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: Claims and Disputes

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No Damages for Delay: What It Means and What Can You Do

Posted in Claims and Disputes
As a construction contractor, your work can be delayed for reasons beyond your control.  If this happens, you want to know that you can recover your losses for additional labor, extended overhead, and other monetary damages.  Would it surprise you to learn that you may have waived that right in your contract? In the recent… Continue Reading

Contractors, How Long Should You Keep Your Tax (and Project) Records?

Posted in Best Practices, Claims and Disputes, Document Management
I received an alert from my friends at KraftCPAs yesterday with the following subject line: "How long should your keep you tax records?" The post by Morganne Keel contains some very basic, succinct and easy-to-implement ideas for document retention of tax records, including the following: _________________________________________________________________ Individual taxpayers Keep at least three years, but six year… 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

Nashville Flood Waters Recede: What To Do About Insurance Claims, Business Recovery and Home Repairs

Posted in Claims and Disputes, Tennessee
On Saturday, it rained … and rained … and rained. On Sunday, it flooded. On Monday, I took off from work to help stage a shelter at my local church for a number of Nashville flood victims. On Tuesday, I spent part of the day with displaced residents whose homes were completely demolished.  I spent the rest of… 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

Lessons from a Bankruptcy Judge: Learn How to Write

Posted in Best Practices, Claims and Disputes
"Pay me less before the dispute erupts … or pay me more after the dispute erupts …" is a phrase that many construction litigators have said to their clients.  What that means, practically, is that if you invest the time and money to have your attorney review construction contracts before the job starts, you will save time, money and effort later when the dispute… Continue Reading

The Problem with Words: They Can LEED to Miscommunication

Posted in Best Practices, Building Information Modeling, Claims and Disputes, Contract Docs, Document Management, LEED, Legal Trends
I have my Google reader set to search various blogs, news sites, and Twitter feeds to help me keep current with the latest trends in the construction industry.  There remains one major problem: the words we use have different meanings for everyone.   Take, for example, my search of Twitter feeds (above) for Building Information Modeling (BIM).  If you were to do the… Continue Reading

Before and After: Top Three Reasons to Keep Good Records

Posted in Claims and Disputes, Document Management, Project Management
The "before" picture often magnifies the significance of the "after" picture.  In other words, if you had only seen the "after" picture below, then you may think, Wow! How did that crane find its way into that nice pool of water? Perhaps it somehow fell into the water? Now check out the "before" pictures … which tell you… Continue Reading

Construction Management Tip: Fix Problem Now, Point Finger Later

Posted in Claims and Disputes, Document Management, Project Management
When my kids break something in the house, they immediately begin pointing the finger at the "alleged" responsible actor.  In the construction world, many times you will need to fix the problem first and then point the finger later.  I read an article today by Jack Broom in the Seattle Times that illustrates this point.  The incident involved two… Continue Reading

Green Building for Attorneys: Is It Merely Hoopla?

Posted in Claims and Disputes, Green Building, LEED, Legal Trends
I realize that the title to this post may scrunch some “What you talkin’ about, Willis?” eyebrows to the many LEED AP-construction-green-building-attorneys out there. However, the title really conveys the first words that ran through my mind as I read Gary Cole’s post on The Real Green Goblin – Emerging Legal Liability for Green Design… Continue Reading

Construction Contracts and Arbitration Provisions: Is the Word “May” Mandatory? Maybe!

Posted in Arbitration, Case Law, Claims and Disputes, Contract Docs, Legal Trends
You don’t always say what you mean. And you don’t always mean what you say.  In construction contracts, parties attempt to use plain and ordinary words to describe their respective obligations. For example, when the parties use the word “shall” in their agreement, they generally understand that the obligation specified is mandatory. Or when parties use the word… Continue Reading