Builders Exchange has a long history of advocacy for the construction industry. Unlike many of our peers, Builders Exchange represents the entire commercial construction industry. We do not take positions that benefit a group of contractors over another. That is a strong contrast from associations like AGC or ABC. Instead we take positions on issues that our diverse board and membership can agree upon. Because of this focus, we have developed a reputation for taking consensus positions that are fair to all sides. We have become the go to association for state leaders who want to understand the industry and make it better.
Advocacy work covers a broad range of industry issues, from contract language and procurement rules, to construction funding and labor matters. We have also had a heavy focus on workers compensation reform, tort reform and ethics in government. Issues such as changes to the wage theft prevention act, Wicks Law updates and levels of m/wbe predication have also been hot button issues for our members.
Regarding construction funding, Builders Exchange has long challenged the state’s allocation of resources between communities and advocates for a fair distribution. We have also pushed for a greater state focus on decaying infrastructure. Coalitions, such as Builder Partners and Building a Better New York, are creations of Builders Exchange.
2016 Construction Funding
2016 has been a productive year as many projects we have been advocating for the past few years are gaining momentum and funding!
As the recipient of the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, our Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council has been processing projects and planning for economic development.
Key Projects Include:
Infrastructure funding for the STAMP Facility
I-390/490/Lyell Avenue Interchange project funding
Greater Rochester International Airport upgrades
In addition to regional funding, our advocacy supported $40 million in additional funding for SUNY and CUNY projects. We also secured $1.5 million in capital funding for the Rochester YMCA and $5 million state wide! The YMCA funding will move projects forward in the near future and we were pleased to partner with the statewide YMCA’s.
Rochester Schools Modernization Program:Our highest priority was passage of A.09758 (Morelle) / S.07290 (Robach) to accelerate the aid for the Rochester School’s Modernization Program. Cosponsors included Assemblyman Bronson, Senator Funk, and Senator Ranzenhofer. The legislation will allow the projects to be completed more efficiently and at lower total cost, increasing the return on investment for the program. Despite Assemblyman David Gantt’s politically opposition, the legislation easily passed both houses.
Paid Family Leave: We also led the charge to stop A.10680 (Harris) / S.7994 (Murphy) relating to family leave. The bill would have changed the requirements for some industry firms and expanded the pool of employees that would be eligible for leave benefits. While we are not firmly opposed to family leave, we did not understand how leave could apply to temporary employees and how contractors would track employment between firms to determine eligibility. The legislation also posed constitutional questions and as drafted likely would be preempted by the National Labor Relations Act.
Public Works Notice Provisions: Builders Exchange was also able to pass A.10136 (Cusick) / S.6906 (Ranzenhofer), relating to notice provisions in public works contracts. This legislation will make it more difficult for owners to use notice provisions to prevent paying for change orders and delay damages on projects. Over time some public entities have crafted very onerous notice provisions and our members were experiencing many difficulties getting paid.
Why Investment Matters
Building and infrastructure investment is important for New York State to thrive. Without construction investment and sound infrastructure, business growth and attraction is limited. For every dollar spent in Construction, seven dollars circulates in the economy!
The following are just a short list of how investment in upstate construction has allowed communities to thrive:
The RGRTA Transit Center project cost $50 million. It has had a significant impact on local employment, creating 400 construction jobs and 50 new jobs when in operation.
The $242M Glissando Children’s Hospital facility is expected to grow the hospital’s direct annual expenditures by $38.8M, boost the regional indirect expenditures by $30M, employing 424 construction workers, and adding an additional 133 jobs directly, and 113 jobs indirectly, with a total of 246 jobs and $69M towards the local economy by 2022.
Wilmot Cancer Center had a great impact on the Rochester economy, adding nearly 1,000 net new jobs to the region and labor income of $35 million.