Within the past couple of months, BNA started a new report called Infrastructure Investment & Policy Report.  Earlier this week, I was contacted by BNA reporter Kate Naseef to share some thoughts about HR 2454, the climate change legislation that was recently approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its affect on the construction industry. 

According to AGC and ABC representatives, Naseef writes, the climate change bill is a "mixed bag" because it offers both opportunities for new construction and building modifications, but it could also lead to increased costs and delays given the regulatory hurdles. The article also highlighted comments from Cathy Altman, a good friend and construction attorney in Dallas:

Fewer, Bigger, Green Projects   As building shifts to more carbon-friendly facilities, there will be fewer, but bigger projects “because of the higher capital costs of green construction,” Cathy Lilford Altman, an attorney with Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, L.L.P in Dallas, said.   A cap-and-trade program and renewable energy standards are going to further experimentation and use of new technologies and new construction means and methods, “which could open up opportunities, but also create risks,” Altman said. “There’s a certain amount of trial-and-error that is going to be inevitable,” she said. Owners are going to want guarantees that designers and contractors might not be able to give until the new technologies and processes are tested.   Designers, engineers, and contractors are going to have to get accustomed to working with new materials and new technologies that add cost on the front-end of a project, Matthew DeVries, an attorney with Smith Cashion & Orr, PLC in Nashville and author of www.bestpracticesconstructionlaw.com, a construction law blog, said. Whether or not this results in savings down the road remains to be seen, he said. 

Although there are reports that HR 2454 will be brought to the House floor next week, it will be interesting to see any mark-ups from the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chaired by Rep. James L. Oberstar.  For those of us outside the Beltway, keep us informed BNA!

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