Category: Construction Contracts

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The Devil is in the Details: Contractual Additional Insured Requirements

Owners frequently require their contractors to name them as additional insureds. Owners and contractors often include requirements seeking to have the obligation to name them as additional insureds “flow down” to parties with whom they lack a direct contractual relationship (e.g., subconsultants, subcontractors, and suppliers).  Despite the simplicity and appeal of this arrangement, contractual additional … Continue Reading

“Blurred Lines”: Important Caveats to Consider with Integrated Project Delivery

The shared risk/reward concept of an integrated project delivery (IPD) arrangement is an increasingly attractive collaborative approach to construction projects.  But IPD is still a relatively new concept with unique risks and challenges.  In my recent article for the Daily Journal of Commerce, I discuss some key points that should be considered before undertaking any … Continue Reading

Teaming Agreements Set Out Construction Team Members’ Relationship and Responsibilities in Pursuing Award of a Contract

A written teaming agreement is useful in defining the roles and responsibilities of a team of designers and contractors seeking to win a contract for a construction project. In my recent article for the Daily Journal of Commerce, I detail several key aspects of a well-drafted teaming agreement. Read the full article here. “Teaming Agreements: … Continue Reading

Design-Build Certification

One should never stop learning, so next week I will attend a three-day seminar presented by the Design-Build Institute of America. If I complete the seminar and pass a test, I will become a Designated Design-Build Professional.  The DBIA has an informative page about certification on its website. In preparation for the seminar, I completed … Continue Reading

When “Non-Binding” LOIs Become Binding

A letter of intent (“LOI”) is often the first document in a proposed deal – a summary of a range of key terms or concepts for negotiation toward entering into a final, formal agreement. But what seems like a simple document can be much more than a mere list of possible terms to be discussed … Continue Reading

Choice of Law Provisions Cannot Bypass California’s Prohibition on Jury Waivers

Last week, the California Court of Appeal ruled that a property owner was entitled to a jury trial in a dispute with a lender despite the fact that the loan agreement contained a jury waiver provision and a New York choice-of-law provision. The case involved the San Francisco apartment complex known as the Rincon Towers. … Continue Reading

Joint Venturers Must Venture Carefully

There are good reasons to partner with other designers or contractors–even competitors–on construction and design projects.  Perhaps such a collaboration gives you access to new geographical or industry markets, or enables you to take on a project of broader scope.   A joint venture arrangement is a straight-forward way to collaborate in such instances.  However, there … Continue Reading

Idaho Reads Force Majeure Clause Broadly as Written

In a ruling supporting common sense, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that a county could not avoid the application of a broad force majeure clause in its development agreement with a developer based on the county’s denial of the rezoning required for the very development. The key facts in Burns Concrete, Inc. v. Teton County, … Continue Reading

Joint Washington/Oregon Construction Law Seminar – November 4, 2016

On November 4, 2016, my colleague, Andrew Gibson (from the Portland office of Stoel Rives), and I will co-chair a joint OSBA/WSBA construction law CLE, entitled Two States of Construction Law: Working in Both Washington and Oregon, located at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver, Washington. This seminar will include a panel of knowledgeable lawyers with … Continue Reading

Self-Imposed ADA Audits: The Developer’s Best Option

Recent rulings indicate that courts across the country view project owners’ and developers’ liability for ADA claims differently than they do other compliance violations.  Owners’ attempts to raise questions of contractor negligence, breach of contract or breach of warranty are being rejected.  So what can a project owner do? In my recent article for the … Continue Reading

Negotiating by a Thousand Texts: LOL? Think Again.

The law may be slow to evolve, but courts are beginning to embrace 21st century communication methods.  The prospect of negotiating a deal by text message may seem like a laughing matter, but a Massachusetts court recently relied on parties’ email and text communications to determine the essential elements of an agreement for the sale … Continue Reading

Subcontractor Costs May Become Public Record in Federal Aid Contracts

Contractors who bid on public projects that utilize federal money  can be surprised by additional administrative requirements they do not usually find in their contracts.  In my recent article for the Daily Journal of Commerce, I discuss one of those requirements that may require you to disclose  subcontractor agreements, and what you can do to … Continue Reading

“Without Performance Specifications, Green Building Can LEED to Disputes

It’s been more than 20 years since the LEED standard was introduced, and green building has now become a significant percentage of new U.S. commercial real estate construction.  The benefits of green building techniques and products have made LEED certification a hot commodity and changed the construction industry.  But there are also risks involved if … Continue Reading

“From, For, and Against”: What’s the Difference?

Indemnity provisions are often among the most negotiated and least understood provisions of commercial contracts, and construction contracts are no exception to this rule. Despite, and perhaps because of, the importance of these clauses, they have evolved into an almost impenetrable jumble of legal terminology. This jumble of words is not, however, without meaning. Although … Continue Reading

Termination Clauses a Must for Owners

The recent termination of the joint venture of Skanska-Hunt from the Washington State Convention Center project (article here) is a good reminder of the importance of well-written termination clauses in your owner-contractor contracts.  The reasons for termination (or “severance,” a slightly kinder word) can be many, including failure to agree on pricing (the reason given … Continue Reading

Recent Survey Lauds Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), But Are There Risks with IPD?

According to an October 15, 2015 report published in the Engineering News-Record, covering the broadest survey performed to date on IPD, the industry is moving toward more collaborative contracting schemes, with what appears to be an overwhelmingly positive response strongly supporting risk and reward sharing multi-party agreements.  Conducted by the University of Minnesota and sponsored … Continue Reading

Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst – Drafting Construction or Design Contracts

When embarking on a new design or construction contract, all parties hope the road will be smooth and that any bumps can be handled by agreement. However, real disputes do occur.  When they do, a well-crafted contract can provide rules for resolution.  It is best to formulate those rules before disputes arise.  In my recent … Continue Reading

Yes, Contractor Licensing May Be Required Under California Law Even if the Contractor Does Not Physically Build Anything Itself

It seems that almost weekly, and certainly monthly, I receive a call or inquiry from colleagues and/or prospective clients as to whether a license is really required if the prospective “contractor” is not actually building anything but is merely facilitating a “deal” or is hiring otherwise qualified and licensed contractors and trades. Virtually every time … Continue Reading

Hate Negotiating? Think It is a Waste of Time? Think Again. Seven Habits of Successful Negotiators

If you dislike negotiating, you are not alone. But successful negotiators understand and embrace the opportunities that a negotiation presents.  In my recent article for the Daily Journal of Commerce, I discuss seven habits of successful negotiators that can help you successfully conclude your construction-related negotiations. Read the full article here.   “Hate Negotiating? Think It … Continue Reading

Protections Against Subcontractor Defaults

Subcontractor default is a construction project nightmare that can result in significant additional costs and delay completion of the project. But there are two chief options to protect against such risks — performance bonds and subcontractor default insurance.  In my recent article for the Daily Journal of Commerce, I outline the unique characteristics of each … Continue Reading

Public Contracting Code Reminders

Developing public projects in Oregon requires an understanding of the Oregon Public Contracting Code and the complexities of procurement requirements. In my recent article for the Daily Journal of Commerce, I discuss four facets of public contracting that can help you successfully navigate the procurement terrain.  Read the full article here. “Public Contracting Code Reminders” was … Continue Reading

The Trend Towards Liability Waivers in Design and Construction

The increasing presence of liability waivers in construction and design contracts is of concern to owners, general contractors and architects alike.  In my recent article for the Daily Journal of Commerce, I address a variety of clauses that limit liability and offer tips for negotiating more reasonable conditions and limits.  Read the full article here. … Continue Reading

The Jury’s Out: AAA Issues New Construction Industry Rules Expanding Powers of Arbitrators

There are inherent risks in proceeding to trial by jury. Juries are often unpredictable, and civil litigation also requires extensive discovery and motions practice, which can delay resolution and increase uncertainty and costs. Arbitration has long been accepted as the answer to these problems. But the changing nature of disputes, increasing costs and inefficiencies have … Continue Reading

Contract Conflict Bears a Cautionary Tale

In the haste to get design and construction moving on real estate projects, one may lose sight of important lien priority issues when negotiating and executing contracts. In my recent article for the Daily Journal of Commerce, I discuss a notable Washington appellate case that addresses a lien priority issue in the context of multiple … Continue Reading
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