In residential construction, the recent legislative amendments to Chapter 27 of the Texas Property Code (the Residential Construction Liability Act or the “RCLA”) have garnered significant attention in the industry, and understandably so as there were many important tweaks for Texas homebuilders made by the Texas Legislature. Often overlooked are the Texas Legislature’s amendments to Chapter 16 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, which shortened the statue of repose on residential construction projects from ten years to six years. Residential homebuilders should take note of these changes to the statute of repose because they could significantly limit your exposure on warranty and construction defect claims moving forward.Continue Reading Texas Legislature Reduces Statute of Repose for Residential Homebuilders
The private and public prompt pay acts both provide contractors and subcontractors with the right to stop work if an owner or upstream contractor fails to pay an undisputed amount. With H.B. 3485, the Texas legislature has now extended this right when the contractor or subcontractor is waiting on large dollar value change orders.Continue Reading Texas Legislature Expands Suspension Rights Under the Prompt Pay Acts
Orignally published in ABC Houston’s Build Houston Magazine
Construction companies spend countless hours drafting agreements requiring indemnification and insurance for their projects. These obligations are prevalent for all tiers of construction industry members— from subcontractors and suppliers, to project owners. The purpose of this article is to address some considerations in anticipation of a claim being made after an incident on a construction project.Continue Reading Basic Indemnity and Insurance Considerations in the Construction Context
If you have been around Texas construction in the past decade, you’ve no doubt heard about a foreman shopping his crew around. You’ve probably worried about a key superintendent or project manager taking his skills to your competitor. Maybe you have lost sleep over an estimator with a LinkedIn profile that says he is immediately open to a new job.Continue Reading Navigating the Proposed Elimination of Employee Non-Compete Agreements
Co-author: Stephanie Snyder-Zuasnabar
In James Construction Group, LLC v. Westlake Chemical Corporation, the Texas Supreme Court clarified the standard necessary to satisfy notice provisions in a construction contract. The Court’s opinion reached two key holdings: (1) substantial compliance is sufficient to satisfy a party’s obligation under a contractual notice requirement; (2) however, if the contract requires written notice, then the notice must be in writing to substantially comply even when there is actual notice. This opinion is important for the construction industry because it clarifies a gray area, and unequivocally enforces contract provisions requiring written notices. This opinion illustrates the importance of complying with notice provisions and the consequences of failing to do so. The owner’s failure to comply with notice provisions deprived it of more than one million dollars in damages awarded by a jury. Continue Reading Texas Supreme Court: Actual Notice Does Not Satisfy Written Notice Requirement
Co-author: Stephanie Snyder-Zuasnabar
Texas has new lien laws that affect all construction projects with a prime contract dated on or after January 1, 2022. The new lien laws are particularly helpful to architects, engineers, and surveyors. Design professionals will benefit from the expanded lien rights provided by this new legislation. Lower tier design professionals will now be able to perfect liens in a manner similar to subcontractors and suppliers. The new law also expanded the type of design work that gives rise to lien rights. These changes collectively level the playing field. Continue Reading Chapter 53 Expands Lien Rights for Design Professionals
So you want to be a public construction contractor in Texas? First you need to know are the rules—and there are a lot of them. There are statutory procurement regimes for different types of public work, different agencies, and different project delivery methods. Different criteria and standards are used to evaluate all of them. Continue Reading Overview of the Texas Public Bidding Process
Every company, no matter the industry, relies on its name and reputation to develop customers and generate revenue. Think about the brands that dominate American culture such as Nike, Wal-Mart, Amazon or McDonald’s, then imagine those businesses without the ability to adequately protect their names, slogans and logos. No doubt the vultures would circle and brand power would most likely become short lived or otherwise diluted to the point of non-existence. The construction industry is not exempt, and the industry leaders benefit from identifiable names and logos, built over years of reputation and brand building. While the tools necessary to protect your company’s brand exist at the state and federal level, many business owners or leaders are unfamiliar with the trademark process and unaware of the consequences of not utilizing those tools. Continue Reading Trademarks and Construction
One the most litigated or disputed issues in construction is that of the change order. Almost every experienced contractor has dealt with either defending against or pursing change orders relating to additional work, time and costs since owners asking for extra or changed work in the midst of a lump sum project is not an unusual occurrence. But, what happens when the owner thinks that the work is already within the scope of the project and won’t approve a change order to pay more? Continue Reading The Change Order Conundrum
Since arriving in the United States the Coronavirus pandemic has taken a devastating toll on nearly every aspect of our economy. Industries such as construction have faced new hardships and challenges with workplace safety, material and supply chain logistics, labor shortages, communication and business development. As construction firms continue to weather the financial burdens of the economic downturn, the federal government has passed another stimulus bill ripe with infrastructure and construction spending.
In March 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law intended to serve as the third federal stimulus package during COVID-19. Included in this new legislation is the appropriation of $3 billion for the development of public facilities, public services, business development, planning, technical assistance, training, and any other assistance to alleviate long-term economic deterioration and sudden and severe economic dislocation due to the pandemic.
So what does this mean for the construction industry? Continue Reading What’s New in the World of Stimulus Relief: A Discussion of American Rescue Plan Act