Trends in Construction Law
What Happens in Vegas Doesn’t Stay in Vegas
By Aileen Leipprandt
Vegas, baby. The Bellagio. A bunch of attorneys talking shop on construction law. It could only be better if I actually won the slots.
I recently attended a conference in Las Vegas sponsored by the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, a committee comprised of construction lawyers from around the U.S. The program focused on project delivery methods used across the country, including the pros and cons of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), Public Private Partnerships (also known as P3 projects), Design Build, Construction Management, and Bridging (a hybrid approach of design build, conceptual design, and front end engineering as a precursor to the actual design build contract). Presenters outlined the risks associated with each delivery model and methods to balance those risks, including proposed contract language and the use of alliances in the unfortunate event of litigation. While IPD and P3s have yet to gain popularity in Michigan, stay tuned, because these delivery methods are gaining ground.
I also attended an interesting break out program on the use of letters of credit in lieu of project bonding. Included in this discussion was an evaluation of subcontractor default insurance, called Subguard. These alternate forms of financing project default risk, though not used widely in Michigan, are prevalent with projects in other countries.
One of the more technical programs I attended addressed the operation of federal contracting programs for small, minority and women-owned businesses, including a discussion of mentor-protégé programs. With tight competitive bidding on public projects, it is anticipated that there will be increased scrutiny and more challenges to those entities claiming to be disadvantaged and alliances that are created for the purpose of pursuing government set aside programs.
I also attended a program outlining the new AIA sustainable construction contracts and tips for modifying those contracts to meet the particular construction professional’s needs. While green construction is certainly not new, the construction trade groups continue to develop new contracts to address the allocation of risks and responsibilities presented by green construction. Have you considered provisions in your contracts to address sustainable construction?
While it’s oft said “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” in this case, that’s not true. Hilger Hammond attorneys continue to study the trends in construction law issues across the country so that we can bring that information to our clients and assist our clients with the opportunities and challenges they face now and in the future. Stay tuned as we blog and lecture throughout 2012 on these and other emerging construction law issues.