Friday, December 19, 2008

Busy 2008 for dispute resolution specialist PJ English

Dispute resolution specialist Peter English says he has won ВЈ8m for his clients this year, and he anticipates that figure jumping to ВЈ11m in 2009.

His group, PJ English Associates, is currently working on 74 cases which represents a substantial increase on the figure of 15 at the same time last year.

“A lot of our work has stemmed from the high-profile case we handled on behalf of Southern Glass Services,” said English after an adjudicator ruled (10 months ago) that the 3% deductions from agreed payment terms being summarily removed by Barratt Southampton were out of order.

The money involved (ВЈ19,000) was paid back along with a further ВЈ5,400 to cover interest charges

Interestingly, after that debacle, Barratt has become one of the good guys and not a single case on English’s current schedule bears the name Barratt.


Busy 2008 for dispute resolution specialist PJ English


Two of his largest cases at the moment involve acting for a groundwork contractor who claims to be owed money on two scores: ВЈ500,000 from a major house builder and another from a smaller contractor.

“The larger players are not bowing down like they might have done in the past,” said English.

“However smaller players, who are owed £8,000 to £12,000 perhaps, are still caving in and adopting the stance that they will live with the problem and try to work through it.

“I’d say all the house builders are currently trying it on apart.

“The others are knocking 5% irrespective off what their agree payment terms say.

“Another trick is for them to close a site when the scheme is only halfway through, then challenging their subcontractors to take them to court for breach and putting every obstacle in the way."

However, larger subcontractors are wising up, according to English. “They are saying вЂget stuffed – we’ll see you in court’ because they know they will win the court case,” he reports.

Of the 74 cases on English’s books at the moment, 38 are into the litigation or adjudication phase.

The balance, where the two sides have failed to settle amicably, are mostly waiting for a further input of effort or clarification before advice can be given on how best to handle them.

English expects half of this balance to eventually go into adjudication.

“In all , I’d expect to see 50-plus of our 74 cases being resolved by way of adjudication,” he said, “with another five or six being taken to court.”

English thinks most cases are in the bag even before he steps through the courtroom door simply because 80% of main contractors who summarily hang on to money they should pay out fail to issue a withholding notice (a legal necessity) which means it's almost game over before the bell sounds for the start of the formal sparring.

Big-time Waffle House guy in trouble

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Multiplex launches record £250m claim against Mott MacDonald

Multiplex has launched a ВЈ250m High Court claim against Mott MacDonald, as the fallout from the Wembley stadium debacle rumbles on.

The writ, anticipated since early this year, alleges that Mott MacDonald failed to prepare a steelwork design that could be produced within the cost plan.

The contractor, which has since been renamed as Brookfield, also alleges that Mott MacDonald made a series of design changes which were beyond the scope of normal design development.

Mott MacDonald has always denied any responsibility for problems on the ВЈ757m stadium, which was completed over a year late.

Multiplex is still locked in a battle with Darlington-based Cleveland Bridge, although it has now settled its dispute with PC Harrington.


Multiplex launches record £250m claim against Mott MacDonald


In a statement, Mott MacDonald said: "Mott MacDonald confirms that it has received a claim from Brookfield Construction (UK) Limited (formerly Multiplex Constructions (UK) Limited) against it as leader of the Mott Stadium Consortium (MSC), alleging breaches of contract in relation to structural engineering design work undertaken on Wembley Stadium by the consortium’s members.
"We would point out that Brookfield assumed responsibility for designing and building the stadium and MSC provided structural design consultancy services to Brookfield for the permanent structure.

"MSC was not responsible for project management or construction, which was the clear responsibility of Brookfield. We are in no doubt that MSC performed its obligations to Brookfield professionally and diligently.

"Mott MacDonald emphatically denies any liability for Brookfield’s loss and will vigorously defend the claim.
"We do not wish to comment in detail on any figures mentioned in the claim except to say they are not credible.

"We are confident that we will demonstrate that MSC fulfilled its obligations and has no liability for any loss Brookfield may have incurred."

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

OFT issues new guidelines on busting cartels

Cartel busters at the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) are making it easier for contractors to report on anti-competitive behaviour.

Companies involved in price-fixing rings can avoid hefty fines if they blow the whistle on their fellow conspirators.

Officials at the OFT have now launched new leniency guidelines outlining easier ways for firms to get in touch and detailing how they will be exempt from massive fines and criminal prosecutions.

Simon Williams, OFT senior director of cartels and criminal enforcement, said: "Cartels cheat consumers by restricting competition.

"The leniency programme continues to be a simple and powerful tool to expose such conduct and the revisions to the OFT's guidance will help ensure that the programme continues to provide a powerful incentive to seek leniency before it is too late."

Seasonal jobs outlook is dim
Job seekers tap social networking Web sites

Monday, December 15, 2008

Carillion faces £21m counter sue over Bath Spa project

Carillion and architect Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners are being counter sued for ВЈ21m by Bath & North-East Somerset (BANES) Council over the Thermae Bath Spa project.

The beleaguered ВЈ45m project suffered a catalogue of delays finally completing in 2006 three years late and ВЈ27m over budget.

Mowlem, which is now part of Carillion, was the main contractor. Since its opening Bath Spa has been plagued with technical problems including condensation, clouds of mould on the walls and faulty foot spas.

The council’s court action follows Carillion’s move in August to sue BANES for £2.4m.

In a statement BANES said: “The council’s position is that significant costs which it incurred in relation to the Bath Spa are the result of design and/or workmanship issues, for which Carillion and/or Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners (NGP) are responsible.”

Carillion and NGP were unavailable for comment as CJ went to press.

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Winding-up notice issued to Strand developer as subbies left unpaid

Knight Build has issued an insolvency notice against Urvasco in the latest chapter of the Strand hotel dispute.

Work is currently on hold at the former Marconi Hotel on London’s strand where the first UK venture for the Spanish Silken Hotel group had been underway.

The project has been plagued by legal problems since work begain. O’Keefe Construction (Greenwich) filed a claim against Cantillion for monies owed for demolition, while Cantillion filed a counter claim.

Now, having already won one adjudication for ВЈ320,000, Knight Build has been forced to issue a winding up notice against developer Urvasco to collect a further ВЈ70,000.

In the original case the high court was shown bank statements indicating the developer had no other money.


Winding-up notice issued to Strand developer as subbies left unpaid


Urvasco still owes tens of millions to the various other contractors on the job. They include Buro Happold, H+B Scaffolding, Crown Lifts, Severfield Rowen and project architect Foster and Partners.

One contractor, who declined to be named, said: “No-one has been paid and there’s nothing happening on site. Subbies have been told to leave and have gone leaving materials everywhere. It’s a health and safety nightmare.”

The hearing is set for February 2009.

$10M retail expansion cleared for Mt. Juliet
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Laing O'Rourke facing legal battle over Marbella development

Laing O’Rourke faces a potential winding-up order in the Irish courts following a dispute with Irish developer John Magnier.

The Times reported that Magnier, Ireland's seventh-richest man, is considering a "cease trade" order, after Laing O'Rourke refused to pay ВЈ3m awarded to him in a court ruling last week.

The dispute centres on a property development that Magnier and O'Rourke were planning in Marbella, Spain.

The contractor was using a special purpose vehicle called Explore Investments to buy half of a 4ha tract of land in the resort, which was owned by Magnier's companies Daltwo Holdings and Marbetwo Holdings.

The plan was to develop the land, one of the few remaining plots boasting a beach frontage still to be developed, as part of a joint venture.


Laing ORourke facing legal battle over Marbella development


But problems began when planners decided that only two villas could be built on the site, rather than the 30 the jv partners had envisaged.

Laing O'Rourke agreed to pay nearly ВЈ22m for the plot, to be paid in stages. But it withheld the latest instalment of ВЈ3m as it became aware that the planners' decision meant the development was no longer commercially viable.

Several more instalments are due until 2011.

Magnier’s companies intend to request a “cease trade” order – Ireland’s equivalent of a winding-up order – if the payment they claim they are owed is not made within 21 days.

A Laing O'Rourke spokesman said: “The Laing O’Rourke Group confirms it will be providing in full for the €3 million loan due from its subsidiary, Explore Investments [No 2], following a judgment entered against that company by an Irish court. This provision will have no material effect on the group’s trading results for the year. Explore Investments [No 2] has no interests other than an investment in a single project in Spain.”

Google drops Yahoo ad deal to avoid legal fight
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One in 10 OFT probe firms in administration or liquidation

One in 10 of the contractors named in the OFT's cover pricing investigation has fallen victim to serious financial problems or ceased to trade.

Of the 112 contractors named in April's Statement of Objections (SO), a total of 10 are now in administration or liquidation, after York House Construction called in administrators last month (see list below).

The high proportion of struggling and failed businesses among the group of accused has sparked fears that high levels of fines from the OFT, expected to be announced in the early part of 2009, could send even more companies under.

The OFT has the power to fine a company up to 10% of its relevant turnover if it is found guily of fraudulent bidding practices.


One in 10 OFT probe firms in administration or liquidation


A spokesman for the Construction Confederation said: "The industry is on a downward trend and there are quite a few companies on the list of the original 112 which are in difficulty or in administration.

"This probably doesn't come into the OFT's criteria when it is thinking of what penalties to impose.

"But we think that it should be a consideration.

"The impact of the level of fines it imposes on the industry is going to be significant."

Adrian Magnus, a competition partner with law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner said: "The challenge is that the OFT will want to have a fine commensurate with the size and importance of the investigation.

"But if it were to impose a fine that put more construction companies into administration or liquidation, then is that really in the wider interest of UK plc?"

The OFT declined to comment on the investigation.

Where are they now?Ballast - dissolved by Dutch parent Ballast NedamChase Norton Construction - administration, July 2008Frudd Construction - liquidation, July 2008G. Carter Construction - liquidation, March 2008Holroyd Construction Group - administration, June 2008Lotus Construction - administration, November 2008Piper Construction Midlands - liquidation, November 2008Thomas Fish & Sons - trading under new ownership following administration, April 2008Thorndyke - liquidationWilliam Sapcote and Sons - administration, October 2007York House Construction - administration, November 2008

Obama to inherit red ink

9 predictions for construction in 2009

Next year looks like being a tough one for construction on all fronts. Ben Thornycroft looks into his crystal ball and gives a forecast for 2009.

January Blues. There was little to lift the spirits of owners of construction companies in the Pre-Budget Statement and we can expect a very old January as many contractors fail to open after the Christmas break, either as victims of the continuing credit crisis or simply realising that there is no real point in struggling on when there is not enough work to fill their books. The accountants and administrators will have a busy New Year but some smaller contractors may pick up reasonable prices to finish off other peoples jobs.Whistleblowing. Watch out for a surge in whistleblowing instances in 2009 – prompted by the ticking bombs of health and safety issues and cartel accusations. If the OFT offers financial incentives of up to ВЈ100,000 in return for information which helps it to identify and take action against illegal construction cartels, there’s plenty of motivation for workers to get blowing - or whistling?Green Won’t Go. Don’t expect the recession to automatically result in sustainability being conveniently forgotten about. The industry will remain the subject of much scrutiny, particularly as the major projects propping up the industry are either of international significance (the 2012 Olympics) or directly linked to вЂsustainable’ initiatives themselves (energy projects or sustainable housing, for example). Being seen to be green will remain important.Subbies Lose Out. Further hold ups for Local Authority maintenance work will hit small contractors the hardest. Any spend on the kind of major projects that the Government is talking loudly about will have to be clawed back from somewhere. It’s pretty obvious that this will be from much-needed buildings maintenance, which may see schools and hospitals suffer, and will be a missed opportunity to put money into the pockets of smaller contractors and thereby stimulate the economy.Hold On To Your Talent. In the inevitable rush to reduce cost through redundancies, employers must remember that they still need the right people to see them through the tough times. Talent management and workforce planning will be as important if not more so than in the good times. Good people will still be able to move jobs and good people still need to be motivated and supported. Experience of the last economic downturn in the 90s was that employers were quick to reduce their workforce and were then lacking key skills when better times came along.New Contract Forms. Well, all the commercial managers and lawyers will have nothing else to do so why not spend the year trying to improve the JCT and in particular the NEC Form of Contract. In times of pressure the industry needs clear precise obligations which it can price and manage and uncertainty favours neither employer nor contractor. Some time from Government lawyers spent simplifying the unnecessarily complex PFI and BSF contracts would also be a welcome move.Priming Too Slow. The Government's undertaking to increase spending on schools, social housing and motorways will have little effect in 2009 with the normal planning and procurement process not taking effect until 2010. The increased energy efficiency spend for homeowners may be quicker but is again unlikely to impact before third quarter 2009. The market still has a way to go down before it comes back up and the general real cut in government spending after 2010 will mean the upward slope is very gentle.The Year Of The Bond. Not James but performance, as employers, increasingly scared of insolvency, will  require those recently unpopular performance bonds to protect their projects so at least the Bondsmen will have a happy new year.And If You Have Cash To Spare... This is the year to get those delayed repairs and extensions done to your house as you will be able to get a plumber or dry liner easily, the roofer will return your call, and the electrician will be available as our tradesmen move down market to keep their businesses going. Unfortunately, this may not work if you live in London as the tradesmen may still be dragged eastwards to Newham, with the Eastern Europeans heading even further eastwards to the stronger Euro on the continent.

Ben Thornycroft is a partner with Beachcroft LLP

Nashville job engine sputters

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Inland Revenue launches clampdown on employment agencies

Inland Revenue chiefs are launching a new crackdown on construction employment agencies managing payrolls for thousands of contractors and workers across the industry.

The clampdown is the latest stage in an HM Revenue & Customs campaign against companies offering to slash tax payments for contractors.

The tax man is also threatening to chase after firms and individuals for back payments if they are found to be operating through companies that do not comply with legislation.

Hundreds of 'umbrella' and 'managed service companies' have sprung-up in the wake of CIS tax legislation.

They act as intermediaries between workers and companies allowing individuals to claim they are self-employed. They are also widely used by labour agencies to handle the payroll of people on their books.


Inland Revenue launches clampdown on employment agencies


But revenue chiefs believe many are little more than tax dodges, with only a handful complying with strict guidelines.

HMRC officials will now be challenging the legal status of agencies they believe are flouting the law.

A spokesman said: "HMRC will now look for suitable cases to investigate and, where appropriate, challenge and litigate."

Martin Hesketh, managing director of Brookson, which had its system approved by the Revenue, said: "A variety of models and structures have been introduced designed to circumvent the legislation.

"This shows that HMRC is aware of these attempts to frustrate the legislation and is now clearly targeting these structures."

Payroll companies have been trying to keep one step ahead of HMRC for years.

The Revenue launched its last crackdown in April 2007 to coincide with the introduction of new CIS. But since then, companies have continually tried to get round the legislation by adapting their structures.

Tax expert Carolyn Walsh of CWConstruction said: "There are always people who will try and dodge the rules, but the Revenue is gradually weeding them out.

"Bona fide contractors, nominee companies that handle workers' payments legitimately, and the companies that use them to pay or supply labour, have nothing to worry about."

Economy puts pressure on state Medicaid programs

One in 10 bid-rigging firms in administration or liquidation

One in 10 of the contractors named in the OFT's cover pricing investigation has fallen victim to serious financial problems or ceased to trade.

Of the 112 contractors named in April's Statement of Objections (SO), a total of 10 are now in administration or liquidation, after York House Construction called in administrators last month (see list below).

The high proportion of struggling and failed businesses among the group of accused has sparked fears that high levels of fines from the OFT, expected to be announced in the early part of 2009, could send even more companies under.

The OFT has the power to fine a company up to 10% of its relevant turnover if it is found guily of fraudulent bidding practices.


One in 10 bid-rigging firms in administration or liquidation


A spokesman for the Construction Confederation said: "The industry is on a downward trend and there are quite a few companies on the list of the original 112 which are in difficulty or in administration.

"This probably doesn't come into the OFT's criteria when it is thinking of what penalties to impose.

"But we think that it should be a consideration.

"The impact of the level of fines it imposes on the industry is going to be significant."

Adrian Magnus, a competition partner with law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner said: "The challenge is that the OFT will want to have a fine commensurate with the size and importance of the investigation.

"But if it were to impose a fine that put more construction companies into administration or liquidation, then is that really in the wider interest of UK plc?"

The OFT declined to comment on the investigation.

Where are they now?Ballast - dissolved by Dutch parent Ballast NedamChase Norton Construction - administration, July 2008Frudd Construction - liquidation, July 2008G. Carter Construction - liquidation, March 2008Holroyd Construction Group - administration, June 2008Lotus Construction - administration, November 2008Piper Construction Midlands - liquidation, November 2008Thomas Fish & Sons - trading under new ownership following administration, April 2008Thorndyke - liquidationWilliam Sapcote and Sons - administration, October 2007York House Construction - administration, November 2008

Credit trickle slows construction
Obama to inherit red ink

Irish contractors try to impose 10% pay cut on 200,000 workers

Contractors in Ireland are trying to tear up an agreed wages deal and impose a 10% pay cut on more than 200,000 construction workers.

The move raises fears that similar pay cuts could be considered in the UK.

Irish employers are pleading with the unions to accept the drop in a bid to save jobs in the wake of the deepening recession in the industry.

The call comes as the Construction Industry Federation - which represents more than 3,000 contractors - unanimously rejected a national pay settlement.

The deal was originally agreed in September and gives workers increaseses of 6% to 6.5% over 21 months. The agreement covers the Republic as a whole and has been accepted by other private sector employers.


Irish contractors try to impose 10% pay cut on 200,000 workers


But the construction employers now want the increase to be replaced with a pay cut as the industry dives.

Federation director general Tom Parlon said the proposed 2009 pay deal ignored the current state of the Irish economy.

He forecast that construction employment will drop to 190,000 - down by 90,000 compared with the end of last year.

He said: "Jobs are being lost and construction firms are now tendering at 8% to 10% below the cost of particular projects. Executives within building companies are being laid off or taking substantial pay cuts."

The Irish unions - which include Ucatt and Unite - will fight the move vigorously.

Parlon said: "The bottom line is that the industry can't afford the deal and is seeking a 10% reduction to safeguard jobs in construction. A 6% increase was never realistic at this time."

Talks have now been referred to the Irish TUC's construction committee. Failing an agreement, the employers' claim may be referred to the Labour Court.

Some Spring Hill GM workers face year-end layoffs

Monday, December 8, 2008

Contractors slam red tape increase in Construction Act

Main contractors believe plans to amend the Construction Act will increase red tape and costs at a time when the industry cannot afford it.

Leaders of the Construction Confederation believes changes announced in the Queen’s Speech will prove a burden to the industry as it battles against the economic downturn.

The Confederation backed improvements to the adjudication provisions of the Act but has serious reservations about proposals to amend the payment provisions.

Confederation leaders believe the proposals will increase the burden on contractors by:

Forcing the redrafting of all the standard and bespoke forms of contract at great expenseForcing companies of all sizes to employ experts to interpret the new clausesAdd to the already heavy admin burden in terms of staff time in a worsening economic situationRequiring costly training of staff dealing with paymentADVERTISEMENT

Contractors slam red tape increase in Construction Act


Chief executive Stephen Ratcliffe said: “The proposed payment provisions are poorly drafted and will not help contractors of any size but will particularly hurt SME main and sub-contractors.

“They do not reflect the world in which contractors operate nor do they show much understanding of how payment works within the construction industry.

”Far from reducing costs, proposals to include verbal contracts within the legislation will only serve to make adjudication over disputes a lengthier and more costly process.

“Swift adjudication remains the most effective way to tackle non-payment and introducing oral examination and cross examination will delay the process and increase costs.”

Credit trickle slows construction

Valuation of work: Orchard Construction -v- Peter Gallant

The valuation of work and consequences of wrongful determination.

Summing upThe case: Martin John Hayes & Linda Hayes (T/A Orchard Construction) -v- Peter Gallant (2008), EWHC 2726 (TCC), 10 November 2008.The issue: The valuation of work on the basis of a reasonable price and consequences of wrongful determination.The implication: Delay on the part of the contractor is not sufficient grounds for the employer to determine the contract such that the employer was in repudiatory breach by doing so, entitling the contractor to claim for loss of profit on the work it was prevented from completing.

If an employer wants to determine the employment of the contractor, then it should be very careful that it does so on grounds permitted by the contract and that it complies with any determination procedure under the contract.


Valuation of work: Orchard Construction -v- Peter Gallant


The consequences of getting this wrong are quite likely to be that the employer will be found to have wrongfully determined the contract and itself to have committed a repudiatory breach of contract by refusing to allow the contractor to complete the work. The contractor will then be entitled to claim damages for the wrongful determination.

The recent case of Martin John Hayes & Linda Hayes (trading as Orchard Construction) -v- Peter Gallant (2008) concerns a situation where it seems that the employer (Peter Gallant) felt that the contractor (Orchard Construction) was overcharging for work it was carrying out and that it was taking too long and that the work was defective. In consequence, Peter Gallant excluded Orchard Construction from site.

The works comprised refurbishment works on Peter Gallant's house and outbuildings and the construction of a covered pool complex. There was no written contract between the parties.

Orchard Construction contended that there was a contract or series of contracts on the basis of regular statements of account setting out the cost of work undertaken. Until the summer of 2004, Peter Gallant made regular payments on account of these invoices but thereafter a dispute arose about the reasonableness of Orchard's costs, resulting in Peter Gallant refusing to make any further payment and excluding Orchard Construction from site.

Orchard argued that such payments indicated agreement to its statements and that Peter Gallant was therefore bound by that agreement. Peter Gallant contended that the works were to have been carried out on a cost-plus basis and that payments made on account were not made on account of the invoices submitted from time to time but on account of a final reckoning.

Orchard Construction further argued that as it had been unlawfully expelled from the site, it was entitled to claim for loss of profit on work that would otherwise have been carried out. Peter Gallant contended that he had been entitled to terminate the contract because of Orchard's delay in completing the work, and as a consequence of defective work.

Prior agreement

The judge held that Peter Gallant had ordered the works to be carried out, and that while earlier in the project the parties had followed a procedure whereby Orchard Construction rendered an estimate to Peter Gallant, which was agreed prior to the work being carried out and was later paid for on that basis, after a certain date that practice had not continued and Peter Gallant had, thereafter, agreed to pay a reasonable price for subsequent work. The latter was valued on the basis of actual cost properly incurred, plus a reasonable percentage for overheads and profit.

The judge then went on to determine the question of Orchard Construction's claim for loss of profit, which was made on the basis that by excluding it from site, Peter Gallant had repudiated the contract.

Where there is a fundamental breach of contract that goes to the root of the contract by one party and the other party accepts the repudiation, then the contract will be brought to an end. Failure to continue to perform might be sufficient notice that the innocent party had elected to treat the contract as at an end. Where time was not of the essence, delay on the part of a contractor did not amount to a repudiation unless it deprived the innocent party of the whole benefit of the contract.

Judge's verdict

The judge held that Orchard Construction had not been responsible for any delay that entitled Peter Gallant to terminate the contract and it was not the case that Orchard could not complete the contract within a reasonable time.

Peter Gallant's action in excluding Orchard Construction from the site was unjustified and amounted to repudiation of the contracts, which Orchard had had to accept. Orchard was therefore entitled to recover its loss of profit for uncompleted work.

Finally, it was found that Peter Gallant's allegations of defective work were unfounded, particularly where Orchard Construction had agreed to carry out any remedial works free of charge as necessary.

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Do the math before listing son on house deed

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ex-employee jailed for £32,700 theft from builders merchant

A woman who stole ВЈ32,700 from Parker Severn builders merchants has been jailed for 20 months at Nottingham Crown Court.

Louise Wood, 40, an account manager at the firm in Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, stole the money in ВЈ500 chunks over a 16-month period.

She hid the scam by setting up a false bank account, but was found out by a colleague who covered for her when she went on holiday.

The family-owned Parker Severn went into administration in October, though this had little to do with Wood's theft.

The 25-year-old firm had a turnover of ВЈ2.5m at the time the administrators were called in.


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Laid-off pipefitters consider legal action against Fabricom Suez

A group of 37 pipefitters are threatening to launch employment tribunal claims against M&E specialist Fabricom Suez after they were laid off last week.

The men were given their cards on a ВЈ180m power plant near Slough being built by Japanese contractor Takuma.

The workers claimed they had not been adequately consulted by Fabricom before being shown the door.

One said: "This came completely out of the blue. Most of us affected have been working here for at least six months and there is still plenty of work to do.

"We're not going to stand for this and will be taking them to a tribunal."

Fabricom's Human Resources department declined to comment. A site source for the firm said: "There has been plenty of consultation over this and we have gone through the right procedures.

"Labour needs change all the time on a big job like this."

The redundant workers are now consulting with union leaders at Unite and the GMB.

One said: "Most of the people shown the door were union members and won't take this lying down."

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'Kosovan Mafia' claims discrimination by FM Conway

Six Kosovan pavers are claiming racial and trade union discrimination by their former employer FM Conway at the Central Employment Tribunal in Holborn, London.

The men, now unemployed, had worked on an Islington Council utilities contract for six years, but claim that Dartford-based FM Conway started victimising them after taking over the contract in January 2008.

The Kosovans claim that FM Conway wanted them to work 'self-employed' on piecework when they wished to remain PAYE employees. They were dismissed in June 2008 on what they claim were 'trumped-up' charges that they were blackmailing the company with the intention of extorting money.

The men also claim that they were called 'Kosovan Mafia'.

The tribunal will take place on 3 and 4 December.

Analysts debate wisdom of GM-Chrysler merger

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Try Construction suing in-administration firm for £1.1m

A subcontractor that went into administration following the bungled installation of a curtain walling system in Watford is being sued for ВЈ1.1m.

Contano (Aluminium) is being pursued in the High Court by Try Construction over mistakes it allegedly made on a six-storey office block in Watford.

Try claims the office block sprung a leak because of defects in the curtain walling system installed and designed by Contano.

In a writ filed at the Technology and Construction Court, Try claims Contano installed a modified Hueck Mullion system that started leaking in May 2002 - months after its installation.

It alleges Contano identified defects in the curtain wall system as the cause of the leaks but was unable to decide on a repair route, despite 10 months of discussions.


Try Construction suing in-administration firm for £1.1m


After the firm went into administration on 27 August 2003, Try was forced to appoint Structura to redesign and install a new curtain walling system.

Try is seeking ВЈ1,020,319.12 for costs including subcontractor fees and glass breakages. It is also seeking ВЈ174,431.07 in interest.

Aloft will add two hotels

Knight Build sue Urvasco in latest Strand hotel dispute

Legal woes continue for the developer of an 11-storey hotel on the site of the BBC’s first radio broadcast, with a plant and materials supplier filing a lawsuit.

Knight Build is suing Urvasco for enforcement of an adjudicator’s decision over work it did on the former Marconi Hotel on London’s Strand, which has been demolished to make way for a five-star Silken hotel.

The project has been dogged by problems, with O’Keefe (Greenwich) filing a suit against main contractor Cantillon and Cantillon filing a counter-claim.

In the latest dispute, Knight Build is seeking ВЈ320,110.08 plus interest from Urvasco as ordered by an adjudicator in September this year.

The adjudicator was called in by Knight Build after the firm failed to receive various staged payments for its ВЈ6.2m contract to supply plant and materials for concrete works.

Aloft will add two hotels

HMRC has collected just 8% of CIS fines

The Revenue has only collected ВЈ5.5m of the ВЈ180m in tax fines dished out to contractors under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).

Figures obtained from HM Revenue & Customs by CJ last week show that only a tiny proportion of penalties have been paid.

Revenue chiefs have also conceded that more than ВЈ100m in fines has been written off following successful appeals or companies and individuals leaving the industry.

That leaves ВЈ67m of fines still to chase from contractors. But industry experts are sceptical whether HMRC has the resources to go after people.

Howard Royse, the construction industry head for the Chartered Institute of Accountants, said: “This £67m figure could hang like a Sword of Damacles over the industry if the Revenue decides to go all out in the next few months to collect in as many fines as it can get. But I’m not sure if it really has the resources to do that.”


HMRC has collected just 8% of CIS fines


Companies are fined ВЈ100 for each late return under CIS and extra fines for each subsequent late or incorrect filing.

An HMRC spokesman said: “The £180m is the total amount of penalties issued. A large proportion of these have been remitted by HMRC because either the businesses in question have ceased to trade without informing us or there have been successful appeals.

“At present, around £67m remains in charge, but that figure might be reduced by further appeals and £5.5m has been collected so far. As with all HMRC work, recovery action is prioritised and outstanding penalties will be prioritised accordingly.”

Tax exemption costs Tennessee $45 million
Ringtone royalty rate gets big boost

Saturday, November 22, 2008

PRIDE Honors Four Industry Builders

On Aug. 13, four area leaders will be honored by PRIDE for their teamwork-building efforts to advance St. Louis as the best place to build at an awards luncheon.

The honorees are:

PRIDE Honors Four Industry Builders

Mark S. Wrighton, chancellor, Washington University. While not a developer, few over the last decade have had a larger impact on the St. Louis construction industry. Wrighton will be honored with the PRIDE Industry Impact Award for expanding Washington University’s legacy of excellence that in the 13 years of his tenure has led to the commissioning of 30 new buildings. He has also encouraged significant minority participation in building projects. Further, Wrighton has advanced the university’s tradition of educating architects, engineers and construction managers through improvements to the Sam Fox Arts School of Design and Visual Arts, the John M. Olin School of Business and the soon-to-expand school of engineering.

Robert P. Elsperman, P.E., chairman, Tarlton Corp. A fixture in the St. Louis construction industry for more than 55 years, Elsperman brought a construction entrepreneurs’ perspective to the PRIDE board when he served as management co-chair from 1998 to 2003. Elsperman, who continues to attend PRIDE board meetings, has been affiliated with the organization for nearly 30 years. Elsperman will be receiving the Al Fleischer Management Award named for the late Alfred J. Fleischer, who helped co-found PRIDE and was its first management co-chair.

Rick Schaefer, director of department planning and capital projects, Malinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University School of Medicine. As PRIDE owner co-chair from 2004 to 2007, Schaefer fostered greater two-way communications between union construction industry stakeholders and the buyers of their services. Prior to being named co-chair, Schaefer served on a number of committees to help advance construction industry proficiency in the region. Schaefer will be honored with the Joe Rinke Owner Award. The award is named for Joseph W. Rinke, PRIDE’s first owner co-chair.

William Bernard, president emeritus, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers. A native St. Louisan, Bernard rose from the rank of apprentice in Asbestos Workers Local 1 in 1950 to become a national and international ambassador for the tenets of PRIDE. He led the historic negotiations that unified the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union, which set a national and international precedent on cooperation between unions. Bernard will be honored with the Dick Mantia Labor Award. The award is named for Dick Mantia, who co-founded PRIDE and remains board member emeritus of the organization.

“These are stalwarts of our industry,” said Jim LaMantia, executive director of PRIDE. “Each has embraced and furthered the principles of cooperation to build a better future for the St. Louis area and its union construction industry.”

The award recipients will be honored at luncheon at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand & Suites Hotel in downtown St. Louis.

PRIDE, founded in 1972, is an acronym for Productivity and Responsibility Increase Development & Employment. For more than 35 years, PRIDE has worked to maintain harmony and build cooperation among St. Louis area AFL-CIO construction craft workers, contractors, construction buyers, architects, engineers and suppliers.

Mark Bright named CEO of Word Entertainment

Friday, November 21, 2008

Asbestos victory safeguards compensation for workers

Thousands of asbestos victims had compensation payments safeguarded today after the High Court ruled against insurance companies trying to dodge out of their liabilities.

The Unite union led a successful defence on behalf of the family of a former steel erector against a legal challenge by insurance companies which could have deprived mesothelioma sufferers and their families of compensation.

The High Court ruled that Employers' Liability insurers remain liable to pay compensation for mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos in the work place if they insured the employer at the time the asbestos exposure occurred.

The decision comes after a nine-week court battle throughout June and July.


Asbestos victory safeguards compensation for workers


Unite joint general secretary, Derek Simpson said: "This is a hugely important victory for the victims of the deadly dust and for their families. Having to suffer or watch your relatives suffer from a slow and painful death is horrific.

“Thousands of men and women across the UK have been negligently exposed to asbestos by their employers but insurers have tried and failed to use legal technicalities to escape their responsibility to pay compensation under the policies they sold to employers."

A number of insurers argued the policies they sold, to insure employers against liability for workers who were injured or suffered illness due to work, were "triggered" by the development of the disease rather than by the exposure to asbestos. 

Often the time lapse between exposure to asbestos and the development of mesothelioma can be 40 years or more.

If the insurance companies' defence had been successful it could have deprived thousands of asbestos victims and their families of their right to compensation.

The successful conclusion to the test case means the family of mesothelioma victim and Unite member Charles Michael O'Farrell will be a step closer to receiving ВЈ152,000 in compensation from his former employer's insurers Excess Insurance Company Limited.

Charles O'Farrell was a retired member of Unite who died in 2003. He was exposed to asbestos while working as a steel erector for Humphreys & Glasgow Limited from 1964 to 1967. The company ceased trading in1986 and is currently in liquidation.

Excess had refused to pay the damages citing the "trigger issue" defence as their reason. If the High Court had found in favour of the insurer the O'Farrell family would not receive any compensation.

His daughter, Maureen Edwards said: "My dad died a painful death from mesothelioma and watching him suffer was agonising for all of us. Excess Insurance poured salt into the wound by forcing us to fight them in court to receive compensation which we had already been awarded but they refused to pay.

"My dad would have been proud today that, with the backing of his union, we have finally achieved justice for him. But he would have been disgusted by the lengths the insurers went to get out of paying.”

Picketers doubt Vought can keep up
Rise in insurance costs dwarfs wage increases in Tenn.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Continental Cement Selects Wilson for Downtown Cement Facility

S. M. Wilson & Co. was selected by Continental Cement Company, LLC to build a new $15 million barge unloading facility and dome storage facility at the company's terminal in downtown St. Louis.

Continental Cement Selects Wilson for Downtown Cement Facility

Construction will be completed in two phases. Phase I will involve the construction of a 40,000 ton cement storage dome with an adjoined cement transportation center. In addition, a 1000 square foot building also will be built to house equipment. Phase II of the project will include the construction of the new barge unloading facility on the Mississippi River. A utility bridge will be constructed to connect the new unloading facility to the storage dome.

Construction for Phase I is scheduled for completion in late 2008, while Phase II is targeted for completion in May 2009.

EDG Consulting Engineers, based in Columbus, Ohio, is the engineering firm for the project.

$10M retail expansion cleared for Mt. Juliet

Randy Burketet Lighting Celebrates 20 Years

Randy Burkett Lighting Design, Inc. is celebrating 20 years of professional practice. The Saint Louis based architectural lighting design firm was founded in 1988 by Randy Burkett, FIALD, IES, LC. Their lighting work has been honored numerous times with design awards for projects throughout the United States and abroad for distinction, design excellence and technical achievement.

Randy Burketet Lighting Celebrates 20 Years

Local past and current projects include: The Gateway Arch; Lumiere Place and Four Seasons Hotel including the River City Casino Hotel; Renaissance Grand Hotel; Old Post Office and CustomHouse; St. Louis Science Center; and The Penguin and Puffin Coast at the St. Louis Zoo.

National and worldwide projects include: The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC; 111 West Illinois Building in Chicago; Utah State Capitol historic renovation in Salt Lake City;St. Anthony's Falls Bridge I-35 Replacement, Minneapolis; Goethels Bridge Replacement, New York, NY; Zhe Jiang Fortune Finance Center in Hangzhou, China; Sea World Shark Encounter of Florida in Orlando, FL; Orange County Convention/Civic Center in Orange County, FL; and The American Queen Steamboat.

Lighting Design offers a complete range of services from initial conceptual development through final construction administration. The team's professional experience includes: skills in complete design formulation and development, equipment layout and specification, architectural detailing, custom luminaire design, solar and lighting energy analysis. The firm specializes in both interior and exterior project types including: corporate, retail, shopping malls, museum/exhibit, conferencing facilities, hotels, restaurants, religious structures, themed environments, monuments, and bridges.

Aloft will add two hotels
Leviton to open Lebanon center

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

AGC of St. Louis and KC Heavy Constructors Join Road/Transportation Advocacy Group

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), announced Aug.18 that the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of St. Louis and Heavy Constructors Association (HCA) of Greater Kansas City have become its latest state affiliates.

"AGC of St. Louis and HCA join a growing team of state contractor associations that have chosen to affiliate with ARTBA and work in partnership with us to boost the federal government's investment in transportation," ARTBA President & CEO Pete Ruane said. "Our new chapters and members in Missouri will strengthen our grassroots team as we advocate for a renewed vision and mission for America's federal highway and transit programs."

Ruane noted Missouri is home to key congressional and state transportation leaders, and said the Missouri chapters will play a critical role in helping educate these policymakers about the revenue shortfall facing the Highway Trust Fund this year (Missouri can expect a 34 percent cut in its federal highway/bridge funding October 1, unless Congress acts), and about the state's overwhelming investment needs as Congress considers the next
multi-year highway/transit investment bill, scheduled for 2009 action.

Heavy and highway construction contractors in both chapters will be enrolled as ARTBA members. The two associations will be ARTBA's exclusive Missouri affiliates. AGC of St. Louis members include general contractors engaged in commercial, government, institutional and specialty construction in that region of the state. HCA includes contractors, suppliers and affiliates with an emphasis on heavy construction in the bi-state (Missouri and Kansas) Kansas City area.

AGC of St. Louis and HCA join 33 other ARTBA chapters from around the country. ARTBA's unique "federation" membership structure includes more than 5,000 private and public sector members in the transportation design and construction industry.

"ARTBA has a bold vision for the future of the nation's surface transportation network. Next year's federal transportation bill will be critical to St. Louis and Missouri, so we're pleased to join ARTBA's efforts," said Len Toenjes, AGC of St. Louis president. "Our goal is to be the leading voice on behalf of the construction community in St. Louis, to solve problem and find solutions that will make St. Louis a safer more productive community," added Toenjes.

HCA's Executive Director Ed DeSoignie added, "Our partnership with ARTBA gives our members another strong voice in the Nation's Capitol. ARTBA's success will help us protect our area's federal transportation funding and make the case for more investment to meet the Kansas City area's transportation infrastructure needs."


Credit trickle slows construction

Frieze Harley Takes LEED Gold

Frieze Harley-Davidson in O'Fallon, IL, a winner in this year's CNR Regional Excellence Awards, was recently notified by the U.S. Green Building Council that the company's new building has been awarded LEED Go

Frieze Harley Takes LEED Gold

ld certification. The certification makes the dealership the first LEED Certified Harley-Davidson dealership in the country.

"I am very excited to be the first Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealer to construct a LEED Certified building," stated Jenny Frieze, owner and general manager of Frieze Harley-Davidson. "I hope other business owners and Harley-Davidson dealers will be encouraged to take similar steps when constructing new facilities. I am very proud to have the opportunity to contribute to a program that will have a positive impact on preserving our environment."

Karasek Architects were the designers of the new eco-friendly building. Trumpet Builders was the project's general contractor. Vertegy Consultants was the sustainability consultant.

Frieze Harley Takes LEED Gold

The 33,000 square foot Frieze showroom and maintenance shop is partially powered by a wind turbine. It was constructed with insulated concrete forms (ICFS), an energy-efficient structural wall system providing an insulation R-value of 40.

The building's environmentally-friendly aspects include rapidly renewable bamboo wood flooring, specialty coatings in the display area, and a combination of lighting means. Natural light that is emitted through the northwest showroom windows and more than 40 solatubes ia supplemented by the computer-controlled light system, which provides an energy savings mode for all of the artificial light fixtures. Another energy saving feature is the maintenance shop's radiant floor system, which is heated from burned waste oil.

The building is sited within naturally landscaped grounds, using native grasses, plants, and drought-tolerant shrubs and trees. The natural look, in lieu of a manicured lawn, limits maintenance and water use on the grounds.

Amsino will add 100 jobs to Nashville work force

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

CB Richard Ellis Lease and Sale Transactions

CB Richard Ellis, Inc. announced the following lease and sale transactions:

Jerry Gidlow, SIOR, represented Thompson Price Kitchen, Bath and Home LLC in leasing 5,000 square feet of retail space at 12101 Manchester
Road, West St. Louis County, from DDR Realty Company, represented by Tim Cherre of Sansone Group.

CB Richard Ellis Lease and Sale Transactions

Marc Cacciarelli, SIOR, represented DJS Enterprises, Inc., in the sale of a 13,580-square-foot industrial building on 1.14 acres at 13539
Northwest Industrial Drive, North St. Louis County, to Dolph Properties, Inc., represented by Dan Johnson of Hilliker Corp.

Don Weis represented Brubaker & Associates, Inc. in leasing 12,145 square feet of office space at 16690 Swingley Ridge Road, Chesterfield,
from Dierbergs Office, Inc.

Richard Robinson represented TD Ameritrade, Inc., in leasing 3,203 square feet of retail space at 1628 Clarkson Road, Chesterfield, from
Chesterfield Oaks, LLC, represented by Capitol Realty.

Jeff Kaiser and Matt Aljets represented Hertz St. Louis One, LLC, in leasing 2,099 square feet of office space in the Laclede Gas Building,
720 Olive St., to Welk Resort Group, Inc., represented by Andrew Bagy of Grubb & Ellis|Gundaker Commercial.

Mark Hinchey represented Carelinc Options, LLC, in a 6,850- square-foot office lease renewal at 2127 Innerbelt Business Center Drive with the
lessor, Innerbelt Business Center, LLC.

Marc Cacciarelli, SIOR, represented Targee Westport, LLC, in the sale of two industrial buildings totaling 23,516 square feet at 2225 and
2253 Administration Drive, West St. Louis County, to South Tacoma Way, LLC, represented by Matt Hiatt .

Mark Hinchey represented Cabrera Services, Inc., in leasing 2,454 square feet of office space at 12747 Olive Blvd., West St. Louis County,
from BSP Golub Creve Coeur, LLC, represented by Tom Ray and Ann Dulle of CB Richard Ellis.

Mark Palmer and Jeff Kaiser represented John Hancock Life Insurance Company in leasing 3,315 square feet of office space at 16141
Swingley Ridge Road, West St. Louis County, from Emerald I, LLC, represented by Lynn Richter of Coldwell Banker Commercial CRA LLC.

Ann Dulle represented BMJ Partners, a Florida General Partnership in a 3,900-square-foot retail lease renewal at 4600 Chippewa St.,
with the lessee, ProRehab, PC.

Mark Palmer represented Mattson Jack Group, Inc., in a 15,540-square-foot office lease renewal at 11960 Westline Industrial Drive,
Maryland Heights, with the lessor, CUNA Mutual Life Insurance Co.

Don Woehle, SIOR, represented So Properties in leasing 2,918 square feet of office space at 612 N. 2nd St., to Kastner & Partners.
Mark Palmer and Ted Green represented Softchoice Corporation in leasing 10,822 square feet of office space in CityPlace Four,
Creve Coeur, from Cornerstone Opportunity Ventures, represented by Koman Group, LLC.

Don Woehle, SIOR, represented Downtown St. Louis Partnership in leasing 9,843 square feet of office space in the Laclede Gas
Building, 720 Olive St., from Hertz St. Louis One, LLC.

Tom Ray and Jeff Kaiser represented Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., in a 5,162-square-foot office lease renewal at 9666 Olive Blvd., Olivette, with
the lessee, Brown & Brown, Inc.

Mark Palmer and Jeff Kaiser represented Green, Cordonnier & House, LLP, in a 4,362-square-foot office lease renewal at 8000 Maryland Ave.
with the lessor, 8000 Maryland Avenue, LLC.

Retail building binge can’t last
$10M retail expansion cleared for Mt. Juliet

Declare Your Independence From Chaos

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Chief Cheetah, Cheetah Learning

It's easy to get caught up in the speed of our hectic lifestyles both at home and at work. If you're finding that stress and chaos is becoming the norm, it's time to transform the storm into calm.
Here are a few tips that I use to manage my stress and keep projects flowing in all aspects of my life.

1) Identify where the stress is coming from.
If you find yourself regularly saying, "I'm stressed," but not doing anything to change your environment or behavior, you may be running at full speed without thinking about where the stress is coming from. For example, are you saying, "yes" to everything and overloading your calendar? Are you working long hours without a break and feeling cheated because there is no personal time? Are you part of the sandwich generation caring for both your own children and your parents at the same time? Before you develop a plan, you need to pinpoint your key stressors.

2) Build a support team.
Many times, we get stressed because we've taken everything onto our own shoulders without asking for help and tapping into our support network. If you think of stress management as a project, your support team is the team helping you manage this project. When you look at the areas where you've identified your stress as coming from, this will help you pinpoint who are the people you need on your support team. They are probably already there for you, but you're not asking them for help. If your biggest stress is coming from work, think of a colleague, mentor or advocate who can talk you through it and help you come up with new strategies for approaching the challenge.

3) Catch your ZZZZ's.
While getting very little sleep may have been a badge of honor in college (or even in some companies), don't buy into this myth. Sleep deprivation reduces your concentration and overall effectiveness. It's difficult to come up with a sound solution or keep your cool on three hours of sleep. Try to go to sleep at the same time every night as much as possible. Let your brain cool down before you go to bed and separate from challenging work a few hours before you go to sleep. Also cut back on caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and sugar, which affect some people's sleeping patterns.

4) Find joy in exercise.
If you hate the gym, you're never going to go there. So, knowing that exercise is one of the great stress-busters, you need to find joy in exercise for yourself. Maybe it's as simple as taking a walk down a favorite street or road. You may get the yoga itch and fall in love with those stretches and poses. Whatever works for you, give your brain a boost, and take a break from both the computer and whatever is weighing heavily on your mind with a frequent exercise break that becomes a routine you cherish.

5) De-stress your environment.
Do you have the right balance of quiet time for concentration and interaction with key team-members or family members? Make sure your furniture (especially at work) is designed to support you and properly adjusted. Are you working in the right light, so you are not straining your eyes? Look at your environment and see what relaxes and comforts you and what causes you additional stress.

6) Break for relaxation.
You know that person that you admire because s/he is always at ease and seems like a Zen master? If you ask that person, how s/he does it, you'll usually unearth a couple of golden nuggets tucked away. I've always used deep-breathing techniques to relax me - especially when I'm getting ready for an important meeting. Meditation and imagery work well too. It's amazing how just five minutes of closing your eyes and going to your favorite beach or location will completely take you away and bring you back refreshed. In our classes, we incorporate breathing techniques, yoga stretches and relaxing music. Our students always tell us what a difference this made for them as they were studying and preparing for the PMP exam.

7) Make Fun a Part of your Life.
What is really fun for you, and more importantly, when was the last time you had fun? If fun is relegated to a handful of times a year, you need to make a commitment to enjoying yourself more and making that part of your Stress Management Plan.

8) Design your Stress-Less Management Plan.
Use the seven tips above to develop your Stress-Less Management Plan. These tips will help you get your ideas formulated and pinpoint what you need to work on to lower your stress level, increase your relaxation time and most importantly - have more fun with the people you love.
Now, put your computer to sleep for five minutes and visualize yourself in your favorite spot drinking a bottle of water and smiling. May your visions bring you peace, prosperity and the ability to create a stress-free space no matter where you are!

Michelle LaBrosse is the founder and Chief Cheetah of Cheetah Learning and author of Cheetah Negotiations and Cheetah Project Management.

Sumner Regional Medical Center plans 90 layoffs
Voting time isn’t too costly for employers

Redrow to appeal over holiday pay ruling

Redrow Homes is vowing to fight on with a legal battle to establish that operatives engaged under its standard form of contract as self- employed labour-only subcontractors are not entitled to holiday pay.

The company is going to the Court of Appeal to try and overturn a recent decision by the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

The tribunal said two Redrow bricklayers were due holiday pay because they were “workers” within the terms of the regulations.

Ucatt is representing the two men. General secretary Alan Ritchie said: “Major housebuilders need to accept that they have to pay holiday money to workers just like any other company.

“House builders are pleading for support from the government due to the economic downturn. However, at the same time, many house builders are determined to further casualise their workforces, denying workers the most basic employment rights.

“It is unacceptable that house builders on the one hand seek government assistance and on the other try to further exploit their workforce.”

Some Spring Hill GM workers face year-end layoffs

Rogue security guards raided in Glasgow

Rogue security guards have been discovered during raids on Glasgow construction sites, including the site of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

As part of a crackdown on security firms with links to organised crime, police raided 111 security sites in Glasgow including the Games site in recent weeks.

Almost 40 guards were reported to police for security offences and 8 busted for immigration offences.

Police stressed no arrests were made on the Games site.

In the past 12 months the Security Industry Authority (SIA) has launched a tough attack on rogue security firms, after it emerged the firms were demanding contractors on construction sites hire their services “or else”.

Strathclyde police’s detective inspector Andy Lawson said the raids had disrupted some serious crime networks operating in Glasgow.


Rogue security guards raided in Glasgow


“Over the past few weeks we have targeted and disrupted the activities of a number of organised and serious crime networks,” he said.

“Working together with our partner agencies and sharing intelligence yields results and we will continue to work together and maintain the focus on these serious and organised criminals, disrupting and detecting their illegal activities.”

SIA investigation boss Christy Hopkins said the regular raids were essential to allowing construction work in Glasgow to prosper.

“There is a wealth of regeneration in Strathclyde with the 2014 Commonwealth Games, so it is imperative that security companies and their employees are trained, vetted and SIA licensed,” he said.

Ex-CCA chief executive sued by old business partner
Credit trickle slows construction

Hancock Elementary Undergoing $6 million Renovation

Demolition is nearly complete and construction has begun on the renovation of the Hancock Place Elementary campus, located at 9101 S. Broadway in Lemay.

The building that dates back to the 1970s is being remodeled and updated thanks to the patrons of the school district. Thisproject is the first phase of the $9 million dollar bond issue that was passed by the voters of Lemay on April 8, 2008.

Hancock Elementary Undergoing $6 million Renovation

The architectural firm of Wm. B. Ittner was responsible for the design of the elementary renovation and the C. Rallo Construction Co is
serving as the construction manager of the project. Upon completion the elementary school will be retrofitted with a new library, two new computer
labs, renovated classrooms and office space. In addition the heating and cooling systems, lighting, fire protection and security systems will be
upgraded. This is an extensive improvement to an aged building that serves more than 800 students and a staff of nearly 100 who will return at the
start of the school year on Sept. 2.

The project began when school was dismissed in late May and is well underway. "At this point everything is going as scheduled and we are pleased with the progress. The building will have a brand new look inside and will provide substantial improvements to the students learning environment," said Dr. Greg Clark, Superintendent. "It is going to be a busy summer but we are excited about the educational benefits the project will provide."

Credit trickle slows construction

Coldwell Banker Announces Transactions

Coldwell Banker Commercial CRA LLC has announced the following new transactions:

Noel Fehr, CCIM, of Coldwell Banker Commercial represented Lewis & Clark Village Inc. in the purchase of a 5,319-square-foot retail building at 14784 Manchester Road, Ballwin, MO 63011, from Manco of St. Louis LLC d/b/a Manco LLC.

Carl Conceller, SIOR, and Jackie Quicksilver of Coldwell Banker Commercial represented Geraldine Deutsch Living Trust in the lease of 2,360 square feet of retail space at Willowbrook Shopping Center, 10483 Old Olive Street Road, Creve Coeur, MO 63141, to J. William Bradley d/b/a School Music USA, represented by Will Aschinger of Hilliker Corp.

Coldwell Banker Commercial represented FJP Enterprises LLC in the lease of 1,545 square feet of office space at Woodcrest Executive, 12101 Woodcrest Executive Drive, St. Louis, MO 63141, from BSP Golub Creve Coeur LLC, represented by CB Richard Ellis.

G. Timothy L

Coldwell Banker Announces Transactions

awlor of Coldwell Banker Commercial represented 39 Worthington Limited Partnership in the lease of 970 square feet of office space at 39 Worthington Access Drive, St. Louis, MO 63043, to Anton Realty Group LLC.

Carl Concellor, SIOR, and Jackie Quicksilver of Coldwell Banker Commercial represented Geraldine Deutsch Living Trust in the expansion of MEI Services Inc. d/b/a Pharma Life’s lease for 1,543 square feet of retail space at Willowbrook Shopping Center, 10479 and 10483 Old Olive Street Road, Creve Coeur, MO 63141.

Jaimie Lance of Coldwell Banker Commercial represented Worthington Associates LP in the renewal of Dominion Enterprises f/k/a Trader Publishing Co.’s lease for 2,938 square feet of industrial space at Security Plaza Building, 3-A/5 Worthington Access Drive, Maryland Heights, MO 63043.

------ End of Forwarded Message

$10M retail expansion cleared for Mt. Juliet

Construction redundancies Q&A

Job losses and redundancies have sadly become a regular feature of the construction industry this year. But what are the obligations of employers when they want to make staff redundant? Here, Matthew Whelan spells out the requirement to collectively consult when making staff redundant under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

Q. When does the obligation arise?

A. Employers must consult when they propose to make 20 or more employees redundant at one establishment within a period of 90 days or less.

There are a number of components to consider. For example, a 'proposal' arises before a decision is made (as otherwise the consultation would be worthless).

Consider which employees to count. Volunteers for redundancy must be included in the calculation.


Construction redundancies Q&A


The concept of an 'establishment' does not necessarily mean employees who are based at a particular site. It is important to remember that the term 'dismiss as redundant' has a wide meaning and covers changes to terms and conditions through dismissal and re-engagement.

Q. Who must the employer consult?

A. The employer must consult all 'appropriate representatives' of any 'affected employees'.

'Affected employees' are those 'affected by the proposed dismissals or may be affected by measures taken in connection with those dismissals' - a wider meaning than those who may be considered for dismissal. It can cover those affected by any reorganisation arising out of the redundancies.

'Appropriate representatives' will be either representatives of a recognised trade union, representatives directly elected for the purpose or appropriate existing elected representatives. There is a specific method for electing representatives.

Q. What does consultation involve?

A. The Act contains a list of information which needs to be provided prior to consultation commencing.

Consultation must include ways of avoiding the dismissals, reducing the number of employees to be dismissed and mitigating the consequences of the dismissal. Consultation needs to be undertaken with a view to reaching agreement.

It must take place 'in good time', meaning the length will depend on the circumstances. There are minimum 'protected periods' of 90 days when 100 or more redundancies are proposed and, if fewer employees are involved, 30 days.

Best practice would be for the protected period to have elapsed before notice is given to any employees.

The employer must also notify the government using an HR1 redundancy form.

Q. Is it necessary to consult over the business reasons for the redundancies?

A. Until recently the answer would have been no.

The case of UK Coal Mining Limited v National Union of Mineworkers, however, decided that, as part of the obligation to consult over ways in which the redundancies can be avoided, an employer is required to consult over the business reason for the redundancies.

Although this does not mean that representatives can veto proposals, it is a significant decision and may make consultation more onerous for employers.

Q. What happens if an employer does not comply with the duty?

A. The maximum award available is 90 days' uncapped pay per employee.

The cost of non-compliance can therefore be high. A recent case confirmed that in the absence of consultation the starting point should be the maximum award of 90 days' pay and this should only be reduced if an employer can establish that there were special circumstances/mitigating factors. The level of the award relates to the seriousness of the employer's default, not the employees' loss.

The potentially high cost of not complying with this duty was highlighted in a decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal in which employees who were not represented by the trade union who successfully brought the action were allowed later to become parties to the proceedings to participate in a challenge to the decision and potentially to benefit from a judgment against the employer.

This means you cannot assume if a trade union brings an action that it is only the members of the union who can benefit from a successful outcome. Others could come forward to rely on the decision to claim their money.

Q. Does it matter that the employer is in, or about to enter, a form of insolvency?

A. In theory, no, in that the duty still applies, although it may have a bearing on the extent of the duty and an employee's recourse.

This could well become a common scenario in the current worsening climate. The application of the law in this area is complex. For example, a High Court case held that the recourse available to employees for a protective awards for failure to consult after the onset of insolvency is limited and the only remedy will be against the secretary of state. This decision is however subject to appeal.

Q. Is it possible to make a payment to employees in return for a waiver of their right to be consulted?

A. A complaint in relation to a failure to consult can only be settled through arbitration service Acas, not by way of a statutory compromise agreement.

For this reason, it is unusual for employers to use a compromise agreement solely to settle a claim for failure to consult.

It is more common for a compromise agreement to be used to settle other claims and incorporate a right of set-off, along with an acknowledgment that the settlement sum is payable in respect of this obligation in the hope an employee will then not pursue any such claim.

Q. Does collective consultation obviate the need for individual consultation?

A. If there is a duty to collectively consult, regardless of whether or not that duty has been complied with, the standard dismissal and disciplinary procedure will not apply. This does not, however, mean that an employer does not have to engage in individual consultation to ensure the dismissal is fair.

Matthew Whelan is a solicitor with Speechly Bircham

This article originally appeared on

Dana to cut jobs, close plants
Voting time isn’t too costly for employers

Monday, November 17, 2008

How to cope with being made redundant

You may be one of the unlucky 70,000 who has lost their job in the construction industry this year. So how do you copy with redundancy? Marielena Sabatier offers some pointers about getting your career moving again.

Most people are frightened by change, particularly if it is thrust upon them. Many of us get stuck in a job - driven by our need for security or fear of the unknown - and sometimes we need an external agent of change to create the life we want.

Look at this change as a good opportunity to take stock of where you are in your life, and where you want to go. This is a chance for you to get the job of your dreams. But to do that, you have to know what you want to do.

Most people know what they don't want. For example, they don't want to worry about money, or they don't want to be alone. But the important questions are: what do you want, and why is this important to you? Looking at what we want and desire, instead of what we don't want, helps us to refocus. Sometimes we are so entrenched in our day-to-day lives that we don't stop to notice that we would rather be doing something else.


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It may be helpful to start with the present. Identify your strengths and your relevant experience. What did you enjoy most in each of the jobs you have had so far? What was it about the role that motivated you? It's important to understand what makes you tick.

Next, identify what you think you'd like to do next. What would be your ideal job? This is a big question for most of us and we limit our creativity and potential by being 'realistic'. But often, we're not actually being realistic we are limiting ourselves with our own beliefs. So the question I'd like you to ask yourself is: 'What would I do if I knew I could not fail?'

Focus on what makes you happy at work and what is important to you in your career. Some typical examples of career values are: challenge, making a difference, reward, recognition, autonomy, security and working with people. We are all individuals and very different. The important thing is to identify what is important to you.

Having a clear idea about what you want to do with your life will make your job hunt that much easier.

Once you understand where you are and where you want to go, create an action plan that will help you bridge the gap. You could consider using a career coach, who would be able to help you take stock, re-evaluate your options and get motivated to create the change you want in your life.

Marielena Sabatier is executive coach and co-founder of Inspiring Potential

This article originally appeared on 

Beware of office gossip, but use the grapevine wisely

Manchester council agrees £1.7m B of the Bang settlement

Manchester City Council has been paid ВЈ1.7m in an out of court settlement over the troubled B of the Bang sculpture.

Designers Thomas Heatherwick Studio and subcontractors Packman Lucas, Flint and Neill Partnership and Westbury Structures were due to appear before the High Court next week to answer allegations of negligence.

The council accused the firms of breach of contract and was suing to recover at least ВЈ300,000 it spent fixing the ВЈ1.42m sculpture.

Built to commemorate the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the sculpture has been beset by problems and had nine of its distinctive steel spikes removed after one fell off in 2006.

As a result of the settlement, the court proceedings will no longer go ahead, reported Crain’s Manchester Business.


Manchester council agrees £1.7m B of the Bang settlement


Manchester council solicitor Susan Orrell said: “The settlement allows the council to recover substantial damages and avoid further cost and the risks that are always associated with legal proceedings.

“I am pleased we have reached a settlement that is, in my view, in the best interests of the council and now that this has been achieved, it means the council can move on and consider the options for the future of the structure in conjunction with the project’s funders.

“When this work is completed a report will go to the council’s executive in the new year.”

The defendents said it was a “matter of considerable regret” that the sculpture suffered the problems it did.

Tennessee says computer seller misled buyers

London mayor could sue over Heathrow expansion

London mayor Boris Johnson has threatened to take legal action if a third runway is approved for Heathrow.

Supported by a coalition of local authorities, he believes the expansion would breach European Union laws on pollution and has vowed to sue if there is a basis for legal action.

Litigation could delay plans to have the runway completed and operational by 2030.

Johnson has pledged ВЈ15,000 towards the cost of a legal challenge if lawyers give the go-ahead, reported the Sunday Times.

His spokesman said the business case for expansion did not outweigh “concerns for the local environment in terms of noise and air quality”.

Approval for the third runway is expected next month.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hanley and Eager Improvements Added to I-64

The Missouri Department of Transportation, Gateway Constructors and St. Louis County announcedmore improvements at the Hanley and Eager intersection as part of the I-64 reconstruction contract. St. Louis County will pay Gateway Constructors $4.6 million to complete the work with the I-64 contract keeping the original completion milestone for I-64 to open all lanes by Dec. 31, 2009. Construction will begin on the I-64/Hanley interchange and Hanley and Eager intersection when the west half of I-64 reopens in late 2008 or no later than Jan. 2, 2009.

"In order for us to complete the additional work and keep our schedule, Hanley Road over I-64 will be closed for up to eight months," said MoDOT District Engineer Ed Hassinger. "The keys to getting around will include the opening ofI-64 from I-170 west including Brentwood and the reopening of access from Eager to northbound I-170. All of these items will be complete before we close Hanley. We will also connect two lanes in each direction on Hanley directly to Eager Road so traffic can flow from Hanley to Eager to the I-170 ramps."

MoDOT's original design for the Hanley and Eager intersection would have restricted the traffic to just a right turn in and right turn out of Eager at Hanley. The additional improvements will enable traffic on Hanley and Eager to travel in either direction through the intersection, with reduced congestion.

"The Hanley and Eager intersection is notorious for terrible traffic and this project will provide a great improvement to the traffic flow when complete," said St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley. "Doing the work now reduces the disruptions to motorists if we had to do this work after I-64 was complete and costs less than half of what it could cost to do it later. The County will work with MoDOT to spread the word that Mid-County is still open for business and there are many ways to get around."

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Extreme Home Makeover Helps Shrewsbury Family

One hundred and six hours — a little less than four and a half days— that's how long that John Shea of Fenton, MO and Dave Dunlap of Webster Groves,
along with hundreds of other volunteers, will have to demolish one house,build a new one in its place, and landscape the yard.

The reason for the lightning fast build is ABC's "Extreme Makeover: HomeEdition," the Emmy-winning reality television show about building new homes
for deserving families.

Shea, known as "Mr. Fix It" on KTRS radio (AM 550) is president of CallierThompson Shea Construction and Design. Named Remodeler of the Year in 2007
by the Home Builders Association, the company had revenues last year ofabout $3.5 million.

Shea got involved in the project after the television show's producers began making the rounds of radio stations in St. Louis to promote the project and
publicized their search for a builder. Shea said someone at KTRS suggestedto Conrad Ricketts, the executive producer of "Extreme Makeover: Home
Edition" that he talk to Shea, and he did.

Extreme Home Makeover  Helps Shrewsbury Family

The St. Louisans chosen for ABC's "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" are Dawn and Emmanuel Martirez of Shrewsbury.

Dawn is a pediatric cancer nurse. They have a daughter, Elle, and twin boys, Evan and Alec. Evan has an extremely rare genetic condition called 9P minus, and Alec has another uncommon genetic disorder known as Crouzon Syndrome. Both twins suffer from skeletal abnormalities that require extensive corrective facial and cranial surgeries, with Evan having physical handicaps and mental retardation and Alec being profoundly hearing impaired."

Dawn Martirez had to give up her job to take care of the twins full time. A statement released by the television show said: "As the boys get older, the home's cramped narrow hallways, steep stairs, crumbling driveway and single, handicapped inaccessible bathroom are posing great problems for them and slowing their development. Now it is up to Ty (Pennington) and his designers to equip the Martirez's home to accommodate the twins' special needs."

Shea said he was excited about the project, but he knew he needed help - "a project of this magnitude and timeline is a challenge for any company," he
said - so he turned to his old friend Dave Dunlap of Consolidated Construction Group Inc. "Once Dave knew it was for charity, he was on
board," Shea said.

"Both companies have been blessed and believe strongly in giving back," said Dunlap. "We believe our project motto, 'People, Passion, Purpose,' really
exemplifies what this project is all about and encourages everyone to getinvolved. Every dollar, piece of material and hour donated to this project
will make a difference."

Consolidated Construction Group is a nationally recognized, award-winning design-build remodeling firm; ranked highest in homeowner satisfaction among
all remodelers nationwide, according to NRS Corp.'s National Homeowner Satisfaction Study; and a member of Remodeling magazine's Big 50 Hall of
Fame in 1990.

On August 26, Shea, Dunlap, and Ricketts met with more than 420 prospective volunteers from over 100 contracting companies to discuss how the four-day
build will work. "It was all by word of mouth," Shea said.

For more information on the build and to find out how you can volunteer, please visit or call 636-256-8906.

Money advice to be offered at annual expo

OSHA Proposes Per Employee Penalties for PPE and PPE Training Violations

The American Subcontractors Association reported that on Aug. 19 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed to "clarify" how it will apply penalties for violations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) rules.

In response to a case before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission that suggested that "minor variations in the wording of the provisions affect the Secretary's authority to cite and penalize separate violations," OSHA said that it "interprets its respirator and training provisions to impose a duty upon the employer to comply for each and every employee subject to the requirement regardless of whether the provision expressly states that respirators or training must be provided to ‘each employee.'"

OSHA's proposed change would make explicit in the 29 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 1910 through 1926 employers' duties to provide PPE, such as respirators, to each employee who performs covered tasks and to train them to use PPE properly. OSHA set a deadline of Sept. 18, 2008, for public comments or requests for hearings on this change, but ASA has asked for a 90-day extension to allow more feedback.

Prospect of firing key worker can paralyze entrepreneurs

Korte Expands Anderson Women’s Hospital

The Korte Company recently completed a $5.1 million expansion project for Anderson Hospital's Pavilion for Women in Maryville, IL. Anderson Hospital delivers more babies at this facility than any other hospital in Southern Illinois. In 2007, the Pavilion delivered nearly 1,800 babies, a 21 percent increase from deliveries in 2003. Because of the increasing number of patients, it was imperative to increase the size of the unit to meet the growing community's needs.

Korte Expands Anderson Women’s Hospital

Construction of the second story addition began in late 2006 and was completed in April of this year. The $5.1 million Design-Build project added approximately 19,000 square feet to the existing facility. The expansion, located above the current OB unit, includes 17 private mother/baby suites and a second nursery.

The first floor of the unit will now be used primarily for prenatal care, labor and delivery. The second floor will focus on mothers and newborns during their postpartum stay. A "lactation station" has also been added in this project offering patients an exclusive site for breastfeeding support, supplies and education.

Architect on the project was Jonesmayer, Inc.

According to Todd Korte, President and CEO of The Korte Company, "We are certainly proud to be a part of Anderson Hospital's expansion efforts. Our team delivered on time and on budget, and we're looking forward to doing it again very soon."

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