Associated Construction Contractors of New Jersey

Construction Recap

February 3, 2014

Despite Rain, Rescheduled ACCNJ Annual Meeting Goes On

Rescheduled from December 10, 2013, because of a snowstorm, the ACCNJ Annual Membership Meeting was held despite pelting rain on January 14, 2014, at the PNC Bank Arts Center/Robert B. Meyner Reception Facility in Holmdel. Approximately 90 members joined Association staff for cocktails, dinner and the program, “P3s:  The Legislation New Jersey Needs Now,” presented by Steve Charney, Chairman of ACCNJ member Peckar & Abramson, and Frank Rapoport, a senior partner and leader in Peckar & Abramson’s Public-Private Partnerships practice group.

The March Membership Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at 5:30 p.m. at the Doubletree in Tinton Falls-Eatontown. Access Bulletin 06-14 in the members-only section at accnj.org for details and the registration form.

Welcome New Members

We welcome eight new members into the Association this month, and invite you to visit the Membership Directory at accnj.org for more information about these new members.

Active Members

  • E-J/Ferreira JV, Long Island City NY
  • IEW Construction Group, Trenton
  • McCloskey Mechanical Contractors, Inc., Lindenwold
  • Trevcon Construction Company, Inc., Liberty Corner

Associate Members

  • Beach Electric Company, Inc., Paterson
  • Emerald Financial Services, Colts Neck
  • Resolution Management Consultants, Inc., Marlton
  • W.E.S. Works LLC, Morristown

Labor Information Online

FASB Disclosure

In January, Active Members received Bulletin 03-14 with updated information pertaining to required FASB Plan disclosures that went into effect last year. The bulletin is available in the members-only section at accnj.org.

Labor and Other 2013 Bulletins

In Bulletin 01-14, we distributed the list of all bulletins posted on the ACCNJ website from July 1, 2013, through December 31, 2013. The list includes all bulletins pertaining to labor updates -- wage and fringe benefit rates, collective bargaining agreements, etc. -- and is available in the members-only section at accnj.org.

Important State Activity

Governor Christie Takes Action on "Lame-Duck" Legislation

As the 215th Legislature came to a close, Governor Christie took executive action last week on the following construction-related bills.

Bills Signed

A-4531/S-3107 (Greenwald, Bramnick, Sarlo, Oroho) - Provides extended validity to wastewater service area designations and sewer service area designations, and revises certain aspects of the wastewater management planning process.

Bills "Pocket" Vetoed

S-2143/A-3177 (Gordon, Norcross, Wisniewski, Singleton) - Establishes State Transportation Infrastructure Bank and Energy Bank within the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust.

A-1588/S-2081 (Benson, Riley, Singer, Greenstein) - Requires DCA to establish procedures for inspection and abatement of mold hazards in residential buildings and school facilities, and certification programs for mold inspectors and mold hazard abatement workers.

A-3359/S-2604 (Singleton, Norcross, Whelan, Oroho) - Concerns registration of contractors and sets criteria for responsible bidders in public work.

School Construction Referendums

As we relayed to members in Bulletin 09-14, three New Jersey school districts held special elections on Tuesday, January 28, 2014, to decide on bond issues to fund school construction projects. Two of the three districts approved the projects. For details, please refer to the bulletin in the members-only section at accnj.org.

 

 

Federal News of Note

Multi-Employer Pension Plans

As you know, the challenges confronting the sponsors of multi-employer plans are unprecedented. Without action, plan sponsors may no longer be able to provide these benefits, construction company employers may be forced to recapitalize the plans or the plans will be forced to go to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). Legislative changes during the current session of Congress are needed to save the businesses of many contributing employers and protect the retirement security of craftworker employees. Legislation has been introduced in the US Senate and the US House of Representatives to continue the authorization of the enabling "Pension Protection Act," and further amend the Act to enhance its effectiveness within our industry. AGC of America will lead a broad coalition of proponents of the bill as committee action picks up in the coming months. ACCNJ will continue to discuss the importance of this issue with New Jersey's Congressional Representatives and relay information to our members on this critical industry topic.

Congress Passes, and President Signs, $1 Trillion Spending Bill

Contained in the 2014 spending bill is $17.8 billion in discretionary appropriations and $53.5 billion in non-discretionary "obligation limitation" funding for the Department of Transportation. The total is $164 million below last year's level and $4.9 billion below the amount requested by the president. Appropriations break down as follows:

  • Highways:  Nearly $41 billion in non-discretionary funding for the Federal Highway program, the same level authorized in MAP-21 and $557 million more than in 2013.
  • Air:  $15.75 billion total, with $12.4 billion going to the FAA ($168 million below 2013 level) and $3.35 billion in non-discretionary funding for airport construction projects.
  • Rail:  $1.6 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration, $34.6 million less than last year.
  • Transit:  $12.85 billion total, with $2.15 billion for the Federal Transit Administration (down $100 million from 2013 spending), $8.6 billion for state and local transit grant funding, and $2.1 billion for Capital Investment Grants, state and local "Small Starts" and "Full Funding Grant Agreement" projects.
  • Safety:  $1.4 billion, with $819 million in mandatory and discretionary funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (up $8.9 million from 2013), $585 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (up $24 million from 2013); and an additional $12.8 million for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration over 2013 levels.

New FAR Clause in Effect

On December 26, 2013, a new clause from the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council was added to all new direct-federal solicitations. The adoption of this clause will encourage accelerated payments from the prime contractor to its small business subcontractors only when the prime contractor receives an accelerated payment from the federal government. This payment acceleration does not provide any new rights under the federal Prompt Payment Act and does not affect the application of the Prompt Payment Act late payment interest provisions. For more information, contact the Association office.

Ray LaHood Joins Building America's Future

Ray LaHood, former US Transportation Secretary, is the new co-chair of Building America's Future, sharing the executive duties with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. The three are actively advocating for federal infrastructure investments. LaHood has also joined law firm DLA Piper as a senior policy advisor in the firm's DC and Chicago offices; his former chief of staff at DOT, Joan DeBoer, will be a policy advisor at the same law firm.

AGC of America Resources  

AGC Initiatives in 2014

AGC announced in January it will direct its efforts toward federal construction procurement reform this year, including ending reverse auctions, limiting single-step and second-step design-build procurement rules and implementing the recent rule that allows prime contractors to count lower-tier small-business contractors toward their small-business subcontracting goals. AGC will also continue to pursue legislation introduced in 2013 that will promote these reforms. For more information, visit www.agc.org.

2014 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook

In January, AGC released its latest survey of members and hosted a media call, members welcome, to discuss the results. More than 800 firms participated in the survey, and the results demonstrated more optimism than has been seen in the past few years. For the results and an audio recording of the media call, visit www.agc.org.

Member News

Atlantic Concrete Cutting Inc.

Atlantic Concrete Cutting invites members to view its latest newsletter, Blade Runner, online at www.atlanticconcretecutting.com. The issue features the company's project on the Long Island Rail Road, completed last summer under contract with ACCNJ member Kiewit Infrastructure Co. Using a customized rail car and four Cardi 625 core drills converted to 10 hp hycycle electric, Atlantic Concrete Cutting core drilled nearly 24,000 rail anchor holes during the weekends between May and September. Other stories in the newsletter cover post-Sandy restoration at a South Jersey surf shop and using Ground Penetrating Radar to locate utility lines in New York State.

Emerald Financial

Emerald Financial invites ACCNJ members to a realBUSINESS (sm) seminar on Tuesay, February 25, 2014, 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. at the Association office in Edison. Over breakfast, the Construction Advisory Team at Emerald Financial will address these important questions: 

--What is the plan for my business when I retire?
--Can my business continue in the event of my or my partner's untimely death or disability?
--Have I done everything I can to attract and retain my key employees?
--Have I given sufficient thought to who is the right successor to my business?
--Do I understand the importance of knowing what my business is worth?

Seating is limited. Emerald invites you to RSVP by February 20 to 732.677.7008.

HazTek Inc.

HazTek, Inc., an environmental health and safety consulting firm specializing in construction safety, announces the addition of Kevin McMahon, CIH, to the new position of Director of Technical Services, based in the corporate office in Medford, NJ. Kevin brings more than 30 years of experience in environmental and occupational health and safety for industry, consulting and government sectors. He has both bachelor's and master's degrees in Environmental Health Science and is a Certified Industrial Hygienist, and will lead HazTek's Operations Team.

Safety Matters

National AGC Safety Awards

In Bulletin 04-14, Active Members received information about the 2013 National AGC Safety Awards Program. Deadline for entry was January 31, 2014.

ACCNJ Safety Awards

In Bulletin 05-14, Active Members received information about ACCNJ's Safety Awards Program. Deadline for entry was also January 31, 2014.

OSHA Web Chat Reviews Silica Rule

The public comment period on OSHA’s proposed silica dust rule was supposed to close at midnight on January 27, 2014, but OSHA, which hosted an open web chat on the rule January 14, extended it 15 days, through February 11. The new silica rule lowers the Permissible Exposure Limit (known as PEL) in construction, and updates the air sampling and analytical methods that must be used to measure silica dust.

Similar to New Jersey’s silica dust law, the federal rule requires employers to implement so-called “engineering and work practice controls” to limit dust exposure. Controls can include the use of wet tools, local exhaust ventilation and vacuum systems, and wet sweeping. (New Jersey’s law specifically prohibits dry cutting.) ACCNJ, as a partner in New Jersey’s Silica Outreach and Research (NJSOAR), works with NIOSH in testing controls like a wet control retrofit system for jackhammers, which proved effective in prototype phase.

However, our industry routinely employs a transient workforce by utilizing union labor from local hiring halls. Provisions in the proposed regulation call for a requirement of no-cost medical surveillance for any employee exposed to silica above the newly established PEL for more than 30 days per year. This mandate could be problematic for contractors whose active jobsites experience natural craftworker turnover through various phases of work to project-completion. The logistical challenges and responsibility associated with tracking an individual worker's silica exposure appear counterproductive and may create unintended consequences for the contracting community. ACCNJ will raise this issue through formal rulemaking comments in February.

New Jersey Construction Magazine - May Issue

In January, we send members information about advertising and marketing opportunities in the next issue of New Jersey Construction, scheduled for distribution in May. We encourage members to send news about important events, contract awards, interesting projects, personnel changes and participation in charitable activities. And of course we welcome advertising from our members and labor partners. Please refer to Bulletins 07-14 and 08-14 in the members-only section at accnj.org.

Upcoming Events

Emerald Financial Seminar

ACCNJ member Emerald Financial will host a business seminar on February 25, 2014, 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. at the Association office in Edison. See "Member News" in this newsletter for further details and to register.

BIM Units 3 & 4 and BIM Testing

In Bulletin 57-13 we distributed information and registration for two BIM courses ACCNJ is hosting in 2014. Unit 3, "BIM Contract Negotiation and Risk Allocation," is scheduled for Friday, February 28, 2014, and Unit 4, "BIM Process, Adoption and Integration" is scheduled for Friday, March 21, 2014. Both classes are one full day at the Association office. We recommend early registration, as classes fill quickly and are limited to the first 20 registrants. To register for the classes, access the bulletin in the members-only section at accnj.org. In addition, ACCNJ will offer BIM testing on April 10, 2014. Register for testing through the AGC of America website at www.agc.org.

March Membership Meeting

As we mentioned above, the March Membership Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at the Doubletree in Tinton Falls-Eatontown. Please refer to Bulletin 06-14 for details and the registration form in the members-only section at accnj.org.

February Holiday

Presidents' Day - Monday, February 17, 2014

A holiday for the general construction trades. Please refer to the Contract Summary in the members-only section at accnj.org for provisions regarding holidays. ACCNJ offices will be closed.