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 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 schedule. And to not guarantee 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

AIA’s New 2019 CMc and CMa Contract Documents

Construction Management (CM) is not a single approach to project delivery. Rather, it is a sliding scale with endless possible permutations depending on the project and its participants.  The ends of the spectrum are Construction Manager as Constructor (CMc), which is also sometimes known as “Construction Manager at Risk,” and the Construction Manager as Adviser (CMa) delivery method.  This post discusses the CM Read More

The B152-2019 Interior Design Agreement: Important FF&E Changes

Compared to its widely-used B152-2007 predecessor, the new B152-2019 Interior Design Agreement contains many changes. The new B152 differs more, textually, from its predecessor than most updated AIA Contract Documents I have seen recently. Take Furniture, Furnishings, and Equipment, for example. The phrase and its “FF&E” abbreviation appeared just 21 times in the B152-2007. By contrast, the B152-2019 contains Read More

Is It Worth Pursuing Your Construction Claim?

This article first appeared in Thompson Reuters Construction Accounting & Taxation, July/August 2009 - Vol.19, No. 4, and is reprinted with permission. Is it worth pursuing your construction claim? The decision to proceed may not be clear-cut. This post analyzes some factors potential claimants should consider when determining whether to file a lawsuit or demand for arbitration.  I wrote the Read More

Arbitrator-Directed Arbitration: A Proposal To Improve Construction Arbitration

This article first appeared in the Construction Law Newsletter, Volume 35, Number 5 (May 2019), co-authors Mark C. Friedlander and Jeremy S. Baker Arbitrator-Directed Arbitration: A Proposal to Improve Arbitration Arbitration was once the darling of the construction industry, with parties intentionally sacrificing the safeguards of litigation, and its expensive and inefficient procedures, in favor of fair, Read More

This Is a Great Time for Design and Construction!

Written by Jeremy S. Baker - Chicago River facing West I was floored by Steve Burrows’ absolutely brilliant keynote at Digital Build Week 2019. I first heard it as a podcast, at the gym. I stopped my workout and furiously scrambled to take notes. Steve Burrows is a visionary engineer with a long career. He is someone you should know. His speech “This is the Greatest Time in History to be in Construction” Read More

Why Diligent Project Owners Should Never Lose Mechanics Lien Claims

Written by Jeremy S. Baker - You are a project owner or real estate developer. You want to avoid lien claims. But how? Yes, the Illinois Lien Act – first passed in 1825 – contains arcane and confounding rules. But here is the truth: real estate developers and project owners should never lose lien claims … IF they follow the Lien Act, as they make periodic payments on their design and construction Read More