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Construction Experts and Claims Consultants Articles List

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I.      Introduction Without question, construction disputes consume precious time, money, and resources for all parties involved. Regardless of the experience and capabilities of the construction professionals involved in a dispute or claim, the claim process can quickly become very complex. Before addressing the process in detail, this paper will provide a general discussion on the definition of a construction claim, the parties involved and the claims made by the parties, and how to deal with claims. I.A.    What is a claim? Quite simply, a construction contract claim is understood to be a demand asserted by one party on another party relating to the services or products specified in the contract. The most common claim on construction projects concerns payment (or nonpayment) for work performed under the general contract. A claim basically boils down to monetary relief sought by one or ...

I. Introduction Building codes are the “minimum requirements” to safeguard public health, safety, and general welfare through structural strength, means of egress facilities (emergency exits), stability, sanitation, adequate light and ventilation, energy conservation, and safety to life and property. These codes protect the public from fire and other hazards attributed to the built environment and provide safety to fire fighters and emergency responders during emergency operations. As stated, building codes and related regulations exist to safeguard the public from fire and other health and safety hazards attributed to the building environment. Prior to 2000, at least three standard building codes were utilized throughout the United States. The International Council of Building Officials (ICBO) first published the Uniform Building Code in 1927. The Building Officials Conference of America (BOCA) was founded in 1915 and published the BOAC/Basic Building Code. The Southern ...

Contractor’s proposals are often the first step in a courtship between owners and contractors. Initially, everyone is optimistic for a successful outcome. The honeymoon period may last the entire project and culminate in a project that is delivered on-time and on-schedule. However, in today’s overheated construction environment, costs may rise, labor may become scarce, engineering may be late or defective, and equipment and material may arrive at site late or defective, all of which may strain relationships between owners and contractors and often can lead to litigation. A recent trend in construction litigation involves a rather novel approach of owners claiming a breach of contract against contractors for failing to fulfill the “promises” contained in their technical and commercial proposals that are often referenced in or attached to the contract as an exhibit. Contractor’s proposals often contain optimistic statements, sometimes ...

Introduction This year, exceptionally high price increases of construction materials have caused serious problems for the construction industry. A major factor is the current economic and construction boom occurring in China. China is experiencing rapid growth and, with it, tremendous construction activity which is creating shortages in the US and throughout the world. Background Basic economics tell us that, in an open marketplace, prices will rise when demand increases or when supply decreases. Demand is increasing exponentially in China due in part to a construction boom resulting from the country’s economic revolution, preparations for the 2008 Olympic Games, construction of the Three Gorges Dam, and the construction of thousands of highways throughout the country. Demand is also significantly higher in the US due to a rise in construction activity, related in part to new home construction. Some of the highest ...

Colleges around the nation prepare future construction managers for promising careers Construction management-bound college graduates today are finding that, more and more, universities are responding to the challenges of an ever advancing field. Higher education programs around the nation are collaborating with industry leaders and accreditation agencies to develop specialized curriculums to prepare students for successful careers. As engineers and architects try to keep up with global competition to design the most innovative structures, demand for skilled construction managers is surging, and employers are seizing students faster than they can graduate. While construction management as a profession has existed for many years, colleges have not always offered the specialized degrees they do now. Rather, construction/building science degrees have slowly evolved over the past approximately 70 years. They are a result of a combination of factors, including the homecoming of World ...

Part one of this two-part series addressed change order management and claims from the contractor’s perspective. This article will focus on techniques from the owner’s perspective for planning for and managing project change and avoiding claims. Although this information is geared towards owners, the information can help all parties on a construction project. Construction is not a one-way street, and it is beneficial for each of the parties to have a more complete understanding of the other parties’ perspective. Time is money, and in today’s construction industry, almost all projects are on the fast track. The amount of time taken in the conceptual design, project development, and the detailed engineering phases has become increasingly compressed as cost and schedule concerns become more important. In recent years, innovative project delivery systems such as Design-Build have become more prevalent in an effort ...

Every construction project, regardless of its size, inevitably encounters change. Changes can be minor, such as field rerouting of pipe to avoid an interference, or they can be major, such as a massive acceleration effort costing millions of dollars for additional personnel and overtime premiums. Managing change is an important aspect of construction project management and successful project completion. This article is the first in a two-part series that addresses issues relevant to managing cha

There is an ongoing debate as to whether or not it is advisable to use experts in mediation. In many cases that go to mediation, the issues in dispute are often relatively simple, strictly fact-based, and do not require damage calculations. In such cases, experts are often not required. This is generally not the case in the engineering and construction industry. Issues and disputes that occur during construction projects are typically not black and white issues. Using experts in these situations can prove beneficial for everyone involved in the mediation. The purpose of mediation is to find a mutually acceptable solution or compromise. Using construction experts with respect to these more difficult issues can help the client enter the mediation from a position of strength based on a thorough technical analysis. It is also important to remember that this may ...

In the construction industry, the ability to manage change can determine the success or failure of a project’s objectives. The failure to recognize and promptly manage change frequently costs the parties involved money and time. Establishing a change order management process using either contractual change order requirements or a firm’s proprietary system increases the effectiveness of progress reporting, labor productivity evaluation, work scheduling, and other elements of project change. The following steps provide a streamlined approach to resolving project changes in a more cost and time efficient manner: Evaluate the contract Identify the change properly and in a timely manner Provide timely notification to internal and external parties Effectively document the change Prepare the change request Resolve the change request Implementing these steps at the first sign of a change can help the parties to spend less money and exert ...

In general terms, force majeure is considered to be “an act of God” or an occurrence outside the control of the parties which impacts or delays the project. Force majeure includes issues such as unusually severe weather, labor strikes, natural disasters, or governmental actions/changes in law that negatively impact the work. Typically, force majeure is not considered to be a compensable delay, meaning neither party is entitled to compensation as a result of the impact of the force majeure event. The recent Gulf Coast hurricanes have raised some interesting and complex issues associated with defining force majeure. Typically, force majeure contract clauses include language that defines the force majeure event, including notice requirements and the terms of the schedule extension. Events such as unusually severe weather or a labor strike have clear start and end dates. It gets more complicated ...