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: Best Practices

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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

ATTN: Federal Contractors, Beware of Harassment and Discrimination on Construction Sites

Posted in Best Practices, Federal Construction
“Did you hear the one about . . . ?”  Of course you have.  We have all heard the racial and discriminatory jokes at the work place.  If you are a federal contractor, you should be aware of Executive Order 11246. In separate investigations, a staffing agency and a construction company were recently charged with… Continue Reading

Tony Piazza and Eric Green: Ask The Experts Any Mediation Question!

Posted in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Arbitration, Best Practices, Mediation
When it comes to identifying the best mediators in the country, Tony Piazza and Eric Green are at the top of the list.  And, on October 8, 2015, they will be sharing the stage in Austin, Texas for the Construction ADR Summit (pdf) sponsored by the American Bar Association’s Forum on Construction Law. The program.  When a… 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

Which Insurance Carrier Is Responsible for Damages on a Construction Project? Depends.

Posted in Best Practices, Case Law, Legal Trends
There are multiple types of insurance coverage for the various risks on a construction project.  However, when there are multiple insurance carriers covering the same risk (i.e., general liability, builder’s risk, workers’ compensation, professional liability) over different periods of time, there may be a dispute as to which carrier covers the loss. In a recent… Continue Reading

Happy Birthday AAA Supplementary Construction Rules for Fixed Time and Cost

Posted in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Arbitration, Best Practices
Happy Birthday to You! Happy Birthday to You! Happy Birthday Dear AAA Supplementary Rules! Happy Birthday to you! One year ago, the American Arbitration Association implemented new rules to provide an arbitration process that would be more predictable in terms of time and cost. The Supplementary Rules for Fixed Time and Cost Construction Arbitration (“Supplementary… 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

“New” Means “New” When the Construction Contract Says “New”

Posted in Best Practices, Case Law, Federal Construction, Legal Trends
There’s “new.” And there’s “new to you.” And there’s “refurbished new.” And there’s “open box special new.” And there’s “floor display model new.”  But when it comes to contract specifications requiring “new” equipment, one court looked to a dictionary to define it as “never used before” and “free of significant damage.” In a recent case,… 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

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

Differing Site Conditions and Why You Should Read Pages 17-20 of the Metcalf Decision

Posted in Best Practices, Case Law, Federal Construction, Legal Trends
It’s Friday morning and there are probably better things you would like to do with your remaining day than read a 22-page government contracts decision. But if you have ever experienced a differing site condition on your project, then here is why you should read pages 17-20 of the recent decision in Metcalf Construction Company… Continue Reading

Don’t Settle Your Construction Dispute Without Checking with the (Insurance) Man

Posted in Best Practices, Case Law, Legal Trends
Who’s the Man?  Ever heard of that phrase?  Well, in a recent construction dispute in Maryland, “the Man” was the owner’s insurance company.  And the lesson learned was: don’t settle your construction dispute without first checking with the man! In Perini/Tompkins Joint Venture v. ACE American Insurance Company (pdf), applying Maryland and Tennessee law, the… 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

Coaching Football and Planning Construction Projects: It’s All the Same Thing

Posted in Best Practices
My good friend and mentor Cordell Parvin once suggested that planning done by contractors for a successful construction project is not unlike the planning done by football coaches for a successful season. He is right! Coaching football.  Successful football organizations consist of specialized teams or units: (a) the offense; (b) the defense; and (c) and special… Continue Reading