Construction Services Group Alert: Mayor Peduto Issues Executive Order That May Result in Significant Changes to Pittsburgh’s Construction Industry

On July 26, 2017, William Peduto, Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh (the “City”), issued a noteworthy executive order relating to the construction industry (the “Executive Order”).  This Executive Order may spur significant changes, in the very near future, regarding how construction projects with the City or its related entities/authorities are awarded and administered. The Executive Order may even result in changes affecting private projects performed within the City’s limits and publicly-assisted projects in the City.

Although various rationales are referenced in it, the Executive Order appears to emphasize that its core purpose is to “ensure that construction work is performed by fully ‘responsible’ contractors that meet key performance criteria and contractor responsibility standards.”  These criteria and standards include: satisfactory past performance, and adequate present performance capabilities; compliance with applicable laws and industry regulations (e.g., licensing, permits, taxes, and prevailing wage laws); and, notably, apprentice training requirements and project labor agreements.

With respect to apprentice training requirements, the Executive Order notes that the City’s construction industry “is facing serious skill shortages.”  It adds that “there are still a number of under-employed and unemployed [City] residents who, with proper education and training, could help meet . . . [the] demand for skilled workers on future projects.”

Practically, the Executive Order does not itself address the above-referenced concerns.  The Executive Order instead creates a construction industry task force (“Task Force”) that is to review these concerns and issue a report and recommendation (“Report”) to the Mayor within 90 days of its issuance.  The Task Force is to consist of nine individuals “from a broad base of stakeholders.” The identified stakeholders are:

  1. Two city council representatives;
  2. Two workforce readiness/minority recruitment program representatives;
  3. One representative of construction contractor organizations;
  4. One representative of project developer organizations;
  5. One representative of building trades labor organizations;
  6. One representative of apprenticeship training organizations; and
  7. One representative of regional workforce development programs.

At present, it is not yet known who will be named to the Task Force. Although the Task Force may consult with the City’s Law Department, it appears that no attorneys with construction law expertise will be serving on the Task Force, unless they are named by one or more of the identified stakeholders.

While potential regulation changes resulting from the Executive Order are at least a couple months away, the Construction Practice Group of Sherrard, German & Kelly, P.C. (“SGK”) will continue to monitor the legal landscape for any developments.  In the interim period, developers, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers who are interested or concerned about how the Executive Order, Task Force, Report, or any potential legislation may affect their business should contact SGK’s Construction Practice Group for guidance.

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