Construction Law

Legal issues, news, and regulations concerning the construction industry

Sub-clause 20.1 of the FIDIC Under Polish Law – Is It an Enforceable Time Bar?
Preparing for the Changes in the New AIA 2017 Forms
Presentation Available: The Role of Insurance and Cost Reduction in EPC Contracts
K&L Gates Presents at the 3rd Annual Global EPC Contract & Risk Management Conference
Webinar: Subcontractor Default Insurance: Best Practices for Claim Preparation and Coverage Strategy to Streamline the Claim Process
Third party funding of arbitration in Hong Kong is given the green light
Please Join Us: NEC4 – The Next Generation
Return of arbitration to road construction disputes in Poland
What is the thinking behind zero subsidy bids in the first auction for offshore wind farms in Germany?
Insurance Policy Did Not Prevent Association Recovery from Subcontractors for Defective Work

Sub-clause 20.1 of the FIDIC Under Polish Law – Is It an Enforceable Time Bar?

By Dominika Jędrzejczyk

Whether the lapse of the 28-day notification period under sub-clause 20.1 of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) Red and Yellow Books renders the contractor’s claim time-barred has been a point of interest for courts in civil law jurisdictions for years. Polish courts have also not shied away from commenting upon the legal nature of sub-clause 20.1. The legal landscape seemed relatively settled in this regard until March 2017, when the Supreme Court took an unequivocally pro-employer perspective on the matter.

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Preparing for the Changes in the New AIA 2017 Forms

By: Justin L. Weisberg

After a decade, the AIA  released new design and construction contract forms in April 2017.  Some of the more notable changes to the AIA construction contract documents are summarized below.

Probably as a reflection of advancements in the use of technology in the design and construction industry, the construction forms now default to the E203-2013 Document titled Building Information Modeling and Digital Data Exhibit. The E203-2013, which is identified in the AIA construction agreement forms as a Contract Document, requires the parties to create a digital data protocol and, if building information modeling (“BIM”) is to be used, to create a BIM modeling protocol.  The A-201 requires the parties to agree on the Protocols set forth in the E203-2013 for the use, transmission and exchange of digital data.  The E203-2013 references two protocol forms, the G-201-2013 Project Digital Data Protocol Form and the G-202-2013 Project Building Information Modeling Protocol Form.  Any reliance by the Owner  or Contractor  upon digital data or a building information model without the completion and incorporation of the E203-2013 is at the relying party’s sole risk.

Another new Exhibit, which may be referenced in the construction contract, is the E204 -2017, the Sustainable Projects Exhibit. This E-204 – 2017 sets forth the obligations and terms between the Owner, Architect, and Contractor  for a project that seeks a sustainable objective or third-party certification of a sustainable objective or energy or environmental performance such as LEED®.

The A-201 now provides for direct communications between the Owner and the Contractor. While with the past forms all communications with the Contractor were supposed to go through the Architect, under the A201-2017, the Owner and Contractor can communicate directly, although the Architect is to be included in all communications that relate to or affect the Architect’s services or responsibilities.

The method of calculation for progress payments has been revised. For example, the calculation of progress payments on the AIA A-102 Cost Plus with a GMP  contract now incorporates the allocation of contingencies under the GMP requiring any contingency for costs to be allocated in the schedule of values.  The progress payment calculation under the AIA A-102 is as follows: the Contractor first provides evidence that the costs it has incurred exceed the progress payments previously received plus the current payroll minus the Contractor’s fee.  Assuming the costs plus Contractor’s Fee exceed the progress payments and payroll, the actual amount approved is calculated as: a) the percentage of work completed under the GMP; b) with the addition of amounts from any equipment delivered and suitably stored at the site; plus c) the portion of Construction Change Directives that the Architect believes to be reasonably justified; and  d) the Contractor’s Fee.  The amount calculated is then reduced by: a) the previously paid amounts; b) any amounts for uncorrected defective work; c) any amounts that a Contractor does not intend to pay a subcontractor or supplier; and d) any amounts that the Architect is authorized to refuse to certify under the General Conditions.

The list of amounts that the Architect is authorized to refuse to certify under the General Conditions remains unchanged and includes: 1) defective work; 2) third-party claims; 3) failure to pay subcontractors or suppliers; 4) reasonable evidence that the contract cannot be completed for the unpaid contract balance; 5) damage to the Owner; 6) reasonable evidence that the Contractor will not finish on time and that the remaining unpaid balance is not sufficient to pay the actual and liquidated damages; and 7) evidence of repeated failure to carry out the Work in accordance with the Contract documents. Of course, the final listed item of reduction for progress payments in the A-102 is retainage.

A major change to the construction forms includes removal of a number of insurance provisions in the A-201 and the placement of most of the insurance requirements into a new A101 – 2017 Exhibit A Insurance and Bonds form. Exhibit A is incorporated into the A101-2017, A102-2017, and A103-2017 construction contract forms.  The new insurance exhibit incorporates many of the insurance provisions previously included in the A201-2007, although the A101-2017 Exhibit A also has new insurance requirements including specifically identified additional ISO insurance forms.

The Insurance Exhibit A now specifically requires additional insurance endorsement ISO forms CG 20 10 07 04, CG 20 37 07 04, and with respect to the Architect CG 20 32 07 04. It should be noted, that unlike the previous CG 20 10 11 85 endorsement, which covered ongoing and completed operations in a single form “for liability arising out of ʻyour work’ for that insured by or for you,” the CG 20 10 07 04 form only covers liability “caused in whole or part by: 1. Your acts or omissions; or 2. The acts or omissions of those acting on your behalf in the performance of your ongoing operations for the additional insured(s). . ..”  The CG 20 37 07 04 form only covers liability “caused in whole or part by “your work” . . . “performed for that additional insured and included in the products completed operations hazard.”  Given the limitations stated in the specified forms as compared to forms such as the CG 20 10 11 85 form, or the more recent CG 20 10 10 01 and CG 20 37 10 01 forms, parties that are beginning to use the newly required forms for the first time should consult with their attorneys and brokers to determine whether they are in compliance with these new insurance requirements.  The parties should also consult with their attorneys to determine whether under the laws applicable to the project, the required forms have minimized exposure to any potential uncovered indemnity claims and are not precluded by any statutory restrictions.

The Insurance Exhibit A requires the Owner to obtain the Builders Risk Insurance but allows the obligation to be shifted to the Contractor. The Insurance Exhibit A also provides for the parties to elect from a menu of coverages including, for example, pollution coverage, professional liability coverage, manned and unmanned aircraft coverage, and cyber security insurance.

The right to request financial information during the project has been supplemented to allow the Contractor to request financial information if the Owner fails to make payments, or if the Contractor identifies a reasonable concern regarding the Owners ability to make payment. The Owner can now also identify any such information provided as confidential and require the Contractor to maintain the confidentiality of the designated information.

Under the cost plus forms, the method in which subcontractors are selected has been changed. Rather than the Owner with the advice of the Contractor and Architect determining which subcontractors are selected after submitting bids, the Contractor now selects the subcontractors subject to the Owner’s right to object.

An additional obligation now placed upon the Contractor under the A-201 requires the Contractor to defend and indemnify the Owner from subcontractor and supplier lien claims as long as the Owner has fulfilled its payment obligations to the Contractor.

If the Contractor terminates the Contract for cause it is now entitled to reasonable overhead and profit on Work not executed. If the Owner terminates the Contract for convenience, the Contractor is now entitled to a termination fee to be set forth in the Agreement, rather than reasonable overhead and profit on Work not executed.

In conclusion, given the amount of time that has passed since 2007 when the former AIA construction forms were updated, the extent of revisions in 2017 cannot be described as sweeping changes from the prior versions. However, as noted in the summary above, there have been some significant modifications in the new forms that contractors and owners need to consider when negotiating projects in the future with the new 2017 AIA construction forms.


Presentation Available: The Role of Insurance and Cost Reduction in EPC Contracts

London partner, Matthew E. Smith spoke on the role of insurance and cost reduction in EPC contracts at the recent Global EPC Contract & Risk Management Conference on October 12-13, 2017 in London.

To view a copy of Matthew’s presentation titled “The Role of Insurance and Cost Reduction in EPC Contracts,” please click here.

K&L Gates Presents at the 3rd Annual Global EPC Contract & Risk Management Conference

Please Join Us at the Conference and use our Sponsor Discount Code for 20% Savings

We will be sponsoring and presenting at this year’s Global EPC Contract & Risk Management Conference on October 12-13, 2017 at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London. We have negotiated a special discount for our clients and contacts on the conference fee.

London partner, Matthew E. Smith will be speaking on the role of insurance and cost reduction in EPC contracts and also moderating the panel on Understanding Contract Compliance with Procurement Strategies and Policies.

Seattle partner, David P. Hattery will be speaking at the panel on Ensuring Subcontractor Buy-In When Preparing and Entering Contracts.

Click here to access the conference brochure. When registering, please enter VIP code: EPC2017


Webinar: Subcontractor Default Insurance: Best Practices for Claim Preparation and Coverage Strategy to Streamline the Claim Process

The number one cause of subcontractor default is overextension of financial and operational resources. As the economy grows, subcontractor defaults are on the rise. While SDI provides improved coverage terms with claim payment provisions that are intended to streamline the process, many insured’s have experienced difficulties working through the SDI claim process that includes extensive RFI’s, cost allocation documentation and coverage interpretations that can materially impact the outcome.

Please join us on September 19, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. for our Subcontractor Default Insurance Webinar which will provide the latest coverage developments and claims handling strategies to improve the outcomes for CM’s, GC’s, Owners and Lenders that are relying on the coverage provided by the SDI policy.

Who would benefit from this seminar? General Counsels, Risk Managers, CEO’s, CFO’s, COO’s and Project Management Professionals working for CM’s or GC’s that have purchased an SDI policy as well as lenders, owners and other professionals serving the construction industry.

Christopher Barbarisi, Partner, K&L Gates LLP (Newark)
Jim Bly, Managing Director, Alliant Construction Services Group
Rick Fultineer, Managing Director, Berkeley Research Group 
Frank Calvaruso, Director, Berkeley Research Group

Click here to RSVP.

CLE credit for this program is currently pending.

Third party funding of arbitration in Hong Kong is given the green light

By Christopher Tung, Sacha Cheong and Dominic Lau, K&L Gates, Hong Kong

On 14 June 2017, the Legislative Council of Hong Kong passed the Arbitration and Mediation Legislation (Third Party Funding) (Amendment) Bill 2016.

The Bill comes on the heels of the consultation paper issued in October 2015 by the Law Reform Commission’s Third Party Funding for Arbitration Sub-committee and closely follows the recommendations made by the Law Reform Commission in its Report dated 12 October 2016 to clarify the law concerning third party funding of arbitration and associated proceedings under the Arbitration Ordinance. (For more information about the report and the LRC’s recommendations, see our article in the May 2017 issue of Arbitration World.

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Please Join Us: NEC4 – The Next Generation

NEC4, the next generation of the NEC suite of contracts, was released on 22 June 2017. It includes significant developments and reflects current best practice throughout the construction industry.

Please join us at our London office for a breakfast briefing on the key changes and what they will mean for you. Even if you are not changing to NEC4 imminently, it may be useful to consider any NEC4 changes you might want to take advantage of now in your current negotiations on the NEC3 forms.

Topics for discussion will include:

  • Overview of NEC4 changes – the “big picture”
  • Practical implications of programming and time-related changes
  • Changes to the payment provisions and the Main Options
  • Other key changes and implications of NEC4 going forward

Matthew Smith (Partner, K&L Gates)
Paul Greenwell (Director, Turner & Townsend)
Nicola Ellis (Special Counsel, K&L Gates)
Inga Hall (Special Counsel, K&L Gates)

To RSVP, click here.

Return of arbitration to road construction disputes in Poland

By Łukasz Gembiś, K&L Gates, Warsaw

In February 2017, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Construction announced the introduction of the “New standards in road construction” aimed primarily at regulating the balanced division of risks in roads construction contracts. Among many changes that have been made to the new model of public procurement contracts in road construction, special attention should be paid to returning – after many years of absence – arbitration as the preferred method of settling disputes between public investors and general contractors in Poland.

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What is the thinking behind zero subsidy bids in the first auction for offshore wind farms in Germany?

By Christoph Mank, K&L Gates, Berlin

As announced last year in our blog post of 6 June 2016, Germany passed an amendment to the German Renewable Energy Act (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz) to implement bidding processes for determining the amount of funding for the generation of electricity from renewable energies.

As mentioned in our earlier post, the German government saw the transition to bidding processes as being a central instrument for attaining two goals: (a) on the one hand, to develop a certain share of renewable energies in the production of electricity as laid down in policy guidelines; and (b) on the other hand, to limit the funding to a level that is economically essential.

The new law came into effect the beginning of 2017, and the new era started with an auction of 1.55 GW. Only very advanced projects that have already been granted approval or received planning permission, and whose commissioning is planned for the period from 2021 to 2024, were qualified to participate in that auction.

The result of the auction was surprising for many market observers: Four bids were able to be accepted, totalling 1,490 megawatts. All successful projects are located in the North Sea. Three of the four successful bids were awarded for zero subsidies, and the highest accepted subsidy by the regulatory authority was 6 ct/kWh, which is 50% below the highest possible maximum subsidy. There were only two large energy companies that were successful in the auction: a German utility with one project and a Danish energy group with three projects.

The thinking behind subsidy-free bids is mainly economy of scale and further development of the technology-in-use on the one hand and expectation of higher market prices for electricity on the other hand.

According to the regulatory authority, the result of the first auction has proven that the decision for a system change was the right one. Furthermore, it has also proven the competitiveness of offshore wind energy, which now claims to raise the regulated capacity for the development of offshore wind farms.

The German Federal Association for Wind Energy (Bundesverband WindEnergie – BWE), an interest group of the entire wind industry, which also includes the organized interests of the onshore wind industry, is more reluctant. According to their statement, it is not clear if state subsidies are just exchanged with group internal subsidies of offshore projects, a strategy which more medium-sized corporations with no public stakeholders may not be able to follow.s the objective of cost efficiency; however, it still remains to be seen whether the system will actually guarantee a further continuous development of wind energy — both offshore and onshore.

Insurance Policy Did Not Prevent Association Recovery from Subcontractors for Defective Work

By Justin L. Weisberg, K&L Gates, Chicago              

On February 17, the First District Appellate Court issued an opinion regarding the Implied Warranty of Habitability in the case of Sienna Court Condominium Association v. Champion Aluminum Court et al.  The opinion involved three separate appeals: the first relating to claims by Sienna Court Condominium Association (“Sienna”) against an insolvent developer and an insolvent general contractor; the second involving the dismissal of Sienna’s claims against the architect, the engineers, and suppliers; and the third involving the dismissal of the general contractor’s claims against its subcontractors.

To read the full alert on K&L Gates HUB, click here.

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