Although licensed home builders in Alabama are not required to maintain liability insurance, a new law requires them to disclose whether or not they have such insurance prior to the commencement of construction. The insurance disclosure must be signed by the home builder and the homeowner, as well as a witness selected by the homeowner. This will require home builders to modify their normal practice of engaging with homeowners for new work. Home builders may wish to build the insurance disclosure into their written contract for construction, as long as there is also a place for the homeowner’s witness to also sign. This new law is codified at Alabama Code Section 34-14A-19, and went into effect on June 1, 2018.  Failure to comply may lead to sanctions by the Home Builders Licensure Board.

In 2013, China announced its plan to fund and construct a global transportation and infrastructure network known as the Belt and Road Initiative (“BRI”). Since that time, BRI projects have helped China to become a rival to the United States and European Union on the geo-political scene. They have also allowed Chinese companies to close the gap with their western counterparts in the global construction, engineering, advanced manufacturing, and logistics sectors. Western companies and governments need to take notice or risk being left behind. (more…)

The Alabama Homebuilders Association of Alabama, Inc. (the Homebuilders) has sued the Alabama State Board for Registration of Architects (the Board) seeking to invalidate a regulation that requires an architect for the design of townhouses. Alabama’s code exempts from the practice of architecture the making of plans and specifications for the construction of “single-family residence buildings.” The Board’s regulations state that an architect is not required for design of a “detached single-family residence.” (more…)

Although the air may not be cool and crisp yet, it is August, and in the South, that means football season is just around the corner.  Perhaps it is “football brain” that drove our thoughts in presenting recommendations for creating and running a successful joint venture (“JV”), resulting in the analogies discussed below.  However, we believe it is more than that.  A successful joint venture, much like a successful football program, requires thoughtful planning during the inception phase, strong leadership with well-defined roles, and careful risk management. Coin-toss, kick-off, and read on to learn effective ways to make your JV perform like it is playing on the varsity team.
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A New Jersey court recently reversed a variance issued by a zoning board to a building designed to achieve LEED Gold certification.  The owner of the planned office building sought and obtained site plan approval and a height variance from the zoning board.  Among other things, the zoning board found that the landscaping plan “conserves natural resources and prevents degradation of the environment,” that the site plan fulfilled planning goals of reducing impervious coverage, and that achieving the LEED Gold standard for energy use, recycling and waste disposal “promotes the [land use law’s] purpose of promoting utilization of renewable energy resources.” (more…)