I. Phases of a Construction Project

All projects follow – or should follow – a structured approach that moves from phase to phase. Each phase of the project acts as a financial gate, and the owner as well as the other project participants must determine whether to go through the gate to the next phase. As the construction project progresses through the phases, the financial expenditures follow an “S” curve, which, more often than not, means an exponential increase in costs until substantial completion. This article briefly discusses each construction project phase to assist architects, engineers, owner’s representatives, owners, contractors, subcontractors, attorneys, and lenders in better understanding what to expect in each phase, how each phase acts as a financial gate, and why these phases are important to follow. Read Article

II. Construction Project Delivery Methods

When planning your construction project, it is essential that you decide early which project delivery method is best suited for the size, complexity, and risk for your project. Further, the second most important consideration is the pricing structure for the project contract. Too often, owners do not properly consider delivery and pricing early in the project, which means that one of the most important decisions affecting project success is continually ignored at worst or blindly accepted later at best. This article is discusses what the delivery and pricing options are, how each has benefits and drawbacks, and why choosing the right combination is critical. Read Article

III. Statute of Repose and Substantial Completion: What You Call It Matters

This post briefly discusses the importance of using the term substantial completion in construction contracts and carefully defining the term in order to realize the protections of a statute of repose.* A statute of repose is a state law that bars claims or relief for an injury if the injury occurred more than a specified number of years after substantial completion of a construction project. The statute applies primarily to claims by third parties but a number of statutes of repose also bar claims by the owner. From Connecticut to California and from Arizona to Arkansas, every state has enacted a statute of repose for construction projects. Read Article

IV. Construction Risks

Though risk has become a trendy word in every line of business, truly it is a necessary consideration in construction. Construction deals, capital costs, and project success depend on proper identification, elimination, allocation, and mitigation of risk. In fact, construction is one of the riskiest types of business for two primary reasons: First, each new project is unlike the previous project. Second, each project requires very close coordination and collaboration between a large number of diverse people and different companies under unpredictable conditions in order to achieve cost, schedule, and construction goals. This article provides a concise overview of risks in construction projects. Read Article

V. Common Construction Claims and Design Disputes

Construction projects are risky to say the least. Large capital expenditures, short schedules, new projects, and numerous people and companies coordinating materials, equipment, design, and construction are the norm.* It is not surprising that the vast majority of projects have claims and disputes – whether the dispute is settled at the project site or in a courtroom. This article discusses the seven causes of design disputes and construction claims, arising in contract and tort. The claims discussed below overlap, though they are discussed separately. Contractors, subcontractors, design firms, and owners should take notice of these common claims, watch out for early stages of disputes, and be diligent in managing the unavoidable ones. Read Article