Best Practices Construction Law

Best Practices Construction Law

Best Practices Resources

Matt has written articles and given presentations on all aspects of construction law. Find a resource here.

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Best Practices top posts include claims preparation, contract drafting, and litigation pitfalls. You don’t want to miss these ones.

Matthew DeVries

Matt is a construction & litigation attorney at Burr & Forman LLP and father of seven young kids.

Category Archives: Project Management

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LOL! OMG. HUH? Court Finds That Text Message Can Form Binding Contract

Posted in Best Practices, Case Law, Contract Docs, Legal Trends, Project Management
In the world of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, it is no secret that individuals are communicating regularly on their smartphones about their business affairs. Recently, a court addressed the question about whether a text message can constitute a writing sufficient under the Statute of Frauds to create an enforceable contract. In St. John’s Holdings, LLC… Continue Reading

Subcontractor’s Failure to Strictly Comply With Notice Provision Costs $200,000

Posted in Best Practices, Case Law, Claims and Disputes, Legal Trends, Tennessee
Whether you are an owner, contractor, subcontractor or supplier, you will want to read the rest of this post since it illustrates precisely what all those attorneys have been telling you for years: “Please, please, please read your contract.” In this instance, one party’s failure to strictly follow the contractual notice provision was a $209,235.36… Continue Reading

Top 7 Factors Affecting Labor Productivity Losses On A Construction Project

Posted in Best Practices, Legal Trends, Project Management, Scheduling
Construction labor is always in the news. Last month, I wrote an article for the Nashville Business Journal challenging industry leaders on how to respond to the shortage of skilled labor in the area.  Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor issued new overtime regulations, which no doubt will affect your workforce.  When you deal with construction… Continue Reading

One Awesome Case Discussing The Difference Between Delay and Disruption Damages!

Posted in Case Law, Claims and Disputes, Legal Trends, Scheduling, Texas, Transportation
Rarely do you find a case that succinctly addresses a construction law issue.  Today, one of my legal alerts pointed me to one such case dealing with delay damages and disruption damages. This is a must read! In County of Galveston v. Triple B Services, LLP, decided on May 26, 2016, the Court of Appeals of Texas… Continue Reading

Public Owner Recovers Liquidated Damages Even After Terminating Contractor for Convenience

Posted in Case Law, Claims and Disputes, Legal Trends
You can’t have your cake and eat it too.  That’s no fun!  Why even get the cake if you are not allowed to eat it?  Recently, a court held that a public owner could have both a termination for convenience, as well as liquidated damages. In Old Colony Construction, LLC v. Southington, 316 Conn. 202… Continue Reading

Proceed Wisely, Ninja Contractor, Because Suing Your DOT May Have Limitations

Posted in Case Law, Claims, Claims and Disputes, Federal Construction, Legal Trends, Transportation
No self-respecting Ninja goes into battle without a plan, right? You need to know your environment, your opponent and the rules of the battle.  For you Ninja contractors, it’s a good thing to fully understand your potential recovery before you spend countless months and thousands of dollars pursuing a claim against your state DOT for… Continue Reading

Opening Up the Doors (Roads) for Design-Build Contracts on Highway Projects

Posted in Best Practices, Contract Docs, Federal Construction, Transportation
The Department of Transportation in my home state of New Mexico is the latest to allow the design-build delivery method for highway projects. Although design-build had been approved in New Mexico on limited public projects, road and highway construction had been previously excluded.  That changed on March 9, 2016, when Governor Susana Martinez signed into… Continue Reading

Contractors: Do You Have a Cell Phone Policy? Is It Time for an Upgrade?

Posted in Best Practices, Project Management
Smart phones and tablets are now commonplace on the construction job site.  Are your cell phone policies as outdated as the original the flip phones that you issued to your employees? Do you even have a cell phone policy? Given the legal risks involved with your superintendents, project managers and other employees, you should should… Continue Reading

Provide Notice (and 10 Other Tasks) When Pursuing a Construction Claim

Posted in Best Practices, Case Law, Claims and Disputes, Project Management, Scheduling
When dealing with construction claims—whether one for construction defects, outstanding payment, or delay damages—an initial hurdle is making sure that proper notice has been given.  Generally, you have to make sure that you comply with the contract or insurance provisions by: (1) giving written notice of the claim; (2) to the correct party; (3) within… Continue Reading

Risk or Reward? Using Drones on Your Construction Project

Posted in Best Practices, Claims and Disputes, Technology
In this week’s issue of ENR, technology writer Luke Abaffy details the use of drones by Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to conduct bridge inspections. We’ve all seen the YouTube videos or Facebook posts of a drone in action. The recent article in the ENR magazine highlights a new testing program by MnDOT that is… Continue Reading

Real Estate Development and Construction Contracts: What You Need to Know

Posted in Best Practices, Contract Docs, Development
Noted author and business attorney Peter Siviglia once said: “In this world, … there are two forms of writing: creative (such as novels, plays, and poetry) and expository (such as treatises, letters, memorandums, and briefs).  I’ve tried both and prefer a third: Contracts, which do not entertain, do not convey information or ideas, and do not try to… Continue Reading

Government Contractors: Threatening to File a Claim is Not the Same as Filing a Claim

Posted in Case Law, Claims and Disputes, Federal Construction, Legal Trends
Words matter. Grammar matters. Even punctuation matters: Let’s eat, Grandma! Let’s eat Grandma! For one government contractor, its claim was recently rejected by the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals because the Board found that the Contractor did not properly state its claim.  In Construction Group LLC v. Dept. of Homeland Security, 15-1 BCA para. 35900… Continue Reading

Contractor Submits “Penny Bid” for Rock Removal and Loses in the End

Posted in Case Law, Contract Docs, Legal Trends
In our house of seven children, a penny found on the ground brings laughter and excitement. You can imagine the opposite reaction when a contractor bids a penny for rock removal for a competitive bid and later discovers that there was 250% more rock than anticipated. That’s what happened recently in Celco Construction Corp. v.… Continue Reading

Brrrrrr, It’s Cold! How to Best Prepare a Delay Claim for Unusually Severe Weather

Posted in Best Practices, Case Law, Claims and Disputes, Federal Construction, Transportation
In anticipation of what could be an influx of wintry weather, the Tennessee Department of Transportation has made arrangements to ensure the state’s roadways stay clear. According to the Johnson City Press, TDOT has distributed more than 200,000 tons of salt and 2 million gallons of brine to stations in each of the state’s 95… Continue Reading

Paper to Paperless: Webinar on Construction Documentation and Risk Management

Posted in Best Practices, Legal Trends, Project Management, Technology
You will rarely find me advertising on this blog.  However, throughout the year I regularly receive inquiries about electronic discovery, mobile apps, and the paperless project.  And every couple of years I partner with the Construction Pro Network to address these issues.  I am pleased to announce that I will be doing a Webinar on October… Continue Reading

Best Practices for Developing a Contractor’s Request for Compensation

Posted in Best Practices, Claims and Disputes
My mentor and good friend, Cordell Parvin, has over the years shared with me some great best practices for contractors—whether talking about bid protests, accidents on the jobsite, or filing a claim. Recently, Cordell sent me a list of items that all contractors should review when developing a request for additional compensation.  I have edited… Continue Reading

AIA’s Updated Design-Build Documents Highlight Some Best Practices

Posted in Best Practices, Contract Docs
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently released seven updated documents in its design-build family.  According to AIA, the 2014 Design-Build documents enhance the early interaction between the Owner and the Design-Builder, calling for clearly defined and mandated Owner’s Criteria for the Project and requiring submission of a Preliminary Design by the Design-Builder. AIA Documents Overview. An… Continue Reading

Bargaining Room v. False Claims: 5 Tips for Negotiation of Construction Claims

Posted in Best Practices, Claims and Disputes, Federal Construction
Earlier this week, a settlement was reached in dispute where the contractor and designer were alleged to have filed false claims with the U.S. Government on two road projects in South Carolina.  The issue raises an important question: What should a contractor do during negotiations to allow for some “bargaining room” so as to avoid… Continue Reading

Infographic: Safety In Construction Industry Explained

Posted in Regional Construction, Safety, Tennessee
On June 2, 2014, the AGC of Middle Tennessee will be partnering with other construction trade associations across the state, Tennessee OSHA Outreach Training Centers, as well as TOSHA to have a statewide construction “Fall Protection Safety Stand Down.”  As you may be aware, fall construction accidents are one of OSHA’s Focus Four Hazards. On… Continue Reading

8 Best Practice Tips for a Schedule Analysis of Construction Delays

Posted in Best Practices, Claims and Disputes
A number of families will be traveling this holiday weekend, and some are travel-savvy enough to check out travel websites like www.911.Virginia.org for real-time traffic information and identification of construction delays.  When savvy contractors face delays on a project, they immediately take steps to provide notice, document, evaluate and plan for recovery from those delays.It… Continue Reading

Any Problems with One Owner and Multiple Contractors? Sometimes.

Posted in Best Practices, Claims and Disputes
Increasingly, two or more contractors may each have a separate contract with the owner for different portions of the work on a single project. Interference may arise, for example, from one contractor’s storage of materials on a site where the other has work to perform, or from one contractor’s failure to progress with work that… Continue Reading