VOLUME 4   ISSUE 4   JANUARY 30, 2015


By Bruce Jervis


Construction contract documents can be complex, which is another way of saying lengthy, redundant and laden with specialized terminology. Some would even say obtuse. But are the contract documents sometimes deliberately obtuse?


In one recent case, an indemnification clause was buried on page 86 of a 197-page subcontract, all single-spaced in black type. No effort was made to call the other party’s attention to the clause through the use of capital letters, a different type size or different color ... Read more. 





Substantial portions of claims that develop during construction often revolve around issues of fact. Whether it is the existence of a site condition, a weather event, a trade coordination situation, an obstruction or an obstacle, one party to the contract will state a claim asserting that the cause of the claim is the fault of another party to the contract. Once the responsible party is clearly identified, there is the issue of proving and quantifying the resulting direct costs, indirect costs and schedule impact, if any. Nothing resolves a dispute quicker than supporting (or disputing) the claim with proof of the facts, and nothing establishes factual proof better than photographs.  Read more...


Last week (Vol. 4, Issue 3, January 23, 2015) we asked our readers if Project Labor Agreements (PLA) restrict competition. A recent Maryland appellate court upheld use of a PLA on a public project, citing the fact it was not proved that a PLA unduly suppresses competition. Of the eight very well-articulated responses, the comments were overwhelming against the use of PLAs. Interestingly enough, many of the comments pointed out that the use of Davis-Bacon wage compliance mostly accomplishes the same competitive goals, with the PLA being redundant, but at the same time, imposing union labor-restrictions that result in driving up costs.  Read more...





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