School construction and mandate waivers

On November 21, 2007, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Mechanical Contractors Association of Eastern Pennsylvania, Inc. v. Commonwealth, et al., ruled that public schools may seek a waiver of the multi-prime requirement for construction projects. 

In the past, schools undertaking construction projects had to bid the projects to at least four basic prime contractors - a general contractor, a mechanical contractor, an electrical contractor, and a plumbing contractor.  In the experience of many, that requirement led to higher construction costs and greater claims and lawsuits against schools.  Now, schools can attempt to avoid these problems and expenses by applying for a waiver of the multi-prime requirement from the Department of Education.  The Department must decide, however, whether to grant the waiver. 

Thanks to Ron Williams, Co-Chair of the Fox, Rothschild construction law group for this update.  Contract Ron, or Brian Subers, the other Co-Chair of the construction law group, about construction related legal issues.