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Construction Law
University of Nebraska School of Law
Overcash, Allen L.

Construction Law                                                                             Professor Overcash
I.                   CHAPTER 1: OWNERS ROLE
a.       Providing the Building Site
                                                              i.      Access to the building site
                                                            ii.      The right to use the project site for its intended purpose
                                                          iii.      Title
                                                          iv.      Zoning
1.      Most municipalities provide a mechanism for an owner to obtain approval to build a project that does not strictly comply with the existing zoning.
2.      Variance requests – sometimes require public hearings to see what community thinks about a new building coming into town.
                                                            v.      Availability of Utilities
1.      Greenfield projects – out in the middle of nowhere and require substantial economic sources to bring electric, gas, water, and sewer lines to the development.
2.      Owner is responsible to bring utilities unless otherwise specified
                                                          vi.      Archaeological and Historic Sites
1.      Usually are legally obligated to stop building if you come across anything historic in nature
                                                        vii.      Environmental Concerns
1.      Contaminated soils – governed by the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act of 1980.
2.      Clean Water Act
3.      Construction Waste compliance act
4.      Asbestos issues
b.      Providing Information to the Architect and Contractor
                                                              i.      Surveys
1.      Property lines, location of utilities, rights of way, easements, and location of other potential impediments to the construction process
                                                            ii.      Geotechnical Information
c.       The Owner’s Implied Warranty to Supply Accurate Information
                                                              i.      The Spearin Doctrine
1.      Owner impliedly warrants the accuracy of the information supplied to a contractor, including the information contained in the drawings and specifications, and sometimes site condition information. On a project in which the owner is supplying the drawings and specifications, the owner impliedly warrants to the contractor the adequacy of the drawings and specifications for their intended purpose.
2.      Basically owner is liable if he gives bad plans and something bad happens
3.      Contractor is entitled to rely on the drawings and specifications supplied by the owner and is not liable for defects in construction arising from defective drawings and specification
                                                            ii.      Limitations on the Application of Spearin
1.      Just because a contract places a hardship on one person doesn’t mean that Spearin can be busted out at any moments notice
2.      The contractor will only have the benefit of the doctrine if it performs in accordance with the drawings and specifications furnished by the owner.
3.      Contractor has a duty to discover defects in the drawings or specifications that are reasonably discoverable or patent and to warn the owner of the defects.
4.      The Spearin Warranty can be Disclaimed
d.      The Owner’s Program
                                                              i.      Written narrative and graphic document that summarizes major design objectives and constraints for the project.
                                                            ii.      Programming ideas include technological needs, budget constraints, space requirements
                                                          iii.      These are all considerations to keep in mind before you even begin designing
                                                          iv.      Important Program considerations
1.      Budget and schedule
2.      Both must be periodically updated
e.       Paying For Construction
                                                              i.      Performance bonds
                                                            ii.      Performance liens
                                                          iii.      Construction Loan
f.       Evidence of Financing
                                                              i.      Submission of evidence of adequate funds or financing is a condition precedent to the contractor commencing or continuing construction
                                                            ii.      What constitutes reasonable evidence of financial arrangements remains a question of fact that must be evaluated under the circumstances.
                                                          iii.      Acceptable Evidence:
1.      Construction loan commitment
2.      Good credit report
3.      Corporate resolution or government appropriation
4.      Other similar documentation that the owner has the fi

an Agent construction manager
                                                                  ii.      Selection Factors
1.      Agent construction manger can give impartial device because he does not have a huge stake in the work of the subcontractors work because he is not liable for their shortcomings
                                                                iii.      Risk Factors
1.      No single point of of responsibility for performance and completion of construction.
b.      At-Risk Construction Management
c.       Design Build
                                                                    i.      Construction contractors who either have in-house design expertise or are comfortable taking responsibility to subcontract with an architect for such services.
                                                                  ii.      Selection Factors
1.      Good way for owners to transfer risk. Overall responsibility for design and construction resdies with the design-build entity.
                                                                iii.      Risk factors:
1.      Give away a lot of control over a project
a.       Architect works with the design-builder
2.      Owner must give really detailed specfications so the design-builder must meet them.
3.      Proposals are difficult to gauge since most of the design will not occur until after the owner chooses a management group.
CHAPTER 8: Contractor Selection
             I.      Private Procurement Generally
a.       Engage in “closed bidding” in private sector
          II.      Public Procurement
a.       Generally
                                                              i.      Characterization of a project as public one generally involves an nalysis of project:
1.      Funding
2.      Control
3.      Future ownership
                                                            ii.      Public Project Exemptions
1.      Small dollar exemptions (pg. 191)
2.      Emergency work exemptions
3.      Sole Source exemptions
4.      Professional services exemptions