For anyone building a dream vacation home, renovating an existing commercial structure, or developing a multimillion-dollar, mixed-use project, construction contract terms are of utmost importance. One often overlooked clause covers the contractual “third-party beneficiary” (TBP)—a person or entity who, though not a party to the contract, stands to benefit from the contract’s performance. Interpretations of

On June 10, I will be co-chairing and my colleague Colm Nelson will be a panelist during the annual mid-year WSBA Construction Law Section CLE.  This program is a full-day webinar presented by the WSBA in partnership with Stoel Rives and will cover construction law updates, public works issues, and judicial perspectives on litigation in

On May 6, 2022, I will be presenting as part of The Seminar Group CLE seminar Construction Project Scheduling & Delay Claims, which you can attend in Seattle or online. Intended for architects, attorneys, contractors, engineers, and municipal and government employees, the seminar will cover critical-path schedule and delay concepts and legal concepts and

The importance of carefully drafting, and following, a construction contract’s termination provisions was made clear for project owners and contractors by a recent Washington Supreme Court decision, Conway Construction Co. v. City of Puyallup. The city contracted with Conway to build a major roadway, but when the city lost confidence in Conway’s work, it issued

In its March 11, 2021 opinion, Division Three of the Washington Court of Appeals considered whether the 90-day period to record a claim of lien is extended by a contractor performing work after substantial completion to correct nonconforming work – usually referred to as “warranty work.”  In the case of Brashear Electric, Inc. v. Norcal Properties, LLC, the Court strictly construed the statutory term “repairing” to exclude the contractor’s correction of its own work and rejected the notion that warranty work extended the 90-day timeframe to file a lien claim.

Norcal Properties, LLC (“Norcal”) and Blue Bridge Properties, LLC (“Blue”) own adjacent properties.  Norcal and Blue separately contracted with Vandervert Construction (“Vandervert”) to construct a building on each property.  The prime agreements’ substantive provisions were identical.  Vandervert subcontracted with Brashear Electric, Inc. (“Brashear”) to work on both projects.

Under the prime agreements, Vandervert promised to correct nonconforming work up to a year after substantial completion.  Vandervert’s subcontracts with Brashear required Brashear to assume the prime agreements’ warranty provisions.

Among the many effects on the U.S. economy of the COVID-19 pandemic, construction projects that started before it began but were halted in its aftermath may be slow to resume or be abandoned altogether thanks to funding issues. Contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers feel immense pressure to protect and preserve their rights to payment for work

In Conway Construction Company v. City of Puyallup, No. 80649-1-1 (May 4, 2020), the Washington Court of Appeals, Division 1, adopted Oregon’s Shelter Products, Inc. v. Steelwood Construction, Inc., precluding certain claims for defects in termination cases and limiting the justification for termination to those listed in the termination notice.  It also held that Washington’s settlement statute protecting public owners, RCW 39.04.240, trumps an attorney fee provision in a contract.

In Conway, the City of Puyallup (“City”) contracted with Conway Construction Company (“Conway”) to construct certain roadway improvements.  During the project, the City became concerned about construction defects.  The City issued notices to Conway expressing its concerns.  The City also observed unsafe work conditions and reported the safety violations to the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.  After issuing a series of notices, the City terminated Conway because of its defective work and safety violations.

State and local officials across the country have responded to COVID-19 with various executive orders and restrictions on businesses to help flatten the curve of the pandemic. Each state’s response opens the door for potential impacts on projects commencing or under construction, and on the parties involved with those projects.

To assist clients and friends,