By Bruce Jervis
No milestone in a construction project is more significant than substantial completion. It has a tremendous impact on the rights and remedies the owner has against the contractor. The owner can no longer assess liquidated damages for late completion. The owner cannot withhold large sums from the contract price; only the costs of repairing or completing punch list items may be retained. In many jurisdictions, the owner loses the right to terminate the contract for default; incomplete punch list items are not a material breach.
Substantial completion is generally defined as the point at which the project is suitable for occupancy or use for its intended purpose. This sounds objective enough, but it is not always easy to determine. Project owners have an inherent interest in treating the work as less than substantially complete. ... Read more.
Featured in this Week’s Construction Claims Advisor:
- Substantial Completion Based on Owner Use
- Owner Mismanaged Distribution of Contract Balance to Subs
- Bidder’s Performance Period Proposed Late Completion
By Steve Rizer
Is the federal government cracking down on construction-related stormwater violations? Perhaps. In one of the first stormwater pollution criminal cases brought in the United States, a Sumner, Wash., developer recently was sentenced to prison for a felony violation of the Clean Water Act (United States v. Stowe, No. CR12-512RBL [W.D. Wash.]). It is a case that prompted U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan to proclaim, “This prison sentence shows we will not allow violators to think they can simply pay money later for a crime they commit today. Today they understand that the price also includes their liberty.” ... Read more.