2021 Great Lakes Design and Construction EXPO

2021 Great Lakes Design and Construction EXPO

CAM is pleased to announce that CAM-HBA team is busy planning for the 2021 Great Lakes Design and Construction EXPO and 135th CAM Annual Meeting.

While COVID-19 presents obvious challenges, assuming State of Michigan Executive Orders and relevant health department regulations permit, we believe we will be able to produce a GLDC Expo 2021 safely and responsibly.

Highlights of our proposed event include:

  • A single day show on Wednesday, February 17th, to maximize exhibit floor traffic and energy
  • An Economic Forecast Breakfast and CAM’s Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon to attract attendees, including pre-event reception on the exhibit floor
  • An “integrated” floorplan that brings together the show floor with adjacent meeting space for both the keynote events and training sessions
  • A socially-distanced floorplan that separates booths by 10 feet in order to ensure exhibitor and attendee safety

Available Booth Space

While there are still several months between now and GLDC Expo 2021, we appreciate your REPLY to help us plan to ensure your company has a positive exhibit experience.  If you’d like to exhibit, complete our contact form with the booth size and approximate floorplan location you would prefer. Due to the fluidity of the situation, no deposit is required at this time and this does not obligate you to participate. Click here to view the sample floor plan.

For more information contact Ron Riegel at riegel@buildwithcam.com or 248-972-1110, or visit our website at https://miconstructionexpo.com/.

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Construction Buyers Guide: There’s an app for that

CAM Launches New Mobile App

August 26, 2020

If you’ve ever tried using an internet search engine to locate a resource to support your business, you know your results will be full of paid advertisements, misinformation, inaccurate contact data, and hundreds of companies that don’t quite fit your intended search criteria. Construction companies, suppliers, and business service providers are a dime a dozen but how do you locate and target the “good” ones?

The Construction Association of Michigan is a membership-based trade association, connecting commercial and industrial construction companies to bid opportunities since 1885. In 1936, we printed the first Construction Buyers Guide. It began as a pocket-size book, listing CAM member firms and their contact information.

Over the years, the Construction Buyers Guide became a staple in most construction trailers. It wasn’t unusual to find well-worn, dogeared copies on the desks and in the work vehicles of building managers, project managers and superintendents. In the last 84 years, it has grown from a small booklet to a 7”x11” (no longer pocket-size!) ring-bound directory, averaging over 300 pages of contact information for architects, engineers, trade associations, labor unions, and CAM member companies. It continues to be a valuable resource throughout Michigan’s commercial and industrial construction industry.

With the advent of mobile phones and our increasing dependency on them to perform day-to-day business operations, the time has come for the clunky Buyers Guide to undergo a dramatic transformation into a fast, user-friendly mobile app.

Since August of 2019, the CAM team, together with our development partner jacapps, has been working to bring you the Construction Buyers Guide App, soon to be available in the Apple and Android stores. It will be free to download.

Being a CAM member implies a certain level of professionalism, sophistication and legitimacy. If you’re seeking a resource to support your construction business, you will find it in the Buyers Guide App. The contact information will be current, relevant, and useful.

For more information on getting listed, contact the Construction Association of Michigan at www.buildwithcam.com or call (248) 972-1000.

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1936 Buyers Guide for web

Live Work Play Redefines Lansing Skyline

Live Work Play Building to Redefine Lansing Skyline as Its Tallest Structure

By Dennis Burck

Published July 10, 2020

A 30-plus story mixed-use building is on track to redefine the downtown Lansing skyline. If approved by Lansing City Council, it would be the city’s tallest building.

Owner Live Holdings LLC plans on proposing the “Live Work Play” building to the Lansing City Council in the fourth quarter of 2020. Preliminary plans include office and conference space, private residences, shopping, dining, as well as a Magnifica Hotel and Spa.

Providing funding for the LLC’s development is longtime Lansing business CIG Capital, a project finance firm specializing in alternative lending, infrastructure, real estate, FinTech Technology, oil and gas, bio-medical, software, banking transactions and more. The firm has a dual headquarters in Lansing and Orlando.

“We are looking forward to funding projects in the Michigan area since we have called it home for so many years. It feels great to be a part of revitalizing downtown Lansing and adding to the iconic skyline,” said Charles D. Carey, CIG Capital Managing Partner and owner of Live Holdings LLC.

“Having headquarters in Lansing and Orlando, it only seems fitting that we develop a space for our employees and the community to use,” Carey said. “We believe the Live Work Play model will give CIG Capital employees the ability to have everything at their fingertips.”

With design work well underway with international architect HKS, Carey envisions the building to be two glass towers. “Ideally, the buildings will have vertical farming and sustainable energy capabilities,” he added.

Regionally, greater Lansing is seeing a surge in development. According to data from the Lansing Economic Area Partnership Inc., there was an investment of $3.2 billion among 20 active construction projects in 2019.

“We are thrilled about the funding plans we have in the Michigan area and are looking forward to our future endeavors with Live Holdings, LLC and other companies,” said Josh Leu, Underwriting Director of CIG Capital. “We are looking forward to new opportunities in the up-and-coming downtown Live Work Play building.”

Lansing’s current tallest building, Boji Tower, is 23 stories high.

Providing funding for the development is longtime Lansing business CIG Capital
Providing funding for the development is longtime Lansing business CIG Capital

CIG Capital is an alternative investment firm that possesses a unique model with a complete diverse portfolio. CIG Capital’s portfolio consists of different dynamics such as, Health Care Insurance, Alternative Lending, High Risk Industries, Venture Capital, FinTech, Technology, Bio Medical, Software, infrastructure, oil and gas and real estate projects. Please visit http://www.cigcap.com/ for more information.

Hired as a Prebid Construction News Reporter, Dennis Burck recently joined the team at the Construction Association of Michigan. Burck earned a BA in journalism from Wayne State University in 2017, spending the last two years as a new development and general assignment reporter for the Lansing City Pulse. At the Pulse, Burck was tasked with writing the paper’s “New in Town” column, tracking commercial and city developments from construction to completion. His work also appeared in the Detroit Metro Times, Metro Parent, Model D Media and the National Endowment for the Humanities’ magazine

Mid Year Forecast Recap

Optimism for a V-Shaped Recovery: A Summary of the CAM and HBA Annual Mid-Year Economic Forecast

By Dennis Burck

The CAM/HBA Mid Year Economic Forecast has been providing an annual industry review for ten consecutive years.  While the 2020 gathering had to be done virtually, it was still a much-needed insight into what we may expect from our economy in the coming months.  CAM and HBA were thrilled to welcome Elliot Eisenberg, PhD, as our 2020 economist and guest presenter.  Special thanks to all of our sponsors and participants.

Quick Links

2020 has been a year of many firsts for the construction industry and beyond. This year’s Mid-Year Economic Forecast sees many industries and sectors of the economy showing early signs of V-shape rebounding, followed by projected long-term steady growth to pre-pandemic levels in 2022.

Elliot Eisenberg, chief economist for consulting agency GraphsandLaughs LLC, lead the seminar. Known as the “Bowtie Economist,” his voice has appeared in many publications, including Bloomberg, Business Week, Bureau of National Affairs, Forbes and Fortune. He is also a member of the Expert Advisory Board of Mortgage Market Guide and is a regular consultant to several large real estate professional associations, hedge funds and investment advisory groups.

“What is going on is the following: Our economy is suffering two things at once. We are experiencing a recession, and we are experiencing suppression,” Eisenberg said.

“Suppression is ending, and we are getting a nice beginning of an improvement. There is a mechanical element to this. Just getting out of your house means you are going to spend money. There will be a rapid recovery. But then the recession sets in and the question is how fast will we recover from that?”

Eisenberg supported his forecast threefold with data-driven analysis on GDP growth, inflation and construction from a variety of accredited economic and federal sources.

Lake Michigan Credit Union and Plante Moran generously sponsored the seminar.

How Firms and Lenders Are Navigating the Pandemic

Laura Claeys, a CPA Partner for Plante Moran, said the temporary pause is over and we are seeing many organizations return to work. “Although the economy in Michigan has been slowed by the pandemic, we feel there is pent-up demand in the state,” Claeys said. “Many jobs in the state have been delayed, but not canceled. Optimism in the state remains very high even though the working conditions might be different than we’re used to.”

The pandemic provided organizations the opportunity to access their structure, look at their team and strategy to make them stronger and nimbler to address economic challenges in the future, she added. “We’ve helped many of our clients take that inventory in their organization and found creativity, excitement and plenty of opportunity for them to move forward,” Claeys said.

“Lending institutions are stronger than they were in the last downturn, which I think bodes well for all construction companies and organizations in Michigan. Plante Moran is proud to be in the State of Michigan and serve the construction community.”

As a long-time sponsor of the Mid-Year Economic Forecast, Lake Michigan Credit Union was represented by Chief Lending Executive Eric Burgoon.  “We thought it is important to give you an update for you and your customers that will really help you smoothly work through the closing process with your team since there are some things that changed in our industry,” Burgoon said.

The CARES Act dramatically changed the number of mortgages that are placed in forbearance, the deferment of payments on a mortgage. “Prior to the CARES Act, 0.2 percent of all mortgages nationwide are in forbearance. Now 10 percent are in forbearance. This has really affected the building industry a couple of key ways.” One thing it does is puts into question whether or not someone can purchase or build a home because availability to some lenders has declined, he said.

“This has really created a fear in the industry of escalating foreclosures. This has caused many lenders to dramatically change their underwriting guidelines. Specifically, large banks have created credit overlays or eliminated products completely.” Common changes are higher credit score requirements, higher down payments and higher interest rates on large products. These are things the construction industry must take a second look at now.

“You want to make sure one of your clients building with you that they have preapproval for a mortgage in process to reassess that. Make sure that preapproval is still valid, make sure the lending partner you are working with follows guidelines so when you get to the end of the construction period, it is not a problem,” Burgoon said.

The pandemic hasn’t changed Lake Michigan Credit Union, however.  “We are proud to say we have not changed our products at all. We continue to offer construction financing throughout the shutdown. We still offer our 5 percent down construction loan. We haven’t had any credit overlays or done anything to make getting a mortgage more difficult.”

GDP Growth

Though large sections of the economy were effectively shut down for months to combat the spread of the pandemic, there are enough early indicators to show the first stages of meaningful recovery, according to Eisenberg. “Do not confuse this early recovery with a true ‘V’-shaped recovery. With autos and homebuilding, I think there will be a true ‘V,’ but it will not be everywhere.”

The first sector of the economy to provide the backbone to the forecast was automotive data.

Data from LMC Automotive shows a decent ‘V’ shaped upturn, while JD Power reports it may have new car purchases recover to pre-pandemic levels by August. “Automobiles are relatively like the harbinger of housing because they are a large [purchase] like a house,” he said. “This is a pretty good sign, but temper your enthusiasm.”

Another meaningful metric was restaurant traffic, up much higher since more venues opened up across the county. “I am more optimistic about it and believe the improvement is solid and real. This is a perfect example of suppression ending. This depends on a large extent how we psychologically feel about going to a restaurant.”

Other indicators that showed meaningful growth were manufacturing and hotels.

However, there are still many obstacles to overcome to increase the GDP to pre-pandemic levels. One problem is that firms are hesitant to invest along with a growing number of unknown factors along with the pandemic to consider–a trade deal with China, a second wave of the virus and the U.S. government’s response is pressing. Furthermore, Eisenberg cites publicly traded companies are suspending their dividends or reducing their dividends in levels haven’t seen since the Great Recession (2008-2009).

Chiefly among all other obstacles to GDP improvement is unemployment, Eisenberg emphasized. Estimates from the Wall Street Journal range from 20 to 30 million jobs lost due to the crisis. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ June report shows a 13 percent unemployment rate. Due to calculation errors by the study, Eisenberg argues that the real number is closer to 16.3 percent.

“People who lost their jobs will have to find new jobs with new employers, and that is going to take time,” Eisenberg said. “We are not going to create 20 million jobs in a month. That is simply not going to happen. If we create 2 million, I’ll be very happy.” For reference, during the height of unemployment during the Great Recession, the unemployment rate was 10 percent.

Sustained recovery comes down to the government stepping up to secure households and support businesses to get back on their feet, he stresses. “Government spending has come to the rescue. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. The government came out guns blazing here,” Eisenberg said. “Our economy was in a coma, and this kept us alive period while we were locked in our houses and didn’t have our jobs.”

More needs to be done to get the unemployment number down. “Even at 10 percent, we saw mass dislocations and a long, miserable recession. I’d like to think it would come down to 11 or 12 by the end of the year. This will still be worse than the last recession so congress has to come through with funding.”

Due to the low-interest rates at 0.125 percent, now is not the time to worry about the national deficit, he added. According to Eisenberg, the consequences of increasing the deficit will be nothing compared to the “ravages” of what the economy will endure without additional spending.  “This is threat number one to our economy: Will congress come through, and how much will they come through with? They are going to help households get jobs and while they are unemployed. If they don’t come through and we go through this time of high unemployment in this 13 to 14 percent range, we are going to have a world of hurt in our economy.”

Eisenberg said he doesn’t see politics ultimately obstructing the recovery spending. “There is political will to do it, they are just fighting over what they want. They are going to figure it out, but they need to do it before the end of July. They do not have the luxury to be waiting.” If significant relief measures are taken, the recession will be relatively short and painful with a steady recovery, he said.

Inflation - What Inflation?

The U.S. Department of the Treasury injected $267 billion of stimulus checks for most Americans into the economy to combat the economic fallout from the pandemic.

“You are going to say ‘The money base is going up like crazy. More money, more inflation?’ I don’t think so,” Eisenberg said. It is important to note that the monetary base does not create inflation on its own, he added.

“First you have to have the velocity of money moving. The dollars here are not moving anywhere: Banks hold bonds. The Central Bank creates money then gives this to the bank.”

Though most Americans have all gotten $1,200 richer, this is moot in comparison to how the Central Bank and other banks are handling this crisis. “There is no more money in the economy since the banks are trading. The bank in turn takes the bond and gives it to the Central Bank. The bank is essentially trading bonds for cash to the Central Bank,” Eisenberg said.

Another indicator Eisenberg and his fellow economists use to measure the threat of inflation is the type of inflation. CPI inflation is more volatile as it includes food and energy prices. But Core inflation is the metric to watch. When considered, there is no evidence of inflation from the Core standpoint, he said.  “So, what is going to happen to rates? Absolutely nothing for years.”

Construction Outlook

The best construction news comes from the housing market, according to Eisenberger.

“Housing is in a ‘V’-shaped recovery. It is a sector that is doing remarkably well. It completely collapsed and completely recovered.”

An unaccounted-for psychological effect, he argues, is that after people were stuck in their houses, they realize they want to move. “There are unprecedented mortgage applications,” Eisenberg said. “Things are going to improve.”

What follows this crisis is an entirely different scenario in comparison to the 2008 crash when housing was at the center of the recession. “Housing is not the crux of the problem. Now there are no houses. Look at the inventory: 1.5 million now compared to the 4 million years ago,” Eisenberg said. “In terms of new housing, 2010-2020 is the worst decade of building in decades. There is a massive shortage of housing.” Eisenberg forecasts a full recovery in housing construction by August or September due to the higher demand.

“This is a recession that bypassed housing,” he said. “This is a true ‘V’-shaped recovery. Prices continue to rise. Rates are low and demand is strong.”

Final Thoughts

If history can be a guide to the present crisis, data from how the economy faired after the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918 can be an indicator. In a graph of all U.S. economic recessions in history, the data shows the pandemic as a 6-month recession.

“This is the recession that followed the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918. It led to a depression, but the depression was unbelievably short. The Spanish Influenza killed 500,000 people. This is a very big percentage of the population. It comes in two waves and goes away. Then the economy rockets,” Eisenberg said.

Recessions coming from issues outside of the U.S. border tend to be shorter, he added. “This is a recession with nothing organic. 2000 was the Dot Com Boom. 2008 was massively organic. The recession of 1990 was too much real estate,” Eisenberg said. “Those three were all slow and jobless recoveries. I tend to think this one is going to look like those older recessions because of the evolution of it. There is nothing organic here. We were just whacked from this virus from China.”

With his personal graph utilizing data from the best available sources, he forecasts the worst will be a 10 percent real decline, then we will make up 4 percent of that loss by the end of the year. “It will take two full years until February 2022 to get things where they were. This is going to be a slow recovery. First quick, then slow, but we’ll get out of it.”

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Elliot Eisenberg, PhD
Elliot Eisenberg, PhD

Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is an internationally acclaimed economist and public speaker specializing in making the arcana and minutia of economics fun, relevant and educational. He earned a B.A. in economics with first class honors from McGill University in Montreal, as well as a Masters and Ph.D. in public administration from Syracuse University. Eisenberg, a former Senior Economist with the National Association of Home Builders in Washington, D.C., is the creator of the multifamily stock index (the first nationally recognized index to track the total return of public firms principally involved in the ownership and management of apartments), the author of more than eighty-five articles, serves on the Expert Advisory Board of Mortgage Market Guide and is a regular consultant to several large real estate professional associations, hedge funds and investment advisory groups. He has spoken to hundreds of business groups and associations, often as keynote speaker.  Learn more at https://econ70.com.

Midland County Flooding – Call for Assistance

Midland County Flooding: Call for Assistance

By Jennifer Panning
Published June 15, 2020

On Tuesday May 19th, the Edenville and Sanford Dams broke and flooded Midland County. 21.5 billion gallons of water rushed out at about 2,000 cubic feet per second.  Houses were knocked off their foundations, 2nd story homes saw water on the 2nd level, and water with sewage contaminated homes not completely destroyed.

I want to share what my daughter Morgen and I witnessed. First, 11,000 people were evacuated safely with the assistance of the local police and firefighters who went door to door notifying the community.  (Many families only had time to leave with what they were wearing.)

Recovery started immediately through local organizations and individuals providing resources and reaching out to others in need. Neighbors helping neighbors, sharing their homes or providing a meal.

A couple of Northwood University students started a Facebook group (The Pack Helps Midland) to help others. My daughter and some other students of Northwood University started volunteering in the Sanford area helping to demo homes. Through this, they would show up to a home in need and, in some instances, the owners would send them to another home with greater need. They took a box home of a friends’ family photos and salvaged what they could, picture by picture.

On May 29th, I visited the area for the first time. Street after street was lined with the contents of people’s homes waiting to be picked up and discarded. With a few others, I walked the campus of my Alma Mater, Northwood University (America’s Free Enterprise University), taking in the damage.  (This is the first University to survive a 500-year flood and 100- year pandemic!)  There were 200 student volunteers who quickly completed the work that they could on campus and then went into the surrounding community to help others. I talked with a student whose family lost their home and yet he was helping others that day.

The entire Midland County Area will need support for many months, maybe years. A 500-year flood is powerful. The pictures and personal accounts don’t begin to tell the stories of so many who have lost so much. MOST of this rebuilding won’t be covered by insurance and will come from donations. This is the reason I am asking you and CAM members to help. I have attached a few links to share with others.

https://www.midlandfoundation.org/fund/floodrelief/ (long term recovery)

https://eportal.unitedwaymidland.org/…/FLOOD-RELIEF-VOLUNTE… (volunteer opportunities)

https://www.northwood.edu/news/how-you-can-help-with-ongoing-flood-recovery  (you can designate to directly help Northwood Employees who lost their homes)

https://www.samaritanspurse.org/article/samaritans-purse-responding-to-flooding-in-central-michigan/ (day volunteer opportunities, still in need of many)

Please consider assisting a quiet community that needs your help!

 

Jennifer Panning, Artisan tile
Jennifer Panning, Artisan tile

Artisan Tile was founded in March of 1995 by Jennifer Panning, Artisan Tile has emerged as a leader in the Southeastern Michigan Tile Industry. Doubling sales time and again, Artisan Tile has grown to who they are today. As a partner in many of the premier construction projects in Southeast Michigan, Artisan Tiles most notable project is the Northwest Airlines Edward H McNamara Terminal, for which they were awarded the prestigious IUBAC Craft Award for Best Tile Project in 2002.

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An Accelerant: Woods Construction on Retail Construction

An Accelerant: Woods Construction President John Bodary on Retail Construction in the Coronavirus Era

By Dennis Burck

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order to enforce social distancing came on March 24, advising that people stay six feet apart to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The distance was troubling for Woods Construction President John Bodary. “If we are hanging a sheet of drywall, how can our guys stay six feet away from each other?”

It would be the first question of many in a myriad of challenges Bodary faces in the especially hard-hit retail sector of construction during the coronavirus pandemic. According to a recent study by Dodge Data and Analytics, 2020 is projected to see a 33 percent decrease in U.S. commercial building starts.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported that March saw the greatest decline in retail sales within the last 30 years at 8.7 percent. April’s report is expected to be much higher.

“When you go into construction, you get satisfaction from producing. You want to see that you have built something. You want to see your progress. For me this has been the opposite of that,” Bodary said.

“Now you go home at the end of the day exhausted and what you did was just put jobs on pause. It is kind of depressing.”

His first reaction was to read the executive order and see if there was a way to keep business going. Bodary evaluated over 30 of his construction sites from Boston to Alaska, trying to navigate the evolving and sometimes gray legalities of continuing operation during the pandemic.

However, a phone call from a client changed his priorities.

“The client said ‘Hey, on this date from eight until noon, we need to know every one of your employees that was on the job site because we sent in a third-party vendor who had a confirmed case of coronavirus at that site.’ I looked at the list and we had five employees at that job in Wisconsin.”

Bodary looked at the group of five on the job: One worker had a baby due in a month, another was one month from retiring.

“Each person has a story and I thought what are we doing here? If we talk the talk that our employees are the most valuable resource, we better start walking the walk.”

The employees that were exposed were remodeling a restaurant, and the decision was made to methodically make the project safe, secure and usable by the client and then get the employees home to practice self-distancing.

“The decision became more philosophical than business: We weren’t building a hospital here,” Bodary added. “We weren’t going to leave an essential remodel in progress – like a pharmacy or grocery department remodel, but we also wanted to get our people home safe and allow the client to operate their essential business without distraction.”

Now Bodary’s work has shifted to planning for a gradual and safe return to work with a nine-page document and checklist for each job site.

“We are taking the best practices from lots of sources − OSHA, CDC and the trades. We are trying to summarize these and make them ours. It is very important to have moving forward.”

According to Bodary’s retail clients, most summer projects will be bumped back into next year and the focus will shift on more immediate essential needs like installing plexiglass guards for cashiers and other emergency tasks as the situation evolves.

“As for the well-being of the retail construction market, the coronavirus is not the root cause in most of the downturns,” he said.

“I don’t think the result of the coronavirus will change what the market results would be anyway. I think it is just accelerating the change that was inevitable.”
Bodary expects to see an accelerated decline in B- and C-class malls and more retailers who are continuing to “right-size” their stores by decreasing square footage and curating the space with more popular inventory.

Target is already testing this model in downtown markets like East Lansing in 2019 by opening its first small-format store in Michigan. Woods Construction contributed to the build.

“At the same time, I think this is going to create opportunities for people who are sustainable. Retailers like Target and others that offer essential grocery and pharmaceutical products will have opportunities to take advantage of a downturned real estate market,” Bodary said. “They can take advantage of an old box vacated by Kmart or another struggling retailer. It will take some time, but I think those companies are going to flourish.”

Though the future of known specific work is still up in the air, Bodary sees the function of Woods Construction and other builders remaining constant throughout the crisis.

“From our perspective, I know from the last 35 years of doing this is that we become the managers of change. And this unique event in our lives is going to create change.”

John Bodary, President, Woods Construction
John Bodary, President, Woods Construction

Woods Construction, Inc. is a full-service General and Specialty Contractor with experience spanning, from coast to coast, and projects ranging in size from the construction of multi-million dollar retail stores, to simple maintenance calls for public schools and community churches, and most everything in-between. They are a long-time CAM member and an active participant on the CAM Safety Committee.

Hired as a Prebid Construction News Reporter, Dennis Burck recently joined the team at the Construction Association of Michigan. Burck earned a BA in journalism from Wayne State University in 2017, spending the last two years as a new development and general assignment reporter for the Lansing City Pulse. At the Pulse, Burck was tasked with writing the paper’s “New in Town” column, tracking commercial and city developments from construction to completion. His work also appeared in the Detroit Metro Times, Metro Parent, Model D Media and the National Endowment for the Humanities’ magazine

How UPS is responding to the Coronavirus

How UPS is responding to the Coronavirus

UPS is closely monitoring the impact of the Coronavirus and we want to make sure you are kept up-to-date on what they are doing to keep members and customers like you safe while continuing to deliver around the world.

Here’s what we know and what you can expect:

  • Compliance with all government regulations and health safety guidelines related to the containment of COVID-19.
  • Many people are asking the same question: is it safe to receive and handle a shipment? The World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that the likelihood of catching the COVID-19 virus by touching cardboard or other shipping containers is low.
  • If you prefer that your UPS driver does not deliver packages to your premises, you can arrange for your packages to be held for pickup at your local customer center for 2 weeks. When you wish to resume delivery to your business, you can request that to happen at the same UPS customer service counter you visit to pick up packages.

For more details and updates, please visit: http://bit.ly/UPS_Updates

Need to Ship? Visit: www.savewithups.com/cam
Have questions about your Savings Program? Call: 1-800-MEMBERS (636-2377), M-F: 8am-5pm ET.

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Coronavirus and Construction Contracts

Is Your Construction Contract COVID-19 Proof?

Information provided by McAlpine PC

Are you an owner, general contractor, or subcontractor currently performing your obligations pursuant to a construction contract? Are you drafting, negotiating, or preparing to enter into a construction contract in the near future?

If you answered yes to either of the above questions, it is imperative that you review or consider incorporating a force majeure clause into your contract.

Even before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) a global pandemic on March 11, 2020, construction projects across the country were being impacted due to China, the world’s largest producer of steel and other goods, being at the epicenter of the outbreak. Now, as the federal government and private employers begin implementing protective measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, construction projects will most certainly be impacted even more by the virus.

As such, if you are in the construction industry it is essential that you review your current or future contracts for a force majeure clause and the applicable notice requirements. A standard provision in many contracts, a force majeure clause, relieves both parties of their contractual obligations upon the occurrence of a specifically defined event that is unforeseeable at the time of contracting or is out of a parties’ control, making performance impossible or impracticable. The force majeure clause may also include specific time-sensitive notice requirements that should be strictly adhered to.

In Michigan, force majeure clauses are narrowly construed; meaning that a clause “will generally only excuse a party’s nonperformance if the event that caused the party’s nonperformance is specifically identified.” Kyocera Corp. v. Hemlock Semiconductor, LLC, 313 Mich. App. 437, 447, 886 N.W.2d 445, 451 (2015). Thus, in regard to COVID-19, a contract’s force majeure clause is most likely applicable if it contains the term “pandemic,” “disease,” or “viral outbreak.”

However, merely because a force majeure clause might be applicable does not mean a party can immediately stop preforming his or her contractual obligations. In order to invoke a force majeure clause, a contracting party must not have of been the cause of the delaying event or failed to prevent it by exercising prudence, due diligence, and care. See Erickson v. Dart Oil & Gas Corp., 189 Mich. App. 679, 688, 474 N.W.2d 150, 155 (1991); Cordoba v. City of Detroit, No. 221391, 2001 WL 1009308, at 3 (Mich. Ct. App. Sept. 4, 2001). According to Michigan common law, “a party’s failure to explore or utilize available options to overcome the delaying condition can constitute lack of due diligence.” Id. If you are in the construction industry and your work is being negatively impacted by COVID-19 or have questions or concerns regarding your contract, please feel free to contact McAlpine PC at (248)373-3700.

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McAlpine PC is a nationally-known law firm concentrating in construction law and litigation in Michigan and throughout the United States. It has received some of the largest jury verdicts and arbitration awards in the country. The firm’s founder, Mark L. McAlpine, is recognized as one of the best construction litigators in the country by a wide variety of lawyer peer review publications. The firm’s lawyers regularly counsel clients on matters of contract formation and administration, claims litigation, insurance, environmental and real estate issues faced by owners, contractors and subcontractors. Visit our website at www.mcalpinepc.com or call us at (248) 373-3700 for more information about the firm.

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