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Legal Advice

LEGALLY SPEAKING:  Arbitration:  What is it? Why should you care?

Posted: January 28, 2016 | Legal Advice

When parties to a construction project find themselves in a dispute, there are a few options to help find a resolution. These can include: engaging in informal settlement discussions, taking the dispute to an initial decision maker identified in the contract, or hiring a third-party mediator to help the parties find a resolution. If the dispute does not settle at that point, the parties can turn to the courts and engage in litigation. 

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Architect’s Certification of Payments to the Contractor

Posted: December 29, 2015 | Legal Advice

No duty of an architect is subject to more scrutiny than the issuance of payment certificates. The owner, naturally, does not want to pay money prematurely or needlessly. The contractor, on the other hand, wants, needs, and is entitled to the money as soon as possible. Both owners and contractors are generally acutely aware of the interest value of money.

A second tier of concerned critics hover in the background protecting their interests in the payment. These include lenders, insurers, sureties, subcontractors, subsubcontractors, labor, material suppliers, and manufacturers. All of these entities are surrounded by their expert advisors including lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers, contractors, and numerous other business and construction authorities.

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LEGALLY SPEAKING:  From PDFs to IPD to BIM:  Lessons on Today’s Technology-Driven Construction Project

Posted: December 19, 2015 | Legal Advice

With today's technologies, the construction project is being performed quicker, more efficiently, less costly and even safer than ever before. Whether you are now using email to communicate with your project team, whether you have implemented building information modeling ("BIM") into the design and construction process, or whether you have gone entirely paperless with PDF drawings and contract documents, there are a few lessons to keep in mind to ensure success when using new technologies.

Benefits of a Paperless Project. Paperless success involves more than simply scanning every project document and putting it into a digital file cabinet. That would be nothing more than moving the archived documents from Building A to Building B. The successful protocol will involve using new technologies, such as project management software and other web-based programs to consolidate project documentation; to increase efficiency in project communications; to establish a good audit trail; and (if necessary) to prove liability and damages in the event of a dispute.

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LEGALLY SPEAKING:  What Are Your Three Words for 2012?

Posted: December 16, 2015 | Legal Advice

Every year, social media strategist and entrepreneur Chris Brogan chooses three words that he uses as guidance for setting goals in the new year. For example, in 2011 Brogan focused all efforts on Reinvest, Package, and Flow, each of which he used as a lens to view his activities and his world. As we look to the construction industry in 2012, I would use the following three words to describe some legal trends we will see this year: Green. Collaboration. Protests.

Green. Given the topic of the past four Legally Speaking articles in 2011, it's no secret that green construction is going to remain at the forefront of discussions in 2012. There is a continued growth of major companies investing in sustainable building, and standards are becoming more mainstream. Legally speaking, this means two things. First, it will be important for you to know and understand your particular jurisdiction's codes and standards. As cities and states are adopting various versions of green codes and standards' whether the United States Green Building Council's LEED 2012 rating system that is scheduled to be released in 2012 or the International Green Construction Code released last Fall, you need to make sure your project is in compliance. 

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The Architect’s Pivotal Role in the Resolution of Construction Claims and Disputes Procedures Under A201-1997

Posted: December 12, 2015 | Legal Advice

Construction progress can easily become mired in controversy. The parties involved can rapidly lose incentive for cooperation when unresolved disputes interfere with friendly business relationships. Lingering claims and festering dissatisfactions worsen when they are not dealt with promptly and fairly. The sooner claims and disputes can be resolved, the sooner those wasted energies can be channeled back into more productive pursuits.

When claims are asserted by either party to the construction contract, owner or contractor, the architect should immediately commence the process of resolution. This is treated at length in the AIA General Conditions, Document A201-1997. Claims are dealt with in Paragraph 4.3 and dispute resolution in Paragraphs 4.4, 4.5, and 4.6.

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