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This post is about “designing” the web of contracts for design and construction projects. That web is called a “project delivery method,” and there are many ways to engineer that web of contracts. The article is not about claims or disputes. Not overtly, at least. It does, however, have a decided “dispute resolution” overtone because good project delivery methods and contracts can minimize disputes. Good Project Design Can Minimize Design and Construction Disputes My suspicion?…
The choice between arbitration and court litigation complicated. Arbitration is no panacea. Some disputes are definitely better suited to litigation in a court of competent jurisdiction than arbitration. However, Illinois courts and law are no longer hostile to arbitration, and recognize its many advantages. Illinois law and Illinois Courts Favor Arbitration. Our Supreme Court has characterized arbitration as “an effective, expeditious, and cost-efficient method of dispute resolution.” Salsitz v. Kreiss, 198 Ill.2d 1,…
Private arbitration has several advantages over litigation in a court of law. One is that arbitration takes place mostly in private. Unlike litigation, which is conducted in public and leaves behind publicly-available records, arbitration typically does not leave behind a public record of filings which could embarrass the parties involved in the dispute. Arbitrators Know Design and Construction Arbitration enables parties to use expert decision-makers familiar with construction industry norms to resolve their disputes. Construction…
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 arbitration. Most construction and commercial disputes settle and are not adjudicated. Early…
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? Speed of project delivery and firm pricing are, for example, often in conflict.…
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 highest caliber construction attorneys in Illinois –…
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 buildings; that doors are designed wide enough to allow their passage; that light switches, thermostats,…
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. Speed and Efficiency When I negotiate contracts, my goal is to complete the negotiation quickly and efficiently.  My clients want to design and construct new buildings, not get bogged down in contract negotiations.  I love…
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 short deadlines, and make technical filings with correct content, can often receive favorable…