Use of Dispute Review Boards in the Construction Process
December 27, 2021 — Sarah B. Biser - ConsensusDocsDispute Review Boards: Overview
Problems, disagreements and claims arise in most large and complex construction projects regardless of the project delivery method. These disputes can and do delay and significantly increase the cost of the project. Dispute Review Boards, also known as Dispute Resolution Board, Dispute Board, Dispute Avoidance Board or DRB, are often found in large construction projects to assist the parties to minimize, resolve or avoid disputes and mitigate adverse impacts to projects. To date, over $270 billion worth of construction projects have used the dispute review board process to avoid numerous disputes and achieve significant savings.
Unlike mediation and arbitration, a DRB is convened at the very beginning of the project and conducts regular meetings and visits at the project site throughout, allowing the DRB to discuss, observe and monitor construction, progress and potential disputes. At these meetings, DRB members become familiar with many of the facts and acquaint themselves with the job site personnel. If a dispute is submitted to them, the panelists have a great deal of knowledge about the circumstances of the problem to aid them in reaching their recommendations or conclusions. DRBs also encourage open and honest communications among or between the parties during the project, which in turn, encourages avoidance or resolution of disputes before they become formal claims. In short, the DRP process involves real-time discussion of the dispute with highly qualified people who know the particular project from day one and can provide recommendations on how to resolve disputes. Read the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Sarah B. Biser, Fox Rothschild LLP
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Texas Federal Court Delivers Another Big Win for Policyholders on CGL Coverage for Construction-Defect Claims and “Rip-and-Tear” Damages
March 14, 2022 — Blake A. Dillion, Jared De Jong & Scott S. Thomas - Payne & Fears
Insurers regularly argue that commercial general liability (“CGL”) policies are not performance bonds and therefore there is no coverage for claims seeking damages for defective or faulty workmanship. Insurers also argue there is no coverage for so-called “tear-out” or “rip-and-tear” damages, where fixing property damage requires replacing defective work that has not itself been damaged. Fortunately, in a newly decided case, a Texas federal district court rejected both arguments by an insurer. Amerisure Mutual Insurance Company v. McMillin Texas Homes, LLC, No. SA-20-CV-01332-XR, 2022 WL 686727 (W.D. Tex. Mar. 8, 2022).
As with most construction-defect claims, this case involved homeowner claims against a residential developer, McMillin Texas Homes (“McMillin”). After the homes were completed, homeowners complained about defects in the artificial stucco exterior finish and filed suit. McMillin tendered to its insurer, Amerisure Mutual Insurance Company (“Amerisure”). Amerisure then sued McMillin for declaratory relief, arguing that it had no duty to defend or indemnify the homeowner claims. McMillin filed a counterclaim alleging Amerisure breached its policies by refusing to defend or indemnify McMillin.
Reprinted courtesy of Blake A. Dillion, Payne & Fears
, Jared De Jong, Payne & Fears
and Scott S. Thomas, Payne & Fears
Mr. Dillion may be contacted at email@example.com
Mr. De Jong may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Thomas may be contacted at email@example.com Read the full story...
Building Amid the COVID Challenge
November 29, 2021 — Pillsbury's Construction & Real Estate Law Team - Gravel2Gavel Construction & Real Estate Law Blog
At longtime client Clark Construction, Dave Beck took charge of risk management just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
David Beck made a big career move last year—just how big, he soon learned. In January 2020, Beck became division president for risk management at Clark Construction Group, a major national builder based in Bethesda, Md., with more than 4,000 employees across the U.S. In business since 1906, Clark has grown from a small, local excavator into one of the country’s best-known providers of construction services.
Beck took up his position at Clark shortly before COVID-19 changed life for everyone. We recently reached out to him to learn how his role has evolved since then. Read the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Pillsbury's Construction & Real Estate Law Team
ACS Obtains Overwhelming Jury Trial Victory for General Contractor Client
March 28, 2022 — Scott R. Sleight - Ahlers Cressman & Sleight PLLC
ACS is pleased to share news of our recent $19.2 million victory for a general contractor client after a lengthy virtual jury trial involving the Nexus condominium project in downtown Seattle. On Tuesday March 22, 2022, ACS obtained a jury verdict awarding significant damages to our general contractor client and denying nearly all damages claimed against our client by the project owner. The 28-day jury trial commenced via Zoom on January 24 and involved testimony from more than two dozen witnesses on more than 185 discrete change issues and subcontractor pass-through claims as well as counterclaims from the owner for liquidated damages and other damages. Amazingly, after only two days of deliberating the jury reached a verdict resolving all claims overwhelmingly in favor of our general contractor client.
Our client was awarded $19.5 million on its claims totaling $20.6 million and largely defeated the owner’s counterclaims of $4.3 million, with the jury awarding only $318,000 to the owner. This results in a net judgment of $19.2 million in favor of our client. The ACS team, along with the client, worked incredibly hard on this case. The team includes lawyers Scott Sleight, Saki Yamada, Kristina Southwell, Cam Sheldon and paralegals Christina Granquist, Cydney Fermstad, Auzree Hightower, Amy Capell, Samina Helsley and Bernadette Bresee. Read the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Scott R. Sleight, Ahlers Cressman & Sleight PLLC
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How Data Drives the Future of Design
April 11, 2022 — Marcin Kosicki - AEC Business
Data has become the currency of modern society. It is the most abundantly generated product of the 21st century. Every action in our lives, from asking for directions using Google Maps to liking a post on social media, produces data that is being mined in a variety of imaginative and profitable ways.
If our daily actions generate an avalanche of information, how much data could the design, construction, and operation of a building produce? Sketches and drawings, simulations and building analyses, BIM models, construction logistics and procurement, post-occupancy data gathered by sensors, and 3D scans all produce an abundance of data. It is, therefore, unfortunate that the adoption of Big Data and Cloud Computing in the building industry is substantially less developed than in other fields. Read the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Marcin Kosicki, AEC Business
Daily Construction Reports: Don’t Leave the Job Without Them
January 11, 2022 — Patrick Barthet - Construction Executive
Trying to remember exactly what was done at a job site last week, last month or last quarter along with knowing who worked at the site is nearly impossible without a written, video or electronic record for reference. That’s why daily construction reports are so important.
Yet many contractors fail to create these reports. And those that do create them, may do it only at the beginning of a project or sporadically throughout the progress of a job, and generally only when they are reminded to do so. Daily reports only become truly effective when they are, in fact, done daily. Whether it is to help resolve a pending delay issue or clarify a job site access claim, or any number of other matters where what happened at the time is so critical, those daily construction reports should be completed daily.
The reason that daily reports are admissible in court (with corroborating testimony) is that they are interpreted as being recorded at or about the time the events in question occurred. Field managers should, therefore, write up these reports daily while the work is occurring or very soon thereafter to capture as accurate an account as possible. If these reports are not created until the end of the week or month, the information will not be as accurate and may not be as helpful in supporting a particular position.
Reprinted courtesy of Patrick Barthet, Construction Executive
, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved. Read the full story...
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Buildings Don't Have To Be Bird-Killers
February 07, 2022 — Alexandra Lange - Bloomberg
The narrow stretch that separates Quay Tower from a thatch of bamboo and oaks in Brooklyn Bridge Park doesn’t look like much, especially in winter. Unless you’re a bird.
To a bird, the copper-colored building’s glass is a mirror, reflecting the thick grove of trees and suggesting that the wilderness continues across the road. To a bird, that can be a deadly mistake.
“You see that reflection? To a bird that looks like a tree, that is a tree, and they will go right for the tree,” says Catherine Quayle, social media director at the Wild Bird Fund.
The surprising uptake of birding as a pandemic hobby, along with social media and data collection tools like eBird and dBird, has created new visibility for bird collisions with glass, which kill as many as 1 billion birds in the U.S. per year. At the same time, a new generation of urban parks has given birds more places to roost in highly populated areas. But something else has followed these parks as well: real estate capital. The vogue for urban parks creates more economic impetus to build shiny buildings with big windows opposite those urban wetlands, glades and groves. Read the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Alexandra Lange, Bloomberg
An Insurance Policy Isn’t Ambiguous Just Because You Want It to Be
December 20, 2021 — David Adelstein - Florida Construction Legal Updates
When it comes to insurance contracts, there is a rule of law that states, “where interpretation is required by ambiguity in insurance contracts[,] the insured will be favored.” Pride Clean Restoration, Inc. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London, 46 Fla. L. Weekly D2584a (Fla. 3d DCA 2021) (citation and quotation omitted). Stated another way: ambiguities in insurance contracts will be interpreted in favor of the insured and against the insurer.
With this rule of law in mind, insureds oftentimes try to argue ambiguity even when there is not one. This was the situation in Pride Clean Construction. In this case, the property insurance policy contained a mold exclusion that stated the policy did NOT insure for “a. loss caused by mold, mildew, fungus, spores or other microorganism of any type, nature, or description including but not limited to any substance whose presence poses an actual or potential threat to human health; or b. the cost or expense of monitoring, testing, removal, encapsulation, abatement, treatment or handling of mold, mildew, fungus, spores or other microorganism as referred to in a) above.” Not only did the policy not insure for loss caused by mold, it went further to state it was NOT insuring for any mold testing or abatement. Read the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of David Adelstein, Kirwin Norris, P.A.
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