McGuireWoods helps clients in the United States and internationally with the legal aspects of complex construction projects. We have represented all major constituencies in building-related projects, including public and private owners, engineering and design firms, construction managers, prime contractors and subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers, sureties and financers.
We regularly advise clients on projects involving airports, hospitals, prisons, infrastructure, industrial/manufacturing plants and factories, high- and mid-rises, shopping centers, apartment buildings, condominiums and residential communities. We have extensive experience in the construction of energy plants, including power plants (ranging in size from small distributed generation installations to large nuclear power), oil and gas platforms, shale gas processing and liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities.
Our construction lawyers’ backgrounds relate to construction issues, including insurance and risk management, tax law, energy regulatory, intellectual property protection, licensing and infringement, transactional, project finance, environmental, real estate and land use law, and land in congressional and governmental agency relations. Our large labor and employment law practice has handled the full range of issues on behalf of clients in the construction industry, including unions, double-breasting, minority business enterprises, discrimination, immigration, and ERISA issues.
A strong contract serves as the foundation of any construction project. In negotiating and documenting construction contracts, we have worked with all of the forms developed by the industry’s major professional and industry groups, including those of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Design Build Institute of America (DBIA), the Associated General Contractors (AGC), the Engineers Joint Contracts Documents Committee (EJCDC), the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA), and the Fédération Internationale des Ingénieurs-Conseils
We also advise clients where standardized industry forms are typically not employed, including customized documents developed for industrial and energy applications. In addition, we have drafted hundreds of stand-alone contracts that help protect clients from various forms of project risk. Our lawyers understand that timely negotiations are mandatory in helping projects stay on track, and can quickly evaluate draft agreements, assess the risk allocation in those documents, and provide alternative language to reallocate such risks.
We understand the range of delivery options available to developers and service providers, including design/build (D/B), design/build operate maintain (D/BOM), build-own-transfer (BOT), build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT), general contractor, multiprime projects, construction manager (CM), program manager (PM), and engineer-procure-construct (EPC or turnkey) agreements — and the risks inherent in each. We are also experienced with issues relating to bidding documents, completion guarantees, performance guarantees, construction lending, credit enhancement, mechanics’ liens, and similar remedies.
Public private partnerships (P3s), privatization and other initiatives of U.S. and international agencies and lending institutions (such as OPIC, the Export-Import Bank, and other international and U.S. governmental organizations) can have a significant impact on the construction process. We have helped numerous clients address the issues that arise when working on projects involving agencies and domestic and foreign governments. Colleagues in the firm’s congressional and government agency relations practice (McGuireWoods Consulting) often assist our construction team in fostering such business opportunities for clients, as well as with bidding and procurement issues. We are trail blazers in crafting P3 transactions, and, in fact, members of McGuireWoods Consulting developed model P3 legislation which has now been adopted in several states.
McGuireWoods lawyers have handled construction matters before all tiers of the state and federal court system, and before state and federal administrative agencies and contract appeals boards. We have also participated in domestic and international construction arbitration proceedings of all types, including private and court-supervised, commercial and labor actions. We have a long history of representing clients in arbitration and mediation, and several of our lawyers also serve as active arbitrators and mediators through various alternative dispute resolution organizations.
We have significant experience with the issues that traditionally arise in construction disputes, including defects and claims for extra work, as well as delay and disruption issues. We have handled claims involving sophisticated scheduling analysis and project controls used to prepare and prosecute claims for additional compensation, extensions of time, relief from imposition of liquidated or actual damages, and default termination. We have also prosecuted and defended force majeure claims.
Our lawyers help clients calculate extended project costs and unallocated home-office overhead, using the Eichleay and similar formulas. We have handled claims arising from incomplete or defective design (warranty of specification suitability), inadequate and uncoordinated project management, excessive changes (cardinal change), impossibility and commercial impracticability, differing site conditions, slope and shoring failures, and other soils-related problems.
We have also represented clients against and in pursuit of claims involving denial of site access, defective materials and equipment, improper inspection, failures of concrete and other structural elements, safety violations, rejection and repair of nonconforming work, inadequate crew-loading, environmental hazards, terminations for default and convenience, mechanics’ liens, stop notices, payment and performance bonds (including federal Miller Act and state Little Miller Act bonds), and post-completion warranty issues.