Contract Drafting and Negotiation

For general contractors working in Virginia, 2023 marks the end of one of the more prolific contractual rights available—the pay-if-paid defense. Until now, pay-if-paid clauses were a valid means of shifting to subcontractors the risk of owner insolvency or wrongful withholding. In the spirit of freedom of contract, Virginia courts historically held that unambiguous language rendering owner payment a condition precedent to the contractor’s duty to pay subcontractors was enforceable.[1] Not any more. Under the new statutory regime, contractors must pay subcontractors regardless of whether the owner has timely made payment to them. Notably, however, contractors retain general withholding rights arising out of subcontractor default and, on private projects, have been afforded a new 60-day pay period in which the owner is obligated to deliver progress payment or notify them of withholding.

Continue Reading New Statutory Payment Regime for Public and Private Works in Virginia

Jason N. Smith and Edward V. Arnold authored a chapter in The Legal 500: Construction Country Comparative Guide, “United States: Construction.” The Chapter provides a comprehensive overview of legal issues in the US construction industry. You can read Seyfarth’s chapter of this year’s guide here.

Seyfarth Construction associate Michael Wagner spoke on the topic of fair legal solutions to material cost escalation in the April 19th episode of The Morning Huddle podcast “Contractual Solutions to Cost Escalation.”

Specialty contractors are feeling deeply exposed as they produce estimates today with prices that may be completely irrelevant tomorrow. Owners, of

Seyfarth Construction partner Jim Newland spoke about construction project cost escalation and the remedies during and after negotiations have commenced in the March 31st Federal Publications Seminars Podcast “Cost Escalation in Construction Contracts.”

In construction, cost escalation is not an uncommon thing as the price of raw building materials fluctuate often.  More recently, prices have

James Newland is presenting a fourteen-part webinar series for Federal Publications Seminars. This fourteen-part webinar series is a deep dive into construction contracts, claims, and risk management as it presents and analyzes the risks that arise on construction projects, the contract clauses and drafting considerations in allocating those risks, and the claims and disputes methods and procedures used in documenting, presenting, mediating, arbitrating, or litigating the claims when they arise.  Along the way, the course presents and analyzes those topics from the perspective of the owner, general contractor and subcontractors operating on public or private construction projects. The topics are presented from both a legal and practical standpoint and the program discusses the substantive and administrative aspects of the key clauses, risks and claims prevalent on public and private construction projects.

See the full list of programs below, and register on the Federal Publications Seminars website.
Continue Reading James Newland to Present Construction Contracts, Claims, and Risk Management Webinar Series

Seyfarth’s Construction team is pleased to announce the release of our 2022 edition of the 50 State Lien Law Notice Requirements Guide. The Guide provides the general time requirements for filing lien notices in each state, plus Washington, DC. Seyfarth’s Construction team prepared the survey for use by owners, commercial contractors, and real estate developers

Issue

The cost and time to perform change order work may increase as a result of COVID-19 impacts that arise after the change order is agreed upon. The Contractor can include contingencies for that risk in its lump sum pricing, but the Owner will have paid an unnecessary premium if those impacts do not materialize.

Proposed Solution

Consider utilizing a COVID-19 Rider with your change orders. The Rider details the types of COVID-19 impacts that entitle the Contractor to relief, as well as the specific relief. This allows the parties to use their standard process and format for change orders, with the COVID-19 issues addressed in the Rider. A one-page Rider is often all you need. The primary issues to address in the Rider are discussed below.
Continue Reading COVID-19 Riders for Construction Change Orders

In heavy-civil, excavation, and infrastructure work, the risk of encountering differing, unknown, or concealed conditions is significant, as it is nearly impossible to document or predict everything that the contractor will encounter below the surface when performing its operations. Although standard pre-bid site surveys, including soil and geotechnical reports, are good resources to evaluate potential concerns, they will almost never be all encompassing as to what a contractor will face when its work is in progress. Given these unique, complicated, and costly risks, some project owners will seek to pass liability for such risk onto the those performing the work. Indeed, owners may seek to transfer these unknown risks, including unforeseen conditions, to contractors making the financial burden significant for those bidding the work. Accordingly, it is imperative that the contractor balance the desire to submit a competitive price to win the work with the need to ensure that it has some type of remedy or recovery should it encounter such concealed or differing conditions. Faced with this balancing act, contractors performing excavation and foundation work should be intimately familiar with the site disclaimer, exculpatory, and risk-transferring clauses present in their agreements and the effect that such provisions may have on their ability to recover additional costs and time should they encounter differing conditions.
Continue Reading Construction Site Disclaimers: Navigating Risk Allocation for Differing, Concealed and Unknown Conditions in Heavy-Civil, Excavation, and Infrastructure Work

Thursday, October 7, 2021
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Central
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Mountain
10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Pacific

Register Here

Real estate developers face numerous pandemic-related challenges. In this webinar, we will discuss how developers are changing the terms of their loan agreements, construction contracts,

On September 23, 2021, James Newland, AIA, partner in Seyfarth’s Construction group, will be a panelist on the program: “Developing High Performance Structures Through Integrated Project Delivery (IPD),” presented by the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA).

The program features participants from DPR Construction and HKA Consulting and will address key aspects of the (IPD)