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New Contractor Requirements for Oregon Public University Construction Projects

During the one-day second special session, the Oregon Legislature passed two budget bills—SB 5721 and SB 5722—relating to public construction. While SB 5721 increases bond authorizations for the 2019-2021 biennium and revises previously approved bond authorizations, SB 5722 establishes expenditure limitations for capital construction projects in excess of $1 million. Among other things, SB 5721 … Continue Reading

What Does Reopening a Safe and Strong Oregon Mean for Construction?

Governor Kate Brown’s May 15 executive order (No. 20-25), “Reopening a Safe and Strong Oregon,” provides for a phased reopening of recreational and economic activity in Oregon on a county-by-county basis as certain threshold prerequisites are met. All Oregon counties, with the exception of Multnomah County, have achieved the prerequisites for a Phase I reopening. … Continue Reading

Let’s Get Back to Work! Construction Industry Personnel Considerations and Resources Related to COVID-19

With the recent reopening of Phase 1 construction in Washington and the eagerly awaited resumption of projects throughout the Pacific Northwest, we thought it might be helpful to provide a quick snapshot of the key regulatory guidance and tailored Miller Nash resources that employers in the build community may find most helpful as they prepare … Continue Reading

Governor Inslee Greenlights Re-Opening of Construction Projects That Meet Social Distancing and Other Required Safety Measures

On April 24, 2020, Governor Inslee signed an order re-opening construction projects that meet detailed safety requirements across all sectors (residential, commercial, public, etc.). Under Governor Inslee’s 30-point plan, work may only be resumed on any given project if they follow requirements found here, which include: Social distancing of at least six (6) feet is … Continue Reading

Most Construction Is Non-essential, According to Governor Inslee’s Latest Guidance

On Wednesday night, Governor Inslee issued specific guidance regarding construction projects in Washington. The guidance states that “commercial and residential construction is not authorized under the Proclamation because construction is not considered to be an essential activity.” But in general, the following categories of construction may continue: a) Construction related to essential activities as described … Continue Reading

COVID-19: Delays and Force Majeure in Construction Contracts

COVID-19 now controls our day-to-day, but it may not control our existing contracts. To know the extent of its reach on construction projects, it’s important to touch on how delay is handled under contract law and specifically the role of force majeure. What is Force Majeure? An unforeseen, uncontrollable event. Force majeure is an event … Continue Reading

Washington’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Proclamation Lacks Guidance On Construction Projects

Yesterday at 5:30 pm, Governor Inslee issued his “Stay at Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation. The proclamation (much of which takes effect immediately, but which goes into full effect at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, March 25) requires generally that: Every Washingtonian stay at home unless they need to pursue an essential activity. All gatherings for social, … Continue Reading

New Oregon “Stay in Place” Order Permits Construction Industry Work Under Distancing Policies

On Monday, March 23rd, Governor Kate Brown issued a new executive order for the state, further limiting personal interactions. It appears that construction industry businesses are not subject to the order so long as the business designates “an employee or officer to establish, implement, and enforce social distancing polices.” The executive order is available here. … Continue Reading

Environmental Groups Push for New Rules Restricting Emissions From Indirect Sources

Environmental activist groups recently petitioned the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission (the “EQC”) to enact far-reaching rules that would regulate air emissions from so-called indirect sources in cities and metropolitan districts with populations of 50,000 or more. The petition identifies an indirect source as any facility, building, structure, or installation that attracts mobile sources (vehicles), and … Continue Reading

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t: Supreme Court Expands Jobsite Liability for General Contractors

On November 21, the Washington State Supreme Court held that general contractors may be on the hook for the injuries of the workers on their jobsites (Vargas v. Inland Washington, LLC). And not just on the hook to provide a safe jobsite for all, but for the injuries of its subcontractor’s workers. And not on … Continue Reading

Event Recap: October Construction Breakfast Roundtable on Delegated Design

The Construction Team hosted back-to-back Breakfast Roundtables in Portland and Seattle earlier this month. Attendees included contractors, suppliers, design professionals, in-house counsel, and others from across the construction industry. The topic: delegated design. We kicked off the discussion by defining the topic as delegating to the contractor a portion of the design of the work. For example, a … Continue Reading

Breakfast Roundtable: A 360° Discussion on Delegated Design

Please join us for a roundtable discussion on the risks and benefits of delegated design. Delegating design has been the industry standard for fire-suppression and elevator trades and is common for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work. Delegated design is extending beyond its traditional place to encompass more building elements and trades, including entire envelope systems. … Continue Reading

2020 Brings Change to Oregon’s Public Contracting Code

Changes are coming to Oregon’s public contracting code in the form of HB 2769, passed during the Oregon Legislature’s 2019 session. As those familiar with Oregon’s public contacting rules know, under ORS 279C.110, contracting agencies are required to use a qualification-based selection process when choosing consultants to provide architectural, engineering, photogrammetric mapping, transportation planning, or … Continue Reading

Understanding Insurance Terms in Construction Contracts

Miller Nash attorneys Seth Row and Shanelle Honda were published in the Fall 2019 issue of the NAMC-OR Newsletter. The link to the full story is available below. Construction contracts at all tiers usually include terms requiring certain types of insurance, and often contain related provisions about indemnity. This “boilerplate” can be important if a job goes south, … Continue Reading

Bid Protest Time Extension

Washington contractors now have more time to file a bid protest on a public works project. Under prior law, an aggrieved contractor had to submit their bid protest within two days after the bid opening. RCW 39.04.105. For many contractors, they often did not know the basis to protest an award without receiving access to … Continue Reading

Responding to a Crisis: How Human Resources Can Make Things Better, Not Worse

Cody Elliott and Mike Porter, two Miller Nash partners, were published in Constructor Magazine, a publication of Associated General Contractors. The link to the full story is available below. Just as unforeseen site conditions can test a contractor’s problem-solving skills, unexpected events can test a construction employer’s crisis-management readiness. Crises can hit at any time, and … Continue Reading

Dealing With the Ups & Downs: The Importance of Price Escalation Clauses in Construction Contracts

Vanessa Triplett, a Miller Nash construction law attorney, was published in the Summer 2019 issue of the NAMC-OR Newsletter. The newsletter is published by the National Association of Minority Contractors—Oregon and the Daily Journal of Commerce. The link to the full story is available below. In this era of trade wars and tariffs, the likelihood … Continue Reading

Bill Gives Design Build Boost in Public Contracting

Design-build is increasingly showing up in public works projects in the Washington State. This method allows the price to be established based on a conceptual design rather than through the competitive bid process. Offsetting the lack of competitive bid, the price can be set after construction documents are completed and all the subcontracts work can … Continue Reading

James Walker Recognized on the Daily Journal of Commerce Oregon “Phenoms and Icons” 2018

Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP construction attorney James Walker was recognized as a 2018 Phenom by the Daily Journal of Commerce Oregon (DJC Oregon) on December 13 in Portland, Oregon. DJC Oregon’s newest award program honors local building industry’s longtime leaders while recognizing the up-and-coming professionals expected to share the future of architecture, engineering, … Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court Upholds Strict Interpretation of Contractual Notice Provisions: Failure to Immediately Give Notice of Claim a Complete Bar to Recovery

Nova, a public works contractor, filed a claim for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, based entirely on the City’s untimely and repeated rejection of submittals to perform culvert work in Olympia. The Supreme Court held that the contractor was barred from seeking damages because it failed to give written notice … Continue Reading

Department of Labor to Hold Listening Session on Overtime Regulation in Seattle on September 11

As contractors well know, most construction workers are entitled to overtime pay when they have to work more than 40 hours a week. However, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, there is a “white collar” exception for certain employees who earn no less than a standard salary threshold and meet other conditions. In May of … Continue Reading

Recap: Construction Breakfast Roundtable & Seven Habits of Highly Effective Contractors/Owners

We had a great turnout at our Seattle Breakfast Roundtable earlier this week, which was attended by in-house counsel, representatives from a diverse group of companies across the industry, and attorneys in our Construction team. Our conversation covered a range of topics, including contract terms and requirements, project communications, and documentation. In particular, we discussed … Continue Reading
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