As I sit down to write my annual list of resolutions for contractors, I am amazed at how much things changed in 2020. Construction was going well and then, in March 2020, COVID-19 hit. At first, we thought it was going to be a disaster for the construction industry. States, cities and towns shut down projects and many applied for PPP loans. Then, something amazing happened. Construction was considered an essential service and everyone was back to work.  That said, the work world changed: companies were donating their PPE to frontline workers, COVID-19 protocols had to be followed and paperwork had to be filed. Everyone was scrambling to figure out how to comply and keep their businesses going. So, you may or may not ask, what was I, as a construction lawyer doing? I spent March and April thinking about the new risks contractors/construction companies were facing and developing contract clauses to protect the industry. I wrote a number of blog posts with clauses to add to your contra

Time for "Spring Cleaning" in Construction

When the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule came into effect, there was a flurry of activity as contractors became concerned about how it would affect their businesses.  They were facing the additional costs of certification and compliance and started thinking about lead poisoning in a way that they never had before.

There was always a group of contractors who thought that it was all smoke and that it was not worth the effort.  They never got trained or certified, and were/are able to underbid their competitors for renovation jobs.

As months passed, I heard the buzz of angry contractors who made the effort to do it right and follow the law.  Many felt that it was a joke.  Registration in certification classes waned. At the same time, the economy has improved, and contractors are getting back to business. They don't have as much time to learn the nuances of OSHA or deal with paperwork.

In the last two months, however, stories have started cropping up around the country about fines.  All of a sudden, contractors and construction companies are being visited by the EPA, OSHA and the Department of Labor to see if they are following the RRP Rule, OSHA safety practices and maintaining proper worker's compensation insurance.  The government may start fining businesses for the classification of employees as independent contractors. Compliance is becoming more important.

So, as you prepare for warmer weather, it is time to do some internal "spring cleaning."  Make sure that your insurance coverage is up to date and as comprehensive as it should be.  Follow the laws and maintain proper documentation.  Consider having your contracts reviewed to make sure they are in compliance with your states' laws and that they adequately protect you.  As they say, "better safe than sorry."

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