engineer meeting for an architectural project. working with partner and engineering tools working on blueprint architectural project at the construction site at desk in the office.

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

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

Vintage 1957 United States Silver Certificate under Red, White, and Blue American FlagSince 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

Two Construction Workers Discussing at construction site

Co-author: Trenton Patterson

It has been months since you have been paid and the general contractor or the owner continues to demand that you perform extra work, perform in changed conditions or work on a compressed timeline with no promise of payment in sight.  At this point you have a decision to make.  Do you continue to perform work and submit claims for the extra work and changed conditions? Or do you suspend work or terminate the contract? Continue Reading To Perform or Not Perform, That is the Question

big bulldozer removing snowThe winter storm that brought snow, freezing temperatures, power outages, frozen water lines and bursting pipes to Texas, shutting down most construction projects in the process, forced many contractors and owners to take a look that their contracts to determine who is responsible for the ensuing delays and the costs to repair any damage. Continue Reading Excusable Delay and Builder’s Risk: A Reminder to Weatherproof Your Contracts

My law partner, David Gair, and I recently wrote a paper regarding the energy-efficient commercial building tax deduction (IRC § 179D).  The upshot is that the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 recently made this deduction permanent.  As discussed in much more detail in the paper, 179D allows for a tax deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot for the design of energy efficient government buildings.

From the paper:

For many years, Congress has held this deduction somewhat hostage by extending it on a year-by-year basis and not permitting construction businesses to properly plan. Now we have some certainty that this deduction will be around for years to come. The potential benefit is very substantial and can allow the economic incentives to work for businesses and governments with very tight budgets. Careful study can yield great results. Beware, however, that the compliance rules are onerous and properly accredited professionals must be employed. Due diligence on the front end will yield great results and avoid IRS entanglements on the back end.

 

Drain pipe with frozen stream of water near brick wall of a cottage outdoors in winterCo-author: Trevor Lawhorn

As evidenced by the unprecedented arctic weather last week and the resulting fallout, emergency construction services are essential. Freezing temperatures, hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters lead to a high demand for remediation and reconstruction services. Contractors are often best positioned to provide the necessary emergency construction services to rebuild businesses, residences and communities. Emergency contractors must always be mindful of certain laws that impact how they conduct business after a disaster. Understandably, Texas has implemented a number of laws to protect disaster victims against predatory or otherwise unsavory business practices. Here are a few essential Texas laws that both owners and contractors must consider when contracting for emergency construction services. Continue Reading Texas Laws Emergency Contractors Must Know

The general prohibition against waiving lien rights under Chapter 53 of the Texas Property Code has been written about extensively, and is well known through the industry.  However, the Construction Trust Fund Act (Ch. 162 of the Texas Property Code) does not contain any such prohibition.  From the Act itself, it is not clear whether construction trust fund rights can be waived or not.  Less than two years ago, the Texas Fourteenth Court of Appeals considered this issue, among several others, in Mesa Southern CWS Acquisition, LP v. Deep Energy Exploration Partners, LLC.  In that case, the Court considered the following provision: Continue Reading Can the Trust Fund Act be Waived?