STA COMMITTEES SET AGENDA FOR 2021
By Hank Kita, STA Executive Director
I am pleased to report to you that several important STA committees have begun to meet and set the direction in several areas for the STA in 2021.
The STA’s Legislative Committee met in in mid-January to set an aggressive agenda for the current legislative session in Albany. Working with the Empire State Subcontractors Association (ESSA), of which the STA is a member, the Committee pledged to assist in the passage of chapter amendments to Substantial Completion legislation signed by Governor Cuomo at the end of 2020. This legislation would require public agencies to include in their contracts a definition of substantial completion. In addition, the STA agreed to assist ESSA in securing the passage of additional legislation that would provide contractors and subcontractors with a level of payment security on certain “hybrid” public/private projects built in New York State. Also, the STA will assist ESSA in “pushing” legislation that would define “substantial completion” on private commercial construction projects and would limit the withholding of retainage by owners of such projects to no more than five percent of the contract sum. Finally, the STA will work with ESSA on legislation which would hold invalid any provision in a construction contract that requires the purchase of additional insured coverage, the scope of which is prohibited by the indemnification provisions of the General Obligations Law.
Beyond the aforementioned ESSA legislation, the STA will itself work towards the passage of the creation of a State Commission consisting of representatives of both the public and private sectors, that would study changes and reforms in the area of public procurement and contracts. The STA has for many years sought to correct inequities that favor public owners in state and local construction projects. This legislation is expected to be introduced in both the Assembly and Senate in the near future. The STA will also continue to work on subcontractor insurance issues. One such piece of legislation, the Small Subcontractors Relief Act, would set up a pilot project that would set up a $25 million fund, assisting small subcontractors in the payment of their liability insurance. Finally, the STA will once again revisit the efficacy of again including in future legislative sessions legislation that had been previously vetoed by the Governor such as delay damages and the reform of onerous clauses in public contracts.
The STA’s Marketing and Communications Committee has also recently met and begun the process to develop programs, events and seminars for 2021. Already in 2021, the STA has held a Legislative webinar and a general membership meeting that focused on a presentation by major general contractors in New York City followed with a networking segment during which subcontractors could meet with the GC’s “one on one”. In the coming months, the STA will be planning webinars on construction technology, the New York Scaffold Law, and the impact of COVID on the local construction industry. In addition, the STA is looking at the possibility of holding a major event in the Fall, perhaps focusing on construction technology. This Committee also has planned a STA Golf Outing at Wheatley Hills Golf Club on June 1.
The Marketing and Communications Committee has also decided to reemphasize the STA’s social media efforts and to continue other STA communications such as the monthly newsletter, weekly news clippings, and monthly Stay Alert report. It was also agreed that the STA would continue its efforts to interact with the Architects and Engineers Task Force and develop a webinar with this group for STA members in 2021. In future meetings, this committee will examine the feasibility of holding any future “in person” meetings by the end of the year, depending on the course of COVID in New York City.
Stay tuned in future months for more information from these committees as well as the STA’s Public Agencies Committee.