VOLUME 3   ISSUE 35   AUGUST 29, 2014


By Bruce Jervis


Authorities evaluating technical proposals on public construction procurements are tired of lengthy documents. Bulk does not necessarily equate with quality – or persuasiveness. Tight, concise proposals are the ideal.


Public project owners are attempting to enforce this ideal by imposing maximum lengths on technical proposals. But, a recent Alaska Supreme Court case illustrates the pitfalls of such restrictions. ... Read more.


Featured in this Week’s Construction Claims Advisor:

  • Alaska High Court Rules on Lengthy Proposal
  • Contractor Recovers Attorney Fees When Lien Claim Arbitrated


ConstructionPro Week has compiled for ConstructionPro Network members a list of 62 construction laws that 37 states have adopted so far this year with links provided to the enrolled documents. Members can access the table by clicking here. To sign up for a membership, click here.


For construction projects using a consolidated insurance program -- otherwise known as a “wrap” -- make sure there is adequate contract language in place to deal with such an arrangement, Sherman & Howard’s Christopher Mosley advised professionals attending a recent WPL Publishing webinar. “It is important to address wraps in your construction contracts,” he said, noting that standard form contracts are of insufficient help on this front. ... Read more.


By Paul Levin


ConstructionPro Week made a trip to the 3rd Annual Summer Construction Conference in Raleigh, N.C., Aug. 6, to listen in on the panel discussion on drones. The conference, graciously produced by Safran Law Offices and BB&T Construction Risk Services, provided a number of new perspectives on the expected upcoming use of drones in construction. ... Read more.


September 2014 Download Library Addition
As new webinar recordings are made available to the ConstructionPro Network free member Download Library on a monthly basis, ConstructionPro Week will provide a brief summary of each event for the benefit of its readership. Here is the summary for the September 2014 addition:


When embarking upon a construction project using lean techniques, special emphasis needs to be given to the following credo: “Do not start what you cannot finish.” This is one of the key points that Roberto Arbulu, leader of the Strategic Project Solutions Inc.’s Technical Services Team, told professionals attending WPL Publishing’s “Using Lean Techniques for Measurable Productivity Gains” webinar, a recording of which recently was added to the ConstructionPro Network ( Download Library free of charge for members. “We see on every single project that we participate in the desire to start work without having everything required to finish it,” Arbulu reported. “It happens day in and day out.” As a result, lean objectives go unfulfilled. To avoid such a situation, there needs to be a “clear understanding” of four key ideas, he said. To see what these ideas are, click here.

From Previous 3 Issues:
Volume: 3, Issue: 34 - 08/22/2014


By Bruce Jervis


It is understandable that local government entities would like their public works projects to generate jobs for local residents. The projects are frequently funded, at least in part, by local taxpayers. An out-of-town contractor with out-of-town employees is a galling sight. The public procurement laws, however, with their emphasis on open competition, generally prevent hometown favoritism.


Some communities are trying a new tactic. They create an apprentice training program, or participate in an existing program, to train local workers in construction trades. They then stipulate than any bidder on a public works contract must employ a certain number of recent graduates from that program. ... Read more.


Featured in this Week’s Construction Claims Advisor:

  • Apprenticeship Bid Requirement Struck Down
  • Cessation of Work Triggered Payment Bond Claim Period


In the last couple of years, a clear trend has emerged regarding states’ efforts to create new laws addressing construction projects. It is a trend that an Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) spokesperson brought up several times during a recent interview about recent construction lawmaking at the state level, and it is a trend that ConstructionPro Week (CPW) noticed when compiling a list of 62 new construction laws that states have adopted so far this year. What is this trend, and will it continue? Click here to find out.


During WPL Publishing’s recent “Pricing, Preparation, Support and Analysis of Lost Productivity Claims” webinar, presenter R. Brent McSwain of Sage Consulting Group reported that “some of the biggest problems we see from contractors is [that] when they price change orders, they’re pricing change orders based on productivity rates that they carried in their estimates.” ... Read more.


Tell us how you think drones can be used on your project ... besides dousing millenials or putting out fires. Click here.

Volume: 3, Issue: 33 - 08/15/2014


By Bruce Jervis


Sole-source or proprietary specifications are generally prohibited on public construction contracts. Private project owners are free to stipulate the precise product they want incorporated into their property. Public project owners are supposed to maintain open competition, specifying functional characteristics, not brand name or source of supply. But, public owners may also desire a particular product. What are they to do? In many cases, they write a disguised sole-source specification.


On a recent federal project, the contract specified an asphalt mix batched at a “local” source with at least five years of experience furnishing product to the federal facility in question. The contractor was entitled to propose its own mix design only if no such supplier existed. Not surprisingly, there was one qualified source. The contractor, which failed to protest the terms of the specification prior to bid submittal, was not allowed to propose an alternative source. ... Read more.


Featured in this Week’s Construction Claims Advisor:

  • Supplier’s Notice Effective Prior to Delivery of All Materials
  • Restrictive Specification Enforced Against Contractor


For Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and its membership, the summer’s developments in construction law have brought forth mixed blessings. On the positive side for ABC, President Obama has signed into law a bill (H.R. 803) that is expected to help cut into the work-shortage problem across the industry. In addition, an appeals court has struck down an ordinance in Massachusetts requiring apprentice training programs. However, the group has expressed disappointment over a couple of other recent moves made within the Executive Branch. ... Read more.


By Paul Levin


Aerial photography is the obvious first reaction when you ask a contractor about the use of drones in construction. This is born out from the results of a short survey we conducted last week. Technology advances, ready access and low entry cost have made the photography aspect a practical reality; and the industry is finding other creative uses as well. However, users face major roadblocks from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). So the question is: Where are we headed with the use of drones in construction?  When and how will we get there? Let's start with a review of our survey results. ... Read more.

Volume: 3, Issue: 32 - 08/08/2014


By Bruce Jervis


Design professionals have long sought to control their liability exposure. The argument has been that their potential liability is disproportionate to the compensation they receive and the role they play on a construction project. They have received a sympathetic hearing in some quarters. In particular, the engineering disciplines have gained increasing acceptance of contractual limitations of liability. However, a recent ruling in California will have to be viewed as a setback.


The California Supreme Court ruled that an architect can be held liable to future homeowners, with whom it had no contract, for the negligent design of residential property. The ruling applies to architects who provide comprehensive design services directly to developers. The court reasoned that future homeowners are necessarily reliant on those architects. The court distinguished a case in which a geotechnical engineer furnished services to a site preparation subcontractor. The third-party commercial property owner was in a position to obtain independent technical input. ... Read more.


Featured in this Week’s Construction Claims Advisor:

  • California High Court Expands Architect Liability
  • Installer Not Responsible for Damage to Stored Materials


One of the 14 research projects recently receiving funding support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to improve the energy efficiency of America’s buildings involves a “hybrid energy modeling method” that Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and California Energy Commission (CEC) are developing (ConstructionPro Week/CPW, Aug. 1, 2014, “Several New Technologies Expected to Save Significant Amounts of Energy in Buildings”). But, how will this method work, and in what unique way will it benefit the buildings community? During a recent interview with CPW, Tianzhen Hong, computational research scientist within the Simulation Research Group of LBNL’s Building Technology and Urban Systems Department, provided an in-depth response to this inquiry. ... Read more.


How much change in a construction project is necessary before a contractor enters a cumulative impact condition? While there is no sweeping, hard-and-fast, industry-wide answer to this question, William Ibbs and other researchers have come up with a “rule of thumb” for determining when such a condition is reached -- a condition in which, as Ibbs put it during a WPL Publishing webinar he recently co-presented, “you have so many changes that you cannot really measure the full impacts of each change on a case-by-case, discrete basis.” To read what this rule of thumb is, click here.

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