Construction

Becker has an experienced and sophisticated construction law practice. 

 

Becker has an experienced and sophisticated construction law practice. The firm provides advice to owners, developers, project managers, general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, sureties, and others engaged in the business of construction. Our construction attorneys work to protect our clients' interests from a project's inception, and to maximize benefits and minimize risk through to its close out. Often, our construction attorneys work hand-in-hand with attorneys from other disciplines, including our newly-developed Business Services Group, to provide our clients with the benefits of an interdisciplinary approach to construction lawyering. Our comprehensive outlook is one of the reasons many leaders in the construction industry turn to Becker LLC for legal representation. 

Our attorneys have experience in virtually all matters impacting the construction industry.

Among our areas of concentration are: 

Members of the construction law group are often asked by peers, industry groups and the media to speak and write about emerging developments affecting the construction industry. We advise both public and private entities, their principals, officers and directors regarding different forms of organization available to limit personal liability.

We counsel our clients regarding: fiduciary responsibility of directors and officers; disclosure issues; financial reporting; management succession and compensation; board composition and structure; conflict of interest and change of control matters; and stockholder rights plans.

 

Private Contracts 

Our attorneys regularly assist our clients in drafting and reviewing contracts to ensure, among other things, proper allocation of risk, clear assignment of project responsibilities, fair notice provisions, and effective remedy provisions. They establish, within the various contract documents, the appropriate relationships between owners, general contractors, subcontractors, sureties, and other team members.  In the end, effective contract review requires a keen understanding of all aspects of construction projects.

 

Examples of recent representations:
 

  • Negotiation and preparation of a construction agreement — with a construction value in excess of eight million dollars — for a general contractor constructing a health and wellness fitness center.

  • Creation of form subcontract agreements for a general contractor seeking to better allocate certain risks to subcontractors, including risk of payment.

  • Review and analysis of a construction contract — with a total contract value in excess of one hundred million dollars — for a publicly traded home builder seeking a joint venture with a general contractor for development of a high rise mixed use complex.

  • Representation of a major residential home builder, acting as its own general contractor for all its projects in the preparation of form subcontract agreements for all trades and purchase orders for all suppliers.

Public Contract Procurement

Our construction attorneys have a wealth of experience in local, state and federal government contracting. We provide advice concerning all phases of government contracting from procurement to close-out. Our attorneys are familiar with the various procurement statutes governing the award of public contracts, and we regularly represent contractors in bid review, public contract review and bid protests. We understand the different forums established for challenges to local, state and federal contract awards and the procedures for seeking temporary, preliminary and permanent disjunctive relief in these forums.

 

Having guided clients successfully through the morass of administrative processes typically involved in prosecuting claims against governmental entities, our construction attorneys understand the intricacies involved in prosecuting such claims.
 

We have a proven track record of obtaining compensation for our clients in negotiations, mediation and litigation against governmental entities.

Our construction attorneys counsel clients on filing lien claims against governmental entities and filing or defending against payment and performance bond claims made on government projects. The controlling statutes generally provide only short windows of opportunity within which to timely file such claims. Ensuring that claims are filed within those window requirements often mandates precise action. We work closely

 

Project Support

Construction management is a key component of project success. Our construction attorneys often guide clients through complex problems that arise during the course of a project. In such situations, we assist our clients in maintaining contractual compliance and strive to solve the problems before they escalate into major disputes or litigation. We regularly counsel our clients on preventive measures so as to avoid future disputes with other third parties, such as general contractors, subcontractors, lenders, and tenants. When it becomes clear that litigation may become necessary, we assist clients in navigating the claim notice provisions in their contracts to ensure preservation of the claim. We further counsel our clients on how to create a proper record during the project for the future prosecution or defense of anticipated claims.

 

We have provided representation for:
 

  • Owner of a downtown retail project, providing counseling in order to protect and preserve their interests visa-vi the general contractor when financial difficulties were experienced by the general contractor midway through the project.  Our representation included providing our client with procedures for obtaining construction lien waivers from subcontractors and for holding retainages for incomplete work.

  • Developers in the review and analysis of risk allocation on several development projects, including the review and analysis of risk allocation in contracts with general contractors and assessment of insurance coverage provided by insurance policies.

  • Commercial and retail landlords in protecting the landlord against liens or other encumbrances from the tenants undertaking fit-up work and other improvements in our clients’ properties.

  • Tenant of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in processing a tenant alteration application for the tenant’s proposed construction so as to meet Port Authority guidelines.

 

 

Litigation

Industry and technical know-how helps our construction attorneys achieve successful resolution of disputes for clients.  By virtue of their representation of major players in virtually all areas of the industry, our construction attorneys have handled disputes for clients in numerous forums, including state and federal court, mediation and arbitration.

Among the types of disputes we have handled are delay and disruption claims, contract specification and scope disputes, construction cost accountings, subsurface and changed conditions, defective and non-conforming work, and suspension and termination claims.  Becker is often sought out to represent construction clients confronted with an owner, construction manager or general contractor who is insolvent.  In these cases, our construction attorneys work closely with our corporate bankruptcy attorneys.

 

Our construction attorneys have represented:
 

  • Public utility in a malpractice claim arising from the design and construction of a wastewater treatment plant.

  • Developer in prosecuting claims for defective work, liquidated damages and costs of completion after termination in a “LEEDS certified” project for an office complex expansion.

  • Leading provider of water and wastewater management services and facilities in commencement of breach of contract claim against a developer that ultimately culminated in the execution of a complex settlement and contract amendment that permitted our client to proceed with construction of facilities and resulted in our client receiving full payment of alimonies due, including interest.

  • Demolition contractor in the successful defense of a termination hearing on a major demolition project   the Greenpoint Incinerator, Brooklyn, New York.

  • General contractor in a twenty million dollar claim against the New Jersey Schools Construction Corporation.

  • General contractor and surety in defending a breach of contract and constructive termination action brought by subcontractor on a Federal Army Corps project.

  • National construction company in multi-million dollar claim against one of the world’s largest REITs arising out of construction of Six Flag Factory Outlet in Jackson, New Jersey.

 

Construction Liens and Bond Claims

Our attorneys understand the importance of moving quickly to protect our clients’ rights to prompt payment for public and private work, whether that means pressing claims under state payment statutes or filing Notices of Unpaid Balances (NUBs), construction liens, municipal mechanic’s liens, or by making bond claims. We possess a wealth of knowledge regarding payment disputes and almost unparalleled experience litigating these claims whether representing owners, general contractors, construction managers, subcontractors, or suppliers.

 

Working on either side of the table, our attorneys have collected millions of dollars on behalf of our construction clients utilizing these laws while also shielding owners and developers by defending invalid or improperly filed construction liens and other claims. 
 

Our attorneys have been equally successful lodging timely claims against posted payment and performance bonds and enforcing those claims where necessary.
 

We have provided representation for:
 

  • Regional supplier of stone and stone related products in prosecution of construction liens on a number of related projects.

  • Developer of a mixed-use project in the defense of various construction liens filed by a window supplier where the subcontractor supplying labor and material for installation of the windows was fully paid by the developer, but did not pay the supplier from those monies.

  • Developer of a residential project in the defense of a construction lien filed by a site contractor where the site contractor filed construction liens without the filing of requisite Notice of Unpaid Balance and arbitration demand, thereby voiding the liens.

  • General contractor in the filing of construction liens against the developer of a residential subdivision for site utility work performed by our client.

  • Developer of an apartment complex in the defense of a construction lien filed by a crane operator where the framing subcontractor was paid in full by the developer, but did not pay the crane operator who was hired directly by the framing subcontractor.

  • Developer that was developing one phase of a common project where subcontractors had filed construction liens against our client for work performed on other phases of the project, owned by other developers.

  • Site contractor in obtaining payment for millions of dollars for utility work performed on a residential subdivision by filing Notices of Unpaid Balances and subsequent construction liens on the entire project.

  • Excavating subcontractor in obtaining payment on a public project payment bond where the general contractor ceased making payments to our client and verged on insolvency.

 

Construction Labor Relations


Our labor attorneys help ensure labor peace and compliance with wage and hour regulations throughout the actual construction of the project. Our employment attorneys handle issues concerning employee benefits, hiring, firing, and compliance with other employment laws. We have resolved numerous pension and welfare fund and withdrawal liability cases in arbitration proceedings and before the federal courts.
 

We have provided representation for:
 

  • Construction companies in prevailing wage audits and contested wage cases before the N.J., N.Y. and U.S. Departments of Labor, and in state and federal courts.

  • Major construction company in resolving significant trenching violations before OSHA.

  • Contractors in successor liability cases in federal courts and arbitration regarding union pension and welfare fund arrearages and withdrawal liability cases.

  • Contractors before the NLRB in union organizing drives and related unfair labor practice cases, assisting in avoiding unionization.

  • The pursuing of injunctive relief and NLRB charges against unlawful union picketing and work stoppages at jobsites throughout the N.Y/N.J metropolitan area, and northern, central and southern New Jersey.

 

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