Tag: Construction Contracts

The Importance of Third-party Beneficiary Clauses in Contracts

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 … Continue Reading

Inflation: The Elephant in a Construction Dispute or Contract Negotiation

Inflation has spared no part of the U.S. economy, but the construction market in particular is feeling its effects, and it is crucial that owners , contractors, and design professionals be cognizant of the risks presented by inflation and aware of and understand the options to mitigate them. In my latest column for the Daily … Continue Reading

War-fueled Construction Cost Increases May Warrant Look at Force Majeure

In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and economic sanctions imposed by countries around the world in response, supply chain disruptions and the resulting scarcity of construction have resulted in price escalation that threatens construction project budgets. To allocate the risk of these sorts of cost increases, project owners and contractors may use … Continue Reading

Managing Engineering Liability and Risk in Oregon

On February 25, 2022, my colleague Zachary Davis and I will be presenting as part of a HalfMoon Education live interactive webinar Managing Engineering Liability and Risk in Oregon. Zachary will present “Law of Engineering Malpractice,” an overview of professional liability claims. I will present “Understanding How Contracts Can Shift, Reduce (or Increase) Risk,” an … Continue Reading

Every Construction Project Comes With Risk, but It Can Be Managed

In my latest article for the Daily Journal of Commerce, I provide a few suggestions for contractors, and perhaps project owners as well, to manage risk through a construction contract. Provisions that can be included in a contract to achieve that end might include: The owner limits its potential claims to direct damages and waives … Continue Reading

Ideas to Help Contractors Build Better Projects in the Year Ahead

The year 2021 was an interesting and unsettled one in the construction industry — bids and projects grew in numbers in some market sectors and regions yet slowed or halted in others. An aftereffect of this activity was a variety of claims and disputes, which, coupled with the ongoing pandemic and increasing market uncertainty, particularly … Continue Reading

Don’t Overlook Your Liquidated Damages Provision

Among contractual provisions that sometimes go unnoticed or unappreciated is the “liquidated damages” provision, which is often used in construction contracts to identify the amount of damages that a contractor will owe the owner if there is a delay in completing construction. In my latest article for the Daily Journal of Commerce, I provide some … Continue Reading

‘Project Float’: Who Owns it and What Should Be Done About It?

Construction projects are complex and often experience delays.  The party responsible for the delay can find itself subject to potentially severe consequences. There are various ways project owners and contractors can cause project delays, and each party wants to “own” the project float to be able to apply the project’s extra schedule time toward its … Continue Reading

Surety Bonds vs. Subcontractor Default Insurance

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 … Continue Reading

Construction Contract Termination Provisions: Recent Washington Case Examines Parties’ Rights

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 the … Continue Reading

A Key Battleground: Material Price Escalations and Supply Chain Disruptions

At the forefront of concerns for those in the construction industry is the escalation in material prices and disruptions to supply chains that were in large part a byproduct of the pandemic. Project owners and contractors want to understand their rights with regard to these risks and also how the risks should be apportioned. In … Continue Reading

Don’t Be Late! (But Assume That Your Construction Project May Be)

Today, the construction industry faces a myriad of challenges – as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, rapidly increasing construction material costs, labor and material shortages, and a hot housing market are potential obstacles for project owners and contractors that, despite their best efforts and intentions, could prevent them from completing their construction projects on time. … Continue Reading

Pandemic Creates Cause to Rethink Overlooked Contract Provisions

The construction industry has proved adaptable over the course of the pandemic — owners and general and trade contractors have worked closely to ensure that work continued, while keeping workers safe and complying with the various government-ordered and -recommended practices intended to slow the spread of COVID-19. By now, most owners and contractors are well … Continue Reading

Strategic Tips That Parties Should Consider When Mediating Disputes

Nearly all construction industry standard form contracts require mediation as part of their dispute resolution provisions. Often confused with arbitration, mediation is a negotiation facilitated by a neutral third party. Unlike arbitration — a proceeding like a trial — mediation does not result in a final binding decision. And the mediator typically does not have … Continue Reading

Three Tips for Owners and Contractors to Improve Their Odds of Success in 2021

While all of us begin 2021 still confronting the challenge of COVID-19, construction project owners face particular pandemic-related issues in their industry, including the need to maintain strict best practices for projects and manage scheduling and labor challenges for existing and new projects. In my latest article for the Daily Journal of Commerce, I provide … Continue Reading

Why Early Mediations Often Fail, and Possible Remedies

Unlike 20 years ago, when a mediation – a commonly used route for resolving disputes in the construction claims process – was typically held close to the trial date, today the prospect of an early settlement can lead to the parties often seeking multiple mediation sessions over the course of a dispute. Additionally, construction and … Continue Reading

When to Have the Hard Talk About Setting Liquidated Damages

In my latest column for the Daily Journal of Commerce, I look at the concept of liquidated damages – in my experience one of the top five heavily negotiated (and litigated) clauses in a construction contract. Because a project owner’s potential delay damages are often difficult to determine with certainty at the beginning of a … Continue Reading

Allocate Payments Clearly to Minimize Construction Disputes

In an ideal world, a contractor performs a portion of the work on a project as provided for in a construction contract, the owner pays the contractor an installment payment for that portion of the work, and the parties continue similarly until the work is finished. However, many factors can upset the equation – changes … Continue Reading

When to Prepare for Project Disputes? Always.

Originally published as an Op-Ed in the Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce on June 19, 2020. Whether you are an owner, contractor, or design professional, construction disputes are, unfortunately, inevitable.  Below are some tips to avoid potential pitfalls and help resolve disputes as efficiently as possible, whether before or after formal litigation (or arbitration) commences. … Continue Reading

New Oregon Law Complicates Retainage on Construction Projects

If you do not follow the Oregon legislature closely, you may have missed a new law, which went into effect January 1, 2020, that impacts the treatment of retainage on private and public construction projects over $500,000. For private and public construction contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2020 that include a contract … Continue Reading

Can (or Should) My Project Continue During the Shutdown?

Several weeks have passed since Governor Brown formally ordered all Oregonians to “Stay Home, Save Lives,” and owners, project designers, and contractors have all had the opportunity to absorb its initial impacts.  While many stakeholders were initially relieved that construction projects in Oregon could apparently continue—subject to the various social distancing and travel restrictions described … Continue Reading

Your Contract Might Not Be Ironclad: A Primer on Waiver-by-Conduct

Parties involved in a construction project can expect to spend much energy and effort to finalize the terms and conditions of a contract. Although those terms usually carry great weight in any contract dispute, of equal or greater importance can be the parties’ actions and course of dealing during construction. A lack of strict adherence … Continue Reading

Recession Warnings Pile Up: Harbinger of Liens?

Some economic indicators point to a recession in the not-too-distant future, and parties involved in construction projects should take steps to avoid (or perfect) liens and protect their rights if there is a downturn. The complexities of Oregon’s lien laws are best negotiated with the assistance of experienced counsel. In my inaugural article for the … Continue Reading

Reminder of January 1, 2019 Mandatory New Notice Requirement by CA Residential Solar Contractors

In 2017, the California Legislature passed a bill that resulted in Business and Professions Code (BPC) section 7169, which ultimately would require Home Improvement Contractors, which include contractors that install solar systems on residences, to issue specific disclosures to any residential consumers who may want to purchase, finance or lease, and install a solar system on … Continue Reading
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