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Construction cost volatility alert for design professionals

Project owners want certainty on both the cost of putting a capital asset in place and the time it will take for the productive asset to become available. One of the greatest sources of claims against design firms is the dissatisfaction of clients with the ability of firms to design to a budget and complete … Continue reading

AIA commissioning services agreement updated

Earlier this year, the AIA published C203-2017, Standard Form of Consultant’s Services: Commissioning. The document has been significantly updated to reflect changes in the industry that have taken place since the prior version. The changes include: provisions describing the consultant’s role to help prepare the owner’s project requirements; detailed description of the consultant’s commissioning plan; … Continue reading

Recovering after Hurricane Florence

According to a report prepared by Governor Roy Cooper, the early damage estimates to North Carolina’s businesses and infrastructure from Hurricane Florence stand at $12.7 billion. The report provides sector-by-sector assessments and discusses available funding sources. Design firms looking to provide services for recovery efforts can access the full report. As noted in the report, … Continue reading

Blockchain: collaboration innovation for design professionals

Blockchain technology continues to spark imaginations in every sector of the economy, including design and construction. About a year ago, I wrote an initial thought experiment into the possibilities. Later, I began to explore more deeply the applications of blockchain technology. And now, while cryptomarkets continue to self-correct the over-speculation of 2017 [Tech talk: crypto … Continue reading

New alternative fee arrangements for arbitration

Design firms typically use litigation or arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism. Although arbitration was initially touted as a more efficient dispute resolution method, but over the years it has become clear that arbitration can be just as complex and costly as litigation. In response to such concerns, the American Arbitration Association (AAA) has introduced … Continue reading

Military funding bill leads energy efficiency and climate resiliency

Although the federal government has been delaying or rescinding programs that address alternative energy sourcing and climate resiliency, the Department of Defense (DoD) is looking at ways to reduce energy usage and protect military installations from the effects of climate change. Last month, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (Act) was signed into … Continue reading

Brad Pitt foundation embroiled in lawsuits

In 2007, two years after Hurricane Katrina, actor Brad Pitt founded the Make it Right foundation to rebuild safe and sustainable homes in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward. Led by GRAFT architects, the organization convened 21 world-renowned architects to design climate-adapted, eco-friendly homes inspired by William McDonough’s Cradle to Cradle principles. Earlier this month, an … Continue reading

Millennium Tower continues to provide “lessons learned”

In previous posts earlier this year and last year, we detailed the ongoing disputes between Millennium Partners, the developer of the Millennium Tower in San Francisco, and the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (Transbay), which built the recently opened Transbay Transit Center next to the tower. Millennium Partners contends that construction of the Transit Center weakened … Continue reading

Using AIA scope documents for non-traditional design services

Shortly after releasing the 2017 versions of the traditional owner-architect agreements, the AIA Contract Documents Committee published detailed scope of services agreements that assign professional duties to supplement or replace traditional services. These AIA specialty services documents can be added to any base owner/architect agreement to form a contract. B201-2017, Standard Form of Architect’s Services: … Continue reading

How climate change is changing the standard of care

This intriguing issue was recently addressed by attorneys Elena Mihaly, William Franczek, and Andrew P. Selman in an article published in the summer 2018 issue of the Journal of the American College of Construction Lawyers. Their article was also part of a larger study, Climate Adaptation and Liability: A Legal Primer and Workshop Summary Report. … Continue reading