These 8 new laws will impact construction in Texas

Ruth D. Adamson

Dive Brief:

  • The Texas legislature passed a series of guidelines in its latest session that make it a lot easier for design professionals to do company in the point out. The laws simplify some statutes, insert protections for contractors who continue to get the job done through the pandemic, reduce legal responsibility in selected cases and much more. 
  • A single of the new legislation, SB 219, holds that contractors really should normally not be liable for operate concluded below a defective style. “It can be probably the most significant law which is gone into result in the hottest session,” said legal professional Bob Hancock of Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, a Texas-based professional regulation organization with a branch that specializes in development. “And it’s produced a large amount of contractors experience a entire whole lot much better about performing business in this article.”
  • Most of the legal guidelines are previously in impact one will start out at the commence of 2022. 

Dive Perception:

According to Hancock, the pursuing laws will have a wonderful effects on contractors who get the job done in the condition. Here’s much more depth on what each one does:

  1. SB 219 Contractors Not Liable for Layout Problems:
    In most states, the contractor is commonly not held liable for function that’s done less than the owner’s faulty style and design. But Texas’ 1907 circumstance Lonergan v. San Antonio Loan & Believe in set the accountability on the builder. The logic goes that due to the fact contractors are in the enterprise of development, they can be held liable mainly because they have the knowledge to know far better — even if no one on employees is an architect or engineer. SB 219 goes a very long way to proper this authorized doctrine, Hancock reported, but does not utilize if the contractor presents the faulty structure.
  2. HB 2237 Modernizing and Simplifying Texas Lien Legislation, successful Jan. 1, 2022:
    The state’s lien legal guidelines ended up commonly regarded as among the the most complex in the U.S. In summary, this 35-website page law simplifies see specifications, relaxes certain unforgiving deadlines, amends statutory definitions of critical terms like “labor” and “subcontractor,” addresses procedural troubles and a lot more. The regulation eliminates a whole lot of uncertainty and will make it easier for contractors to file liens by themselves. It does not apply to public initiatives.
  3. SB 968 Safety from Pandemic Similar Venture Shutdown:
    This legislation prevents a presiding officer of a political subdivision, this sort of as a mayor, from limiting or prohibiting progress on housing and business development tasks throughout a pandemic catastrophe, among other relevant activities. It also presents the similar protection to companies engaged in activities that automatically assistance the construction industry. Due to the fact the pandemic started, much more than 50 % of states have passed laws restricting state and nearby governments’ authority to guard public wellbeing in a variety of techniques, and far more are pending, US News documented.
  4. SB 6 Omnibus Pandemic Monthly bill, Company Liability/Insurance Protections for Contractors:
    This regulation shields critical organizations like contractors that ongoing to operate amid the COVID-19 from legal responsibility for particular personal injury, death or residence hurt related to publicity to the pandemic illness. It does not use in scenarios the place the business enterprise failed to comply with authorities wellness standards or where it neglected to warn a employee about, or deal with, problems that led to them contracting the condition. “SB 6 is vital due to the fact it offers defense to firms that carry on to run all through the pandemic,” Hancock explained.
  5. SB 3069 Shorten Statute of Repose for Community Function:
    This law shortens the period of time for which a contractor can be sued for faulty design from 10 a long time to 8 many years from the day of substantial completion of the undertaking. It also shortens the doable two-yr extension to a solitary yr. This regulation carves out a few exceptions: condition highway projects, initiatives that gained cash from the state highway fund or obtained federal money for highways or transit and civil operates jobs these as water, streets, utilities and airports. 
  6. SB 338 Uniform Common Conditions for K-12 Building Building:
    Effectively, this regulation makes it possible for college districts to undertake uniform normal disorders to be incorporated in all district construction contracts built by the state, simplifying the building system for contractors and educational institutions alike.
  7. HB 2416 Shut Industrial Normal Liability Hole for Attorney’s Service fees owing to In re Nalle:
    This regulation authorizes the restoration of attorney’s fees as compensatory damages for breach of a construction contract. In short, the insurance coverage enterprise is expected to pay the prevailing party’s attorney’s costs as a substitute of the contractor remaining accountable for that expense. “From a contractor’s viewpoint, this is a seriously critical bill because now you might have to shell out a very little additional in insurance plan, but it will not likely be as catastrophic if you are held liable,” Hancock stated.
  8. HB 19 Reformation of Litigation Abuse With regards to Business Automobile Mishaps:
    This legislation creates a bifurcated trial procedure for business vehicle incident cases, wherein the trial can be break up into two phases to individually identify regular and gross carelessness. It truly is an work to disincentivize frivolous lawsuits in transportation industries which includes construction, which usually involves the use of hefty professional vehicles. The new procedure is extensively deemed by contractors to be much more honest, Hancock claimed.

All of these regulations include facts and exceptions that are not included in this summary, and it truly is crucial for contractors to browse around the adjustments cautiously. Nevertheless, in sum they should really simplicity the procedure of making in Texas, Hancock explained.

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