Construction Law Update: Adams Leclair Initiates Annual Rochester Conference

October 17, 2023

Highlighting new legislation out of Albany and the construction industry’s ever-evolving legal landscape, Adams Leclair LLP offered clients a Construction Law Update on October 11, 2023, at the Country Club of Rochester.  More than 40 industry representatives participated and listened as Adams Leclair partners delivered explanations on a range of topics including wage theft, risk management, and new employment and wage policies. 

The keynote speaker, Joe Hogan, Vice President of Building Services for Associated General Contractors NYS offered insights about recent legislation imposing new pre-registration requirements for contractors seeking public contracts. This legislation will require contractors to register with the New York State Department of Labor every two years, and to satisfy that department that they will abide by New York labor laws and regulations.  His inside knowledge of current discussions on other recent and developing legislation helped provide additional insight into key topics covered by Adams Leclair. Hogan emphasized NYS AGC’s commitment to keeping constituents informed as the pre-registration legislation takes shape and is implemented in 2025.

Adams Leclair partners, Dan Adams, Stacey Trien, Rich Bell, and Tony Adams shared valuable insights on several topics, specific to the construction industry:

Risk Management: Navigating the Wage Theft Law and Prompt Pay Act

Partner Dan Adams dove right into two key laws that resonate with construction companies: New York State’s Wage Theft Law and Prompt Pay Act. These pieces of legislation directly address the responsibilities of prime contractors and other project participants on job sites. Adams explained the intricacies that could impact construction companies and offered practical advice on dealing with the new requirements. Moreover, Adams explored how the Prompt Pay Act can be harnessed to safeguard the interests of contractors. “It’s obvious from the discussion that followed my presentation that this topic is a pressing concern and presents real-world challenges to those in the construction world,” said Adams.

MWBE Certification: Navigating Certification Denials and Renewals

For anyone navigating the vexing issues surrounding MWBE (Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise) certification, it is imperative to have a comprehensive understanding of the law.  Partner Richard Bell provided perspective on the recent trend of certification denials and delays related to renewals. Bell also provided much-needed guidance on the appeals process in such situations. This sparked a lively exchange among attendees on the various guidelines and their application across different projects. Joe Hogan also contributed useful information about the efforts made by AGC NYS to establish better data and guidelines for this process. 

Employment Law Updates: A Glimpse into the Shifting Landscape

The landscape continues to change for employers in New York State.  Partner Stacey Trien discussed new requirements that have contributed to a significant uptick in discrimination cases. Trien noted that cases have nearly doubled from 2021 to 2022 which she attributed to the ease of submitting claims and the subsequent lawsuits that have resulted.

“Changes in employment law have put construction companies on notice because more employees are filing discrimination lawsuits.  We want our clients to be prepared for what could be coming their way,” said Trien.

The topic of marijuana use on job sites and the absence of testing for impairment triggered a robust discussion. Once again, Joe Hogan was able to add an Albany-based perspective.  He assured the audience that testing solutions were on the horizon. Attendees left with not only a clearer understanding of the legal environment but also actionable advice on addressing these issues within the confines of the law.

Prevailing Wage Laws: Enforcement and Project Specifics

Partner Tony Adams rounded off the legal symposium by delving into the expanding arena of prevailing wage laws. He underscored the growing scope of prevailing wage coverage and the aggressive pursuit of enforcement by state and federal agencies. He also expounded on specific guidelines pertaining to alternative energy projects and those involving “public subsidies” of any kind.

“It’s very important that construction companies stay compliant and that owners understand the law. We are here to help,” assured Adams. 

As laws and regulations continue to evolve, staying informed and seeking expert legal counsel remains paramount for success in the construction sector. Adams Leclair plans to make this Construction Law Update an annual event to help equip builders and project developers with a legal arsenal to navigate the complexities of the industry. 

Recognized for their extensive expertise in Construction Law, Adams Leclair is uniquely suited to understand and advise clients in this industry.  Recently, Founding partner Anthony Adams, Jr. has been named Best Lawyers® 2024 Construction Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Rochester, NY. “Lawyer of the Year” honors are awarded annually to only one lawyer per practice area in each region based on feedback from their peers, making it a singular honor. Since 2008, this is the eighth time Adams has received a “Lawyer of the Year” distinction in either construction law or construction litigation.

This event featured discussions led by Adams Leclair partners:

Dan Adams

Dan Adams

Stacey Trien

Stacey Trien

Richard Bell

Richard Bell

Anthony Adams

Tony Adams

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