Practice/Industry Group Overview
Duane Morris' Construction Group is nationally ranked by Chambers USA among the leaders in the industry, with construction attorneys across the United States and around the world. The group's lawyers provide a full range of legal services to clients in all aspects of construction and government contracting, including:
- Contracting with public and private entities
- Bid protests and award disputes
- Owner/developer project management representation
- Construction administration services and risk management
- Contract interpretation, complex contract claims and surety litigation
- Claims preparation and negotiation
- Interference and installation/specification issues
- Contract defaults and terminations
- Delay and inefficiency claims
- Federal procurement issues/stimulus
- Alternative dispute resolution
- BIM (Building Information Modeling)
- Sustainable design and engineering
- LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), and green building
- Bid, payment, and performance surety bonds
- Insurance coverage and claim disputes
- Mechanic's liens
- Contractor licensing matters
- Property damage claims
- Labor and employment counseling
- OSHA compliance and workplace safety issues
Duane Morris construction lawyers assist clients in addressing the legal challenges of engaging in the design, development, financing, performance and management of major construction and government procurement contracts. Our group has special experience working on complex, high-visibility projects in New York and other cities. Our national practice includes attorneys who regularly represent public and private owners and developers, prime contractors and subcontractors, construction managers, equipment suppliers, architects/engineers and other design professionals, and sureties. This breadth of experience enables us to handle the complete spectrum of issues arising before, during and after project completion.
Several of our construction partners have been ranked as leaders in the field by Chambers USA. One of our senior New York construction partners served for more than 10 years as general counsel to one of the East Coast's largest construction companies, and another served for 20 years as principal outside counsel to one of the largest construction companies in the United States.
Lawyers from the Construction Group frequently work with attorneys from Duane Morris' other practice areas to address the many issues associated with any particular project-whether tax, finance, real estate, environmental, energy and, when necessary, white-collar criminal defense, corporate investigations and regulatory compliance, or any other relevant issue. The firm's full range of practices enables us to offer clients sophisticated legal services that are coordinated and streamlined from coast to coast and internationally.
In addition, when public relations and quasi-political issues impact construction projects, we have been successful in coordinating teams of outside consultants-including public relations specialists and local government contacts-and getting projects back on track.
Range of Services
Contract Formation and Performance
- Developing contract documents that expressly allocate the risk, responsibility and rewards for proper performance essential to a successful project.
- Utilizing our considerable experience with numerous forms of contracts, from customized forms to standard industry and government forms-including the contracts of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Consensus DOCS, the Engineers Joint Contracts Documents Committee (EJCDC) and the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA)-to develop the most appropriate contract forms for any project or task.
- Advising owners, developers, prime contractors, subcontractors, engineers, architects, other design professionals, sureties or other project team members, in forming and managing contractual relationships.
- Monitoring projects during construction to ensure awareness of issues and potential pitfalls, and to assist in the prevention or resolution of claims.
- Presenting seminars and written materials to our clients to educate their project managers, superintendents, engineers and others to the common pitfalls encountered on a construction project.
- Reviewing contract forms and procedures so clients are better able to avoid many situations that might result in claims or delays.
- Handling claims, including changed or unforeseen conditions, delays, disruptions, loss of productivity, acceleration, payment disputes, insurance coverage and allegations of defective design or construction.
- Calculating extended project costs and unallocated home-office overhead using industry-recognized formulas, recommending qualified consultants to do so and, where appropriate, working closely with claims consultants to maximize benefits and minimize risks for our clients.
- Where possible, attempting to achieve an early and fair resolution of construction disputes without the expense and disruption of litigation.
- Engaging in all forms of alternative dispute resolution, including mini-trials, mediations and arbitrations, and presenting strategies to attempt to resolve disputes promptly, amicably and short of trial.
- When early resolution is not possible, our attorneys have considerable experience litigating complex, highly technical construction claims in trial and appellate courts at state and federal levels, before contract appeals boards and other administrative tribunals, as well as arbitrating before domestic and internationally sanctioned panels.
Government Contracts and Bid Protests
- Providing a full range of services in connection with government contracting at the local, state and federal level, and with international agencies.
- Duane Morris attorneys have litigated precedent-setting cases involving procurement laws and the awards process, and have written extensively on competitive bidding and related subjects.
- Representing public owners, contractors, subcontractors, engineers, architects, suppliers and sureties in the procurement process, including bidding, bid protests, contractor selection and awards processes used by public agencies.
- Counseling clients on claims arising under government contracts, including analysis of entitlement and claims pricing issues, and claims notification and certification requirements.
Default/Termination Claims and Surety Practice
- Handling the complex issues and claims arising from contractor and subcontractor default terminations as well as failed construction projects that can result in numerous payment and performance bond claims and default or termination of bonded contractors.
- Having extensively represented all sides of such disputes, we can provide our clients with unique insights into handling default terminations, negotiating no-cost terminations in many cases or obtaining terminations for convenience on behalf of improperly terminated contractors, as well as working and negotiating with, and litigating for or against sureties relating to payment and performance bond claims and indemnity obligations.
Architects, Engineers and Other Design Professionals
- Representing architects, engineers and other design professionals in contractual issues related to project delivery systems such as design-build, design-bid-build, fast-track or any combination, and advising on their relationships with owners, consultants, contractors or subcontractors, during the pre-design, design, construction and post-construction phases.
- Defending or prosecuting claims by or against design professionals, and by or against professional liability insurance carriers. Our practice in this area is enhanced by the group's experience in the formation and management of design professional practices.
- Advising clients concerning the competitive retention of insurance consultants and brokers including the preparation of request for proposals.
- Advising clients concerning various controlled insurance programs.
- Assisting in the negotiation of insurance policies and coverages for liability, pollution and property risks.
Labor and Employment
Our Employment Law practice represents management on such far-ranging issues as:
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concerns, and wage-and-hour (Davis-Bacon) matters.
- Personnel administration, Americans with Disabilities Act and Family Medical Leave Act compliance and related matters.
- Assisting clients' compliance with affirmative action requirements and First Source requirements (when applicable) at the bidding stage and with any audits or investigations.
- Providing clients with representation in union employment and labor-related problems.
Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) Compliance Issues
- Helping clients address the ever-changing health and safety regulations of federal, state and municipal agencies to protect individuals and property in the workplace.
- Assessing the scope and application of these regulations, the potential liabilities in ongoing project activities and appropriate responses to inspection issues or the issuance of subpoenas and citations.
Managing Environmental Risks
- With Duane Morris' environmental attorneys, keeping clients abreast of environmental risks on construction projects such as federal CERCLA and RCRA liabilities and compliance with state statutes and regulations.
- Representing environmental engineers, contractors, owners, sureties and insurance carriers in assessing environmental risk and resolving environmental issues in construction projects.
Sustainable Designed Construction
- Counseling clients on alternatives available to address sustainable/high energy efficiency/green building design and construction.
- Investigating available incentives and modeling contract documents to reflect the added responsibilities and risks.
Property Damage Claims
- Representing owners, contractors and other project participants in claims which often become very complex, arising out of property damage to projects during construction or to completed projects.
- Drawing on extensive experience in litigating numerous property damage cases, as well as our long history of dealing with insurance companies and claims adjusters, adding value on coverage questions and in settlement negotiations.
Participation in Construction Industry Groups
Our attorneys participate in, and hold leadership positions in, many construction industry organizations, including:
- Associated General Contractors of America
- American Institute of Architects
- Public Contract Section of the American Bar Association
- American Bar Association Construction Litigation Committee
- American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry
- Construction Financial Management Association
- Design-Build Institute of America
- International Bar Association
- American Arbitration Association
- London Court of International Arbitration
- Society of Construction Law
- Washington Building Congress
- Construction Law and Litigation Committee of the International Association of Defense Counsel
- U.S. Green Building Council's LEED AP Program