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: Federal Construction

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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

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

How the Government Shutdown Affects the Department of Transportation DBE Regulations

Posted in Federal Construction
We have all read about the consequences of the recent government shutdown,  including postal services ,  the housing market , and even OSHA investigations.  Thanks to my partner, Mark Leach, for sharing an example of how the shutdown has affected the transportation and road building industry. Last year, the Department of Transportation issued a notice of proposed… Continue Reading

USDOT Provides “So-So” Update on MAP-21 for Transportation Projects

Posted in Federal Construction
On May 21, 2013, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation provided an update to Congress on the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), requiring the Acceleration of Project Delivery (Subtitle C).  MAP-21 is the first long-term surface transportation authorization since 2005 and provides for $105 billion… 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 Comment… Continue Reading

Why You Should Understand DBE Laws and Regulations

Posted in Best Practices, Federal Construction
I recently spoke to a group of highway contractors about disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) laws and regulations and some of the different policies among the state departments of transportation.  Did you know that in FYI 2010, special agents with USDOT’s Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG) were responsible for 92 indictments, 72 convictions and over $18… 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

Dear Contractor, Here is a List of Common Scheduling Mistakes

Posted in Federal Construction, Project Management, Scheduling
Many delay, disruption, and loss of productivity claims are lost or substantially reduced in value because mistakes, errors and carelessness are reflected in the original schedule and plan of operations. The original schedule is often the first piece of documentation that the owner receives demonstrating the contractor’s professionalism in planning and management. Contractors should pay… 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

New Rules on Joint Ventures Between Section 8(a) and Large Contractors

Posted in Federal Construction
Some of the most frequent public contracting questions I receive are about the permissible activities for joint ventures between a minority contractor and a larger contractor.  In February 2011, the Small Business Administration made some significant changes to its Section 8(a) business development program, which helped me answer many of those questions.  One major category… 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

What Happens When Parties Are “Unclear” in Their Construction Contracts?

Posted in Case Law, Federal Construction
Last week I wrote a post about what is considered timely acceptance of a subcontractor’s quote. My friend and former colleague, Brian Waagner, submitted a comment to that post, focusing on the importance of a written contract.  Brian also blogs at The Contractor’s Perspective.  Brian’s comments are on-point, so I have included them here as… 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

A Federal Lien? Bill Would Require Repayment of Federal $$ in Privatization of Projects

Posted in Federal Construction, Legislation
There’s a debate in Congress.  There’s a debate in Congress between Chicago’s two senators.  There’s a debate in Congress between Chicago’s two senators about privatization. Last week, Bob Sechler of the Wall Street Journal described newly introduced legislation from Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill) called “The Protecting Taxpayers in Transportation Asset Transfers Act.”  The bill seeks… Continue Reading

Federal Stimilus Monies: Where Employment and Construction Law Intersect

Posted in Federal Construction, Legal Trends, Transportation
A portion of my construction practice involves employment issues.  You can imagine the types of employment-related questions that arise on the project site: Hiring, firing and layoffs Harassment and discrimination Wage payment and commission claims Employee policies, including computer use and social media On-the-job injuries and fatalities State and Federal OSHA requirements Prevailing wage laws,… Continue Reading

Floods and Heavy Rains: How to Best Prepare a Delay Claim for Unusually Severe Weather

Posted in Case Law, Federal Construction, Scheduling, Transportation
Yesterday, highway and bridge contractors in Tennessee received an alert from from TDOT officials about the affect of heavy rain in the area: "I’m sure most are aware of the anticipated rise in the Mississippi River, but could you please share with all that are working in the Mississippi River area and the backwater areas of… Continue Reading