In this recent Legal Alert, Greg Thompson and Alayna Bridgett summarize a bill recently signed into law by Ohio Governor DeWine that shortens the statute of limitations for breach of written contract actions from eight years to six and, for oral contracts, from six years to four. The bill goes into effect on June 14, 2021 (90 days from Governor DeWine’s signing).

Construction contracts often include arbitration provisions that require any dispute arising out of a project be resolved through binding arbitration. But who decides whether such a dispute is subject to the arbitration provision? The answer to that question is not always clear, and a recent decision (or refusal to make a decision) by the U.S. Supreme Court failed to bring the answer further into focus.  Read our recent Legal Alert prepared by Greg Thompson and Caroline Hamilton for more details.

Hahn Loeser is proud to sponsor the Ohio Contractor Association’s Conaway Conference, which will take place virtually on March 2 through March 4, 2021.  If you are attending this conference, please be sure to stop by our virtual exhibit booth and say hello.

For more details about the Conference, please visit the OCA’s website.

 

Join Hahn Loeser and our friends from Foundation Software for a complimentary four-part legal series for the construction industry on a range of important topics.  To register for each session, please click on the title of the topics below.

Session 1:  The Road Ahead for Contractors:  Predictions of What to Expect in 2021

Thursday, March 4, 2021 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET

Presented by:  Rob Remington, Aaron Evenchik, Steve Seasly and Ann Knuth

Session 2: Best Practices Regarding Prevailing Wage Laws on Public Projects

Tuesday, March 23, 2021 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET

Presented by:  Rob Remington, Steve Seasly and Ann Knuth

Session 3: Management of Project Schedule Impact and Delay Claims; Critical Documentation and Proactive Practices to Protect Project Profitability

Wednesday, March 31, 2021 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET

Presented by:  Rob Remington, Jeff Roush and Chad Van Arnam

Session 4: Joint Venture/Partnerships for Large Construction Projects

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET

Presented by:  Rob Remington, Sonja Rice, John Paul Lucci, Rob Port and Sarah Lewis

We hope you can join us for this series!

Join the Hahn Loeser team for a full-day session presented by NBI for an advanced-level guide to complex construction law issues.

Program Overview

On any construction project, seemingly simple issues can quickly become complex if not handled correctly. That’s why it’s essential to have an in-depth understanding of critical construction project legal matters that have the potential to cause severe headaches for your clients. In this advanced-level course, our experienced faculty will share their decades of construction law experience and will provide you with valuable tools you can use to help your clients through change order disasters, project delay disagreements, construction defect disputes and more. Provide your clients with the best representation possible by expanding your knowledge of complicated construction project issues – register today!

  • Anticipate which construction contract provisions will cause difficulties down the road in order to negotiate them in your client’s favor.
  • Disentangle complex change order payment matters that arise from oral change orders, additional work and more.
  • Confidently determine which construction project delays are compensable and which are non-compensable.
  • Factor in current court interpretations and state anti-indemnity statutes when wading into a construction indemnity dispute.
  • Analyze CGL policy insurance documents to accurately determine who is actually covered under the policy.
  • Get to the bottom of construction defect CGL policy coverage issues such as business risk exclusions and proving defective coverage is an occurrence.
  • Fairly counter discovery delays, excessive notices and other dirty construction litigation tactics.
  • Ensure interactions with unrepresented parties during construction disputes are ethically responsible.

Who Should Attend

This advanced level seminar on complex construction law issues is for:

  • Attorneys
  • Architects
  • Construction Professionals
  • Engineers
  • Insurance Professionals
  • Real Estate Developers
  • Paralegals

Course Content

  1. Construction Contracts: Advanced Negotiation Techniques for the Top Sticking Points
  2. Change Orders and Extra Work – Payment Issues Disentangled
  3. Determining Responsibility and Remedy for Delays
  4. Indemnification Disputes – What is the Scope and Meaning of the Contractual Clause?
  5. Determining Who is Insured Under Commercial General Liability Policies
  6. Coverage for Construction Defects Under CGL Policies
  7. Negotiating Damages in Construction Disputes
  8. Ethics for Construction Attorneys

For more details and to register, please visit NBI’s site.

To help clients prepare for a productive 2021, Hahn Loeser’s Construction Team is presenting complimentary, virtual training sessions for management and project personnel.

Topics offered by our Team to our clients include:
1.        Project Construction Contract Forms and Plain English Options for Negotiation;
2.        Managing Cost Plus GMP Contract Risks and Management of Changes;
3.        Managing Design / Build Contract Risks and Management of Cost and Risk;
4.        Subcontract and Vendor Forms;
5.        Scheduling and Project Management Tools;
6.        Construction Insurance Review;
7.        Project Documentation and Risk Management;
8.        Worksite Safety and Accident Investigation;
9.        Managing Upstream and Downstream Payment Processes and Risk; and
10.      Nurturing Surety and Banking Relationships.

If you are interested in discussing training options for your team, please reach out to Rob Remington, Chair of Hahn Loeser’s Construction Law Team.

In order to encourage and support the growth of minority and socially and economically disadvantaged businesses, the State of Ohio implemented several business assistance programs to foster the development of these businesses and increase the number of qualified competitors in the marketplace. Generally, these programs require Ohio state agencies to award a certain percentage of their contracts to businesses owned and controlled by different specified groups. To that end, Ohio has four primary programs: Minority Business Enterprise (“MBE”); Women-Owned Business Enterprise (“WBE”); Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity (“EDGE”); and Veteran-Friendly Business Enterprise (“VBE”). These programs are administered by the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, Equal Opportunity Division (“DAS”).

Recent Updates to the EDGE Program

The EDGE Program is designed to assist socially and economically disadvantaged persons and businesses in obtaining Ohio state government contracts in construction; architecture and engineering; professional services; goods and services; and information technology services. Each year, the Director of DAS sets the EDGE procurement goals for each state agency. Generally, the procurement goal is approximately five percent (5%) of all eligible agency procurements. A business is not eligible to be awarded contracts under one of these programs until the business is certified by DAS.

In October 2020, DAS updated the rules for the EDGE program, including revising the certification criteria. While there are many nuances to the certification requirements for the EDGE Program, this recent Legal Alert provides a basic overview of the criteria and focuses on the most significant changes that DAS instituted effective October 2020.

DOWNLOAD LEGAL ALERT

The U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) has released two Loan Necessity Questionnaires – one for for-profit businesses, the other for nonprofits – for recipients of Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans of $2 million or more.

The questionnaires are designed to help the SBA evaluate a borrower’s good-faith certification that its loan request was necessary to support ongoing operations.  A borrower that receives a questionnaire from its lender must return the questionnaire within 10 business days.  If a borrower fails to complete the questionnaire, or if the SBA determines the borrower did not have a good faith basis to certify that its loan request was necessary to support its ongoing operations, the borrower’s PPP loan forgiveness application may be denied.

To read the full Alert, visit our website.

The recent increasing price of lumber may be the single biggest threat to affordable housing in the United States, not to mention the threat it poses to the U.S. economy.  Covid-19, which spurred an upsurge in home renovation projects and a drop in financing rates for new home builds, has caused a contemporaneous increase in lumber consumption and decrease in lumber production.  This has caused a historical rise in lumber prices, to the point of crisis.

At the outset of the virus, many lumber mills made predictions that home building and other projects would come to a screeching halt and understandably made cuts to staffing and production.  Now, however, lumber mills are scrambling to keep up and simply do not have the staff to fill the market demands.  Lumber mill employment has only rebounded by about half, while housing construction employment is almost 100% back to normal levels.

While builder confidence is strong with sales and construction projects following suit, there is a shortage of domestic lumber to support the increased demand.  This has caused lumber prices to increase by 130% since mid-April of 2020.  Increased lumber pricing is driving housing prices up by an average of $16,000.00-$17,000.00 throughout the country, and there is still continued demand for newly built homes.

The U.S. Government is leaning on the U.S. Lumber Coalition to work together to mend the supply chain and increase domestic production, while also seeking trade agreements with Canada and other foreign producers to help alleviate the domestic demand and inflated lumber prices.

But what can be done while politicians politic?  Adding escalation clauses to project contracts that contemplate lumber can provide some relief.  An escalation clause kicks in when the price of lumber (or another commodity) increases beyond a certain percentage.  Once that threshold is met, the increased costs are passed down to the consumer to protect profit margins and ensure project viability.