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Blockchain: 5 Things You Need to Know Now

While the conventional wisdom around blockchain is that it’s a technology only affecting financial markets, design and construction stakeholders ought to pay attention to new developments, too. If you don’t, you risk falling behind on an important trend that potentially presents a competitive challenge for your firm, but also missing the opportunity the technology presents … Continue reading

Update on the saga of the “Leaning Tower of San Francisco”

Last year, I reported on the claims swirling around the 58-story Millennium Tower in San Francisco that has sunk about 17 inches and tilted 14 inches to the west and 6 inches to the north since it opened in 2009. Not much has changed in a year; litigation is still on-going and the parties are … Continue reading

Thinking about hiring a drone operator?

Design professionals frequently use drones (unmanned aerial systems) to help provide professional services. A recent article by Mark A. Dombroff, “Lessons in Liability: Drones 101,” reminds us to consider the regulatory and risk management issues that can arise from your relationship with a third-party drone provider. First, consider that accidents, while rare, do occur. Drones … Continue reading

Progressive design-build concepts

Owners are turning to “progressive” design-build for project procurement, a variant of design-build. On a traditional design-build project, a final project price is typically established at the time the design-builder is selected. This often means that the design-builder uses bridging documents and performance requirements the owner has developed independently so that the design-builder can establish … Continue reading

Architects and ADA compliance

In September, the law firm of Collins Collins Muir + Stewart reported on three cases (two in Illinois and one in California) that may be signaling good news for architects when it comes to claims involving allegations of ADA non-compliance. In the case of Equal Rights Center v. Niles Bolton Associates, a disability advocacy group … Continue reading

Negotiating indemnity obligations

Client-drafted indemnity obligations are often broad and include defense obligations. Often, clients are unwilling to amend indemnity obligations. If a firm wants to protect itself against the possibility of having to defend its client and paying contractual obligations beyond its professional liability insurance coverage for providing professional services, it may be better off adding a … Continue reading

Game changing energy storage technologies

Introduced recently in the U.S. Senate was a bipartisan bill: the Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act of 2017. What this legislation would do is expand the definition of “energy property” in the tax code to include “equipment which receives, stores, and delivers energy using batteries, compressed air, pumped hydropower, hydrogen storage (including hydrolysis), … Continue reading

Still waiting for infrastructure plan

The Trump Administration held a flurry of infrastructure related meetings last week. Lawmakers are still waiting for more details on the $1 trillion infrastructure plan that Trump touted during the campaign. There is uncertainty as to how much actual funding will be allocated to the infrastructure plan, and the President has questioned the role of … Continue reading

Hurricanes and Congressional debate on energy infrastructure

The devastation caused by hurricanes in 2017 to U.S. coastal cities and territories can only be described at this early stage of recovery as historic. The numbers and actual economic impacts in the coming months will no doubt illuminate more deeply the gravity of the situation, and will likely spark a renewed enthusiasm in the … Continue reading

What does tax reform mean for design professionals?

The answer to this question is “it depends.” What was proposed by Trump’s Administration last week in the form of a “Framework” is broadly laid out. The details will be forthcoming in the legislation that will be drafted by committees, but some of the relevant highlights for design professionals are as follows. One of the stated … Continue reading