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Recent Portland Construction Legislation That Can Impact Your Business

Every state has its own set of laws governing the construction industry, and these laws change on a fairly regular basis, which can have a significant impact on your construction company. This is why your company should stay up-to-date on law and regulation changes in order to be competitive. In this article, a Portland construction attorney with Cotney Construction Law discusses recent Portland construction legislation that can impact your business.

Lead and Asbestos City Demolition Permits

Demolition permits are usually handled by the state or the city, depending on what is being demolished. In cases where specialized facilities are being demolished, many states require state-sponsored demolition permits. This is often the case with buildings that are known to have a high amount of lead or asbestos in them. Demolishing one of these buildings to release contaminants into the area can have a major effect on the local population. State regulators often have systems in place to verify that the demolition company can safely demolish the building without contaminating the area.

Oregon recently changed the laws regarding demolitions to allow cities to handle the permitting process for buildings with lead and asbestos. This may mean that getting a permit to demolish one of these buildings will be significantly faster since it will be handled on a city-level rather than at the state level. This is because the state has so many applications that it almost always has a backlog of work in the permit office. Delegating this responsibility to city permitting offices should help relieve that backlog and make it easier and faster to get a demolitions permit. It also means that seeking help from one of our Portland construction attorneys can help you speed the process along with legal help.

Related: Safe Practices for Working with Asbestos

Stop the Division of Projects and Wages

To protect workers from unfair practices, Oregon has laws in place to stop construction companies from paying the wrong wage for each worker. It started when, in order to avoid minimum-wage laws, some construction companies began breaking their projects into smaller projects so that they would be handled differently. However, the state soon caught onto this practice and changed the law to stop companies from unfairly splitting projects. By forcing them to keep projects together, they are required to provide wages that are in line with Oregon’s regulations. This means that your construction company may not be able to bid on projects that will be split up, and how you pay staff may be affected. Instead, you should focus on taking jobs where you can complete the entire project with a reasonable budget. That way, you will not have to worry about changes in wages and pay structures in order to be able to complete the project.

Apprentices Can Be Hired For Work

In most cases, apprentices are not suitable for doing construction work without the oversight of more experienced workers. This usually prevents construction companies from directly hiring apprentices to work. Rather, they must be hired through subcontractors who are responsible for overseeing the work and training them. This can work well in most cases since it protects all persons involved, but it also limits the places where apprentices can get work and training.

Recently, Oregon changed the laws so that the agencies that hire workers for construction projects must hire apprentices to complete at least 25% of the work on major contracts. This ensures that apprentices are able to get work and can learn on the job. In the long run, it may resolve the major staffing crisis that Oregon is facing in the construction industry. Because it is hard for apprentices to get the work and training that they need to get their certifications, Oregon is facing a problem with creating more construction workers to fill its needs. This change in the law should make it easier for apprentices to complete the requirements to get certified, thus creating a larger and stronger construction workforce in the state.

Related: Construction Apprenticeships: How One of The Industry’s Most Important Training Model May Be Changing

Legal Requirements for Tiny Houses

The tiny house craze is big in Oregon and other places on the west coast. With more of these small houses being built, there is a growing concern over their quality. Since they differ from regular houses in many ways, they often do not fall under the same regulations as regular houses. This leaves manufacturers open to build them however they see fit with no guarantees or protections for consumers. 

Fortunately, Oregon has finally created legal standards for tiny houses. Houses that are less than 600 square feet will fall into their own category of classifications. The Oregon Buildings Code Division is in the process of developing those standards. For construction companies, this means that there will be a lot of smaller jobs that can be done once the standards are complete. The housing market may see a dramatic increase in the number of houses being built when consumers feel more secure in their development. Construction companies that are looking for a way to increase the amount of work that they have without a massive increase in overhead costs could focus on tiny house development. However, you will have to stay up-to-date with a Portland construction lawyer on the tiny house requirements as they will likely fluctuate over the next few years while the government finds the best collection of regulations. 

Related: Differences in Residential and Commercial Construction Legal Cases

Limited Evictions

The housing industry is being impacted by laws that restrict a landlord’s ability to evict tenants. Since people are staying in place longer, that means it may be less profitable to build new facilities, leading to a slowdown in the construction industry. Your construction company will likely see a slowdown in work because of it that is not expected to pick up until a year after the laws are reset. Instead, you should look for other means of generating work, especially in the housing sector, if your company relies on residential work to stay operational.

Portland is changing to fit a changing world, and your construction company will have to make changes too. Fortunately, many of these regulation changes give you time to adjust and overcome. If you have questions about laws that affect construction companies, contact a Portland construction attorney from Cotney Construction Law.

If you would like to speak with one of our Portland construction 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.