Gov. Hochul signs the Construction Industry Public Contracting Advisory Council bill into law

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Gov. Kathy Hochul
Gov. Kathy Hochul

The Construction Industry Public Contracting Advisory Council bill (Ch. 782, Laws of 2021) has been signed into law by New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul. The new law will set in motion the process to reform the public works contracting process for construction contractors and subcontractors across New York state.

The new law brings together state legislators, regulators, construction contractors and subcontractors, labor, and other stakeholders for the first-time ever and they will form a 23-member temporary Construction Industry Advisory Council on Public Contracting Reform (the Advisory Council).

Its objective is to analyze the many vexing contractual issues that negatively impact contractors and subcontractors working on public works projects. The Advisory Council will then identify the solutions needed to reform New York State’s public contracting process, making it more equitable for the contractors and subcontractors working on public works projects.

“Securing enactment of the Construction Industry Public Contracting Advisory Council bill by Governor Hochul is a significant achievement for construction contractors and subcontractors specializing in public works projects across the state,” Perry Ochacher, president of Willett Public Affairs, said in a Jan. 19 statement. “All parties involved in getting the bill signed collaborated with a single-minded focus to bring about the changes required to ensure that the public works contracting process is administered fairly.”

Some of the longstanding contractual issues that the Advisory Council will analyze include damages incurred by contractors, subcontractors, and other parties from delay in payments by project owners due to “no delay damages” clauses and unfair contractual notice provisions; substantial completion as defined in amended state finance law; retainage in public works contracts; and public works contracting issues affecting minority and women owned contractors and subcontractors.

The bill was originated by the New York Electrical Contractors Association and supported by the Subcontractors Trade Association. Willett Public Affairs successfully drafted, negotiated, and lobbied for the bill during New York State’s 2021 legislative session in Albany, NY.

Other supporters of the law include: the Building Trades Employers’ Association; Mechanical Contractors Association of New York; Association of Master Painters and Decorators of New York; Association of Contracting Plumbers NYC; Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association of Long Island; Women Builders Council; the National Electrical Contractors Association, and the Empire State Subcontractors Association, among other groups.

Senator Leroy Comrie (D) from the 14th Senate District together with Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn (D) from the 42nd Assembly District, sponsored the bill in the legislature.

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