Category: Construction Industry

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Cross-Laminated Timber Projects: The Pacific Northwest’s Next Big Timber Development

Cross-laminated timber (“CLT”) is a leading building technology that has been employed by European developers for decades, but the product’s use in the United States only recently took hold after its adoption by the 2015 International Building Code. A type of structural timber product composed of dimensional timber layers bonded together with structural adhesives, CLT … Continue Reading

A New Architectural Icon Opens in Seattle

The dramatic “Spheres” at the new Amazon headquarters in downtown Seattle have joined the Space Needle, downtown Seattle Library, Smith Tower, and Pacific Science Center as architectural icons of the city. The project includes meeting spaces for Amazon employees and a botanical garden with over 40,000 plants.  Information about the building and its contents can … Continue Reading

Managing Risk from Gaps in Your Construction Project

Experienced project developers know that managing risk on a major project involves initial planning, design, construction, and commissioning. These tasks call for different skill sets — making it tempting to think of them as separate — but they need to be coordinated to prevent the creation of troublesome gaps in areas of responsibility. In my latest … Continue Reading

Solar PPA Provider That Only “Arranges” Installation of System It Owns Is Not a “Contractor” in California

In the recently issued but unpublished decision Reed v. SunRun, Inc. (Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. BC498002, Feb. 2, 2018), the Second District Court of Appeal ruled that a solar power purchase agreement (“PPA”) provider that only sells solar energy to homeowners is not required to be a licensed California contractor under certain circumstances.  … Continue Reading

Best Practices for Staying Off of OSHA’s “Naughty List”

Construction projects, both big and small, pose a host of safety risks and challenges and, as a result, are subject to a number of regulations designed to limit the probability and severity of jobsite accidents. In my latest article for the Daily Journal of Commerce, I discuss common violations, some recent regulatory changes, best practices … Continue Reading

Microsoft Planning Large Campus Renovation and Expansion Project in Redmond

Microsoft Corporation recently announced plans to revitalize its 500-acre Redmond campus with dramatic renovation and expansion work to be completed over the next five to seven years. The project will include the addition of 18 new buildings, 6.7 million square feet of renovated office space, $150 million in transportation infrastructure improvements, public spaces, sports fields … Continue Reading

Doing It Differently: Portland’s Plan to Redevelop the U.S. Post Office Site and Broadway Corridor

Portland real estate is booming and Portland is now on the map for many national and international developers for the first time. This success, while enviable, is not without some negative consequences, as evidenced by increasing housing costs and congestion. As Portland anticipates the arrival of even more people, it is trying to figure out … Continue Reading

Insurers Attempt to Avoid Coverage (Mis)using the Professional Services Endorsement

Parties spend significant time negotiating insurance provisions for protection in the event they face claims related to defective construction, but those protections can be rendered worthless if the wrong insurance forms are used.  In my recent Daily Journal of Commerce article, I look at one particularly troublesome provision – the “professional services” endorsement – and … Continue Reading

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
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