Best Practices Construction Law

Best Practices Construction Law

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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: Transportation

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What A Trump Card Means In The Game of Construction and Development

Posted in Development, Federal Construction, Leadership, Transportation
Like many of you, I stayed up late on Tuesday night / Wednesday morning to watch the 2016 election returns.  I dragged myself into the office after only a few hours of sleep and my phone was immediately ringing. Some clients. Some association contacts. Some reporters.  They all wanted to talk about the same thing:… 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

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

Discover an Underground Storage Tank During Construction? What Next?

Posted in Best Practices, Tennessee, Transportation
HQ Construction, the Tennessee Department of Transportation‘s new monthly newsletter, recently highlighted in its June 2015 issue an instance when a road builder discovered what appeared to be an underground storage tank (UST).  That can certainly disrupt construction, right? During excavation activities of the I-40 Fast Fix 8 project, Kiewit Construction unearthed what appeared to… 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

How Contractors Can Make Sure to Receive DBE Participation Credit

Posted in Federal Construction, Tennessee, Transportation
Last week, I received an alert from Deborah Luter, TDOT’s Program Director for the Small Business Development Office (SBDP) regarding DBE participation credits. Many prime contractors may be unaware that subcontracting to a DBE on a TDOT contract does not necessarily mean DBE goal participation credit will be awarded. To receive credit for utilizing a… Continue Reading

TDOT Requires List of Subcontractors from Apparent Low Bidder

Posted in Tennessee, Transportation
While I know this was not coordinated to start on my birthday (…hint…hint…send gifts to my law firm address…), but for the July 12, 2013 letting and going forward, TDOT will require the apparent low bidder to submit a “Bidders List” identifying all subcontractors that provided a quote on that particular project/contract. This measure is… Continue Reading

Recovering Loss of Productivity Through Measured Mile Analysis

Posted in Best Practices, Claims and Disputes, Transportation
You don’t need to go any further than this Washington Post article to read about a delayed construction project where the parties are passing blame back and forth.  The Silver Spring Transit Center is reported to be two years behind schedule and suffering from significant cost increases. No doubt the dispute will be resolved in… Continue Reading

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas…and Comments Were Due on DBE Rule Changes

Posted in Federal Construction, Transportation
Today’s guest post is from my good friend and law partner, Mark Leach, who focuses on health care law, construction disputes and public procurement matters.  Mark served as a panel member on DBE Compliance at the October 25, 2012, ARTBA Construction Law and Regulatory Forum. You can contact Mark at (502) 681-0583 or mleach@stites.com Comment… Continue Reading

Severin Doctrine: It’s Another Name for “Pass-Through-Plus” Claims

Posted in Transportation
A contractor’s recovery from an owner for damages suffered by its subcontractor is limited in certain circumstances. The Severin doctrine provides that a general contractor cannot sue an owner on behalf of one of its subcontractors to recover monies due to the subcontractor unless the general contractor is itself liable to the subcontractor. The Background.… Continue Reading

All Prime Contractors on TDOT Projects Must Be Licensed

Posted in Transportation
Contractor licensing is a specialized area of construction law that can have significant consequences to the parties involved.  Whether you are an out-of-state contractor bidding on an in-state public project, an electrical contractor on a commercial project, or a joint-venture partnership performing general contracting services, you need to check your state’s laws on licensing.  For… Continue Reading

Are Electronic Toll Collection Systems Subject to Competitive Bidding?

Posted in Case Law, Federal Construction, Tennessee, Transportation, VA, DC, MD
I was working in our Virginia office this past week and was amazed at the amount of highway construction at and around Tyson’s Corner.  What also caught my attention was the progress of the 495 Express Lanes project, which includes the construction of high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes that will operate on the I-495/Capital Beltway.… Continue Reading

The Supremes Side with Road Builders in Clean Water Act Case

Posted in Case Law, Transportation
I had an admiralty professor at law school who would often refer to the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States as ... get this ... the Supremes! In honor of Professor Jones, today's post is about the Supremes decision in PPL Montana, LLC v. Montana, where the court declined to expand the definition of "navigable" under federal law.… Continue Reading

End of the Road for One Highway Contractor’s Claim

Posted in Case Law, Federal Construction, Tennessee, Transportation
Words matter. Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Tennessee released its decision in a construction dispute between Ray Bell Construction Company and the Tennessee Department of Transportation.  Where the contractor won the first two rounds at the trial court and intermediate appellate court levels, TDOT prevailed in the final appeal. The Dispute.  The primary issue in… Continue Reading

Transportation Contractors: What Is an Unbalanced Bid and Why Should You Care?

Posted in Federal Construction, Transportation
Last week, contractors and subcontractors bidding on Tennessee Department of Transportation projects received an alert from Brian Egan, TDOT Director of Construction, warning of a noticeable increase in unbalance bids [pdf].  While the rules differ among each state, you should take Egan’s warning to heart since the consequence of submitting of an unbalanced bid can… Continue Reading

New Report: FHWA’s Oversight of Federal-Aid and Federal Recovery Act Projects

Posted in Federal Construction, Transportation
On July 15, 2011, the USDOT’s Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG) issued a final report on the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) oversight of federal-aid and Recovery Act projects administered by Local Public Agencies (LPA).  You can download a copy of the report here [pdf]. The DOT-OIG initiated the audit because the FHWA previously acknowledged that LPAs… Continue Reading

Watch and Listen to House Reauthorization Bill Roll Out

Posted in Transportation
I just received an alert from my friend, Kent Starwalt, Executive Vice President for the Tennessee Road Builders Association, announcing an important hearing on Thursday morning. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) has invited ARTBA members to join a webcast and conference call tomorrow where he will provide an overview of his… Continue Reading

Modularization: Bridge Construction Comes to USA from China

Posted in Transportation
This New York Times article by David Barboza suggests that China "aims to become the world’s civil engineer" through its involvement in the construction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. "Modularization" is a construction delivery system that is gaining increased national attention in both the industrial and commercial construction economy.  Dealing with modularization in this… Continue Reading