The following article was written by Miami Construction Lawyer Alex Barthet and appeared first on The Lien Zone. It was re-posted with permission from the author. To view the original post, titled, “Posting No Trespassing Signs – Strict Compliance Needed,” click here. For more information about Alex and his firm, please visit TheLienZone.com and Barthet.com.
We have all seen those “No Trespassing” signs prohibiting access to construction sites, but few may be aware of both the meaning and the specifics of the law applicable to these words.
A recent case, which reversed a conviction for trespass, illustrates well all the elements necessary to enforce a designated no trespassing area. Florida Statutes provide that it is a third degree felony to trespass on a construction site which is legally posted. Posted land is defined as land upon which signs are placed not more than 500 feet apart and at each boundary corner and upon which there appear in letters not less than 2 inches in height, the words “NO TRESPASSING”. The name of the owner or occupant of the land must be included. The signs must be clearly visible and need to state the following:
THIS AREA IS A DESIGNATED CONSTRUCTION SITE, AND ANYONE WHO TRESPASSES ON THIS PROPERTY COMMITS A FELONY.
Though the state in this recent case argued that only substantial compliance with these requirements was necessary to enforce the trespassing law, the court found that the failure of the owners to post a sign at each corner was fatal to any attempted conviction of a trespasser.
If you decide to post these signs, you better do it right.
In February, the House of Representatives voted 236-187 on a resolution to block the ‘blacklisting' rule, sending it to the Senate for a second vote. The act would have given the federal government the ability to disqualify contractors if they violated any of the 14 labor laws, which can be found here, over the past 3 years on any project totaling $500,000 or more
As of the first quarter of 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there are over 768,000 construction companies currently operating in the private industry in America. There are also countless more that have come and gone. According to Statistic Brain, only 47% of construction startup businesses are still operating after year 4. Personally, I've seen many people break off from a construction company and create their own business; some are still in operation, others have failed.
OSHA inspectors and city building officials are usually the people that can make life pretty uncomfortable for construction companies, but it’s a whole different story when the FBI comes calling. A new stadium for the Double-A minor league baseball team, the Hartford Yard Goats, was supposed to open before the 2016 season, but delays and cost overruns have pushed that opening well into 2017. Now, the FBI is investigating, according to the Hartford Courant.
In an announcement made in mid-January, the US EPA has officially released the updated 2017 Construction General Permit (CGP) for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities. The draft of the new permit was released last year and the 45 day public comment period ended on May 26, 2016. The 2017 CGP will go into effect starting February 16, 2016.
In July of 2016, the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order was signed into effect and has been a hotbed of controversy, especially within the construction industry, ever since. The act would have given the federal government the ability to disqualify contractors if they violated any of the 14 labor laws, which can be found here, over the past 3 years on any project totaling $500,000 or more.
Trenches are a construction jobsite hazard that happen on nearly every construction site involving dirt work, but, all too often their dangers are underestimated. In fact, trench related deaths in 2016 have more than doubled as compared to 2015. There’s no excuse for allowing a trench related death to happen, but it’s rare that job site supervision suffers criminal charges after one occurs. After the death of a 22 year old New York construction worker, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office took a hard stance against those responsible and announced formally sentenced the on-site foreman last week.
2016 has been a tough year for people that live in ocean-near luxury high rise condos. The Millennium Tower in San Francisco, California, which is home to many of the city’s rich and famous residents, has found itself in the middle of several lawsuits after it was determined to have sunk around 16 inches since its opening in 2008. Now, it appears that it’s not the only luxury tower in America with foundation issues.
It’s been a tumultuous year between several governmental agencies and businesses alike and, because of that, both sides have been repeatedly put into a state of limbo. Three new major rule changes have made headlines, especially in the construction industry, this year, including an injury and illness record keeping and reporting rule, a “blacklisting” rule, and an overtime pay rule.
Modular construction has been heralded by many as the next big thing in building structures quickly and cost effectively. By being able to construct parts of the building in a controlled environment, like a factory, workers can perform more efficiently, comfortably, and safely, ideally translating into shorter schedules and smaller costs. That theory got one of its biggest tests on a new 32-story residential building that recently opened in Brooklyn, NY.
It’s been a strenuous year for leading construction industry groups and American government agencies. Three controversial new rules, that were supposed to have been in effect at this point, have ignited a heated battle, including some lawsuits. New overtime pay rules, a ‘blacklisting’ rule, and an injury illness record keeping and reporting rule have been successfully delayed by leading construction industry groups. Below is a summary of the recent developments: