Completion of a construction project would be impossible if, every time there is a disagreement regarding work requirements or conditions, the contractor ceased operations. Consequently, most contracts require the contractor to continue work pending resolution of any dispute in accordance with the dispute resolution procedures of the contract. The prototypical example is the standard “Disputes” clause found in federal construction contracts.
While the federal clause unequivocally requires the contractor to “proceed diligently with performance,” the Court of Federal Claims recently ruled that the obligation is not absolute. The contractor may be justified in stopping work if the government refuses to provide additional information necessitated by unforeseeable circumstances. Read more.
For those following construction of the Apple campus, a short video was posted this week showing the current progress.
Two longer videos from earlier this summer show much greater detail. (See below.) Visible in the other two videos are a pair of bridges, most likely temporary, providing access to traffic to the center of the complex. Also visible is a tunnel going under the structure, perhaps to provide permanent access to the center. Another interesting structure on the campus outside the ring consists of a deep foundation on one end and a circular structure on the other. Read more.
As new methods of procuring construction services have evolved in recent decades, the public bidding statutes have been slow to keep up. Now, however, most state procurement laws have been amended to accommodate multiple prime contracts, design/build agreements, construction manager at risk, and other non-traditional contracting arrangements. But the judicial case law interpreting public construction contracts was developed in the context of the traditional design-bid-build model. Read more.
As reported in a recent ENR blog in August by Tim Newcomb, the damaged front end of the TBM (tunnel boring machine) has been repaired and lowered back into the tunnel.After assembly and testing, tunneling on the SR99 -- Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project will resume after a 20-month delay. Read more.
Many state and federal statutes pertaining to the construction process include provisions shifting responsibility for paying attorney fees. The “prevailing party” has its fees paid by the opposing party. These provisions are found in statutes such as mechanics’ lien laws, prompt payment acts, the federal Equal Access to Justice Act, and others. Read more.
While we don’t foresee rope bridges as the wave of the future, there are a number of practical applications for a drone to assist in construction. Spanning a canyon, a pair of piers, or any other inaccessible points, a drone can fly the lead end of a nylon string that will later be used to pull heavier cables. Where the piers are accessible, getting a rope across is a simple matter by merely carrying it atop both endpoints. However, getting across canyons or rivers or an active highway might be a different matter. Additionally, small drones could carry pull wire through ducts, shafts and cavities in a structure. Your comments are invited.
Termination for convenience clauses are controversial in large part because they are unilateral. The project owner has reserved the right to terminate the contract without cause and to compensate the contractor only as stipulated in the termination clause. The owner acts at its sole discretion. The contractor has no leverage. This leads to contractor allegations of bad faith and self-serving motivation on the part of the owner. Read more.
Wednesday night’s CBS News with Scott Pelley featured a two-minute video on the 2nd Avenue subway project in New York City. Watching the episode carefully, one might guess that most of the video was shot with a drone. Indeed, at 1:07 minutes into the video, a DJI Inspire drone is seen flying over the track invert. Sure enough, a google search turned up an online article and video from the CBS This Morning newscast, from which the evening news story was based upon. Read more.
While researching this week's blog on the Singapore transit system, it was fascinating to learn about developments in trackwork construction equipment. We found two rail train equipment systems that can install ties, ballast, tie plates, rail clips and rail in a continuous automated process. Plasser & Theurer of Sweden has one rig for laying new track and a second rig for re-laying existing track. US-based international conglomerate Harsco Rail, known for its HY-RAIL® vehicle attachments, also has a track laying system.