Risk management is at the heart of our Construction Industry Group’s philosophy. That philosophy comes into play whenever our clients ask us to help, be it during the project planning and client selection, design and construction, project closeout, or dispute resolution. Blending knowledge of the facts, the contracts, and the law with decades of experience and common sense, we help our clients see the situation for what it is and make decisions on how to handle that situation consistent with the client’s best interests as they define them.

Grupo de la industria de la construcción

GRUPO DE LA INDUSTRIA DE LA CONSTRUCCIÓN


ÁREA DE PRÁCTICA / GRUPO DE LA INDUSTRIA DE LA CONSTRUCCIÓN

La gestión de riesgos está en el corazón de la filosofía de nuestro grupo de la industria de la construcción. Esa filosofía entra en juego cada vez que nuestros clientes nos piden ayuda, ya sea durante la planificación del proyecto y la selección del cliente, contratación, diseño y construcción, cierre del proyecto o resolución de disputas. Combinando el conocimiento de los hechos, los contratos y la ley con décadas de experiencia y sentido común, ayudamos a nuestros clientes a ver la situación tal como es y a tomar decisiones sobre cómo manejar esa situación de manera consistente con los mejores intereses del cliente tal como ellos los definen.

ABOGADOS DE GRUPOS DE LA INDUSTRIA DE LA CONSTRUCCIÓN EN UTAH



Trabajamos con nuestros clientes en cada etapa del proceso de diseño y construcción.



Arquitectos, ingenieros, propietarios, desarrolladores y contratistas



Cada participante en el diseño y la construcción tiene derechos y responsabilidades específicos del proyecto e intereses distintos pero en gran medida compatibles. Saber dónde y cómo estos factores convergen o divergen es fundamental para comprender los riesgos que enfrentan nuestros clientes de la industria y cómo ayudar a administrar o eliminar estos riesgos. Habiendo representado a clientes en prácticamente todas las categorías de participantes del proyecto, entendemos o podemos discernir rápidamente los factores que impulsan la mayoría de los problemas del proyecto hasta el final de brindar un asesoramiento sólido a nuestro cliente.



Institucional, Industrial, Comercial o Residencial



Si bien los riesgos en el diseño y la construcción son generalmente muy similares de un proyecto a otro, no hay dos proyectos iguales. Comprender los principios legales y contractuales que podrían aplicarse a un tipo específico de proyecto es una habilidad que se adquiere. Habiendo representado a una variedad de clientes en proyectos que van desde residencias unifamiliares hasta construcción pesada e industrial, hasta instalaciones de investigación y alta tecnología, entendemos dónde se cruzan estos principios básicos con los desafíos únicos de los proyectos más complejos.



Gestión de riesgos



El diseño y la construcción son empresas de alto riesgo. Los profesionales experimentados del diseño y la construcción saben que la gestión de estos riesgos juega un papel fundamental en el éxito de cualquier proyecto. Desde adquisiciones, contratos y seguros hasta proyectos de resolución de problemas y manejo / resolución de reclamos, el Grupo de la Industria de la Construcción de Richards Brandt está listo, dispuesto y capaz de ayudarlo a mantener el control de la situación.



Procuramiento del Gobierno



La contratación de servicios de diseño y construcción por parte de entidades gubernamentales federales, estatales y locales se rige por una miríada de estatutos, reglas y regulaciones. La intención de estas leyes es promover la competencia y garantizar la igualdad de condiciones para quienes persiguen un contrato con el gobierno. Estas leyes cambian con frecuencia y los tribunales hacen cumplir estrictamente sus requisitos. Mantenerse al tanto de estas leyes es una prioridad para nuestro Grupo de la Industria de la Construcción y podemos ayudarlo rápidamente cuando la contratación pública no se haya llevado a cabo como debería haber sido.



Disputas de diseño / construcción: los sospechosos habituales



Decir que la construcción es una industria intensiva en contratos sería quedarse corto. Los derechos y responsabilidades de los participantes del proyecto se definen mediante contratos y el proceso se gestiona a través de estos contratos. Y en cualquier disputa de construcción, el análisis legal siempre comienza y generalmente se resuelve de acuerdo con los contratos de las partes. En pocas palabras, los contratos de su proyecto son fundamentales para administrar los riesgos de su proyecto y nuestros abogados de construcción están aquí para ayudarlo a lidiar con los problemas de contratación, desde la redacción y revisión hasta la interpretación y ejecución.

ACTUALIZACIONES RECIENTES DE LA LEY DE GRUPOS DE LA INDUSTRIA DE LA CONSTRUCCIÓN



Leveling the Playing Field



ABOGADOS DEL GRUPO DE LA INDUSTRIA DE LA CONSTRUCCIÓN EN RICHARDS BRANDT EN SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH



Lincoln Harris

ACCIONISTA Y PRESIDENTE DE PRÁCTICA DE LA CONSTRUCCIÓN

Defectos de diseño / construcción

La industria ha experimentado un fuerte aumento en las reclamaciones por defectos de diseño y construcción en la última década. A medida que surgen problemas antes, durante o después de la construcción, nuestros abogados tienen la experiencia para evaluar la exposición al riesgo de nuestros clientes. Como cada proyecto es único, también lo es el análisis de cada uno de nuestros clientes.

Gravámenes y fianzas

Recibir un pago puede ser un desafío para quienes trabajan en la industria de la construcción. Manejar los problemas de gravámenes y fianzas puede ser difícil y urgente. Nuestros abogados experimentados tienen la experiencia para ayudarlo a lidiar con estos y otros aspectos de la administración de la construcción.

Resolución de conflictos

Con múltiples participantes, contratos, hechos y problemas técnicos, las disputas de la industria de la construcción se encuentran entre las más complejas y costosas de resolver. Controlarlos y resolverlos temprano es fundamental.

Como su abogado, lo ayudaremos a superar estas complejidades y la postura que acompaña a cualquier disputa y llegar al meollo del asunto. Y, una vez allí, lo ayudaremos a comprender y evaluar mejor sus riesgos reales y a diseñar alternativas rentables para su resolución.

En aquellos casos en los que no somos su abogado, brindamos servicios neutrales rentables, como mediador o árbitro, para ayudarlo a usted y a las otras partes a resolver su disputa antes de que los honorarios de abogados y expertos se salgan de control.

relaciones Gubernamentales

Cuando se trata de relaciones gubernamentales, Richards Brandt ha estado a la altura de las profesiones del diseño y la industria de la construcción durante décadas. Los problemas que enfrenta la industria de la construcción pueden ser complicados. Pero eso no quiere decir que resolverlos ante la legislatura y las agencias gubernamentales deba ser complicado. Nuestro Grupo de la Industria de la Construcción ha aprendido que la mejor manera de afectar la legislación es involucrar a las partes interesadas y los tomadores de decisiones en una discusión franca y transparente que conduzca a una buena política pública y una solución legislativa eficaz.

PREGUNTAS FRECUENTES (FAQS)



BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS & CORPORATE GOVERNANCE / FEATURED FAQS



Answered by:

Barry G. Scholl

Barry Scholl

Shareholder, Cybersecurity Section Chair and Business Practice Chair

A: To decide which entity is right for you, we look at: liability, taxation, and maintenance. Both corporations and LLC’s have limited personal liability—this means that owners are usually not responsible for business debts. However, corporations and LLC’s are taxed very differently—corporations are classified as a separate taxable entity, whereas LLC’s are typically taxed as a pass-through entity (unless you choose otherwise). And corporations and LLC’s have different levels of maintenance—LLC’s have fewer reporting requirements and can operate solely with members acting as the managers. Conversely, corporations are required to hold certain annual meetings, keep certain records, and appoint boards and officers to manage the company for the stockholders. Every situation is unique so we recommend that you consult with an attorney in making your decision. Contact our firm, Richards Brandt, if we can help you decide which entity is right for you.

Answered by:

Barry G. Scholl

Barry Scholl

Shareholder, Cybersecurity Section Chair and Business Practice Chair

A: To decide which entity is right for you, we look at: liability, taxation, and maintenance. Both corporations and LLC’s have limited personal liability—this means that owners are usually not responsible for business debts. However, corporations and LLC’s are taxed very differently—corporations are classified as a separate taxable entity, whereas LLC’s are typically taxed as a pass-through entity (unless you choose otherwise). And corporations and LLC’s have different levels of maintenance—LLC’s have fewer reporting requirements and can operate solely with members acting as the managers. Conversely, corporations are required to hold certain annual meetings, keep certain records, and appoint boards and officers to manage the company for the stockholders. Every situation is unique so we recommend that you consult with an attorney in making your decision. Contact our firm, Richards Brandt, if we can help you decide which entity is right for you.

Answered by:

Barry G. Scholl

Barry Scholl

Shareholder, Cybersecurity Section Chair and Business Practice Chair

A: To decide which entity is right for you, we look at: liability, taxation, and maintenance. Both corporations and LLC’s have limited personal liability—this means that owners are usually not responsible for business debts. However, corporations and LLC’s are taxed very differently—corporations are classified as a separate taxable entity, whereas LLC’s are typically taxed as a pass-through entity (unless you choose otherwise). And corporations and LLC’s have different levels of maintenance—LLC’s have fewer reporting requirements and can operate solely with members acting as the managers. Conversely, corporations are required to hold certain annual meetings, keep certain records, and appoint boards and officers to manage the company for the stockholders. Every situation is unique so we recommend that you consult with an attorney in making your decision. Contact our firm, Richards Brandt, if we can help you decide which entity is right for you.



BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS & CORPORATE GOVERNANCE – CASE STUDIES





Utah Manufacturing Company Needed Employment Contracts For Key Staffers




Utah Construction Company Needed Planning For Business Growth & Protection




Utah Family Enterprise Needed Guidance and Representation to Sell Business

REVIEWS




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Craig Coburn Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

At the 5th Annual Intermountain Construction Defect & Dispute Conference held on February 8, 2019, the Utah chapter of Advise & Consult awarded Craig Coburn with its Lifetime Achievement Award for Craig’s contributions in construction law. Richards Brandt congratulates Craig for this much deserved award honoring him for his level of excellence and longtime service in the field of construction law.

Leveling the Playing Field

 

by Craig Coburn and Lincoln Harris

For decades, the golden rule – that is, ‘he who has the gold rules” – was the name of the game in design and construction contracting. Under the rule, project owners pushed risks, usually on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, onto prime contractors who, in turn, pushed them onto subcontractors, even though no one

in this contracting scheme was in a better position to manage that risk than anyone else. The ‘go-to’ provisions in this regard were the so-called ‘indemnity’ provisions.

In 1997, Utah subcontractors found some measure of relief from these provisions with passage of Utah Code Ann. 13-8-1. Under 13-8-1, subcontracts could
no longer require subcontractors to hold harmless, indemnify and defend their customer (e.g., a prime contractor) against claims resulting from the customer’s own fault. Still, because a construction team collectively controls a job site, these types of provisions remain permissible in the owner-prime contract to properly allocate responsibility for job-site risks.

Similar provisions having different import have long been the norm in design professional contracts as well – similar
in that the provisions transferred risk to design professionals that they could not control, but different in that the provisions created insurability issues that arose only under professional liability policies, not contractor/ subcontractor commercial general liability policies. In short (and
with more than a touch of irony), a design professional contract’s indemnity provision often compromised the professional liability insurance required elsewhere in the same contract. Still other provisions in design professional contracts purported to raise the standard of care for design professionals above that required under Utah law and, arguably, to a unattainable level.

For several years, we at Richards Brandt Miller Nelson (RBMN) had suggested that design professions consider running a bill to address these concerns. In 2017, ACEC Utah and AIA Utah took RBMN up on its suggestion and RBMN drafted and, in 2018, helped these associations secure passage of HB 279. Slated to be codiied at Utah Code Ann. §13-8-7, HB 279 will alleviate much of what has concerned design professionals working in the public sector for generations and has only gotten worse in the last few years.

What Does Utah Code Ann. §13-8-7 Do?

• Applies to public-sector ‘design professional services contracts’ – deined as contracts tah governmental entity or for an improvement to real property owned or to be owned by a Utah government entity – entered into on or after May 8, 2018.

• Prohibits and voids, as against public policy, provisions in these contracts that:

• require a design professional to hold harmless or indemnify anyone for injuries or losses except to the extent caused by the design professional or those for whom the design professional is legally liable;

• require a design professional to defend anyone for injuries or losses allegedly caused by a design professional’s alleged breach or fault; or

• impose a professional standard of care other than Utah’s common law standard – that is, same/similar licensure, locality, services and timeframe – except

where the project reasonably requires specialized expertise.

What Utah Code Ann. §13-8-7 Does Not Do

• Does not apply to private-sector design professional services contracts;

• Does not apply to a ‘construction contract’ as deined in Utah Code
Ann. §13-8-1, which would may include contracts between a design-builder and a design professional;

• Does not prohibit indemnity provisions that require a design professional to reimburse its client for costs incurred defending against claims for injuries

or losses to the extent caused by the design professional or those for whom the design professional is legally liable; and

• Does not lower the professional standard of care for design professionals.

In short, going forward §13-8-7 levels
the public-sector playing ield for design professionals by prohibiting provisions which inappropriately transfer risk that the design professional can’t control, which compromise design professional liability coverage or which raise the bar on design professional performance to inappropriate levels.

As for design professional contracts not covered by §13-8-7 – that is, design professional service contracts in the private sector or with design-build contractors
– design professionals should closely scrutinize their contracts to ensure, inter alia, that they can control the risks they are being asked to take, that the contract does not compromise the design professional’s insurance and that their services are judged by an appropriate standard of care. And lest there be any doubt in this regard, design professionals would do well to remember that their contracts are the single most- effective risk management tool they have. n

Craig Coburn and Lincoln Harris are shareholders at RBMN where a main focus of both their practices is counseling and representation of design and other industry professionals on business and professional risk management, claims prosecution and defense and dispute resolution. They can be reached at (801) 531-2000 or https://www.richardsbrandt.com/practice-areas/construction-industry/.

by Craig Coburn and Lincoln Harris

CDDC Announce 2018 Award Winners

The 4th Annual Intermountain Construction Defect and Dispute Conference was held Friday, February 9th, 2018 at which the organizers recognized five professionals in the community for their contributions in the construction industry.

Lincoln Harris received the Attorney of the Year Award honoring him for his level of excellence and longtime service in the field of construction law. Besides this award, he was acknowledged for his work in local government and solving the legislative issues facing his clients. Lincoln’s further credits, which were pointed out at the ceremony, are representing the Appalachian Education and Defense Funds.

 

RBMN Gets Favorable Decision from the Utah Court of Appeals

Lincoln Harris
June 2017

Denison Mines (USA) Corporation et al. v. KGL Associates, Inc.

In 2009, Denison entered into a construction contract with KGL for the construction of a mill tailings cell at the White Mesa Mill in Blanding Utah. Including change orders, the construction contract price exceeded $5,000,000. During construction, Denison accelerated payments to KGL in order to assist KGL with its cash flow problems. However, when Denison refused to issue additional change orders, KGL unilaterally terminated the parties’ contract, abandoned the project prior to completion and placed a lien on Denison’s property. When KGL abandoned the project, Denison had paid KGL all but about $450,000 of the $5,000,000 contract price, but at the same time, KGL owed more than $2,000,000 to its subcontractors and suppliers. Denison ultimately paid KGL’s subcontractors and suppliers more than $1,800,000 and spent another $350,000 completing the project.

After both parties brought competing claims against one another (Denison alleged nine claims and KGL raised three), they eventually agreed to submit their dispute to binding arbitration. After a two week arbitration hearing, the arbitrator ruled in favor of Denison determining that 1) KGL had mismanaged its work on the project, had abandoned the project and had materially breached the parties’ contract, 2) Denison’s completion actions and decisions were justified, 3) Denison was entitled to its reasonable costs of completion following KGL’s abandonment, 4) KGL was not entitled to a monetary award and 5) Denison was entitled to damages and interest totalling almost $4,000,000 ($4,800,000 after attorneys’ fees and costs).

Following the arbitrator’s award, Denison filed a motion in the district court to confirm the Final Award and KGL filed a counter-motion to vacate the Final Award. After the district court dismissed KGL’s countermotion and entered the Final Award, KGL appealed to The Utah Court of Appeals.

In its appeal, KGL contended that the district court erred in confirming the final award because 1) the arbitrator exceeded his authority and 2) the arbitrator exhibited evident partiality in favor of Denison. The Utah Court of Appeals rejected KGL’s arguments and held that the arbitrator did not exceed his authority and did not exhibit evident partiality. Thus, the Utah Court of Appeals let stand the district court’s decision confirming the arbitrator’s award of approximately $5 million dollars.

RBMN is pleased with the tremendous effort put forth by its team of highly qualified construction attorneys, Craig Coburn, Lincoln Harris and Brian Bolinder. Their skill, coupled with hard work and dedication garnered a very successful outcome for their client. If you have a construction dispute that needs resolution, please contact one of our experienced construction attorneys to assist you.

Enforcing Electronically Signed Construction Contracts

August 2016
Contractors, subcontractors and suppliers understand that the usual course of construction requires a paper trail of documents beginning with plans, specifications, drawings, bids and proposals, and concluding with inspections, punch lists, final payment and warranties. Moreover, standard contract clauses and simple prudence require those in the construction industry to retain documents for years. The advantages of storing documents and conducting all related business electronically is obvious. But, are electronically signed contracts enforceable?

In 2000 Utah’s legislature passed the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act. The statute permits the use of electronic documents and signatures in a transaction if both parties agree. Electronic contracts and signatures “may not be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because…in electronic form.” Utah Code Ann. § 46-4-201(1), (2). If a law requires that a record be in writing, or that a signature be obtained, an electronic record or signature is acceptable. Id., at (3), (4). For example, in Anderson v. Bell, 2010 UT 47, the Utah Supreme Court held that electronic signatures on a petition to place an unaffiliated candidate’s name on the statewide ballot for governor satisfied the requirement under Utah’s Election Code for such a petition to be signed by 1,000 registered voters. Id., ¶ 26. In judicial proceedings, the law requires a party to use the original record of a transaction to prove the terms of the transaction. The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act addresses this requirement by stating that an electronic record can suffice as an “original” if it “accurately reflects the information set forth in the record after it was first generated in its final form as an electronic record or otherwise” and “remains accessible for later reference.” Utah Code Ann. § 46-4-301(1). “In a proceeding, evidence of a record may not be excluded solely because it is in electronic form.” Utah Code Ann. § 46-4-302.

To improve the chances that electronically signed contracts are enforceable, and can be admitted as evidence of the terms of the parties’ transaction, contractors should amend their form subcontracts. If you have any questions regarding the enforceability of electronic documents in Utah, or need help in drafting suitable contract clauses, contact Jack W. Reed at Richards Brandt Miller Nelson.

Lien Foreclosure Action Reversed-Construction Industry Appeal

lien foreclosure law

Zack Peterson
February 2015

Pentalon v. Rymark
http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/appopin/pentalon150205.pdf

The Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the lender in a mechanics’ lien foreclosure action. The district court ruled that excavations for footings and foundations were not sufficient improvements to constitute commencement of work under the 2008 version of 38-1-5.

concrete_footings image

Foundation & Footings

 

As a matter of law, the Court of Appeals determined the contractor’s excavation work, which included excavations in specific shapes through the use of heavy machinery on site, was sufficient to constitute commencement of work under the statute. Davis, J. dissented on the grounds that he would not rule as a matter of law, and he believed issues of fact predominated.

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