Category: Construction Industry

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Important Lessons from Record-Setting Settlement in Building Collapse Case

Having lived in Philadelphia in 2013 when the four-story “Hoagie City” building collapsed during demolition and toppled the neighboring Salvation Army thrift store, killing seven people and injuring 12 others, I closely followed the recent civil trial that resulted in a $227 million settlement of the plaintiffs’ personal injury and wrongful death claims—a reported record … Continue Reading

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

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

Year-End Insurance Review: Common Coverage Oversights

Carrying adequate insurance on construction projects is a critical aspect of risk management for developers, builders and designers. But it’s a complicated and time-consuming subject, and if you haven’t slogged through the complexity of the details in policies, you may be vulnerable to unintended consequences. In my recent article for the Daily Journal of Commerce, … Continue Reading

Concerns over California’s Increased Earthquakes? Landlords and Developers Should Manage Their Risks Now

During the last month or two there has been a rise of news reports regarding potential earthquakes in California at a greater magnitude than in recent history:  see here and here.  These risks have even been reported recently in a London newspaper.  While the unusual Southern California “big one” warning is now past, the risk has … Continue Reading

Construction Successes in the Seattle Area

It seems that lawyers spend a lot of time dealing with problems and crises, but it is healthy to celebrate successes as well. Here are a few things around Seattle that we can celebrate. Sound Transit continues its expansion of the light rail system. The station next to Husky Stadium opened in March, connecting folks … Continue Reading

A New Wrinkle In Time To Claim Construction Defects

Oregon’s law on statutes of limitation and/or repose periods on construction claims is complex and ever-changing.  A recent Oregon Supreme Court ruling has introduced yet another instance of differing time limits on construction defect claims. In my recent article for the Daily Journal of Commerce, I discuss Schell v. The Schollander Companies, Inc. and the … Continue Reading

OSHA’s New Dust Exposure Rule and Its Potential Impact on Construction Industry

On March 24, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued its final rule related to admissible exposure to respirable crystalline silica. The new rule, which dramatically reduces the permissible exposure limit (“PEL”) of respirable crystalline silica from 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air (an … 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

Key Aspects of Joint Check Agreements

Joint checks are a useful tool in the construction industry to give owners and prime contractors peace of mind that lower-tier subcontractors or suppliers are being paid and potential lien claims are avoided.  But joint check agreements and the subsequent actions can result in unintended consequences and liability. In my recent article for the Daily … 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

10 Important Termination Considerations

When terminating a contract, you want to have a high degree of confidence that termination is justified and done properly. In my recent Daily Journal of Commerce Construction column, I outline 10 important considerations in navigating this high-risk terrain. Read the full article here. “10 Important Termination Considerations” was originally published on Feburary 20, 2015 by … Continue Reading

Bah Humbug: California Supreme Court Won’t Hear Dispute Arising From Overbroad SB800 Decision

You may have recently heard that on December 11, 2013, the California Supreme Court denied the builder’s Petition for Review of the published decision in Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Brookfield Crystal Cove LLC, 163 Cal. Rptr. 3d 600, Cal. App. 4th 98 (2013). For builders and contractors, this is very frustrating news and undermines the … Continue Reading

Contracting For Construction In Oregon? You Need to Know the Law

In my latest Daily Journal of Commerce Construction column, I discuss the need to know Oregon construction contracting law to avoid unwanted consequences. In Oregon, construction contracts are subject to a wide variety of legal requirements, many of which are often ignored or, in some cases, violated with disastrous results. Following link will provide a summary … Continue Reading

When Is a Private Project a Public Work for Prevailing Wage Application in California?

In recent years, the Department of Industrial Relations (“DIR”), the Legislature and the California courts have expanded the application of the prevailing wage law to projects through the broad definition of a “public works,” beyond what most contractors, owners and even counsel would expect.  While most involved in construction anticipate that any work directly for, … Continue Reading

A Valid Contract Limits the Amount of a Mechanic’s Lien, Even Against a Party with No Direct Contract with a Contractor

A California appellate court recently held that the value of an original construction contract is admissible as evidence to limit a contractor’s right to recovery under Civil Code section 3123(a), even by a property buyer that was not a party to the construction contract. Appel v. Los Angeles Superior Court (CA No. B244590, Mar. 11, 2013). The … Continue Reading

Five Tips to Prepare for Delay

As they say, timing is everything, and the success of a development project often hinges on when it will be complete. Whether it’s a new business, a new school, or some other project, delay can be disastrous for an owner. Here are five tips to reduce the risks of project delay. Avoid terms that shift … Continue Reading

The Litigation Process: An Upper Division School of Hard Knocks

Litigation can be one of the most time-consuming and expensive ways to resolve disputes in the construction industry. Often, parties to construction-related disputes prefer to resolve them through alternate dispute resolution procedures, such as mediation or arbitration. However, sometimes litigation cannot be avoided. In his latest article in the Daily Journal of Commerce, Guy Randles … Continue Reading
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