VOLUME 4   ISSUE 1   JANUARY 09, 2015


By Bruce Jervis


Unpaid subcontractors and suppliers have long been frustrated by the slow processing of claims against payment bonds. These bonds are the best form of payment security on public projects, yet collection can be complex and convoluted. A recent case from the Connecticut Supreme Court illustrates the problem.


The state “Little Miller Act” requires public works payment bond sureties to either pay or deny – based on stated good faith grounds – within 90 days of receipt of a claim. The statute is silent, however, regarding the ramifications of noncompliance. ...Read more.


Featured in Construction Claims Advisor:

  • Surety’s Late Response Did Not Waive Defense to Claim
  • Contract Line Item Repeated Statement of Work


In general, site investigations are based on observance of the apparent surface conditions. Bidders do not usually have access to the project site in order to make detailed studies of surface features, let alone subsurface conditions. Even with access, time and money can present a major obstacle to detailed study and further exploration at the bid stage. However, it is the bidder’s duty to investigate the site in order to become familiar with local conditions and to allow for a bid adjustment following any unusual findings. Nonetheless, the owner is responsible for allowing a reasonable period of time and access so that the bidders can conduct the investigation provided for in the invitation to bid. ...Read more.


Estimating is the core function of all construction projects.  Owners start with conceptual estimates when a project is first proposed.  These estimates get refined as the project develops and ultimately, contractors and subcontractors will prepare detailed take-offs and estimates to prepare a bid or establish a budget.  Before microcomputers came around in the 1980s, estimating was primarily a manual function, aided by the use of handheld or desktop calculators.  Today, a significant amount of estimating is automated, even to the point where they can be performed on smartphones.


There are three general elements to an estimate: 1) the direct cost of the installed materials, including labor; 2) indirect, or support costs, such as scaffolding, crane usage, testing, inspection and punch lists; and 3) markups, such as overhead, profit and contingency, or risks.  Frequently, particularly for small projects and for change orders, the indirect costs are included as part of overhead.


In the upcoming issues of ConstructionPro Week we will be covering estimating-related topics and are interested in hearing your feedback, including learning about best practices, challenges and what our readers see as future directions in construction estimating.  We would like to start this dialogue by inviting you to take our quick, five-minute survey by clicking here.





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