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Andrew Gibson helps his clients build successful projects and negotiate and resolve disputes. As a partner in Stoel Rives’ Real Estate, Construction and Design practice, Andrew is experienced in drafting and negotiating all forms of project documents, from the design phase through construction, and regularly  assists clients with navigating the typical tricks and traps of contracting and insurance coverage issues. He is also a veteran of a variety of legal proceedings and has successfully pursued construction defect claims, insurance and bond claims, bid protests, stop payment notices, mechanic’s liens, real estate disputes, and collection actions through mediation, arbitration, and litigation.

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In their focus on starting a construction project, developers, designers, and contractors can fall prey to unintended consequences arising from their deferral to and use of an “industry standard” contract form—as opposed to taking the time to precisely tailor the contract to the project’s needs and risks. In my latest article for the Daily Journal

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

If a contractor cannot meet deadlines on a construction project or a subcontractor pulls out of a new project bid in order to pursue a more attractive opportunity, the project owner and/or prime contractor face potentially significant damages, which can include corrective work, costs of completion or substitute performance, and delay. In my latest column

In too many cases, the developers, builders and designers of a construction project focus on starting work and pay inadequate attention to making sure important details of their insurance coverage are fully in place. Coverage denials can result from deferring to “standard” insurance forms, relying on informal broker assurances and not taking the time to

In response to COVID-19, construction projects in California are currently subject to a statewide Executive Order and potentially other similar (or dissimilar) “stay home” or “shelter in place” orders or directives issued by counties and cities. Under the California statewide order, only businesses needed to maintain continuity of operations of identified federal critical infrastructure sectors (click here for the list) may continue to operate. Construction is not identified as a separate “critical infrastructure sector,” but many construction projects fall under the umbrellas of other sectors, such as “critical manufacturing,” “energy,” “healthcare,” and “commercial facilities.” The California State Public Health Officer also designated the following “essential workforce” members of relevance to the construction industry (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • “Construction Workers who support the construction, operation, inspection, and maintenance of construction sites and construction projects (including housing construction)”
  • “Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, construction material sources, and essential operation of construction sites and construction projects (including those that support such projects to ensure the availability of needed facilities, transportation, energy and communications; and support to ensure the effective removal, storage, and disposal of solid waste and hazardous waste)”

One challenge somewhat unique to owners and contractors is that the applicable orders are generally directed at identifying “essential businesses” or “critical businesses,” while owners and contractors may have a mix of projects—with some likely essential (such as construction of a hospital), others likely not (such as construction of a nightclub), and many falling in a grey area in between. When analyzing “grey area” projects it is recommended to focus on the traits of the particular project rather than attempt to understand whether your business—which may include a range of projects—can generally continue to operate.

Negotiating construction contract language in 2017 can have important consequences years into the future. The obligations and rights arising from one often overlooked clause, that addressing contractual “third-party beneficiaries,” i.e. “a person or entity who, though not a party to the contract, stands to benefit from the contract’s performance,”  can vary considerably from state to