How Guided Choice Mediation Achieves Earlier Settlements of Design and Construction Disputes

A version of this article first appeared in the Construction Law Newsletter, Volume 34, Number 3 (January 2018), coauthors Paul M. Lurie and Jeremy S. Baker Want to Resolve Design and Construction Disputes Quickly? Clients have spoken, and their in-house counsel, lawyers, and mediators now understand that clients want their disputes resolved quickly — faster than they typically are in traditional mediation and Read More

Fixed Fee v. Cost-Plus GMP: Which is Best?

There are good reasons for real estate developers and project owners to prefer a “Fixed Fee” approach over a “Cost-Plus-Fee-up-to-Guaranteed-Maximum-Price (GMP)” approach to paying for construction work. But Cost-Plus GMP Contract Agreements have many virtues as well. Which is best? There is no one correct answer. Much depends on the project-specific goals. What does the developer or project owner most highly value? Read More

Jeremy Baker inducted into the prestigious Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys

Admission to the Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys (SOICA) is by invitation only. Its ranks include distinguished former judges, highly regarded mediators and arbitrators, and attorneys who are widely considered to be at the top of the Illinois construction law bar.  “Joining SOICA has been an important goal of mine for 15 years,” says Jeremy. He is “excited to continue to work with the SOICA members – the Read More

The Hidden Benefit to Thoughtful Contract Negotiations

The very act of two project participants coming together to thoughtfully negotiate a design and construction contract has a benefit unto itself – one that is separate from the piece of paper produced at the end of the contract negotiation. Why Are Good Contracts Important for Design and Construction Projects? Speed and Efficiency When I negotiate contracts, my goal is to complete the negotiation quickly and Read More

Accessible Design Requirements: Worthy Aims, Huge Risks for Design Professionals

Design professionals must comply with a variety of federal, state, and local statutes, rules, and codes that require certain public and commercial buildings to be designed in a manner so they are readily accessible to, and usable by, persons with certain kinds of disabilities. Accessibility Requirements Such “accessibility requirements” address things like ensuring persons in wheelchairs have accessible routes into Read More

Jeremy Baker to Present Seminar “Using Mechanics Liens to Get Paid in the COVID-19 Era” Friday, September 25th

Mechanics liens are a powerful tool to help secure payment on Illinois projects. In turbulent economic times, liens can be particularly useful to architects, engineers, and contractors concerned about their clients’ willingness – or ability – to pay for design and construction services. Liens can sometimes motivate project owners and lenders to pay for design and construction services. Claimants who meet certain Read More

Design Professionals Should Not Be Afraid to Lead Design-Build Teams

For years, lawyers and insurance brokers have provided limiting advice to architects and engineers. The Limiting Advice To Engineers & Architects Together, we have put architects and engineers in a tiny little box. We advise architects and engineers to stay far away from the means and methods of construction. To not make promises about the outcome of the project. To give no warranties. No assurances about Read More

What Is the Best Length for Design and Construction Contracts?

No one specific length is best for design and construction contracts. Project participants do, however, want to avoid overly short contracts with “gray” areas. The ones which do not address the major issues which may arise in the project. This is because design and construction contracts exist, largely, to resolve prevent and disputes. Contracts Are a Dispute Resolution Tool We must draft contracts with an eye toward Read More

Project Owners Should Not Over-Rely On Title Insurer Review of Payment Applications

Real estate developers and property owners sometimes make a mistake by entirely outsourcing supervision of the monthly draw process to the title insurer hired by their lenders. But I counsel people against the over-rely on title insurer strategy. One of the big risks for Illinois project owners and developers is having to pay for the same work twice. I will not dwell on this point now because it is addressed in Read More

Beware the “One Year” Warranty: Contractor Callback Periods v. Warranties of Quality Work

Contractor “callback periods” and “warranties of quality” are different concepts. The distinction between them is a little understood – yet very important – nuance in construction contracts.  Callback periods frequently do have a contractual expiration date, often one year after completion of work. This limits the time when contractors must voluntarily come back to the site to fix defects. Warranties of quality Read More