Construction Law Blog

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Use of Dispute Review Boards as an Alternative to Arbitration

Date: December 18, 2014  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Contracting, Construction News and Notes  /  Comments (0)

Dispute Review Boards ("DRB") - sometimes referred to as Dispute Resolution Boards - are creations of the construction industry. DRBs were developed by predominantly non-lawyer construction professionals who were dissatisfied with the use of arbitration and litigation to resolve construction disputes. 

WISHA Compliance: Tough to Argue with “Gravity”

Date: December 11, 2014  /  Author: Brad Westmoreland  /  Categories: Regulatory Administration, Construction News and Notes  /  Comments (0)

One of the responsibilities of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (“L&I”) is to oversee the administration of the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (“WISHA”).  L&I accomplishes this task by certifying compliance and assessing penalties for violations of safety and health regulations on the jobsite.  When a violation occurs, L&I levies a base penalty that is determined in one of two ways.  If the law has already specified a penalty amount for the particular violation that has occurred, L&I fines the offender for that sum.  If there is no specified rate for the violation, L&I matches the penalty with a gravity score assigned to the violating condition.

Arbitration Should Not Be "Warmed-Over" Litigation

Date: December 9, 2014  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Rants and Raves, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)  /  Comments (0)

This blog article is another rant about how to improve arbitration.  For more on the subject, read our blog articles "Ways to Make the Construction Dispute Resolution Process More Efficient and Less Expensive" - Part I and Part II

Top 10 Construction Industry Contract Provisions - Price and Payment - Part I

Date: December 4, 2014  /  Author: James R. Lynch  /  Categories: Contracting, Construction News and Notes, Claims, Change Orders  /  Comments (0)

This is the fifth post in our "Top 10 Construction Contract Provisions" series, which covers the topic is price and payment provisions.  Although these are typically separate terms they are so closely related that we are counting them together in our "Top 10."  Together, they answer some of the most fundamental questions about the contract:  What will be paid for the work, when, and how?  Part I of this post will cover the different type of pricing arrangements.  Part II of this post will cover the related topic of payment, including how and when payments are made toward the overall contract price.

Enforcing Subcontractor Bids

Date: December 2, 2014  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Contracting, Construction Bidding, Government Contracts  /  Comments (0)

A contract is created by an offer, an acceptance, and exchange of consideration.  Offers are generally freely revocable prior to acceptance, unless supported by special consideration.  In the construction context, a general contractor's proposal (offer) is generally not accepted (the contract is not awarded) until sometime after bids are opened, but its proposal is based on its subcontractors' bids.  If a subcontractor were to revoke its bid in the period of time between when the bids are opened and the prime contract is awarded, the general contractor could be severely prejudiced.  Accordingly, when submitting bids on projects, a general contractor finds itself on the horns of a dilemma.  Its proposal is open until the contract is awarded, but if a subcontractor revokes its bid prior to award, it would be left to re-procure the subcontract work (generally at a higher cost) with no recourse against the subcontractor who withdrew its bid.

New Seattle Ordinance May Apply to Your Rental Property

Date: November 25, 2014  /  Author: Lawrence S. Glosser  /  Categories: Out of the Ordinary, Construction News and Notes  /  Comments (0)

If you own a residential rental property in Seattle, then you will want to pay attention to the new Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance ("RRIO").  RRIO requires landlords to register all rental housing units located in Seattle with the City of Seattle.  The purpose of RRIO is to help ensure that all rental housing in Seattle is safe and meets basic housing maintenance requirements.

Limiting Contractors' Exposure to Delay Damages - Part II

Date: November 20, 2014  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Contracting, Construction News and Notes, Delay Claims, Damages  /  Comments (0)

This is the second installment of a two-part blog informing contractors how they can limit their exposure to owner's project delay damages.  Part I of this blog series discussed how utilizing well-drafted liquidated damages clauses can protect a contractor from potentially limitless actual damages. Part II discusses the use of consequential damages waivers and limitation of liability clauses as measures to reduce a contractor's risk and exposure to delay damages.

Limiting Contractors’ Exposure to Delay Damages – Part I

Date: November 18, 2014  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Contracting, Construction News and Notes, Delay Claims, Damages  /  Comments (0)

This is part one of a two-part blog series informing contractors how they can limit their exposure to owner's project delay damages, which in many instances may exceed the fee the contractor might otherwise make on the construction project.  Part I of this blog series discusses how utilizing well-drafted liquidated damages clauses can protect a contractor from potentially limitless actual damages.

A Primer on Bid Shopping in Public Contracts - Part II

Date: November 13, 2014  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Recent Legislation, Construction News and Notes, Construction Bidding, Government Contracts  /  Comments (0)

This is the second installment of a two-part blog on bid shopping in public contracts.  Part I introduced the Subcontractor Listing Statute, RCW 39.30.060, which requires all general contractors bidding on public works projects of $1 million or more must submit the names of the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) subcontractors, with whom the prime contractor will contract.  Part II discusses actions arising out of the Subcontractor Listing Statute in more detail.

A Primer on Bid Shopping in Public Contracts - Part I

Date: November 11, 2014  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Recent Legislation, Construction News and Notes, Construction Bidding, Government Contracts  /  Comments (0)

This is a two-part blog on bid shopping in public contracts.  Part I of this blog series explores bid shopping in general, including what it means to bid shop, bid peddle, and the consequences of bid shopping, and Washington's anti-bid shopping laws. Part II discusses actions arising out of the Subcontractor Listing Statute in more detail.