Construction Lawyers with Experience
We provide the full range of legal services to construction industry clients, including contract document development and negotiation, financing, bidding, contract administration, change order negotiation, and dispute resolution.
We represent regional and national clients throughout the western U.S. on all types of construction projects including office buildings, warehouses, airport runways and terminals, dams, nuclear plants, schools in metropolitan areas and bush schools in rural Alaska, jails/prisons, power plants, performing arts centers, bridges, sewers, waste-water treatment plants, pipelines, residential developments, condominiums, hospitals, highways, military housing and facilities, and fishing boats. Our clients include public and private owners, general contractors, subcontractors, architects and engineers, sureties, suppliers, lenders, and developers.
We Understand the Construction Business.
Several of our lawyers have backgrounds in construction and engineering, with hands-on experience working on construction projects. We are active members of industry organizations including the Associated General Contractors, the Asphalt Paving Association of Washington, and the Construction Financial Management Association. We also have a strong and longstanding presence in the Washington State Bar Association Construction Law Section, and SCB construction lawyers routinely serve on the Section’s executive committee, and more recently, serve as editors of the Section’s newsletter.
Public and Private Contracting
We represent public and private owners, contractors, subcontractors, and design professionals in all manner of construction contracts.
Contract Drafting and Negotiation
We draft and negotiate a wide range of contracts on behalf of our clients. Through this process, we develop the type of close relationship with our clients that helps ensure that the final, signed contract documents reflect our clients’ objectives and requirements, while at the same time properly allocating risk on the project and protecting our clients’ interests.
Developing Form Contracts
Many of our clients have realized the benefits of developing and using standard form construction contracts. We have worked with those clients to develop clear, enforceable and favorable contract forms to help speed up the contract document stage of their projects.
As experienced construction lawyers, we represent clients in construction claims arising during project construction and after project completion, including the following:
Payment Claims, Mechanic’s Liens, and Collection
Getting paid and exercising the right to withhold payment are critical issues our clients deal with on a daily basis. We know the importance of cash flow in any construction project and have the experience to resolve payment issues efficiently. We have contributed to AGC of Washington’s Lien and Bond Claims Manual, and we also publish SCB’s Manual for Lien and Bond Claims on Washington Construction Projects, which has proven to be an important resource in the daily activities of our clients.
Impact Claims Due To Delay, Suspension, Acceleration or Disruption
Maintaining a strict adherence to project schedule is the key to any successful construction project. When project development does not go as planned, our expertise in scheduling issues helps our clients both pursue and defend time- and cost-related claims.
Differing Site Conditions
We are experienced in differing site condition issues and in defending and prosecuting these issues during the dispute resolution process. We have successfully represented clients in connection with differing site condition issues on private contracts, as well as state and federal public contracts.
Defective or Ambiguous Specification Claims
With the trend in the delegation of design responsibilities in construction form contracts, we are aware of the shift in the law concerning liabilities arising out of insufficient plans and specifications, and the defenses that may be raised against such claims. Our lawyers have represented design professionals defending against such claims as well as contractors and owners pursuing these claims against design professionals.
Construction Claims Avoidance
Because clients do not always benefit from the cost and time required to litigate claims, we work with our clients during and after construction to control and manage claims. We are committed to making full use of the dispute resolution processes afforded to our construction clients to avoid the more costly alternative of arbitration or litigation.
Mediation, Arbitration and Litigation
Even with the best intentions, disputes arise and sometimes arbitration or litigation is inevitable. We aggressively represent our clients’ best interests through case management and utilizing legal rules and procedures. Our actions frequently result in published decisions favorable to our client and the construction industry, such as the Washington Supreme Court’s decisions in, to name a few: Eastlake Construction Co., Inc. v. Hess, 102 Wn.2d 30 (1984); Lindbrook Construction, Inc. v. Mukilteo School Dist. No. 6, 76 Wn.2d 539, 458 P.2d 1 (1969); Industrial Electric-Seattle, Inc. v. Bosko, 67 Wn.2d 783, 410 P.2d 10 (1966); and Bignold v. King County, 65 Wn.2d 817, 399 P.2d 611 (1965).
Surety & Insurance
We have represented some of the world’s largest sureties, as well as regional sureties and bond producers, in every phase of construction and in every aspect of a bond dispute. In the event the surety finds itself facing the claim of a bankruptcy trustee or secured creditor, we understand the strength of the surety’s equitable subrogation rights and the importance of protecting bonded contract proceeds. We have the experience and expertise to assist the surety in a number of areas.
Performance Bond Defaults
An unfortunate reality in the construction industry is the decision to default and/or terminate a contractor’s contract during the course of construction. At that juncture, it is important that the surety, as well as its principal, be prepared to investigate, evaluate, and respond to what will inevitably be a claim against the performance bond.
We are skilled in working with our surety and contractor clients to minimize exposure and costs. We are prepared to argue for reinstatement or conversion of a default termination to one of convenience or, if the facts warrant, we will seek to negotiate an agreement that extracts the surety from the problem (finance, tender, takeover, or completion agreements) without exposing the surety to additional liability.
Payment and Performance Bond Matters
Our lawyers are well versed in the law of suretyship and have worked extensively representing the rights of the principal, obligee, and surety. We represent our clients on surety issues on private projects, as well as bonds issued under state public procurement laws and the Miller Act.
We have extensive experience in disputes arising under a surety’s general agreement of indemnity and master surety agreement. Often, a surety’s contractual rights under such agreements are the means to secure information, obtain access to records, and minimize losses through indemnity. In the event the surety has sustained a loss, we are prepared to evaluate the merit and feasibility of recovery through affirmative claims on the bonded project and/or from the principal’s indemnitors. We are experienced in prosecuting surety rights in state, federal, and bankruptcy courts.