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: Contract Docs

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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

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

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

ConsensusDOCS Releases New Teaming Agreement

Posted in Contract Docs
ConsensusDocs released the new ConsensusDocs 498 Design-Build Teaming Agreement today, which provides a standard contract for parties desiring to form a team for the purpose of submitting a bid on a design-build project. According to the press release, this agreement has the flexibility for those team members to include design professionals, contractors and other parties.… Continue Reading

Top 20 Contract Issues for Contractors and Subcontractors (Part 4)

Posted in Contract Docs, Document Management, Project Management
You probably thought you would never see the finish line to this series of posts on the Top 20 contract issues for contractors and subcontractors.  Well, here we are, at the finish line. In this final part of the four-part series, I share the last few areas of concern for contractors and subcontractors when reviewing… Continue Reading

Top 20 Contract Issues for Contractors and Subcontractors (Part 3)

Posted in Contract Docs, Document Management, Project Management
My friend Melissa Brumback of Construction Law in North Carolina said that my post yesterday on construction contract issues was SCARY (…although I think she only wanted a shout-out…).  In any event, I am glad that I am receiving good feedback on my list of Top 20 Contract Issues.  In this third part of a… Continue Reading

Architect and Contractor Sitting in a Tree . . . K-I-S-S-I-N-G

Posted in Contract Docs
Yesterday, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) announced a marketing partnership agreement that is designed to foster a greater understanding and exchange of ideas between architects and contractors in the construction industry. According to the press release, the industry giants have great things to say about each other. AIA… Continue Reading

Five AIA Construction Documents Go Green

Posted in Contract Docs, Green Building
Earlier this week, I received an alert that "Five AIA Contract Documents are going green!" Developed using AIA’s flagship documents as a base, and incorporating concepts and model language from the AIA’s Guide for Sustainable Projects, the new documents address the unique roles, risks and opportunities encountered on sustainable design and construction projects.  “The development… Continue Reading

Who Can Help Interpret a Construction Contract: No One? The Contract? The Industry?

Posted in Case Law, Contract Docs
Last week, the Supreme Court of Tennessee heard oral arguments on a contract interpretation issue in a construction dispute between Ray Bell Construction and Tennessee Department of Transportation.  You can get the details here, but the real lesson is one about how to interpret contracts, whether you are talking about the scope of work, changes, compensation… Continue Reading

Economical Litigation Agreements: Can We Learn to Reduce Construction Litigation and Discovery Costs?

Posted in Contract Docs
As a construction lawyer involved in complex litigation, I am often asked to prepare a "litigation and discovery budget" for a client.  As a construction client, your stomach may turn when you receive one of these budgets from your lawyer.  Is there a way to control the costs of discovery in construction litigation?    According… Continue Reading

Hey Coach, How Can You Think Outside the Box with Your Construction Contracts?

Posted in Best Practices, Contract Docs
As the college football seasons comes to an end, USA Today had a special report on the salaries of coaches, as well as a great article on coaches’ contracts.  The article described how some schools have the freedom to include "unusual provisions" in their contracts.    How’s that for bargaining?  Middle Tennessee State coach Rick… Continue Reading

Essential Terms to Include in a Construction Arbitration Clause

Posted in Claims and Disputes, Contract Docs
I recently read a BNA article on commercial arbitration entitled Achieving the Perceived Cost Savings and Expedience of Commercial Arbitration (pdf).  In the article, Chicago attorney William O’Neil identifies six essential terms you should include in your arbitration clauses. While I agree with most of the essential terms, the recommendations really depend on the type… Continue Reading

Hot Air Balloons: The Sky’s the Limit in Construction Contracting and Project Management

Posted in Claims and Disputes, Contract Docs, Document Management, Indian Construction, New Mexico, Project Management
There is a lot of hot air in Albuquerque, New Mexico this week. And it's not because I was in town ... it's because of the Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. This post is about some lessons learned in project management on Indian projects.… Continue Reading

Tips for Drafting Commercial Real Estate, Development and Construction Contracts

Posted in Best Practices, Contract Docs
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 persuade."… Continue Reading

The Top Three Causes of Disputes on a Construction Project

Posted in Claims and Disputes, Contract Docs, Document Management, Human Resources, Project Management, Scheduling
Earlier this week, I was talking with fellow attorney who does not practice construction law.  At one point in our conversation, he threw out a goocher of a question: "I know this is a hard question, but what do you think causes most of the disputes on a construction project?  I am sure there could be plenty… Continue Reading