms and automatic fire sprinklers…

We’ll keep you posted on any progress to this legislation.

Posted in:     Building Codes, Regulations, Washington  /  Tags: , ,   /   Leave a comment

Oregon Case Allowing Building Code Negligence Claim Under Review

A few months ago, we wrote about an appeals decision in Oregon that carved an exception to the economic loss rule in a construction defect case, allowing a plaintiff to sue for negligence when a builder doesn’t comply with building codes.

That opinion - Abraham v. T. Henry Construction, Inc., 230 Or.App. 564 (2009) – has been sent to the Oregon Supreme Court for review, and oral arguments were heard last month. You can read the Oregon Supreme Court’s media release here. The media release does a great job of outlining the issues at stake in the case.

The two issues of particular interest to the state’s application of the economic loss rule are identified in the media release as so:

  1. If a property owner alleges that his or her contractor violated the “building code,” whether the property owner has a negligence claim when the contract between the parties expressly required the contractor to follow all building codes.
  2. Whether the Oregon Residential Building Code sets forth a standard of care independent from the contract between a property owner and a contractor or subcontractor, and thus permits imposition of negligence liability, when the parties’ contract expressly requires compliance with all building codes.

Stay tuned at the Construction Law Monitor, as we’ll monitor the outcome of this case.

Posted in:     Building Codes, Oregon  /  Tags: , , ,   /   1 Comment

Building Code Seminiar Keynote Slides

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Building Codes seminar today, sponsored by Lorman Education Services. I learned a lot from the panel of speakers, and enjoyed giving my presentation on the Enforcement of Building Codes and Contractual Consequences of Violations.

My slides from the Keynote presentation are available on my account, and are embedded here:

Posted in:     About Our Services, Building Codes  /  Tags: , , ,   /   Leave a comment

Upcoming Speaking Engagements on Building Codes & Going Solo

Speaking at Loyola Law Schools Skills Curriculum

In the next seven days, I’ll be speaking at two engagements. The first is available only to students at Loyola New Orleans College of Law, but the second is available to anyone in the New Orleans area through Lorman Seminars. Here are the details.

Loyola Law Schools Skills Curriculum
I’ll be visiting Loyola to teach a course through the school’s Skills Curriculum. The course – Solo from Scratch – teaches students how to open and run a solo practice right out of law school. I first taught the course in 2009, and I’m happy to be invited back to teach this semester. The course will be on Saturday, January 22, 2011, at 9:00 AM, at the Loyola New Orleans College of Law campus.

Building Codes – Lorman Seminars
This is a seminar organized by Lorman Education Services.  It will take place on January 26, 2011, at the Crown Plaza Hotel New Orleans Airport oat 2829 Williams Blvd, in Kenner, LA. The seminar is all-day, and you can register for the seminar and receive a 20% discount on registration with this information:

Building Codes (seminar information here)
January 26, 2011
Register Online: or by phone (866) 352-9539
Discount Code: F2716129
Priority Code: 15000

Posted in:     About Our Services, Building Codes  /  Tags: , , , ,   /   Leave a comment