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Construction Experts and Claims Consultants Articles List

42 Articles Found

Negotiation is a process for satisfying needs. People negotiate daily in various situations. Individuals negotiate with others for everything from the cost of a car to the choice of restaurant for dinner. Negotiation is a form of cooperation and leads to compromises acceptable to both sides, bringing business projects to fruition. Many individuals become particularly skilled in negotiation through their life experiences. Others study the traits and techniques of successful negotiators. A select few become expert negotiators in the construction industry. The Qualities of a Professional Negotiator Awareness: Probably the single most important trait of a skilled negotiator is awareness. Negotiators must not only be perceptive of others, they must also be knowledgeable about themselves and the details of the issues under consideration. Negotiators must be able to understand others' reactions and quickly respond in a positive and productive manner. ...

Objective Is Prompt Resolution of Change Orders A claim is an unresolved change order. Fortunately, a change order upon which all parties agree does not become a claim. Change orders that are resolved fairly and quickly benefit both the owner and the contractor by avoiding costly and time-consuming dispute resolution processes such as mediation, arbitration, and/or litigation. Prompt resolution of change orders is essential as this would typically minimize the total project cost to an owner, as well as minimize project delays and disruptions. Change is a normal part of the construction process and typically increases project costs and delays completion. Frequently, contractors submit change orders and owners readily pay for the changes they desire. Other times, however, due to budgetary or other constraints, while the change can be made, additional compensation or more time to complete the work cannot ...

A claim is an unresolved change order. Conversely, a change order that is agreed upon and processed does not become a claim. Change order situations that are resolved knowledgeably, fairly, and promptly will benefit both the owner and the contractor. Federal government studies have shown that early settlement of change order problems minimizes cost to owners. Likewise, contractors benefit by avoiding disruption to their project schedule and cash flow. Know and Use the Contract In a change order situation, the contractor's rights arise from the contract. A contractor's request must be consistent with the contract, or it will likely be denied. Courts can circumvent or overturn contract language, "exculpatory" clauses in particular, but such cases are the exception rather than the rule. Successful management of change orders is based upon knowledge of the contract. Project representatives of the owner, contractor, ...

Contracts, which are intended to eliminate problems, can be the open doorway to disputes and claims. Contracts that are one-sided promote dispute resolution through litigation. Bias in contract language and interpretation leads to increased costs for all parties. The following article suggests ways in which owners and contractors can work toward equitable contracting. Disruptions or Disputes Are Expensive to Both Owners and Contractors Construction contracts are drafted to allocate responsibilities, risks, and remedies between the separate parties. This allocation is based upon the simple fact that someone must be responsible and someone must pay for all elements of the project under that contract. In theory, when changes or unforeseen difficulties arise on a construction project, the allocation of risks established by the construction contract will clearly identify the party who is to pay. Thus, in the case of an owner's ...

The Risks vs. The Benefits Before agreeing to furnish materials for a construction project, owners must evaluate related risks and benefits to factor these into procurement decisions made during the sensitive preparation phase. Unfortunately, while the immediate monetary benefits of using owner-furnished items are easily ascertained, the risks are difficult to quantify. Owners often take on considerable liability in return for small, immediate gains. In effect, owners take on responsibility for timeliness and quality, over which they may have little control. They then can become mired in contract change orders, claims, or even litigation when their plans go astray. Frequently, the additional costs incurred by the contractor and the owner far exceed the potential gain envisioned by the owner through the seemingly helpful and economical act of furnishing contract items. The owner's decision to furnish items that could be procured ...

I. Introduction As experts in construction claims, Interface Consulting evaluates and analyzes a wide array of engineering and construction related disputes. Many of these disputes center around increased costs, project delays, and productivity impacts. This paper discusses the most common problems and claims related to design documents based on our experience dealing with hundreds of projects and thousands of claim issues. Awareness of the most common engineering document-related problems is the first step in planning and preventing these potential issues. As consultants and experts, we are often in the position to review and analyze the project records, (i.e., bids, budgets, contracts, schedules, correspondence, meeting minutes, progress reports, and cost information). These documents tell the "story" of the project and provide information about the root cause of the disputes, (i.e., delays and cost overruns, the responsibility for these problems, the extent ...

Documentation is a vital function of construction management. If your profitability depends upon the collection of extras or the defense of claims made against you, and you have no records, the world's best consultants and lawyers will be unable to create them for you. And if you do have the records, but your documentation's organization and quality are poor, the cost of compiling suitable information for the pursuit or defense of a claim may be high. Effective documentation is the result of following simple guidelines and maintaining organizational discipline. The discipline needed for effective documentation requires the same management instruction, repetition, and follow-up construction professionals use to ensure that equipment is properly maintained, safe working practices are followed, and reports are submitted on time. Typically, completing paperwork on a construction project becomes burdensome; this is the point at which the ...

Overview The special or general conditions of many construction contracts contain warranty provisions. A typical warranty clause may require the contractor to repair or replace defects in materials or workmanship for up to one year after acceptance of the work by the owner. This type of provision reflects risks that most contractors or subcontractors can identify and analyze based on experienced warranty or call-back costs. When dealing with equipment vendors, contractors and subcontractors can readily compare their own warranty exposure to the provisions of a manufacturer's standard warranty and decide whether to seek an extended warranty provision in a purchase order. In addition to the typical one-year warranty, construction contracts may also obligate the contractor to other warranties of longer duration. These extended warranties can be imposed on a contractor in a less customary manner that results in a potential ...

Over the past 20 years, the design-build process has gained popularity throughout the engineering and construction industries. The Design-Build Institute of America estimates that by 2010, approximately 50% of all construction projects in America will use design-build. Regardless of whether these projections prove to be accurate, it is impossible to ignore that more projects are employing this alternative project delivery method. As shown in the table below, some projects lend themselves readily to the design-build process, while others continue to be constructed using the traditional design-bid-build process. Design-Bid Build Project Requires Heavy Owner Involvement Unique/Complex Facilities Residential High-End Commercial (Custom Features) Heavy/ Specializes Industrial Facilities Design-Build Less Owner Involvement Required "Cookie Cutter" Projects Gas Stations, Fast Food Restaurants Highways/Utilities/Light Industrial Public Schools What is Design-Build? Design-build is a construction methodology in which the owner contracts with a single entity to ...

Knowledge of the different construction claim types allows owners to recognize potential claims situations. This recognition can protect the owners from incurring losses and assist in recovering compensation. Many of the claim types discussed are interrelated, and frequently more than one of them may pertain to a particular situation. For the purpose of this article, we have divided claims into eight different types. Directed Changes - This type of claim involves a situation in which a contractor is required to perform work within the context of the contract, that is considered a change in the contractor's scope of work. This change might be an addition or deletion of work or the use of different methods, materials, or designs. By definition, the owner recognizes the existence of a directed change, but there may be disagreement regarding the amount of compensation due ...