GRSM's Construction Group consists of more than 200 lawyers across the U.S. who focus their practice on the comprehensive range of legal service required by all participants in the construction industry - architects, engineers, design professionals, design joint ventures, owners, developers, property managers, general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, product manufacturers, lenders, investors, state agencies, municipalities, and other affiliated consultants and service providers.
We serve clients who design, develop, or build all types of structures, including commercial buildings, single and multi-family residential projects, industrial facilities, universities, hospitals, museums, observatories, amusement parks, hotels, shopping centers, high-rise urban complexes, jails, airports, bridges, dams, and power plants. We have also been involved in projects for tunnels, freeways, light rail, railway stations, marinas, telecom systems and earth-retention systems. Our experience includes private, public and P3 construction projects.
The Construction Group's lawyers have extensive experience handling a broad array of transactions and dispute resolution matters, including initial drafting, preparation, review and negotiation of contracts, project development issues, delay and disruption claims, bid protests, negotiation of restructuring agreements, cost overruns, default terminations, multi-party construction defect, mechanic's liens, surety, warranty, environmental contamination (sick building, mold, CEQA, NEPA), product liability, geotechnical claims, errors & omissions/professional negligence, insurance, risk management, land use, regulatory issues, and copyright matters.
The strength of our construction practice builds on our depth of knowledge of the legal, technical, regulatory and business considerations specific to the construction industry. Every day, the potential liabilities of the construction industry continue to expand, the scope of government regulation deepens, and traditional transactions become more complex. As a result, it is imperative for legal counsel to have a well-rounded understanding and direct involvement in the issues that shape the construction industry.
At GRSM, our Construction Group includes lawyers who have professional training and first-hand experience in related fields such as engineering, construction management, and environmental sciences. We have practical experience working in job trailers as engineers, construction project managers, consultants, and tradesmen. Our lawyers also have leadership experience in various construction industry related trade associations, legal advisory committees and government agencies.
Click a link below to read more about our areas of focus:
Transactions & Construction Counsel
Construction Disputes & Administration of Contract Claims
Architect & Engineer Representation
Transactions & Construction Counsel
Contract drafting, review, preparation, counseling and other transactional work forms a large part of GRSM's Construction Group practice. As construction is being planned, every project develops distinct specifications and requirements, and ideas and interests to protect. After a comprehensive analysis of each client's business goals and project objectives, we draft the full spectrum of construction-related contracts, such as prime, construction, design-build, teaming, and joint venture. Our lawyers are well versed with standard form agreements produced by the American Institute of Architects, Associated General Contractors, and the Design-Build Institute of America. We also review contract documents prepared by others and, when we sit down at the negotiating table, we are well equipped to achieve the best result possible for our clients.
Construction projects are multidisciplinary collectives. Our Construction Group mirrors that approach, involving lawyers from GRSM's Employment, Real Estate, Insurance, Intellectual Property, and Business Transactions Groups.
- Business Transactions & Real Estate: Choice of corporate entity in construction projects is often a key driver in the profitability of projects. Consequently, we advise clients in forming the most appropriate corporate entity for the specific project, whether it is a corporation, partnership, limited liability company, or joint venture. For efficiency and cost-effectiveness, we use standard form documents whenever possible, turning to custom drafting only when necessary. We are sensitive to our clients' budgets, and will not run up bills.
- Insurance: Over the last decade, the construction insurance landscape has changed dramatically due to the increased costs of general liability policies and defending claims under them. Many projects provide for project specific coverage commonly referred to as Owner Controlled Insurance Policies (OCIPs), which are designed to limit defense of claims to one attorney for all insureds. Our lawyers provide counseling and litigation prevention seminars to owners, developers and general contractors regarding insurance planning and the benefits, common pitfalls and management of Owner Controlled Insurance Policies, "wrap ups," stop loss coverage, and risk management throughout the entirety of a project.
- Labor & Employment: Employment matters also frequently arise on construction sites. We draft project labor agreements, provide wage and hour advice, and advise on hiring and termination matters.
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Construction Disputes & Administration of Contract Claims
Most projects encounter snags during construction, even serious disagreements, but the parties still prefer to finish construction despite disputes. Our lawyers are accustomed to this environment and have advised clients during project Dispute Review Board Processes, regarding compliance with California's SB 800, in bid disputes and protests, stop notices, change order claims, mechanic's liens, and ADA compliance. We also have extensive experience with disputes involving claims for damages due to extra work, delay, disruption, inefficiency, and cost overruns, as well as default terminations, surety representation, indemnity claims, and acceleration issues. For professional design clients, we regularly resolve issues pertaining to architectural copyright claims against architects and design builders; property acquisition, leases and leasebacks; and perform the related tax planning in all these matters. We have substantial expertise and experience in copyright matters, and the Architectural Works Protection Act amendments to the Copyright Act in particular, and we have litigated through to successful jury verdict cases in this area.
When contract disputes cannot be resolved during construction, we represent our clients in post construction negotiations on cost overrun and/or delay and disruption claims. We effectively use experts to best position our clients in these negotiations and to prepare our clients case should the matter end up in litigation. We work with our clients and experts to develop the most efficient strategies for resolving these claims.
After construction is complete, we defend general contractors, developers, engineers, architects, environmental consultants, contractors, and material suppliers from post-completion claims for design and construction defects (including building envelope and water intrusion disputes), earth movement claims, construction accidents, job-site injuries, and building product claims. The types of claims typically at issue in construction defect cases include negligence, breach of contract, contribution, common law and contractual indemnity, and breach of warranty. In representing our clients, we aggressively explore all available defenses, including the economic loss doctrine and lack of privity. Our attorneys work closely with construction experts from every discipline to determine and understand the sources and causes of defects. These experts help provide realistic assessments of the cases so that we can advise our clients regarding their potential recovery or liability in the matter.
Our team has a national reputation for successfully handling large, complicated construction disputes for large contractors and design firms, often resolving disputes without the need for expensive, protracted trial. We believe that construction disputes-complex and expensive-are well-suited to alternative dispute mechanisms and, therefore, we focus first on voluntary dispute resolution through the extensive use of mediation. We work regularly with mediators and facilitators from JAMS, AAA and proven independent mediators. When alternative resolution cannot be achieved, our experienced litigators have arbitrated to decision and tried to verdict scores of construction cases on behalf of clients in state and federal courts. Throughout the dispute resolution process, we apportion the case tasks among lawyers and specially trained paralegals in order to maximize efficiency and limit expenses.
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GRSM's Construction Group includes partners who have received the Green Associate accreditation from the United States Green Building Council. The Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) professional credentialing program includes a multi-faceted credentialing system that ensures that LEED professionals have the latest knowledge and understanding of green building practices. The Green Building Council also has a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) green building certification system which is the leading certification program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. There are more than 28,000 commercial projects participating in the LEED green building certification system, comprising almost seven billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 106 countries.
The LEED accreditation enhances the unique ability of our attorneys to interface with developers, owners, design, construction and operations professionals ensuring sustainability goals are effectively implemented. We advise clients during the planning phase of the project regarding contract drafting and negotiations, as well as counsels clients on all aspects of the LEED certification process, including credits, credit interpretation requests and appeals. We also assist clients with rapidly emerging government regulations like state Green Building Standard Codes and city Green Building Ordinances. Specifically, we assists clients in all phases of the green building process, including rating system selection, navigation of the certification process, management of design and construction teams, implementation of risk management strategies, and advocacy of client interests in the event that a dispute arises concerning design, construction, certification, operation or purchase and sale of a green project.
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Infrastructure projects are high-profile, large-scale investments and the on-time completion of these projects within budget frequently generates great public interest and scrutiny. GRSM understands this unique environment in which infrastructure clients operate and we have assisted clients in all phases of the design, engineering and construction in a wide variety of infrastructure projects, including:
- Horizontal infrastructure projects, both public and private, involving bridges, highways, streets, water and sewer lines and wastewater treatment plants, tunneling projects, cellular network UMTS and integration projects, dams, airports, transit systems, power plants, and renewable energy.
- Vertical infrastructure projects involving universities, prisons, hospitals and courthouses.
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GRSM has comprehensive experience serving utilities and providers of products and services to the utilities industry across the United States. Our clients range from established international telecommunications corporations to start-up innovators, including telecom carriers, wireless service providers, cable companies, and equipment manufacturers, as well as engineering and construction firms.
We provide the full scope of legal needs - business transactions, commercial contract litigation, environmental/toxic tort matters, public-private project negotiations, real estate, construction, land use/rights-of-way, utility entitlements, easements, regulatory issues, capacity leasing, cell-tower leasing, bankruptcy, and intellectual property matters (licensing, patent protection, strategic alliances).
We are experienced in both above- and below-ground projects involving cellular, land line/pole, cable, and fiber-optic networks. We have handled matters involving damage to pipelines and underground and overhead utility facilities. As a result, we are familiar with state and federal statutes which govern the installation and maintenance of telecommunications, gas and electric service lines, gas mains and electrical cables.
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Private Commercial Building
GRSM is one of the preeminent national law firms in private commercial building, representing owner-builders, developers, general contractors and design professionals in all areas of construction including:
- Construction Contract Formation: Drafting commercial construction contracts including American Institute of Architects (AIA), Associated General Contractors (AGC), ConsensusDocs, Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), and partnering agreements, evaluating insurance requirements, indemnity provisions, green building construction, and counseling clients on pricing and scope issues.
- Project Counseling: Assisting with disputed change orders, unfair business practices, contract disputes, differing site conditions, evaluating project plans and specifications, assisting with default, termination, distressed parties and bankrupt entities, and performing early assessment of disputes to minimize risk and liability exposure.
- Post Construction: Assisting with alternative dispute resolution, arbitration, and litigation/trial, and construction remedies including, mechanics liens, payment and performance bonds, prompt payment statutes, and delay and defect claims.
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Publicly funded construction projects constitute a growing sector of the U.S. domestic and international construction marketplaces. As we address the challenges of aging infrastructure and a difficult economy, public dollars are finding their way into more and more construction projects. With public dollars come a myriad of additional regulatory requirements and performance challenges often not present in privately funded projects.
These projects are usually awarded through a competitive procurement process with strict cost accounting under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Public requirements for schedule and cost are interwoven with concerns about contractors' supplier and subcontractor Minority Business Enterprise/Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE/MBE) programs, domestic and local sourcing compliance, wage rates, past performance, and bonding capacity to create challenges and issues on public construction projects.
GRSM understands the uniquely challenging environment in which public construction contracting clients operate. We work with clients in all phases of the public contracting process, including team formation, proposal preparation and submission, pre-and post-award bid protests, contract negotiation, regulatory compliance and performance issues during contract performance, negotiation of change orders and Requests for Equitable Adjustment, analysis and preparation of claims, dispute resolution with public owners, subcontractors, design professionals, and non-party interest groups, a termination, suspension, debarment processes, as well as claims brought by whistleblowers, and investigations conducted by Inspectors General, Attorneys General at state and federal levels.
Our experience includes representing owners, developers, prime contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, design professionals, and consultants on projects to design, develop, construct, renovate, remediate, and demolish public schools, libraries and museums, healthcare facilities, public housing including privatized military housing, government office buildings, infrastructure, port facilities, stadiums and arenas, mixed-use developments, erosion and flood control measures, and utilities.
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