Nov. 13, 2013

Florida design professionals gain limited immunity from individual negligence liability
Construction Risk
Under the newly created Florida Statute 558.0035, effective July 1, 2013, an individual design professional (an architect, interior designer, landscape architect, engineer, surveyor, or geologist) can be protected from individual liability for negligence under each of the following circumstances:

  1. the contract is made between the business entity and a claimant or with another entity for the provision of professional services to the claimant
  2. the contract does not name as a party to the contract the individual employee or agent who will perform the professional services
  3. the contract includes a prominent statement, in uppercase font that is at least five point sizes larger than the rest of the text, that, pursuant to this section, an individual employee or agent may not be held individually liable for negligence
  4. the business entity maintains any professional liability insurance required under the contract
  5. any damages are solely economic in nature and the damages do not extend to personal injuries or property not subject to the contract

Alaska producers envision LNG export "mega project"
Pipeline & Gas Journal
Alaska North Slope producers are considering building one of the world's largest and most expensive liquefied natural gas projects, according to a letter the companies sent last month to Gov. Sean Parnell. The exports primarily would target Asian markets. The early concept envisions a project costing $45 billion to possibly more than $65 billion, with exports of 15-18 million metric tons of LNG annually, the equivalent of 2-2.4 Bcf/d of natural gas. The cost estimate includes a gas treatment plant, pipeline to tidewater, a liquefaction plant, and 15-20 LNG tankers.More

Construction industry execs upbeat, survey finds
Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo Equipment Finance surveys construction-industry executives twice each year. Almost 350 U.S.-based industry executives participated in the firm's end-of-summer survey. Responses confirm that the construction industry continues on a slow and mostly steady upward path. Fewer executives see a contraction of activity than in the previous year and the jump in the number of executives who see "much higher" activity levels is encouraging. Almost six in ten respondents (57.7%) said activity was "somewhat higher" or “much higher” than the year previous. In 2012, that percentage was 47.8%. In addition, 15.5% of respondents said construction activity is "somewhat lower" or "much lower" than a year ago. In 2012, that number was 18.4%. The trend is slow but unmistakable: Overall levels of local construction activity have been improving for each of the last three years.More

Desalination plants: A major new market for geoprofessionals?
Engineering News-Record
Many hopes are riding on the new $1-billion, 54-million-gallon-a-day seawater desalination plant and pipeline in Carlsbad, Calif. If successful, the project, made possible through one of the first public-private partnerships of its kind in the U.S., could serve as a model for other projects around the country. "It is being watched closely right now," says Peter MacLaggan, senior vice president of Poseidon Water, the Boston company that is partnering with the San Diego Water Authority to fund and build the project. "If we were to stub our toe and come out of the shoe with a plant that is not performing well, it's going to be a major setback" for desalination projects in the U.S., he says. Worldwide, some 14,754 desalination plants produce about 17.2 billion gallons a day.More

It's your appendix
CE News
Looking to explain geoprofessional-practice issues to a client representative who needs a bit of education about that subject. Consider John B's "Professional Practice" column from the August 2013 issue of CE News. It starts like this… Imagine that you need your appendix removed and there are 500 approved ways to do it. Which would you choose? More

YOU'VE JUST GOT TO BE KIDDING: Discreet meet, greet in-heat treat
The New York Times
Heart-shaped ceiling mirror: check. Curtains drawn against the bright day: check. Red mattress: check. All features demanding customers expect from one of the hundreds of upscale, short-term Brazilian pleasure palaces that cater to couples eager to tryst away from prying eyes; love motels that distinguish themselves with names like Swing, Absinthe, and Alibi, and design motifs like medieval castles or of the American Wild West. But this eight-story enterprise in a lah-dee-dah district of Belo Horizonte — a city of 2.4 million — is different. This new hot spot — Animalle Mundo Pet — is just for dogs.More

Webinar: Dirty Words

Geoprofessionals must use certain words with great care to communicate clearly and unambiguously. Some words create confusion. Some create HUGE, UNINSURABLE liability exposures. Sensitize yourself and your staffs to these words with our all-time most-popular webinar, "Dirty Words." This on-demand webinar may qualify for one Professional Development Hour (PDH). More

Climate change creates new industry. Are you in it?
Adapting to a changing climate and mitigating the risks is already big business and it will only get bigger. Just through 2020, the annual market for "climate-adaptation services" is estimated to grow 12-20% a year — a $700-million market in the US and $2 billion globally, concludes a study by Environmental Business International.More

BUSINESS 101: Is your firm taking advantage of the huge deductibility potential of tax code Section 179? 2013 may be the last big year
Fox Business
Tax code Section 179 — expensing of purchases of capital assets — sets the rules for writing off technology upgrades. Small businesses that buy a new computer or any other item with a useful life of more than a year are allowed to write off the entire purchase price immediately rather than depreciate the expense over the item’s useful life. For 2013, companies may write off up to $500,000 worth of qualifying new or used equipment purchased or financed during the 2013 calendar year. More

HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT: Sorting through resumes
Intuit Inc.
Everything indicates you'll be starting to hire more people soon, if you haven't already started. With online sites making it easy for people to apply for jobs, you may end up with dozens — or hundreds — of resumes for any job you post. Yet many of those applicants won't even come close to being a good match for the position you've advertised. The flood of resumes can be taxing and time-consuming even for large organizations with robust human-resources departments. For small-business owners, the task of sorting through the pile can be downright overwhelming. Streamline your resume-reviewing process by using a few simple, but highly effective strategies.More

The ultimate guide to GBA resources
The ASFE Resource Catalog lists everything we've offered to date in an easy, clickable, and searchable electronic format. If you prefer, you can even print a copy. Make this one of your go-to references!More

New registration rules for "Municipal Advisors"
Securities and Exchange Commission
The Securities and Exchange Commission has adopted rules establishing a permanent registration regime for "municipal advisors"; i.e., advisors state and local governments rely on to help them decide how and when to issue municipal bonds and how to invest proceeds from the sales. Before passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, municipal advisors were not required to register with the SEC, leaving many municipalities relying on advice from unregulated advisors, and they were often unaware of any conflicts of interest a municipal advisor may have had.More

The 2013 Fall Conference wine tasting featured 12 outstanding wines: five for the red-wine drinkers, five for the white-wine aficionados, an aperitif (Moscato), and an utterly amazing dessert wine from Spain. The theme: "Sip More, Pay Less." All the wines are highly rated but relatively inexpensive: from $8 to $18, with an average of about $12. Many of these wines should be available to you locally; on-line purchasing can bring huge savings and much greater variety. Want to see what wine-tasters saw after the tasting contest ended? Just click below. And if you want to taste what comes next…see you in Hawaii!More

Past events on-demand and on DVD
GBA has begun recording content of our meetings and making those recordings available to members at low or no charge. We now offer content from our last three meetings in Orlando, Denver, and Charleston. Some will even allow you to earn PDHs. Bring the best of ASFE/GBA meetings into the office!More

Google's secret plan to revolutionize engineering, architecture, construction
Google's secret development department, Google X, is reportedly working on a new technology that could transform the construction industry — as well as architecture itself. Named "Genie," the invention reportedly is a cloud-based collaboration platform with "planning applications to help architects and engineers in the design process, especially for skyscrapers and large buildings. The platform includes planning tools of expert architects and engineers and advance analytics and simulation tools."More

Webinars on-demand
Did you know that nearly every webinar GBA has ever offered is available on-demand? Schedule a group lunch to watch and discuss one, or just watch it on your own. Most are eligible for Professional Development Hours (PDHs).More