Stephen Pudner

In 2013, China announced its plan to fund and construct a global transportation and infrastructure network known as the Belt and Road Initiative (“BRI”). Since that time, BRI projects have helped China to become a rival to the United States and European Union on the geo-political scene. They have also allowed Chinese companies to close the gap with their western counterparts in the global construction, engineering, advanced manufacturing, and logistics sectors. Western companies and governments need to take notice or risk being left behind. (more…)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has issued an important opinion that is good for contractors making claims on general liability policies, and not so good for the insurers issuing those policies.  Specifically, the Eleventh Circuit reversed the District Court’s decision in favor of the insurer, and directed that judgment be entered in favor of the contractor establishing that the insurer was obligated to satisfy a $350,000 judgment entered against the contractor and in favor of the property owner in a separate lawsuit. (more…)

Force majeure clauses are a very important, but often overlooked, provision in all contracts, and are particularly important in construction and supply contracts.  Whether a force majeure clause is included in a contract, and the precise language of the clause, will determine the enforceability of the contract and the parties’ obligations thereunder if certain uncontrollable outside events—a “force majeure”—prevents performance.  Accordingly, contracting parties are well-advised to negotiate the terms of a force majeure clause to protect their interests and prevent excessive exposure to liability in the event of a force majeure. (more…)

In an opinion last week that could have far reaching ramifications in the construction industry in the insurance coverage context, the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled that an “occurrence” under a standard Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy may be based on a breach of warranty claim and does not require damage to work or property of someone other than the insured. This holding removes one commonly used rationale for insurers to deny coverage in the construction context based on lack of an “occurrence”, although insurers may still be able to deny coverage for other reasons.  The case is styled Taylor Morrison Services, Inc. v. HDI-Gerling American Insurance Company. (more…)

Introduction

The Alabama Code was recently amended in a number of important ways affecting the retainage that may be withheld on private construction projects in Alabama.  These changes took effect on September 1, 2011, and only contracts executed on or after that date are subject to the new law.  Importantly, these changes did not affect the retainage that may be withheld on public projects. (more…)

As attorneys that draft construction contracts and litigate construction disputes on a regular basis, we have seen how construction contract terms are used in contracts and what the practical effects of these terms may be on the rights and obligations of parties to those contracts.  While a previous posting on this site discussed the various pricing methods that may be used in construction contracts, this posting provides a brief overview of two related, but distinct, payment terms that appear in most construction subcontracts, but that are often misunderstood:  “pay if paid” and “pay when paid” clauses. (more…)

When we read news reports of failures in newly-constructed massive infrastructure projects endangering lives, we generally assume we are reading about shoddy work performed by Chinese construction companies in China or abroad.  Recent headlines are a stark reminder, however, that U.S. construction companies working on large U.S. infrastructure projects may also be capable of cutting corners and endangering safety and structural integrity.  U.S. construction companies must learn from the past failures of U.S. and Chinese construction companies working on large infrastructure projects if they are to maintain their position of global leadership in large construction projects. (more…)

Even in the U.S.A., bigger is not always better.  The U.S.A. should demonstrate its global leadership in the construction and development fields by letting other nations waste money chasing the trophy of the “world’s tallest building,” and instead focusing on constructing better and greener office buildings that serve as models for the world and that bring real economic benefits for developers and owners. (more…)