The Role of the Owners Representative

Construction contracts are rife with requirements that the contractor provide the owner or owner's representative with written notice of occurrences: delay, changed work, unforeseen site conditions, anything that can lead to a contractor's claim for relief under the contract. The issue which arises time after time is whether the contractor's failure to provide timely written notice deprives the contractor of a remedy. Usually, if the project owner had actual knowledge of the occurrence and was not denied any legal or practical options, the owner cannot use lack of written notice against the contractor. Differing site conditions, however, are a challenge in this regard. Once a physical condition has been disturbed or work has continued, the owner's ability to respond to the situation may have been compromised. Notice requirement are more strictly enforced in this context. This was illustrated in a recent Kansas case. The contractor failed to provide timely written notice of ground water conditions, but conte ... Read the rest of entry »

Discussion on the role of Owner's Representative

Many milestones in a construction project are established or acknowledged through certification by a third party designated by the project owner. This individual, stipulated in the construction contract, is typically the project architect or engineer. It may be a different owner's representative. But the operative word is owner's representative. The denial of certification or a delay in certification can be very costly for a contractor. The contractor, however, has very little influence over or leverage with the certifier. The certifier is the agent of the owner with a duty to protect the owner's interests. The certifier has few obligations to the contractor, possibly just the obligation to avoid bad faith or fraud. The nature of this relationship was illustrated in a couple of recent court opinions, one involving a project engineer and the other a construction manager. In both cases it was ruled that the owner's representative could not be sued by a contractor for delay damages allegedly incurred as a resu ... Read the rest of entry »

Andiamo

If you haven't been to Big Sky in a while - not only has the skiing been great, the dining at Andiamos Restaurant is exceptional.  If you're looking for a unique dining atmosphere, check out this design/build project by RMR Group.

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The Dirty Project

It's hard to believe spring is already knocking on the door. We don't have a lot of work this spring, but we're feeling quite fortunate to have what we do. It was almost a year ago to date when I wrote in our newsletter about how great it was to have good clients that were excited to get under construction last spring. Somehow we are in the same boat again this year - great clients and great projects (just not many of them). We've bid several residential projects over the winter with a myriad of General Contractors, where the winning bid has been around 30% lower than the median average bid. For the majority of the projects we've observed, the low bidder has predominantly been awarded no matter what the average of the bids have been. When the winning bid is below the actual cost of the "sticks and bricks" of the project - undoubtedly it's only a matter of time before there is a problem. Welcome to "the Dirty Project"... We saw a little bit of the fallout in 2009 with low bidder contractors front loading p ... Read the rest of entry »

How log will the low mortgage rates last?

March 31 loomed for months as the day when the U.S. Treasury would stop purchasing $1.25 trillion worth of mortgage-backed securities and effectively remove a major support to the fragile housing market.

But now that the program has ended, economists interviewed by BUILDER suggest that builders-and others involved in the housing market-don't need to panic. "This has been so well advertised," says Scott J. Brown, chief economist for Raymond James & Associates in St. Petersburg, Fla. "Investors have had plenty of time to get used to it. The Fed has been gradually unwinding its liquidity programs. ... This is just one more step toward getting back to equilibrium."

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How will the custom home market change in the next 10 years?

Around the year 500 B.C., the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, "Nothing endures but change." Over the centuries his wisdom has proven correct time and again-except, for the most part, in the field of custom home building. True, new developments have taken place in materials science, mechanical systems, and building products, but generally speaking, the way a custom home comes together hasn't changed much in the past 100 years. The home building industry has always moved very, very slowly," says timber-frame guru Tedd Benson of Bensonwood Homes in Walpole, N.H., who for years has been calling on his fellow builders to evolve more quickly.  "Historically, it moved even more slowly.  It was the same for about a thousand years, and then there were many changes at the end of the 19th century and in the first part of the 20th century-mostly concerning the integration of various mechanical systems."  Custom builders tend to be skeptical of anything new, and with good reason: Plenty of unproven prod ... Read the rest of entry »