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Dangerous and Wasteful: Smoking on Construction Sites Part 2

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Smoking on construction sites should be a concern for each and every general contractor that wants to stay on schedule. As discussed in part one, the average construction worker who smokes wastes over an hour per shift on smoking. But what should general contractors do about this dangerous and wasteful time sink? 

We previously discussed the issues that smoking presents on construction projects. Below, a Broward contractor attorney will discuss the legality of smoking on-site and how general contractors can foster a productive and smoke-free work environment. If you are ever concerned with the safety of your workers, consult with the Broward contractor attorneys from Cotney Construction Law. 

Is Smoking Legal on Construction Sites? 

In 2003, the Florida Legislature passed an amendment prohibiting smoking in most public and private businesses. E-cigarettes have also been banned in the workplace as of July 1, 2019. These amendments are extensions of the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act (FCIAA) of 1985 that was passed to protect people from secondhand smoke. Your crew is not permitted to smoke if they are working indoors (indoors being an area that is at least 50 percent sheltered by walls and a ceiling). For information on the federal requirements for indoor air quality, consult with a Broward contractor attorney.  

But what does all of this mean for construction crews who work outdoors? This is where things get a little hazy. There are currently no Florida laws that address smoking outside of public buildings. And the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has no regulations in place that specifically address outdoor smoking areas; however, OSHA does require employers to provide their workers with a hazard-free workplace. While smoking may be permitted outdoors, it is in your best interest to have rules in place that address smoking on your outdoor projects so that you can prevent fires, explosions, and subsequent OSHA investigations. 

Should General Contractors Adopt a Non-Smoking Policy? 

Yes, absolutely. Regardless of whether or not it’s legal, smoking is a clear safety hazard that results in a tremendous loss of productivity. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), providing coverage for tobacco cessation treatment is effective at curbing the prevalence of smoking in the workplace. The CDC also reports that workers at smoke-free worksites were twice as likely to quit smoking when compared to workers at other worksites. 

Despite the prevalence of smoking in this industry, enforcing a smoke-free work environment is an achievable goal and can only benefit general contractors and their workers. The grim alternative could be a disastrous, preventable fire and subsequent investigation from OSHA. If you are concerned with the local and federal laws regarding worker safety, consult with our knowledgeable Broward contractor attorneys at Cotney Construction Law. 

If you would like to speak with a Broward contractor attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

It should come as no surprise that construction workers smoke to cope with the stresses of the industry. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that a whopping 34.3 percent of construction workers use some form of tobacco. It may not seem harmful to permit workers to smoke, especially on outdoor projects; however, you would be surprised by the danger and loss of productivity that this addictive habit presents. 

In this two-part series, a South FL contractor lawyer from Cotney Construction Law will discuss how smoking impacts construction projects and the non-smoking policies that general contractors should adopt. For all of your construction-related legal needs, consult with the team of South FL contractor lawyers at Cotney Construction Law. 

73 Minutes Gone Every Shift  

If your employees take five-minute smoke breaks here and there, it doesn’t seem like much at first. It’s not until the numbers are presented that the loss of productivity is truly appreciated. A report published by Emerald Group sought to quantify the smoking habits of construction workers. Construction workers were chosen due to the high prevalence of smoking in the industry. 

It was found that, on average, a construction worker smoked about six cigarettes in an eight-hour shift. This added up to 73 minutes, an incredible 15.2 percent loss in productivity. As the report states, “This productivity loss is much higher than productivity losses through increased sick leaves or the wage penalties for smokers found in the literature.” 

73 minutes gone. Those five-minute smoke breaks add up. Imagine if every smoker that worked for you left an hour early each and every shift. If you can’t figure out why your projects are coming in behind schedule, it may be because a large percentage of your workforce is unproductive for a large chunk of the day.

Smoking Hazards  

Briefly, smoking increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. Each year, over 480,000 deaths in the United States are caused by smoking. Health risks aside, smoking also presents a very real physical danger for construction workers. Workers that smoke around flammable materials and substances are placing themselves and their coworkers in danger. All it takes is one lit cigarette to ignite a fire or explosion. 

To ensure worker safety and avoid an inspection from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), you’ll need to have strict rules in place regarding smoking on your construction sites. Read part two, for more information on how you should address smoking on your construction sites.

If you would like to speak with one of our South FL contractor lawyers, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

With the trend of construction projects becoming increasingly complex and requiring more and more specialized and skilled workers, construction firms are going to continue to feel the pressure of looming deadlines. The consequences of failing to meet a deadline can be catastrophic for even the most steadfast of companies. 

For this reason, we will be providing six tips for contractors that are looking to hit their deadlines. To ensure that your company avoids delays, legal disputes, and bankruptcy, consult with a Naples construction attorney at Cotney Construction Law. 

1. Properly Estimate the Scope of Work

While every project is unique, contractors must do their best to accurately estimate the project timeline. Breaking down the project into phases and accounting for how contractors and subcontractors will be interacting can be crucial for mitigating problems before they arise. Our Naples construction lawyers can draft a contract for you that effectively defines the scope of work, setting the stage for a smooth construction project. 

Construction cost estimating software can be excellent for determining the overall cost of a project, but it’s important not to forget the human component of a project. Determining the schedules of your workers, specialized workers in particular, can be just as important for hitting a deadline as an accurate budget.

2. Keep Communications Open 

When scope creep does occur, you can still hit your deadline by communicating with all applicable parties and adjusting projects accordingly. Issues like material shortages and inclement weather can never be completely planned for, but they can be worked around. For this reason, it’s imperative that you remain adaptable and properly communicate with your subcontractors to mitigate emerging problems. 

3. Promote Safety

Under the pressure of a deadline, many construction firms make the mistake of forgoing worker safety in favor of getting a job done faster. The short term benefits of setting aside safety don’t compare to the long term consequences of having a worker injured on your jobsite. OSHA inspections, lawsuits, and a decrease in worker morale are sure to cause project delays. Finding a system that works in unison with, not in spite of, safety standards will create a steady and predictable workflow that will help you hit your current deadlines and better predict future deadlines. If a worker is ever injured on your jobsite, consult with a Naples contractor attorney immediately. 

4. Attracting and Retaining Skilled Labor 

The construction industry’s labor shortage is quite possibly the most widespread obstacle that contractors have to contend with. According to 2019’s Commercial Construction Index report, 70 percent of contractors are struggling to meet schedule requirements due to labor shortages. This results in contractors turning down projects, putting in higher bids for projects, and asking workers to do more work.

No doubt you are feeling the pressure of the labor shortage. Employing temporary workers is only a bandaid. In order to consistently hit your deadlines, you will need to attract and retain a new generation of workers. You can do this by offering workers competitive pay and a viable career path. It will take time, but you can overcome the challenges of the labor shortage by embracing methodologies that set you apart from your competitors. 

5.  Technology

Although it may be a while until exoskeletons are on every construction site, wearables and drones are viable tools that can be purchased and utilized today. Wearables can track workers and alert contractors if they’ve been injured, and drones can survey sites from incredible heights without the need to place a worker in danger. 

Not all technological advancements are in the form of physical equipment. Construction software, such as project management software and the cost estimating software mentioned above, can have a huge impact on how you manage and approach projects. Project management software can allow you to view project performance in real time, so you can address delays, overscheduling, and other issues as they occur. 

6. Invest in a Dispute Resolution Arbitrator 

Even with proper planning, the latest in technology and management software, and proper communication, disputes will always arise that threaten to keep you from hitting your deadlines. Whether an owner runs out of money, a subcontractor does subpar work, or a designer produces flawed plans, these disputes threaten to turn construction projects into a legal battle that can last for years. The best way to ensure that you hit all of your deadlines is to partner with a Naples construction lawyer capable of providing experienced arbitration services

Construction disputes rarely escalate to the courtroom. More often than not, disputes are decided by the expertise of an arbitrator. To ensure that disputes don’t get in the way of project completion, partner with the Naples contractor lawyers at Cotney Construction Law, where all alternative dispute resolution services are offered at a fixed rate with no surprise fees.  

If you would like to speak with one of our Naples contractor attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

When project owners are delinquent in paying contractors for their hard work, this results in a lot more than just a few sleepless nights. Every time an owner falls behind on payments or flat out refuses to pay, a domino effect occurs that impacts everyone on the project including the general contractor, suppliers, subcontractors, and laborers. Owners that don’t pony up what they owe compromise a contractor’s cash flow, delay a backlog of projects, and can bankrupt a business. This is why it’s critical that contractors consult our Tampa construction lawyers.  

At Cotney Construction Law, our attorneys are focused on streamlining legal processes for clients. In this editorial, a Tampa construction lawyer will discuss how investing in an affordable subscription plan can help construction firms save money and receive timely payment from owners.  

A Small Monthly Investment Can Go a Long Way

With our subscription plans starting at as low as $499 per month, we offer an affordable solution to your business’s legal issues. Our construction law firm can also protect the best interests of your business and help you collect on accounts receivable. Here are some of the ways our Tampa construction attorneys help construction firms dealing with nonpayment.   

Preliminary Lien Notices

Although preliminary notices aren’t required in every state for general contractors, in order to secure your lien rights on a project in most states, the first step is to send a preliminary lien notice. If you fail to provide notice in a timely fashion, your lien rights may be invalidated. Another reason to provide notice is that this process prioritizes your lien rights. You never want to make the mistake of failing to send notice. Sending a preliminary notice provides you with recourse if you are dealing with  nonpayment by preserving your lien rights at the start of the project. Sending a notice also shows an owner that you are being straightforward in regards to the services you are providing on the project. You can take advantage of unlimited preliminary lien notices with every subscription plan option that Cotney Construction Law provides. Our Tampa construction attorneys can also provide preliminary bond notices in select plans.   

Demand Letters

The demand letter can be an effective way to quickly deal with a non-payment issue. If you have requested payment and an owner is either refusing to compensate you or is ignoring your attempts to be paid, the demand letter is often the right direction to take. For example, if you are owed compensation and considering filing a lien or pursuing a lawsuit, a well-written demand letter by an attorney can show an owner that you are serious about receiving payment. In fact, a demand letter drafted by an attorney with a professional letterhead shows the other party that you’ve already taken the next step by consulting a Brandon construction lawyer

Experienced attorneys know how to be both diplomatic and direct when drafting a demand letter. They also know how to outline a succinct legal argument for your dispute while providing a clear payment plan for the owner to resolve the issue. Another benefit is that an ignored demand letter can only strengthen your case considering you have evidence showing that you’ve requested payment for your work in a professional and courteous way and that the owner refused to accommodate this request. Similar to preliminary lien notices, basic collection letters are featured in all of our subscription plans. 

Claims of Lien 

Filing a mechanic’s lien can be one of the most effective ways to seek overdue payment. It’s important to note that the laws pertaining to mechanic’s liens can greatly differ depending on the state in which you are performing work in. Mechanic’s liens also have extremely time-sensitive deadlines. If you overlook filing a lien in a timely manner, the claim of lien will be invalid. When you consult a Brandon construction attorney to file a lien on your behalf, they will file through the correct government clerk’s office and make certain that the lien contains a clearly defined description of the services you provided, all relevant information, and the amount owed for your services.   

Contract Drafting

A lot of headaches start for contractors because they either verbally agree to work without a written contract in place or they utilize a boilerplate contract for all of their projects. Payment disputes can occur for several reasons that are directly related to the details (or lack thereof) in the contract. Resolving a payment dispute is also much easier to accomplish with a well-written contract in place. For example, issues like the scope of work, deadlines, payment schedules, insurance and performance bonds, and alternative dispute resolution are just a few issues that need to be covered in your contract before completing any work. The more comprehensive the contract is, the better the chances of avoiding a payment dispute. Moreover, if you experience a payment dispute with a clear outline of each party’s rights and obligations within the contract, you have a strong case to take moving forward.  

Attorney Access

If you are dealing with a non-payment issue, you need to have a firm understanding of your options. Along with discounts for standard hourly rates, several of our membership plans also provide clients with direct access to a dedicated attorney. Accessibility to a knowledgeable Brandon construction attorney is crucial for contractors and construction firms. You not only receive accurate legal counsel from an attorney that understands the nuances of construction, but you also receive peace of mind knowing that you have a loyal advocate in your corner. 

With a well-written contract in place and access to an attorney whenever you need legal advice, you are protected from liability. Our on-demand attorneys can also aggressively pursue any compensation you are owed from owners that have breached a contract. Whether it’s before work commences with a preliminary notice, effectively filing a mechanic’s lien after completing work, or a demand letter at any stage of a dispute, we can proactively resolve your payment issue. 

Legal services don’t have to be complicated or expensive. You can collect payment tomorrow by investing in an affordable subscription plan today. At Cotney Construction Law, our Brandon construction attorneys are committed to helping construction businesses reduce risk and save money on their projects. To learn more about our subscription plans or to schedule a FREE legal analysis today, consult the construction attorneys of Cotney Construction Law.

If you would like to speak with a Tampa construction lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

The Second District Court of Appeals has recently declared that the arbitration provision contained within the warranty deed of a single-family home was binding on subsequent homeowners.

In Hayslip v. U.S. Home Corporation, Case No. 2D17-4372 (July 10, 2019), the plaintiff homeowners (the Hayslips) sued U.S. Home for allegedly inadequately and improperly installing a stucco system in their home in violation of the Florida Building Codes Act. U.S. Home built the home and conveyed its original owners through a special warranty deed that required binding arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act for, among other things, all claims or disputes “related to… the Property”. The special warranty deed also provided that this covenant ran with the land, and that the original homeowners agreed to be bound by the deed’s terms and conditions “for itself, and its heirs, personal representatives, successors and assigns.”

The original homeowners subsequently conveyed the home to the Hayslips through a special warranty deed that provided the conveyance of the home was “[s]ubject to easements, restrictions, reservations and limitations, if any.”

Thereafter, the Hayslps filed suit against U.S. Home, and U.S. Home moved to compel arbitration per the special warranty deed it delivered to the original homeowners. The circuit court granted the motion to compel arbitration and the Second District Court of Appeals affirmed.

The Second District held that the original homeowner’s failure to sign the special warranty deed did not render the arbitration provision unenforceable because the original homeowners had notice of all the original special warranty deed’s covenants and restrictions, and that by taking title to and possession of the home, they accepted the arbitration provision.

The Second District also held that the arbitration provision was not so personal that it would not be binding on future homeowners, like the Hayslips. Rather, the Second District reasoned that the covenant affected the occupation and enjoyment of the home, therefore, would “run with the land” and be binding on subsequent homeowners.  The Second District also noted that “courts are required to indulge every reasonable presumption in favor of arbitration, recognizing it as a favored means of dispute resolution.”

In closing, the Second District Court was clear that no Florida court had previously considered this issue, and that it was an issue of “great public importance.” As a result, the Second District certified this case as one that may be considered for further review by the Florida Supreme Court.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. Regulations and laws may vary depending on your location. Consult with a licensed attorney in your area if you wish to obtain legal advice and/or counsel for a particular legal issue.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, commonly referred to as “ICE,” is a law enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security and is responsible for the enforcement of immigration laws in the United States. As part of the enforcement responsibilities, ICE prosecutes those who are in violation of the U.S. immigration laws and if these individuals are found to have violated the U.S. immigration laws, ICE ensures that these individuals depart the United States. One tactic used by ICE to locate and detain illegal immigrants is to conduct raids at places of businesses suspected to employ illegal immigrants or raids at a location where ICE believes an illegal immigrant will be (e.g. the workplace). Another tactic is to conduct a Form I-9 audit at a place of business and use the audit to confirm a worker’s identity and authorization to work in the U.S.

What Are the Employer’s Rights During an Immigration Raid or A Form I-9 Audit?

For a Form I-9 audit, ICE must give the employer notice of the planned inspection of the Form I-9s prior to visiting the place of business. ICE sends a Notice of Inspection letter to the employer, giving them at least 3 days, as required by law, to prepare for the visit. Without previously receiving a Notice of Inspection or other court order, the employer does not have to provide ICE with the opportunity to inspect the Form I-9s. If provided with a Notice of Inspection, it is best to comply with ICE’s request and provide the requested documents in the Notice of Inspection.

When conducting a raid, ICE does not need to provide the employer with any prior notice. However, the same rules for any other criminal investigation of private property apply. In order for ICE to enter the private areas of a business, it is required to have a warrant signed by U.S. District Court judge or State Court judge. Without a warrant, ICE needs consent to enter the private areas of the business. It is the employer’s right to refuse consent in those situations where it is required and the employer can instruct its employees not to provide consent, as well. The best thing to do in an ICE raid is to be prepared and make sure all employees are prepared for one as well.

How Does an Employer Prepare for An ICE Raid?

First, it is important for the employer to put a written plan in place that outlines what needs to be done and what can legally be done when ICE shows up. Once the plan is in place, it is important to practice the plan, making sure that everyone knows exactly what they are supposed to do during a raid. Second, the employer should conduct training sessions with its employees to educate them on how they should not interact with ICE agents.

Here are some helpful tips for before, during and after an ICE raid:

  • Keep the doors to the private areas of the business closed or locked (preferably locked).
  • Post “Private” signs on doors and walls to clearly mark the private areas of the business as private.
    • ICE will always have the ability to enter the public areas of your business, such as a parking lot, lobby or waiting area.
    • A job site is generally not considered a public area.
  • Post a clear policy in the public areas of the business right outside the pathways to the private areas that visitors and the public cannot enter without permission.
  • Always ask for a judicial warrant before letting ICE into the private areas of the business and make sure to read it to confirm that it is signed by U.S. District Court judge or a State Court judge.
    • If ICE has a judicial warrant, make sure they follow the terms of the warrant (e.g. the warrant may specify only a certain location they may conduct their search) and note any deviations.
    • If ICE has only an administrative warrant looking for an employee, the employer does not have to say if that employee is working and it does not have to take ICE to that employee.
  • Make sure the workers know that they have the right to remain silent and can and should ask for an attorney if questioned by ICE. Additionally, the workers should not sign anything given to them by ICE without first consulting with an attorney.
  • Train the employees to refer all ICE inquiries to the person designated to handle ICE that the employer wants interacting with ICE.

While ICE raids can be a burden and an unpleasant experience, the reality of the situation is that they are not going away any time soon. U.S. law states that an employee must have legal status in the United States and must have legal authorization to work in the United States. As the enforcer of U.S. immigration law, ICE will utilize raids to find those violating those laws. Therefore, it is important to be prepared for an ICE raid to minimize the intrusion and disruption to the employer’s business.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Attorney Paul Messina focuses his practice on employment-based, investor-based and family-based immigration law. Cotney Construction Law is an advocate for the roofing industry, General Counsel of FRSA, NWIR, RT3, TARC, TRI, PBCRSMA, WCRCA, WSRCA, and several other local roofing associations. For more information, contact the author at 866.303.5868 or go to www.cotneycl.com.

On every successful construction project, there is a team of contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers that work together in a hierarchy. These relationships form a “supply chain” that exists on all construction projects, even when it’s not formally acknowledged. Supply chain management focuses on improving this already existing system. 

Below, a Wichita construction lawyer at Cotney Construction Law will be discussing the implementation and benefits of proper supply chain management. Employing these techniques could increase profitability and productivity on your next construction project. 

What is Supply Chain Management? 

Supply chain management is an approach that accounts for every level of the construction hierarchy. The supply chain itself consists of the flow of both materials and related information. How you order deliveries is just as important as whom you order deliveries from. As our Wichita contractor attorneys know all too well, any miscommunication between project entities could lead to a costly legal dispute. 

While links in the chain often operate independently of each other, they are all part of a larger team that is connected by a singular goal: project completion. Similar to lean construction, supply chain management is about reducing waste and addressing problems by increasing transparency and coordination among the involved entities, regardless of difficulties. The goals of supply chain management are as follows: 

  • Reduce costs, waste, and inventory
  • Reduce supply chain impact on the jobsite
  • Transfer jobsite activities upstream 

Everyone involved in a project should have the same goals, views, and approach to solving issues. This is easier said than done as many project entities put their own needs first, even if it means putting the success of the project at risk. But when members of the supply chain work together, everyone benefits. 

The Benefits of Supply Chain Management

  • Increased profits 
  • Fortified Long-term partnerships
  • Improved relationships with material suppliers
  • Fewer material defects
  • Improved business reputation

In addition to the above benefits, supply chain management improves owner satisfaction with the completed project. This is crucial for avoiding costly legal disputes that could have been avoided with effective communication. Failure to properly track products and materials could result in you requiring the aid of a Wichita contractor lawyer

How to Promote Supply Chain Management

To promote supply chain management, contractors must consider all aspects of material procurement. This includes how materials will be delivered, how they will impact the project site, and how they align with the goals and expectations of everyone involved. From creation to implementation, these materials impact everyone involved in a project, and you must be able to account for these interactions. 

In order to improve supply chain management on a project, you will have to start small by applying these tenets to your current project while keeping in mind that it will take time for progress to show. In order to build trust among members of the supply chain, you must be patient. While you may work with a different material supplier on every project, you should strive to build ongoing relationships with all members of the supply chain. It’s far easier to work and communicate with a material supplier that has helped you reach project completion in the past. 

Why Do We Need Supply Chain Management?

The last goal of supply chain management (transfer jobsite activities upstream) may seem unusual at first. Contractors already have their hands full on their own project tasks. However, when responsibilities are delegated down the supply chain to subcontractors and sub-subcontractors, it only increases liability. Can you be certain of the legitimacy of everyone beneath you on the supply chain? Are material suppliers downstream under the same contractual obligations as everyone upstream? They may not be. Consult with a Wichita construction attorney to ensure that your contracts are ironclad. 

Supply chain management can be an incredible tool for reducing waste, saving money, building mutually beneficial relationships, and fostering accountability. It’s not enough to assume that everyone on a construction project is doing their job correctly. Even when everyone involved approaches a job in earnest, sometimes things go wrong. In addition, construction projects are becoming more complex and organizing projects are becoming more and more difficult with the industry’s focus on specialty suppliers and contractors. In addition to applying the above strategies, you should utilize a law firm’s subscription plan in case a legal dispute becomes unavoidable among members of the supply chain. For a partner that will always protect your rights and aid you in reaching project completion, turn to the experienced Wichita contractor attorneys at Cotney Construction Law. 

If you would like to speak with a Wichita construction lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

When bidding on federal construction projects, your company will most likely be dealing with one of two forms of bid procurement: an invitation to bid or a request for proposal. While similar, these methods are different enough to cause severe financial problems for firms that fail to properly submit or protest a bid. To ensure that your rights are protected throughout the bidding process, consult with a Charlotte bid protest lawyer from Cotney Construction Law. 

Invitation to Bid 

Invitations to bid are utilized when there is little to no guesswork as far as how the project will be completed. Essentially, every bidder can produce the same product, so the only thing that separates them is the cost of their services. Most government contracts are procured with an invitation to bid, and for good reason. Bids are sealed in envelopes and opened publicly. The government contract is awarded to the lowest bidder regardless of their experience or reputation. This is done to remove bias from the selection process and to promote fair competition. 

Request for Proposals

Unlike an invitation to bid, a request for proposals (RFP) is used on more demanding and complex construction projects. These projects require a high degree of technical expertise. As a result, experience and approach are considered in addition to the price. The advantage of an RFP is that it leads to a superior final product. However, it also leads to a much longer selection process and the potential for negotiations to break down.  

The Problems They Share 

Regardless of the procurement process, there will always be problems. With both methods, especially with an invitation to bid, there is added pressure for contractors to bid as low as possible. If a contractor were to bid too low on a project, they may be beholden to a price that cannot cover their operating costs, which will surely lead to delays, bankruptcy, and legal disputes. 

In addition, regardless of the procurement method, there is always room for bias. A sealed envelope isn’t going to stop a government entity from picking the contractor they prefer, even if that contractor is unqualified. For these reasons, it is in your best interest to consult with an attorney if you believe that a bid was awarded unfairly. When deciding on whether or not to move forward with a bid protest, do so with the counsel of an experienced Charlotte bid protest attorney from Cotney Construction Law. 

If you would like to speak with a Charlotte bid protest lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

We are picking up where we left off in part one with our discussion of North Carolina’s prequalification policy on public construction projects. Contractors in the Tar Heel State must be familiar with this process to not only secure future projects, but also to protect their rights in the event that they are unfairly denied a chance to bid. If you are ever unsure of how to proceed with the bidding process, consult with a Greensboro contractor attorney from Cotney Construction Law. 

The Application Process 

First, a prequalification committee is selected to determine bidder eligibility. The committee goes about this by employing an “objective assessment process form” that uses the criteria and scoring system discussed in part one. Bidders will either be approved or denied based on their experience, timeliness, safety history, and legal authorization, among other qualifications. 

All told, this process should be completed at least two months prior to bidding taking place. Bidders are then notified of the decision and reasoning behind it. Contractors that have been denied can request an informal meeting to discuss the decision. However, this meeting is nothing more than a discussion on the decision process. In order to appeal a decision, a bidder will have to follow the below process. 

The Appeals Process

Once notified, a bidder that has been denied prequalification has only three business days to protest the decision. They can do this by submitting a response along with any supporting documents stating why the decision should be appealed. This may include the bidder’s past work experience on similar projects or proof that all prequalification criteria were met. Within five business days, the prequalification committee or Prequalification Official should review the appeal. The bidder will then be notified if they may bid or if the appeal was denied. Either way, this decision is final. 

Further Protest

If you’ve gone through the appeal process and have been denied the chance to bid on a project, there are few options available to you. You can move on and apply what you’ve learned to your next project, but what if there isn’t one? The unpredictable nature of the construction industry means that success and failure can often hinge on a single project.

Even if you successfully appeal the committee’s decision, the project may still be awarded through bias to a competitor. For these reasons, you should consult with an attorney whenever you are concerned that your rights are being infringed upon. Whether you’re appealing a decision or protesting a bid, partner with an aggressive Greensboro contractor lawyer that can fight on your behalf. 

If you would like to speak with one of our Greensboro construction law lawyers, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Government entities in the State of North Carolina are allowed to prequalify bidders on public construction projects in order to ensure that only the most capable contractors are chosen to undertake these projects. There are specific guidelines by which government entities can go about prequalifying bidders. In this two-part series, a Greensboro construction lawyer from Cotney Construction Law will be discussing the prequalification process and what it means for contractors in the Tar Heel State.

What is Prequalification? 

North Carolina law defines prequalification as “a process of evaluating and determining whether potential bidders have the skill, judgment, integrity, sufficient financial resources, and ability necessary to the faithful performance of a contract for construction or repair work.” This prequalification process occurs prior to any bids being received. In addition to reducing the risk of delays, construction defects, and wasted taxpayer money, this process is designed to weed out contractors that are unqualified for a specific job. 

Prequalification may be employed only if the government entity is: using an approved construction method as described in G.S. 143-128(a1)(1) through G.S. 143-128(a1)(3), using an “objective prequalification policy” before advertising the contract, and using that specific project’s criteria, including a scoring system for prequalification. 

What are the Criteria for Prequalification? 

Government entities are required to implement a prequalification policy that includes the following aspects:

  • Must be “uniform, consistent, and transparent” in its treatment of bidders
  • Allow all prequalified bidders to bid on the project
  • Create criteria that applies to the project 
  • Treat bidders equally regardless of previously awarded projects
  • Allow bidders to submit prior experience on similar projects 
  • Inform denied bidders accordingly 

In addition to the above, government entities are required to allow bid protests. As a contractor, it is imperative for you to understand this process. Even with the strict guidelines above, lucrative projects can still be denied to qualified bidders and awarded unfairly to others. In part two, we will be discussing North Carolina’s bid review process and appeals process.

If you’ve been denied the opportunity to bid on a public construction project, it is in your best interest to familiarize yourself with this process and all the options available to you. For a legal partner that can guide you through this difficult process, consult with an experienced Greensboro construction attorney from Cotney Construction Law. 

If you would like to speak with an attorney from our Greensboro construction law firm, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.