Instructor(s) Aiken, Jeffrey
Construction Law, Contracting and Negotiation
This 3-credit course, offered in the spring semester of even number years by a former practicing attorney with over 40 years of experience in construction matters, will involve student class exercises in structuring, negotiating and drafting many of these contract provisions, as well as assessment and handling of related claims, following review of assigned textbook readings and other relevant handout materials. A complete set of PowerPoint slides will be distributed in advance for each construction lecture and afterwards for the contract drafting and negotiation lectures.
The course deals with the wide array of construction law, drawing upon a student’s existing knowledge of contract and tort law and expanding into construction specific issues -- such as project delivery systems, risk allocation principles, contract forms, insurance coverage, liens, surety bonds, owner, contractor and subcontractor claims as well as dispute resolution processes. “The relationships involved in construction contracts have long posed a unique problem in the law of contracts. , , ,[T]he conduct of most construction projects contemplates a complex set of interrelationships and respective rights and obligations…” Pavel Enterprises, Inc. v. A.S. Johnson Co., Inc., 674 A.2d 521 (Md. 1995).
This course will not only explore those issues in some detail but also will provide a foundation for transfer of unique concepts to other areas of practice, especially those involving inter-dependent performance obligations.
Why this course is useful:
Construction law is a well-defined practice area with numerous journals, treatises and CLE programs focused on the single largest segment of the American production sector (half a trillion dollars/year), which directly employs one out of every 20 workers in a technologically complex field of relational contracts. In addition to understanding the basics of construction processes and relationships, a lawyer needs skill in analyzing, drafting and negotiating similar contract provisions regardless of their particular practice area.
Upon course completion:
1. students should understand the processes, relationships, inter-dependencies and legal principles necessary: (i) to properly analyze, draft, and negotiate contracts in the construction field and (ii) to address construction related disputes;
2. students should be competent to properly analyze, draft and negotiate key provisions in process-oriented, as well as material supply, contracts encountered in the construction field;
3. students should be able to effectively adapt legal concepts and contractual provisions common to the construction field to other areas, such as IT projects and disputes;
4. students should be able to correctly analyze comprehensive general liability (CGL) insurance coverage for construction defects; and
5. students should be able to read plan view and elevation construction drawings.