Monthly Archives: May 2009

Court Ruling on Including Hard Copy of Prevailing Wage Determination in Bid Specifications

New Jersey design professionals that do public work need to be aware that a long time practice of theirs concerning the inclusion of hard copies of prevailing wage determinations in their project specifications may no longer be advisable. As you are aware, New Jersey law requires the payment of prevailing wages on public projects. Accordingly, design professionals always include provisions in their specifications regarding the need for contractors to comply with the law in this regard. However, many design professionals do not include an actual hard copy of the actual prevailing wage determination obtained from the Department of Labor in their bid documents. Instead, they incorporate the relevant prevailing wage determination by reference, or file it with the public body, and then require the contractor to verify the prevailing wage with the Department of Labor before bidding the job or commencing work.

Recently, this office obtained a favorable trial court verdict for an engineer in a case which involved, in part, the duty of a mechanical engineer to include a hard copy of a prevailing wage determination in their project bid specifications. While that favorable verdict made it clear that any failure on the part of the engineer to do so was not the proximate cause of the damages complained of by the Plaintiff contractor, the trial court made the following finding of fact on that issue:

The Court does not consider the testimony of the experts on the issue of whether a design professional, acting on behalf of a public entity, must physically include the NJDOL’s prevailing wage determination in its specification, where the specification includes the contract that will bind the selected contractor and the public entity. The Court concludes that State law fully addresses this issue and sets the applicable standard. The law requires physical inclusion of the determination.

The public body, … undertaking any public work shall ascertain from the commissioner the prevailing wage rate in the locality in which the public work is to be performed for each craft or trade needed to perform the contract and shall specify in the contract itself what the prevailing wage rate in the locality is for each craft or trade or classification of all workers needed to perform the contract during the anticipated term thereof. Nothing in this act however shall prohibit the payment of more than the prevailing wage rate to any worker employed on a public work. N.J. S .A. 34:11-56.28 [emphasis added] .

While this is an unpublished opinion of a trial court, counsel for contractors are sure to become aware of this trial court dictum and start citing it in cases where the failure of a design professional to actually include a hard copy of the prevailing wage determination in their bid specifications is an issue. Accordingly, to be safe, you should include a hard copy of the prevailing wage determination in your bid specifications.

Lawrence Powers is counsel to AIA-NJ, NJSPE and NJASLA, and is the co-partner in charge of the New Brunswick, New Jersey based law firm of Hoagland Longo Moran Dunst & Doukas, LLP.

11th annual New Jersey CANstruction

The Newark Suburban Chapter of the American Institute of Architects is pleased to announce the 11th annual New Jersey CANstruction competition has a new home! In October the competition will be held at The Prudential Center Arena in Newark to support the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. To celebrate our new location for 2009, structures made entirely from canned foods should be inspired by Hockey, The New Jersey Devils, The Prudential Arena Building or the city of Newark. Teams of Architects, Engineers, Contractors, Designers, and students attending Schools of Architecture, Engineering and Design are encouraged to participate.

Download Call for Entries and Information here.

Kevin McCormick, AIA
CANstruction Chair
[email protected]

AIA-NJ Supports Restoration of the Orange Public Library

Turn-of-the-Century Structure Is National Historic Landmark

Orange Public Library entry.

Orange Public Library entry.

Valerie Chapman, Seven Oaks Community Alliance Chairman; Samuel G. White, FAIA, great-grandson of Stanford White; Elizabeth White, White's wife and co-author of “Stanford White, Architect;” Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA, AIA-NJ president; Michael Sackler, AIA.

Valerie Chapman, Seven Oaks Community Alliance Chairman; Samuel G. White, FAIA, great-grandson of Stanford White; Elizabeth White, White's wife and co-author of “Stanford White, Architect;” Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA, AIA-NJ president; Michael Sackler, AIA.

ORANGE, N.J. — The New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects has announced its support of the restoration of the historic Orange Public Library at 348 Main St. in Orange, N.J., with a financial contribution. The contribution was made at a recent fund-raising event at which Samuel G. White, a great-grandson of architect Stanford White, was the keynote speaker. Stanford White was a partner in the firm of McKim, Mead and White, which designed the library in 1900. The firm was the most preeminent architectural firm of its day.


The building, which was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1981, is built in the Beaux-Arts and Classical Revival styles, compete with Ionic and Doric columns, and is richly ornamented with architectural detail. In recent years, however, it has fallen into disrepair, having been left virtually untouched since it was built in 1901.
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Architects Tour Homes Designed by Carl Kemm Loven in Bergen County, N.J.

Part of Effort to Preserve Fairytale Norman-Style Homes

Loven's own house at 119 Rock Road Glen Rock

Loven's own house at 119 Rock Road Glen Rock

GLEN ROCK, N.J. – The fairytale Norman-style homes of New Jersey architect Carl Kemm Loven served as a source of inspiration and admiration for a group of more than 20 architects from the Architects League of Northern New Jersey who toured the homes on May 9.

The tour, which was sponsored by the Architects League, was preceded by a well-attended Power Point presentation for the public by Glen Rock Historian Nancy Atkins Peck on the prolific architect, who was the creator of more than 500 designs, mostly in Bergen County, between the 1930s and his sudden death at age 58 in 1965.
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May 22, 2009

Treasurer Provides Revenue Update; Outlines Further Cuts in FY2010 Budget
State Treasurer David Rousseau appeared before both the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and the Assembly Budget Committee this week to provide updated revenue projections and the Administration’s proposals to close a gap in the FY2010 budget. The Governor’s budget proposal now anticipates spending of $28.61 billion which is $1.2 billion less than when he first proposed the budget in March. According to the Treasurer the FY2010 budget started with a shortfall of $7.2 billion in March that has grown to $8.8 billion in May.

In order to close the gap, the Treasurer said that the Governor is recommending a one-year suspension of property tax rebates for all taxpayers except for senior citizens and the disabled.  Last year more than 1.3 million rebate checks were sent out — averaging more than $1,000 to household and tenants earning under $150,000. The budget Corzine presented in March proposed keeping property tax rebates for households making less than $75,000, as well as for seniors and the disabled. This latest cut would save $943 million. The Treasurer also confirmed a concession on the budget Corzine announced in March after he initially proposed eliminating the property tax deduction on state income forms for all but senior citizens and disabled residents. The new version of the budget allows households making up to $150,000 to keep the deduction.

The Governor also recommended raising income taxes on people earning $400,000 to $500,000 from 6.37 percent to 8 percent.  People who earn $1 million or more would see their tax rate rise from 10.25 percent to 10.75 percent. The Governor also proposed the cancellation of the $25 million in incentive grants to fund expansion of the state’s preschool program.

Corzine’s plan would also increase taxes on insurance premiums and health maintenance organizations.  In addition, the state will only be able to contribute $100 million, about one-tenth of what is needed, for its pension program next year and may not have enough cash to avert automatic business tax increases in the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, although Corzine still plans to deposit $120 million into the fund, which would reduce the amount of payroll taxes triggered.

The Legislature must adopt the FY2010 budget and Governor Corzine must sign it by July 1. 2009.

Corzine Re-Nominates Justice Albin to Supreme Court
Governor Jon Corzine re-nominated Justice Barry T. Albin to the State Supreme Court. If confirmed by the Senate, Justice Albin will receive lifetime tenure and will be eligible to serve on the Court until he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Justice Albin was nominated to serve on the Supreme Court by Governor James McGreevey and was confirmed by the Senate on September 12, 2002. At the time of his nomination he was a partner in the law firm of Wilentz, Goldman and Spitzer. He joined the firm in 1982 and was named partner in 1986. He previously served as a deputy attorney general in the Appellate Section of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and as an assistant prosecutor in Passaic and Middlesex Counties .

Justice Albin graduated from Rutgers College in 1973 and from Cornell Law School in 1976. He is married and has two sons.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo announced that the Committee will consider the nomination on June 15.

Munoz Sworn in to Assembly
Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz was sworn in yesterday to represent the 21st Legislative District in the General Assembly. She succeeds her husband, Dr. Eric Munoz, who passed away suddenly in March.

Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce has named Munoz to serve on the Assembly’s Health & Senior Services and Human Services Committees. Munoz’s professional background is as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, working at Yale- New Haven Hospital, Massachusetts General, Sloan-Kettering, and Overlook Hospital .

Corzine Appoints Zazzali and Pollock to Advisory Panel on Ethics
Governor Corzine has appointed retired state Supreme Court Chief Justice James R. Zazzali and retired Supreme Court Justice Stewart G. Pollock to the Advisory Panel on Ethics. They replace the late Supreme Court Justice Daniel O’Hern and former state Attorney General John Farmer Jr.

The bi-partisan panel is comprised of two public members who advise the Governor regarding conflicts issues and application of the Governor’s Code of Conduct. Members must have served as either Chief Counsel to the Governor, as Attorney General, or as a Justice of the Supreme Court or a Judge of the Superior Court to be considered for appointment. Terms are for three years.

Justice Zazzali was nominated Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court by Governor Corzine in September 2006. He was nominated by Governor Christie Whitman to the state Supreme Court in 2000. Prior to his service on the bench, Justice Zazzali served as Attorney General from 1981 to 1982 and as Chairman of the State Commission of Investigation from 1989 to 1993. He served for 15 years on the Disciplinary Review Board — the attorney disciplinary committee — and also served on the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct — the disciplinary board for judges. He has authored a number of law review articles for the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics. Justice Zazzali is currently Of Counsel with Gibbons P.C. and with Zazzali Fagella.

Justice Pollock, a former Assistant United States Attorney, served as Chief Counsel to Governor Brendan T. Byrne from 1978-1979. He was the nominated by Governor Byrne to the state Supreme Court in 1979 and reappointed by Governor Thomas H. Kean. Justice Pollock has also served as a Commissioner of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and a member of the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Law Center Foundation at New York University School of Law, co-chairs the Governor’s Judicial Advisory Panel and chairs the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Professional Rules of Responsibility. Justice Pollock is also a Federal Court Mediator. Currently, he serves as Of Counsel at Riker Danzig.

Legislative Action
This week the Senate held Group 1 and 2 Committee meetings on May 18 and a Voting Session on May 21 and the Budget and Appropriations Committee received a revenue update from the Office of Legislative Services and the State Treasurer and reviewed the budget of the Department of Treasury and Interdepartmental Accounts on May 20. The Assembly held an Appropriations Committee meeting on May 18 and a Voting Session on May 21 and the Budget Committee received a revenue update from the Office of Legislative Services and the State Treasurer and reviewed the budget of the Department of Treasury and Interdepartmental Accounts on May 19.  There are no meetings scheduled for next week.


A Note form the AIA State Government Network Representative:

(May 13, 2009)
The ICC is forming a new committee entitled the Sustainable Building Technology Committee (SBTC). The SBTC was originally tasked with the improvement of ICC Codes, Standards and Guidelines in the areas of sustainability and high performance. This includes areas of water, energy and mechanical efficiency, as well as new and renewable energy sources such as solar, hydrogen fuel cells and other systems. On May 4th the ICC voted to develop a Green Building Code. The SBTC will develop the first draft. There will be 4 – 5 SBTC meetings, each three days in length, between July/2009 – Jan/2010. Work Groups may also hold meetings as part of the drafting process. Meetings via web-conferencing are also anticipated.

Sustainable Building Technology Committee members are appointed by the ICC Board of Directors. Travel required and paid for by ICC. Click here for an application. or contact Mike Pfeiffer, 1-888-ICC-SAFE (422-7233), ext. 4338. Application deadline: June 1, 2009

Meet the Editor of Design NJ magazine

Publicizing your firm and services is important now more than ever.

Do you have a project you want published? Want to reach New Jersey’s top design professionals and thousands of potential clients? Attend AIA-NJ Public Awareness Committee’s Public Relations and Architecture program and earn 1.5 AIA Learning Units while learning how to get coverage in Design NJ, the state’s leading home and design magazine (readership: 102,000+).

Ren Miller, Design NJ editor, will be the guest speaker. Ren leads a talented team of writers and photographers in showcasing the wealth of interior, architectural and landscape design expertise in New Jersey. Their goal is to present interesting stories behind a wide range of styles that are beautiful, functional, comfortable and attainable. Over the course of his 30-year career in publishing, Ren has accumulated experience in editing, writing, design and marketing for newspapers and magazines in start-up and well-established publishing environments. For more information, visit
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AIA New Jersey’s Emerging Professionals Committee, in conjunction with AIA New Jersey, is sponsoring its first annual ‘Open House AIA’. We are asking all of our member firms to open their offices for the day to all high school students interested in a career in architecture.

To learn more or sign up your firm:

NCARB BOD Takes Action Against ARE Confidentiality Agreement Violators

April 2009

Washington, DC—The Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) is designed to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public by providing a psychometrically justifiable and legally defensible process that measures the level of competence necessary to practice independently. The exam has multiple divisions that test a candidate’s ability to perform many of the tasks an architect encounters in practice. To become licensed, a candidate must fulfill education and experience requirements, and pass all divisions of the ARE. Continue reading

THIS WEEK IN TRENTON – Public Strategies Impact

May 8, 2009

Budget Shortfall Increases
The Office of Legislative Services released a report this week that indicated the budget shortfall in the current fiscal year has grown to $1.2 billion, almost triple the $383 million shortfall OLS predicted when the Legislature’s budget hearings began in April. The OLS prediction was made based on April income tax collections that were about $800 million less than expected. Initial predictions on income taxes were that they would be about 17% less this April as compared to April of 2008. They were actually more than 40% less.

The OLS memo also expresses concern that the budget shortfall for Fiscal Year 2010 may “exceed, perhaps significantly” the $2 billion deficit the Governor estimated just last week.

After meeting with Governor Corzine and Senate President Richard Codey to discuss the budget, Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts said, “This began as a dreadful budget year and unfortunately it’s only getting worse and worse.” Roberts went on to say that all potential solutions are on the table for discussion.

Corzine Signs Legislation Reforming Clean Up of Contaminated Sites
Governor Corzine signed legislation, A2962/S1897, to reform the clean-up of contaminated sites. The Governor also issued an Executive Order to provide oversight, accountability and transparency to the new law.

The new law establishes a licensed site remediation professional (LSRP) program designed to revamp toxic site cleanups throughout New Jersey . Under the program, a Site Remediation Professional Licensing Board will oversee the licensing, continuing education and professional conduct of site remediation professionals. The law also establishes standards for the education, training and experience to be required of a licensed site remediation professional and requires the board to develop license requirements and procedures, examinations and continuing education requirements.

The Executive Order establishes additional oversight and transparency on projects of significance, such as sites that may be redeveloped for housing, schools, playgrounds, child care centers as well as sites where groundwater has been impacted by pollutants above remediation standards. The Executive Order also calls for every report submitted by licensed site remediation professionals to be posted online once such an internet site is established.

Legislative Action
This week both houses of the Legislature returned to Trenton . The Senate held Group 1 and 2 Committee meetings on May 4 and Group 3 and 4 Committee meetings on May 7. The Assembly held Group A and B Committee meetings on May 7. The Assembly Budget Committee reviewed the budgets of the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Community Affairs on May 5 and reviewed the budgets of the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Corrections and the State Parole Board on May 7. Next week the Senate will hold Group 4 and 3 Committee meetings on May 14 and the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will review the budgets of the Department of Transportation, NJ Transit, the Motor Vehicle Commission and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development on May 11 and will review the budgets of the Department of Children and Families and Banking and Insurance on May 14. The Assembly will hold Group C and D Committee meetings on May 11 and the Assembly Budget Committee will review the budgets of the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs, the Department of Banking and Insurance and the Department of Agriculture on May 12 and will review the budgets of the Judiciary, the Department of State and the Department of the Public Advocate on May 14.