Press Releases

21st Century Construction, 20th Century Construction Law

Media Advisory
March 4, 2008

Oroma Mpi, 212-382-6713

21st Century Construction, 20th Century Construction Law


NEW YORK— A report of the New York City Bar Association issued today concludes that New York State must overhaul all of its public construction law for both State-funded projects and the projects of its local governments.  The report, 21st Century Construction, 20th Century Construction Law, by the Association’s Construction Law Committee, notes that last summer’s agreement on Wicks Law reform represents a change in the political landscape that makes large scale change possible for the first time.  While mandatory multiple prime contracting has no place in modern public construction, the Wicks Bill represents advancement in the right direction and is a good starting point for broader and deeper reform of the entire public procurement statutory scheme.

The report also concludes that the State must review and reform the overall statutory scheme for the construction industry and the built environment it creates in order to unlock their economic potential and make this important private sector industry more effective in the success of the State’s economy.  The objectives sought by New York’s construction laws, many adopted long before the end of the last century, are valid and worthwhile, but well-intentioned provisions unexamined over time can have unintended, and unaffordable, negative economic consequences.  Especially in this economic environment, the construction industry and the built environment are too important to our economic growth and competitive advantage to leave them subject to old, counterproductive laws.  The State must look at all ways to bring New York’s construction industry into the 21st century.

In view of the close relationship of the construction industry and the built environment it creates to the State and regional economies, the Bar Association urges the State Legislature and the Governor to convene a multi-disciplinary task force to examine the entire scheme and propose construction law reforms to help make the industry more efficient for the benefit of the State and regional economies.  The British government used a multi-disciplinary task force approach to improve its construction industry to great effect.  The Construction Law Committee releases this report hoping that the analysis and recommendations in this report will help to prompt and guide future discussions in Albany about New York’s construction industry, our built environment, the State and local governments’ capital programs and how to make our State and regional economies more efficient and competitive, all of which are integral parts of a necessary public conversation.

A copy of the full report can be found here:

About the Association
The New York City Bar Association ( was founded in 1870, and since then has been dedicated to maintaining the high ethical standards of the profession, promoting reform of the law, and providing service to the profession and the public. The Association continues to work for political, legal and social reform, while implementing innovative means to help the disadvantaged. Protecting the public’s welfare remains one of the Association’s highest priorities.


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