Construction Law Blog

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Two Companies Fined for Failing to Locate and Mark Underground Utilities

Date: February 27, 2014  /  Author: Matt Paxton  /  Categories: Out of the Ordinary, Regulatory Administration, Construction News and Notes, Recent Legislation, Damages  /  Comments (0)

On January 9, 2014, the Washington Utilities and Transpiration Commission ("UTC") announced that it has fined two utility companies, Pacific Power and Light Co. ("Pacific Power") and Frontier Communications Northwest, Inc. ("Frontier"), under Washington's new Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act (the "Act").  These are the first two penalties issued by the UTC since the Act took effect on January 1, 2013. 

President Makes Promises to Contractors in State of the Union

Date: February 18, 2014  /  Author: Matt Paxton  /  Categories: Out of the Ordinary, Government Contracts, Construction News and Notes, Recent Legislation  /  Comments (0)

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama again made building infrastructure a centerpiece of his jobs plan, promising to cut though the bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects:

we can take the money we save with this transition to tax reform to create jobs rebuilding our roads, upgrading our ports, unclogging our commutes - because in today's global economy, first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure.  We'll need Congress to protect more than three million jobs by finishing transportation and waterways bills this summer.  But I will act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible.

At this point, it isn't clear how he is going to reduce the bureaucracy inherent in federal construction projects or which "key project" he intends to streamline.  

Washington Considers Expanding GC/CM Contracting for Heavy Civil Projects

Date: February 11, 2014  /  Author: James R. Lynch  /  Categories: Government Contracts, Construction News and Notes, Recent Legislation  /  Comments (0)

The Washington State Legislature is reviewing legislation to expand the availability of the "general contractor/construction manager" or "GC/CM" method of construction on public construction projects. 

WSDOT Makes a Drastic Move by Publishing its Intent to Exclude Non-Minority Women-Owned Businesses from DBE Participation Goals for 2014

Date: January 9, 2014  /  Author: Ellie Perka  /  Categories: MBE/DBE/WBE, Government Contracts, Construction Bidding, Regulatory Administration, Construction News and Notes, Recent Legislation  /  Comments (1)

On the eve of the holiday season, the Washington State Department of Transportation (“WSDOT”) published its intent to submit a proposal to the United States Department of Transportation (“USDOT”) with two striking and drastic changes to the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (“DBE”) Program in Washington.  These changes will have a radical effect on non-minority women-owned DBEs. Women-Owned Businesses (“WBEs”) should take swift action to halt WSDOT’s proposed changes, which will have lasting detrimental impacts on small businesses in Washington and the construction industry as a whole.  

Why a Washington False Claim Act Should Not Apply to Construction Contracts - Part II

Date: December 19, 2013  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Government Contracts, Construction News and Notes, Recent Legislation, Claims  /  Comments (0)

This is the second part of the two-part blog urging lawmakers to vote against a False Claims Act in Washington.

Why a Washington False Claims Act Should Not Apply to Construction Contracts - Part I

Date: December 17, 2013  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Government Contracts, Construction News and Notes, Recent Legislation, Claims  /  Comments (0)

We can expect the perennial False Claims Act bill to be on Washington lawmakers' 2014 legislative agenda again this year.  This is part one of a two-part blog urging lawmakers to vote against passage of a False Claims Act pertaining to construction in Washington.

More Washington Infrastructure Projects On The Horizon - Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan

Date: December 3, 2013  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Government Contracts, Construction News and Notes, Rants and Raves, Recent Legislation  /  Comments (0)

Governor Jay Inslee recently spoke in Ellensburg, Washington and emphasized the need for more infrastructure projects in the state of Washington.[i]  Speaking to a largely Eastern Washington agricultural audience, the Governor emphasized that the State's roads "need work," and if they do not get it soon, farmers trying to move their crops to market will definitely notice.  "I am here to report to you we are in deep, deep trouble," Inslee said in his keynote address to the Annual Economic Outlook Conference at Central Washington University.[ii]  Inslee, citing the collapse of the I-5 bridge in Skagit County several months ago, along with cuts to bus service across the state, indicated that more drivers are now on the road.  He stressed the need for a bipartisan transportation funding package for maintenance.

Proposed Rule Limits Contractors' Ability to Fight Negative Evaluations

Date: October 22, 2013  /  Author: John P. Ahlers & Mallory Bouchee  /  Categories: Recent Legislation, Construction News and Notes, Government Contracts  /  Comments (0)

Contractors who complete federal public projects are given Past Performance Evaluations ("PPE") by the public entity, as outlined by Federal Acquisition Regulation ("FAR") 42.15.  Currently, after a PPE is sent to the contractor, the contractor has 30 days to comment on the evaluation before it is published in the Past Performance Information Retrieval System ("PPIRS").  Once the PPE is published in the PPIRS it becomes available for all other agencies to view.  A new rule has been proposed (78 FAR 48123) that would require the evaluations to be included in the PPIRS database not later than 14 days after the delivery of the information to the contractor.  This means the contractor would be limited to 14 days to respond to an evaluation before it is published for all agencies to obtain access, regardless of whether or not the contractor has been able to actually respond to or rebut a particular criticism.

General Contractor/Construction Manager - A New Trend in Public Works Contracting

Date: October 15, 2013  /  Author: Mallory Bouchee  /  Categories: Recent Legislation, Construction News and Notes, Contracting, Construction Bidding, Government Contracts  /  Comments (0)

The General Contractor/Construction Manager ("GCCM") method, sometimes referred to as Construction Manager/General Contractor ("CMGC"), is an alternative approach to the customary prime contractor procurement process.  In the traditional approach, owners aim to have a complete project design finished when general contractors begin bidding.  Under the GCCM approach, however, owners hire a contractor during the early design stages.  This contractor takes on the role of construction manager during design development, project planning, and budget creation.  When the project is almost ready to begin construction, the owner and contractor negotiate a "guaranteed maximum price" for construction services, and the construction manager becomes the general contractor.  Unlike the competitive bidding procedure used in traditional contracting, owners using the GCCM method often make their selection on the basis of qualifications, such as experience or personnel, rather than price.

Congress Removes Limitations for Women-Owned Small Businesses

Date: July 31, 2013  /  Author: Mallory Bouchee  /  Categories: Recent Legislation, Construction News and Notes, Regulatory Administration, Contracting, Government Contracts, MBE/DBE/WBE  /  Keywords: Women-Owned ;Small Business;WOSB 1  /  Comments (0)

New National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 Removes Contract Thresholds for Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB).